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Trivia / The Benny Hill Show

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  • Acting for Two: Several sketches have Benny Hill playing two or more roles. Notably the parodies of Cagney & Lacey, Murder on the Orient Express (1974), The A-Team (where he plays both Hannibal and Baracus) or Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (where he's reprising both the roles of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor).
  • Author Existence Failure: A few years after the show was cancelled, Central Independent Television offered Hill a contract for a new series of shows. Unfortunately, the contract arrived in the post on 20 April 1992 — the day he died.
  • Big Name Fan:
    • Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon, big fans of Benny Hill, tried several times to get him on The Tonight Show, but Hill always declined as he didn't want to travel the large distance to Los Angeles.
    • As related on The BBC programme Living Famously, Hill visited the home of Charlie Chaplin after Chaplin's death. Chaplin's son Eugene took Hill into his father's private study and showed him several Benny Hill videotapes on a shelf. Eugene told Hill that his father was a great fan and used to watch the tapes with great enjoyment in his final years. Hill, a major fan of Chaplin, was reportedly moved to tears.
    • Radio and TV host Adam Carolla claimed that he was a fan of Hill and that he considered Hill "as American as The Beatles". During an episode of The Man Show, Carolla performed in what was billed as a tribute to "our favourite Englishman, Sir Benny Hill" (Hill was never knighted) in more risqué versions of some of the sketches. Carolla played a rude and lecherous waiter, a typical Hill role, and the sketch featured many of the staples of Hill's shows, including a Jackie Wright-esque bald man, as well as the usual scantily clad women.
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    • Michael Jackson was a Hill fan: "I just love your Benny Hill," the young Jackson told a bemused British music-press critic during a 1970s tour, "he's so funny!". He even visited Benny in England.
    • Genesis may have been fans of Hill. In 1987, they filmed a video for their song "Anything She Does", featuring Hill as his character Fred Scuttle, an incompetent security guard who lets a ridiculous number of fans backstage at a Genesis concert.
    • Anthony Burgess made no secret of his admiration for Hill. Burgess, whose novels were often comic, relished language, wordplay, and dialect, admired the verbal and comedic skill that underlay Hill's success. Reviewing a biography of Hill, Saucy Boy, in the Guardian in 1990, Burgess described Hill as "a comic genius steeped in the British music-hall tradition" and "one of the great artists of our age". A meeting between the two men was described in a newspaper article by Burgess and recalled in the Telegraph newspaper by the satirist Craig Brown.
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    • In a June 2011 interview with The Observer, Snoop Dogg declared himself to be a fan of Hill.
    • In Benny Hill: The World's Favourite Clown, filmed shortly before his death, celebrities such as Burt Reynolds, Michael Caine, John Mortimer, Mickey Rooney, and Walter Cronkite, among others, expressed their appreciation of and admiration for Hill and his humour — and in Reynolds' case, the appreciation extended to the Hill's Angels, as well.
  • Doing It for the Art: After Hill's death, the numerous awards he won for the show were found stuffed in a box in his basement, clearly unimportant to him.
  • Edited for Syndication: The late-1970s U.S. broadcasts were edited down to 30 minutes and cut out a lot of the risqué material to avoid the wrath of the Moral Guardians.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: The 1977 special produced for Channel 10 in Australia, Benny Hill Down Under, has yet to be released on home video.
  • Missing Episode: About half of the BBC episodes (1955-68) have gone through the notorious purges.
  • Old Shame:
    • In the 1980s, as public opinion in Britain was systematically being turned against Hill and his show, two former guest stars, Paula Wilcox and Paul Eddington, successfully lobbied to have the respective programs on which they appeared (23 February 1972 and 21 April 1976) pulled from repeat airings in England.
    • Jane Leeves would rather forget about her stint as a "Hill's Angel".
  • Real Song Theme Tune: The series used a fast version of Boots Randolph's "Yakety Sax" as its closing theme. The Undercranked sequences often featured an instrumental medley of Piero Umiliani's "Mah Nà Mah Nà", Giorgio Moroder's "Doo-Bee-Doo-Bee-Doo", The Pipkins' "Gimme Dat Ding" and Ludwig van Beethoven's "Für Elise". Some other pop songs can be occasionally spotted as background music, such as the String-a-Longs' "Wheels".
  • Recycled Script: Various gags were reused from one episode from the next. Several sketches from the three episodes Thames had to produce in black and white due to the 1970-71 "Colour Strike" were later remade in colour.


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