Giving chase to ‘The Benny Hill Show’

Cue up the Yakety Sax because we are going back to 1969 to the start of the 20-year run of

Cue up the Yakety Sax because we are going back to 1969 to the start of the 20-year run of the often hilarious and more often raunchy The Benny Hill Show.

There were a lot of words used to describe The Benny Hill Show, but slapstick, burlesque, and double entendres are the most common. Benny wrote and produced over 90 per cent of the content used on the show and most would feature was called ‘live animation’.

Live Animation was the art of using extreme physical gags to portray cartoonish over exaggerations to feelings. The use of inflatable suits to show someone was full of hot air is just one example of this use.

Hill played some characters including the women and made a lot of parodies of famous television shows and celebrities. One of his most famous parody was of Murder on the Orient Express where he played famous American TV detectives Ironside, McCloud, Kojak, Cannon, and the United Kingdom’s Poirot in the same sketch.

The show also featured an iconic chase that finished every episode of the program. Usually, Hill was pursued because of something silly he had done. The footage was sped up and accompanied by the Yakety Sax song that was recorded live for each episode.

In the late ’80s, Benny’s health started to decline and the pressure on the studio for the raunchy nature of the show was starting to build. Even though the show was still one of the most popular programs, not just in the UK but the world, it was cancelled in 1989. Benny would pass away only three years later at 68 years old.

No matter if you watched a few episodes or watched them all Benny Hill left a legendary mark on entertainment and cemented his legacy in comedy.

Did you love The Benny Hill Show? What was your favourite character?

  1. Judith  

    When you look back at these old programmes (not just Benny Hill, but Two Ronnies, Dave Allen etc.) it is amazing how blatantly sexist they were – we were just so used to it we accepted it, wouldn’t get much appreciation these days.

  2. Rhonda De Stefano  

    Sexist in was! But it was without malice and provided many a good laugh. He was a clever comedian (his “easy spelling” joke springs to mind – “O LC I NV U. U R N SX N I M N SN”) and the combination of the music, comical expressions, double entendres (we like to laugh at what we maybe shouldn’t) provided some entertaining television. I think that British comedy is not as funny these days due to political correctness casting it’s mantle over everything.

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