Benny Hill (real name Alfred Hawthorne Hill, 21 January 1924 — 20 April 1992) was a prolific English comic, actor, and singer best known for his television programme The Benny Hill Show.
His on-screen persona was as a skirt-chasing Dirty Old Man (or, sometimes, a skirt-chasing young man), and there was much Fanservice. Some of his humour today walks into the sexist, which has affected his reputation, although the women involved with his shows have denied that they perceived the shows (or Hill himself) as sexist. His stock answer to the accusations was to point out it was always the men who looked like fools in the sketches.
That said, when non-Britons are speaking of British comedy genius, Hill is often mentioned in the same breath as, say, Monty Python. This mystifies many Brits, and the series is rarely repeated in his home country. His novelty record One-Hit Wonder "Ernie, the Fastest Milkman in the West"note does get more play, though, and his shows are available on DVD. In 2022, it is noticable that Benny is being rehabilitated: original shows are now being repeated in Britain on nostalgia channels lower down the Freeview listings.
In the mid-noughties there was a TV show entitled Is Benny Hill Still Funny? in which a cross-section of the British public, most of whom were too young to have seen his original broadcasts, were shown a selection of his sketches and asked the eponymous question. The consensus was "Yes".
Most of his comedy is visual, which typically leads to good video sales worldwide. No translation needed for the most part, especially for the pretty girls in colorful dresses.
- The Benny Hill Show
- Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines
- Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
- The Italian Job (1969)