1 9 5 7 – 1 9 6 6 (UK)
158 x 35 minute episodes
After years in show business, Arthur Haynes achieved TV fame in 1956 with his infamous silent character Oscar Pennyfeather, a thick-skinned social menace and know-all.
Nicholas Parsons watched on a monitor and provided a voice-over for Oscar’s thoughts – all live to air.
Arthur’s considerable talents were reinforced by an equally talented group of performers. With actors like Dermot Kelly, Freddie Frinton, Patricia Hayes, Rita Webb and Jack Douglas, and with scripts by Alf Garnett creator Johnnie Speight, he couldn’t go wrong.
Speight’s wickedly funny scripts invariably drew on the familiar class antagonism which he would hone to perfection on Till Death Us Do Part.
Haynes’ robust working-class delivery was inspired – never more so than in the character of Hobo Haynes, a belligerent, heavily decorated tramp fond of recounting tales of patriotic bravery whilst being “up to me neck in muck and bullets”.
In 1964, Arthur’s shady ex-serviceman character hit the headlines when some real old soldiers complained that he was wearing the wrong medals (from WWI instead of WWII). ATV apologised and the decorations were changed.
In 1966 Arthur signed up for a further three series for ATV, but sadly only one was made as Arthur Haynes died in December of that year.
Arthur Haynes was one of the most influential and popular comics that television has ever seen, and his shows remained firmly in the top ten until his untimely death robbed the world of a comedy genius.
Joe ‘Mr Piano’ Henderson
Jack Parnell & His Orchestra