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Fifty Years Of Hancock's Half Hour Paperback – 3 Nov 2005
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"Fans of the "lad himself" will lap up the minutiae in this biography... full of gems." (The Independent)
"A timely tribute to a wonderful group of people who, for 50 years, have made a nation laugh." (Sunday Express)
The first biography of one of Britain's best-loved comedy showsSee all Product description
Top customer reviews
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With the inclusion of the two unheard of scripts which are extremely funny when you imagine the cast members voices in character, I have no hesitation in awarding the book five stars.
Table of contents
Foreword by Galton & Simpson x
Chapter 1 - 6 to
Chapter 14 - 173
16 pages of 29 b&w photos
Episode Guide: Radio 176
Episode Guide: TV 239
Unheard Radio Script: The Counterfeiter 301
Unheard TV Script: The Diplomat 316
Hancock's Half Hour merchandise: 335
There was something about him that I found fascinating when I read either a newspaper or magazine article in about 1978. The article talked about this comic genius, who's timing was perfect and who was able to bring the house down with the various facial expressions he displayed. Yet behind the scenes he was a very emotional and depressed man, who wanted to be a perfectionist and just better himself all the time. His co-stars frequently misunderstood his moods and very few of them were respected by him, with the exception of the equally brilliant Sid James, who Hancock starred with on TV and radio.
This book describes his life in great detail and is highly recommended to you all.
Unfortunately the author appears to have been unable to decide whether to detail the radio or the TV series and so just proceeded to write in a chronological manner. The result is confusion, with the narrative flicking from one medium to the other without logical breaks or organisation. I found it difficult to follow the progress of the radio show alone.
There are endless discussions of Hancock's contracts but little of detail on any of the other participants. For example Hatte Jacques is introduced and dismissed in the span of a page without any discussion of how she was found or auditioned.
Instead the main focus of the author's narrative are the writers Galton and Simpson. We learn far more about them, their first meeting in a sanitorium, their workplace, commitments and earnings than about any of the characters that made the show real. I suspect that this is due to the author's personal interviews with the writers, whereas most of the rest of his information is culled from biographies and BBC memos.
The episode guide fills the second half of the book and with the exception of audience figures is similar to most such guides available online.
A disappointing, confused and shallow book.
THE BOOK DOES NOT EXPLAIN WHY HANCOCK'S FRIENDS WERE SO ATTACHED TO HIM AND WHY HIS GIFTS AND FOIBLES ARE STILL SO UNFAILING A THEME.
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