23 Railway Cuttings is a scene of boredom and inactivity as the occupants try to while away a British Sabbath in Sunday Afternoon at Home, whereas, in The Poetry Society, an evening with a group of Hancock's new avant-garde friends produces gems of abstract poetry, not only from the group but also from Sid and Bill.
Tony Hancock's premature death in 1968 at the age of forty-four deprived the entertainment world of perhaps the greatest post-war comedian to have emerged from this country. It makes his eighty hours of material originally broadcast by the BBC on radio and television between 1954 and 1961 seem all the more priceless and rare. With his impeccable timing and brilliantly subtle shifts in intonation, he could create sound picture that bore the unmistakable hallmark of a genius. Supported by Galton and Simpson's marvellous scripts and by Kenneth Williams, Sid James, Hattie Jacques, Bill Kerr and the rest of the studio cast, the work of Tony Hancock lives on in this special collection. Hancock s Half Hour was one of the most successful series ever made and created an international star. With his impeccable timing and brilliantly subtle shifts in intonation, Tony Hancock could create sound pictures that bore the unmistakable hallmark of a genius.
Ray Galton and Alan Simpson met in a sanatorium in Surrey, where they were both being treated for TB. Ray Galton remembers noticing the six-foot-four Simpson and thinking he looked surprisingly large - 'you expect everyone in a sanatorium to be thin and weedy, and he was the biggest guy I'd ever seen'. During two years in the same ward, they listened to comedy shows together and also wrote a series of their own, creating a radio room in a linen cupboard. Having left the sanatorium within a few months of each other, they decided to get a professional opinion of their work and sent a sketch they had written called The Pirate Sketch to the BBC. They were asked to go in for an interview, and soon found themselves writing for the sketch show Happy Go Lucky. Over the next two years they continued to write sketches for a number of big names, before coming up with the idea for Hancock's Half Hour. Although the BBC took some persuading, eventually the show was scheduled, initially for radio but later as a television series. A phenomenally successful ten years later, Galton and Simpson were themselves very well known names. After Hancock's Half Hour they wrote Comedy Playhouse for the BBC, out of which came their second huge television and radio hit, Steptoe & Son. In 1977 they wrote The Galton & Simpson Playhouse, produced by Yorkshire Television for ITV.