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Curry and Chips

Curry and Chips was the first LWT sitcom to be made in colour. Its other claim to fame is that it was cancelled after just six episodes, a humiliating outcome for its famous writer Johnny Speight and blacked-up star Spike Milligan. The idea of a Pakistani called Kevin O'Grady, Irish on his father's side, was actually Milligan's. He's portrayed as more intelligent than his bigoted white co-workers in a local balloon factory, but it doesn't matter. There's so much vitriol, swearing and bandying of words like 'Paki' and 'coon' – even O'Grady's boss and defender Arthur (Eric Sykes) uses them – that it quickly becomes unbearable viewing, particularly to modern eyes. A frequent criticism of Speight's BBC sitcom Till Death Us Do Part was that the prejudices of his characters reinforced, rather than challenged, those of its audience, a charge he refuted. While he may have wished to mock racists, clearly this time he failed.