I have lived on both sides of the ‘pond’, and I have to admit that I have a penchant for British comedy. It comes in two very distinctive flavors, the dry wry variety that I miss so much, and the slapstick. When I look back over the past 30 years that I have spent here in North America it becomes clear that the American audiences do not share my views. Slapstick is in, and cleaver wit is out!
One of Britain’s best slapstick humor guys was undoubtedly Benny Hill. Benny Hill was a staple on the very liberal British TV scene for a large number of years. His schtick was risque even by British standards, and even today I doubt that any major TV channel would risk the wrath of the FCC by broadcasting his programs without some editing. It is not a foul language issue, it is is unique use of inference and innuendo.
I have been surprised by the number of times his name has cropped up in conversations over the past 30 years. If I was to conduct a very unscientific survey I would be willing to bet that if I was to ask 10 people at random to name their favorite British comedian 9 would answer Benny Hill.
There is little doubt that his most productive years on TV were between 1969-1989 and his weekly one hour show of unlikely skits and monologues was an advertisers mecca. Benny Hill was not a comedian, he was an institution. His ability to portray seedy characters, and through the use of innuendo created a truly cutting edge series of shows.
Benny Hill to most in North America is a name, and maybe a 5 minute edited segment shown on cable. Well I am pleased to tell you that there is a solution. I was cruising the Internet and discovered that Acorn Media who have a huge collection of Brit TV available in DVD format for the US consumer, have the ultimate boxed set of Benny Hill programs. For the Benny Hill fan this is a must have, 18 DVD’s containing over 48 hours of his shows. Better still, it is in the original format, none of that silly editing for content that the silly channels here in the US love to do.
Acorn Media actually has a variety of different set available, but the real Benny Hill fan will want Benny Hill: The Thames Years 1969â€“1989: The Complete Megaset. To get ordering information please click link below.