The Navy Lark: Series 14 and 15

The Navy Lark: Series 14 and 15

The Classic BBC Radio Sitcom


The final two series of the fondly remembered comedy - plus the Silver Jubilee Special and the 2008 reunion show

It's all aboard for more entertaining escapades, as the classic comedy sets sail for its last two series. Included here are all 24 episodes from Series Fourteen and Fifteen, starring Leslie Phillips, Jon Pertwee and Stephen Murray.

In these hilarious shows, HMS Troutbridge joins a flotilla travelling round the world on a Navy goodwill mission - but en route, the crew are ensnared in the revolutionary plans of El Godmother and the Raffia, and come up against The Master and his female associate The Mistress. They also have an explosive encounter with a talpinium shell, attempt to get to grips with NANA, and form their own lobby group, An Officer and a Gentleman's Liberation Movement...

Also included is 1977's The Jubilee Navy Lark and The Reunion, in which presenter Sue McGregor interviews some of the stars of the seafaring show, including June Whitfield, Leslie Phillips, George Evans, Heather Chasen and Tenniel Evans.

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 and George Evans
Produced by Alastair Scott Johnston
Starring: Leslie Phillips, Jon Pertwee, Stephen Murray, Richard Caldicot, Michael Bates, Heather Chasen and Tenniel Evans
With Miriam Margolyes, Chic Murray, Elizabeth Morgan, June Whitfield, Gretta Gouriet, April Walker, Pete 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 Radio 2 on the following dates:

Series 14
The Montezula Revolution 29 July 1973
The Island Swordfish 5 August 1973
Bunged in the Battle 12 August 1973
Kangaroo Polka 19 August 1973
The Digital Isles Go Unstable 26 August 1973
Egbert Hitches a Ride 2 September 1973
Povey - An Admiral at Last 9 September 1973
The Bergholm Horse Trials 16 September 1973
Captain Povey's Wig 23 September 1973
The Brain Pill 30 September 1973
Operation Showcase 7 October 1973
CPO Pertwee - Yachtmonger 14 October 1973
The Talpinium Shell 21 October 1973

Series 15
Sequel to The Talpinium Shell 9 November 1975
NANA 16 November 1975
Helen, The New Wren 23 November 1975
Relief for Station 150 30 November 1975
Black is Beautiful 7 December 1975
Sidney and the Stamp 14 December 1975
Commander Murray Becomes a Showjumper 21 December 1975
Horrible Horace 28 December 1975
Officers and Gents' Lib 4 January 1976
The Case of the HGM Mark 5 11 January 1976
Captain Wilberforce Pertwee 18 January 1976

The Jubilee Navy Lark 16 July 1977

The Navy Lark: The Reunion 31 August 2008
Presented by Sue McGregor
With June Whitfield, Leslie Phillips, George Evans, Heather Chasen and Tenniel Evans

© 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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