EARLY INTEGRATION sitcom with SPIKE MILLIGAN as a Pakistani working in a factory (at - obscure kids' TV coincidence ahoy
- Lillicrap Ltd.) with ERIC SYKES as the reasonable foreman, KENNY LYNCH as - cue controversy - a black racist, and SAM "Orlando"
KYDD as the unreasonable Smellie.
Possibly on dodgy ground, and definitely a no-go today, but word has it that it was a damn sight less offensive than
later efforts like LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR or MIND YOUR LANGUAGE
1 9 6 9 (UK)
6 x 30 minute episodes
Set in the staff canteen and on the factory floor at Lillicrap Ltd, makers of seaside novelties, Curry
& Chips was a Johnny Speight comedy about Kevin O'Grady - a bizarrely named Pakistani immigrant (a blacked-up Spike
Milligan) being "civilised" by working class Brits, led by the liberal-minded but somewhat confused factory foreman, Arthur
Sam Kydd featured as the malodorous Smellie, with Norman Rossington and Geoffrey Hughes as racist white
Liverpudlians, and singer/actor Kenny Lynch as a black anti-Pakistani. In addition to the liberal slinging about of racist
terms there was a good deal of (mostly harmless) swearing, one viewer noting that the word "bloody" was said 59 times in a
single episode. (Only Eric Sykes didn't swear in the show - he simply refused to do so).
Produced and Directed by Keith Beckett, this sitcom was very much a product of the 60s. It tried (not always
successfully) to deal with racism, bigotry and class hatred in a light-hearted manner, and this series would not (could not)
have been made today.
Political correctness ensured that two similar series - The Melting Pot, also starring Milligan
as a Pakistani (six episodes of which were made in 1975), and Jewel In The Crown, for which a pilot was shot in 1985
- were scrapped, although one episode of the former was shown in June 1975 (the BBC refused to show the subsequent five episodes
as the ingredients constituted way too much of a heady brew for the Beeb to handle).
Ironically Curry & Chips was LWT's first sitcom made in colour . . .