The Navy Lark: Series 8 and 9

The Navy Lark: Series 8 and 9

The Classic BBC Radio Sitcom


The eighth and ninth series of the vintage comedy about life aboard a Royal Navy frigate

There's more fun on the ocean waves in these 33 hilarious episodes, as the hapless Captain Povey and his reluctant subordinates are caught up in more comic capers.

Contained here are the complete Series Eight and Nine of the popular show, which sees Murray courting Heather, Phillips pursuing the new Wren and Pertwee planning some special commemorative gifts for Troutbridge's 25th anniversary. Plus, the crew embark on a top secret mission, participate in a joint forces exercise and prepare to take two VIPs from The Embassy Lark to Tratvia for a trade festival.

All at sea in the Senior Service are Leslie Phillips, Jon Pertwee, Stephen Murray and a supporting cast including Ronnie Barker, Tenniel Evans. Richard Caldicot, Michael Bates and Heather Chasen. Among the guest stars are Derek Francis, Frank Thornton and Amanda Murray.

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 and Tenniel Evans
With Derek Francis, Frank Thornton and Amanda Murray

Remastered by Ted Kendall
Thanks to Keith Wickham

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

Episode guide

First broadcast on BBC Light Programme on the following dates:

Series 8
Where is Troutbridge? 4 September 1966
The Float a Peddle Fiddle 11 September 1966
A Sticky Business 18 September 1966
Buoys Will Be Buoys 25 September 1966
Steamship Day 2 October 1966
Farewell to HMS Varsity 9 October 1966
The Army Lark 16 October 1966
Just the Ticket 23 October 1966
Mr Phillips' Promotion 30 October 1966
Pertwee and the Tratvian Beer 6 November 1966
The PM Papa 13 November 1966
Getting Rid of Pertwee 20 November 1966
Off to Sea at Last 27 November 1966

Series 9
Back from the Antarctic 2 July 1967
Fishing off the Faroes 9 July 1967
A Filthy Ferryboat 16 July 1967
Jigsaws and Jemmies 23 July 1967
The Naval Review 30 July 1967
The Curious Caravan Case 6 August 1967
Frenchmen in J.41 13 August 1967
The Police Drop In 20 August 1967
Mr Murray's Endurance Course 27 August 1967
Women in the Wardroom 27 August 1967
Troutbridge's Silver Jubilee Party 10 September 1967
CECIL the Navigation Computer 17 September 1967
A Russian Rendezvous 24 September 1967
The Bugged and Burgled Beer 1 October 1967
Picking up the Poppadom 8 October 1967
Cuthbert Joins the Navy 15 October 1967
The Flying Machine 22 October 1967
When Sub Lt Phillips was at Dartmouth 29 October 1967
A Fishy Business 5 November 1967
Troutbridge in Quarantine 12 November 1967

© 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.
Learn More

Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter

For the latest books, recommendations, author interviews and more