Running Time 7hrs 23mins
Tony Hancock stars with Sid James and Kenneth Williams in the legendary BBC Radio comedy series.
Created by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson in 1954, Hancock’s Half Hour was the radio vehicle that made Tony Hancock a household name. Each week listeners would be admitted to the sometimes fantastical, sometimes mundane life of “the lad ‘imself”. Aided and abetted by Sid James, Andrée Melly, Bill Kerr and Kenneth Williams, Hancock would enter into the spirit of each episode with characteristic dolefulness.
This collection of 15 episodes represents the surviving archive from the first two radio series. The episodes included are The First Night Party; The Idol; The Boxing Champion; The New Car; Cinderella Hancock; A Trip to France; The Monte Carlo Rally; A House on the Cliff; The Sheikh; The End of the Series; The Holiday Camp; The Chef That Died of Shame; The Rail Strike; The Television Set and The Marrow Contest.
Ray Galton and Alan Simpson met in a sanatorium in Surrey, where they were both being treated for TB. Ray Galton remembers noticing the six-foot-four Simpson and thinking he looked surprisingly large – ‘you expect everyone in a
sanatorium to be thin and weedy, and he was the biggest guy I’d ever seen’.
During two years in the same ward, they listened to comedy shows together and also wrote a series of their own, creating a radio room in a linen cupboard.
Having left the sanatorium within a few months of each other, they decided to get a professional opinion of their work and sent a sketch they had written called The Pirate Sketch to the BBC. They were asked to go in for an interview, and soon found themselves writing for the sketch show Happy Go Lucky. Over the next two years they continued to write sketches for a number of big names, before coming up with the idea for Hancock’s Half Hour. Although the BBC took some persuading, eventually the show was scheduled, initially for radio but later as a television series. A phenomenally successful ten years later, Galton and Simpson were themselves very well known names.
After Hancock’s Half Hour they wrote Comedy Playhouse for the BBC, out of which came their second huge television and radio hit, Steptoe & Son. In 1977 they wrote The Galton & Simpson Playhouse, produced by Yorkshire Television