Parsley Sidings 1971 – 1973
Here’s one you don’t hear of very often. Parsley Sidings was the BBC Radio sitcom starring Arthur Lowe, it was in fact the only radio sitcom to Arthur Lowe, apart from the radio adaptations of Dad’s Army. He was to have starred in the Radio spin off from Dad’s Army: It Sticks Out Half A Mile, but only managed to appear in the pilot before his death.
There were two series of 10 episodes plus the pilot epiosode, 21 episodes over 3 years. Recorded between series 4 and 5 of Dad’s Army, it also starred Lowe’s co-star: Ian Lavender.
Until recently the BBC only held two episodes of the show. However thanks to the age old practice of recording things to a cassette tape episodes still existed in the hands of members of the public. Between 2001 and 2003: A Night Out, A Bird in the Hand and The Secret Agent were recovered. In 2008, more episodes were ‘discovered’, including the pilot and “The New Level Crossing”
In November of 2012 BBC Radio 4 Extra began a re-run of the entire series using a mixture of the BBC Archive recordings and cleaned up versions of the majority of the missing episodes recovered from members of the public. Original announcer Keith Skues re-recorded his intros and outros for the broadcast.
The show is set in a sleepy out of the way railway station (Parsley Sidings) on the main line between London and Birmingham. It follows the goings on of the station and it’s staff. The main characters are Mr Horace Hepplewhite, Station Master, his son Bertram, station porter Percy Valentine, Mr Bradshaw, the signalman and station tanoy announcer Gloria Simpkins. In some episodes there was a guest cast that included included Bill Pertwee and Roger Delgado.
Horace Hepplewhite – Arthur Lowe
Bertram Hepplewhite – Ian Lavender
Percy Valentine – Kenneth Connor
Mr Bradshaw – Kenneth Connor
Gloria Simpkins – Liz Frazer
Program Announcer – Keith Skues
Created and Written By: Jim Eldridge
Channel: BBC Radio 2
Produced By: Edward Taylor
Original Transmission: 28th February 1971 (pilot), 5th December 1971 – 1st December 1973
Catch the series on BBC Radio 4 Extra