The Curse of Steptoe was a period drama that showed how the personal problems of Harry H Corbett and Wilfred Brambell were used by writers Ray Galton and Alan Simson to fuel their legendary sitcom Steptoe and Son.
Isaacs and Davis were both superb, capturing the melancholic heart of the duo to a tee; Brambell, a homosexual who couldn’t face up to it, descending into lonely alcoholism and Corbett, a serious method actor, becoming increasing frustrated by his typecasting as the East End rag and bone man.
The surrounding players were also excellent especially Burn Gorman and Rory Kinnear as Galton and Simpson. The set design and early glimpses of British television were also worthy of note.
The Curse of Steptoe was one of four BBC Four dramas that went out under the Umbrella title of The Curse of Comedy, focusing on comedians from TV’s golden age whose private lives were troubles.
UK / BBC 4 – BBC Productions / 1×60 minute episode / Broadcast Wednesday 19 March 2008 @ 9.00pm
Writer: Brian Fillis / Voice and Dialect Coach: Penny Dyer / Costume Design: James Keast / Music: Daniel Georgetti / Production Design: Patrick Brill / Executive Producers: Ben Evans, John Yorke
JASON ISAACS as Harry H Corbett
PHIL DAVIS as Wilfred Brambell
ZOE TAPPER as Sheila Steafal
BURN GORMAN as Ray Galton
RORY KINNEAR as Alan SImpson
ROGER ALLAM as Tom Sloan(e)
CLARE HIGGINS as Joan Littlewood
ELSPETH RAE as Young Blonde Actress
SOPHIE HUNTER as Maureen Corbett