Benny Hill had been entertaining British audiences on television since the mid 1950s. He was with the BBC for over a decade prior to moving on to Thames Television in 1969. The relationship with Thames TV lasted almost 20 years... from November 1969 until April 1989. I come across an article about Benny's 100th and it's so good that I decided to share a link to it in this blog entry. You can read the remembrance/celebration when you click HERE.
It's a very good overview of his career.. and something that should never be forgotten is that Benny's fans have never, ever, stopped loving his style of comedy and entertainment even during the time in the mid 1980s when the British media didn't hide their feelings about his TV specials. The "suits", in other words the executives, turned their backs on Benny Hill in 1989 but the fans never did. The attacks by the British media and those within the alternative comedy scene, with most of their criticisms laced with innuendo and ignorance, played itself out in the newspapers and magazines of the day. Ironically the most well known and massively popular comic export from Europe, Benny Hill, had become toxic in his home country...yet the international market, especially the United States, continued airing the half hour programs even while the British media was on the attack.
Benny Hill passed away in April of 1992. He had previously starred in a TV special titled Benny Hill's World Tour: New York!. The special aired on the USA Network in 1991 but it had been recorded in 1990 at his usual studio in London. The exterior shots and some other footage of Benny in New York City were taped on location here in the United States but the sketches and songs were all recorded in London. The 'World Tour' series of TV specials was meant to be a comeback for him where Benny would focus on the culture and entertainment of select cities across the globe and satirize, celebrate, or spoof the culture of those cities but unfortunately only the first special was ever recorded and aired. Among the mail found at his house on the day his body was discovered was a contract for a series of comedy specials for Central Independent Television. This contract, it's been speculated, would certainly have been for the remaining 'World Tour' series of comedy specials that never materialized due to his death.