As a change from our usual more serious blog posts, we thought we’d include the thing that many people will automatically think of when you mention the words “Rising Damp”. (For info on the condition that affects building, see our Rising Damp pages).
There have been many much-loved British sitcoms, and one that lives on in many people’s hearts is the 1970s classic, Rising Damp. It was originally broadcast on ITV from 1974 to 1978 and was produced by Yorkshire Productions. The background and plot of the show were taken from a very popular stage show “The Banana Box”. (Indeed, the show was originally broadcast under this name, but soon changed due to it not being thought humorous enough for a TV audience).
As soon it was aired, it was a huge success, primarily because of the unrelenting humour in each episode – each of which featured a new story based on the trials and tribulations of the characters involved. One thing that differentiates this show from most of the other sitcoms of the period is that the whole show was shot in front of a live audience in a Yorkshire Television studio. Not a single scene of the show was filmed at any outside location, though this clearly never hampered the enduring success of the show.
The show is very snappy, with continual quips and fast dialogue between the four principle characters – the main one of whom is the private landlord Rupert Rigsby, He is expertly played by legendary actor, Leonard Rossiter, as a miserly middle-aged snob continually wishing to impart his own rules on those around him – rules which have only a passing acquaintance with what may be considered morality.
Philip Smith – played by Don Warrington – claims to be an African Prince and displays personality traits that set him apart as the opposite of Rigsby (ie suave, sophisticated, knowledgeable). As a result, Rigsby often brags about how he has his (spurious) connections to the British Royal family and how he fought in the Second World War.
Rigsby’s (unrequited) love interest is Ruth Jones, played with customary panache by Fraces de la Tour. She feels she is too good for Rigsby, preferring instead the more sophisticated charms of Philip, but usually has to settle for second best.
Alan Moore, played by Richard Beckinsale, is a medical student who loves music and has lady luck on his side. Coming from a middle class background, he is representative of the kind of “free love” hippy movement that completely baffles Rigsby and his ilk during this period of cultural change.
The TV show-Rising Damp is among the best-loved sitcoms of all time and never fails to bring a smile to the face of those who remember it with affection.