Alan Simpson

Hancock's Half Hour Collectibles: Volume 4
  • Hancock's Half Hour Collectibles: Volume 4

  • A fascinating collection of rare and remastered radio & TV material starring Tony Hancock

    In this fourth treasury of rare archive material, our irrepressible hero forms an association to save Fred’s Pie Stall, in a newly restored 1959 radio episode of Hancock’s Half Hour. From the BBC TV series comes The Italian Maid (1959) in which Tony and Sid are bowled over by the lovely Silvano.

    Two 1952 editions of Calling All Forces line up alongside a 1953 edition of Star Bill, and an extract from The National Radio Awards 1951 features Hancock in a rare Educating Archie sketch.

    In Hancock’s Helpers, from 2004, Russell Davies looks at Tony Hancock’s on-air and off-air relationship with his co-stars, whilst a 2009 edition of Great Lives examines the legacy of the lad ‘imself. Hancock and Son, from 1998, traces the writing partnership of Galton & Simpson.

    In Briers on Hancock (1984) Richard Briers presents an affectionate tribute to Tony’s memory, with contributions from Dennis Main Wilson, Denis Norden, George Fairweather, Ray Galton, Alan Simpson, John Lloyd, John Freeman, Sid James and Bill Kerr.

    Also included in this treasury are interviews with Paul Merton, Roger Wilmut and Freddie Hancock, who all talk about the life and career of Tony Hancock. A bonus PDF booklet looks at each item in the context
    of Hancock’s broadcasting career, with insights into how many of these lost or rare items were discovered.

    Marking the legacy of one of our greatest comedy entertainers, this collection is a must for fans of Tony Hancock and Hancock’s Half Hour.

    Produced by Tom Ronald
    A BBC Studios production

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 for ITV.

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