Who? Loathsome, archetypal seedy landlord Rupert Rigsby.
The sitcom: Rising Damp ran for four series from 1974 until 1978 and was voted the highest-ranking ITV sitcom on the 100 Best Sitcoms poll run in 2004 by the BBC.
The set-Up:Life and strife in a run-down boarding house, inhabited by posh boy Philip (Don Warrington), who claimed to be the son of an African chief but was actually born in Croydon, medical student Alan (Richard Beckinsale) and eternal spinster Miss Ruth Jones (Frances De La Tour). Alan once complained about paying £6 rent for such a small room, to which Rigbsy replied "I know it looks small, that's the heavy wallpaper".
Standout moment: Philip convincing Rigsby he has magical powers by banging a spear on the floor, at which point Miss Jones, who had a crush on Philip, appeared in her nightie.
Memorable catchphrase: Rigsby never succumbed to a catchphrase, apart from the occasional lustful cry of "Oh, Miss Jones", but he had a great line in ignorance and prejudice. On his theory that all Africans believe in reincarnation: "If they put a spade through a worm they think they've cut their granny in half."
Lowest ebb: The sudden death of Richard Beckinsale (Alan) in 1979, aged 31, meant that Christopher Strauli stood in for him in the 1980 movie version.
Big screen potential: You could probably never remake Rigsby for the big screen today, but his legacy lives on in the petty prejudices of David Brent in the Office. Besides, no-one in Hollywood would like to look that seedy, although method actor Al Pacino could have a go. Imagine: "Hoohah Ms Jones. And what a lovely day it is today."
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