on 17 November 2011
Episodes on this disc >
All 13 episodes from Series 7 plus
the previously missing episode 12 from Series 2 (1st January 1960) The Route March
and a few extras including Hitting the Ice Floe an Overseas Broadcast from 25 December 1965
and Transcription Service Introductions for Series 7 episodes 3-11 & 13. For those unfamiliar with the Transcription Service, this was a BBC in house facility for transfering to disc or recording often slightly shorter versions of programmes for use by overseas broadcasters.
Another excellent release of classic mid `60's radio comedy from the BBC. This collection presents the complete 13 episodes of series seven of The Navy Lark, probably one of the most successful, long running and well loved radio series of all time. Telling the adventures of the crew of HMS Troutbridge, this is a wonderful comedy that has really stood the test of time. As it has very few topical references it is just as funny today as when first broadcast. At this point in the series the humour started to derive from various funny voices and vocal tics rather than clever plotting and situations, but the episodes are still hysterically funny and keep me creased with laughter.
Series seven is business as usual, with navigational clangers, incompetent commanding officers and CPO Pertwee's shenanigans. There are a few nods to stories from earlier series, with the ongoing romance/engagement between Wren Chasen and Mr. Phillips being a loose story arc through the series. Also appearing in the series is Commander Bell, one of my favourite characters, whose disaster laden monologues are a joy to listen to and expertly delivered by the wonderful Ronnie Barker.
As with the `Round The Horne' and ongoing `Goon Show' releases, these have been restored to their best possible quality (by, I am assuming, Ted Kendall, though there is no information to this effect). But please bear in mind the source of the material, some of it comes from off air recordings, so even with the best of restoration it occasionally sounds a bit rough. I must say that the quality of this release is head and shoulders above the rest, in comparison the quality is superb.
The 13 episodes are presented on seven discs. In a break from earlier releases these are in a spindle style audioboook case, which is unfortunately slightly larger than a normal CD case and so is not able to sit on my CD shelf alongside the previous releases. This ios a bit of a letdown for me, and will cost this release a star. The usual excellent informative booklet is present, but only as a PDF file on disk 1.
As an added bonus, and something that rates as a special event for an avid fan such as myself, there is a fourteenth bonus episode. This is a recently found recording of `The Route March', from series two. I have never heard this before and it was a real treat. I find it amazing that lost episodes are still turning up, and I am grateful to the series producers for adding it to this release rather than the obvious commercial choice of re-releasing an up dated series 2.
There is also a few more extras in the form of an overseas broadcast, and some recorded introductions from the transcription service, all of which are welcome to us Larkheads!
The 13 episodes are:
Series 7 Episode 01 `Taking Some Liberties'
Series 7 Episode 02 `Smugglers in the Solent'
Series 7 Episode 03 `Mr. Murray is Victimised'
Series 7 Episode 04 `The Poveys Move House'
Series 7 Episode 05 `Captain Povey Reports Sick'
Series 7 Episode 06 `Admiral Pertwee's Fleet'
Series 7 Episode 07 `Let Loose With A Chopper'
Series 7 Episode 08 `Making a Right Pig's Breakfast'
Series 7 Episode 09 `The Mysterious Pudding Mine'
Series 7 Episode 10 `The Hovercraft Training Course'
Series 7 Episode 11 `The Sabotaged Floggle-Toggle Box'
Series 7 Episode 12 `The Portarneyland Training Exercise'
Series 7 Episode 13 `Going On Leave To Croydon'
Well done BBC, keep them coming! And any chance of a release for `Men From The Ministry' or `I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again'???
on 16 March 2012
More great stuff from my youth. Will announcer Robin Boyle ever find out who stole his saucy Lilian Gish calendar? I remember that saga from Sunday lunchtimes longer ago than I care to admit. Of course, the adventures of HMS Troutbridge were hilarious and still stand up today, although one or two topical references may not mean anything to new listeners, such as repeated mentions of 'Compact', a BBC soap opera whose stars included Stephen Murray. It doesn't matter, these things are all explained in the notes anyway.
I think it is wonderful that the BBC are making great efforts to reissue all the Navy Lark recordings in boxed sets in chronological order, with restored amateur radio recordings where possible to replace those missing from the BBC archives. In the past, where even that was not possible, scripts of missing episodes were included and a recording of 1 of these episodes from Series 2 is included here as it has come to light more recently. A similar bonus episode from Series 3 appeared in an earlier box set so it is hoped that one day all the gaps will be filled.
I can't wait for Series 8 to be issued!