Round The Horne: The Complete And Utter History (BBC Radio Collection) Audio CD – Audiobook, 7 Feb 2005
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Barry Took presents a fabulosa history of the BBC comedy series starring Kenneth Horne, Betty Marsden, Hugh Paddick, Bill Pertwee and Kenneth Williams.
About the Author
A word from the producer about Round the Horne: 'I'm Julian, and this is my friend Sandy' - the line with which two of the characters in Round the Horne regularly introduced themselves. But the questions most people asked me, as producer of the series, were 'Who plays which?' and 'What are they really like, Messrs Kenneth Horne & Co?' These notes offer a good opportunity to answer both questions. Kenneth Horne played himself. He was the perfect anchor man. The central role in this kind of programme needed a rare blend of character: charm, warmth, sense of humour and generosity in letting others get laughs at your expense were a few of the qualities required. Kenneth Horne had all of these plus an avuncular manner which somehow lent responsibility to a series which, in its day, might otherwise have been labelled outrageous. Perhaps it had something to do with his appearance. Certainly his bald head glinted with responsibility, and it also explains why we called him the uncrowned head of our show. Kenneth Williams played Rambling Syd Rumpo, Gruntfuttock, Sandy and Dr Chou en Ginsberg MA (Failed). 'I need to be serviced' was one of Kenneth's lines - and the writers duly obliged him with many other comic roles. His temperamental protests about his lines in the show gave many the impression that he might also be difficult at rehearsal. In truth, he was totally the professional, dedicated to his work and, incidentally, the quickest 'study' I had ever met, giving an instant performance at his very first reading. Hugh Paddick played Charles, Brown-Horrocks, Julian and, in the radio equivalent of drag, Lotus Blossom. Best-remembered perhaps will be his character nick-named Dentures, whose sibilants gave trouble to him and a bath to anyone without an umbrella! During the laughter which always accompanied the Julian and Sandy spot, I always felt a tinge of sympathy for Julian. Hugh made sure of this by his usual attention to the detail of his characterisation, making Julian submissive and vulnerable, particularly about 'his friend Gordon', in contrast to Sandy's determination to make him 'purge himself' about the whole affair. Betty Marsden played trendy columnist Daphne Whitethigh, terribly terribly affected Fiona and every other female role with which Kenneth Williams, versatile as he was, could not cope. Sophisticated, delightfully theatrical and highly talented, Betty extracted every titter, giggle and belting laugh from everything the writers provided for her, 'many, many times' as she would say. Bill Pertwee played all the remaining roles including the whispering gossip columnist Jocelyn Pettibone and two (thinly disguised) send-ups of TV personalities: Seamus Android and Rife Hobertson. Douglas Smith was our regular BBC announcer whose establishment manner developed such a large following among the audience that the writers were forced to provide him with his own funny lines, all delivered with great seriousness - and perfect timing. Barry Took and Marty Feldman were the writers and creators of Round the Horne. Each had a totally different approach to comedy from the other, but combined they made one of radio's greatest writing teams. They even invented two new languages - a homespun one full of 'grommits' and 'trossops' for Rambling Syd and the other a special 'palare' of 'eeks, vadas and lallies' for Julian and Sandy. John Simmonds, producer.
Top customer reviews
Barry Took, accompanied by exerts from the show, explains the history of the show, right from its predessor, Beyond Our Ken, which he wrote with Eric Merriman. He goes on to describe specific examples of when they were told to reign in their outrageous humour and talks of each of the performers individually, describing their contributions to the show.
For hardcore fans of Round The Horne or 'younguns' eager to learn about this popular comedy, like myself, this is an absolute gem, and especially touching now that Barry Took has sadly passed away.
I thought originaly that the commentary by Mr Took would be invasive to the comedy, but not a bit, as he co-scripted every screamngly funny episode who else could give the interesting insights into what became a comedy benchmark for others to try to achieve its justified greatness.
Round the Horne was outragous and propelled its vocal stars to greatness on film and television leaving no stone unturned comicaly to take it into the hearts world wide of many millions of people worldwide, our household in Manchester in the early and late 60s scheduled its Sunday lunch round each episode of this comedy show, even my straight laced grandmother sat with a milk stout having a quiet chuckle to the show.
Barry Took died in 2002.
Kenneth Horne died in 1969 on the podium, promoting the forthcoming season of programmes, this funny man was dead before he hit the floor with a massive blood clot.
But he leaves behind a legacy with his co conspiritors Kenneth Williams, Betty Marsden, Hugh Paddick, and Bill Perwee, which is enhanced by this BBC CD and should encorage you to purchase (at the right price) further recordings of this fantabuloso radio series which will last as long as we have brains to absorb its cleverness and machines capable of playing them.
all the Best, ERIC
For anyone who is a fan of the classic series, this is a must buy.
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