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Benny Hill Theme Blasts Outside British Parliament — At Hugh Grant's Request

Egged on by Grant, activists played the theme music outside Westminster to troll Boris Johnson.
  • A conservative MP on Sky News; Hugh Grant (Photos: Sky News/Everett Collection)
    A conservative MP on Sky News; Hugh Grant (Photos: Sky News/Everett Collection)

    It was a near circus in Westminster Abbey Thursday morning as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he intends to resign after days of scandal. British activists celebrated by calling back to The Benny Hill Show, a sketch series that ran from 1955 to 1989, and blasting its iconic "chase" theme song, a jingle that played at the end of almost every episode. Clips of the cacophony quickly went viral on Twitter, but as it turns out, the world has Hugh Grant — who played the UK's Prime Minister in Love, Actually — to thank for the moment.

    Early Thursday, Grant specifically asked pro-EU protestor (and anti-Johnson activist) Steve Bray to play the Benny Hill theme music. "Glad you have your speakers back," the actor tweeted at Bray. "Do you by any chance have the Benny Hill music to hand?"

    Bray was more than happy to oblige. Within a few hours, the activist unloaded his speakers near "the media circus" on College Green and began blasting the tune.

    The sound quickly carried across College Green, where British news crews were stationed for live TV hits — and the noise proceeded to throw everyone off track, from Sky News anchors to conservative MPs. As many Twitter users noted, the circus music aptly "sums up British politics over the last few years."

    The Benny Hill Show aired for nearly 35 years on the BBC and ITV, racking up multiple BAFTA and Emmy Award nominations along the way. In 2015, its theme song, "Yakety Sax," was named Number 1 on ITV's list of The Nation's Favourite Theme Tunes.

    Claire Spellberg Lustig is the Senior Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.

    TOPICS: Hugh Grant, The Benny Hill Show, Boris Johnson, politics