The Navy Lark: Series 3, 4 and 5

The Navy Lark: Series 3, 4 and 5

The Classic BBC Radio Sitcom, Plus Episodes From The TV Lark


The third, fourth and fifth series of the nautical comedy, plus Christmas Special and The TV Lark

The Navy Lark gang are back for more seafaring shenanigans…
Collected here are the complete Series 3, 4 and 5 of the much-loved show, including the long-lost episode ‘The Cornish Exercise’. Also featured is the Christmas Special ‘Calling the Antarctic’. Plus, Troutbridge’s crew drop anchor at a television studio in all nine existing episodes of spin-off series The TV Lark.
NB: Some of the language on this recording reflects the era in which it was first broadcast, and due to the age of the source material, the sound quality may vary.

Production credits
Scripted by Lawrie Wyman
Produced by Alastair Scott Johnston
Starring: Leslie Phillips, Jon Pertwee, Stephen Murray, Richard Caldicot, Michael Bates, Heather Chasen, Ronnie Barker, Tenniel Evans, Judy Cornwell, Janet Brown and Robin Boyle
With Richard Murdoch, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Ted Ray, Kenneth Horne, Betty Marsden, Kenneth Williams, June Tobin, Lawrie Wyman and Dennis Price

Remastered by Ted Kendall
Thanks to Andrew Pixley
Note: none of the episodes were originally given titles. The ones here have been adopted for easy reference and are in line with previous commercial releases
For more information on the programme, contact:
The Navy Lark Appreciation Society
Honeysuckle Cottage
Little Street

Series 3 (2 Nov 1960 to 15 Mar 1961)
In Portsmouth for a Re-Fit
Refitting Ebeneezer Pertwee
Sea Trials of the Poppadom
Mutiny Aboard Troutbridge
The Exploding Biscuits
Sir Willoughby Takes Over the Island
Mount Rumpus Atoll
The 50th Show: Mr Murray's Houseboat
Johnson's Birthday
Povey's Unexpected Leave, also known as Povey’s Enforced Leave
Families' Day
Falmouth Ghost Ship
Onabushkan Flu
The Efficiency Expert
The Floggle Grummit Missile
The Hitch-Hiking Counterfeiter
Commodore Goldstein
Mr Phillips Has Navigation Tuition
CPO Pertwee and the Laundry
The Surprise Wedding

Series 4 (15 Sep 1961 to 9 Mar 1962)
Returning from Leave
Captain Povey's Spy
The Secret of Nessie's Youth
The Northampton Hunt Ball
Admiral Troutbridge
Relatives and Reservations
Humgrummits on the High Seas
Are Captain and Mrs Povey Married?
Cine Cameras at Sea
The Citizen Adjustment Course
A Hole Lieutenant
Spy Catching in Casablanca
Mount Pot Erupts
Captain Povey's Shop
Leading Seaman Goldstein's Party
The Invitation
The Cornish Exercise
A Strange Hobby
Mr Phillips Get Engaged
The Sinking of the Bubble Car
Long Jonathan Pertwee
The Admiral's Accident Report
Over the Sea to Rosyth
The Return of Sir Frederick Flatley
The Ship's Concert

Christmas Special (25 Dec 1962)
Calling the Antarctic

The TV Lark (25 Jan 1963 to 29 Mar 1963)
Opening Night
The Prestige Show
Z Ambulances
House of Commons
Back to Portsmouth
On Safari
Ship Ahoy!
The Potarneyland Election
Back in the Navy

Series 5 (5 Apr 1962 to 10 May 1963)
First Day out of Dock
The New Barmaid
A Deliberate Bashing
Whittlesea Regatta
HMS Troutbridge Gets a Rocket
The Ghost Ship

© 2024 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd. (P) 2024 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

About the author

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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