Take It From Here – 1948
In Tribute To Denis Norden, 1922 – 2018
To some this was the very first British sitcom a subject we discussed in an earlier post.
Take It From Here was the popular Sunday BBC Radio comedy program, written by Frank Muir and Denis Norden. It ran from 1948 until 1960. In that time it became one of the most popular shows on the radio running to a mammoth 328 episodes over 13 series.
The show is perhaps most famous for introducing The Glums.
The first series of TIFH, broadcast in 1948, was set in a commercial radio station office. Although this first series was not the success they hoped it would be, producer Charles Maxwell persuaded BBC management to persevere for one more series.
For the second series, Muir and Norden changed to a three-act format.
First there was a topical discussion, followed by music from The Keynotes close harmony group.
For the second act came what Frank Muir termed a “gimmick”, which might be Hamlet done as a pantomime, or an operatic weather forecast.
For the third and final segment there was another song from Joy Nichols or Dick Bentley, after which there was a situation comedy sketch put together from the clichés of a literary or cinematic genre.
In 1953 The Glums appeared for the first time.
They would appear first as part of the discussion segment at the beginning of the show and again replacing the situation comedy sketch in the final segment of the show.
The Glums was effectively a take-off of the sagas of ‘nice’ families such as the Archers or the Lyons that abounded on the BBC at the time.
They were so popular that in 1978 they were still remembered and appeared as part of Bruce Forsyth’s Big Night show.
A year later, in 1979, The Glums was made into it’s own television series (consisting of eight episodes) by London Weekend Television and broadcast on ITV
Joy Nichols (until 1953)
Alma Cogan (from 1953)
June Whitfield (from 1953)
Radio Channel: The Light Program
Frank Muir and Denis Norden (until 1959), Barry Took and Eric Merriman (1959 -60)
Original Transmission: 23rd March 1948 – 3rd March1960
You can listen to and catch up with old episodes of Take it From Here on a Sunday on BBC Radio 4 Extra