British comedy stars pay tribute to Steptoe and Son co-creator Ray Galton

The sitcom writer has died at the age of 88

Ray Galton and Alan Simpson during Steptoe and Son Celebrates its 40th Anniverary in Style at BBC Television Centre in London, Great Britain. (Photo by Ferdaus Shamim/WireImage)

The British comedy world is in mourning following the death of Steptoe and Son co-creator Ray Galton.

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In a statement released to the BBC, the sitcom writer’s family announced that he passed away peacefully on Friday October 5th at the age of 88 after “a long and heartbreaking battle with dementia”.

Along with his writing partner Alan Simpson (who died in 2017), Galton created some of the best-loved sitcoms of the 20th century.

The pair first met in Guildford as teenagers when they both had stints in Milford Sanatorium after being diagnosed with tuberculosis. They went on to create Hancock and Steptoe and – during their long careers – penned scripts for the likes of Peter Sellers and Frankie Howerd. The duo wrote for the latter from the early 1960s into the mid-1970s, eventually providing the funnyman with his first major series, Frankie Howerd, airing on the BBC from 1964 through to 1966.

The Thick of It and Peep Show writer Simon Blackwell was among those who paid tribute to Galton and Simpson’s legacy on Twitter as the news broke.

“Galton and Simpson were the masters,” Bottom star Adrian Edmondson added, thanking the writing duo for never suing himself and his late comedy partner Rik Mayall.

David Walliams took a moment to pay tribute to the duo’s “incredible body of work”.

He posted an old photo of himself and his Little Britain co-star Matt Lucas posing alongside the pair.

Lucas also paid tribute to Galton, who he described as a “lovely man” and “one of the very greatest comedy writers”.

Frankie Boyle shared a clip from one of the pair’s best loved works, Hancock’s Half Hour, in tribute to Galton.

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Galton and Simpson received the Bafta fellowship at the Bafta Television Awards in 2016. At the time, Simpson said: “We always wanted a Fellowship, even though we did not know what a Fellowship was. Not the sort of thing one associates with a couple of Cockney lads, apart from Alfred Hitchcock of course.”