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TV Shows "borrowing" from steptoe and son.

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Postby PhilGlass » Tue Feb 10, 2009 6:16 pm

I know the episode you mean but can't think of the name.

A few other things: The constant references to Del and Rodney's mother is very much like how when Albert couldn't get his way he would revert to: 'I'll go down to the cemetary and sit with your mother'.

Del also pretends to be hurt emotionally wen he can't get his own way... Albert does the same.

But of course OFAH invented one wonderful thing - Uncle Albert's beard. A beard as good as that never came into Steptoe and son lol
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Postby alanwhite74 » Sat Mar 28, 2009 9:15 am

JOhn sullivan obviusly copied steptoe, even the 1st episode, the younger one wanting to get away and break out alone. Also he wrote citizen smith after galton and simpson had done citizen james.
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Postby bob » Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:29 am

OOHHH More interestig facts

Welcome to the forum Alan

I didn't think there was much in this story at first but as times has gone by, postings like yours have started to change my mind.

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Postby Arthur Philpott » Sat Aug 22, 2009 6:50 pm

Much as I too love MUCH of OFAH ....I regret the show has simply gone on too long.....and by now is well passed it's "sell by" date !

The non stop repeats on UK Cable TV do OFAH NO favours...they are running it into the ground...while you sense GOLD are almost EMBARRESSED about showing Steptoe....as it's so thoroughly Un- 'PC'.....which means it IS Funny...!!!


A few times with both "Steptoe" & "Likely Lads" the jumped up Announcers try to "Cover their backs" by saying how these shows "Reflect the times they were made in..."

Yeah they are FUNNY....and WELL WRITTEN & ACTED...


Galton & Simpson once said they didn't initially think Steptoe & Son could work in the Colour TV world of the seventies....then they found it COULD....however there was a long break between 60's & 70's versions...and as with "The Likely Lads" / "Whatever Happened to..." the respective writers were able to re-create the atmosphere...and even move things on a bit...but they NEVER overdid it....or changed the basic premise too much in either show....

"Likely Lads" was a more logical seventies progression....tho' it worked as at heart the two Lead characters were the same Lads...

Steptoe ending in 1974 left us all clamouring for more...much like as with say "Fawlty Towers" etc....the show was NEVER run into the ground...or had to survive losing key cast members (unlike say "Please Sir !" ,"On The Buses" etc...)

indeed only Dear Old Hercules was ever killed off in Steptoe

OFAH survived the Loss of Actor Lennard Pearce (Grandad)....indeed Uncle Albert (Buster Merryfield) was a fine replacement bringing a new angle to the show...

But...for me...as soon as the "Wives" and then Marital problems began to appear...as Del & Rodders finally "Grew up"....the show started to lose it's sparkle...

Later "Specials"...the last even minus Uncle Albert following Merryfield's passing....were just UNFUNNY....Del & Rodney began to look SAD OLDER men....

Steptoe never lost the chemistry...the dynamic....because the writing & acting standard remained as high at the end...even higher in so many ways...than back at the beginning...plus Messers G & S NEVER lost sight of the show's focus & strengths...

In one of the films where Harold actually gets hitched...and Albert goes on the Honeymoon with them..while funny...it never felt quite right....they wisely never did that in the TV show in my view...
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Postby bob » Sun Aug 23, 2009 2:38 pm

Hi Arthur

Welcome to the Forum

Enjoyed reading the post as I agree with all of it.

I think they should have stopped OFAH as planned, after they became millionaires. However the BBC had nothing new to offer and in desperation, in my view, asked for more episodes.

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Postby Arthur Philpott » Sun Aug 23, 2009 6:15 pm

Thanks Bob !

- This really IS a lovely forum which i have just recommended to a friend of mine who also really loves Steptoe !

Yes you are quite right re OFAH....the idea WAS to bring it to a Logical end....and the "Millionaires" one really should have....but as you say BBC were so Devoid of anything anywhere near it by then that John Sullivan was persuaded to carry it on...

one thing that does it no favours is that David Jason & Nicholas Lyndhurst look so much Older now....

Willy was elderly at the start of Steptoe...while Harry never altered that much (I believe he wore a hairpiece later, but otherwise never really aged much between 1962 and 1974)....Harold being a "older Son" right from the word go in "The Offer"...neither Steptoe & Son Lead actor where young at the start...thus both never altered that much over the years...

But Delboy looked Flash & "Cool" early on....now he looks just fatter & frankly "Gone to Seed" (!)....while baby faced Rodders...just looks middle aged now...!

Thus visually OFAH Looks to have well gone by it's "Sell by" date...

plus their Humour was more tied to the 80's than Steptoe was ever tied to sixties or Seventies....MUCH of Steptoe's humour was about Snobbery, Generation conflict, Politics, & Prejudices....which are far more timeless....

Look at Harold's rant at the start of "Back in Fashion" about the state of Britain....and Albert's reply..."Drugs, Crime, Strikes," etc....they COULD easily & just as applicably be talking about today...just update a few Politician's names !!!

OFAH was never as "Realistic" in that way....it looks the more dated now...like Citizen Smith" (which I Love too !)....both still VERY Funny...but both are more "tied to their times" than Steptoe actually is......

Also MANY things Messers G & S could see coming back then....HAVE !!!

G & S got both Labour & Conservative Politicians weighed off for sure ! ("My Old Man's A Tory" / "Tea For Two" )



One other thing where OFAH echoed Steptoe....Rodney got umpteen bottles of Suntan Lotion...in Winter....(!!)

....which reminded me of Harold...getting umpteen sets of False Teeth....Gasmasks...even COFFINS !!! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Postby PhilGlass » Sun Aug 23, 2009 7:34 pm

Where did you get your information that Harry wore a hairpiece?

I'd love to know where you heard this as I have not heard this before!! What proof did they use? is there an actual picture of him at the same time with / without it??

It makes me wonder because Harry allowed his greays to show through so if he was so vein he needed to wear a wig why would he wear one that made him look old??

Very interesting, thanks for mentioning it
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Postby PaulaT » Sun Aug 23, 2009 9:44 pm

Yes, I have just joined this lovely forum thanks to Arthur :wink: .

I think it is quite obvious that Harry wore a hairpiece. It wouldn't have looked the same for Albert to have a balding son, especially as he wasn't bald himself. Didn't Harold 's age freeze at 39 or was he just being sarcastic :) ?

Yes, I think especially Rodney got far too old in OFAH. He lost the gormless, gullible look. Harry H. could still pull off the young, naive look even in the later shows 8) :lol: !!!!!!!
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Postby PhilGlass » Sun Aug 23, 2009 10:14 pm

Harold's age didn't 'freeze', it was simply an on-running joke that Harold WAS over 40 but didn't admit it. That's why he goes to say '40' then corrects himself.

In which episodes did he have a hairpiece?

In the Kenco commercial Harold has a head of grey and it works, as well as he had his hair greying through the Australian tour and the Australian TV advert too, and they look alright.

Maybe he died it,m as actors do, but I don't see any evidence of a hairpiece... when you look at what else he was in at the same time and after Steptoe I think it's clear it's his natural hair.

But let's not forget, HAROLD would dye his hair. Like Del Boy did in OFAH, this wasn't David Jason's request, but it was in character. Harold Steptoe would die his hair!

I'd like to see a pic of Harry without his hairpiece, I'm very interested in this,
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Postby PaulaT » Sun Aug 23, 2009 10:54 pm

I had always assumed that in the latter 70's episodes Harry was wearing a hairpiece. It looks like Terry Wogan's comb over hairpiece :shock: It looks so obvious!
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Postby bob » Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:59 pm

Hi Paula

Thanks for contacting me about joining the forum, but it looks as though you worked it all out in the end. Fantastic, welcome on board.

Again I am recalling this from memory, I think there were a few continuity disconnects with Harold's age, which is why particularly in the colour episodes they are always a bit vague. This caused some confusion about his war record, which Ray tried to address as part of Murder in Oil Drum Lane.

The real expert on this is Graham, but he hasn't been on the forum for some while.

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Postby Arthur Philpott » Mon Aug 24, 2009 2:22 pm

If you go back to the sixties....look at Harold in the Comedy Playhouse pilot "The Offer"....then say "The Bath", "Wallah Wallah Catsmeat", even the more recently repeated on GOLD season four episodes....you can see Harry clearly has thinning hair on top....true his hair is cropped much shorter in those days , but it is clearly not as thick as it was when Harry had appeared playing a Police inspector in Edgar Lustgarden's "New Scotland Yard" earlier in the late fifties etc....(a series Willy also appeared in...playing a very well to do posh speaking Police Pathologist !)

Then shoot forward to circa 1974...."porn Yesterday", "Upstairs Downstairs, upstairs Downstairs", "Seance in a wet Rag 'n' Bone Yard" etc....by which time Harry then has a VERY Thick full head of longer hair....true it's flecked with Grey...but it's so much thicker in 1974...than it ever was in 1963-64.....most notably on top !


In fact it looks TOO Thick on top to be real ! ...he simply never had that thickness of hair....especially on top... even when he was younger back in the sixties....which makes me feel it must have been a hairpiece...

also Compare Harry on the B & W cover photo of the first PYE Records Steptoe album....to the later Seventies colour photo on the Later Re-issued album....and just look at the clear difference in his hair....the hair looks totally different...not just longer...

likewise Bruce Forsyth....look at "Sunday Night at The London Palladium"....and "Generation Game" (when Brucie was fast losing it....and greying) ...then fast forward to "Strictly Come Dancing" - it's nothing like his old real hair...

Elton John is another very obvious example too....and Terry Wogan as Paula states...
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Postby PhilGlass » Mon Aug 24, 2009 5:51 pm

I agree there is a possibility - he did have a lot of hair in series 8, (as well as a lot of weight!!!!) but where OUTSIDE OF STEPTOE did he have this?

In Shoestring, his hair is almost scraggy and messy.

He did grow his hair for Steptoe, he would not have been so scruffy outside of it. As i said before in Steptoe it was totally in character for Harold to wear one. Harold would not have looked old, he would have done everything to prevent it.

Whether he did or not (I still say he didn't - they say his hair didn't move, that is due to a little invention called Hairspray, it gives the effect of non moving hair) it doesn't really matter much. However I do think in Series 8 Harry looks worse than he ever did - in 'Back In Fashion' look at his eyes - he is obviously very tired and his weigh was an obvious issue (although again in character). In 'Shoestring' you can see that he was a heartattack waiting to happen.

Regardless of any of it, his acting never suffered. Ironically, Wilf was the dapper, smart one going the opposite way and actually putting in a manky set of false teeth.

But back to the subject...

I have mixed views on those final OFAH episodes - originally they were shown at 9pm on christmas night for 80-90 minutes. I was knackered when they were on. Having recently watched them again, as stand alone episodes, they werent so bad. Sullivan was VERY unlucky - he wrote them ALL with uncle Albert in, but when filming came about (the three were all filmed together) Albert died so he had to quickly re-write. Then, they took back the rights to use 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire' so he had to re-write that episode apparently overnight...

I think the fact they brought in the wives and moved the characters along is actually what made OFAH last as long as it did.
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Postby PaulaT » Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:07 pm

bob wrote:Hi Paula

Thanks for contacting me about joining the forum, but it looks as though you worked it all out in the end. Fantastic, welcome on board.

Again I am recalling this from memory, I think there were a few continuity disconnects with Harold's age, which is why particularly in the colour episodes they are always a bit vague. This caused some confusion about his war record, which Ray tried to address as part of Murder in Oil Drum Lane.

The real expert on this is Graham, but he hasn't been on the forum for some while.

Bob


Thank you Bob :D . Yes, I worked it out and I'm thrilled to be here, thanks to Arthur my friend. I'm really enjoying myself already 8) 8) 8) . My daughter says I watch so much Steptoe and Son I'm beginning to turn into Albert. And what do I answer to that? NAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!
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Postby PaulaT » Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:10 pm

Arthur said"was when Harry had appeared playing a Police inspector in Edgar Lustgarden's "New Scotland Yard" earlier in the late fifties etc....(a series Willy also appeared in...playing a very well to do posh speaking Police Pathologist !) ........."

I remember this film well. Changing the subject slightly, does anyone know can you get any Edgar Lustgarten films on DVD?????
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