Friday, 10 February 2017
While some grumble about 40% of heat in Australia others are watching snowflakes fall outside their window failing to appreciate the lack of heat. Those desperate too cool down can come here and test the frostbite if they wish!
We suffered a serious loss in the comedy world recently, Alan Simpson who working with Ray Galton created both 'Hancocks Half Hour' and 'Steptoe & Son' died the other day aged 87.
Born in Brixton in 1929 Simpson had the misfortune to contract tuberculosis when only 17. However while in Milford Sanitorium, the way such diseases were dealt with in those days, he met Ray Galton and together they improved the patients lot when writing scripts together for their fellow sufferers.
Surviving their ordeal the two sought out advice from the then leading scriptwriters Frank Muir & Dennis Norden, they were told to send scripts to the BBC and from this odd parts appeared in Radio comedy of the day. Tony Hancock noticed one of their scripts during a rehearsal and soon they worked on a new kind of comedy from that usual at the time.
Radio comedy featured short acts with musical interludes and occasional special guests. The two decided more realistic comedy was required, no funny voices, no gimmicks, no catchphrases instead just a situation comedy using wit combined with good acting and indeed that was the basis of the Hancock shows. The fact that Kenneth Williams indeed offered 'funny voices' and some of Hancocks phrases became a kind of catchphrase, 'Stone me' & 'You will get a punch up the bracket' amongst them, the comedy combined awkward situations, clever witty lines often genius's in themselves, Hancocks personality and acting ability produced a show that was so popular that in the days of 1950's radio some twenty million would tune in to listen.
The Hancock experience lasted until 1961 when Tony broke off the tie and ventured into oblivion but Galton & Simpson continued to change the face of comedy this time continuing on TV where the Hancock shows had naturally ended up with a new long lasting powerful drama comedy called 'Steptoe & Son.' Once again it was sharp wit, clever lines and good actors, straight actors this time, who combined to produce both pathos and comedy at the same time. Once again the programmes popularity brought millions to rush home to see this programme. The popularity was such it is claimed one programme was taken off air on election night (always a Thursday) to ensure people would come out to vote!
Neither man achieved such success again as that found in these two programmes though both worked in various programmes with mixed success. It matters not as their place in history is assured. Both became OBE's and they were awarded a BAFTA Fellowship in 2016.
Like Muir & Norden Galton & Simpson among remain the UK's best loved scriptwriters and their work will remain popular for eons to come.
Men beware, the Valentines guilt trip is upon us once again! Valentines Day on Tuesday is now compulsory violence against men and ought to be banned. Throughout the land men are forced to pay large sums of cash to florists, card shops and chocolate sellers to ensure they are not kyboshed by a loose frying pan on Tuesday. Women, whose devious ways are manifest, will of course claim this day means little to them then reach for a blunt instrument, not their tongue obviously, when he forgets or worse doesn't bother about the day. It's cruel and a mere business moneymaking scam!
Naturally I need buy nothing, the last time I had to was about 15 years ago and I offer a used frying pan, somewhat dented, to show the result when I forgot. I could of course send anonymous cards to several women just to upset their men mind....