Steptoe and Son is a British sitcom written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson about a father-and-son rag-and-bone business. They live on Oil Drum Lane, a fictional street in Shepherds Bush, London. Four series were broadcast by the BBC from 1962 to 1965, followed by a second run from 1970 to 1974. Its theme tune, "Old Ned", was composed by Ron Grainer. The series was voted 15th in a 2004 BBC poll to find Britains Best Sitcom. It was remade in the US as Sanford and Son, in Sweden as Albert & Herbert and in the Netherlands as Stiefbeen en zoon. In 1972 a film adaptation of the series, Steptoe and Son, was released in cinemas, with a second Steptoe and Son Ride Again in 1973. The series focused on the inter-generational conflict of father and son. Albert Steptoe, a "dirty old man", is an old rag-and-bone man, set in his grimy and grasping ways. By contrast his 37-year-old son Harold is filled with social aspirations, not to say pretensions. The show contained elements of drama and tragedy, as Harold was continually prevented from achieving his ambitions. To this end the show was unusual at the time for casting actors rather than comedians in its lead roles, although both actors were drawn into more comedic roles as a consequence. The show had its roots in a 1962 episode of Galton & Simpsons Comedy Playhouse. Galton and Simpsons association with comedian Tony Hancock, for whom they had written Hancocks Half Hour, had ended and they had agreed to a proposal from the BBC to write a series of ten comedy shows. The fourth in the series, "The Offer", was born both out of writers block and budgetary constraints. Earlier shows in the series had cost more than expected, so the writers decided to write a two-hander set in one room. The idea of two brothers was considered but father and son worked best. Ronald Fraser was second choice for Harold, which would have produced a totally different character.
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