Ray Galton

Hancock’s Half Hour: The Marriage Bureau

Hancock’s Half Hour: The Marriage Bureau

A lost episode of the classic radio comedy & more


The first ever publication of a long-lost episode of Hancock's Half Hour, featuring Peter Sellers - plus bonus material

Legendary sitcom Hancock's Half Hour ran for 102 episodes on BBC Radio between 1954 and 1959. Over 20 shows were subsequently lost - but now one of the funniest and most sought-after, 'The Marriage Bureau', has been rediscovered. The penultimate episode of Series 1, it features a unique appearance from Peter Sellers, standing in for Kenneth Williams. Available for the first time since its original broadcast in 1955, it sees Hancock looking for a job - and a wife...

Alongside it is a fascinating documentary, Raiders of the Lost Archive, in which Keith Wickham - the Indiana Jones of archiving - and fellow treasure-hunters discuss the thrilling, complex work of locating and restoring missing radio classics. Plus, there's a surviving extract from the lost Hancock's Half Hour episode, 'The New Year Resolutions', and a previously unreleased documentary, H-H-H-Happy Birthday Hancock, in which Andrew Sachs presents an affectionate tribute to The Lad Himself with contributions from Denis Norden, Ray Galton, Alan Simpson, John Freeman and Sid James.

Hancock's Half Hour written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson
Produced by Dennis Main Wilson
Thanks to Tessa Le Bars, Martin Gibbons, Keith Wickham, Richard Harrison, the Radio Circle and the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society.

'The Marriage Bureau'
Starring Tony Hancock, Bill Kerr, Moira Lister, Sidney James and Peter Sellers
Announcer: Adrian Waller
Theme and incidental music composed by Wally Stott. Recorded by the BBC Revue Orchestra conducted by Harry Rabinowitz
Sound restoration by Keith Wickham
First broadcast BBC Light Programme, 8 February 1955

Raiders of the Lost Archive
Presented by Keith Wickham
Written and edited by Keith Wickham and James Peak
With special thanks to the Radio Circle, Richard Harrison, Roger Bickerton, Mark Ayres, Steve Arnold, Tom Hercock, Hannah Ratford and all at BBC Archives in Caversham
Produced by James Peak
An Essential Radio production for BBC Radio 4
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 13 October 2022

Extract from 'The New Year Resolutions'
Starring Tony Hancock, Bill Kerr, Sidney James and Kenneth Williams
Sound restoration by Jon Street
First broadcast BBC Light Programme, 4 January 1956
NB: Due to the age and off-air nature of this recording, the sound quality may vary

H-H-H Happy Birthday Hancock
Presented by Andrew Sachs
With contributions from Denis Norden, Ray Galton, Alan Simpson, John Freeman and Sid James, and excerpts from Hancock's Half Hour
Produced by Richard Edis
First broadcast BBC Radio 2, 11 May 1999

©2023 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2023 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

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