Michael Wale

The Betty Witherspoon Show

The Betty Witherspoon Show

Classic BBC Radio Comedy


The complete series of the vintage BBC Radio variety show

Radio legends Kenneth Williams (Beyond Our Ken, Hancock’s Half Hour) and Ted Ray (Ray’s a Laugh) join forces for this quickfire mix of characters, songs and sketches, first broadcast on Radio 2 in 1974. Accompanied by Quote… Unquote’s Nigel Rees and veteran actress/comedian Miriam Margolyes, they cross their comedy swords and trade playful repartee.

In these ten episodes, recorded in front of a live audience at the Paris Theatre, Ted Ray demonstrates his virtuosity on the violin; documentary feature ‘Witherspoon’s World’ explores topics including medicine, the arts, Europe and the younger generation; and Inspector Spewles of Scotland Yard’s Intelligence Unit gets flirty, sweetie, with a public information bulletin that’s full of honeyed words.

Plus, the ‘Theatre of the Air’ troupe make merry at the court of Henry VIII, take a rollicking trip through Rasputin’s Russia and give us their comic take on classic literature: from A Tale of Two Cities to Wuthering Heights, Anthony and Cleopatra and Romeo and Juliet. There’s also a host of groan-inducing gags and humorous tunes, including ‘The Type of Horrible Cockney Song that Killed the Music Hall’ and ‘Why Don’t They Write Songs About Runcorn?’

None of the shows were kept by the BBC archive, but thanks to the ‘Treasure Hunt’ campaign, they were all recovered, and are collected here for you to enjoy once more. Happy days!

NB: Contains dated humour and language that reflect the era in which these programmes were recorded, which some listeners may find offensive. Due to the age and off-air nature of the recordings, the quality may vary.

Production credits
Starring Ted Ray and Kenneth Williams
With Miriam Margolyes and Nigel Rees
Written by Michael Wale and Joe Steeples
With additional material by Derek Farmer, Ray Lowrie, Fred Metcalfe, David Renwick, Keith Williams, Chris Miller, Peter Spence, Chris Allen, David McKellar, Tom Magee Englefield, David Nobbs and Peter Vincent
Music by Neil Innes
Produced by Simon Brett

First broadcast on BBC Radio 2, 20 April-22 June 1974

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