Comedy Playhouse, Series One, Episode 4 – The Offer
Yesterday we looked back at the BBC’s Comedy Playhouse where many famous sitcoms got their first break. Over the next few days we are going to look at the pilot episodes for those sitcoms that made it to their own series.
We start in 1962, series one, with probably the most famous of all Comedy Playhouse episodes – The Offer. can it really be fifty years since we first met rag and bone Father and Son, Albert and Harold Steptoe.
We covered this in the Steptoe story a post we did last year, but briefly The Offer came about as a result of writer’s block for Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, who had been working on a series of one off comedies for the BBC’s Comedy Playhouse. Looking out of a window they noticed a rag and bone man, that gave them the inspiration for Steptoe and Son. The BBC liked the idea, particuarly as the setting was seen as cost effective and by June of 1962 the first series was being broadcast.
Harold Steptoe is thirty-seven, since leaving the army ,he has been put upon by his widowed, selfish father Albert, working the horse and cart, totting things to sell in their rag-and-bone business. One day Harold gets the offer of a better job and is determined to take it. Albert, however, fearing loneliness if Harold goes, knows just how to keep his son at home.
However when he discovers Albert has been at the cocktail cabinet, he begins to pack up his belongings and leave his dad for good.
Harold Steptoe – Harry H. Corbett
Albert Steptoe – Wilfrid Brambel
Channel: BBC Television (Became BBC1 in 1964 after launch of BBC2)
Written By: Ray Galton and Alan Simpson
Originally Transmitted: 4th January 1962, as part of Comedy Playhouse