The Legacy Of Steptoe And Son, Part 3 – And In The End

Classic sitcom Steptoe and Son is 60 years old this year and in a 3 part post we’ve been looking back at it’s legacy.  In part 1 we looked at it’s origins from an episode of Galton and Simpson’s Comedy Playhouse and the initial audience reaction.  In part 2 we looked at the series in colour and the two feature films and BBC Radio series.  In this third and final post we are looking at how the series ended and what happened next.

TV Series Comes To An End

On October 10th 1974 after 8 series the show came to an end with the episode “Seance in a Wet Rag and Bone Yard” and after all these years we hear the ghostly voice of Harold’s deceased Mother as she says “Goodnight Harold”, leaving Harold with the final lines

 

 

Whilst that was the end of the series Albert Harold returned after in the year for a final curtain call with the Christmas Special “A Perfect Christmas” as Harold makes a final attempt to get away on his own.

However the BBC Radio series continued until 1976.

 

 

After Steptoe And Son

It is often reported that Steptoe bled the two actors’ careers dry, with them not being able to find work other than similar characters.  It’s also been claimed that the two men never got along.

Both claims seem to be without foundation as family members and writers Galton and Simpson have all said that there was no friction between the two men and if you look at their body of work there doesn’t seem to have been any problem finding other work.

The Return Of Steptoe And Son, Steptoe Down Under

Harry H Corbett’s  tour promoter Kevin O’Neill approached the actor about the idea of a stage show reminding him about the great time he had whilst touring the Australia in 1972.  Harry contacted Wilfrid Brambell to see if he was agreeable to the idea of a ‘Steptoe and Son’ stage and he agreed.  They gained permission from writers Galton and Simson to make use of material from the TV series and adding some background material and songs themselves and in 1977 Down Under they went with their touring stage show.

There would be 3 tours of the show the first in Australia, then to New Zealand and then back home for just a handful of performances.

 

 

Cleaning Up

Whilst in Australia the two actors made two commercials for a certain cleaning product

 

 

 

Final Appearances

Steptoe and Son had given both actors financial security and allowed them to return to any kind of work that interested them.  They would however make a small number of appearances in character for various events.

The first was a short sketch “Scotch On The Rocks” as part of a a Radio 2 show “Good Luck Scotland”, celebrating  Scotland’s entry into the World Cup.  Their final appearance together was in a Kenco Coffee commercial in 1981, a year later Harry H Corbett would die from a heart attack.

 

 

Bringing The Story To A Close

In 2005 Ray Galton teamed up with John Antrobus (Alan Simpson had retired) to bring Steptoe to an end.

The play, Steptoe And Son Murder At Oil Drum Lane, toured the country and told the story of how Harold finally came to murder his Father and himself ends up having a heart attack.

With both the original lead actors now dead their roles were played by Jake Nightingale as Harold and Harry Dickman as Albert

 

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