Rising Damp writer says show seems like it's 'from another world'
'Rising Damp' creator Eric Chappell says the show "appears to have been written by someone else, from another world" when he looks back on it now.
The hugely popular ITV sitcom ran for four series from 1974 to 1978 and starred the late Leonard Rossiter as miserable landlord Rupert Rigsby, who is suspicious of his black tenant Philip Smith (Don Warrington), a student who claims to be the son of an African Chief.
The show also starred the late Richard Beckinsale as medical student Alan Moore and Frances de la Tour as Ruth Jones, who is the object of Rigsby's affections, and contained numerous jokes about race and class.
'Rising Damp' is repeated on the BritBox streaming service with a warning that it contains offensive racist language that some viewers may find upsetting.
Eric insists the programme is of its time and accepts that some of the jokes are no longer acceptable if scrutinised by modern sensibilities.
In an interview with The Oldie magazine, he said: “As I look back at the show now, it appears to have been written by someone else, from another world. They couldn't be written now and certainly not by me.”
Eric - whose other TV hits include 'The Bounder', 'Home To Roost' and 'Singles' - believes 'Rising Damp' is still enjoyed by viewers because it does contain numerous hilarious story-driven episodes and also because the show didn't go on past its sell-by-date when it originally aired.
He said: “Why are they still being shown? Perhaps because we always tried to tell a story, and people never tire of stories and, as Len (Leonard Rossiter) used to say, 'It's funny Eric - leave it in.'
"I have been asked why we made only four series (lasting until 1978 - with a 1980 film, too) when the show was hugely popular.
"The reason is simple. Len and I didn't come from theatrical backgrounds. He worked for years at an insurance company. I worked for years at the Electricity Board. We'd both had enough of long-running shows. We knew it was time to move on - what we didn't know was that 'Rising Damp' would become a little part of TV history."