Alf Garnett (Warren Mitchell) is a caricature of a reactionary working class family tyrant. His anger and frustration is directed against almost everything and everybody, grounded in his belief, that he deserves more than life has dealt him. Including his wife Else (Dandy Nichols) who generally suffers her husbands rants with stoic equanimity. Their daughter Rita (Una Stubbs) and her husband Michael (Antony Booth) on the other hand are less inclined to avoid conflict thus inciting more abuse by the belligerent patriarch.
Notably the programme pushed the limits of what could and could not be said on television, prompting Mary Whitehouse to successfully sue the show's creator Johnny Speight who retaliated by scripting a scene in a 1967 episode that reveals Alf Garnett as a strong supporter of her views.
Due to the policy of wiping recorded programmes in the 1960s and 1970s only 31 of the originally 54 episodes still exist today. Two follow-up programmes were made: Till death… and In Sickness and in Health. If you are German you may think this all sounds very familiar and you are right. Wolfgang Menge adapted the show for German television where it ran under the title Ein Herz und eine Seele.