I fear more laughed Alf Gar­nett than at

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE - CUL­TURE JOHN NATHAN

IF WAR­REN Mitchell’s Alf Gar­nett had lived in the mod­ern age, what a first-rate Twit­ter troll he would have been. True, Alf was a Lud­dite. If he had lived to­day, he would have been more mega­phone than smart­phone. And yet, al­though it prob­a­bly would have taken a lot of per­sua­sion by his “long haired git” of a son-in-law to own a mo­bile, it sure- ly wouldn’t have been long be­fore Alf’s fin­gers en­thu­si­as­ti­cally took to jab­bing out racist, misog­y­nis­tic, ho­mo­pho­bic, an­ti­semitic mis­sives to the world.

Even­tu­ally, Alf would have loved it. And just like Johnny Speight’s ad­mit­tedly bril­liant sit­com, Alf’s Twit­ter ac­count would have had an enor­mous, vo­cal and some­what sin­is­ter fol­low­ing. Though, as with the TV se­ries, not all of them would have been the kind of fol­low­ers that would have made Mitchell — Jewish, athe­ist and so­cial­ist down to the mar­row of his Stoke New­ing- Racist? But ac­tor War­ren Mitchell and writer Johnny Speight made Till Death Us Do Part a work of comic ge­nius ton-born bones — proud.

And it is this that un­der­mines the case — made most re­cently af­ter Mitchell’s death last week – that Till Death Us Do Part worked best as a satire against big­otry, rather than a mouth­piece for it.

Not that Mitchell’s per­for­mance, or Speight’s writ­ing, was any­thing less than in­spired. It was, af­ter all, a fan­tas­ti­cally ac­cu­rate por­trayal of a cer­tain kind of bloke who was brimful of a par­tic­u­lar brand of xeno­pho­bic, bad tem­pered opin­ion. But while many of us were laugh­ing at him, many oth­ers were

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