The Masters of Sitcom : From Hancock to Steptoe, Hardback

The Masters of Sitcom : From Hancock to Steptoe Hardback

4.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Ray Galton and Alan Simpson are two of the most influential and celebrated television scriptwriters of our time.

Praised for inventing the sitcom, their own seminal creations are still standing the test of time with modern audiences - Hancock's Half Hour and Steptoe and Son are two of the most successful sitcoms ever made.

This book is a charming tribute to their career in comedy, written in collaboration with Galton and Simpson themselves and with exclusive access to their personal archive of scripts.

Readers will discover the fascinating story of their progress from variety shows to television, and how they came to create characters and programmes that have captured the nation's heart for generations.

Their insightful comments on their own writing, along with their first-class understanding of the television writers' craft, make this anthology unique, informative and incredibly entertaining.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 352 pages, col. Illustrations
  • Publisher: Michael O'Mara Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Biography: arts & entertainment
  • ISBN: 9781843176336



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This book traces the history of one of Britain's greatest comedy writing duos. Galton and Simpson were as much a part of the success of Tony Hancock as the lad 'imself. When Hancock cut the final thread, holding him to his fame, by dismissing the services of his writers, they went on to create Steptoe and Son, a series that took sitcom on another step.Pre-G&S, comedy, this side of the Atlantic, consisted of comedians, men (and they almost exclusively were men) who had served their time on the boards doing mother-in-law jokes, telling a story packed with jokes. They wrote, initially for Tony Hancock, a different style of comedy: one without punchlines. Their humour was the humour of the ordinary man but, Hancock, although he agreed with this approach, was still that archetypal comedian.Galton and Simpson's next foray into comedy, with Steptoe and Son, bore no comedian. Wilfred Bramble had played comic roles in the theatre but Harry H Corbett was an actor making a name for himself in serious theatre. They tell a lovely story about the making of the first episode when Harold is frustrated and they were amazed to see real tears in the actors eyes.This book is a real tribute: almost fifty per cent of the work is taken up with extracts from Galton and Simpson scripts. These are surrounded by quotes from the writers as to what they were trying to achieve and details of their lives. I have been a fan, through Tony Hancock, for many years and so, I knew most of the information contained in this opus but, there was enough new information to sustain my interest and it is great to have it all within a single set of covers. This book is an essential for anyone with even a passing interest in British comedy - and a darned good read.

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