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Hancock's Half Hour - Volume 1 [DVD] 
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A collection of the surviving episodes from seasons 2 and 3 of the 1950s comedy series. In 'The Alpine Holiday', Hancock heads off for a peaceful break in the Alps, only to end up sharing a room with a yodelling champion. 'Air Steward Hancock: The Last of the Many' sees Hancock up for the high jump when his attempts to become an air steward backfire. In 'The Lawyer: The Crown vs Sidney James', Hancock defends Sid James on a charge of robbing a jewel shop. In 'Competitions: How to Win Money and Influence People', Hancock embarks on a bout of newspaper competition entries. Other episodes included are: 'There's an Airfield at the Bottom of My Garden' and the 1957 Christmas Special, 'Hancock's 43 Minutes: The East Cheam Repertory Company'.
Thirty-five years after his premature death in 1968 Tony Hancock was voted Britain's best-ever comedy performer. Here's a chance to see what made him so special - the surviving episodes from Series 2 and Series 3 of Hancock's Half Hour, plus a Christmas special. Episodes include: "The Alpine Holiday", "Air Steward Hancock", "The Last Of The Many", "The Lawyer: The Crown vs Sidney James", "Competitions: How To Win Money And Influence People" and "There's An Airfield At The Bottom Of My Garden". The Christmas special is "Hancock's Forty-Three Minutes: The East Cheam Repertory Company".
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Top customer reviews
This first volume features the 5 surviving episodes of series 2 and 3, as most of the episodes remain lost like most sitcoms released in the 50s and 60s.
Here at last on dvd , are some of the first HANCOCK'S HALF HOUR television programms originally transmitted in 1957 including a
' hancock's forty-three minutes 1957 christmas special ' this vol.1 captures hancock's genius right at the very beginning of his telivison career , his comic acting complimenting Ray galton and alan simpson's superb scripts , the dvd highlights tony hancock's unique comic talent for which he should be best rememberd ( his personal turmoil late in his career already well documented ) and the bbc should hold there head in shame that it has taken them so long to release this follow up dvd to ' the best of hancock ' released a few years previously.
Fantastic archive comedy from the east cheam maestro ... roll on vol.2
Galton & Simpson along with Hancock and the rest of the cast produced the mould for many other series to come and possibly still influences comedy today (Beryl Virtue, Exec Producer of Coupling & many others, worked with G & S in the 50s & 60s).
The original radio series got away from the compulsory music/variety mix that comedy had to fit in with until HHH came along - this show concentrated on characters, plots and intelligent scripts and when this was transferred to TV, there was no looking back.
I find this the only comedy TV or radio show produced in the 50s that is still genuinely funny and not just from a nostalgic ot historical view (like the Goons or Take it From Here). The comedy has not dated in the least.
Although stars of the radio show, Bill Kerr and Hattie Jacques never crossed over to the television medium, but Hancock still has the perfect foil with the presence of Sid. Although early on Sid was still the "shady twister" of the early radio shows, he later develops into a genuinely warm and credible friend for Tony. Hancock's desire to go it alone saw Sid (amicably) leave before the final series and in my opinion, Hancock lost far more than he knew.
It's sad that the BBC destoyed so many of these gems (as they did with a lot of black and white DOCTOR WHO episodes) but it's nice to see them attempting to release all the material they have left (even if the first season is represented by a single episode!)
THE ALPINE HOLIDAY features the only (I think) appearance of Kenneth Williams in the tv series (adopting his "Snide" persona of course!) and also look out for the scenes in THERE'S AN AIRFIELD AT THE BOTTOM OF MY GARDEN when the set begins to fall apart (earlier than planned) and Hancock & guest star Dick Emery have to improvise their way through the chaos. Time to wheel out the tired old cliche "They don't make 'em like this anymore", but use it with absolute and utter conviction. At his peak, Hancock was THE greatest comedian/comedy actor that this country produced - Partnered with Sid James he was unstopable and with episodes like THE MISSING PAGE and THE POISON PEN LETTERS (two of my favourites) still to be released, the best is yet to come.
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