Curry and Chips

Curry and Chips is a short lived British sitcom broadcast in 1969 which was produced by London Weekend Television for the ITV network.

Curry and Chips
Written byJohnny Speight
Directed byKeith Beckett
StarringSpike Milligan
Eric Sykes
Norman Rossington
Kenny Lynch
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series1
No. of episodes6
Production
Running time30 minutes
Release
Original networkITV
Original release21 November (1969-11-21) 

26 December 1969 (1969-12-26)

Set on a factory floor of 'Lillicrap Ltd', it starred a blacked up Spike Milligan as an Irishman named Kevin O'Grady of Pakistani heritage, who also featured in episode 7 of the fifth series of Speight's Till Death Us Do Part. It also featured Eric Sykes as the foreman, Norman Rossington as the shop steward, and other regulars were Kenny Lynch, and Sam Kydd. The series was written by Till Death Us Do Part writer Johnny Speight, but based on an idea by Milligan.[1] The programme was cancelled for its use of crude and racist humour.

It was the first LWT sitcom to be broadcast in its entirety in colour,[2] and all episodes still exist.[3]

Controversy

The ambition of Curry and Chips was purportedly to highlight discrimination, rather than promote it. The Independent Television Authority disagreed, and Curry and Chips was cancelled by them after only six episodes. Speight himself later remarked, "It was the English who were made to look bigoted in the show but the people at the ITA couldn't understand that. It was London Weekend Television's first year, but only six shows went out. The ITA made LWT take it off, saying it was racist."[4] They were not alone, as amongst those who originally complained about the show were the Race Relations Board.[5]

Screenonline says of the show, "though it again attempted to raise important questions, [it] lacked a strong enough voice to challenge the racist attitudes of its characters, and too much of its humour relied on the use of crude racial abuse and Milligan's caricatured performance as the charmlessly-nicknamed 'Paki Paddy'. The shocked reaction from some viewers and cultural commentators led to the show being dropped by ITV after just six episodes, and in retrospect it is hard to understand how Speight and LWT can have failed to anticipate the offence it caused."[6]

The show was also controversial for the number of swear words in it. The word 'bloody' was used 59 times in one episode, although Eric Sykes refused to swear until doing so, once, in the final episode.[7]

Six years later, Milligan once again blacked up in the BBC series The Melting Pot. Only one episode was shown, and the other five were pulled.[8] Johnny Speight would again ask Spike Milligan to black up on two occasions for his BBC sitcom Till Death us do Part, one of which was to play the part originally created for Curry and Chips, Paki-Paddy.

DVD release

Curry and Chips - The Complete Series was released on 19 April 2010 by Network. Catalogue Number 7953165.

References

  1. "Screenonline: Curry and Chips". Screenonline. 20 April 2007.
  2. "Nostalgia Central - Curry and Chips". 20 April 2007.
  3. "Lost TV Shows on Curry and Chips". lostshows.com. 20 April 2007. Archived from the original on 10 May 2009.
  4. "Television Heaven - Curry and Chips". Television Heaven. 20 April 2007. Archived from the original on 10 May 2009.
  5. "British Sitcom Guide - Curry and Chips". British Sitcom Guide. 20 April 2007.
  6. "Screenonline: Race and the sitcom". Screenonline. 20 April 2007.
  7. "BBC Comedy Guide - Curry and Chips". BBC. 20 April 2007.
  8. "BBC Comedy Guide - The Melting Pot". BBC. 20 April 2007.
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