- Audio CD
- Publisher: BBC Physical Audio; Unabridged edition edition (4 Nov. 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1408467674
- ISBN-13: 978-1408467671
- Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 14 x 1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 48 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,173,826 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Round the Horne, Series 1, Part 1 (The Golden Age of BBC Radio Comedy) Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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The first four episodes of the classic radio series, including the first ever show.
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
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In these early episodes, the running jokes begin to be established: we have 'Trends',and Julian and Sandy appearing in their first instantiation as 'Rent-a-chap', but best of all we have Betty Marsden acting her socks off as Bea Clissold, music hall star and loose woman, looking back on her life. Williams is superb as Spasm the butler ("Go back to London, young master!") and the ensemble performance is superb.
The CDs are nicely indexed so if you hate the Frazer Hayes Four you can skip them with a press of a button, and move on to enjoy some of the funniest material the BBC has ever produced.
In these episodes, we can get a glimpse of how this famous series developed up to 1968. For example, it isn't until the fourth episode that we get to meet Julian and Sandy. And in none of these episodes do we hear the dulcet tones of Ramblin' Syd Rumpo.
Written by Barry Took and Marty Feldman, the episodes do contain quite a few topical references which are perhaps a bit obscure some 45 years later, but there is enough true 'classic radio comedy' to keep the attention.
Musical interludes are provided by the Fraser Hayes Four - a close-harmony quartet whose music, to my ears, has dated horribly. While the humour can still sounds fresh (and saucy), the music is very much of its time - rather like the musical interludes in, for example, the Goon Shows.
These episodes are, quite frankly, not as good as the two classics featured on "Round the Horne": v. 2 (Vintage Beeb) but at least they are complete and unadulterated, unlike The Best of "Round the Horne": (Vintage Beeb) which consists of two episodes complied from the 'best bits' of many programmes (still funny, but somehow, by being compilations, they lack something).
Still, these four programmes are really interesting and enjoyable and give a great insight into the origins and development of this memorable show from a 'Golden Age of Radio'.
Most recent customer reviews
A little bit later than the 'Golden Age' of radio.There are lots of sill snooty and camp voices and much of the topical references are lost unless...Read more