Tag Archives: Tony Hancock

More Missing Hancock Set For Release

THIS year is turning out to be a treat for fans of Hancock’s Half Hour, with two new releases featuring missing episodes set to hit the shops in time for Christmas.

Hancock: The Lost Radio Episodes: Sid James’s Dad and The Diet is due out on November 5th 2009, according to Amazon.co.uk – the same day as Hancock: The ‘Lost’ TV Episodes: The Horror Serial and The Beauty Contest.

Both CDs have sourced their recordings from the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society (read an earlier story on the recovery of the TV episode soundtracks here). The THAS also holds a poor-quality recording of the radio series’ season three episode “How Hancock Won The War”.

The soon-to-be released radio episodes, “The Diet” and “Sid James’s Dad”, come from series three and four respectively and with the latter recording’s return, series four is now complete.

In “The Diet”, tx 7/12/55, Hancock is too fat for the part he is playing in a film, so he goes on a diet – and to the Turkish Baths. In “Sid James’s Dad”, tx 28/10/56, Sid is expecting a visit from his father, and, being ashamed to admit his true profession, has explained his appearances in court by telling the old man he is a judge. (Plot synopsises courtesy of www.railwaycuttings.co.uk)

  • Hancock: The Lost Radio Episodes: Sid James’s Dad and The Diet is available for pre-order on Amazon here, priced £8.80. The CD features an expanded sleeve note explaining how the episodes came to be released.

Hancock: The ‘Lost’ TV Episodes: The Horror Serial and The Beauty Contest includes two restored off-air audio recordings from series four of the TV show.

In “The Horror Serial”, tx 30/01/59, Hancock is in a nervous state after watching the last episode of Quatermass and the Pit on TV, especially when he discovers a strange object buried in his garden. Sid calls in the Army Bomb Disposal Squad, but Hancock is convinced that it is a Martian spaceship. It features John Le Mesurier and Hugh Lloyd.

In “The Beauty Contest”, tx 20/02/59, Hancock and Sid enter the council’s ‘Mr East Cheam’ contest. Naturally, both Hancock and Sid see themselves as natural winners. Hancock writer Alan Simpson appears in this episode.

  • Hancock: The ‘Lost’ TV Episodes: The Horror Serial and The Beauty Contest is available for pre-order over at Play.com, priced £6.99.

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Heads Up For Hancock Release!

The first of two CD releases featuring the soundtracks to missing TV episodes of Hancock’s Half Hour comes out at the start of July.

The season four episodes – “The Flight of the Red Shadow” (tx 23/01/1959) and “The Wrong Man” (tx 06/03/1959) – are released by BBC Audiobooks as a two-CD set on July 2, 2009,and are currently available for pre-order on Amazon.

In “The Flight of the Red Shadow” (aka “Desert Song”), Hancock is on the run from disgruntled members of the East Cheam Repertory Company. In order to escape, Hancock is forced to masquerade as the Maharaja of Renjipur, with disastrous consequences.

“The Wrong Man” sees Hancock and Sid called in to take part in a police identity parade. However, when a witness picks Hancock out for the burglary of a high street tobacconist, he has only days to clear his name.

In addition to series regulars Tony Hancock and Sid James, “The Flight of the Red Shadow” features Rolf Harris and small walk-ons for series creators/writers Ray Galton and Alan Simpson. Simpson also appears briefly in “The Wrong Man”.

In total, 26 episodes of the TV version of Hancock’s Half Hour (1956 – 61) are missing, all from the first four seasons.

Before season five, HHH went out live and, sadly, the majority were never telerecorded.

Thankfully, some forward-thinking fans made off-air home recordings at the time.

Those soundtracks were returned by the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society to the BBC in late 2008 and consisted of the recordings featured on the forthcoming CD alongside further season four episodes: “Underpaid! Or, Grandad’s SOS” (tx 02/01/59); “The Horror Serial” (tx 30/01/59); “Matrimony Almost” (tx 13/02/59); and “The Beauty Contest” (tx 20/02/59).

A follow-up CD, featuring “The Horror Serial” and “The Beauty Contest”, is scheduled for November, and is also available for pre-order from Amazon here.

Both CDs will include explained sleeve notes explaining how the episodes came to be released.

Unfortunately though, according to comedy website Chortle the remaining two soundtracks may be too poor quality to ever get issued commercially.

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Hancock’s Half Hour Article/CD Releases Update

I have written an article about the recent discovery of soundtracks to six missing TV episodes of Hancock’s Half Hour for comedy website Chortle. You can read it by clicking here.

In addition to the forthcoming release of ‘The Flight of the Red Shadow’/’The Wrong Man’ in July – available for pre-order from the BBC Shop here – a second CD set containing the soundtracks to missing episodes ‘The Horror Serial’/’The Beauty Contest’ is scheduled to be released by BBC Audiobooks in November 2009.

Both CDs will feature restored versions of the soundtracks and especially-written sleeve notes.

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Lost TV Hancock Half Hours Get Audiobook Release

Soundtracks to two missing episodes of superlative 1950s sit-com Hancock’s Half Hour are set to be released on CD this summer.

The season four episodes – The Flight of the Red Shadow (tx 23/01/1959) and The Wrong Man (tx 06/03/1959) – are due to be released by BBC Audiobooks as a two-CD set on July 2, 2009,according to Amazon.

Like with many shows of the time, the master tapes to both episodes (written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson) were wiped by the BBC long ago, but fortunately fans recorded off-air audio copies.

These copies have been restored to make them as listenable as possible.

The recordings were recovered in December 2008 by the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society along with further season four episodes: Underpaid! Or, Grandad’s SOS; The Horror Serial; Matrimony Almost and The Beauty Contest.

In addition to series regulars Tony Hancock and Sid James, The Flight of the Red Shadow features Rolf Harris and small roles for series’ creators Galton and Simpson themselves. Alan Simpson also appears in The Wrong Man.

The forthcoming CD will include an explanded sleeve note explaining how the episodes came to be released.

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Missing Hancock’s Half Hour Discovered

Hancock Discovery

Hancock Discovery

Chris Perry of classic TV organisation Kaleidoscope has announced that the group has discovered a previously lost mini-episode of radio sitcom Hancock’s Half Hour.

The important find was made while sorting through reel-to-reel recordings that comprise part of the Bob Monkhouse collection. Monkhouse, who died in 2003, was an avid collector of film, TV and radio, and Kaleidoscope has been entrusted with cataloguing the vast collection.

The untitled episode, written by Hancock creators Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, runs to around seven and a half minutes and features all the regular cast: Tony Hancock, Sid James and Bill Kerr.

It was originally broadcast as part of Welcome to London, tx. 3rd August 1958 (BBC Light Programme), described by Alan Hayes, who has restored the programme, as a a ‘gala performance to celebrate the successful conclusion of the 1958 Commonwealth Games’. The Hancock mini-episode is on this subject.

What’s even more exciting is that the whole Welcome to London programme has been recovered and, as Alan explains on the Mausoleum Club forum, features other gems like a Take It From Here mini-episode, Frankie Howerd, the Much Binding in the Marsh cast and a sketch featuring Eric Sykes and Hattie Jacques.

The Hancock episode has now been added to the next Kaleidoscope event, scheduled for Saturday, March 7, 2009, from 12pm-7pm at Stourbridge Town Hall, Stourbridge, West Midlands. Entry is free and for a full schedule of the rare gems being shown, click here.

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