The Navy Lark: Series 10 and 11

The Navy Lark: Series 10 and 11

The Classic BBC Radio Sitcom


The tenth and eleventh series of the side-splitting Senior Service spoof

Left hand down a bit! The clueless crew of HMS Troutbridge have returned to port after months at sea, and are soon getting into more hilarious scrapes...

Included here are the complete Series Ten and Eleven of the fondly-remembered show, remastered and restored for your listening pleasure. In these 34 vintage episodes, Troutbridge is assigned a new Captain, the seasick Commander Trotter; Povey prepares for a visit from Prime Minister Harold Wilson; the ship is hijacked by Forbodian spies; and Murray is promoted - and gets hitched to the Admiral's daughter...

With a starring cast of Stephen Murray, Leslie Phillips and Jon Pertwee, ably supported by Richard Caldicot, Heather Chasen, Tenniel Evans and Michael Bates, The Navy Lark remains buoyant after all these years.

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 and Tenniel Evans
With Lawrie Wyman, Nigel Graham, Alan Reeve-Jones, Amanda Murray, Elizabeth Morgan and Frank Thornton

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 Radio 2 on the following dates:

Series 10
Troutbridge Electrifies Portsmouth 13 October 1968
The Redundancy Drive 20 October 1968
The Smugglers Return 27 October 1968
Commander Trotter Takes Charge 3 November 1968
The Anti-Submarine Missile 10 November 1968
Sub-Conductor Phillips 17 November 1968
The South Kawowan Summit 24 November 1968
Pertwee's Enlistment Expires 1 December 1968
Captain Povey Takes Over 8 December 1968
Sir Willoughby Goes to Kawowa 15 December 1968
The Padre's Birthday 22 December 1968
The Portsmouth Kiosk 29 December 1968
The Radio Beacon 5 January 1969
Mr Phillips' Wrong Uniform 12 January 1969
Harold Wilson Reviews the Fleet 19 January 1969
The Relief of the Weather Ship 26 January 1969
Bunging Up 2 February 1969
The Brick Smugglers 9 February 1969

Series 11
Commander Murray and the Squatters 28 December 1969
What is the SSE? 4 January 1970
Pertwee Climbs Up the Promotion Ladder 11 January 1970
Stranded 18 January 1970
Sir Willoughby's Party 25 January 1970
The Fleet Initiative Test 1 February 1970
CPO Pertwee's Long Service Medal 8 February 1970
The Phenomenal Pertwee Tug 15 February 1970
The Security Clampdown 22 February 1970
The Anniversary and the Washing 1 March 1970
The Forbodians Hijack Troutbridge 8 March 1970
Number One Gets Married 15 March 1970
The Honeymooners Return 22 March 1970
CPO Pertwee and the Lead Half Crowns 29 March 1970
Sub Lt Phillips to Leave for Dartmouth 5 April 1970
The Mark 31 Radar 12 April 1970

© 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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