Father's day is here so what better time to celebrate some of our favourite Dads on TV. They’re not perfect and most are often annoying but they’re all lovable – and completely unforgettable. Here’s why…
Ben Harper – My Family
Dentist dad Ben Harper (Robert Lindsay) may not be the most patient or kindest father, but he's someone we can all see a little bit of our own dads in. He yearns to escape with a newspaper and a cold beer – but his family rarely allow him that pleasure!
Often cynical and irritated when having to deal with his three difficult children, Ben Harper's sarcastic and despairing remarks are one of the greatest sources of the show's humour, and his character has made My Family one of our all-time favourite TV sitcoms. Despite his grumpy exterior, he really does love his family, and puts up with being bossed around by his wife and constant money demands from his children.
Pete Brockman – Outnumbered
Pete Brockman (Hugh Dennis) teaches history at a London school and tries his best to manage both his job (where he despairs about his students’ unwillingness to learn about anything) and his family. He finds himself "outnumbered" by his three labour-intensive children (morose smart-arse Jake, deadpan and probing Karen and mendacious Ben) and his harried wife; and his inability to keep his private jokes and insensitive comments to himself has landed him in trouble over and over again.
Never really getting the hang of parenting and confused by the life he finds himself living, he’s somewhat clueless when dealing with his children's never-ending issues and questions. All parents will sympathise with Pete as he finds himself becoming enslaved by his family’s needs and demands.
Albert Steptoe – Steptoe and Son
"Dirty old man" Albert Steptoe (Wilfred Brambell) does not have the easiest of relationships with his son Harold. The elderly rag-and-bone man is extremely set in his ways and content with where life has put him. Harold, on the other hand, is completely disgusted by his father and aspires to better himself, and blames Albert for his failures.
Albert is stubborn, lazy, unambitious, selfish and foul-mouthed, however there's a solemn sweetness to his character. Albert loves his son and does not want him leave him, so continually sets out to thwart any of Harold’s attempts to make a new life for himself. In Albert's favour, he’s unpretentious (unlike his son) and resourceful, and able to get both of them out of any predicaments they find themselves in, in ingenious ways.
Robert Crawley (The Earl of Grantham) – Downton Abbey
Bringing up three daughters while maintaining his reputation as the Earl of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville) at the dawn of the 20th century, and the beginning of the aristocracy's decline, was never going to be easy. But Robert Crawley manages his household and family with dignity throughout the series.
Consistently kind to his household staff, loving and appreciative of his doting wife, and supportive of his daughters through an endless number of controversial dilemmas and the occasional scandal, Robert proves himself to be one of the most compassionate and loveable fathers on our TV screens.
Jim Royle – The Royle Family
Patriarch of the Royle family, Jim Royle (Ricky Tomlinson) is a shamless slob. He’s ill-tempered, cynical and full of hate, and that’s why we love him! Not afraid to rearrange his nether regions or pick his nose in company, workshy Jim spends all day sitting in his armchair watching TV and slags off celebrities. The complete opposite of our own fathers, of course!
Mocking his own family in a vulgar and disparaging fashion is what Jim does best. Although he does occasionally show his caring side when family members find themselves in serious trouble. Perhaps he does truly care after all.
Patrick Glover – Father, Dear Father
Divorced novelist of popular crime thrillers Patrick Glover (Patrick Cargill) is an admirable single dad. He struggles with bringing up his two lively and lippy teenage daughters Karen and Anna, who prove to be more than he can handle. It’s the 1970s and single fathers are a novelty. Patrick's patience is further tested by his ex-wife Barbara and her current husband Bill. Where will he find the time for his own romantic pursuits?
His brother, ageing mother, a Nanny and a humongous St. Bernard dog called 'H.G. Wells' all add further complications to his family situation. His desire to be a respected father-figure in his daughters’ eyes is to be applauded, even if it sometimes leaves him facing a series of terribly awkward misunderstandings and embarrassment as he tries to control their exploits.
Dudley Rush – Keep it in the Family
Fun-loving, likable and mischievous cartoonist Dudley Rush (Robert Gillespie) is a character that will resonate with many fathers struggling with the idea of their daughters leaving home. When their tenant (living in the ground floor flat of the family home) suddenly dies, Dudley gives in to his two daughter's pleas to move in (and escape from their father’s prying eyes!).
However, Dudley remains suspicious of his wayward daughters and continues to track the young men visiting his daughters downstairs, something we are sure many dads will empathise with!
Unfortunatley, Dudley’s spying leads him into trouble. Not only with his wife and daughters, but with his boss as he constantly misses his deadlines!
by Hannah Page
Browse our collection of even more TV Dads here >