You Dirty Old Man! New Wilfred Brambell biography

David Clayton’s biography of Steptoe and Son star Wilfred Brambell examines how the actor battled an inner turmoil and torment leading a secretive life off camera.

Wilfred Brambell You Dirty Old Man
Wilfred Brambell who found fame as Albert Steptoe is remembered in the biography You Dirty Old Man!

When you think of the classic BBC sitcom, Steptoe and Son, you immediately think of the odiously controlling and manipulative Albert (played by Willfred Brambell. The conniving, miserly rag and bone man whose purpose in life seemed to be to thwart any chance of advancement for his equally lowly son and partner, Harold (played by Harry H Corbett), was a brilliant comedy creation but life for Brambell was very troubled.

Featuring interviews with Ray Galton and Alan Simpson (the writers of Steptoe and Son), Joan Reddin (Brambell’s agent), and fellow actors who worked alongside him, such as Phil Davis and Anna Karen, this authorised biography takes a look at the man away from his on-screen characters.

Through the co-operation of his nephew, the book contains a number of rarely seen photographs (both professional and personal).

Wilfrid Brambell was one of Britain’s most loved and complex character actors. As Albert Ladysmith Steptoe, the unscrupulous rag-and-bone man with questionable habits, he quickly became a household name with co-star Harry H Corbett and went on to record more than 50 episodes and two films. But despite scores of other successes in roles on stage, TV and film, Brambell died a sad and lonely man.

Dirty Old Man cover

You Dirty Old Man!

Alongside fame and fortune, You Dirty Old Man! reveals how Brambell suffered personal heartache, battling an inner turmoil that eventually drove him to drink as his marriage collapsed in the most deceitful circumstances imaginable. His torment led to a secretive life off camera where he did everything possible to stay out of the public eye.

Featuring original interviews with film directors Richard Lester, Terence Davies and Tony Palmer, as well as recollections from his own family members, the family of Harry H Corbett and those who worked alongside him, author David Clayton seeks to re-examine the legacy of a man whose loyal fanbase remains undiminished 60 years
on from his heyday.

You Dirty Old Man is available from Amazon

David Clayton is an acclaimed biographer, whose titles include The Richard Beckinsale Story and The Curse of Sherlock Holmes: The Basil Rathbone Story (both published by The History Press).

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Tags: , , Last modified: July 29, 2022

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