The Legacy Of Steptoe And Son, Part 2

We’re remembering Britain’s best known Rag and Bone men: Steptoe And Son as they celebrate 60 years since their first appearance on TV.

In part 1 we looked at the show’s beginnings and how the show almost never came about as writers Galton and Simpson were just not interested in writing another ongoing series.

For today’s post we look at how the show took a break and returned in colour and some of the early spin offs.

Taking a Break

By 1965 Steptoe and Son had been running for four series, all broadcast in black and white.  Having given us such classic scenes such as:

Albert in his bath



Causing chaos on a trip to France

The writers felt that after four series they had exploited it as far as they could and that it had reached it’s natural end.

A Colour Problem?

In 1969 colour television had arrived.  Then still head of comedy Tom Sloan approached the writers and asked if they had thought about bringing Steptoe And Son back.

In a 2014 interview the writers told us

“The idea appealed to us because having had a four year break we had plenty of fresh ideas. The only thing we were worried about was the colour side of it because we thought it would make it look too pretty.   How wrong can you be, the fact that it was in colour made everything look even tattier so it was almost like doing a new series and some of the most memorable episodes were in that second block of series.”

Here are a couple of those memorable moments.



Spinning Off

Steptoe And Son were on a roll so it was only fitting that there should be a big screen outing.  So in 1972 Steptoe and Son hit the big screen.  A huge success the film grossed six times what it cost to make, bringing us some more classic Steptoe moments



After the success of the first came a sequel.  In 1973 Steptoe And Son Ride Again.  Despite the writers feeling it was a better script and being another success story it’s success it did match it’s predecessor




I Saw You On The Radio

In 1966, a year after the first block of the TV series had ended writers Galton and Simpson began adapting TV scripts for broadcast on Radio.  Steptoe And Son The Radio Series ran for six series between 1966 and 1976 so it was still running after the TV show ended.

The adaptations were faithful recreations of the TV scripts.

Coming up.  In the third and final post we’ll look at the show’s legacy, what happened next and finally bringing the curtain down.




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