Friday, November 13, 2015

It's the Benny Hill Show!


Stripped to their lingerie yet again!

In its heyday, The Benny Hill Show was the most popular comedy on British TV. A fast-paced sketch programme recalling the "golden age" of English music hall, the show frequently ended with a Mack Sennett-style chase scene full of stereotype 1970s "dolly-birds" running around in their underwear - usually the result of Benny's bumbling antics.

As the series' humour revolved around sexual innuendo, a considerable amount of risque imagery was incorporated into the skits and routines. Initially employing female television extras (mainly upcoming starlets and "page three" girls), Benny later founded a repertory dance ensemble (The Hill's Angels), which featured in many of show's musical and variety numbers. Highly skilled entertainers in their own right, they also contributed a great deal of humorous content, most often by falling out of their clothes at the most inopportune moments.


Any excuse to show off the knickers!

Virtually all of the specials produced by Thames TV after 1971 incorporated gratuitous panty shots, unexpected stripteases, wardrobe "malfunctions" and full-figure lingerie scenes. As the show progressed, the costume department kept pace with the fashion industry, especially where the actresses' underwear was concerned. Female cast members wore floral bras and briefs during the early seventies, eventually giving way to gauzy French intimates throughout the Eighties.


Lingerie in 1971...
 
Lingerie in 1981.

Contrary to the allegations propagated by New Wave critics and (self-appointed) moral guardians, Benny Hill was a talented and hard-working entertainer, now recognized as one of Britain's greatest comedians. Close friends and associates - including former cast members - remember him as a kind, gentle and generous man who treated everybody with the courtesy and respect they deserved. The Show's continued success over thirty years since its cancellation is a testament to Benny's comedic genius. 

3 comments:

  1. God! How quick we forget! Thanks for the memories!

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a great analysis! I have strong memories, being hypnotized as a yong lad by the girls showing unexpectedly skirts and suspenders in the show

    ReplyDelete
  3. What a great analysis! I have strong memories, being hypnotized as a yong lad by the girls showing unexpectedly skirts and suspenders in the show

    ReplyDelete