Saturday, 6 June 2015

Top Five TV Dads

Currys are running a great competition for Father's Day, asking people to blog about their top five TV dads. Here are my choices:


#5. Albert Steptoe

The best worst dad of them all. Steptoe's parenting skills leave a lot to be desired, there's no disputing that. From leaving a young Harold outside the Skinners Arms for hours on end with nothing but a bottle of lemonade and an arrowroot biscuit (S7EP5 'Loathe Story'), to forcing Harold to dress as his imaginary daughter to dupe the Inland Revenue (S7EP4 'Live Now, P.A.Y.E. Later'). He's desperate to keep Harold trapped in an unhealthily co-dependent relationship, and does everything within his power to ruin Harold's hopes and dreams (e.g. S7EP2 'A Star Is Born'), and split up every romantic entanglement (most famously in the 1972 film).

'You dirty old man!' In the 1974 episode 'Porn Yesterday' Harold learns about his dad's secret past starring in low rate pornography.

But - For all his meddling, and interfering, and put downs, Steptoe really does care. Deep down. In his own mind he's discouraging Harold from trying so he won't be disappointed, and he's coming between Harold and girls who don't really care anything for him. And, of course, there's the infamous line in S5EP3 'Any Old Iron', after Harold starts copying his flamboyant new antique dealer friend's dress sense: 'Don't get on the bus looking like that, 'arold. The skinheads'll have yer!'




#4. Gomez Addams 

He might be creepy and kooky, mysterious and spooky, and even altogether ooky, but Gomez Addams really is a family man. His adoration of wife Morticia is obvious, and he also tries to do his best for the children - even sending them to his idea of hell on earth (summer camp) when he is convinced that is what they want in Addams Family Values. He worries about the children when they seem to deviate from the family norms, but supports them anyway. In fact, his philosophy when it comes to his children is summed up in the very first episode of the original series, when he is asked why they have never been enrolled in school: 'Why have kids just to get rid of them?'




#3. Graham Branagh

CBBC's Young Dracula has had two runs, the first between 2006 - 2008 and the second between 2011 - 2014. In the first, main character Vlad moves from Transylvania to South Wales and makes friends with the nieghbourhood goth, Robin Branagh. The show is actually full of dads: there's Vlad's, the infamous Count Dracula, who idolises his son while ignoring his daughter on account of her being a girl. Then there's Eric van Helsing, dad to classmate Jonno and the kids' woodwork teacher. He's too busy carrying on the tradition of Van Helsing slaying to pay his son all that much attention.

Robin likes to wear his cape to school...

In comparison Graham Branagh is completely ordinary, with a passion for fresh air, Kendal Mint cake, and scouting. None of this tallies in any way with Robin's interests in life: bats, blood, and vampires, and more than one occasion he does his best to show Robin the error his ways. (E.g. S1EP7 [If you haven't got over your obsessions with vampires] We've decided to send you to happy camp. It's where troubled children go and learn how to be happy. Through happy music and happy dance.) It never works but that never stops him standing up for Robin though, and doing his best for him and his other three children. Quote: (In response to Robin asking what that noise is) 'It's called singing, Robin. It's what people do when they're happy. I'm not confusing you with my complicated technical jargon, am I?'




#2. Sid Abbott

Bless This House is an ITV sitcom which aired between 1971 and 1976. Sid Abbott is basically Sid James' usual character, just plonked into suburban fatherhood - but it works. S1EP1 'The Generation Gap' sets out the tone of the series, with Sid worrying that son Mike is gay because of his penchant for necklaces and nail varnish, and that daughter Sally is taking the permissive society entirely too literally. He's out of touch with his children - that's the whole premise of the series - but that doesn't mean he doesn't love them. He can't understand Mike's art, but he lets him carry on destroying the house to create it. He's horrified when, thanks to a zany 70s sitcom misunderstanding, he and Jean think Sally's going to be a schoolgirl mother - but there's never any talk of not supporting her, no matter what her decision going forward.




#1. Pop Larkin

Number one, of course, is 'Pop' Larkin from The Darling Buds of May. David Jason is just about my favourite actor of all time, anyway, and The Darling Buds of May is such an escapist delight. Pop has his eccentricities, and his madcap money making schemes, but he would - and often does - move heaven and earth for his children. Family comes first for Pop, and we all love him for it!


newerPageTitle olderPageTitle Home