In comparison to the disturbing festival of elder abuse that was last week's Steptoe, the heartwarming scene Sixty-Five Today starts off with is really quite lovely. As you might have guessed from the title, it's Albert's birthday (apparently it's Tuesday 25th January, which is a bit confusing considering this episode was broadcast on Thursday 24th). And as you might have guessed from Wilfrid Brambell's inimitably self-pitying expression, he thinks Harold's forgotten. In classic sitcom style he hasn't really, he's just winding his dad up, prolonging the old man's misery while he shelves some new books he's picked up on his round (by such writers as Ms Jean Paul Sartre - "that's like me being called Harold Gladys" - and Evelyn Wog). Eventually he gives Albert his present, a pair of fur-lined pigskin gloves, which the birthday boy loves despite initial reservations.
|"It's funny not having me fingers sticking out"|
|I want this card for my next birthday, please|
When they get to the cocktail bar, with the ever-supercilious Frank Thornton serving the drinks, Harold orders a Martini ("I know where you got that from, it's what that James Bond drinks in that Dr No film"), but Albert just wants a pint of bitter. He agrees to have a Pimm's, but is deeply unimpressed with it.
|"Where'd you get that, Covent Garden?"|
Worst of all, Harold actually expects him to eat a Chinese meal (at the Hundred Geese restaurant).
|"You're a... most unusual old man"|
Wilfrid Brambell was actually only 50 when he made this episode. It's a sign of his brilliance as an actor that this fastidious gay Irishman never for a second fails to convince as a shabby Cockney rag and bone man 15 years his senior.