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Mikael Eriksson
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What do you British people think about Benny Hill?

I think some of his sketches are really funny, but I would like to know what his "countrymen" think. Or at least what they thought about him when his shows were on the TV in the (70´s?) 80´s.

Mikael
Huw Collingbourne
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Quote:
On 2002-07-31 14:49, Mikael Eriksson wrote:
What do you British people think about Benny Hill?

I'm afraid the most common reaction you'll get if you mention Benny Hill to a Brit is a groan. His style of 'saucy' humour looks very, very dated over here these days. The trouble is, Britain has a long history of that kind of racy humour. For example, there was a long series of 'Carry On' films stretching from the 1950s to the '70s that went in for slightly 'naughty' gags about women's bras popping off and such like.

In fact you can trace that style of humour back much earlier to the days of the Music Hall ('burlesque') from the 19th Century to, about, the 1950s. Comedians such as Max (the 'cheeky chappie') Miller went in for 'nudge-nudge, wink-wink' blue humour in a big way. There is also a long tradition of illustrated 'seaside post cards' featuring typically Benny Hill-style gags about well-endowed young women, fat middle aged wives and skinny middle-aged husbands (who somehow manage to get up to no good with the well-wndowed young women behind the wife's back!)

I know that Benny Hill shows have been sold to TV stations around the globe. I have friends in France who think he's hysterically funny.

I have a feeling that it's only a matter of time before his humour comes back into fashion here in the UK. But for the time being, Benny Hill is definitely much bigger abroad than he is in the UK....

best wishes
Huw
Peter Marucci
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While I think Benny Hill is a comedic genius, I agree with Huw that Brits, right now, generally groan when his name is mentioned.
And, like Huw, I agree that it's only a matter of time before the cycle repeats and that type of humor is popular again in the UK.
As for Benny Hill being dated, well, considering that he did just over 10 years ago, I think that may be understandable.
cheers,
Peter Marucci
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magiker
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Hi Mikael.
I assume that you are watching the shows on channel 3 at the moment.
I like his humour although some of it is a bit silly.
Although having seen the shows before in England I still get a laugh out of them.
I like the graffiti on the walls in some of the sketches.

Rick
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Mark Ennis
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I remember loving Benny Hill as a teenager. I tried watching him when I was in my 20's and did not like him very much. He was pretty clever though.

Plus he was the Toymaker in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
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swamigimmick
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He's also the Fire Chief in "Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines"
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magiker
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Also the computer expert (that has a fetish for rather large ladies) in the Italian Job.

Rick
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Paul
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Comedy styles changed and with the appearance of "alternative" comedy and "political correctness". Thames TV cancelled Benny's contract, deciding he was sexist, etc. He did make a series in the USA.

Since a lot of the sketches were visual, it appealed world wide in a similar manner to Rowan Atkinson's Mr. Bean.

There has always been a tradition of saucy seaside postcards in Britain as mentioned earlier (many were produced in Holmfirth,a place 5 miles away from me, by a company called Bamforth). Hill simply transfered that type of humour into sketches for TV. It is sad how TV turned their back on him, I am sure his style would have adapted.

Another comedian who fell out of favour then made a comeback in his seventies on the University circuit was Frankie Howard who was also known for his saucy humour.

Paul.
The Pianoman
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I was brought up watching Benny Hill and thought he was great... all those women running around in bikinis was very exciting when I was 13.
I genuinely felt sad when he died so young and was shocked that he was alone at home after returning from the hospital recovering from a heart attack, when he died.
What a waste.
He did fall out of "fashion" when a lot of "alternative" comedy, PC humor came out but that did not detract from his comedic genius, he made me laugh just looking at him.

regards Alan

PS: Are any of his sidemen still alive, McGee, Todd and the little Irish guy with the bald head?
Cheshire Cat
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Benny Hill - great! From the days when comedy did not have to be politically correct. When British people laughed at Benny, Morecambe and Wise, Dick Emery, Frankie Howard and Alf Garnett in Till Death Do Us Part. (You USA guys had a copy of this I believe). I also loved Rowan and Martin's Laugh In from the States!! When Saturday night TV entertainment was real entertainment with dancers, musicians, MAGICIANS, stand-up comics, and not just a lot of members of the public answering banal questions, attempting to sing (when I was a pianist for holiday shows I had better in my talent competitions!), and such like garbage. Comedy today is so hit and miss, from the quite pathetic Jack Dee to excellent Jasper Carrott. But times move on - children sometimes are taught "baa baa white sheep," Punch and Judy is considered violent and tasteless, and fat ladies are now 'circumfrentially disadvantaged.'

Think McGee is still alive and well, Alan. Not sure about Todd.

Here endeth sermon. Smile
ChrisZampese
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Benny Hill was great last time I saw him on TV (although that was when I was 12, so I may have changed my opinion in the last 10 years).

British comedy has always had an edge to it that I think can be best summed up by looking at one of the British comedy greats, Spike Milligan, a very funny man who had a warped sense of humour and suffered from severe bouts of depression (often followed by severe bouts of elation).

Spike, Monty Python, Benny Hill, The Goon show. All of these greats helped define English comedy!
The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are
Cheshire Cat
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There was also the great Les Dawson, whose routines with Roy Barraclough were sheer perfection. I had the pleasure of meeting him once at a 'do' I was playing piano at in Blackpool in 1980. He was just as you would have expected him to be - down to earth, tremendous depth of character, and with a pint of beer in one hand. As a tragic - but still almost comically ironic finale - Les went into a private hospital for a health check up in Manchester, England and died of a heart attack during the examination. Don't know where you are Chris, but Benny Hill and many others shown regularly on UK Gold digital channel. Smile
ChrisZampese
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aceparties,
I have the distinct (although sometimes television impaired) pleasure of residing in the deep dark depths of New Zealand.
We don't get a lot of anything here!!
The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are
Cheshire Cat
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Returning to this thread. Found out recently that Benny visited the home of the deceased Charlie Chaplin in Switzerland and sat in Chaplin's chair at his desk and wept in awe at the occasion. He then noticed on Chaplin's shelf some videos - of Benny Hill shows!! I think one can probably partially attribute Benny's death to the cruel way Thames TV took away his motivation for life by ending his contract in such an abrupt way.
RangeCowboy
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Benny Hill is in the great British tradition of whoopee cushion comedians. Yes there is a certain low-brow humour which we Brits seem to find appealling and its also in part an echo of the great days of Vaudeville - The Glasgow Empire Theatre et al when a stand-up comedian could die in the icy glare of the audience. So perhaps a cheap gag was more likely to appeal than a high-falutin' style of comedy. I'm surprised fewer women did not rebel in the face of the sexism, but again that's Britain in the 60's

Tommy Cooper, Eric n Ernie, Tony Hancock, Steptoe n Son, the Carry on movies are all fundamental elements of we the people of the UK - before we bought in to US canned television and politically correct light entertainment production.

What I find strange is that Benny Hill and Are you Being Served with their racist and sexist humor are quite popular in USA despite their obvious dated flaws. Maybe US audiences ignore the facts that their advertisers control the broadcast content while liberal PBS allows unfettered (and cheap to import) UK re-runs.
Mikael Eriksson
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I just want to mention that Steptoe n Son was the inspiration of a series in Sweden called "Albert and Herbert" that was, and still is, very much loved by the swedes.

Mikael
hkwiles
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one of the characters now in Eastenders -a WestIndian actor - surname Rudolph used to be in comedy show Love thy Neighbour. It was about as "un- pc" as you could possibly get now but it the sixties was seen as extremely funny by both black and white viewers.


Howard
Maxim
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I believe steptoe & son also 'inspired' the american sitcom called sanford & son, which was quite good too apparently.

What was that song benny hill did that went to no.1? something about a milkman?
Cheshire Cat
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Benny's major hit song was "Ernie, the fastest milkman in the west". The suggestion was that when all the husbands had gone to work Ernie delivered milk from his battery operated truck (milk float they call them), and provided other services to the ladies as well! Once again, the good old fashioned politically incorrect British humour dating way, way back. The top UK chart TV show 'Top of the Pops' wanted Benny to appear on the show, but he declined as he said he was far too old, so agreed to make the wonderful video instead. Steptoe and Son (Harry H. Corbett and Wilfred Brambell) was originally a one off pilot shown on 60s BBC 'Comedy Playhouse'. From it came one of the most endearing series of all time. The one based around a rag 'n bone (junk) man's funeral being the funniest and cleverest to me.
Smile

'Till Death Us Do Part' was also a classic, (Warren Mitchell/Dandy Nichols/Una Stubbs and Tony Booth) - Cherie (Booth) Blair's dad/Tony's wife!! - yes!. Written by Johnny Speight it was the most unpolitically correct ever, - with constant racial remarks and political remarks from the bigoted and bitter character 'Alf Garnett'.
Liquid B
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I haven't read all the responses to this thread so I hope this wasn't mentioned already, but I was watching an episode just a little while ago and noticed that the woman who plays 'Daphene' on the tv show Fraiser, was one of the girls that appeared in different skits with Benny.

Just thought I'd mention it.

Liquid B
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