The Curse of Steptoe (2008)

TV Movie  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  19 March 2008 (UK)
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In the early 1960s aspiring stage actor Harry H. Corbett jumps at the chance to play junk-dealer Harold Steptoe in a television comedy show 'Steptoe and Son'. However, the show's success ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Elspeth Rae ...
Young Blonde Actress
Wilfrid Brambell (as Phil Davis)
Ken Oxtoby ...
Costume Designer
Ben Parr ...
Wilfrid's Young Blonde Man
Peter Hamilton Dyer ...
Director (as Peter Hamilton-Dyer)
Julian Forsyth ...
Jamie Lennox ...
Plain Clothes Policeman
Scott McNess ...
Boy Outside Theatre


In the early 1960s aspiring stage actor Harry H. Corbett jumps at the chance to play junk-dealer Harold Steptoe in a television comedy show 'Steptoe and Son'. However, the show's success proves to be a poisoned chalice for him, type-casting him and thwarting his stage ambitions. Wilfrid Brambell, the actor playing his father, is marginalized in a different way. He is a gay man in an England where homosexuality is still illegal. The show runs for several years, incorporating film spin-offs but both, in their own way, feel that they have invoked the curse of Steptoe. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama



Official Sites:



Release Date:

19 March 2008 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Curse of Steptoe and Son  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


Made as one of a four-part season "The Curse of Comedy" on BBC Four, though not billed on-screen with this series title. The other three films in the series were Hancock & Joan (2008), Hughie Green, Most Sincerely (2008) and Frankie Howerd: Rather You Than Me (2008). See more »


Directly after the 1962 awards ceremony, Corbett does his impersonation of Harold Wilson with reference to his White Heat of Technology speech. Wilson did not become Prime Minister for another two years and the White Heat speech was even later. However, the writer made this 'error' quite deliberately. He took dramatic license. Dates were fudged throughout the piece, so though the award ceremony was in fact held in 1962, the film avoids placing it in time. Harry's party trick was his Harold Wilson impression; that was the most appropriate moment in the piece to give him the chance to do his thing. See more »


References On the Waterfront (1954) See more »

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User Reviews

Rag and Bone
29 July 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The Curse of Steptoe was reputedly a film about how abrasive the relationship between the actors who played the roles of Steptoe and Son were and how the popularity of the sit-com damaged the reputation of actor Harry H Corbett who was once touted as the British Brando.

Well Corbett's family were unhappy with the film and future broadcasts will mention that the work is based on facts but some scenes have been dramatized.

According to the Corbett's both Harry and Wilfred got on well and when Wilfred appeared on news shows after Harry had died he seems to be visible upset.

Also Harry H Corbett was only a year younger than Marlon Brando, so it seems rather weird how he would be touted as the young Brando of the British theatre.

Factual inaccuracies aside this is still a terrific film with well judged performances.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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