I was listening to a radio biography of Harry Worth on the way home (ripped from the excellent BBC7) and I have to say I had forgotten how much I enjoyed his tv shows that I watched as a kid. It also shattered my illusion that he was a southern middle-class type when in fact he was born Harry Illingworth, the son of a Barnsley miner and had worked down the pit himself.
What I also didn’t know was that the famous shop window scene in the opening sequence above was shot in St Ann’s Square in Manchester which at the time was pretty much comedy central as far as tv was concerned. (That’s Manchester, not St Ann’s Square.)
But the thing that really struck me was that it was like listening to Harry Hill. Same bumbling persona, same off the wall material, even the same glasses almost. Worth’s lovechild surely. Here’s my paraphrasing of one of Harry Senior’s routines that I can imagine Harry Junior doing today.
“Now you’re probably wondering why I’m wearing this piece of string round my finger. That’s what you’ll be asking yourself if you talk to yourself, and if you do talk to yourself, don’t be ashamed.
“I talk to myself all the time. It’s dull, but I listen.
“The reason I wear this piece of string is to remind me to take this handkerchief from my pocket. Then you’ll notice that the handkerchief has a knot tied in it. Why has it got a knot tied in it you ask yourself.
“That’s to remind me to take this card out of pocket and on the back of the card it says, remember to tie a piece of string to your finger.”
Okay, so you had to be there.