It ain't half hot mum

Inky Batty

Dedicated Member
Do we have any fans of the show here?
Back in the day when I was a lad, this was a fixture of early Saturday evening entertainment. Grandstand/Final score. BBC news and then It ain't half hot mum.
I have to say, I was only a young lad and didn't quite understand what it was all about, well, the historical/geopolitical context anyway, but the characters and the interplay were marvellous and of course, the major connection was Michael Bates, one of our own, who played the Bearer brilliantly.
It's only over time that I've understood the context, obviously it's non PC these days, but I'd say this show is in my top 10 favourite sitcoms of all time.
 

captain clutterbuck

LOTSW Fanatic
I was a big fan have the complete Box set not watched for a while as you say not considered PC these days won't be broadcast again . Funny how many actors have appeared in other Croft/Perry shows clearly they had people they trusted and cast them in their other shows .
 

wstol

Dedicated Member
There is no reason the show shouldn't be repeated today or in the furure.

The show was firmly based on fact, it was based on the creators personal experiences. That makes it educational, people wouldn't necessarily know much about what was going on there and then as far as history goes.

I think the actors and writers do a fantastic job here.

The point is the show was a huge hit, loved by the old and the young, something to look forward to and talk about the next day - and incredibly funny.

Schools should show a couple of episodes to help children learn history. It's a good way to learn. Some of the episodes are so fact-based I want people to see it.
 

captain clutterbuck

LOTSW Fanatic
The reason stated for not broadcasting in the modern age is the fact that the series, which featured Michael Bates in blackface, was accused of racism, homophobia and of pandering to imperialism. According to the head of the broadcasting regulator Ofcom in 2014, the broadcast of such series today "are unimaginable today" and if repeated would be found offensive by everyone .
 

captain clutterbuck

LOTSW Fanatic
Bruce,

I thought I would just quote the views that "officialdom" put forward as to why they would never show it . I think on reflection Michael Bates in Blackface whilst of the time was the wrong choice especially as they cast Dino Shafeek and Barbar Bhatti [although their origins are Bangladesh and Pakistan respectively] as the other members of the trio of Indians who worked with the concert party .

I am sure there were plenty of British based Asian actors who could have played the role . At the time it was made, the acting profession was tarred with the spectre of assuming a lot of male actors were homosexual hence why Windsor Davies character was written to be so bigoted . Given how the world has changed you can perhaps see why the officialdom views were held . I have no idea if Jimmy Perry ever said that the troupe of actors and his personal experiences were based on , suffered the same sort of what we now class as abuse as is portrayed in the show.
 

wstol

Dedicated Member
If it really is 'racist' for a fine actor like Michael Bates, born in India, to portray an Indian - ie doing something called 'acting' - then I think the word 'racist' has nowadays at least been totally pulled out of context.

Surely it is 'more' racist is for others to decide which acting races can or cannot play certain parts.

Why shouldn't one race play a character of a different race?

Should an actor of one gender not play the part of another gender?

Should an actor of one sexuality not play the part of another sexuality?

Should an actor of one age gap not play the part of another age gap?

Should actors only play themselves?

I believe Asian actors were thin on the ground in Britain in 1973, when the show was first made, but I think it is fair to say that the show did help to introduce actors of such or similar origins in minor roles, sometimes more than once. Well respected actors such as Renu Setna and Ahmed Khalil surely developed their craft from this show.

Personally I think Michael Bates created a wonderfully endearing character of the wise old wily bearer of It Ain't Half Hot Mum.
 

BruceC

Dedicated Member
Bruce,
I thought I would just quote the views that "officialdom" put forward as to why they would never show it
Wasnt having a go at you apologies if it came across that way - I was having a go at some do-gooder pen pushing flog in an office miles from humanity who is offended by 50,000 things a day before he gets to the office that nobody actually thinks about and is so out of touch with reality its scary what things have been banned/killed off in the last 5-10 years
 

BruceC

Dedicated Member
If it really is 'racist' for a fine actor like Michael Bates, born in India, to portray an Indian - ie doing something called 'acting' - then I think the word 'racist' has nowadays at least been totally pulled out of context.

Surely it is 'more' racist is for others to decide which acting races can or cannot play certain parts.

Why shouldn't one race play a character of a different race?

Should an actor of one gender not play the part of another gender?

Should an actor of one sexuality not play the part of another sexuality?

Should an actor of one age gap not play the part of another age gap?

Should actors only play themselves?

I believe Asian actors were thin on the ground in Britain in 1973, when the show was first made, but I think it is fair to say that the show did help to introduce actors of such or similar origins in minor roles, sometimes more than once. Well respected actors such as Renu Setna and Ahmed Khalil surely developed their craft from this show.

Personally I think Michael Bates created a wonderfully endearing character of the wise old wily bearer of It Ain't Half Hot Mum.
Its just easier to play the "race" card when you want to scare people into giving in.. One forum I was on had a bloke pretending to be aboriginal, pretending to sell artifacts, tell stories the works... when I stood up to him, he played the race card and I was threatened with being banned - 2 days later it came out he was asking people to pay his bills and stuff and it all came out in the wash... not one word of apology to me either.
 

captain clutterbuck

LOTSW Fanatic
Wasnt having a go at you apologies if it came across that way

Certainly not Bruce. absolutely no apology needed, I was just reiterating what Ofcom essentially said about the show and in my second post I was just trying to interpret why they might of held those views.

Personally I think Michael Bates created a wonderfully endearing character of the wise old wily bearer of It Ain't Half Hot Mum.

I believe he did Wstol but when I have been on other Forums when this was discussed the prevalent view was along the lines well they found two Asian actors to play the other members of the Bearer's party why couldn't they find a third . When pushed to give alternate names the overwhelming number of replies came back with Saeed Jaffrey who had already been in a number of shows around the time that the show was made.
 

Eithne

Dedicated Member
Thanks everyone who posted clips, I have long been curious about this show.
Saeed Jaffrey was a wonderful actor; I'll never forget him as Billy Fish in The Man Who Would be King. Obviously using ethnic actors is preferable and adds greatly to the authenticity of a movie or anything meant to be an accurate representation of real events. I don't see why in a regular sitcom or stage production people shouldn't be able to play a character of a culture or lifestyle other than their own, providing it's not done in a way to demean the assumed culture etc. That's part of what acting is.
In America we had a comedy team called Amos and Andy, mostly on the radio, but they were in black face. They were hilarious, but they never disrespected the Black culture. What no one chooses to remember was that many African Americans at the time loved Amos and Andy. They saw it as being represented when they were prevented from representing themselves.
People tend to judge things by the time period they are currently in rather than the very different environment something originally occurred in. Were mistakes made? Yes. Hasn't anyone over the age of 5 learned it doesn't do any good to try to hide their mistakes? As Wstol said, this is history. Why not view it as a demonstration of growth since then?
Asians had a thin time in Hollywood too, Jack Soo was one of the first to really break in. However, there are loads of old American Westerns where the Indians are clearly speaking Korean.
 

wstol

Dedicated Member
Certainly not Bruce. absolutely no apology needed, I was just reiterating what Ofcom essentially said about the show and in my second post I was just trying to interpret why they might of held those views.



I believe he did Wstol but when I have been on other Forums when this was discussed the prevalent view was along the lines well they found two Asian actors to play the other members of the Bearer's party why couldn't they find a third . When pushed to give alternate names the overwhelming number of replies came back with Saeed Jaffrey who had already been in a number of shows around the time that the show was made.

I must admit, if I was casting the show back then, I wouldn't have automatically thought of Michael Bates - presumably he had done a similar performance before.

Michael Bates did get top billing when the show first began, so perhaps they wanted a well known actor, I don't know.

Saeed Jaffrey would have played the part well. So would Renu Setna, who I mentioned earlier. I also think Ishaq Bux would have been an excellent choice too.

Of course, we would have then been denied Michael Bates performance, and his to be said, he put some effort into that.
 

Moggie Moo

Well-Known Member
If it were to be made today it would not be a comedy. When Michael Bates left they did not replace the character and the program began to lose ground all though for me the Colonel and his oppo were very funny taking the micky out of the British Raj. The dialog worked both ways.
 
Top