Steptoe And Son – The Party – Christmas Special – 1973
As we move into Christmas week we’re paying special attention to an all time great that ended 40 years ago this Boxing Day. To remember this classic sitcom from Galton and Simpson we’re re-running an interview we did with the writers earlier this year. In the original we cut Alan Simpson off as he was about to discus Steptoe. This time round, as agreed with the writers themselves, you’ll get to see the whole interview. Tomorrow there’s the final part of Galton and Simpson present in which they share a fascinating story behind perhaps the best loved Steptoe episode.
The Party was the first of only two Christmas Specials in Steptoe’s long history, was followed in 1974 by the final series, with a 1974 Christmas special being the final TV episode. We’re not 100% but from the research we did this was probably the first time a sitcom ended with a Christmas Special. Of course it’s the done thing these days, as Miranda will go out this year with a Christmas Special.
This extended episode has some classic comic moments in, such as the Harold sitting on a holly wreath left on the toilet seat by Albert and Albert’s rendition of White Christmas.
The original episode ran to 46 minutes, but the version released to DVD runs to 42, the usual reason given is contractual ie having the rights to use a particular scene or more commonly a piece of music.
Harold and Albert are planning Christmas, the only problem is Albert is planning a cosy Christmas, just him and Harold. Whist Harold’s plans don’t include Albert at all – he’s off to sunnier climes, only problem is how to tell Albert.
When emotional blackmail takes over Harold gives in and gets a full refund on his holiday, deciding instead to blow the money on one big party, inviting friends and neighbours. Surely with a party not even Albert can spoil it, that is until he catches chicken pox.
Harold Steptoe – Harry H. Corbett
Albert Steptoe – Wilfrid Brambell
Written By: Ray Galton and Alan Simpson
Original Transmission Date: 24th December 1973