A worthy celebration of comedy writing genius,
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This review is from: The Masters of Sitcom: From Hancock to Steptoe (Hardcover)
On the face of it this must have been a relatively easy book for Christopher Stevens to produce as the content is almost exclusively reproducing scripts from the legendary writing team of Galton & Simpson. Stevens, however, does include a two-page compiler notes, an eight page introduction, and intersperses the Hancock, Steptoe, Comedy Playhouse and Cinematic Hancock chapters with a few paragraphs of his own. The good thing about this is that Stevens doesn't allow himself to get in the way of what is a very enjoyable read. The first seven pages of chapter two "The Early Years" proved to be very interesting in detailing how Ray and Alan met in Milford Sanatorium suffering from the near fatal illness of tuberculosis.
Regarding the scripts, I believe that Stevens has chosen well, particularly including some writing that never made it to transmission because of the programmes duration. An example of this is the inclusion of a page of the "Sunday Afternoon at Home" script that was cut for the aforestated reason. For Hancock completists like me it is nice to have those words if only in written form.
Stevens has reproduced many segments of scripts from the Galton and Simpson archive here - too numerous to detail in this review. But as you are reading the reviews that people like me have posted regarding this book, then you probably already know that the quality of writing is truly outstanding from watching or listening to either (or both) Hancocks Half Hour or Steptoe.
This is a book that I didn't rush to get through - and as I wanted to spend time with the stories and characters voices, I thought it better to get the Hancock/James/Kerr/Jacques/Williams/Harold and Albert delivery in my head when reading those wonderful scripts. For me, the Hancock scripts will never be bettered in situation comedy, and the Steptoe one's are nearly - or should that be "very nearly" as good.
I recommend this celebration of the writing genius that came from the minds of Ray and Alan - it was a delightful read.