Posted on May 17, 2017
TV That Shouldn’t Have Been – Heil Honey I’m Home!
This week on TV That Never it’s going to be more a case of TV That Shouldn’t Have Been as we look at Heil Honey I’m Home. It was a British sitcom of which only a single episode ever aired (the remaining 10 appear to have been destroyed) that was a little bit shall we say… Controversial?
Now I’m betting that from the name you know something wasn’t quite right so let’s have a look at the plot of the single aired episode.
It’s 1937 and Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun are living in Berlin, next door to Jewish couple the Goldensteins, and invite British PM Neville Chamberlain around for tea whilst trying to not let the Goldensteins know he was coming over. Oh and everyone has inexplicable, and bloody awful, New York accents. Did I mention this was a sitcom? It was supposed parody of 1950s and 60s American sitcoms such as I Love Lucy. However it managed to fail in that goal spectacularly and caused a massive media backlash at the time.
The programme was commissioned for the now defunct Galaxy Channel which was a part of British Satelite Broadcasting and was broadcast in 1990. Writer Geoff Atkinson maintains to this day that the intention of the show wasn’t to shock but rather to examine the appeasement the world was showing Hitler in 1938 through the medium of the sitcom. His defence was that three quarters of the cast were Jewish (and literally none of them ever worked in TV again) and that they didn’t find it controversial.
Now we Brits do have a long tradition of tackling issues like World War Two in sitcoms. Dad’s Army is bloody brilliant, a timeless comedy, about the Home Guard. ‘Allo ‘Allo! is also superb dealing with the French resistance. Both of those shows didn’t shy away from the reality of war. They found their comedy in normal people dealing with extraordinary circumstances. Heil Honey I’m Home however was just crass.
A recurring joke throughout the filmed, but unaired, episodes was to see Hitler try and off his Jewish neighbours in increasingly bizarre ways. Erm… Yeah… That’s not acceptable. It wasn’t acceptable in 1990 and it definitely isn’t today.
Despite it being pulled from the airwaves after the first episode was screened production still kept on for a few weeks. It was only when Sky (the company we know as Sky TV today) bought out British Satellite Broadcasting that production was rightly halted. In fact this was their first decision on buying out the company. The channel it aired on, Galaxy, didn’t survive to the end of 1990 either. Sky used the broadcast frequency to put on Sky One instead.
This was definitely a weird time in the history of sitcoms and TV in general.