Til Death Us Do Part

Till Death Us Do Part

Till Death Us Do Part DVD cover.
Created byJohnny Speight
StarringWarren Mitchell
Dandy Nichols
Una Stubbs
Anthony Booth
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of episodes54
Production
Running time20-40 minutes
Broadcast
Original channelBBC One
Original run19661975
External links
|/ IMDb profile
Till Death Us Do Part (also known as Til Death Us Do Part)[1] was a BBC television sitcom series written by Johnny Speight that ran from 1966 until 1975. The programme starred Warren Mitchell as the racist East End misogynist (and Rudyard Kipling lookalike) Alf Garnett. Also appearing in the series were Dandy Nichols as Alf's long-suffering wife, Else Garnett, Una Stubbs as Rita, his daughter, and Anthony Booth as Mike, his layabout son-in-law, whose socialist leanings were the cue for many of Alf's more offensive outbursts. The series was remade in the United States as the enormously successful sitcom All in the Family (197179), in Brazil (1972-75) as A Grande Família ("The Big Family"), in Germany (197376) as Ein Herz und eine Seele ("One Heart and One Soul") and in Hong Kong (199496) as Sei Hoi Yut Gar ("All in a Family").

Series

The series became an instant hit, presumably because, although a comedy, in the context of its time it did deal with aspects of working-class life comparatively realistically. It addressed racial and political issues at a particularly difficult time in British society. The attitude of those who made the programme was that Alf's views were so clearly unacceptable that they were risible, but some viewers considered the series uncomfortable and disturbing to watch. Some were simply oblivious to the fact that Johnny Speight was satirising racist attitudes. Ironically, some racists and reactionaries enjoyed watching the show - and missed the point that Alf's opinions were offensive. Ultimately, the fact that Mitchell imbued the character of Alf Garnett with an earthy charm despite his repugnant opinions served to humanise Alf and make him a likeable character. According to interviews he gave, the fact that some viewers overlooked Alf's views and regarded him as rough diamond, deeply disappointed Speight.

The show captured a key aspect of Britain in the 1960s - the widening generation gap. Alf (and to a lesser degree his wife) represented the old guard, the traditional attitudes of the older generation. Alf's battles with his left-wing son-in-law were not just ideological but also generational and cultural. His son-in-law and daughter (who was a dutiful supporter of her husband rather than an active protagonist) represented the younger generation. They saw the positive aspects of the new era. Relaxed sexual mores, fashions, music etc. The very same things were anathema to Alf - and indicative of everything that was wrong with the younger generation and the liberal attitudes they embraced.

Alf was the archetypal working-class Conservative. The two subjects that excited him most were football and politics. He used language that was not considered acceptable for broadcasting on television in the 1960s. He often referred to racial minorities as "coons" and similar terms. He frequently referred to his Liverpudlian son-in-law as a "randy Scouse git" (Randy Scouse Git as a phrase caught the ear of Micky Dolenz of The Monkees who heard it while on tour in the UK - and who co-opted it as the title of the group's next single - though their record label re-named it "Alternate Title" in the UK market to avoid controversy) and to his wife as a "silly moo" (a substitute for "cow" which was originally vetoed by the BBC's censors). Controversially, the show was one of the earliest mainstream programmes to feature the swear word "bloody". The show was one of several held up by Mary Whitehouse as an example of the BBC's moral laxity.

In a typical demonstration of Johnny Speight's satirical skills - on learning that Mary Whitehouse was a critic of the show - Speight created an episode where Alf Garnett was seen to be a big fan of Mary Whitehouse. He was seen proudly reading her current book. "What are you reading?" his son-in-law asks. When he relates that it's Mary Whitehouse - his son-in-law sniggers. Alf's rejoinder is "She's concerned for the bleedin' moral fibre of the nation!" he insists.

Ultimately "silly moo" became a comic catch phrase. Another phrase he used was "it stands to reason", usually before making some patently unreasonable or illogical comment. Alf was an admirer of Enoch Powell, a right-wing Conservative politician known for his strong opposition to the immigration of non-white races into the United Kingdom. Alf was also a fanatical supporter of West Ham United (a football team based in the East End) and was known to make derogatory remarks about "the Jews up at Spurs" (referring to Tottenham Hotspur, a North London soccer team with a sizable Jewish following). This was a playful touch by Speight knowing that in real life Mitchell was both Jewish and a Spurs supporter. In interviews, Johnny Speight explained that he had originally based the character of Alf on his father, an East End docker who was staunchly reactionary and held "unenlightened" attitudes towards black people. Speight made clear that he deeply regretted that his father held such attitudes - beliefs that Speight regarded as reprehensible. Speight saw the show in part as a way of ridiculing such views and dealing with his complex feelings about his father.

Toward the end of the series Dandy Nichols fell ill and was unable to attend the live-audience recordings. The problem was solved by having her pre-record her lines which were then skilfully edited into the show. Eventually even this was too much of a strain, and so in a later episode Else was seen leaving for Australia, much to Alf's dismay. Afterwards Alfie Bass and Patricia Hayes joined the cast, playing Bert and Min Reed, the Garnetts new neighbors. But the shows ratings fell, and in 1975 Johnny Speight decided to cease production.

Production

As with most BBC sitcoms Till Death Us Do Part was recorded before a live studio audience. The programs were recorded onto 2 inch Quadruplex videotape. From 1966 to 1968 the show was both taped and transmitted in black and white. When the show returned in 1972 it was recorded the same way only in colour.

Missing episodes

Most of the show's 24 episodes from seasons 1-3 that were videotaped in black and white no longer exist. They were wiped by the BBC during the early 1970s. Currently, of the 24 episodes, only seven still survive in their entirety. Portions of two episodes from series three have been recovered in Australia. In 1997 the long lost episode, Alf's Dilemma, was found in a private BBC archive on a 21-minute 16mm telerecording. Some sources state that the episode is an edited version, others say it was just a short episode. The episode was rebroadcast in 1998 on UK Gold.

Episodes

Pilot

  1. Pilot (aired on Comedy Playhouse 22 July 1965) (An extract exists) http://web.archive.org/web/20060713041219/http://networkdvd.co.uk/product.php?GROUP_ID=30&PROD_ID=204

Series one

  1. Arguments, Arguments (6 June 1966) (Exists in archives) http://www.lostshows.com/default.aspx?programme=fbd853df-2bc9-4247-b784-e67b3d04d9cc
  2. Hair Raising (13 June 1966) (Missing from archives)
  3. A House With No Love In It (20 June 1966) (Exists in archives)
  4. Intolerance (11 July 1966) (An extract exists)
  5. Two Toilets...Thats Posh! (18 July 1966) (Missing from archives)
  6. From Liverpool With Love (25 July 1966) (Missing from archives)
  7. Claustraphobia (1 August 1966) (Missing from archives)

Series two

  1. Peace and Goodwill (26 December 1966) (Exists in archives)
  2. Sex Before Marriage (2 January 1967) (Missing from archives)
  3. I Can Always Give Up (9 January 1967) (Missing from archives)
  4. The Bulldog Breed (16 January 1967) (Missing from archives, audio exists)
  5. Caviar on the Dole (23 January 1967) (Missing from archives, audio exists)
  6. A Woman's Place Is In The Home (30 January 1967) (Missing from archives)
  7. A Wapping Mythology (6 February 1967) (Missing from archives, audio exists)
  8. In Sickness and In Health (13 February 1967) (Missing from archives, audio exists)
  9. State Visit (20 February 1967) (Missing from archives, audio exists)
  10. Alf's Dilemma (27 February 1967) (Exists in archives)

Special 1967

  1. Till Closing Time Do Us Part (27 March 1967) (Exists in archives)

Christmas Night With The Stars 1967

  1. Christmas Night With The Stars 25 December 1967 (Missing from archives) http://www.btinternet.com/~m.brown1/tilldeat.htm

Series three

  1. The Phone (5 January 1968) (Exists in archives)
  2. The Blood Donor (12 January 1968) (Exists in archives)
  3. Monopoly (19 January 1968) (Missing from archives, audio exists)
  4. The Funeral (26 January 1968) (Missing from archives, audio exists)
  5. Football (2 February 1968) (Missing from archives, audio exists)
  6. The Puppy (9 February 1968) (The last one and a half minutes exist on film, all audio exists)
  7. Aunt Maud (16 February 1968) (The last one and a half minutes exist on film, exists fully on Peto Scott recording, all audio exists)

Election Special

  1. The Campaign's Over aka Up The Polls (18 June 1970) (All but the beginning five minutes exist)

Feature movies

  1. Till Death Us Do Part (1968)
  2. The Alf Garnett Saga (1972)

Christmas Night With The Stars 1971

  1. (colour) part of Christmas Night With The Stars (25 Dec 1971) (Missing from archives)

Series four

All episodes from now on exist in the archives. This series released in the UK by Network DVD under the name "The Complete 1972 Series".
  1. To Garnett A Grandson (13 September 1972)
  2. Pigeon Fancier (20 September 1972)
  3. Holiday in Bournemouth (27 September 1972)
  4. Dock Pilfering (11 October 1972)
  5. Up The Hammers (18 October 1972)
  6. Alf's Broken Leg (25 October 1972)

1972 Christmas Special

  1. 1972 Christmas Special (26 December 1972)

Royal Variety Performance

  1. Royal Variety Performance sketch 1972

Series five

  1. TV License (2 January 1974)
  2. The Royal Wedding (9 January 1974) (only exists as cleaned up home recording) http://www.lostshows.com/default.aspx?programme=fbd853df-2bc9-4247-b784-e67b3d04d9cc
  3. Strikes and Blackouts (23 January 1974)
  4. Three Day Week (30 January 1974)
  5. Grans Watch (5 February 1974)
  6. Party Night (12 February 1974)
  7. Paki-Paddy (28 February 1974)

Series six

  1. Outback Bound (31 December 1974)
  2. Untitled (8 January 1975)
  3. Marital Bliss (15 January 1975)
  4. Untitled (22 January 1975
  5. No Title (29 January 1975
  6. No Title (5 February 1975)
  7. No Title (12 February 1975)

Series seven

  1. Moving In With Min (5 November 1975)
  2. No Title (12 November 1975)
  3. No Title (19 November 1975)
  4. Stuck (26 November 1975)
  5. A Hole In One (3 December 1975)
  6. Unemployment (16 December 1975)

Minor Cast Members

Ann Lancaster appeared in several episodes. Most high profile Aunt Maud (1968)

Sequels

In 1981, the ITV company ATV picked up the series and made six episodes under the title Till Death.... The series had Alf and Else living in a retirement home in Eastbourne with their widowed friend Min. Although Rita remained in the cast, Anthony Booth declined to return. Rita's son Michael was now a teenager and a punk rocker (even though he was born in 1972 and he should only be about 9 or 10).

In 1985 Alf Garnett returned to the BBC for In Sickness and in Health. This took Alf and Else (who was now in a wheelchair) onwards into old age, and some of Alf's more extreme opinions were found to have mellowed. Una Stubbs made some guest appearances but Anthony Booth apparently wasn't interested in reprising his role. Eventually Mike and Rita divorced and Rita began dating a doctor. After the first series Dandy Nichols died, and so subsequent episodes showed Alf having to deal with the greatest loss of his life - Else's pension.

Warren Mitchell has also appeared solo on stage and TV as Alf Garnett, dispensing variations on Alf's homespun reactionary philosophy and singing old music hall songs. One show was called It Stands To Reason - The Thoughts Of Chairman Alf; one reviewer concluded that "Speight and Mitchell are to be congratulated for understanding so well the mind of a man who they hate".

Film adaptations

Two feature films were made based on the series - the first was Til Death Us Do Part (1969) whose first half dealt with the younger Alf and Else during World War II, and whose second half dealt with all the Garnetts in the then present day being moved from their East End slum to the New town of Hemel Hempstead, and the adjustments and changes that brought on the family. It gave a fascinating glimpse of British life at the time. The Alf Garnett Saga (1972) had Adrianna Posta playing the part of Rita and Paul Angelis playing Mike. It is notable for featuring Alf Garnett on an LSD trip.

DVD

In the UK, Network has released the first two colour series on DVD (Series 4 and 5). The fourth series is available in the United States and Canada. The 1969 movie is available in both the UK and the US. An unofficial release of the 1972 movie is available on DVD, on Internet websites such as eBay.

Trivia

  • In real life actor Anthony Booth's daughter, Cherie Booth later married British Labour Party politician Tony Blair - making Anthony Booth the father-in-law of a prime minister from 1997 - 2007.

Notes

1. ^ The BBC, which broadcast the series, refers to the title differently in different locations. The 2004 DVD release uses two 'l's. Even the show's creator referred to it differently on occasions. But "'til" (with an apostrophe) is simply an erroneous twentieth-century rendering of "till", due to the mistaken impression that this is a short form of "until", itself in reality an unnecessary Middle English lengthening of the original (and still perfectly good) word "till". (This lengthening is taken even further in the phrase "up until".)

The show's title and that of its sequel were both taken from the traditional wedding vow:

"I N. take thee N. to my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance; and thereto I plight thee my troth."

See also

External links

Johnny Speight (2 June, 1920 - 5 July, 1998), was a TV scriptwriter of many classic British sitcoms.

His most famous creation was the controversial bigot Alf Garnett, and although many of his shows contain the themes of racism and sexism, they are regarded as classics.
..... Click the link for more information.
Warren Mitchell

Birth name Warren Misel
Born 14 January 1926 (1926--) (age 81)
Stoke Newington, London
Died

Years active
..... Click the link for more information.
Dandy Nichols (21 May, 1907 – 6 February, 1986) was an actress most noted for her role as Else Garnett, the long-suffering wife of the racially bigoted and misogynistic character Alf Garnett in the BBC sitcom Til Death Us Do Part.
..... Click the link for more information.
Una Stubbs (born 1 May, 1937 in Leicester) is an English actress and former dancer.

Film and television

Una appeared as one of the The Dougie Squires Dancers on the early rock music show Cool for Cats in 1956.
..... Click the link for more information.
Antony "Tony" George Booth (born October 9, 1931 in Liverpool, better known as Tony Booth) is an English actor, best known for his role as Mike Rawlins in the BBC series Til Death Us Do Part.
..... Click the link for more information.
Motto
"Dieu et mon droit" [2]   (French)
"God and my right"
Anthem
"God Save the Queen" [3]
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BBC Television Service
1936 → 1960

BBC tv
until April 1964
Sister channel(s) BBC Two,
BBC Three,
BBC Four
Website www.bbc.co.
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19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1930s  1940s  1950s  - 1960s -  1970s  1980s  1990s
1963 1964 1965 - 1966 - 1967 1968 1969

Year 1966 (MCMLXVI
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19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1940s  1950s  1960s  - 1970s -  1980s  1990s  2000s
1972 1973 1974 - 1975 - 1976 1977 1978

Year 1975 (MCMLXXV
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Til death can refer to:
  • 'Til Death, a sitcom on FOX
  • Till Death..., a sitcom on ITV in 1981
  • Til Death, a punk rock album by The Undead
  • Til Death Us Do Part, a 1992 TV movie, based on a book by the same name by Vincent Bugliosi

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The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)

Type Broadcast radio and television
Country  United Kingdom
Availability    National
International 
Founder John Reith
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Television (often abbreviated to TV, T.V., or more recently, tv; sometimes called telly, the tube, boob tube, or idiot box in British English) is a widely used telecommunication system for broadcasting and receiving moving pictures
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The of this article or section may be compromised by "weasel words".
You can help Wikipedia by removing weasel words.

A British sitcom is a situation comedy (sitcom) produced in the United Kingdom.
..... Click the link for more information.
Johnny Speight (2 June, 1920 - 5 July, 1998), was a TV scriptwriter of many classic British sitcoms.

His most famous creation was the controversial bigot Alf Garnett, and although many of his shows contain the themes of racism and sexism, they are regarded as classics.
..... Click the link for more information.
19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1930s  1940s  1950s  - 1960s -  1970s  1980s  1990s
1963 1964 1965 - 1966 - 1967 1968 1969

Year 1966 (MCMLXVI
..... Click the link for more information.
19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1940s  1950s  1960s  - 1970s -  1980s  1990s  2000s
1972 1973 1974 - 1975 - 1976 1977 1978

Year 1975 (MCMLXXV
..... Click the link for more information.
Warren Mitchell

Birth name Warren Misel
Born 14 January 1926 (1926--) (age 81)
Stoke Newington, London
Died

Years active
..... Click the link for more information.
East End of London, known locally as the East End, generally refers to the area of London, England, east of the medieval walled City of London and north of the River Thames, although it is not defined by universally accepted formal boundaries.
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Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling
Born: November 30 1865(1865--)
Bombay, British India
Died: January 18 1936 (aged 72)
Middlesex Hospital, London, England [1]
..... Click the link for more information.
Alf Garnett was a fictional character on the BBC television sitcom Till Death Us Do Part, the ITV sitcom Till Death... and later In Sickness and in Health.
..... Click the link for more information.
Dandy Nichols (21 May, 1907 – 6 February, 1986) was an actress most noted for her role as Else Garnett, the long-suffering wife of the racially bigoted and misogynistic character Alf Garnett in the BBC sitcom Til Death Us Do Part.
..... Click the link for more information.
Till Death Us Do Part (also known as Til Death Us Do Part)[1] was a BBC television sitcom series written by Johnny Speight that ran from 1966 until 1975.
..... Click the link for more information.
Una Stubbs (born 1 May, 1937 in Leicester) is an English actress and former dancer.

Film and television

Una appeared as one of the The Dougie Squires Dancers on the early rock music show Cool for Cats in 1956.
..... Click the link for more information.
Antony "Tony" George Booth (born October 9, 1931 in Liverpool, better known as Tony Booth) is an English actor, best known for his role as Mike Rawlins in the BBC series Til Death Us Do Part.
..... Click the link for more information.
Motto
"In God We Trust"   (since 1956)
"E Pluribus Unum"   ("From Many, One"; Latin, traditional)
Anthem
..... Click the link for more information.
All in the Family is an acclaimed American situation comedy that was originally broadcast on the CBS television network from January 12, 1971 to April 8, 1979. In September 1979, the show was repackaged under the title, Archie Bunker's Place.
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19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1940s  1950s  1960s  - 1970s -  1980s  1990s  2000s
1968 1969 1970 - 1971 - 1972 1973 1974

Year 1971 (MCMLXXI
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19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1940s  1950s  1960s  - 1970s -  1980s  1990s  2000s
1976 1977 1978 - 1979 - 1980 1981 1982

Also: 1979 by Smashing Pumpkins.

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Motto
Ordem e Progresso   (Portuguese)
"Order and Progress"
Anthem
Hino Nacional Brasileiro
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19th century - 20th century - 21st century
1940s  1950s  1960s  - 1970s -  1980s  1990s  2000s
1969 1970 1971 - 1972 - 1973 1974 1975

Year 1972 (MCMLXXII
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