Following on from my comments on 'Harry Worth' earlier:
The style of Harry Worth's comedy was gradually becoming a little passe by this time - as indeed was that of many great comedians. The familiar projection of post music-hall innuendo typified by the likes of Jimmy Jewel and Tommy Trinder had given way to a cohort more in tune with television studio production and the stricter moral mores of light entertainment considered appropriate for national broadcast.
Most were happy to to toe the line, and Harry Worth was genuine mainstream. Harry H Corbett and 'Steptoe & Son' was about as gross as comedy got at the time. But with the 1970's things were changing. Censorship was becoming more relaxed. Networks were willing to take bigger risks with public taste, and the harmless buffoonery that had entertained TV's first generation began to give way to increasingly risqué entertainment. Frankie Howerd became a past-master of the double-entendre, resurrecting the old music-hall style with flair and daring. Other comedians began trading upon popular prejudice, such as Warren Mitchell's 'Till Death Us Do Part.'
'Nice' funnymen like Harry Worth lost ground to this new 'cutting edge' of insensitivity, and the result is what we see today: an endless stream of foul language. A 'comedian' thinking it funny to telephone an old (and far superior) entertainer and claim to have been screwing his daughter, but expressed in terms that wouldn't even be allowed on the IMDb. We seem to have gone from funnymen as their own victims, to funnymen as victimisers of everyone.
I believe most people, given the choice, still prefer humour without victimisers. And a look at the 'favourite' repeats being shown this Christmas leave little doubt as to what will endure and what will not. Thirty years from now; not many will be watching 'classic' Russell Brand performances.
Harry Worth doesn't feature amongst the repeats, these days. Though at his best I suspect few would object to his inclusion. Still; we've at least got Harry Hill to carry the torch for a legacy of largely clean and decent Harrys.
Bless 'em all.
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