Bob Monkhouse

Calling All Forces
  • Calling All Forces

    • Bob Monkhouse

    • Denis Goodwin

    • Bob Monkhouse (Read by)

    • Tony Hancock (Read by)

    • Kenneth Horne (Read by)

    • Cyril Fletcher (Read by)

    • Peter Sellers (Read by)

    • Ted Ray (Read by)

    • Leslie Welch (Read by)

    • Full Cast (Read by)

    A bumper collection of classic selected episodes and extracts from vintage variety show Calling All Forces

    Broadcasting on the BBC Light Programme from December 1950 until July 1952, 'Calling All Forces' was the biggest show of its day, attracting the biggest names of the time. Written by a young Bob Monkhouse and Denis Goodwin, it became a showcase for aspiring young comedians including Peter Sellers, Tony Hancock, Jimmy Edwards, Cyril Fletcher, Benny Hill, Kenneth Horne, Bill Kerr and Bob Monkhouse himself.

    Brilliantly hosted by comedian Ted Ray, the show features a mix of stand up comedy, music and sketches guest-starring well-known TV and film actors of the day. Peter Sellers tries out some early Goons characters, Tony Hancock steps in to co-host with Charlie Chester in the days before Hancock's Half Hour, and Bob Monkhouse steps on stage to perform some of his own material at the age of just 23. Sit back and enjoy musical hits from The Stargazers, songs performed by the 'Forces Sweetheart' Carole Carr, and amazing feats of recollection from 'The Memory Man' Leslie Welch as he answers sports questions sent in by British Forces stationed overseas. This rare collection offers a slice of post-war history, a window into pop culture in the British military forces of the time, and a fascinating look back at the early careers of our comedy greats.

    This uproarious compilation also includes two bonus episodes of Fletcher's Fare, plus two episodes of The Forces Show - the successor to Calling All Forces, also written by Bob Monkhouse and Denis Goodwin.

    Written by Bob Monkhouse and Denis Goodwin
    Linking material written by Martin Gibbons and read by Roy McMillan
    With thanks to the Estate of Bob Monkhouse, to the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society, and to Kaleidoscope for providing these audio recordings.

    Please note: due to the age of these recordings, the sound quality may vary.
    The humour in this programme reflects the era in which it was broadcast and may not reflect current attitudes.

    © 2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd
    (p) 2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

Bob Monkhouse was one of Britain's most enduring performers, with a career spanning more than half a century. His started his broadcasting career on radio in 1949, and worked as a stand-up comic - but hit the big time as a gag writer with partner, Denis Goodwin. They wrote jokes for the likes of Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Much of Monkhouse's later fame stemmed from game shows, hosting the likes of The Golden Shot, Celebrity Squares, Family Fortune, The $64,000 Question, Opportunity Knocks and more. He was also awarded the OBE in 1993, and in 1995 he won a lifetime achievement award at the British Comedy Awards. He died after losing his battle with cancer in December 2003.

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