Sunday 8 May 2016

Galton and Simpson receive BAFTA Fellowship tonight


A quick mention for the wonderful legends of comedy script writing Ray Galton and Alan Simpson. This evening the duo will receive a BAFTA fellowship in recognition of their massive contribution to the British comedy landscape.

Galton and Simpson created one of the most famous comedy characters of all time for Tony Hancock. First heard on BBC radio in 1954, the series transferred to television in 1956, running until 1960. The series also catapulted regular Carry On stars Sid James, Kenneth Williams and Hattie Jacques to even greater success and most probably brought them to the attention of a certain Mr Peter Rogers. 

Galton and Simpson also created the situation comedy Citizen James for Sid James (co-starring Liz Fraser) after Hancock decided to drop Sid from his team. The duo's other main success was of course Steptoe and Son, the tale of two squabbling rag and bone men. Starring Harry H Corbett and Wilfrid Brambell, the series ran for twelve years.

I think it is true to say Galton and Simpson defined the way comedy changed in this country after the war. The modern sitcom format exists because of the work they pioneered over sixty years ago. They met in the late 1940s whilst both in hospital recovering from TB. Who knew such a legacy would spring from that chance meeting. I think we'll all agree there are no finer recipients of such an honour than Ray and Alan.


The BAFTA awards will be screened this evening from 8pm on BBC 1.

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