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on 17 December 2015
If you do, you'll really enjoy reading this book. The author has written a very detailed account of the two main strands of Kenneth Horne's life - business and broadcasting. As an ardent fan of the radio programmes broadcast in the 1960s, I enjoyed reading something of what happened behind the scenes, as it were. It was also interesting to read about Kenneth Horne's private life and his business career. I recommend this book as very enjoyable read.
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on 21 November 2013
I have always loved Round the Horne and didn't know much about Kenneth Horne until reading this. Barry Johnston has done a great job writing this book considering many of Kenneth Horne's papers were apparently destroyed after his death. He comes across as a kind, much loved and respected person by his many fans and peers, even by Kenneth Williams. I think that referring to his father and his background, shows how he gained that love and respect and made him the man he was. Thoroughly enjoyable read and would highly recommend it.
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on 28 April 2017
Loved it, brilliant book, gave a real insight into Mr Horne's life and personality.
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VINE VOICEon 8 February 2009
Kenneth Horne had a remarkable life. The youngest of seven children, his father was an MP and a renowned preacher who would fill churches with people wanting to hear his stirring orations. After Kenneth was sent down at Cambridge University he gained employment in the glass industry and was so successful at this that in time he became the Sales Director of the major car windscreen manufacturers, Triplex, and would have probably have become the Chairman and Managing Director (and therefore one of the most important figures in the British motor industry) had he not tendered his resignation on a point of principal. What makes Kenneth Hornes life remarkable though, is that at the same time as being a captain of industry, he led a double life because he was also an extremely popular figure in radio entertainment, starring in countless highly rated comedies and quiz shows. In modern day terms, this would be like Peter Kay being on the Board at Tesco's or Alan Carr running BT; I can't see this happening somehow!

It is now forty years ago since he died (almost to the day as I write this) and, apart latter day repeats of Round the Horne, I knew little of his work and nothing about his life. After reading this book though, I now know a great deal and to his credit, Barry Johnston does it in a very enjoyable way which for me, made this book a pleasure to read. I don't think that you could ask any more than this from a biography.

Any good show biz biography should provide the reader with a few quotable anecdotes, and this book has plenty of these. I was particularly amused to read that one of Hornes writing team was an official in the Salvation Army; not only that but she provided Horne, famous for his double intendres, with some of his fruitiest innuendoes.

Well worth a read for anybody who wants to read about a giant (and pioneer) of British comedy and an obviously very good man.
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on 1 September 2012
Absorbing biography of a man whose avuncular public persona hid personal unhappiness in two failed marriages and a third which was clearly going the same way. He was very much a man of his time, having a very awkward relationship with his daughter and son in law, and numerous discreet extra-matrital affairs - so discreet in fact that even at this distance in time the book only really hints at them.

Horne was quite literally a man who worked himself to an early death, and it's quite sad to think that for someone who was such a ubiquitous presence on the airwaves for so much of the 1950s and 60s, he is really only remembered now for a handful of radio series right at the end of his life. But what a legacy to leave!
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on 11 April 2007
One of the most enjoyable aspects of this fascinating biography of Ken Horne is the number of times the author mentions his father; the cricket commentator Brian Johnston. His father must have told the young Barry many anecdotes of his meetings with Kenneth Horne and Johnston Junior certainly rememberd them........However well done to Mr Johnston for a throughly enjoyable read and I heartily recommend this book to all Round the Horne fans!
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on 19 May 2013
Kenneth Horne held many shows together. This is his life showing what an interesting man he was, and how loved and respected he was by all who worked with him .
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on 19 October 2011
I was brought up listening to the BBC Light programme on Sunday afternnons.Forces favourites followed by the Billy cotton Band show and then Beyond Our ken and later Round The Horne.I was fortunate enough to attend one of the lunchtime recordings at the paris.i remember that Kenneth williams was filming Follow that camel and the audience warm up was the 2 Kens discussing his adventures at the studio.I was truly devastated at his death at such an early age.I am grateful to this book in filling so many of the blanks in Hornes life.i would cheerfully have done without much of the first 30 pages.Too much time is spent on Hornes sporting prowess.however it does gain pace as it progresses,the last half being by far the best.Whilst there is a fair bit about his troubled private life it is his professional career which is the main interest.i was intruiged to discover why the shows name had to be changed from BOK to RTH.Whilst this book has its boring bits they are by far outweighed by the humerous parts.
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Barry Johnston's very detailed biography provides a wealth of information about the late, great Kenneth Horne. It is fascinating but can on occasions be a little difficult to wade through. Some of the information on Kenneth's father (whose biography is this again?) was superfluous and Johnston's constant remarking on his favourite bits of the various radio programmes was unnecessary and a little tiresome. It gathered pace towards the end, however, where it improved significantly.

It's a shame, really, since the endorsement by Barry Cryer on the front cover promises a riotous read. Ultimately, however, the book fails to be as humorous as the man himself or to accurately convey the warmth and conviviality which came across so well in Beyond Our Ken and Round The Horne. Worth reading for the detailed information, therefore, but a little disappointing.
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on 14 July 2007
I really enjoyed this biography of Kenneth Horne written by Barry Johnston. The book really took the reader into the life of Kenneth Horne -the comic who had shows like BEYOND OUR KEN and ROUND THE HORNE.

At the beginning of the book I thought it was very slow but as I read on the book really took on a quick pace.

I remember the shows being on the BBC LIGHT PROGRAMME but now thanks to BBC 7 I have really enjoyed listening to the shows featuring Kenneth Horne and company.

I didn't know that Kenneth had been married three times or that he had a daughter so that was quite a surprising revelation in the book.

Congratulations to Barry on a fine book, I hope he decides to do a bioigraphy on Arthur Askey another of my favourite comics.
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