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Summary

Kevin McNally and Andy Secombe star in new recordings of original Hancock's Half Hour scripts by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson.

Between 1954 and 1959, BBC Radio recorded 102 episodes of the hugely popular comedy classic, Hancock's Half Hour. The first modern sitcom, Hancock's Half Hour made stars of Tony Hancock, Sid James and Kenneth Williams, and launched Ray Galton and Alan Simpson as one of the most successful comedy-writing partnerships in history. 

Sadly, 22 episodes of the show went missing from the BBC archives and have not been heard since their original transmission nearly 60 years ago - until Radio 4 lovingly recreated them over four highly-acclaimed series between 2014 and 2020. In a special treat for Hancock fans, Series 4 also premiered one episode - The Counterfeiter - that was never recorded by the original team.

Complete with the classic score performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra, these hilarious episodes were recorded at the BBC Radio Theatre in front of a live audience. Kevin McNally stars as The Lad Himself, with Andy Secombe playing the role of his father Harry and a stellar cast including Simon Greenall, Kevin Eldon, Robin Sebastian, Margaret Cabourn-Smith and Susy Kane.

Also featured is a bonus director's commentary for The Matador, in which Andy Hamilton chats to Kevin McNally and co-producer Neil Pearson about the joys and challenges of recreating a 1950s sitcom. In addition, we hear Kevin McNally and Robin Sebastian's riotous performance of 'The Test Pilot' sketch at the 2018 RAF centenary gala at the Royal Albert Hall and the interview they gave afterwards. 

The episodes included in this collection are:
The Matador
The Newspaper
The Hancock Festival
The Breakfast Cereal
The New Neighbour
How Hancock Won the War
The Red Planet
The Marriage Bureau
A Visit to Russia
The Trial of Father Christmas
A Holiday in France
The Crown Jewels
The Racehorse
A Visit to Swansea
The Three Sons
The Winter Holiday
Department Store Santa
The Diamond Ring
Prime Minister Hancock
Christmas at Aldershot
The Counterfeiter
The Christmas Eve Party
The New Year Resolutions

Written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson. Produced by Ed Morrish, Neil Pearson, Paul Sheehan and Hayley Sterling. Music composed by Wally Stott and performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by Levon Parikian. Thanks to Tessa Le Bars. A BBC Studios Production. Originally broadcast on the BBC Light Programme between 1954 and 1959.

Recreated for broadcast by BBC Radio Comedy for BBC Radio 4, 31st October - 28th November 2014 (Series 1), 23rd November - 21st December 2015 (Series 2), 14th March - 11th April 2017 (Series 3), 6th December 2018 - 31st December 2020 (Series 4).

Cast:

Tony Hancock - Kevin McNally

Bill Kerr - Kevin Eldon

Sid James - Simon Greenall

Kenneth Williams - Robin Sebastian

Andree Melly - Susy Kane

Moira Lister - Margaret Cabourn-Smith

Harry Secombe - Andy Secombe

Director's Commentary

Featuring Andy Hamilton, Kevin McNally and Neil Pearson.

©2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

What listeners say about The Missing Hancocks: The Complete BBC Radio Series

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Excellent listen

Play characters so well, they should try and update a script too, think they'd pull it off

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Classic Comedy

I have to admit I was not keen on the idea of listening to a Hancocks' Half Hour without the voice of the man himself and when I first heard episodes of this broadcast on Radio I was initially dubious. However, I was soon changing my view by the performances of all concerned. You cannot replicate the brilliant chemistry of Hancock, Kerr, James, Williams and Shearer but Kevin McNally and the cast do a fantastic job in delivering the brilliant scripts of Galton and Simpson. On several occasions I forgot that I was not listening to Hancock and Co. It may not be to the liking of the die hard Hancock fans but the whole cast and production team should be roundly applauded for their work. Listen and enjoy.

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if you're a fan of the lad it's a must,

the missing Hancock's is a perfect reworking of the lost episodes, hours of entertainment and worth every penny, 5 stars

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Avoid

Very poor, impersonating characters and no humour, waste of my credit, avoid at all costs