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The Benny Hill Show (TV Series 1969–1989) Poster

(1969–1989)

Trivia

More than 90% of the material, both musical and scripted, was written by Benny Hill himself. He also frequently directed the show.
In late 1970, ITV's colour technicians went on strike, causing all ITV shows made during this period (including this one) to be videotaped in black-and-white. The strike wasn't resolved until spring of 1971, causing three episodes to be made in this fashion. These episodes have not been shown in England since the 1970s and have never been shown in America. They have resurfaced in Australian syndication, however.
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Though the program's location scenes were largely shot on film throughout its run, there were two attempts to use videotape for outdoor shoots. The first was during the 1970-71 series (with the exception of the 24 March 1971 edition and the "Love Will Find a Way" sketch from 27 January 1971), and the second was the 30 May 1978 telecast. In those days, location shooting on videotape for comedy/variety shows was almost unheard of due to the cumbersome equipment in use then and the added expense of using videotape rather than film for exterior shots. Other than those two instances, Benny Hill continued to shoot on location with film to the end, even with the advances in technology in the late 1980s which made it possible to do location shoots on videotape. He would only do one more show with videotaped outdoor segments, Benny Hill's World Tour: New York! (1991), which was made after his show was cancelled by Thames.
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Though ratings were still good, the show was axed by Thames in 1989 due to a backlash against the show and its ribald content. There was talk of doing a new Benny Hill show until Hill's death in 1992.
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Though the show went through seven producer/directors over its 20-year run (six in the first nine years alone), it has been widely acknowledged that Benny Hill, in addition to being the star and writer, acted as an unofficial director of the program, although he was never credited as such.
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The piece of music frequently used for the show's ending sequence is "Yakety Sax". It typically accompanied otherwise silent, rapidly paced comedy sequences often involving a chase scene. "Yakety Sax" was written by Boots Randolph and James Rich and released as a 45 RPM single by Randolph in 1963. The composition includes pieces of assorted fiddle tunes such as "Chicken Reel", and was written for a performance at a venue called The Armory in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. There are also two bars of "Entrance of the Gladiators" worked into it. The combination of "Yakety Sax" and chase scenes have been parodied in many other TV shows and movies ever since.
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The saxophone on the end title theme 'Yakety Sax' was performed by Rochdale-born session musician, Peter Hughes. It was recorded new every week.
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Only one sketch from among the three black-and-white shows of 1970-71 has ever been shown in U.S. syndication, albeit in sepia tone: the "Love Will Find a Way" sketch from the 27 January 1971 telecast (episode 2.3), with Hill as a penniless actor, Lesley Goldie as an actress whom he pines for and Jackie Wright as the rich banker to whom she is bethrothed; this sketch was also featured in The Best of Benny Hill (1974). In addition, an interview sketch with Hill as an East End poet and Goldie as the interviewer (from the last of the black-and-white shows, originally aired 24 February 1971, episode 2.4) was later included in the album "This Is Benny Hill".
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Several sketches from the three black and white episodes were later re-made in colour.
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The 24 September 1975 edition was originally scheduled to air on 26 May 1975, but a week-long technicians' strike which knocked the ITV (Independent Television) network off the air at the time, led to the episode's being postponed to the later date.
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Benny's first Thames special was taped at Teddington studios on 12 October 1969, one week after the premiere of Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969).
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In the 1980s, as public opinion in Britain was systematically being turned against Hill and his show, two former guest stars, Paula Wilcox and Paul Eddington, successfully lobbied to have the respective programs on which they appeared (23 February 1972, Episode 3.3, and 21 April 1976, Episode 7.4) pulled from repeat airings in England.
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The first U.S. station to air the show in its initial half-hour syndicated form was Philadelphia, PA station WTAF-TV, in January 1979.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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