Galton and Simpson
Ray Galton OBE, Alan Simpson OBE, were an English comedy scriptwriting partnership. They met in 1948 whilst recuperating from tuberculosis at the Milford Sanatorium, near Godalming in Surrey; the sitcom Get. They are best known for their work with comedian Tony Hancock on radio and television between 1954 and 1961, their long-running television situation comedy and Son, eight series of which were aired between 1962 and 1974; the partnership's break in comedy writing came with the Derek Roy vehicle Happy Go Lucky, although this was not a success. The Hancock connection began with their involvement with radio variety series, from November 1954 continued with Hancock's Half Hour on radio. In October that year Hancock ended his professional relationship with the writers, with Beryl Vertue who worked with the writers' at their agency Associated London Scripts; this writers' co-operative had been founded by Eric Sykes and Spike Milligan, with others involved, including Hancock for a time. After their association with Hancock had ended, they wrote a series of Comedy Playhouse, ten one-off half-hour plays for the BBC.
One play in the series, The Offer, was well received, from this emerged Steptoe and Son, about two rag and bone men and son, who live together in a squalid house in West London. This was the basis for the Swedish series Albert & Herbert, their comedy is characterised by a somewhat fatalistic tone. Steptoe and Son in particular is, at times black comedy, close in tone to social realist drama. Both the character played by Tony Hancock in Hancock's Half Hour and Harold Steptoe are pretentious, would-be intellectuals who find themselves trapped by the squalor of their lives; this theme had been expanded upon in their script for Tony Hancock's film The Rebel, about a civil servant who moves to Paris to become an artist. Gabriel Chevallier's novel Clochemerle was adapted by Galton and Simpson as a BBC/West German co-production in 1972, they contributed the book to Jacob's Journey, a musical accompaniment to a 1973 production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, however soon dropped. Around this time an unbroadcast television pilot was recorded for a series called Bunclarke With an E, to be based on the Hancock's Half Hour scripts, with Arthur Lowe and James Beck, but Beck died before the project could be developed.
While both writers continued to work after Steptoe and Son ended, including several projects with Frankie Howerd, they had no further high-profile successes. Duncan Wood, the former Hancock and Steptoe producer by at Yorkshire Television, commissioned The Galton & Simpson Playhouse, a seven-part series broadcast in 1977, featuring leading actors of the time such as Richard Briers, Leonard Rossiter and Arthur Lowe. None of these shows led to another series. Simpson formally retired from screenwriting in 1978, concentrating on his business interests, Galton collaborated in several projects with Johnny Speight. In 1996 and 1997, comedian Paul Merton revived several Hancock's Half Hour and other Galton and Simpson scripts for ITV to a mixed reception. In 1997, Ray Galton's Get Well Soon, based on his and Simpson's early sanatorium experiences, was broadcast by the BBC. In October 2005, Galton and John Antrobus premiered their play Steptoe and Son in Murder at Oil Drum Lane at the Theatre Royal, York.
The play is set in the present day and relates the events that lead to Harold killing his father, their eventual meeting thirty years later. A series of old plays updated for modern times, entitled Galton and Simpson's Half Hour, was broadcast on BBC Radio 2 in 2009; the series of four episodes was made to celebrate the duo's 60-year anniversary, the cast consists of Frank Skinner and Webb, Rik Mayall, June Whitfield and Paul Merton. The successful Scandinavian television series Fleksnes Fataliteter and Albert & Herbert were based on Hancock's Half Hour and Steptoe and Son. Galton and Simpson were both awarded OBEs in the 2000 honours list for their contribution to British television. On Saturday 1 June 2013, the British Comedy Society unveiled a blue plaque to Simpson and Galton at Milford Hospital. On 8 May 2016 they were awarded a BAFTA fellowship for their comedy writing. Official website Ray Galton on IMDb Alan Simpson on IMDb DVDCompare review of The Galton and Simpson Playhouse
Prunella Margaret Scales, is an English actress best known for her role as Basil Fawlty's wife Sybil in the BBC comedy Fawlty Towers and her BAFTA award-nominated role as Queen Elizabeth II in A Question of Attribution by Alan Bennett. Scales was born in Sutton Abinger, the daughter of Catherine, an actress, John Richardson Illingworth, a cotton salesman, she attended Eastbourne. Her younger brother, Timothy Illingworth lived 1934 - 2017. Scales' parents moved their family to Bucks Mill near Bideford in Devon in 1939 at the start of the Second World War. Scales herself were evacuated to Near Sawrey. Scales started her career in 1951 as an assistant stage manager at the Bristol Old Vic. Throughout her career, Scales has been cast in comic roles, her early work included the second UK adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, Hobson's Choice, Room at the Top and Waltz of the Toreadors. Her career break came with the early 1960s sitcom Marriage Lines starring opposite Richard Briers. In addition to Fawlty Towers, she has had roles in BBC Radio 4 sitcoms, comedy series including After Henry, Smelling of Roses and Ladies of Letters.
She played Queen Elizabeth II in Alan Bennett's A Question of Attribution. In 1973, Scales was cast with Ronnie Barker in One Man's Meat which formed part of Barker's Seven of One series for the BBC, her film appearances include Escape from the Dark, The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Boys From Brazil, The Wicked Lady, The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, Stiff Upper Lips, Howards End and Wolf. For the BBC Television Shakespeare production of The Merry Wives of Windsor she played Mistress Page and the Theatre Night series she appeared with her husband Timothy West in the Joe Orton farce What the Butler Saw playing Mrs Prentice. For ten years, Prunella appeared with Jane Horrocks in advertisements for UK supermarket chain Tesco. In 1996, Scales starred in the television film, Lord of Misrule, alongside Richard Wilson, Emily Mortimer and Stephen Moyer; the film was directed by Guy Jenkins and filming took place in Fowey in Cornwall. In 1996, she appeared as miss Bates in Jane Austen’s Emma. In 1997, Scales starred in Chris Barfoot's science-fiction film short Phoenix, first aired in 1999 by NBC Universal's Sci Fi Channel.
Scales played'The Client', an evil government minister funding inter-genetic time travel experiments. The same year she played Dr. Minny Stinkler in the comedy film Mad Cows, directed by Sara Sugarman. In 1993 Scales voiced Mrs Tiggy-Winkle in The World of Peter Rabbit and Friends. In 2000 she appeared in the film The Ghost of Greville Lodge as Sarah; the same year she appeared as Eleanor Dunsall in Midsomer Murders Beyond the Grave. In 2001 she appeared in 2 episodes of Silent Witness, “Faith” as Mrs Parker. In 2003, she appeared as Hilda, "she who must be obeyed", wife of Horace Rumpole in four BBC Radio 4 plays, with Timothy West playing her fictional husband. Scales and West toured Australia at the same time in different productions. Scales appeared in a one-woman show called "An Evening with Queen Victoria", which featured the tenor Ian Partridge singing songs written by Prince Albert. In 2003, she voiced the speaking role of Magpie, the eponymous thief in a recording of Gioachino Rossini's opera La gazza ladra.
In 2006, she appeared alongside Academy Award winners Vanessa Redgrave and Maximilian Schell in the mini-series The Shell Seekers. On 16 November 2007, Scales appeared in Children in Need, reprising her role as Sybil Fawlty, the new manager who wants to take over Hotel Babylon, she appeared in the audio play The Youth of Old Age, produced in 2008 by the Wireless Theatre Company, available to download free of charge on their website. She appeared in a production of Carrie's War, the Nina Bawden novel, at the Apollo Theatre in 2009. In 2008, she appeared in Agatha Christie's, A Pocket Full of Rye, as Mrs. Mackenzie. John Cleese said in an interview on 8 May 2009 that the role of Sybil Fawlty was offered to Bridget Turner, who turned down the part, claiming "it wasn't right for her", she starred in the 2011 British live-action 3D family comedy film Horrid Henry: The Movie as the titular character's Great Aunt Greta. Prunella Scales appeared in a short audio story, Dandruff Hits the Turtleneck, written by John Mayfield, available for download.
She starred in a Virgin Short "Stranger Danger" alongside Roderick Cowie in 2012. In 2013 she made a guest appearance in the popular BBC radio comedy Cabin Pressure as Wendy Crieff, the mother of Captain Martin Crieff. Alongside husband Timothy West, she has appeared in Great Canal Journeys for Channel 4 every year since 2014. Stuart Heritage, writing for The Guardian in November 2016, commented that it "is a work about a devoted couple facing something huge together. It’s a beautiful, meditative programme". "An emotional but unrooted glimpse of life with dementia" was Christopher Howse's characterization in October 2018, writing for The Telegraph. Scales is married to the actor Timothy West, their younger son Joseph participated in two episodes of Great Canal Journeys filmed in France. She has a step daughter, Juliet, by West's first marriage, her biography, written by Teresa Ransom, was published by UK publishing imprint John Murray in 2005. She was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1992
Dad's Army is a BBC television sitcom about the British Home Guard during the Second World War. It was written by Jimmy Perry and David Croft, broadcast on the BBC from 1968 to 1977; the sitcom ran for 80 episodes in total. The series gained audiences of 18 million viewers, is still repeated worldwide; the Home Guard consisted of local volunteers otherwise ineligible for military service, either because of age or by being in professions exempt from conscription. Dad's Army deals exclusively with men over military age, featured older British actors, including Arthur Lowe, John Le Mesurier, Arnold Ridley and John Laurie. Younger members of the cast included Ian Lavender, Clive Dunn, James Beck. Other regular cast members included Frank Williams as the vicar, Bill Pertwee as the chief ARP warden. In 2004, Dad's Army was voted fourth in a BBC poll to find Britain's Best Sitcom, it had been placed 13th in a list of the 100 Greatest British Television Programmes drawn up by the British Film Institute in 2000 and voted for by industry professionals.
The series has influenced British popular culture, with the series' catchphrases and characters being well known. The Radio Times magazine listed Captain Mainwaring's "You stupid boy!" among the 25 greatest put-downs on TV. A second feature film of Dad's Army with a different cast was released in 2016. Intended to be called The Fighting Tigers, Dad's Army was based on co-writer and creator Jimmy Perry's experiences in the Local Defence Volunteers and highlighted a somewhat forgotten aspect of defence during the Second World War. Perry was only 17 years old, his mother did not like him being out at night, feared he might catch cold. An elderly lance corporal in the 10th Hertfordshire referred to fighting under Kitchener against the "Fuzzy Wuzzies", was the model for Corporal Jones. Other influences included the work of comedians such as Will Hay, whose film Oh, Mr Porter! Featured a pompous ass, an old man and a young man. Another influence was the Lancastrian comedian Robb Wilton, who portrayed a work-shy husband who joined the Home Guard in numerous comic sketches during WW2.
Perry wrote the first script and gave it to David Croft while working as a minor actor in the Croft-produced sitcom Hugh and I intending the role of the spiv called Walker, to be his own. Croft was impressed and sent the script to Michael Mills, the BBC's Head of Comedy and the series was commissioned. In his book Dad's Army, Graham McCann explains, it was he. He did not like Brightsea-on-Sea, so the location was changed to Walmington-on-Sea, he was happy with the names for the characters Mainwaring and Pike, but not with other names, he made suggestions: Private Jim Duck became Frazer, Joe Fish became Joe Walker and Jim Jones became Jack Jones. He suggested adding a Scot. Jimmy Perry had needed an experienced man to see it through. Mills suggested David Croft, so their partnership began; when an episode was shown to members of the public to gauge audience reaction prior to broadcast of the first series, the majority of the audience thought it was poor. The production team put the report containing the negative comments at the bottom of David Croft's in-tray.
He only saw it several months after the series had been broadcast and had received great acclaim. The show is set on the south coast of England; the exterior scenes were filmed in and around the Stanford Training Area, near Thetford, Norfolk. Walmington, its Home Guard platoon, would be on the front line in the event of a German invasion across the English Channel; the first series has a loose narrative thread, with Captain Mainwaring's platoon being formed and equipped with wooden guns and LDV armbands and on with full army uniforms. The first episode, "The Man and the Hour", begins with a scene set in the "present day" of 1968, in which Mainwaring addresses his old platoon as part of the contemporary'I'm Backing Britain' campaign; the prologue opening was a condition imposed after initial concerns from Paul Fox, the BBC1 controller, that it belittled the efforts of the Home Guard. After Mainwaring relates how he had backed Britain in 1940, the episode proper begins. Episodes are self-contained, albeit referring to previous events and with additional character development.
As the comedy in many ways relies on the platoon's lack of participation in the Second World War, opposition to their activities has to come from another quarter and this is provided by Air Raid Precautions Warden Hodges, sometimes by the verger of the local church or by Captain Square and the neighbouring Eastgate Home Guard platoon. The group does have some encounters related to the enemy, such as downed German planes, a Luftwaffe pilot who parachutes into the town's clock tower, a U-boat crew and discarded parachutes that may have been German.
ITV (TV network)
ITV is a British free-to-air television network with its headquarters in London, it was launched in 1955 as Independent Television under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to BBC Television, established in 1932. ITV is the oldest commercial network in the UK. Since the passing of the Broadcasting Act 1990, its legal name has been Channel 3, to distinguish it from the other analogue channels at the time, namely BBC 1, BBC 2 and Channel 4. In part, the number 3 was assigned because television sets would be tuned so that the regional ITV station would be on the third button, with the other stations being allocated to the number within their name. ITV is a network of television channels that operate regional television services as well as sharing programmes between each other to be displayed on the entire network. In recent years, several of these companies have merged, so the fifteen franchises are in the hands of two companies; the ITV network is to be distinguished from ITV plc, the company that resulted from the merger of Granada plc and Carlton Communications in 2004 and which holds the Channel 3 broadcasting licences in England, southern Scotland, the Isle of Man, the Channel Islands and Northern Ireland.
With the exception of Northern Ireland, the ITV brand is the brand used by ITV plc for the Channel 3 service in these areas. In Northern Ireland, ITV plc uses the brand name UTV. STV Group plc uses the STV brand for its two franchises of northern Scotland; the origins of ITV lie in the passing of the Television Act 1954, designed to break the monopoly on television held by the BBC Television Service. The act created the Independent Television Authority to regulate the industry and to award franchises; the first six franchises were awarded in 1954 for London, the Midlands and the North of England, with separate franchises for Weekdays and Weekends. The first ITV network to launch was London's Associated-Rediffusion on 22 September 1955, with the Midlands and North services launching in February 1956 and May 1956 respectively. Following these launches, the ITA awarded more franchises until the whole country was covered by fourteen regional stations, all launched by 1962; the network has been modified several times through franchise reviews that have taken place in 1963, 1967, 1974, 1980 and 1991, during which broadcast regions have changed and service operators have been replaced.
Only one service operator has been declared bankrupt, WWN in 1963, with all other operators leaving the network as a result of a franchise review. Separate weekend franchises were removed in 1968 and over the years more services were added; the Broadcasting Act 1990 changed the nature of ITV. This criticised part of the review saw four operators replaced, the operators facing different annual payments to the Treasury: Central Television, for example, paid only £2000—despite holding a lucrative and large region—because it was unopposed, while Yorkshire Television paid £37.7 million for a region of the same size and status, owing to heavy competition. Following the 1993 changes, ITV as a network began to consolidate with several companies doing so to save money by ceasing the duplication of services present when they were all separate companies. By 2004, ITV was owned by five companies, of which two and Granada had become major players by owning between them all the franchises in England, the Scottish borders and the Isle of Man.
That same year, the two merged to form ITV plc with the only subsequent acquisitions being the takeover of Channel Television, the Channel Islands franchise, in 2011. and UTV, the franchise for Northern Ireland, in 2015. The ITV network is not owned or operated by one company, but by a number of licensees, which provide regional services while broadcasting programmes across the network. Since 2016, the fifteen licences are held by two companies, with the majority held by ITV Broadcasting Limited, part of ITV plc; the network is regulated by the media regulator Ofcom, responsible for awarding the broadcast licences. The last major review of the Channel 3 franchises was in 1991, with all operators' licences having been renewed between 1999 and 2002 and again from 2014 without a further contest. While this has been the longest period that the ITV Network has gone without a major review of its licence holders, Ofcom announced that it would split the Wales and West licence from 1 January 2014, creating a national licence for Wales and joining the newly separated West region to Westcountry Television, to form a new licence for the enlarged South West of England region.
All companies holding a licence were part of the non-profit body ITV Network Limited, which commissioned and scheduled network programming, with compliance handled by ITV plc and Channel Television. However, due to amalgamation of several of these companies since the creation of ITV Network Limited, it has been replaced by an affiliation system. Approved by Ofcom, this results in ITV plc commissioning and funding the network schedule, with STV and UTV paying a fee to broadcast it. All licensees have the right to opt out of network programming (except fo
In the context of human society, a family is a group of people related either by consanguinity, affinity, or co-residence or some combination of these. Members of the immediate family may include spouses, brothers, sisters and daughters. Members of the extended family may include grandparents, uncles, nephews and siblings-in-law. Sometimes these are considered members of the immediate family, depending on an individual's specific relationship with them. In most societies, the family is the principal institution for the socialization of children; as the basic unit for raising children, anthropologists classify most family organizations as matrifocal. Sexual relations among the members are regulated by rules concerning incest such as the incest taboo; the word "family" can be used metaphorically to create more inclusive categories such as community, global village, humanism. The field of genealogy aims to trace family lineages through history; the family is an important economic unit studied in family economics.
One of the primary functions of the family involves providing a framework for the production and reproduction of persons biologically and socially. This can occur through the sharing of material substances. Thus, one's experience of one's family shifts over time. From the perspective of children, the family is G "family of orientation": the family serves to locate children and plays a major role in their enculturation and socialization. From the point of view of the parent, the family is a "family of procreation", the goal of, to produce and enculturate and socialize children. However, producing children is not the only function of the family. Christopher Harris notes that the western conception of family is ambiguous and confused with the household, as revealed in the different contexts in which the word is used. Olivia Harris states this confusion is not accidental, but indicative of the familial ideology of capitalist, western countries that pass social legislation that insists members of a nuclear family should live together, that those not so related should not live together.
The total fertility rate of women varies from country to country, from a high of 6.76 children born/woman in Niger to a low of 0.81 in Singapore. Fertility is low in most Eastern Southern European countries. In some cultures, the mother's preference of family size influences that of the children through early adulthood. A parent's number of children correlates with the number of children that they will have. Although early western cultural anthropologists and sociologists considered family and kinship to be universally associated with relations by "blood" research has shown that many societies instead understand family through ideas of living together, the sharing of food and sharing care and nurture. Sociologists have a special interest in the function and status of family forms in stratified societies. According to the work of scholars Max Weber, Alan Macfarlane, Steven Ozment, Jack Goody and Peter Laslett, the huge transformation that led to modern marriage in Western democracies was "fueled by the religio-cultural value system provided by elements of Judaism, early Christianity, Roman Catholic canon law and the Protestant Reformation".
Much sociological and anthropological research dedicates itself to the understanding of this variation, of changes in the family that form over time. Levitan claims: "Times have changed; the way roles are balanced between the parents will help children grow and learn valuable life lessons. There is great importance of communication and equality in families, in order to avoid role strain." The term "nuclear family" is used in the United States of America, to refer to conjugal families. A "conjugal" family includes only the unmarried children who are not of age; some sociologists distinguish between nuclear families. Other family structures - with blended parents, single parents, domestic partnerships - have begun to challenge the normality of the nuclear family. A single-parent family consist one parent together with his or her children, where the parent is either widowed and not remarried, or never married; the parent may either have sole custody of the children, or, the parents may have a shared parenting arrangement, where the children divide their time between two different single-parent families or between one single-parent family and one blended family.
A mockumentary or docucomedy is a type of movie or television show depicting fictional events but presented as a documentary. These productions are used to analyze or comment on current events and issues by using a fictional setting, or to parody the documentary form itself. While mockumentaries are comedic, pseudo-documentaries are their dramatic equivalents. However, pseudo-documentary should not be confused with docudrama, a fictional genre in which dramatic techniques are combined with documentary elements to depict real events. Docudrama is different from docufiction. Mockumentaries are presented as historical documentaries, with B roll and talking heads discussing past events, or as cinéma vérité pieces following people as they go through various events. Examples emerged during the 1950s when archival film footage became easy to locate. A early example was a short piece on the "Swiss Spaghetti Harvest" that appeared as an April fools' joke on the British television program Panorama in 1957.
The term "mockumentary", which originated in the 1960s, was popularized in the mid-1980s when This Is Spinal Tap director Rob Reiner used it in interviews to describe that film. Mockumentaries are partly or wholly improvised, as an unscripted style of acting helps to maintain the pretense of reality. Comedic mockumentaries have laugh tracks to sustain the atmosphere, although exceptions exist. Music "is employed to expose the ambiguities and fallacies of conventional storytelling. Early work, including Luis Buñuel's 1933 Land Without Bread, Orson Welles's 1938 radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds, various April Fools' Day news reports, vérité-style film and television during the 1960s and 1970s, served as precursor to the genre. Early examples of mock-documentaries include The Connection, A Hard Day's Night, 1964, David Holzman's Diary, 1967, Pat Paulsen for President, 1968, Take the Money and Run, 1969, The Clowns, 1970, by Federico Fellini, All You Need Is Cash, 1978. Albert Brooks was an early popularizer of the mockumentary style with his film Real Life, 1979, a spoof of a PBS documentary.
Woody Allen's Take the Money and Run is presented in documentary-style with Allen playing a fictional criminal, Virgil Starkwell, whose crime exploits are "explored" throughout the film. Jackson Beck, who used to narrate documentaries in the 1940s, provides the voice-over narration. Fictional interviews are interspliced throughout those of Starkwell's parents who wear Groucho Marx noses and mustaches; the style of this film was appropriated by others and revisited by Allen himself in films such as Zelig and Sweet and Lowdown. Early use of the mockumentary format in television comedy may be seen in several sketches from Monty Python's Flying Circus, such as "Hell's Grannies", "Piranha Brothers", "The Funniest Joke in the World"; the Hart and Lorne Terrific Hour featured mockumentary pieces which interspersed both scripted and real-life man-in-the-street interviews, the most famous being "The Puck Crisis" in which hockey pucks were claimed to have become infected with a form of Dutch elm disease.
All You Need Is Cash, developed from an early series of sketches in the comedy series Rutland Weekend Television, is a 1978 television film in mockumentary style about The Rutles, a fictional band that parodies The Beatles. Since the beginning of the 1980s, the mockumentary format has got considerable attention; the 1980 South African film The Gods Must be Crazy is presented in the manner of a nature documentary, with documentary narrator Paddy O'Byrne describing the events of the film in the manner of a biologist or anthropologist presenting scientific knowledge to viewers. In 1982, The Atomic Cafe is a Cold-War era American "mockumentary" film that made use of archival government footage from the 1950s. Woody Allen's 1983 film Zelig stars Allen as a curiously nondescript enigma, discovered for his remarkable ability to transform himself to resemble anyone he is near, Allen is edited into historical archive footage. In 1984, Christopher Guest co-wrote and starred in the mockumentary This is Spinal Tap, directed by Rob Reiner.
Guest went on to write and direct other mockumentaries including Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, A Mighty Wind, all written with costar Eugene Levy. Tim Robbins' 1992 film Bob Roberts was a mockumentary centered around the senatorial campaign of a right-wing stock trader and folksinger, the unsavory connections and dirty tricks used to defeat a long-term liberal incumbent played by Gore Vidal. Man Bites Dog is a 1992 Belgian black comedy crime mockumentary written and directed by Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel, Benoît Poelvoorde. In 1995, Peter Jackson and Costa Botes directed Forgotten Silver, which claimed New Zealand "director" Colin McKenzie was a pioneer in filmmaking; when the film was revealed to be a mockumentary, Jackson received criticism for tricking viewers. In 1998, director Mike Clattenburg wrote and directed a short film titled One Last Shot, shot in black-and-white; the film followed the exploits, in documentary style, of Ricky and Julian, two criminals doing what they did just about every day.
In 1999 a sequel feature film Trailer Park Boys in black-and-white, was released. Both films serve a
Anthony John Hancock was an English comedian and actor. High-profile during the 1950s and early 1960s, he had a major success with his BBC series Hancock's Half Hour, first broadcast on radio from 1954 on television from 1956, in which he soon formed a strong professional and personal bond with comic actor Sid James. Although Hancock's decision to cease working with James, when it became known in early 1960, disappointed many at the time, his last BBC series in 1961 contains some of his best remembered work. After breaking with his scriptwriters Ray Galton and Alan Simpson that year, his career declined. Hancock was born in Southam Road, Hall Green, but, from the age of three, he was brought up in Bournemouth, where his father, John Hancock, who ran the Railway Hotel in Holdenhurst Road, worked as a comedian and entertainer. After his father's death in 1934, Hancock and his brothers lived with their mother and stepfather Robert Gordon Walker at a small hotel called Durlston Court, in Gervis Road, Bournemouth.
He attended Durlston Court Preparatory School, part of Durlston boarding school near Swanage and Bradfield College in Reading, but left school at the age of fifteen. In 1942, during the Second World War, Hancock joined the RAF Regiment. Following a failed audition for the Entertainments National Service Association, he ended up on the Ralph Reader Gang Show. After the war, he returned to the stage and worked as resident comedian at the Windmill Theatre, a venue which helped to launch the careers of many comedians at the time, took part in radio shows such as Workers' Playtime and Variety Bandbox. Over 1951–52, for one series, Hancock was a cast member of Educating Archie, in which he played the tutor to the nominal star, a ventriloquist's dummy, his appearance in this radio show brought him national recognition, a catchphrase he used in the show, "Flippin' kids!", became popular parlance. The same year, he began to make regular appearances on BBC Television's light entertainment show Kaleidoscope, starred in his own series to be written by Larry Stephens, Hancock's best man at his first wedding.
In 1954, he was given his own eponymous Hancock's Half Hour. Working with scripts from Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, Hancock's Half Hour lasted for seven years and over a hundred episodes in its radio form, from 1956, ran concurrently with an successful BBC television series with the same name; the show starred Hancock as "Anthony Aloysius St John Hancock", living in the shabby "23 Railway Cuttings" in East Cheam. Most episodes portrayed his everyday life as a struggling comedian with aspirations toward straight acting; some episodes, changed this to show him as being a successful actor and/or comedian, or as having a different career such as a struggling barrister. Radio episodes were prone to more surreal storylines, which would have been impractical on television, such as Hancock buying a puppy that grows to be as tall as himself. Sidney James featured in both the radio and TV versions, while the radio version included regulars Bill Kerr, Kenneth Williams and, Moira Lister, Andrée Melly and Hattie Jacques.
The series rejected the variety format dominant in British radio comedy and instead used a form drawn more from everyday life: the situation comedy, with the humour coming from the characters and the circumstances in which they find themselves. Owing to a contractual wrangle with producer Jack Hylton, Hancock had an ITV series, The Tony Hancock Show, during this period, which ran in 1956-57. During the run of his BBC radio and television series, Hancock became an enormous star in Britain. Like few others, he was able to clear the streets while families gathered together to listen to the eagerly awaited episodes, his character changed over the series, but in the earliest episodes the key facets of "the lad himself" were evident. "Sunday Afternoon at Home" and "The Wild Man of the Woods" were top-rating shows and were released on an LP. As an actor with considerable experience in films, Sidney James became more important to the show when the television version began; the regular cast was reduced to just the two men, allowing the humour to come from the interaction between them.
James's character was the realist of the two, puncturing Hancock's pretensions. His character would be dishonest and exploit Hancock's apparent gullibility during the radio series, but in the television version there appeared to be a more genuine friendship between them. Hancock's highly-strung personality made the demands of live broadcasts a constant worry, with the result that, starting from the autumn 1959 series, all episodes of the series were recorded before transmission. Up until every British television comedy show had been performed live, owing to the technical limitations of the time, he was the first performer to receive a £1,000 fee for his performances in a half-hour show. Hancock became anxious that his work with James was turning them into a double act, he told close associates in late 1959, just after the fifth television series had finished being recorded, that he would end his professional association with Sid James after a final series. Hancock left others to tell James, his last BBC series in 1961, retitled Hancock, was without James.
Two episodes are among his best-remembered: "The Blood Donor", in which he goes to a clinic to give blood, contains some famous lines, including "A pint? Why, that's nearly an armful!".