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Quintessential Episode

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Quintessential Episode

Postby spikespark » Thu Aug 27, 2015 2:18 am

If you were to choose an episode to show to a friend who had never seen Steptoe and Son before, which would you pick to sum up the series?

I know that The Offer is a perfect encapsulation of the Steptoe relationship, but I am not sure I'd choose it as the first episode to show someone who'd never seen Steptoe and Son. It's a brilliant episode, but it also is heart wrenching and almost painful to watch, at least for me.

I have shown people Divided We Stand as an example of a quintessential Steptoe (although since it is one of the later ones, it does tend to lean more heavily on the sillier aspects of the show and less on the deeper ones), but am curious to know what other people would pick.
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Re: Quintessential Episode

Postby Dirty Old Yank » Fri Aug 28, 2015 11:21 am

spikespark wrote:...Divided We Stand...does tend to lean more heavily on the sillier aspects of the show and less on the deeper ones...

Well said, and heartily concurred. There isn't a single episode that encapsulates Steptoe, however...
When I introduced some neighbours to Steptoe I chose "The Bath" :).
They all laughed like hyenas and fell in love with the show instantly! Who wouldn't?
The only people I've encountered that haven't enjoyed the show...are technology addicts.
Fidgeting their lives away on an iphone or ipad, incapable of looking away from a bit of plastic :roll:.
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Re: Quintessential Episode

Postby spikespark » Fri Aug 28, 2015 2:43 pm

Thanks for the thoughtful response, DirtyOldYank!

The Bath is a terrific episode, and I agree, would be good to introduce a first-timer, because it sums up so many aspects of Harold and Albert's relationship, Harold's aspirations, his attempts to pull 'classy' birds, Albert's revolting personal habits, and it also is just incredibly funny.

One of the elements of The Bath I always laugh at is when Albert wants Harold to scrub his back while Harold is trying to tie his bow tie. Each is wrapped up in his own problems, with Albert lamenting he 'can't get his hands round it' and Harold finally growling 'You'll have my hands round your neck in a minute!' Then the subsequent back and forth when Albert gets indignant is hilarious.

Albert: Don't you talk that way to me, I'm your father! You're not to old to have a touch of me belt across your backside!

Harold's reaction in the radio programme is possibly even funnier than his reaction in the television programme-- in both, Harold rolls his eyes and says in a patronising tone 'those days is gone, Dad, you ha'an't been able to wallop me in years.' But in the radio programme, he goes on to growl, '--And you'd better not try!'

The fact that he has to add that makes it even funnier to me. I can just picture scrawny little Albert trying to thrash big, hulking, late-thirties-Harold. Of course, after about three furious swings of his belt, Albert would probably keel over, clutching his chest and go into his maudlin old man routine.

I showed some people who'd grown up loving Sanford and Son, but never seen Steptoe and Son, porn Yesterday recently. I think that's another terrific episode that really sums up a lot of the quintessential elements of Steptoe. Men of Letters is a great one, too, really encapsulating the Harold and Albert relationship but with a lighter tone.
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Re: Quintessential Episode

Postby Ivor Biggun » Sat Aug 29, 2015 10:47 pm

Upstairs Downstairs, Upstairs Downstairs. Albert running Harold ragged and never being satisfied with anything he does and the resentment that Harold feels towards him as a result perfectly describes their relationship.
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Re: Quintessential Episode

Postby Archie » Mon Aug 31, 2015 6:12 pm

Some good suggestions, but I nominate 'The Lodger' a good example of the love hate relationship between the two :o
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Re: Quintessential Episode

Postby bob » Thu Sep 03, 2015 9:51 pm

For me "The Desperate Hours" the overlooked Drama in a classic comedy
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Re: Quintessential Episode

Postby PhilGlass » Sun Sep 06, 2015 5:16 pm

Some good choices, but for me it would be "Steptoe and Son - and Son" This episode defies everything comedy stands for. It has some hilarious sidesplitting lines, and then a tragic, heart breaking ending. The ending is not funny, it is not a punchline, it is just a nasty, fatal twist, but it is played so superbly. They should show that episode for analysis to comedy writers at university.

For me, "Divided we Stand" does not show what Steptoe is about, as it is all comedy. Steptoe was comedy drama, though it is a great episode.
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Re: Quintessential Episode

Postby Uncle Nobby » Tue Sep 08, 2015 8:21 pm

bob wrote:For me "The Desperate Hours" the overlooked Drama in a classic comedy


That's my favourite episode also.

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Re: Quintessential Episode

Postby spikespark » Wed Sep 09, 2015 10:03 pm

I've recently been going back and rewatching a lot of the older Steptoes, particularly episodes that had seemed almost painful to watch the first time. All the Steptoe episodes have hilarious moments, but some of them have got some heartwrenching moments so I hadn't been watching them as much as the lighter ones.

Having recently rewatched The Lodger, I agree that it is a terrific episode that encapsulates the dynamics of their relationship, without neglecting the dark humour and the emotional depth that are key elements. I may try some friends on The Lodger and see what they think.

I know so many people love The Desperate Hours, and I agree, it's a terrific episode, but for me, it's another of those hard to watch ones. Of course, who knows, in six months' time, I may feel less neurotic and identify less with Harold, and may find it gut-bustingly funny. :D
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Re: Quintessential Episode

Postby Dirty Old Yank » Fri Sep 11, 2015 9:24 pm

I'd add to the list of quintessentials “Steptoe a La Cart”, a half hour that never stops being funny.
Everyone at the top of their game, Gwendolyn Watts and as an added bonus, Frank Thornton :o.
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Re: Quintessential Episode

Postby Ilovesteptoe » Sat Nov 14, 2015 7:11 pm

My go to episode would be the classic Upstairs and Downstairs. To witness the sheer weariness of poor Harold who even after hours on the round found time to care for toe-rag Albert who as we all know was pulling a fast one not his back. I'd highlight the Bassets pink liquorice all-sort moment and Harold's expression of utter ecstasy on eating his much loved candy flavoured sex in a sweet.
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Re: Quintessential Episode

Postby Dirty Old Yank » Sun Jun 04, 2017 2:00 pm

Ilovesteptoe wrote:...I'd highlight the Bassets pink liquorice all-sort moment and Harold's expression of utter ecstasy...

Agreed :o. I don’t watch that episode often, but Harold so knackered and his sigh of relief in that instant, the simple pleasure of a sweetie, is unforgettable. Did Harry even like liquorice? I detest the revolting stuff but his brilliant performance made even me want to try some. Adding to my list (and it needs be a list, impossible to choose just one) of quintessential episodes “Sixty-Five Today”, “porn Yesterday” and “My Old Man’s A Tory”.
And of course, "Homes Fit For Heroes"
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Re: Quintessential Episode

Postby Ilovesteptoe » Wed Jun 28, 2017 5:16 pm

Agreed :o. I don’t watch that episode often, but Harold so knackered and his sigh of relief in that instant, the simple pleasure of a sweetie, is unforgettable


Not sure if Harry liked eating them in real life, but a question. Wasn't it product placement seeing the BBC is publicly funded and advertising banned?, lol. If we could bottle Harold's reaction to eating that pink licorice allsort, all world conflicts would end. Eat sweets, not war. 8)
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Re: Quintessential Episode

Postby Dirty Old Yank » Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:36 pm

Ilovesteptoe wrote:...bottle Harold's reaction to eating that pink licorice allsort, all world conflicts would end. Eat sweets, not war. 8)

“Lorry sheds load of chocolate bars near Pontypool”
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-40516549.
Hope it wasn’t you driving that lorry ILS :shock:.
Don’t know if there are any schools near that roundabout, but we’re imagining the inevitable, hilarious chaos
as children descend on the chocolates, scooping up all the sweets they can carry, bless :o. It’d be like that scene
in ‘Carry On At Your Convenience’ where Larry Martyn is so beside himself he shouts, “...Skinheads!!” :lol:.
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Re: Quintessential Episode

Postby Ilovesteptoe » Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:57 pm

Hope it wasn’t you driving that lorry ILS :shock:.


Sadly twas not me, although wonder what chocolate bars were being transported?, he says sucking on his with one solitary tooth after years of tooth decay and numerous dentist visits. :P

Coincidentally you should link that chocolate bar lorry spill story in south-east Wales. In about 1980, me and my brother were playing in the back garden when one of our school mates shouted over the hedge saying: "Quickly! , they are giving loads of boxes of chocolates away at Menzies." He was referring to a local John Menzies food/retail company who had a small storeroom which was located a mile from where I lived. Ironically 200ft from my school too. Anyway. We ran over and saw one of the employees emptying loads of boxes into a skip. literally boxes of Black Magic and Dairy Milk were being emptied? So we asked him why and what he was doing. He said: "They had some boxes opened by rats, so throwing all out." The thing was, some were tainted, though 90% were untouched and sealed, so we asked him could we have them, and he said sure. So set the scene. Four grubby kids with about 50 boxes of Black Magic and Dairy Milk chocolates stuffed into a large packing crate, chocolate all over their faces. Later we divvied them all out equally. Ahhhhh........ the fondant memories, (burp). :mrgreen:
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