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Famous Like Me > Writer > G > Ray Galton

Profile of Ray Galton on Famous Like Me

Name: Ray Galton  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 17th July 1930
Place of Birth: Paddington, London, England, UK
Profession: Writer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Ray Galton OBE (born 1930), and Alan Simpson OBE (born 1929), are British scriptwriters who met in 1948 at a tuberculosis sanatorium in London. They are best known for writing Hancock's Half Hour for Tony Hancock on radio between 1954 and 1959, and on television between 1956 and 1960, and as Hancock in 1961. Their relationship with Hancock ended when he broke off his professional relationship with them in October 1961.

In 1955, Galton and Simpson, along with Eric Sykes, Johnny Speight and Spike Milligan formed the cooperative Associated London Scripts, originally based above a greengrocer's in Shepherd's Bush, West London. The company was later purchased by Robert Stigwood in 1967.

After Hancock, they produced a series of one-off plays for the BBC, out of which emerged Steptoe and Son (1962-65 and 1969-74), about two rag-and-bone men (junk merchants), father and son, who live together in a squalid house in West London. This was the basis for the American series Sanford and Son.

Their comedy is characterised by a bleak and somewhat fatalistic tone. Steptoe and Son in particular is, at times, extremely black comedy, and close in tone to social realist drama. Both the character played by Tony Hancock in Hancock's Half Hour and Harold Steptoe (Harry H. Corbett) are pretentious, would-be intellectuals who find themselves trapped by the squalidness of their lives. This theme was expanded upon in their 1961 script for Tony Hancock's film The Rebel, about a civil servant who moves to Paris to become an artist. Gabriel Chevallier's novel Clochemerle (1934) was adapted by these writers as a BBC/West German co-production in 1972.

After Steptoe and Son ceased broadcasting, although both writers continued to work solidly, including several projects with Frankie Howerd, they had no further high-profile successes. Yorkshire Television commissioned a six-part Comedy Playhouse series, broadcast in 1976, featuring leading actors of the time such as Leonard Rossiter and Arthur Lowe. Though the writers had been tempted over to commercial television by the former Hancock and Steptoe producer Duncan Wood, none of these shows led to another series. Simpson formally retired from scriptwriting in 1978, concentrating on his business interests, and Galton collaborated in several projects with Johnny Speight.

In 1996, comedian Paul Merton revived several Hancock's Half Hour scripts for ITV to a mixed reception, and the following year, Ray Galton's Get Well Soon, based on his and Simpson's early sanatorium experiences, was broadcast by the BBC.

Both were awarded OBEs in the 2000 Honours list for their contribution to British television.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Ray Galton