British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Curse of Steptoe, The

Synopsis
Television drama about the relationship, on and off screen, of Harry H. Corbett and Wilfrid Brambell who played Harold and Albert Steptoe in the television sitcom STEPTOE AND SO written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson. Before taking the role of Harold Steptoe, Corbett, a method actor, had worked on the classical stage including taking leading roles in Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop. He strongly believed that STEPTOE AND SON typecast him and he was forever denied the classical roles he craved and thought his due. At the start of the drama Corbett (Isaacs) is seen on stage as Richard II reciting "I wasted time and now doth time waste me’. ‘You are a Richard for the masses’ Littlewood (Clare Higgins) tells him and comments that he will soon be ready for ‘the Danish ditherer’. Throughout the drama there are references to Corbett’s wish to play more Shakespeare; Brambell (Davis) sneers at this ambition saying. "What did you give them for your audition? Hamlet? Shylock? Henry V?".
Language
English
Country
Great Britain
Medium
Television
Technical information
Colour / Sound
Transmission details
19 Mar 2008 at 21:00 (Channel: BBC4)
Duration
65 mins

Credits

Director
Michael Samuels
Producer
Brian Bickerton
Writer
Brian Fillis
Cast
Burn GormanRay Galton
Clare HigginsJoan Littlewood
Jason IsaacsHarry H. Corbett
Phil DavisWilfrid Brambell
Roger AllamTom Sloane
Rory KinnearAlan Simpson
Zoe TapperSheila Steafel

Additional Details

Production type
Television and Radio Drama
Plays
Richard II
Subjects
Drama
Keywords
Shakespeare, William (1564-1616)

Notes

General
The family of Harry H. Corbett released a statement saying the portrayal of Corbett was inaccurate and defamatory.
Figures
The drama brought BBC Four its highest audience figures, estimated as 1.41 million viewers, a 7% share of multichannel audiences between 9pm and 10.05pm, based on overnight returns.

Production Company

Name

BBC

Notes
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

Archive

Name

BFI National Archive

Web
http://www.bfi.org.uk/archive-collections/searching-access-collections/research-viewing-services External site opens in new window
Phone
020 7255 1444
Fax
020 7436 0165
Address
21 Stephen Street
London
W1T 1LN
Name

Learning on Screen Off-Air Recording Back-up Service

Email
services@bufvc.ac.uk
Web
http://bufvc.ac.uk/tvandradio/offair External site opens in new window
Phone
020 7393 1514
Fax
020 7393 1555
Address
For Learning on Screen Members only
77 Wells Street
London
W1T 3QJ

Record Stats

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