Rightly regarded as being amongst the best TV comedy writers Britain has produced Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, after creating Hancock’s Half Hour in the 1950’s and Steptoe and Son in the 1960’s, spent most of the 1970’s putting together anthology series of one off comedies, one of their best was 1977’s The Galton and Simpson Playhouse.
The seven half hours, made for the ITV Network, are each headlined by a big comedy player not least amongst them the superb Arthur Lowe who stars in the first episode Car Along the Pass in which he plays a do things by the book character on a camping holiday in the Alps; In Swap You One of These for One of Those Richard Briers finds himself invited to a swingers party!
Cheers is next up and sees actors Charles Gray and Freddie Jones as a pair of inseperable friends, who have even shared a house for a number of years find their relationship coming under strain when one of them announces he is getting married; Naught For Thy Comfort features Roy Kinnear as an airline steward (called Richard Burton) who returns home to find that his wife has walked out on him. Variations on a Theme is a play on a love triangle co-starring John Bird and Frances De La Tour from Rising Damp.
I Tell You it’s Burt Reynolds is the pick of the bunch and stars Leonard Rossiter as a know all who, whilst visiting relatives, sets out to prove that the man they have just seen on TV is the actor Burt Reynolds. Finally there is Big Deal at York City headlined by Warren Mitchell (with an amazing wig and glasses that have to be seen to be believed) as a lucky gambler returning home on the train from the races.
UK / ITV – Yorkshire / 7×25 minute episode / Broadcast 12 February – 7 April 1977
Writers: Ray Galton, Alan Simpson / Music: Ken Jones / Executive Producer: Duncan Wood
1. CAR ALONG THE PASS (17 Feb 77)
2. SWAP YOU ONE OF THESE FOR ONE OF THESE (24 Feb 77)
3. CHEERS (3 Mar 77)
4. NAUGHT FOR THY COMFORT (10 Mar 77)
5. VARIATIONS ON A THEME (17 Mar 77)
6. I TELL YOU IT’S BURT REYNOLDS (31 Mar 77)
7. BIG DEAL AT YORK CITY (7 Apr 77)