Beyond Our Ken: The Collected Series 1-4

Beyond Our Ken: The Collected Series 1-4

The BBC Radio classic comedy series


All 60 surviving episodes from the first four series of the fabulous forerunner to Round the Horne - plus bonus programme Forty Laughing Years

An irresistible mix of of sketches, songs, puns and double entendres, Beyond Our Ken kept the nation laughing over seven series and 123 episodes between 1958 and 1964.

With its witty wordplay, zany humour and comic catchphrases, it remains every bit as hilarious and entertaining today. Featuring larger-than-life characters like Rodney and Charles, roving reporter Cecil Snaith and doddery duo Ambrose and Felicity - not to mention avuncular host Kenneth Horne himself - this 'sort of radio show' is full of classic comedy moments.

All your favourites are here in these 60 episodes, including spoof documentary series 'Hornerama', with its regular investigations into 'topics of immediate interest' such as showbusiness, shipping, photography, food, the City - and many more. There's also a wealth of surprising, surreal incidents from Kenneth Horne's week, the latest film releases in 'Picture Go Round', and a unique take on Any Questions, with panellists Hankie Flowered, Ricky Livid, Fanny Haddock and Arthur Fallowfield. Musical interludes are provided by a host of top artistes, among them Pat Lancaster, Janet Waters, The Malcolm Mitchell Trio, The Fraser Hayes Four and the BBC Variety Orchestra.

Scripted by Eric Merriman and Barry Took, these much-loved shows star Kenneth Horne, Kenneth Williams, Hugh Paddick, Betty Marsden and Bill Pertwee.

Episode guide
First broadcast on BBC Light Programme on the following dates:
Series 1 - 1 July-12 November 1958
Series 2 - 26 March-21 December 1959
Series 3 - 5 April-15 July 1960
Series 4 - 20 October 1960-2 March 1961
Bonus programme: Forty Laughing Years, 12 November 1962

The following episodes are missing from the BBC archives and therefore not included in this release:
Series 1: Episodes 6, 10-13, 17, 21 and 22
Series 2: Episodes 1, 4, 7, 9, 15, 16 and 19
Series 4: Episode 12

Episodes restored and remastered by Ted Kendall.

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

About the authors

Eric Merriman

Learn More

Barry Took

Barry Took was born in London in 1928. An early career as a stand-up comedian and sketch writer led to his first radio script credit, for Beyond Our Ken. From there he went on to create Round the Horne with Marty Feldman, whilst on television he wrote for series including Bootsie and Snudge and The Army Game. Amongst a variety of later jobs in front of and behind the camera, Took wrote and presented Points of View on BBC1 and also chaired BBC radio’s The News Quiz. He wrote a number of books, including The Complete and Utter History of Round the Horne and his autobiography A Point of View. He died in 2002.
Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more