|Alan Simpson and Ray Galton|
Where was it: The Lyttelton, National Theatre
Firstly, my apologies, I haven't posted for a while due to not attending any theatre or comedy events. August is a quiet month and anything that was on was off the cards due to a tooth infection I got towards the end of August. I'm back now though with what has to be one of my favourite things I have ever attended. I've had a bit of tempestuous relationship with the National after seeing A Woman Killed with Kindness and the aborted at the interval (hence lack of review) of Emperor and Galilean so I went back with some caution but you don't turn down an evening with Galton and Simpson do you?
|L-R Simpson, Hancock and Galton|
How they met is quite a famous story but I never realised how close to death they were in that Sanatorium, both were given six weeks to live as there was no cure for TB. One was miraculously found whilst they were on their deathbeds. Writing comedy together came about from boredom and their disgust with what was on the amateur radio room. They discussed their early career, such as being screwed over by light entertainment performers financially.
|L-R Sid James and Tony Hancock|
They moved on to Comedy Playhouse, it was clear from Galton that this was the project he most enjoyed because they told "You can write what you like" and seemed frustrated when one of the episodes "The Offer" was commissioned into a full series, which became Steptoe and Son. In fact Galton and Simpson only agreed because they thought Harry H Corbett and Wilfred Brambell would say no. In fact Corbett and Brambell said yes because they were being offered 600 pounds instead of a few shillings (Light Entertainment paid more than drama productions)
|L-R Harry H. Corbett & Wilfred Brambell|
If there ever was any resentment it has long gone. They still seem close, perhaps because so many around them when they began have died. Simpson, who now walks with a stick, joked "He [Galton] helps me up the stairs and I tell him what day it is" and joking that "We were only given six weeks to live" and are still around sixty years later.
My only advice is to see these men whenever you get an opportunity though I suspect (hope!) they will be around for a while yet.