York Debuts Stage Version of TV's Steptoe & SonDate: 19 July 2005
Television’s favourite rag-and-bone men, Steptoe and Son, are being brought to the stage in the UK for the first time by the popular TV comedy series’ original creator, Ray Galton, and fellow comedy writer John Antrobus.
Steptoe and Son in Murder at Oil Drum Lane sees the wily Harold Steptoe and his long-suffering son, Albert, in a tale of intrigue and suspense, as a lone figure arrives at their dilapidated house in Oil Drum Lane – now in the hands of the National Trust - with a murderous secret. The play will have its world premiere at York’s Theatre Royal, where its limited season runs from 24 October to 12 November 2005.
The sitcom was originally delivered to the BBC as a one-off for part of a season of ten unrelated sketches, but ended up being made into a complete series starring Harry H Corbett and Wilfrid Brambell. The show ran for 12 years from 1961 to 1974 and remains a landmark comedy for the way it dealt with an underclass previously seen in television only in realistic dramas. The American TV version, Sanford and Son, was also a success, running from 1972 to 1977.
Corbett and Brambell last reprised their roles as Harold and Albert in a cabaret show that toured Australia in 1977. No casting has yet been announced for the York stage production of Steptoe and Son in Murder at Oil Drum Lane.
Between them, writers Galton and Antrobus have created material for some of the UK’s best-loved performers, including Spike Milligan, Tony Hancock, Peter Sellers, Les Dawson and Sid James. The new stage play is directed by Roger Smith, whose West End credits include Duet for One, Steaming, The Understanding, Trumpets and Raspberries and Galton and Antrobus’ When Did You Last See Your Trousers.
Commenting on the new play, York Theatre Royal artistic director Damian Cruden said: “We are all looking forward to working with Ray, John and Roger on Steptoe. This is a great opportunity for our audience to see this first production featuring two of the greatest comedy characters ever created. The quality of the writing, as one would expect from writers of John and Ray’s calibre, is superb and for our company to be the originators is very exciting. I hope our audiences will have as much fun watching the show as we are bound to have creating it.”
- by Caroline Ansdell