Hancock's Half Hour Page 13

Hancock's Half Hour. Image shows from L to R: Sidney Balmoral James (Sid James), Anthony Aloysius St John Hancock (Tony Hancock). Copyright: BBC.

Hancock's Half Hour

Tony Hancock stars in Galton & Simpson's comic masterpiece, with his delusions of grandeur and acquaintances at the root of his every downfall

Avatar

Billy Bunter

  • Thursday 22nd August 2019, 9:37am
  • The Sussex Coast, England
  • 888 posts

Yes, although I do think it improved as it went on. Naturally. I think its best period was with Hattie as Griselda and with Kenneth Williams in his various roles especially, for example, as a dim-witted policeman (whatever Tony Hancock himself may have thought of the voices he used).

AvatarBCG Supporter

Hercules Grytpype Thynne

  • Thursday 22nd August 2019, 9:47am
  • England
  • 16,083 posts
Quote: Billy Bunter @ 22nd August 2019, 9:37 AM

Yes, although I do think it improved as it went on. Naturally. I think its best period was with Hattie as Griselda and with Kenneth Williams in his various roles especially, for example, as a dim-witted policeman (whatever Tony Hancock himself may have thought of the voices he used).

Absolutely. KW's "Snide" character was brilliant in whatever guise he was in, but yes, Tony wasn't keen at all on the funny voices.

AvatarBCG Supporter

john tregorran

  • Thursday 22nd August 2019, 9:29pm
  • mornington,victoria, Australia
  • 234 posts
Quote: Billy Bunter @ 22nd August 2019, 9:37 AM

Yes, although I do think it improved as it went on. Naturally. I think its best period was with Hattie as Griselda and with Kenneth Williams in his various roles especially, for example, as a dim-witted policeman (whatever Tony Hancock himself may have thought of the voices he used).

Yes,that's my favourite time too.
Bill's character changed though,he was quite smart in the very early days.

Avatar

Billy Bunter

  • Friday 23rd August 2019, 9:33am
  • The Sussex Coast, England
  • 888 posts
Quote: john tregorran @ 22nd August 2019, 9:29 PM

Yes,that's my favourite time too.
Bill's character changed though,he was quite smart in the very early days.

In the book "Fifty Years of Hancock's Half Hour", compiled by Richard Weber and published by Century in 2004, Alan Simpson explains that "Bill started as Jack the Lad, inviting Tony to parties and suchlike, but in the end Sid's character took over that. He ceased being a crook and became Tony's mate. Bill was then the dim friend who made Tony seem intelligent. It was funnier for him to be thick - or thicker than Hancock - as opposed to the cheery Jack the Lad. It became more of a Laurel and Hardy relationship with Hancock painstakingly trying to explain things to him".

Ray Galton adds that "I don't think the early character worked out. For Bill or us. He wasn't very interesting". As soon as they altered the character, they found it easier and more productive writing for him. "We were able to get a lot more laughs from him".

Interestingly, in view of Hancock's ultimate decision to do away with the funny voices, Bill Kerr is quoted in the same book that Kenneth Williams "brought his own special dimension to the show. He was very gifted with his brilliant voices; he could just pull them out of the air. At times he almost overshadowed Tony. The two of them worked well together and it was a joy to watch them, both like greyhounds in the slips after the rabbit. Both were vain with each other and, I feel, brought out the best in one another. If Kenneth got a laugh, Tony would top it".

AvatarBCG Supporter

john tregorran

  • Saturday 24th August 2019, 4:23am
  • mornington,victoria, Australia
  • 234 posts

Thanks.I read Kenneth's diaries years ago but can't remember what he said about his Hancock days.I know he hated Sid's laugh.

AvatarBCG Supporter

Hercules Grytpype Thynne

  • Saturday 24th August 2019, 7:10am
  • England
  • 16,083 posts
Quote: john tregorran @ 24th August 2019, 4:23 AM

Thanks.I read Kenneth's diaries years ago but can't remember what he said about his Hancock days.I know he hated Sid's laugh.

And I have a vague recollection of in one interview, when he was asked to comment on TH, he wouldn't be pushed for an answer, saying something along the lines of "he was like many, great, so let's just leave it at that"

Sid's laugh? Oh dear, odd but very funny bod was KW - in the Carry On trivia notes in the Box-set, it said there was a big clash between him and Frankie Howerd in the "Carry on Doctor" film, but all concerned worked around it with even both of them appearing on the screen together.

AvatarBCG Supporter

john tregorran

  • Sunday 25th August 2019, 2:13am
  • mornington,victoria, Australia
  • 234 posts

It must be great for the back stage workers witnessing all the hissy fits and tantrums of the famous faces and not actually being involved.They must have a good laugh in the pub afterwards.

Avatar

Alfred J Kipper

  • Sunday 25th August 2019, 7:53am
  • Aldershot, England
  • 5,852 posts
Quote: Hercules Grytpype Thynne @ 28th May 2019, 11:38 PM

* EDIT: It's in your neck of the woods. You can go there and take some nice sharp photos for us to post them on here..................oh, no...of course - sorry, you don't know how to do that, despite me explaining it in easy terms for you Whistling nnocently :D

It's still there, although not a sanatorium as when G&S met and first started writing together.

https://www.surreylife.co.uk/people/celebrity-interviews/steptoe-and-hancock-comedy-writing-duo-galton-and-simpson-honoured-in-milford-1-2223335

http://milfordhospitalleagueoffriends.com

I took photos of it couple of years back, it looks great, although it would be very hard to stumble across, as it's a tiny community hospital now nestled in among a posh new housing estate. It's a chest and lungs clinic still so it keeps its G&S based heritage. :)

AvatarBCG Supporter

Hercules Grytpype Thynne

  • Sunday 1st September 2019, 11:18am
  • England
  • 16,083 posts
Quote: Sixty3closure @ 1st September 2019, 1:18 AM


Bit of a delayed response but fair enough...however, I would say there's more than enough to talk about on Hancock and similar to give them their own thread. I guess I saw this thread for new comedy for me to discover rather than old favourites I'm familiar with.

As has been pointed out in the "Current Radio Comedy" thread to me (I blame the original OP - who? Whistling nnocently) for not making it totally clear that it was about "current comedy" and not "comedy currently on the radio", I'll post my comments about The Lad on Radio 7 (4+) on the "proper" HHH thread. So here we are...........................

Oh dear. "The Idol" this week, which I think was the second one in the then new HHH? Sorry to say this but laboured and not funny at all to be honest and it had the first of what was to be odd "appearances" of what I believe to be Ray or Alan playing bit parts, and not very well! Wooden would be an understatement.

Will stick with them if only out of curiosity, but it desperately needs Hattie, Bill as the thick hanger-on and Sid as the dodgy mate - NOT as it is now. Just doesn't work imo, but there, it was very early days.

AvatarBCG Supporter

john tregorran

  • Sunday 1st September 2019, 9:08pm [Edited]
  • mornington,victoria, Australia
  • 234 posts

I don't remember that one particularly but Alan would join Tony in a bit of double act type patter in the early ones. Apparently Ray wasn't interested in performing. Yes, they must have still been learning their trade in those days

AvatarBCG Supporter

Hercules Grytpype Thynne

  • Monday 2nd September 2019, 12:00am
  • England
  • 16,083 posts

Ahh, so it was Alan was it. Well fantastic script writer he may be, but as for acting those lines out he left a LOT to be desired and he always seemed to be muttering as though he didn't know the lines anyway, or perhaps he was just "filling" in between the bits Tony had to say.

AvatarBCG Supporter

john tregorran

  • Monday 2nd September 2019, 1:02am [Edited]
  • mornington,victoria, Australia
  • 234 posts

I don't think Tony having a girlfriend was right either. His lack of success with most things, including the ladies, makes him the character we love.

AvatarBCG Supporter

Hercules Grytpype Thynne

  • Monday 2nd September 2019, 9:31am
  • England
  • 16,083 posts

Absolutely - his lack of success with the likes of Liz Fraser, whilst Sid attracted them like magnets made for some very funny scenarios.

Avatar

Billy Bunter

  • Monday 2nd September 2019, 12:32pm [Edited]
  • The Sussex Coast, England
  • 888 posts

Last week's episode The Idol was the 3rd in the first series. The 2nd episode, The Diamond Ring is no longer available in the BBC archives, which is also the case with episodes 5, 7, 8, 9, 10 & 15. The first 4 episodes of series two, all of which featured Harry Secombe in place of Tony Hancock, who had fled to Italy suffering from physical & mental exhaustion, are also unfortunately unavailable (they would have been interesting to hear). Series 2 Episode 7 Prime Minister Hancock would also have been interesting to hear in light of today's political climate (I can see Hancock as a Boris Johnson figure) but, again, no copies are available.

As I previously mentioned, Galton & Simpson both conceded that the early episodes didn't really work until the characters' relationships changed.