The Benny Hill Show
Best known for repeatedly slapping a short, bald man on the head and sped-up chase sequences to the tune of Yakety Sax involving semi-naked women...
...many forget that Benny Hill first forged his TV career with a long stint at the BBC, where The Benny Hill Show ran on and off for an amazing 13 years from 1955-1968.
The Benny Hill Show, almost wholly written by Hill himself, was to make him a star.
One of the first to realise the full impact of TV, he used his show to spoof small-screen celebrities, using a lot of make-up and his own skill as a mimic to take the Mickey out of everything from quiz shows to the cosy news programme that was "Tonight" to the heavily-accented naturalists Hans and Lotte Hass, whose underwater exploits had had a nation (especially, given Lotte's good looks and revealing swimming gear, the male part of it) agog.
The Benny Hill Show exploited TV to its full. Novelties like split-screen technology were used to allow Hill to appear in multiple roles at the same time. As well as conventional sketches and parodies, the programme featured many sections of pure mime, as well as the innuendo-laden comic songs that would remain a Hill staple.
It also saw the introduction of many of Hill's best-loved characters, including Fred Scuttle.
With Hill in demand on stage and screen, series of The Benny Hill Show became further and further apart. Hill was an extremely hot property and, like many before and since, he was ultimately to make the leap to another channel.
Keeping a similar format and still written almost single-handedly by its star, ITVs Benny Hill Show would go on to win multiple awards and make Hill a star in America.
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