A compendium of radio sitcoms and retrospectives celebrating the legendary duo
Ray Galton and Alan Simpson were Britain's best-loved and most successful comedy writing partners. Together, they created two of the greatest sitcoms of all time, Hancock's Half Hour and Steptoe and Son. This compilation brings together some of the finest programmes from their 60-year career, as well as interviews with them both.
Galton & Simpson's Half Hour comprises four comedy dramas: You'll Never Walk Alone (starring Frank Skinner), Impasse (starring David Mitchell and Robert Webb), I Tell You It's Burt Reynolds (starring Rik Mayall and June Whitfield) and The Blood Donor (a remake of the famous Hancock's Half Hour episode starring Paul Merton). Originally written for BBC TV, all are specially adapted for radio by Galton and Simpson and introduced by Paul Merton.
The Galton and Simpson Radio Playhouse features three more adaptations: Naught for Thy Comfort (starring Robert Daws and Nina Wadia), A Clerical Error (starring Keith Barron and June Whitfield) and The Offer, a reworking of the TV script that inspired Steptoe and Son, starring Freddie Jones and John Thomson.
A fourth drama from Radio Playhouse - Clicquot et Fils, starring Richard Griffiths and Roger Lloyd Pack - can be heard in I Did It My Way: Galton and Simpson, in which the pair chat to Peter Reed and select some of their favourite work. Also included is Hancock's Half Hour: The Threatening Letters; 'Up Je T'Aime', Frankie Howerd and June Whitfield's parody of Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg's hit song; the 1963 Royal Variety performance Steptoe and Son at Buckingham Palace; Steptoe and Son: Porn Yesterday and the classic Hancock's Half Hour TV episode, The Radio Ham, recreated before a live audience for an album release in 1961.
Topping off our collection is Very Nearly an Armful: The Galton and Simpson Story. Talking to Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, Stephen Merchant explores how their ground-breaking work brought social realism to British comedy, and helped lay the foundations for modern-day classics like The Office. Contributors include David Mitchell, Ben Elton, Denis Norden and Damaris Hayman, and among the archive interviewees are Tony Hancock, Sid James and Harry H Corbett.
Written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson
Thanks to Tessa Le Bars
Collection compiled by Martin Gibbons
With thanks to the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society
Galton & Simpson's Half Hour: You'll Never Walk Alone
Galton & Simpson's Half Hour: Impasse
Galton & Simpson's Half Hour: I Tell You It's Burt Reynolds
Galton & Simpson's Half Hour: The Blood Donor
The Galton and Simpson Radio Playhouse: Naught for Thy Comfort
The Galton and Simpson Radio Playhouse: A Clerical Error
The Galton and Simpson Radio Playhouse: The Offer
I Did It My Way: Galton & Simpson
Very Nearly An Armful: The Galton and Simpson Story
© 2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd
(p) 2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd