Kevin McNally stars in five further brand new recordings of original Hancock's Half Hour scripts by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson. Hancock's Half Hour was an enormously popular radio sitcom in the 1950s, but several of the episodes were not retained in the BBC Sound Archive and are believed to be lost. Following the successful first series, five more episodes have been recreated by BBC Radio 4, with Kevin McNally once more reprising the role made famous by Tony Hancock.The episodes are How Hancock Won the War, The Red Planet, The Marriage Bureau, A Visit to Russia and The Trial of Father Christmas. Also included is a bonus Director's Commentary for the Series 1 episode The Matador, in which Andy Hamilton talks to Kevin McNally and co-producer Neil Pearson about the challenges, and joys, of recreating a 1950s sitcom. Among the supporting cast are Simon Greenall, Kevin Eldon and Robin Sebastian. Duration: 2 hours 30 mins approx.
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.