Kevin McNally and Andy Secombe star in new recordings of original Hancock's Half Hour scripts by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson.
Between 1954 and 1959, BBC Radio recorded 102 episodes of the hugely popular comedy classic, Hancock's Half Hour. The first modern sitcom, Hancock's Half Hour made stars of Tony Hancock, Sid James and Kenneth Williams, and launched Ray Galton and Alan Simpson as one of the most successful comedy-writing partnerships in history.
Sadly, 22 episodes of the show went missing from the BBC archives, and have not been heard since their original transmission nearly 60 years ago - until Radio 4 lovingly recreated them over four highly-acclaimed series between 2014 and 2020. In a special treat for Hancock fans, Series 4 also premiered one episode - The Counterfeiter - that was never recorded by the original team.
Complete with the classic score performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra, these hilarious episodes were recorded at the BBC Radio Theatre in front of a live audience. Kevin McNally stars as The Lad Himself, with Andy Secombe playing the role of his father Harry and a stellar cast including Simon Greenall, Kevin Eldon, Robin Sebastian, Margaret Cabourn-Smith and Susy Kane.
Also featured is a bonus Director's Commentary for The Matador, in which Andy Hamilton chats to Kevin McNally and co-producer Neil Pearson about the joys, and challenges, of recreating a 1950s sitcom. In addition, we hear Kevin McNally and Robin Sebastian's riotous performance of 'The Test Pilot' sketch at the 2018 RAF centenary gala at the Royal Albert Hall, and the interview they gave afterwards.
The episodes included in this collection are:
The Hancock Festival
The Breakfast Cereal
The New Neighbour
How Hancock Won the War
The Red Planet
The Marriage Bureau
A Visit to Russia
The Trial of Father Christmas
A Holiday in France
The Crown Jewels
A Visit to Swansea
The Three Sons
The Winter Holiday
Department Store Santa
The Diamond Ring
Prime Minister Hancock
Christmas at Aldershot
The Christmas Eve Party
The New Year Resolutions
Written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson
Produced by Ed Morrish, Neil Pearson, Paul Sheehan and Hayley Sterling
Music composed by Wally Stott, and performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Levon Parikian
Thanks to Tessa Le Bars
A BBC Studios Production
Originally broadcast on the BBC Light Programme between 1954 and 1959
Recreated for broadcast by BBC Radio Comedy for BBC Radio 4, 31 October-28 November 2014 (Series 1), 23 November-21 December 2015 (Series 2), 14 March-11 April 2017 (Series 3), 6 December 2018-31 December 2020 (Series 4)
Tony Hancock - Kevin McNally
Bill Kerr - Kevin Eldon
Sid James - Simon Greenall
Kenneth Williams - Robin Sebastian
Andree Melly - Susy Kane
Moira Lister - Margaret Cabourn-Smith
Harry Secombe - Andy Secombe
Featuring Andy Hamilton, Kevin McNally and Neil Pearson
'The Test Pilot' sketch
Performed by Kevin McNally and Tim Sebastian as part of the RAF 100 Gala, first broadcast BBC Radio 2, 6 April 2018 and presented by Ken Bruce
All four series of the BBC Radio 4 comedy impressions show following the imagined private lives of the rich and powerful
The Secret World is an impressions show with a difference – it shines a light on the imaginary alternative lives of famous folk. Each episode takes place over one day, with stories unfolding and overlapping from morning to night.
In these 22 episodes, we hear about the bizarre habits of celebrities from Lady Gaga to Keith Harris and Orville. Al Pacino reveals his alternative life as a balloon twister, Barack Obama becomes a Pearly King; Professor Brian Cox finds himself stalked by various women, including the Queen; and the Archbishop of Canterbury tries Tweeting for the first time – with disastrous results.
We also find out what Sean Connery, Griff Rhys Jones, Pam Ayres, Kirsty Young and Peter Sallis have in common (they all enjoy nothing more than meeting up for a spot of bare-knuckle fighting), discover Princess Anne’s secret passion for trainspotting, and learn about Russell Crowe’s strange fixation with sprouts. And there are sinister revelations about Alan Titchmarsh’s dark side when his career is threatened...
Winner of the Gold Award for Best Comedy at the 2014 Radio Academy Awards, this richly imaginative satirical comedy stars Dead Ringers alumni Jon Culshaw, Lewis MacLeod, Duncan Wisbey and Debra Stephenson, as well as acclaimed comedy performers Margaret Cabourn-Smith, Julian Dutton, Sarah Hadland and Jess Robinson.
We also peer into the lives of Al Pacino, Miranda Hart, Prince Charles, Lady Gaga and the Queen, to name a few.
The cast are:
Jon Culshaw, Lewis MacLeod, Duncan Wisbey, Margaret Cabourn Smith, Julian Dutton, Sarah Hadland, Jess Robinson and Debrea Stephenson
Detective Sergeant Nick Mohammed’s file:
Likes: solving crimes
Dislikes: The Shard
Previous criminal convictions: stealing bulldog clips off old case files
Number of arrests: 12 billion
Call 999! Detective Sergeant Nick Mohammed attempts to tackle a series of crimes, assisted by long-suffering sergeants Anna Crilly (Lead Balloon, Anna & Katy) and Colin Hoult (Life's Too Short, Russell Howard's Good News), who aid and abet him in everything he does. Never have serious crimes been made more entertaining, whilst remaining utterly, utterly tasteful!
Set at Tilford Road Police Station, Nick and co. must attempt to fathom who killed the man with the missing head, tackle a full-on student protest, and solve something akin to that bank heist at the start of The Dark Knight. The second series of this critically-acclaimed comedy sees Detective Sergeant Nick Mohammed discovering a forgery ring, testifying in court and on the trail of a fugitive.
'Delightfully bonkers!' The Guardian
Written by Nick Mohammed
Produced by Victoria Lloyd
Starring Nick Mohammed, Colin Hoult and Anna Crilly, with Margaret Cabourn-Smith and Wil Andrews
Nick Mohammed is the creator of new Sky One comedy Intelligence, in which he stars alongside David Schwimmer, and he is the voice of Piglet in the live-action film Christopher Robin. He played the lead role in Sky One’s comedy series Gates, and features in Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s comedy Life’s Too Short on BBC Two. He also featured in BBC One’s Reggie Perrin and starred in BBC Three comedies The King Is Dead and How Not to Live Your Life, BBC Two’s Pete & Dud: The Lost Sketches and Miranda and CBBC’s triple-BAFTA-nominated sketch show Sorry, I’ve Got No Head for CBBC.
Even the longest marriages have their secrets . . .
Jack Chalmers is a man of few words, married to a woman of many. He and Bet have been together for seventy years - almost a lifetime - and happily so, for the most part.
All Jack and Bet want is to enjoy the time they have left together, in the flat they have tried to make their home. Their son Tommy has other ideas: he wants them to live somewhere with round-the-clock care, hot meals, activities. Bet thinks they can manage just fine.
When they strike up an unlikely friendship with Marinela, a young Romanian woman, Bet thinks she has found the perfect solution - one that could change Marinela's life as well as theirs. But this means revisiting an old love affair, and confronting a long-buried secret she has kept hidden from everyone, even Jack, for many years.
Tender, moving and beautifully told, Sarah Butler's Jack & Bet is an unforgettable novel about love and loss, the joys and regrets of a long marriage, and the struggle to find a place to call home.
Welcome to Bigipedia - the omniscient friend you know from your computer and laser watch takes over your PC for 30 minutes in a unique experiment in broadwebcasting...
This is the complete first and second series. Launched on an unsuspecting public, Bigipedia is a massive mash-up of Google, Microsoft, Apple, Wikipedia, My Space, Yahoo and Amazon, all vying for your attention, love, money and occasionally vital organs. Sponsored by Chianti, the world's worst-ever beverage with its series of ever more off-putting straplines ("Chianti - legally, wine").
"A stimulating and brilliantly sustained parody... a radio classic." - Mail On Sunday
"Who imagined the internet could be so wikidly comical?" - The Independent on Sunday
"A magnificent new comedy inspired by and spoofing the online info site Wikipedia" - The Sunday Times
"If you're going to steal, the cliché goes, steal from the best and Bigipedia's influences are solid comedy gold ... the whole project is clearly the project of some very deranged minds" - The Independent
"Very clever and ineffably wonderful. But just don't try and follow it sequentially, especially at this time of night. You'll do yourself a mischief.'' - Radio Times
Over the first series you can pick your own Audio Screensaver from a choice of "Paris By Night", "Laughing Clowns" or "Duelling Tarzans", meet Felix Richards, the world's most petrified ghosthunter, pay extra to hear the show in more than Monovoice, hear the Bigipedia entry on the mysterious world of The Bee Whisperer. And this week's edition of Bigikids will teach you "How To Be A Spy"!, enjoy the full benefits of having a BigiNanoBot implanted in your brain to fully enhance the sharing experience (or "hive mind") and, if you're feeling any sort of pain or death, take advantage of our free BigiMedic software to allow us to allow you to diagnose yourself.
And now - you can enjoy the long-awaited release of Bigipedia 2.0 - the infallible, ever-present cyberfriend is back! Now with all errors mistake.
In episode 2, we discover how Bigipedia 2.0 is now bigger, better and closer - so it looks bigger twice! Also, the wisdom of crowds, the joy of deregulated advertising and Bigipedia throughout history.
In episode 3, Bigipedia 2.0 launches its own social network, BigiBuzz! Find out what's popular so you can be one of them! Also, Britain's least-haunted House is visited by terrified ghost-hunter Felix Richard and we find out the true meaning of pilk and pleather.
And in the final episode, we launch BigiHype - the sure-fire way to raise the profile of a new event or an unpopular charity!
Written by Nick Doody, Matt Kirshen & Sarah Morgan with Carey Marx
Conceived by Nick Doody
Music by Guy Jackson
Produced & directed by David Tyler
In these riotous revisionist plays, The Penny Dreadfuls present alternative takes on three icons, ably assisted by guests including Miles Jupp, Mark Heap, Margaret Cabourn-Smith, Amanda Abbington and Sylvester McCoy.
In The Penny Dreadful's Present: Le Carré on Spying, we follow David Cornwell's (Le Carré's real name) desperate efforts to uncover the latest mole in the secret service. John F Kennedy's official visit to Berlin looms and the pressure is on to get to the truth.
In The Penny Dreadful's Present: Don Quixote, Cervantes' mighty tome has been condensed into an hour's entertainment. Join peasant Sancho and the man who thinks he's a Knight, locked in a quest to save those who don't want saving and unravel enchantments which may or may not only exist in their minds.
The Penny Dreadful's Present: Hadrian's Beard will broadcast later on this year. Emperor Hadrian's instinct is to protect himself and Rome with a wall, but will the locals fall into line?
Produced by Julia McKenzie
John Finnemore presents the eighth series of his multi-award-winning Souvenir Programme
'The best sketch show in years, on television or radio' Radio Times
John Finnemore, creator and star of Cabin Pressure and John Finnemore's Double Acts, is back with Series 8 of his highly acclaimed radio sketch show, winner of the Academy Silver Award, a Broadcasting Press Guild award and two BBC Audio Drama awards.
In these six episodes, John cooks a particularly good lasagne, Noah gets some bad news about the ark, we hear a legendary swansong, and there's some helpful guidance on the etiquette of 'Thank Yous' - as well as a look into the devastating consequences of World Peace. Plus, there's some merry names, some handy mnemonics, an epiphany and a show that will make you feel like a princess - whether you want it to or not. And, well... since you ask him whether he believes in ghosts...
Hailed by The Daily Telegraph as 'funny enough to make even the surliest cat laugh', John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme also features his regular ensemble cast of Margaret Cabourn-Smith, Simon Kane, Lawry Lewin and Carrie Quinlan.
Six more episodes of BBC Radio 4's multi-award-winning sketch show, written by and starring John Finnemore.
'The best sketch show in years, on television or radio' Radio Times.
John Finnemore, writer and star of Cabin Pressure and John Finnemore's Double Acts, returns for a sixth series of his hugely acclaimed Souvenir Programme, which won him Radio Broadcaster of the Year at the 2016 Broadcasting Press Guild Awards.
Expect sketches! Expect songs! They're what made up the previous five series, so it seems a pretty safe bet that that's what will be in this series as well. And, well, since you ask him for some tall tales... Kicking off with a seasonal special, this series takes in TV adverts, woodland talent contests, a song about the best day of the Christmas season and what is almost certainly the greatest story a Finnemore has ever told.
Described by The Daily Telegraph as 'funny enough to make even the surliest cat laugh', John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme also features Margaret Cabourn-Smith, Simon Kane, Lawry Lewin, Carrie Quinlan and, at the piano, Susannah Pearse. Duration: 2 hours 50 mins approx.
Extra! Extra! - Brigstocke Starts Own Newspaper Shock! Comedian Marcus Brigstocke presents a two-part special focussing on the great British press. In the first episode he plunges head first into the contents of the great British newspaper and comes up smelling of Daily Mail. Plus he reveals the headline of the year that you'll never get to read... In the second episode there's sex, scandal and saucy secrets on offer as Marcus examines how the great British press combine the difficult jobs of both selling newspapers and ruining peoples' lives... Joining him are regular guest stars William Andrews ("Sorry I've Got No Head") , Margaret Cabourn-Smith ("Miranda") and Colin Hoult (from Ricky Gervaise's "Derek"). Written by Marcus Brigstocke, Jeremy Salsby, Toby Davies, Nick Doody, Dan Tetsell & Steve Punt. This complete fourth series of the multi-award-winning show comes from the people who brought you Cabin Pressure and Armando Iannucci's Charm Offensive. Duration: 1 hour approx.
The Penny Dreadfuls examine the life of Guy Fawkes, undertake a satirical version of the French Revolution and turn their comic eye towards Hereward the Wake
The Penny Dreadfuls Humphrey Ker, David Reed and Thom Tuck are a comedy trio who specialise in retelling historical events in their own, inimitable way. In these riotous revisionist plays, they present alternative takes on three famous tales, ably assisted by guests including Margaret Cabourn-Smith, Marek Larwood, Justin Edwards, Miles Jupp, Richard E Grant, and Sally Hawkins.
Guy Fawkes: What exactly are we supposed to remember on the 5th of November? The Penny Dreadfuls take a fresh look at the build-up to and aftermath of the Gunpowder Plot. Starring Kevin Eldon as Guy.
Revolution: The Penny Dreadfuls tell the epic story of the French Revolution including the execution of the King and the slaughter of thousands at the guillotine in just one hour, with jokes. Starring Richard E Grant as Robespierre and Sally Hawkins as Marie-Therese.
Hereward the Wake: Why has this Englishman, responsible for leading the fight against the occupation of William The Conqueror, been forgotten? The Penny Dreadfuls explain how the story didn't end when they ran out of embroidery cotton on the Bayeux Tapestry...
Produced by Julia McKenzie.
Comedy trio The Penny Dreadfuls recount the story of the much-maligned Macbeth, revisit Odysseus’ epic journey and reveal the truth behind Darwin’s famous voyage The Penny Dreadfuls – Humphrey Ker, David Reed and Thom Tuck – are a comedy trio who specialise in retelling historical events in their own, inimitable way. In these riotous revisionist plays, they present alternative takes on three famous tales, ably assisted by guests including Margaret Cabourn-Smith, Lolly Adefope, Robert Webb and Susan Calman. Macbeth Rebothered: It’s the Scottish Play, but not as we know it: The Penny Dreadfuls present a rebooted version of the classic story that paints the noble King in a very different light. Starring Greg McHugh as Macbeth and Susan Calman as the Narrator. The Odyssey: The Penny Dreadfuls take on Homer's tale of Odyseuss's epic journey home from the Trojan Wars and the incredible monsters and enchantress he encounters en route. Starring Robert Webb as Odysseus. The Curse of the Beagle: In 1831, a 22-year-old Charles Darwin set sail on HMS Beagle for a five-year voyage that changed the course of his life. He later published his stories of the trip, but in this reimagining The Penny Dreadfuls uncover the untold story that Darwin kept to himself. Produced by Julia McKenzie.