Very Nearly an Armful - A Tony Hancock Podcast
By Tony Hancock
The Tony Hancock Appreciation Society brings you the only official podcast of the lad himself. Martin, Tim, Jon & James break down each episode in watch-a-long style, punctuated with facts about the filming or recording and side stories of the actors. We also bring you all the news from the society including information on upcoming events and information regarding previously un-discovered material. To join the T.H.A.S visit www.tonyhancock.org.uk To get in touch with us Hancockshalfhourpodcast@gmail.com
S2 E1 - Very Nearly an Armful - The Missing Page
Very Nearly an Armful makes a welcome return for a second series. In this episode Martin, Tim, James and Jon discuss the well known television episode The Missing Page as well as the later re-recording of the same episode which was released on vinyl. The four fans assess the merits of the two versions of this episode, consider whether Hancock’s mime sequence is one of the best moments in all of the television half hours and wax lyrical about the how the quality of the supporting cast is so important to this episode. The team also get sidetracked into a detailed look at the seamier side of life through the pulp fiction novels of Ben Sarto and Darcy Glinto. They also look at the recent generous archive donation from the estate of the late Alec Bregonzi and briefly attempt to decide which of the team most needs to undertake the body building advertised in ‘Men Are You Skinny’! Don’t forget to rate us and subscribe to the podcast. And, if you haven’t done so already, why not join the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society - full details of how to join are at Tony Hancock.org.uk. We’ll be back in two weeks’ time with another edition of Very Nearly an Armful. Hope to see you then!
October 9, 2021
Very Nearly an Armful - Series 2 teaser
In this teaser episode for the second series, Martin, Jon, James and Tim discuss all things Hancock in extra bits that didn’t make the final edit in series one. The four fans talk about radio episodes of Hancock’s Half Hour, “The First Night Party” and “The 13th of the Series” and revisit the infamous screeching woman before contemplating a pint of Horses Collar. We hear a clip of Bill Kerr speaking about the change in his character, and that leads on to a chat about Citizen James, the series Galton and Simpson originally wrote for Bill and Sid James. We then hear a clip from Hancock’s widow, Freddie Ross Hancock, reminiscing about how her dealings with the Inland Revenue led to Galton and Simpson writing the script for the radio episode “The Income Tax Demand”. Series two kicks off soon with the first episode discussing the classic TV episode, “The Missing Page”. That’s the little beauty I’m after – Lady Don’t Fall Backwards!” You can join the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society at tonyhancock.org.uk
September 18, 2021
S1 E6 - Very Nearly an Armful - There's An Airfield At the Bottom of the Garden
In this final episode of the first series, Martin, Tim and Jon talk about Tony’s infamous live episode There’s An Airfield At The Bottom of the Garden where the set didn’t quite perform as expected! The four fans discuss how the issues with the set led to changes to how Hancock’s Half Hour was broadcast with the gradual move to recorded episodes, consider in detail how the BBC used Ampex quadruplex 2 inch tape and take it in turns to test drive Sid’s motor torpedo boat. They also attempt to answer questions sent in by listeners on edited versions of radio shows, briefly consider BBC Transcription Services and, rather surprisingly, issue an appeal for a morse code expert! Don’t forget to rate us and subscribe to the podcast. And if you haven’t done so already, why not join the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society - full details on how to join are at tonyhancock.org.uk. We’ll be back in the Autumn with Series 2; the team of four will have six more opportunities to get sidetracked whilst they are discussing their favourite topic of Hancock’s Half Hour. Hope to see you then!
June 19, 2021
S1 E5 - Very Nearly an Armful - The Lost Episodes - The Horror Serial/The Italian Maid
In this episode Martin, Tim and Jon talk about how the audio soundtracks from two lost television episodes of Hancock’s Half Hour were discovered on reel to reel tape in 2016. Neither of the episodes had been broadcast since they were repeated in 1959 so this was a brilliant discovery. The four fans talk about The Horror Serial, which was a pastiche of Quatermass and the Pit, and consider in detail whether a Martian has a bracket that can be punched up; and in The Italian Maid they discover why making tea out of Best Navy Shag tobacco has never caught on! They also attempt to answer questions sent in by listeners on the changing character of Bill Kerr, how none of the original episodes were named and the difficulty this poses when trying to identify episodes on archive reel to reel tapes where episode names have been invented. As always, our intrepid four get side-tracked, this time into the brilliant One Foot in the Grave Podcast and they briefly consider the film The Ladykillers and how this reflects 1950s Britain. Don’t forget to rate us and subscribe to the podcast. And if you haven’t done so already, why not join the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society - full details on how to join are at tonyhancock.org.uk
June 5, 2021
S1 E4 - Very Nearly an Armful - The 50s revolution - The Set That Failed/The Television Set
n this episode Martin, Tim and Jon chat about the impact of the introduction of the new medium of television in the 1950s, consider the impact of the launch of ITV, and wax lyrical about the adverts of the time and how they were rudely interrupted by the programmes. The four fans talk about the radio episodes The Television Set and The Impersonator and look at the television episode The Set That Failed. They pretend to understand how to build a television set, get briefly sidetracked by a ‘What the Butler Saw’ machine and carefully consider how many times to kick the set in order to change the channel to ITV. They also take time to talk about the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society annual dinner and try very hard to answer questions raised by Podcast listeners on the availability of Hancock’s Half Hour scripts and how the Society’s archives are being managed for future generations. They also get briefly distracted by Tony’s first film Orders are Orders. Don’t forget to rate us and subscribe to the podcast. And if you haven’t done so already, why not join the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society - full details on how to join are at tonyhancock.org.uk
May 22, 2021
S1 E3 - Very Nearly an Armful - The Rebel.
In this episode, Martin, Tim, Jon and James natter on about Hancock’s first major film, The Rebel. Celebrating its 60th anniversary and recently digitally remastered for DVD and Blu-ray, the film has achieved cult status with Hancock’s brilliant performance as a wannabe artist and a superb first film script by legendary writers Ray Galton and Alan Simpson. The four Hancock fans pretend to understand what an existentialist is, discuss the merits of Aphrodite at the Water Hole, and wonder why a coffee with no froth isn’t just a flat white. They also take time to attempt to answer questions sent in by listeners of previous podcasts on such intellectually stimulating subjects as who was responsible for the annoying laugh in the audience on the TV episode The Train Journey, and who’s idea was it for Hancock to have the stuttering H-H-H. Sit back and enjoy but don’t forget to rate and subscribe. Oh yes, and if you haven’t done so already, do join us at the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society! We’ll be celebrating our 45th anniversary at our annual reunion dinner on 11 September with special guests and rare screenings just a few miles from Hancock’s birthplace in Birmingham. Full details on how to join at tonyhancock.org.uk
May 8, 2021
S1 E2 - Very Nearly an Armful - The First Night Party
We chat about our week including finds for the THAS archives; photo’s of Tony playing Cricket and an original script for an episode of HHH which has been offered to us. In Hancock news, Martin discusses the donation from the estate of the late Alec Bregonzi who appeared in HHH and tapes sent to the society which we check over for lost or unedited recordings of episodes. James talks about the wolf whistle heard on tapes of Hancock in the Police, and James Hurn’s stage performance of this episode in 2019, which can be found on YouTube… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47YFc7MUE88 We introduce The First Night Party and we talk over the episode and creation of the show, edited lines from the original script, which runs to 10 pages longer than the episode. The Chef ‘Iggins is mentioned along with Alan Simpson’s cameo’s in HHH, how the cast came to work together and how Tony met Galton & Simpson. Jon continues to ‘channel’ Kenneth Williams with his daft impressions and brings up how satirical this episode is and its use of sound, whilst Tim mentions how unique the programme was with its use of timing and we talk about the excellent lines cut from existing recording of the show. Other topics include Angela Morley’s composition of the music and Adrian Waller; the original Announcer of the show. This episode also features clips from Hancock in the Police, Star Bill, Calling All Forces, The Sleepless Night, Hancock’s School, The Boxing Champion, Script readings of cut lines from the original script are performed by James Mickley, Helen Bridge and Andrew Swan.
April 24, 2021
S1 E1 - Very Nearly an Armful - The Blood Donor.
We start this episode with Tim having purchased a new Microphone and Martin having technical difficulties and how Galton & Simpson disliked the episode Ericson The Viking compared to the other shows due to the location filming. We mention Tony’s Spitting Image Puppet and the Hancock News of the release of ‘The Missing Hancock’s on CD in March. We talk bout our main subject of The Blood Donor and the quality of the Telerecording and how it appears on todays modern HD screens, how the script is Circular and Galton & Simpson had thought of the ending before they started writing it, and how Videotape’s were wiped after use. In terms of performance, we chat about the now well-known use of Tele-Prompters in this show and watch along with it in real-time, so shove your DVD on to watch along with us. We talk about this episode’s supporting cast including June Whitfield and Frank Thornton, Peggy Ann Clifford, Patrick Cargill & Hugh Lloyd. Jon mentions the lost pilot re-make of The Economy Drive ‘Bunclarke with an E’ starring Arthur Lowe & James Beck, Tim praises the makeup artist Elizabeth Anderson and how the writers wrote differently for the visual medium. We also discuss some of the differences to the PYE LP recording of this episode and how that release came about. The restoration test we watched of this episode is available on YouTube… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niHr5jXEpNE
April 10, 2021
Very Nearly an Armful - A Tony Hancock Podcast - Pilot Episode
We all introduce ourselves and how we each got into Hancock’s Half Hour. We discuss the video releases in the 1980’s, and the exorbitant cost of videotape back in the day. We mention Paul Merton’s 1990’s recreations briefly along with Dad’s Army and repeats of shows, borrowing tapes from the old THAS VHS library, our quarterly magazine, ‘The Missing Page’. We discuss an overview of our upcoming topics: The Blood Donor, The First Night Party, The Rebel, TV: The 1950’s Revolution, Lost TV Soundtracks and There’s an Airfield at the Bottom of My Garden. We also chat about Tony’s relationship with Kenneth Williams and Ken’s casting in HHH and Snide’s catchphrase. Brief mentions include Fred’s Pie Stall and the ‘Hancock Collectibles’ and ‘Missing Hancocks’ CD releases. James also explains how we came to meet up virtually via Zoom and embark upon creating the podcast. With kind thanks to Robin Sebastian of ‘The Missing Hancocks’ for sportingly being our Announcer.
March 16, 2021