Navy Lark, The  Volume 23 - A Fishy Business

Navy Lark, The Volume 23 - A Fishy Business

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Summary

Jon Pertwee, Leslie Phillips, Stephen Murray and Ronnie Barker star in four classic radio episodes. 'Steamship Day'/Charitably Taking Part' (2 October 1966): It's the annual charity event, Steamship Day, and CPO Pertwee offers to supply the fireworks. But they look remarkably similar to Troutbridge's distress flares... 'A Fishy Business'/'Frying Up' (5 November 1967): CPO Pertwee's latest plan is to open up a fish and ship shop on Nunkie's tug. But why does using depth charges get him his supply of fish? 'Troutbridge in Quarantine''/Have Been Painting Pink Spots' (12 November 1967): In the last episode of the ninth series, the Admiral wants Troutbridge repainted so it looks smart for a NATO exercise. But Pertwee's just sold all the paint in order to clear his bar bill... 'Troutbridge Electrifies Portsmouth'/'Lighting Up' (13 October 1968): In the first episode of the tenth series, Troutbridge returns to port after months away. But Mr Phillips has upset the dockyard electricians. Also featuring Richard Caldicot, Heather Chasen, Tenniel Evans and Michael Bates.

Reviews

  • highly entertaining with classic comedic performances from Leslie Phillips, Jon Pertwee and Ronnie Barker
    Andy Howells, https://suite.io/andy-howells

About the authors

Lawrie Wyman

The Navy Lark is the second longest-running comedy in British radio history (the topical Friday night show, Week Ending, which ran from 1970 to 1998, is currently the longest). In 1958, writer Laurie Wyman announced that he wanted to build a series around talented comic actor Jon Pertwee. Having secured Pertwee as the lead, he looked for other main characters and is quoted in the Radio Times as saying 'I felt we needed an idiot, and there was no one better at playing idiots than Leslie Phillips - so we got him.' The first episode of the series went out on 29 March 1959 and, from the start, the light-hearted and affectionate spoof on the Senior Service won many fans - some of the highest order! On the occasion of the show's 21st anniversary, for example, the crew were asked by WRNS to put on a special performance. They duly obliged, and in the audience that night at the Royal Festival Hall was Her Royal Highness the Queen Mother. Sir Charles Lambe, who was the first Sea Lord at the time, had also visited the studio during rehearsal. The crew of HMS Troutbridge were a motley bunch: Jon Pertwee, who actually served in the Navy during the Second World War, played the conniving Petty Officer and was established as a household favourite by the series. Leslie Phillips was the vague chinless wonder Sub-Lieutenant. His parrot cry of 'left hand down a bit' has passed into A Dictionary of Catch Phrases, whose author Eric Partridge writes 'within two years, it was a standard piece of Navalese'. The young Ronnie Barker (long before attaining fame as a television comedy actor) also appeared in the series, playing two parts: (Un)Able Seaman Fatso Johnson and Lieutenant-Commander Stanton. The Navy Lark gripped the nation for the best part of twenty years. Its signature tune, composed by Tommy Reilly and James Moody, was the jaunty Trade Wind Hornpipe and did much to contribute to the popularity of the series. The key to the show's popularity, though, was its irreverent but essentially gentle humour and, most of all, the many-voiced talents of its stars. As Leslie Phillips remarked in 1987, 'I caused more damage to Naval property than the Navy had done in two world wars'. The final episode was broadcast on 18 January 1976. However, the crew all jumped on board one last time for a Jubilee Special on 16 July 1977.
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George Evans

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