The World According To Hancock

The Arts

Some time back I wanted to write a book called ‘Everything I Know I Learned From Tony Hancock’, because the shows written by Galton & Simpson seemed to be filled with truthful (i.e. far from optimistic) lessons about life.

Hancock’s life has been picked over until there’s nothing left, but not quite true it turns out, because on January 29th at the National Film Theatre there’s an special event.

‘The Day Off’ is a legendary lost film of British cinema, written for Tony Hancock by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson. It’s apparently a funny, poignant comedy in which Hancock would have played a London bus driver on his day off. With just 24 hours of freedom, can he find happiness, purpose – even love? When he meets a bright young woman, Charlotte, it seems that he may have found all three. But he reckons without his greatest enemy: himself.

With Hancock at the peak of his talent, the film was set to be a hit. But he rejected the script, wanting a more international story. Hancock famously went to Hollywood and made a disastrous Disney film, and it was all downhill from there. A disappointed Galton and Simpson put the script in a filing cabinet. The NFT are presenting a reading of ‘The Day Off’ with a full cast, followed by an onstage interview with Galton & Simpson. There are still some tickets available here.

2 comments on “The World According To Hancock”

  1. Terenzio says:

    I thought Disney fired Tony for his excessive drinking and the role was recast with another actor……as far as going downhill, that can be attributed to his drinking which more than likely had an adverse effect not only on his personal relationships, but on his career as well – at least as far as decision making goes. It’s possible without the alcohol he might not have been as funny or not funny at all. I have always wondered what Tony Hancock, W.C. Fields and other comedians who drank a lot would have been like without the booze…would they have still been funny….

  2. Helen Martin says:

    WC Fields made a thing of being a drinker, but I wonder how much of a one he was and how much was an act. Hancock on the other hand didn’t make it part of his persona so it was more problem than anything else. I don’t know what effect those two approaches would have had on the two characters as opposed to the two performers.

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