Five New H-H-Half Hours


Tony Hancock

BBC Radio 4 is to recreate lost episodes of 1950s radio sitcom Hancock’s Half Hour, with a new cast including Pirates of the Caribbean actor Kevin McNally in the title role originally taken by the late Tony Hancock.

The Missing Hancocks will consist of five of the 20 episodes missing from the BBC archives. They are to be broadcast in November to mark the 60th anniversary of the show’s first transmission. It would be nice to think they’ll do all of the missing episodes, to make up for having wiped them in the first place.

Oh, and the event is fully booked – I already tried to get tickets. Rats.

The missing Hancock film, ‘The Day Off’, which the comic turned down, and by doing so ruined his career, was restaged by the BFI, and there’s a clip here followed by some lovely observations by Galton & Simpson.

7 comments on “Five New H-H-Half Hours”

  1. Helen Martin says:

    Will he try to match Tony Hancock’s voice? or just perform it, I wonder. Loved Hancock on radio and on tv. Don’t want to think about the number of years ago.

  2. Vivienne says:

    Hancock really did just seem to be living those Half Hours. Not sure that anyone else could pull that off.

  3. Keith Page says:

    To my mind the various theatrical impersonations over the years have never really come off.Even excellent actors can’t seem to achieve it; not sure why, really.

  4. Joel Kosminsky says:

    I went to last night’s recording at Broadcasting House and it was bloody brilliant!

    Ray Galton and Alan Simpson were in the audience and got a standing ovation when they were introduced by actor/rare book dealer Neil Pearson, who discovered the scripts, found they were not in the Sound Archive and persuaded via lunch with Galton and Simpson – “I’ll repeat that,” he said, almost drooling with joy, ” – I had lunch with Galton and Simpson.” We got it… We’d have drooled over that too.

    The script was described to the audience as most of us were the right age to know the setting but maybe too young to understand some of the contemporary 1953/4 references (won’t spoil them for you), and when delivered got a more knowing laugh than maybe they would have in the original recording. I’m in my early 60s and I was far from the youngest person present, but the fashion trend last night was definitely wider partings for the males.

    The actors’ voices were pretty good – they obviously can’t be the real thing so a small layer of belief was absent, but not to spoil the evening. The script held up extremely well, and it’s the first of five; broadcasts are later this year (no dates given), and the sig’ tune is being re-recorded in full. Last night’s event was ‘topped’ and ‘tailed’ by original opening and closing credit sequences, which will be replaced by the new bits later.

    Wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

    Now, how about some Goon Show re-recordings?

  5. Helen Martin says:

    No! Do not re-record the Goons. I’m so glad the Hancock one was good, sounds like a wonderful evening.

  6. pheeny says:

    A small thing but I always loved the pause he made in his announcement of “Hhh – ancocks half hour”

  7. Helen Martin says:

    It felt as if he were about to die of asphyxiation, but got in a gasp and continued. I saw it as an arc over the space. Right, I _saw_ it. I never realized till now that there was a visual for that audio in my mind.

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