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on 20 November 2013
I a very proud that my 16 year old daughter can imitate Able Seaman Johnson to a "t" and recite verbatim vast chunks of a previous Navy Lark CD, which we bought as a means of sending her and her brother to sleep on long car journeys. It had precisely the opposite effect.

This is classic with a big C; I grew up listening to this and other Post War radio shows since a TV did not arrive until 1973 - Thank God for that.

If you don't get this humour, and the rest of these priceless shows like Beyond Our Ken, |Gerard Hoffnung, Flanders and Swan, , the Goons, Men from the Ministry, Al Read, I'm Sorry I haven't a Clue, and the piece de resistance Round the Horne there is no hope for you.

I would say it anyway but these guys and gals - just listen to Betty Marsden doing her Daphne Whitethigh take off of Fanny Craddock and squirm when she does her Dame Celia Molestrangler skit of Celia Johnson - and to a certain extinct their American cousins of the same vintages - my daughter can also recite the whole of a Best of Stan Freberg CD with all the accents- are in a different Solar system compared to the utterly dreadful tripe and claptrap that serves as adult humour today - Paul Merton and Peter Kay excepted.

Utterly priceless and IMHO timeless if you take the trouble to know the history of Britain from the Great War onwards.
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on 15 April 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed this cd, very entertaining and contained 2 episodes when I was expecting only 1 ! It arrived on time and is of good quality
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VINE VOICEon 19 December 2010
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Back in the dark days of 1965 we had little to entertain us, but then came Beyond Our Ken, followed by Round the Horne. As well as industrialist/comedian (not a combination you see these days) Kenneth Horne, we had Betty Marsden, Hugh Paddick and Bill Pertwee in support as well as Kenneth Williams chewing the scenery and providing ad libs, and a superb set of scripts by Barry Took and Marty Feldman

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.
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on 9 December 2010
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The legendary Barry Took and Marty Feldman scripted these four half-hour episodes of Round The Horne, and they are absolutely marvellous. I'm far too young to have heard the original broadcast, but I find it fresh and very funny even now. Full of inventiveness, surreal wordplay and insinuated filth, very close to the bone at times. Treats include the BBC sound effects workshop skit where they manage to do a lot with a very simple idea. The Clissold Saga is corny but hilarious, perfectly pitched. There's a straightfaced song in the middle of each episode from the Fraser Hayes Four, strangely incongruous (but delightfully creamy-smooth) slices of shimmering, swingin' close harmony, a total contrast to the barely restrained anarchy in the rest of the show. It's a real treat to hear Kenneth Williams' distinctive cackle in the background as the results of the limerick competition are read out at the end of each programme, and I love the sense that each member just about managed to stop themselves from corpsing at several points. They are having the time of their lives and it's very infectious. Technical details: the sound quality is perfect, it's very good value for a double disc edition, and this is highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 15 December 2010
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Round the Horne was a BBC Radio comedy programme, over four series of weekly episodes from 1965 until 1968. The cast - including Kenneth Williams, Bill Pertwee and Kenneth Horne - were well-known stars of radio and TV - some of whom - especially in the case of Williams (Carry On films) and Pertwee (Dads Army) who went on to fame in popular series.

Round the Horne was of its time. It has constant cultural references to what was happening in the mid 1960s and as such some younger listeners (anyone under 30 probably) may not 'get' it - as I do (being 47). But this should not stop them enjoying it. Dr Who was around at the time, and warranted a couple of references , including his (alleged) 'unprofessional relationship with a Dalek' !

In some respects it is certainly dated - but in others it is razor sharp, sardonic and relevant to today. The format is a number of sketches and songs, played out to a 'live' radio audience, with impeccable timing and great comic wit. Kenneth Williams voice alone is enough to make me laugh but there are a number of laugh out loud moments across the four 1965 episodes (series one) showcased here.

This show really did push the boundaries of whet you could get away with on the radio in the 1960s (think about the title for a start)and there's plenty of sauce to go around- for example
'You have the biggest part in the West End'
'You shouldn't believe the rumours'.

Without this show it is hard to imagine there would have been Monty Python or even Benny Hill. The 'Golden Age of Comedy' is a well-fitting description here. Another one is ' hilarious, and bloody good value' (that''s my one, by the way)! Enjoy.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERon 22 February 2011
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Although some of its surreal thunder has probably been stolen over the years by the Goon Show, Barry Took and Marty Feldman's 1965 BBC Radio comedy series justifies its cult reputation that would see it briefly immortalised in a West End hit show not that many years ago. Aside from the titular Kenneth Horne, the verbally dextrous regulars Kenneth Williams, Betty Marsden, Hugh Paddick and Bill Pertwee provided a key link in the chain of nonsense radio comedies from the BBC that stretches to modern TV crossovers like Little Britain, eschewing situation-based comedy for a more surreal stream-of-consciousness ramble round the houses, monologues and banter running into sketches and an evolving number of running gags along he way. Some of these outstay their welcome - the long running Clissold Saga interviews with a much-married grand dame of the stage start to feel a bit and formulaic tired by the second episode. There's a loose structure to each episode but it's more about doing anything for a laugh and keeping the energy levels high enough for you not to turn over than shocking or making a point. It's not so much reinventing the wheel as keeping those wheels turning. But is it still funny? Luckily much of it is. Its hit rate is probably lower now than it was then and a lot of the freshness has gone with decades of not always flattering imitation, but there's enough that is sillily amusing to make these first four episodes of the first series still a worthwhile exercise and provide enough laughs to justify the purchase price even if it doesn't make you a die-hard convert.
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on 25 November 2010
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Once again GoAudio have issued a comic gem. As I said regarding the Goon Show series 4, and the Take It From Here releases, the material on these discs doesn't conform to the popular memory of the shows, being as it is the very first series and the very first four programmes.
These shows already demonstrate Barry Took and Marty Feldman's propensity for producing ripe corn with a slightly salacious flavour.... The way they take something that at first seems corny and twist it to lunatic proportions is visible from the start.
It's of interest to note that in these early shows the "mock competition" announced at the end of one show IS linked to the results announced at the start of the next - this wasn't so in the later series. There is no Rambling Syd Rumpo and none of the Bona Thesps Julian and Sandy (until programme 4) although Kenneth Williams and Hugh Paddick are on excellent form.
There are some wonderful gags based on the Boys in the Backroom at the BBC (*knock*knock*knock* "Are you still in there?") and the ongoing saga of Bea Clissold's early life and dalliances "many times. many many times. Many many MANY times" makes interesting listening to one who, like me, remembers the show from the 3rd and 4th series in the late '60s.
The BBC in 1965 was very different to the glory days of radio comedy in the 1950's and totally different to the shows we have now..... It was a time when Sunday lunchtime was a time for Two-Way Family Favourites followed by an hour of comedy or half an hour of comedy and half an hour of Billy Cotton.

I wish it were still possible to get the entire series runs of Round The Horne still at a sensible price; perhaps GoAudio will issue more??

Oh, and as for my advice to all you out there BUY BUY BUY.

You may as well get the Hancocks Half Hour double disc as well - if the technical standard is up to the other releases you may as well (I won't be because I have the Series One box nyah nyah) because all these GoAudio Golden Age releases have been exemplary in terms of the material offered, the quality of the recording, and even the packaging although it would be nice to have fuller sleeve notes.
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VINE VOICEon 4 January 2011
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I did not grow up when this was first broadcast and like many products of its time, I have been fortunate enough recently through the wonderful BBC RADIO 7 to be able to have a chance to listen to such shows for the first time. Now I freely admit to not liking the Goon Show in any way whatsoever but Round the Horne is a wonder to behold and quite the antidote to what the Goons provided. Of course I fully acknowledge that both are equally respected and its all just a matter of personal taste, however I am huge fan of Kenneth Williams; nothing compares to him and I simply adore him in this. At times he is on such fine form, that he outshines the restraint that Hancock attempted to place on him on him is Half Hour show {besides I'll never forgive Hancock for what he did to Sid James} to create simply amazing characters in your mind that you can picture fully and enjoy. It is quite exciting that the BBC have chosen to release the first four episodes; taking us all the way back to March of 1965. If I had one criticism, it would be that in an age of complete box sets surely CD's can start to catch up with DVD's and BluRay's in being a little more complete and saving us a few £'s in the process too.
3 people found this helpful
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VINE VOICEon 4 December 2010
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It is high time the BBC started releasing their classic radio series in complete format, rather than as piecemeal (and sometimes bizarre) selections apparently taken at random from an entire run. This one offers the first four shows of Round the Horne, the comedy sketch show starring Kenneth Horne, Kenneth Williams, Hugh Paddick, Betty Marsden and Bill Pertwee - not forgetting the announcer, Douglas Smith. And every one is a gem. I had expected them to have dated somewhat, but apart from the occasional reference to contemporary politics or celebrities no longer familiar, there is nothing here that fails to amuse. Trends, the segment which takes the mick from lifestyle shows and gurus of the period, and which was the most likely to date, had me rolling at every outing (and Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen and Gok Wan should be forced to listen to them an hour every day). The musical interludes are the weakest part, but then they always were; for most people, they offered a welcome chance to pop to the loo or make a quick cuppa. And with modern technology, they can be skipped. Not that they are badly performed, just irrelevant. Julian and Sandy make their first tentative appearance in the fourth show, and bona it is to hear them. I was concerned that the 'play' segment, a regular feature, in these four is devoted to four parts of The Clissold Saga, the memoirs of showbiz diva Beatrice Clissold, but I need not have worried it might become repetitive. Each episode covers a different husband and allows for hilarious takes on different film genres and cliches, with fresh gags and characters. At the same time they create some lasting characters and catchphrases - Lady Counterblast and her 'many, many times..', and Spasm the butler with 'a touch of the dooms'. There is just so much to relish in these shows; superb comedy performances, razor-sharp and wickedly bold writing by Barry Took and Marty Feldman, memorable characters and a wit that is timeless. My daughter came in while I was listening, and she was cracked up completely, though she is a child of the 21st century in every way. I will certainly be buying the next release, I just can't wait.
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VINE VOICEon 20 December 2010
Format: Audio CD|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The quality of the recordings of these four episodes of Round the Horne is superb. It's not like listening to crackly old radio, but it made me feel as if I were experiencing time travel - hearing the past in today's high definition audio.

I wanted to hear these programmes because they are often referred to as classics and I felt that never having heard them was like a gap in my education. I didn't know what to expect, but what you get is a mixture of contemporary (of their time) micky-taking, sketches, reviews and music. Obviously much of this is dated and quite a lot of it went over my head because I didn't know who or what the humour was satirising, but I expected that.

It's difficult to rate this CD as on many levels it deserves five stars. The humour is clever, silly, sometimes surreal, and Kenneth Williams is just amazing. Every time his voice is heard with its outrageous over-exaggeration it made me smile. The man clearly was a comedy genius and I am thrilled to have heard him in this way. Equally Kenneth Horne had me hooked. I liked listening to his honeyed-but-masculine voice and his comic timing is brilliant.

People who know and love Round the Horne will buy this CD and enjoy it without looking at the reviews. But I do think anyone not familiar with the series might find this just a little disappointing because times have changed. We are used to quicker, slicker humour these days, it's hard to laugh at a sketch when it's about somebody you've never heard of and the musical interludes add very little. If, like me, you want to understand why so many people rave about Round the Horne, buy and enjoy.
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