It is rare indeed for comedy writers' names to be incorporated into their own show's titles - Johnny Speight managed it in 1969 with his one-off B.B.C. special 'Spate Of Speight' - and in 1977, Ray Galton and Alan Simpson had engendered enough respect and affection from the television industry and general public alike for 'The Galton & Simpson Playhouse' to appear on I.T.V. Their faces were seen in the opening credits too with Ken Jones' brass-band theme tune incorporating clicking typewriter keys.
The seven episode comedy anthology was from Yorkshire Television and contained an impressive array of British acting talent, including Arthur Lowe, Frances De La Tour, Leonard Rossiter, Roy Kinnear, Freddie Jones, Charles Gray, Richard Briers, Mona Washbourne, and John Bird. 'Car Along The Pass' got it off to a tremendous start. A pompous xenophobe ( Lowe ) is trapped in a cable-car over the Swiss Alps with a smattering of the worst kind ( in his eyes ) of people imaginable - foreigners. With the B.B.C.'s 'Dad's Army' about to come off the air, the part was a natural for him. 'Naught For Thy Comfort' had an airline steward ( Kinnear ) returning home after a long flight to find his wife has walked out on him. 'Swap You One Of These For One Of Those' - originally intended for the authors' 'Casanova 73' - saw Richard Briers cast against type as a man eager to partake of the permissive society by going to a wife swapping party ( 'The Sun' called for the episode not to be broadcast! ). 'I Tell You Its Burt Reynolds' had Leonard Rossiter in top form as a know-all who becomes obsessed with the idea that he has spotted the macho movie star in a T.V. programme. His madness escalates to the point where he actually phones Burt at his home in Hollywood! 'Big Deal At York City' was also good fun, with Warren Mitchell as a lucky soul travelling home by train after a good day at the races, only to be preyed on by card sharks. Neat twist ending.
The shows varied in quality, but all were worth watching. None became a series, however, and Alan Simpson retired soon afterwards. Ray Galton teamed up with Johnny Speight to write 'Spooner's Patch'. He briefly reunited with Simpson in the mid-90's to update some material for Paul Merton ( including 'I Tell You Its Burt Reynolds' ).
Network gave all seven episodes a welcome D.V.D. release in 2009.
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