Remembering Johnny Speight

This post was originally an episode of The Old Time Review Daily Podcast. In each edition, Jamie Dyer spoke off the cuff about a famous person, film or song for up to three minutes. The following is a transcription, which has been cleaned up to remove any hesitation and some repetition. Where possible, the subject has been expanded on from the original broadcast.

 This is the Old Time Review Daily Podcast for Wednesday the 2nd of June 2021, and this is Jamie Dyer speaking to you from the UK. On this day in 1920, English television scriptwriter Johnny Speight was born. Now I realize that our American listeners, might not be familiar with him, but he does have a slight American connection.

So, he wrote loads of stuff, right? He wrote for radio comics, including Frankie Howard. Vic Oliver, Arthur Askey, and Cyril Fletcher. Then, in television, he wrote for Morecambe and Wise, and Peter Sellers. As can be seen on the latest Network DVD release, he also wrote for The Arthur Haynes Show during the late 50s and early 60s. Then, he wrote something called Till Death Us Do Part, which introduced his most famous character, Alf Garnett, played by Warren Mitchell. Now, the American connection comes that, of course, Till Death Do Us Part was later adapted into the show All in the Family. There we are, a slight connection there for you.

A lot of his material could be seen as politically correct through today’s lens, and a lot of those series are no longer broadcast on TV. However, certainly I can say for his work on The Arthur Haynes Show, his scripts are genius.

And certainly with Johnny, he was always about. satire, right? He was a satirical writer, and you can see that from some of the recreations of his shows that have happened, of the lighter scripts, and of course by going back and watching a lot of those shows, which are available on DVD. I would recommend If you’re interested in the history of British comedy, going and checking out those shows.

That is English scriptwriter Johnny Speight, who was born on this day, in 1920, and that is your Old Time Review Daily for today.

Jamie Dyer

Jamie Dyer is an experienced writer, broadcaster, musician and social media marketer. He enjoys Old Time Radio, vintage TV, collecting vinyl and supporting the New York Knicks.

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