10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Classic sitcom - great scripts with some biography thrown in!,
This review is from: The Masters of Sitcom: From Hancock to Steptoe (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I ordered this with some trepidation as I do not usually read biographies and it was described as such: however it is a little biography with a lot of original material that has disappeared from the public arena due to the past BBC policy of not necessarily retaining material once broadcast.
Great to see something which has the authority of the scriptwriters: and to see some gems from the past. There is historical detail, which is relevant and describes the approach to writing which I found fascinating. Basically it tells the story of Hancock's Half Hour, its transfer to TV, Steptoe and Son and work with the likes of Frankie Howerd and the start of Comedy Playhouse - I had not realised that Galton and Simpson started the whole thing off with all the wonderful series that have been spawned. It really shows how they laid the basis for much of the excellent sitcoms we have enjoyed through the 1970s and beyond. Christopher Stevens's hypothesis is that Galton and Simpson really were pioneers - and I would not argue with that. He tells the story well with plenty of evidence from actual scripts which I especially enjoyed.
A number of illustrations, some I have seen before but some are fresh.
Interestingly despite Christopher Stevens claim to include as much unseen material as possible I felt that a lot of it was well known material. If you are a fan then you probably have the Radio ham and Blood donor on LP as well as DVD and thus to see large chunks of material that is readily available was a bit of a shame as the author did have access to all the scripts. Personally I would have rather had more of what is only to be found in the basement files of Ray Galton. However this is only a minor quibble as he wanted to demonstrate the development of sitcom and the differing elements, and thus some of the well known material is essential for that purpose. Perhaps another dip into long lost scripts another time?
If you like classic sitcom - then this is a volume for you.