QPR Screen References: No.9 – ‘Steptoe And Son’

‘My Old Man’s A Tory’

In this episode from 1965, Harold returns from ‘the round’ and is horrified to see ‘Vote Conservative’ posters and slogans displayed around the yard. Banter and insults follow between him and his father. Harold is Chairman of the local Labour Party and aspires to be adopted as a candidate for the forthcoming elections but his father supports the Conservatives. The next Party meeting is to be held at the Steptoe residence with the Party Agent observing proceedings in a sneering and sarcastic manner. It begins with the reading of the minutes from the previous meeting. Harold then reads out the names of those present and the Agent responds with: “Was that alljust three ?” Harold explains that the reason for such a low turnout was because there was a lot of tummy trouble going around at the time and the Old Man interrupts with: “And Queen’s Park Rangers were at home.” Harold isn’t adopted because he’s ‘too Working Class’ and the Party have chosen someone else anyway. The Members file out and there is a final exchange of political insults between father and son.

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The series started life as a one-off in 1962 with ‘The Offer’ for the Comedy Playhouse series and soon became hugely popular. It ran until the second Christmas Special in 1974 and there were also two films produced for the big screen, one of which will be featured later in this series. Wilfrid Brambell played ‘Albert’, the ‘Dirty Old Man’ with some disgusting personal habits. His son ‘Harold’ was played by Harry H Corbett and to top it all its set in W12 at the fictional Oil Drum Lane. Occasionally there were also some interesting location shots of the Bush and from around West London.

‘Steptoe and Son’ was written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson who also had great success with Tony Hancock. Ray Galton was originally from Paddington and in 1955 the duo formed ‘Associated London Scripts’ with Spike Milligan, Eric Sykes and Johnny Speight. It was based for a while above a greengrocer’s in Shepherd’s Bush. They wrote another series for Harry H Corbett in 1967, ‘Mr Aitch’ which wasn’t as successful. They were both awarded OBE’s in 2000 for their contribution to British Television.

Steve Russell

5 thoughts on “QPR Screen References: No.9 – ‘Steptoe And Son’

  1. No one guessed it at the time…but Harry H Corbett and Wilfed Bramble detested each other.

    The fictional Oil Drum lane was located just off the strictly non Fictional Goldhawk Rd lol

    QPR FC were not really that “famous” when this series was first made in the early 1960’s…and perhaps at the time could even have been descrided as mediocre….Oh well all publicity is good publicity!

  2. Albert Steptoe and his son Harold are junk dealers, complete with horse and cart to tour the neighbourhood. They also live amicably together at the junk yard. Always on the lookout for ways to improve his lot, Harold invests his father’s life savings in a greyhound who is almost blind and can’t see the hare. When the dog loses a race and Harold has to pay off the debt, he comes up with another bright idea. Collect his father’s life insurance. To do this his father must pretend to be dead. A Wake is held and Albert hides in the coffin whilst his mourners rest their pints on it! At one point one of the mourners says they must all drink up and leave soon ” As the Rangers is at home today and we dont want to get caught in all that traffic!!!” White City Dogs is also featured- a great shot of the Totalisator Board and Harold’s training sessions with the greyhound are held in Acton Park!

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