Creators of Steptoe and Son to be honoured at Sunday’s House of Fraser British Academy Television Awards
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has today announced that Ray Galton OBE and Alan Simpson OBE, the critically acclaimed comedy writing duo, will be honoured with the Fellowship at the House of Fraser British Academy Television Awards at the Royal Festival Hall, London, on Sunday 8 May.
Awarded annually, the Fellowship is the highest accolade bestowed by BAFTA upon an individual in recognition of an outstanding and exceptional contribution to film, television or games.
Fellows previously honoured for their work in television include Michael Palin, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, Bruce Forsyth, Melvyn Bragg, David Attenborough and Julie Walters. Jon Snow received the Fellowship at last year’s Television Awards.
Anne Morrison, Chair of BAFTA, said: “Having created some of the most iconic characters and programming over the past few decades, it comes as no surprise that Alan Simpson and Ray Galton will be receiving the BAFTA Fellowship this year. Alan and Ray have had such successful careers spanning over 60 years, with credits such as Steptoe and Son and Hancock's Half-Hour, two hugely popular sitcoms. They are rightly considered the trailblazers of the situation comedy format.”
Alan Simpson OBE said: “We are extremely delighted to receive the BAFTA Fellowship. We always wanted a Fellowship, even though we did not know what a Fellowship was. Not the sort of thing one associates with a couple of Cockney lads, apart from Alfred Hitchcock of course.”
Ray Galton OBE said: “We are happy and honoured to accept this Award on behalf of all the Blood Donors, Test Pilots, Radio Hams and Rag and Bone Men of the 20th Century without whom we would probably be out of a job. Thank you all.”
Ray Galton and Alan Simpson’s careers span 60 years. Having met while both were recuperating from tuberculosis, the duo went on to create the template for situation comedy with their popular series Hancock's Half-Hour, which aired on the BBC from 1956 to 1960.
Towards the end of 1961, they created the BBC Comedy Playhouse, writing two series and 16 episodes in total, out of which emerged Steptoe and Son. Steptoe and Son ran for 12 years from 1963-1974, becoming their most iconic sitcom and winning them the Writers' Guild Award in 1962 and 1963. Hancock's Half-Hour also won them the Guild of TV Producers and Directors’ Scriptwriters of the Year award in 1959.
Galton and Simpson also wrote for several comedians including Frankie Howerd from the early 1960s into the mid-1970s, eventually providing Howerd with his first major series, Frankie Howerd, airing on the BBC from 1964 through to 1966.
The House of Fraser British Academy Television Awards will be hosted by Graham Norton at the Royal Festival Hall, London, and broadcast on BBC One at 20.00 on Sunday 8 May at 20.00. The BBC broadcast of the Awards follows a live red carpet show from 17.00 on www.bafta.org.
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