On the 2nd November 1954 on the BBC Home Service Tony Hancock made his debut in a radio show called Hancock's Half Hour, written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson it became a huge hit with audiences and is widely regarded as Britain's first sitcom. Six years earlier tom other well known writers Frank Muir and Denis Nordan had written a radio comedy series Take It From Here.British Classic Comedy, 30th October 2014
In Radio 2's Very Nearly an Armful - a quote from The Blood Donor, as any self-respecting baby boomer will know - the comedy writer Stephen Merchant analysed their lasting appeal, with the help of Denis Norden, Ben Elton, Beryl Vertue and David Mitchell.
It was to Norden and his writing partner Frank Muir that the two working-class lads, thrown together in a TB sanitorium in their late teens, sent their first efforts at comedy scriptwriting. Norden recognised their raw talent instantly and later put them "in a class of their own". They broke more new ground than any of their contemporaries, he said.
Apart from anything else, Galton and Simpson pioneered what Norden called "the jokeless radio comedy", by which he meant a series (Hancock) which relied on situation and character, rather than an endless stream of gags. It was the beginning of the sitcom.
Its apogee was Steptoe and Son, each half-hour episode a perfect little mini-drama of aspiration, conflict and disappointment, distinguished as much by the fine playing of Wilfrid Brambell and Harry H Corbett as it was by the masterly writing of Galton and Simpson.Nick Smurthwaite, The Stage, 5th January 2010