Till Death Us Do Part, The Pilot Episode, 1965

The story so far

Following on from their success with Hancock then controller of BBC Light Entertainment Tom Sloan keen to hang onto the writers offered Ray Galton and Alan Simpson the chance to bring an idea he had to life.  The offer was simple create 10 one off sitcom episodes write them, act, direct whatever they liked but it must come under the banner of Comedy Playhouse (Sloan’s idea).

Like Hancock before them those first 2 series were a success leading to ‘The Offer’ becoming the hugely successful ‘Steptoe and Son’.

When those 2 series had finished Comedy Playhouse continued.

Comedy Playhouse, Till Death Us Do Part

In 1965 Comedy Playhouse reached it’s fourth series and episode 7, entitled Till Death Us Do Part, would go on to become another classic, if not controversial sitcom.

In the pilot episode all the characters we came to love were all here but there were two major differences.  The Garnetts were the Ramsays, the Garnett name would have to wait until the full series started a year later. and was introduced so as not to cause offence to then England Manager Alf Ramsay.  Whilst Alf is married to Else in the pilot episode, Else is played by Gretchen Franklin who was replaced in the series by Dandy Nicholls.


The only way that Mike can take out a deposit on a new home is to take out a Life Insurance policy on Alf.


The following clip is all that is believed to still exist in the BBC Archives.




Warren Mitchell – Alf Ramsay
Gretchen Franklin – Else Ramsay
Una Stubbs – Rita Ramsey
Anthony Booth – Mike Rawlins


Channel: BBC1
Written By: Johnny Speight
Original Transmission Dates: July 22nd, 1965