Series: The Benny Hill Show
The Benny Hill Show
(1969-1989) is a British comedy series that cemented the career of one Benny Hill
. Strangely, it became far more popular in the United States, leaving a lot of Brits to wonder what all the fuss was about
. (Compounded by the fact that it hasn't been shown on network television in Great Britain since 1992.)
The ending song of The Benny Hill Show
was "Yakety Sax
" by Boots Randolph, an infamous Ear Worm
if there ever was one, with the ability to inject relentless levity into any situation
. Endlessly parodied; if there's a nonsensical Chase Scene
, really), play "Yakety Sax"!
The Benny Hill Show provides examples of the following tropes:
- Hilarity Ensues: Presumably mixed with a little real hilarity.
- Hot Gypsy Woman: The subject of the song "Rachel".
- Institutional Apparel: Sketches taking place in prison have the British arrow-covered uniforms. Some gags are milked out of it, such as Benny standing in a line with other inmates, whose arrows, both on the right and the left, all point toward him, while the arrows of his own uniform point upwards, toward his face.
- Jeweler's Eye Loupe: In a sketch with Benny as Robin Hood, he's about to kiss the hand of a wealthy lady when he notices the many jeweled rings and bracelets she's wearing. Robin pulls a (completely anachronistic) eye loupe to better examine them, before robbing her blind.
- Jump Cut:
- Laugh Track
- Literal Metaphor:
- A prison scene has a piano against a brick wall, and the narrator states, "During this dark time, music was his only escape", followed by Benny climbing on top of the piano to get over the wall.
- In a sketch on the beach, Benny is reading a book titled How to Pick Up Girls. Then, he tries to physically lift a swimsuit-clad beauty, and gets slapped for it.
- Lovable Sex Maniac: Many of the characters played by Benny, whether he portrays a Dirty Old Man or a hormone-addled teenager.
- Never Mess with Granny: "Wonder Gran"
- Pan and Scan: Spoofed in one skit where the movie Deep in My Heart is rendered in fullscreen as Deep in My Ear; and then we repeatedly hear suggestive dialogue before the scene pans over to reveal an innocent context.
- Parody Commercial: A lot of the shorter sketches, usually used as filler between the longer ones.
- The Peeping Tom: In one episode, Benny is peeping through a beautiful woman's window when a policeman grabs him by the shoulder and says, "You are under arrest for being a Peeping...". At this point the woman starts undressing and both Benny and the policeman can only stand there, entranced by the view. Once the woman is down to bra and panties she draws the shades (still unaware that she was being watched) and the policeman grabs Benny again and finishes his arrest by saying, "Tom!"
- Plank Gag: Used with frequency.
- Planning with Props: A long sketch where Benny et al. are German POWs during World War II. They are planning an escape and Benny is using various food items — mostly pastry — to make a model of the camp. During his explanation of how they are going to escape, one of the other prisoners picks up the slice of pound cake which represents the gate and starts eating it.
- Prompting Nudge: During a big production number by the Volunteer Fireman's Brigade the Captain pushes a dimwitted member out in front so he can introduce the Captain. The Captain ends up Playing Cyrano, feeding him the introduction phrase by phrase, then acts surprised when he "discovers" that he's the one being talked about.
- Rake Take: Another common gag, usually coupled with Groin Attack.
- Real Vehicle Reveal: In a filmed sketch about the National Health Service, Benny is a private patient while another lower-class looking person is going through the public way. At the end of the sketch Benny is seen perched in a late model convertible; the lower class guy is then seen getting in the car and driving away, revealing that Benny is sitting on a bicycle. Also see Carload of Cool Kids above.
- Scooby-Dooby Doors: A staple of the show. When another show use this trope and it isn't inspired by Scooby-Doo, it's likely to be a Benny Hill allusion.
- Shameful Shrinking: Happens to Benny Hill (via bluescreen) in an '80s sketch where a girl chews him out for being sexist — obviously intended as a Take That to RL critics who claimed he was.
- Sheet of Glass: A running gag during one chase features a sheet of glass carried by two workers, narrowly escaping destruction several times... then the chasers finally just run through it, as if the glass wasn't there... and the two carriers drop the sheet.
- Sitting Sexy on a Piano: Many a lady singer would do this, and at times, Benny himself would do this, too.
- Six Is Nine:
- Benny as a jealous husband breaks into a hotel room and shoots the man & woman in the bed. Then he takes another look at them, looks at the room number, rotates the 6 to a 9, and sheepishly exits.
- Another sketch did the same gag with The Lower Tidwell Fire Brigade chopping their way into a home while on a fire call, which as the mistress of the house angrily pointed out was three doors down.
- Special Effect Failure: Usually quite intentional.
- The most common of it is replacing a falling character with a dummy.
- The parody of The Avengers involves a Fight Scene with very obvious cuts to "stunt doubles" that look absolutely nothing like the protagonists.
- The Police Raid in Waterloo Station is a criminal action movie parody consisting mostly of special effect failures. Actors change clothes between shots (at least once during a shot); director's reflection gets caught by a camera; stagehands are seen hiding behind furniture or outside the airplane; walls are so thin, they shake when Benny opens a door; Benny gets a full glass of wine, starts drinking from a half-full glass, continues with a beer mug; when Benny kisses a woman, his moustache stays on her lip, then returns in the same shot; "dead" people try to straighten their clothes and jerk when stepped on; actors say wrong lines with wrong voices; the airplane and the ship are not only obvious plastic models, but a ship-sized duck swims by in one shot.
- Standard Snippet: Boots Randolph's "Yakety Sax" for chase scenes. This show went a long way toward making it a Standard Snippet in the first place. So much so that "Yakety Sax" is often referred to as "The Benny Hill Theme", with many people not knowing its real title, or realising that it wasn't written for the show.
- Stripping The Scarecrow: Played With in "Butch Cafferty and the Fundance Kid". Cafferty (Hill) strips a man in the Turkish baths of his clothes but later discovers that a Scarecrow possesses absolutely identical ones.
- Tablecloth Yank: In one of the episodes, Benny Hill does that to several tables, leaves and comes back with new ones to preform an inversion of this trope.
- Thanks for the Mammary: A common gag.
- Theme Song: "Yakety Sax" is also used as the final theme music. Fitting, since the final credits always run over a chase scene.
- Tied Up on the Phone: A sketch has appliances come to life and attack humans; at one point a phone cord wraps itself around Hill.
- Twinkle Smile: Often parodied. Twinkle eyes, too.
- Twitchy Eye: Among Benny's various grimaces, this one is common when he's excited, or about to snap.
- Undercrank: Standard procedure for the obligatory chase scenes with speedy albeit hilarious results.
- The Unintelligible: A frequent bit; Hill would play the part of an foreigner with an utterly incomprehensible accent or dialect being interviewed. Hilarity resulted as the host attempted to make sense of what he said, with many hilarious and often off-color misunderstandings.
- Vandalism Backfire: The subject of a Patter Song. A gentleman goes into his rail compartment and finds a hippie seated there. Gentleman tells hippie to get out, hippie doesn't pay attention. Eventually the gentleman throws the hippie's suitcase out the window, "now what do you think about that?" "It's not my bloody case."
- Vocal Dissonance: Often male singers would sing in feminine registers, and vice versa. Alternatively, Hill would play a child or woman speaking sweetly, until a "blooper" occurs and the director yells at him. Hill's voice then changes to a gruff, throaty East-Ender accent as he complains.
- Wacky Sound Effect
- Wardrobe Malfunction: A staple of the show. However contrived, you can bet that every sort of possible freak accidents will happen to the clothes of any sexy woman in most sketches (usually with a very exaggerated ripping sound) and leave her in her underwear. Though the males of the cast aren't entirely spared either, but there it's purely for humor and never fanservice.
- You Can Leave Your Hat On: One sketch has Benny as clown performing a wacky striptease. It ends with him stripping off his skin until he's nothing but a dancing skeleton.
- That sketch was preceded by one in which several women, already scantily dressed, pantomime taking off clothes to appropriate music.
- Another sketch involves Benny and a lady in a supermarket reacting to the piped-in music. The last tune is 'The Stripper', so Benny takes off his gloves, and is arrested.
- Zipperiffic: Benny as a biker. After trying out all his zippers for his money pouch, his girlfriend finally zips his mouth.