Shortly after recording his 7th and final BBC TV series scripted by Galton and Simpson, Tony Hancock re-recorded two scripts from that final run - The Blood Donor and The Radio Ham - before an invited audience for release on LP.
Listening to them, it's striking how little is lost in the transfer to the audio medium. The Radio Ham gains a new introduction, with Hancock berating his landlady, but apart from that the two scripts are pretty faithful to the television originals.
However, the audio versions are tighter and better-performed, particularly in the case of The Blood Donor. The reason isn't particularly surprising as Hancock had been involved in a car accident shortly before the TV broadcast. Without time to learn his lines, he had to read them off "idiot boards" held above the camera. He did this very well, but even all of Hancock's skill couldn't prevent the odd lapse in timing. By the time he came record the LP he was able to pace himself better and he gave a wonderfully nuanced performance.
He is ably supported on both episodes by a number of talented co-stars - June Whitfield, Frank Thornton, Patrick Cargill, Hugh Lloyd and Clive Dunn amongst others. Combine them with the high quality scripts of Galton and Simpson and you've got an hour or so of comedy gold.
For anybody who has never enjoyed the comedy genius of Tony Hancock, this recording showcases him at the height of his powers. Brilliant, timeless comedy.