Sunday, 11 July 2010

If there weren't any Curry & chips you'd have to invent them

From the creator of Alf Garnett came these two examples of ham fisted attempts to comment on late 60' early 70s 'race realtions', as it was called back then. Given that Mind your language was a successful TV comedy at the time it is easy to see why Speight attempted to challenge the perceptions of the time.
mind your language

Set on a factory floor of 'Lillicrap Ltd' Curry & chips starred a blacked up Spike Milligan as an Asian immigrant, 'Paki Paddy', who went by the name of Kevin O'Grady. It also featured Eric Sykes as the foreman, Norman Rossington as the shop steward, and other regulars were Kenny Lynch, and Sam Kydd. It caused offense even by the standards of the day and was taken off air.

If there weren't any blacks you'd have to invent them starred Leonard Rossiter, Richard Beckinsale, Bob Hoskins, John Castle, Michael Bryant, Geoffrey Bayldon and Donald Gee. It was a one hour drama disguised as a biting satire. It's easier to see the points that Speight is trying to raise, although it is decidely artistic in intent. That it says more about scapegoating and attacks on difference than Curry & chips gives it more credibility.

Johhny Speight clearly had some interesting ideas about confronting prejudice and Til death us do part in it's original form did so effectively. These two offerings however tell us more about the times that they were made in and the difficulty in raising issues effectively without causing offense. A case of missed opportunities.

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having said that;