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Hancock's Last Stand: The Series That Never Was [Hardcover]

June Whitfield , Edward Joffe
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: 16.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Hancock's Last Stand: The Series That Never Was + Fifty Years Of Hancock's Half Hour
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 222 pages
  • Publisher: Book Guild Ltd; 2nd edition edition (30 Jun 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857763165
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857763164
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 554,013 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Synopsis

Among the comedians who rose to fame on radi o and television in the 1950s and 1960s, Hancock was one of the finest. He is still held in affection 30 years after his death. But behind the public persona was a deeply insecure man, as Joffe reveals. '

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE AMAZING STORY OF A REMARKABLE COMEDIAN 19 Aug 2000
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This is the unique tale of the last months in the life of Britain's best loved tv performer, Tony Hancock, a comedian who was able to empty city streets on the nights when his programmes were being screened. The author, Edward Joffe, was the director and producer of Hancock's final series and, from this privileged position, he was able to observe, at close quarters, the torment and humour surrounding Hancock's flawed genius, a man he appropriately describes as 'a people's Pagliaccio." Hancock came to rely on alcohol and drugs to give him the Dutch courage to face the cameras. Unfortunately his addictions did nothing to improve his brilliant sense of comedic timing which was recognised and admired by his peers and public alike. Here was a man who had the populace falling about with laughter merely by looking straight into the camera lens. As a real life Edward Hyde however, Hancock turned on his friends, his writers and his women - with one exception - his mother to whom he was utterly devoted and regarded as his best friend. His drinking eventually alienated British tv producers who wanted to employ him but gave up when he was unable to live up to his astonishing ability to entrance every viewer in the British Isles and most English speaking Dominions. His numerous attempts to undergo 'cures' at aversion clinics proved dismal and expensive failures. The outcome was that a shrewd Australian entrepeneur seized the opportunity to sign him up for a filmed tv series to be produced Down Under. Joffe flew to Sydney to work with Hancock but spent a lot of time trying to keep him away from vodka bottles. Eventually a key member of the undermanned production team had to be assigned to Hancock as a minder. Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
One of the best things about this book on the late great Tony Hancock is that unlike others, it does not repeat what has been already stated. I have four other books on Tony and whilst they are all informative, they do 'borrow' a lot of material from previous biographies on Tony, save from Freddie Hancocks original which although being a good read, was a rushed colaboration with the BBC released just a year after Tonys suicide. I may be cynical in stating that berevity of "Hancock" gave me a feeling that the collaborators were cashing in before anyone else did.

Onto Edward Joffes' "Hancocks Last Stand..." which gives the reader what the other books don't, which is a detailed account of Tony's last few months on this earth and his attempts at a comeback in Australia. The details of the people involved, the technologies used at that period in Australia such as filming techniques - the E-CAM camera, give the reader a feel of the climate at which this sad story plays out.

You will find in this book informative descriptions regarding programme content you won't find in other books together with photographs that I have not seen published elsewhere. The complete post production script of "The Tony Hancock Special" is included. When reading the script the danger is imagining Tony at the peak of his powers which makes it a very funny read. However, this would be taking it out of context as Tony was sadly long past his best and probably should have taken a sabatical to properly address his problems instead of embarking on a comeback down under.

Some people don't agree with the author for publishing Tonys two suicide notes in his own handwriting.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Decline & Fall of a comic genius 25 Mar 2013
Format:Hardcover
I have to confess a bias. I grew up listening to and watching Hancock on TV. I still have the vinyl recordings of his radio shows. I will therefore read almost anything about him. However the nice thing about Hancock's Last Stand is that unlike so many books and television programmes that celebrate the greats of television's golden age, this one comes from someone who actually worked with him, and not just as a fellow performer, but as his producer/director.

Performers are generally poor judges of other performers, often their main interest is in self aggrandizement by associating themselves with a legend. On the other hand, directors and performers have a love-hate relationship. Directors see performers, and work with them, through their highs and their lows. This book is an example and summary of both.

In the sixties and seventies, and for many still today, Australia was a place performers went to when they'd crashed elsewhere - it was a last resort. For most it didn't work, and sadly for us all, for Tony Hancock it was no exception. In twelve months he slid from being the biggest name in British television to exile in what was then a largely unsophisticated creative wasteland.

While by no means a love letter to Hancock, this book takes us through the last desperate months of a comic genius who will perhaps never be equalled.

A `must read' for any serious Hancock fan.
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