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Audio Comedy Review


Hancock's Half Hour
Sid's Mystery Tours / The Poetry Society


Starring: Tony Hancock, Sid James, Bill Kerr and Warren Mitchell
RRP: £6.10
ISBN: 978 1 4084 7058 9
Available 02 February 2012

Tony Hancock, Sid James, Bill Kerr and Warren Mitchell star in two classic episodes written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, which showcase the master of misery at his best. In The Poetry Society, an evening with a group of Hancock's new avant-garde friends produces gems of abstract poetry, not only from the group but also from Sid and Bill. And in Sid's Mystery Tours, Sid talks Hancock into becoming the director of his guided tours company - but it doesn't even possess a coach...

AudioGO have released another batch of comedy CDs that were originally released on LP by the BBC. Hancock's Half Hour: Sid's Mystery Tours / The Poetry Society features two shows from the last Hancock's Half Hour radio series ever made.

The Poetry Society was originally broadcast on 08 December 1959 and sees Hancock attempting to join the ranks of a group of avant-garde pseudo-intellectuals. He's invited them round for an evening of poetry - an evening that Sid and Bill are informed about at the last minute. For a laugh, Hancock's housemates decide to stick around and witness Hancock make a fool of himself. The episode also stars the unmistakable voice of Fenella Fielding as well as Warren Mitchell as the lisping, patronising pseudo-intellectual Gregory.

Sid's Mystery Tours was first broadcast on 24 November 1959 and sees Sid running a collection of mystery tours around Cheam high street. Hancock is duped into buying into the company, but soon realises he's been had when he discovers that the company doesn't even own a bus. Of course that's something Sid is more than happy to rectify... for a price.

It's remarkable how fresh these two episodes are, considering they were originally recorded over 50 years ago. There's the odd topical gag that means very little today, but that won't spoil your enjoyment of this excellent release.


Darren Rea

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