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The Hancock Festival

So, who here knew that Galton and Simpson were still alive? because until last night, I'd have guessed not. But I am getting ahead of myself.

I applied for and got tickets to a recording of The Missing Hancocks, episodes of Hancock's Half Hour whose original recordings no longer exist and which have not been heard since the mid-1950s. I asked fellow radio comedy lover klepsydra if she'd like to be my plus one, and she accepted with delight.

The evening was introduced by Neil Pearson, actor, rare book dealer and now radio producer ("You wear your own clothes, eat buns, and tell people what to do. Apparently I'm a natural"). He filled us in on the events leading to the production of the series, briefed us on names from popular culture we would have found hilarious in 1954, then asked Galton and Simpson, who had been hiding in plain sight among the audience, to stand up. This they did, a little shakily, to wild applause.

What followed was a script, The Hancock Festival, we were guaranteed not to have heard unless we were in and listening to the radio around half past nine in the evening on Tuesday, November 30th, 1954. I won't spoil it, but do listen out later in the year. The cast was very good, especially the chap who doubled up as Aussie Bill and the BBC Light Programme announcer; the Sid James substitute also did the laugh rather well.

As I said to Kleps while we drank coffee in the Regent Street Starbucks, watching the world go by and looking forward to our evening of free entertainment: this is the sort of thing I dreamed of when I moved to London.


I knew they were alive! Better writers than Pinter, as I never tire of saying.

I'm consumed with jealousy. 1954 was too early for me to be listening to Hancock.

Did they use the old intro? Da da da dada, dada dada, da diddy dee diddy dee ...
They did! It's going to be re-recorded by the BBC orchestra for the broadcast, but they haven't done it yet, so we got a tape.

Perfect icon!
I'd love to say I'll be looking forward to it, as I will be, but I also know I'll forget about it until months have passed by, and the show's long since washed away from iPlayer's sunny shores. ^_^;

(I wonder if there's a good PVR front-end for get_iplayer - one I could simply add the show to, with no idea when it'll broadcast, and let it take care of checking..)

Mm, rents may be vicious in cities like London and San Francisco, but.. there are reasons people are willing to tolerate such financial inconvenience. =:D
Ha, I'll probably miss it too, unless I catch a trailer (I mostly listen to 4Xtra these days, but they might well trail this when they broadcast one of the classic episodes).

You may well have seen this, but just in case you haven't....
Yep, that's the one! What we heard will be the first of the episodes to be broadcast.
Back in around 1992, Tony Shreeves and I wrote and recorded Anthony's Song (The Soft Hours of Sadness), a tribute to Tony Hancock.
After being approved by Galton and Simpson, it was adopted by THAS (The Tony Hancock Appreciation Society) as their official tribute song.
I never heard it played on the radio, but the actual CD appeared on the telly during a documentary about the great man :)

Wow, kudos - and that's a lovely title!