TV Shows We Used To Watch - BBC British TV 1959-80 - Harry Worth
The famous opening credits featured Harry stopping in the street to perform an optical illusion involving a shop window. (Raising one arm and one leg which were reflected in the window, thus giving the impression of levitation). Reproducing this effect was popularly known as "doing a Harry Worth".
Set in the fictional town of Woodbridge, 'Here's Harry' presented the star as a bumbling complainer continually pitted against officialdom in a world that he always seemed to be one step behind.
Several comedy series built around the well meaning but muddle-headed and nervous Harry Worth and his ineffectual attempts to do the right thing. With the stalwart support of Hugh Lloyd (later to star in Hugh and I) and the opening credits of Harry appearing to levitate himself in the shop window.
His character was perfectly summed up in a scene where he attempted to by a rail ticket and asked the ticket-clerk for a return fare. "Where to, sir?" came the clerk's response. To which Harry replied innocently, "Well, back here of course!"
He lived at 52 Acacia Avenue with his cat, Tiddles and his, often referred to but never seen, aunt Mrs Amelia Prendergast. A semi-regular supporting cast of characters included his housekeeper, Mrs Benson (Doris Gambell) Alf (Joe Gladwin) and Tommy (Reginald Marsh).
"The Trouble with Harry" (BBC 1959-60)
"Here's Harry" (BBC 1960-65)
"Harry Worth" (BBC 1967-70)
"Thirty Minutes Worth" (Thames 1972-73)
"My name is Harry Worth" (Thames 1974)
"Oh Happy Band!" (BBC 1980).
Harry Worth (born Harry Illingsworth, 20 November 1917, Fitzwilliam Street, Hoyland Common, South Yorkshire, died 20 July 1989, Hertfordshire) was an English comedy actor and comedian.
His standard performance was as a genial, bumbling middle-class and middle-aged man from the North of England, who reduced all who came into contact with him to a state of confusion and frustration.
Worth was the youngest of eleven children of a miner. When he was only five months old his father died from injuries resulting from an industrial accident.
He left school at 14 and was himself a miner for eight years before joining the RAF. As a teenager he was in the Tankersley Amateur Dramatic Society and taught himself ventriloquism, buying his first dummy in 1936.
He toured for two years with Laurel and Hardy towards the end of their careers. Oliver Hardy persuaded him to drop the ventriloquist routine and concentrate on becoming a comedian which he then did. He did, however, continue to include the vent act in his cabaret act through his career.
Worth was a private person and resisted attempts by publishers to write his biography; it was over 16 years after his death before a book - My Name Is Harry Worth - was written. He was married to dancer Kay Flynn and they had one daughter, Jobyna. He died in July 1989, aged 72, of spinal cancer.
On Tuesday 20th July 2010 at Fitzwilliam Street in Barnsley, The British Comedy Society will unveil a blue commemorative plaque in honour of the much loved comedian, Harry Worth.
See video clip