Cult TV Essentials

Steptoe and Son

Steptoe and Son is a legendary British sitcom created and written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson about a father-and-son rag-and-bone business. They live on Oil Drum Lane (a fictional street in Shepherd’s Bush, London). Four series were broadcast by the BBC from 1962 to 1965, followed by a second run from 1970 to 1974. 58 episodes were made in total.Its theme tune, “Old Ned”, was composed by Ron Grainer.

The series focused on the inter-generational conflict of father Albert Steptoe (Wilfrid Brambell) and son Harold (Harry H. Corbett). Albert is presented as a set in his dodgy ways “dirty old man”, who works as a rag-and-bone man. In contrast Harold is presented as a 37-year-old man full of hopes, dreams and aspirations.

What made the show unique for its time was the way it juggled comedy, drama, and tragedy; usually this was based around Albert once again preventing Harold from achieving his ambitions.

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