Home Television Comedy Steptoe & Son

Steptoe & Son

1 9 6 2 – 1 9 6 5 (UK)
26 x 30 minute episodes
1 9 7 0 (UK)
7 x 30 minute episodes
1 9 7 2 (UK)
7 x 30 minute episodes
1 9 7 4 (UK)
6 x 30 minute episodes
+ 2 x Christmas shows

steptoe_338Steptoe and Son, one of the comedy highlights of 1960’s BBC TV featured two rag and bone men and their run-down junkyard.

Wilfrid Brambell was the quarrelsome and grubby Albert Steptoe and Harry H Corbett (he added the ‘H’ to distinguish himself from Sooty‘s handler) was his restless son Harold.

While Harold continually fought to escape his junkyard life and better himself (and ‘pull a bird’ ) wily old Albert always managed to turn the situation around to restrain Harold’s rebellious urges to suit his own selfish and lonely existence.

Written by Hancock mentors Galton and Simpson, the show started life as an episode of Comedy Playhouse and sprang from Ray Galton’s schooldays when he used to go totting, and in the hands of Brambell and Corbett it ran for 12 years attracting an audience of no fewer than 22 million at its peak.


This was despite the language, which was pretty daring for the time – Lew Grade reputedly banned the show from his home.

Even Hercules, the Steptoe’s horse, achieved stardom. A genuine rag and bone man’s horse – he belonged to Shepherd’s Bush brothers Arthur and Chris Arnold – he was often recognised by children on his rounds and offered carrots and sweets.

Brambell (who died in 1985, three years after Corbett), went to great pains to enjoy playing Steptoe senior.

For the part of the revolting Albert, he wore a special set of worn-down blackened false teeth which he insisted were kept in a glass of his favourite drink – gin and tonic.

In the early 1970s, the US purchased the series and adapted it into the all-black sitcom Sanford and Son.

Meanwhile, Dutch TV translated the BBC series into Stiefbeen en Zoon, while in Sweden it became Albert og Herbert.

There were two feature film spin-offs, Steptoe and Son (1972) and Steptoe and Son Ride Again (1973).

Albert Steptoe  
Wilfrid Brambell
Harold Steptoe  

Harry H Corbett