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The Bath

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  First Broadcast : 10 January 1963  

What a treat (and a bit of a shock!) it must have been to watch this brilliant early episode when it first aired in 1963. Not only did it firmly establish Albert's 'casual' approach to hygiene, but it was also a benchmark for television comedy, the kind of writing and performances most aspire to but seldom achieve...or for that matter, dare.

Once again Harold is impatient for a bit of crumpet, he's invited Delia (Yootha Joyce) to Oil Drum Lane for cocktails before they're off to an evening of bingo. But back from his round he finds Albert in their tin bath in the middle of the front room, caterwauling an off key rendition of 'These Foolish Things.'

"I told her not to expect a palace but I didn't say nothing about scruffy old gits having a bath in front of the fire! When I introduce Delia to you and you shake hands, whether you stand up or sit down it's gonna be rude either way!"


Steptoe and Son - The Bath - You Dirty Old Man

That wont stop Albert though, who begins enjoying his dinner in the bath, a meal that includes pickled onions, some of which he spills in the tub.

Harold sees him fishing them out from unmentionable places and tossing them back in the jar, "You wouldn't have told me about them onions would you?" Appalled, he picks up the jar and provides his pater a visual demonstration, "Look...'pickled onions in vinegar.' In vinegar! Not soap and water!"

Yootha Joyce as Delia in Steptoe and Son - The Bath
With Delia arriving within minutes and desperate to get his father out of the way, Harold resorts to washing Albert's back with a stiff floor brush, "Next time it'll be wire wool!"

Albert finally whinges his way upstairs. But in spite of his absence, Delia arrives, requests a Manhattan, and complete chaos ensues.

Never again to suffer the "social stigma" of tin baths, the next day Harold is back early from his round with a proper bathtub on the cart, "With plumbing and pipes and things...and plug holes!"

Which he's going to install himself. In Albert's bedroom.
"The Bath" is a favorite with fans as it obviously was with the studio audience, no laughter embellishment required. It must have been a favorite with Galton, Simpson and Brambell as well...the episode was referenced in future scripts and by Wilfrid in his autobiography, "All Above Board."

Laugh out loud funny nearly half a century later, no small feat!


  Review Posted by : Dirty Old Yank
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The Bath

Harold has got a bird coming round, but Albert is having a bath and eating pickled onions in it.
Will he be out and dry before Delia arrives ?

Buy this DVD to find out.


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