Home Television Comedy Here’s Harry

Here’s Harry

1 9 6 0 – 1 9 6 5 (UK)
60 x 30 minute episodes

A popular and long-running comedy series starring the comic genius of Harry Worth (real name Harry Illingsworth – he dropped his real name because it was too long to get on the bills) whose bumbling attempts at being a do-gooder constantly landed him in all sorts of hot water and strange comedic situations.

Here’s Harry was the best of Worth’s sitcoms and it guaranteed him a long-term soft spot in the hearts of the viewing nation.

Here’s Harry was set in the fictional northern town of Woodbridge, where Harry lived at 52 Acacia Avenue with his cat, Tiddles, his oft-referred to but never seen aunt, Mrs Amelia Prendergast, and their housekeeper – initially Mrs Williams (Vi Stevens), and later Mrs Benson (Doris Gambell).

But the storylines, such as they were, were incidental to the performances: viewers simply knew that, whatever the plot, they were in for half an hour of calamity, Worth dropping clangers in every situation into which he was hesitatingly thrust.

There was little in the way of a regular supporting cast because storylines – which usually pitted ineffective, dithering Harry against officialdom in one form or another – varied from week to week, but an informal rep company of regular faces were often among the cast, including Patrick Newell, Stuart Saunders, Vi Stevens, Deryck Guyler, Ivor Salter, Jack Woolgar and Reginald Marsh.

This series followed on from an earlier BBC sitcom called The Trouble With Harry. Writers included the kings of British comedy-writing, Vince Powell and Harry Driver.

Worth moved on to a series simply called Harry Worth from 1966 to 1970.

The youngest of a family of eleven from Barnsley (South Yorkshire), Harry worked down the pit as a teenager before starting out on the showbiz circuit of local church halls armed with his bicycle, a book about ventriloquism from the library, a borrowed dummy with half its head missing and a script of jokes pinched from everybody he had ever heard.

Harry made his first appearance on BBC radio in New To You (1948). He continued to find steady work without becoming a major star until 1952 when he found himself on the same variety bill as Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, who were touring Britain.

The two Hollywood legends took an instant shine to Harry and made sure that he was a supporting act on their next British tour (1953-54). This time the comic duo suggested that Harry give up his vent act and go it alone as a stand-up comedian.

Harry Worth
Mrs Williams

Vi Stevens
Mrs Benson

Doris Gambell

Reginald Marsh

Joe Gladwin