Barry Cryer OBE (1935 – 2022)
With new comedians coming forward who wrote their own material, and age progressing and still wanting to perform, Cryer refocused his career to include more performance, touring with Willie Rushton in Two Old Farts in the Night and, after Rushton's death, That Reminds Me. After a brief early stint as chairman, Cryer was one of the panellists on the BBC radio comedy programme I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, which began in 1972.
As well as performing on stage, radio and television, Cryer wrote for many performers including Dave Allen, Stanley Baxter, Jack Benny, Rory Bremner, George Burns, Jasper Carrott, Tommy Cooper, Ronnie Corbett, Les Dawson, Dick Emery, Kenny Everett, Bruce Forsyth, David Frost, Bob Hope, Frankie Howerd, Richard Pryor, Spike Milligan, Mike Yarwood, The Two Ronnies and Morecambe and Wise.
Steptoe and Son (1962 - 1974)
The series focused on the inter-generational conflict of father Albert Steptoe (Wilfrid Brambell) and son Harold (Harry H. Corbett). Albert is presented as a set in his dodgy ways “dirty old man”, who works as a rag-and-bone man. In contrast Harold is presented as a 37-year-old man full of hopes, dreams and aspirations. What made the show unique for its time was the way it juggled comedy, drama, and tragedy; usually this was based around Albert once again preventing Harold from achieving his ambitions.
Steptoe and Son is a legendary British sitcom created and written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson about a father-and-son rag-and-bone business. They live on Oil Drum Lane (a fictional street in Shepherd’s Bush, London). Four series were broadcast by the BBC from 1962 to 1965, followed by a second run from 1970 to 1974. 58 episodes were made in total.Its theme tune, “Old Ned”, was composed by Ron Grainer.
Goodnight Sweetheart (1993 – 1999)
The sitcom premiered on BBC One on 18 November 1993 and ran for six series until its conclusion on 28 June 1999, with repeats after this date being aired on ITV3, Gold, Drama, Yesterday and Forces TV on Sky Digital. Lyndhurst's involvement in the sitcom allowed him to win the Most Popular Comedy Performer at the National Television Awards in 1998 and 1999. On 2 September 2016, the sitcom received a one-off special entitled Many Happy Returns, following events after the final episode.
Goodnight Sweetheart is a British science fiction time travel sitcom, starring Nicholas Lyndhurst, created by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, and produced by the BBC. The sitcom is about the life of Gary Sparrow, an accidental time traveller who leads a double life through the use of a time portal, which allows him to travel between the London of the 1990s and the London of the 1940s during the Second World War.
Paul Merton - The Series (1991 – 1993)
After appearing, and stealing the show, on 'Whose line is it anyway', Paul ushered in a brave new comedy style and made is easier for risk-takers Channel 4 to run with other irreverent and potentially controversial comedians like Vic Reeves and sitcoms like Father Ted. Paul's deadpan delivery was his signature and in his still-brilliant series, the stand-up elements are still quotable ("I'm reading the A-Z at the moment, can't wait to see what happens at the end. The characters aren't up to much but the places... they seem so real!") and the sketch elements are delivered with a slightly-amateur quality (Paul is in no way an actor) which makes them all the more enjoyable.
One sketch in particular, which takes it's time to build to the pay-off sees Paul working in a CCTV office. His colleague goes to investigate a faulty camera, drives a forklift into some people, goes to prison, gets out, applies for the vacant job he used to have, gets it and then turns up for work on his first day, at which point Paul (reading the same book he was when his colleague left) turns to him and says 'Where the hell have you been?'. The whole thing is a work of genius.
Since then, Paul starred in the long-running quiz 'Have I got News for you' and along with the brilliant Ian Hislop made the show what it was, despite the differing quality of guest hosts. Perhaps the greatest moment was the episode following original host Angus Deayton's well publicised indiscretions when both team captains, to coin Vic Reeves, wouldn't let it lie.