British Comedy Guide

Associated British Picture Corporation

Borne from British International Pictures' acquisition of British Pathé, Associated British Picture Corporation (ABPC), was a film production, distribution, and exhibition company that produced such titles as Galton & Simpson's The Rebel and The Bargee.

During its prime, ABPC owned five hundred cinemas and held stakes in other companies such as Anglo-Amalgamated Film Distributors. However the company suffered financial difficulties in the 1960s and was bought out by EMI in 1970.

The company branched into the new world of television in 1956, creating Midlands and North ITV franchise-holder ABC.


Notable archive productions

Medium Production Broadcaster Genre Summary
Film Dandy Dick. Copyright: Associated British Picture Corporation. Dandy Dick Film Comedy starring Will Hay as a village vicar in search of £1,000 to repair his church's steeple.
Film For Better, For Worse. Image shows from L to R: Tony Howard (Dirk Bogarde), Anne (Susan Stephen). Copyright: Associated British Picture Corporation. For Better, For Worse Film When an impoverished young graduate asks his girlfriend's father for permission to marry, approval is conditional on him finding both a job and a flat.
Film Freedom Of The Seas. Image shows from L to R: George Smith (Clifford Mollison), Jennie (Zelma O'Neal). Copyright: Associated British Picture Corporation. Freedom Of The Seas Film Comedy following a mild-mannered City clerk who becomes a success in the Royal Navy.
Film French Dressing. Francoise Fayol (Marisa Mell). Copyright: Associated British Picture Corporation / Studio Canal. French Dressing Film A sleepy seaside town's deckchair attendant concocts a plan to raise the resort's fortunes.
Film Girls At Sea. Image shows from L to R: Mary Carlton (Anne Kimbell), Captain Robert 'Bobby' Randall (Richard Coleman), Jill Eaton (Mary Steele). Copyright: Associated British Picture Corporation. Girls At Sea Film Comedy set aboard a naval warship playing host to three female stowaways, and the Captain and Commander's attempts to keep their presence secret.
Film Laughter In Paradise. Image shows from L to R: Captain James Deniston Russell (Alastair Sim), Station Constable (Colin Gordon). Laughter In Paradise Film Comedy about four people who face tough challenges as set out in a relative's will.
Film Sands Of The Desert. Charles Sands (Charlie Drake). Copyright: Associated British Picture Company / Studio Canal. Sands Of The Desert Film Comedy starring Charlie Drake as a travel agent sent to oversee his company's new holiday camp in the desert.
Film Spring Meeting. Image shows from L to R: Baby Furze (Nova Pilbeam), Tony Fox-Collier (Michael Wilding). Copyright: Associated British Picture Corporation. Spring Meeting Film Comedy following a wealthy Irish landowner, his two daughters, an English suitor and his mother.
Film The Bargee. Image shows from L to R: Ronnie (Ronnie Barker), Hemel Pike (Harry H. Corbett). Copyright: Associated British Picture Corporation. The Bargee Film Meet Hemel Pike, the Casanova of the canals. Born on the waterways, he sees no downside to the aquatic life - but events could catch up with him.
Film The Cracksman. Ernest Wright (Charlie Drake). Copyright: Associated British Picture Corporation. The Cracksman Film Comic crime caper starring Charlie Drake as a naïve and unwilling safe-cracker, jail-breaker and home-breaker.
Film The Rebel. Anthony Hancock (Tony Hancock). Copyright: Studio Canal. The Rebel Film Comedy starring Tony Hancock as a bored London office clerk who begins to make waves on the Parisian art scene.
Film Those Were The Days. Brutus Posket (Will Hay). Copyright: Associated British Picture Corporation. Those Were The Days Film Will Hay comedy about an affable magistrate, his wife and step-son.
Film Tommy The Toreador. Image shows from L to R: Paco (Bernard Cribbins), Tommy Tomkins (Tommy Steele), Cadena (Sid James). Tommy The Toreador Film An English seaman stranded in Spain finds himself mixed up in a traditional bull-fight.
Film Oh... Rosalinda!!. Rosalinda (Ludmilla Tcherina). Oh... Rosalinda!! Film Musical comedy and light farce set in occupied 1955 Vienna, based on Strauss operetta Die Fledermaus.
Film The Good Companions. Image shows from L to R: Inigo Jollifant (John Fraser), Susie Dean (Janette Scott). The Good Companions Film Musical comedy following the ups-and-downs of a touring concert party and its members.

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Comedy title launches

Year Medium Genre Production
1964 Film Film French Dressing
1964 Film Film The Bargee
1963 Film Film The Cracksman
1960 Film Film Sands Of The Desert
1959 Film Film Tommy The Toreador
1958 Film Film Girls At Sea
1957 Film Film The Good Companions
1955 Film Film Oh... Rosalinda!!
1954 Film Film For Better, For Worse
1951 Film Film Laughter In Paradise
1941 Film Film Spring Meeting