Happy Birthday Tony !
It was 60 years this very day: that Tony Hancock arrived on our TV screens from radio with his hugely successful sitcom: Hancock’s Half Hour. Between the radio series of the same name and the TV series, writers Galton and Simpson were setting the blueprint for what would become one of the most popular and successful forms of TV, the humble British sitcom.
Often referred to as the first British sitcom. Hancock’s Half Hour, transferred onto television from the popular radio show of the same name in 1956 and continued until 1960, after which slight changes were made, most notably the change of name to Hancock, we cover Hancock in a seperate post. The radio and television shows were broadcast alternately until the radio series came to an end in 1959, in this year the two series were broadcast side by side.
In a 2014 interview writers Ray Galton and Alan Simpson explained the decission to move to TV “It was a natural progression. At the time no comic could afford to do TV all week, they’d work the halls Monday – Saturday, they’d do radio on a Sunday if it was written for them. When ITV came on the scene, then TV became more prevalent, so it was decided to move Hancock’s Half Hour to TV”. click here and read the full interview
In the radio show Hancock is often portrayed as a successful rado star. In the TV series he is still an entertainer but a much poorer version of the radio character.
Living at the fictional address 23 Railway Cuttings, East Cheam, Hancock stil has a lodger, whereas this was Bill Kerr on the radio, Sid James takes up residence for the TV series.
Sid is as much the rogue as we know him and each week would see Hancock getting into different scrapes not helped by Sid’s less than honest approach to assistance.
Written By: Ray Galton and Alan Simpson
Produced By: Dennis Main Wilson
Original Transmission Dates: 7th July 1956 – 6th May 1960