The surviving episodes from Series 4 and the Complete Series 5 were released in 2002. The Stolen Petrol is listed as missing from Series 4, although this was subsequently found and released as part of the final box set. In addition, The New Secretary is also listed as missing. This episode was found in 2005 and has also subsequently been released.
his was another free release which features 24 short extracts from a wide variety of comedy shows including Absolutely Fabulous and One Foot In The Grave from modern comedy and Morecambe & Wise and Steptoe from classic comedy. The reverse of the cardboard sleeve, in which the CD was presented, lists the full BBC releases from which the extracts have been taken. The Hancock's Half Hour contribution is listed as being from Hancock's Half Hour Volume 1 (being the cassette release) and is a 3 and a ¬Ω minute extract from The Americans Hit Town. The extract begins with Hattie's announcement that she is to get married to Alfonse G Papaerlli and covers the sequence when Sid and Hancock agree to billet Americans at 23 Railway Cuttings through to the arrival of Kenneth Williams as the American soldier and concludes with the introduction of Bill as the Philippino houseboy!
This was a series of 3 CDs which were given away free with Safeway's Petrol. Volume 2 covered H - N and featured 13 tracks including Hoffnung, I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue, I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again, The Navy Lark and The News Quiz. The Hancock extract was called 'I know How He Does It' and listed as being 'from Hancock's Half Hour Volume 3. This was a 2 minute 50 second extract from The Conjuror from the sequence when Hancock is performing on the stage as a conjuror.
Released on the Pulse label in 2002, this releases featured new versions of 20 radio themes played by The Silver Screen Orchestra. The themes ranged across all types of radio programmes including Sport on 4, Desert Island Discs, Children's Hour, The Archers and the radio theme from Hancock's Half Hour.
This delightful 2 CD release on the Sanctuary Records label from 2002 featured largely musical items from a wide selection of comedians including Sid James, Max Millar, The Two Ronnies, Frankie Howerd & June Whitfield. There were 2 selections from Tony Hancock: The Radio Ham and The Blood Donor.
This free CD was given away at outlets of WH Smith It features 11 extracts from a selection of both modern and classic comedy including Harry Enfield and Chums and The Royale Family to The Goons and Monty Python. The Hancock's Half Hour was a 3 minute extract from Agricultural 'Ancock starting from Sid discussing where he could find a farm in town to sell to Hancock!
This double cassette / triple CD release runs for nearly three hours and is a celebration of the broadcasting legacy of Brian Johnston. Commentating for The Test Match Special or the boat race, reporting for In Town Tonight or presenting Down Your Way, playing games on Twenty Questions or Trivia Test Match and describing Royal events like the Coronation or the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales, all are included here. All of the extracts were selected by Brian's son Barry. This involved some detective work to uncover the full range of broadcasts that Brian made. So why is this release in a listing of releases featuring Hancock? Because in January 1955, Brian Johnston appeared as the commentator in the Hancock's Half Hour Series 1 Episode 'The Monte Carlo Rally'. This release features 2 ¬Ω minutes from this show featuring Brian's commentary. The sleeve notes state that Barry found the extract from Hancock's Half Hour on a cassette in a shoebox at the back of Brian's wardrobe!
We now come to the final box set issued in 2003. This box set contained not only all of the episodes of Series 6 but also the Christmas Special, Bill and Father Christmas, the four episodes re-recorded for Transcription Services and The Stolen Petrol, an episode from the Fourth Series rediscovered in 2001 as part of the BBC Treasure Hunt for episodes of favourite programmes which are missing from the BBC archive.
The next BBC release comes from Australia. Released in 2003, it contains the episodes The Americans Hit Town (13 individual tracks) and The Unexploded Bomb (11 tracks). The versions featured are from Volume 1 of the cassette release, with the closing incidental music on The Americans Hit Town faded out, whilst the music on the second episode is included in full. The 'booklet' is a single sheet of paper featuring the front cover on one side with the second side providing details of the cast list and names and broadcast dates of the episode. There is a note on the sleeve that states: 'There are index points at regular intervals on this CD recording' but it doesn't state what track number the second episode starts on! Compared to UK releases, this is very basic and is effectively a re-release of the first marketing experiment discs released exclusively in WH Smith in 1995.
Released in 2003, this three CD set featured The Bedsitter and The Bowmans on disc 1, The Radio Ham and The Blood Donor on disc 2 and an 18 minute interview with Galton & Simpson on disc 3. Although both The Blood Donor and The Radio Ham had been released on a number of different CDs in 1990's, this was the first release of the original BBC recordings on CD and marked the start of a series of CD releases of Hancock's television episodes.
In the late 1990's, the BBC released a series of double cassettes featuring the best of its comedy output. Each release featured episodes from a particular decade, with releases covering the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's. Many of the programmes featured in the releases were not available on official BBC releases elsewhere (e.g The Clitheroe Kid) and the entire series was only released on cassette. In 2003 Marks and Spencer commissioned a re-release of the entire series in both cassette and CD format for the Christmas market. Whilst the cassettes could be seen in the New Year sale at ¬£2.99, the CDs were sold out very quickly. The release features The Al Read Show, The Goon Show (Mysterious Punch Up the Conker), The Clitheroe Kid (Clitheroe & The Hound Dog) and Hancock's Half Hour (A Sunday Afternoon At Home). The version featured was the same as on the cassette release being a shorter version than that released in the Box sets and with close out music faded out. An informative four-page booklet was enclosed featuring a history of each programme, the name and broadcast date of each episode and an advert for the entire series. Marks and Spencer at the time had a selection of BBC CD and DVD products available but this range has all but disappeared from their shops.
This double CD from 2003 is a compilation from Ron Goodwin's back catalogue. Disc one is entitled 'The Early Years - Popular Singles' and disc two 'Ron Goodwin's Original Compositions from Films and LPs. This second CD contains the track 'Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines' which is a montage of tracks and themes from throughout the film.
This CD release from Music factory Entertainment Group in 2004 includes the following wording on the front cover: '2Cd collection of radio themes, utilities, clips and sketches from the modern era of radio (1960's to the present day) FOR DJ USE ONLY)'. The Hancock contribution is an extract from The Blood Donor.
Also known as TV Episodes Volume 2, this release featured The Missing Page, Poison Pen Letters, Lord Byron Lived Here and The Succession: Son & Heir. The accompanying four-page booklet included a brief biography of Tony Hancock and a full cast list. However, no track listing is provided and so, once again, finding the second episode on each CD is guesswork!
Released in 2004, this album contains 59 tracks, including two extracts from The Blood Donor. The first extract last for 4 minutes and starts with Tony starting up a conversation with his fellow blood donors. The second extract is much shortly and follows on from the first and lasts through to Hancock holding out his hand for the sample of blood to be taken.
This release from 2004 was a celebration of 50 years of Hancock's Half Hour on the radio. Following a radio extravaganza: 'Hancock's Whole Evening', this release featured the programmes that had been specially recorded for the evening. On the evening the programmes had been edited to fit their allocated time slot, but this release featured the full versions of the programmes. 'Stone Me - What A Life' was the title of a biography of Tony Hancock. Presented by Denis Norden, the programme featured a number of rare archive recordings including an extract from Educating Archie from 1951, an extract from The Royal Variety Performance in 1952 and an extract from Star Bill 1954. The second disc featured an extended version of 'The Complete and Utter History of Hancock's Half Hour. Presented by Paul Merton, the programme consists of a detailed in depth interview with Galton & Simpson. A delightful release, disappointing only in that full versions of the Star Bill sketches were not included on the disc.
The first release of 2005 was TV Episodes Vol 3. Featuring The Economy Drive, The Cold, The Emigrant and The Babysitters, again featured a four-page booklet with Tony Hancock Biography and full cast list. Once again no track listing was provided!
Following on from the release of archive programmes on 12" vinyl records, the BBC began releasing a series of double cassette albums featuring four shows. Once the CD emerged as an alternative format the BBC started to release the cassette albums on CD. For The Goons, this covered the whole back catalogue, with others (e.g Steptoe, The Navy Lark, Dad's Army) CD releases were restricted to duplicates of new cassettes released in the range. For Hancock's Half Hour this didn't happen. Other than Hancock's Happy Christmas, there were no CD releases of the four episode cassettes. However, with the commencement of this new series 'The Very Best Episodes', once again the radio half hour is available to the casual purchaser (i.e one that does not want to purchase an entire box set!). These releases are well put together and feature extensive and informative sleeve notes written by none other than Galton & Simpson. Even more importantly there are track listings! As to the episodes themselves, these are the versions released in the box sets and include the full final closing music. Episodes featured on Volume 1 are: Sid's Mystery Tours, The Wild Man Of The Woods, A Sunday Afternoon at Home and The Poetry Society. Volume 2 contains The Conjurer, Cyrano de Hancock, The Diary and The Impersonator.
Introduced by Russell Davies and featuring artists from BBC 3's Turns Of The Century, this release from 2005 is identical to the cassette release of 1988. However, this CD version was only ever issued in Australia. The CD inlcudes a wide variety of artists, including Tommy Cooper, Flanders and Swann, Max Wall, Beryl Reid, Stanley Holloway, Hylda Baker, Ken Dodd, Sandy Powell, Morecambe and Wise, Jimmy James, The Crazy Gang and many more. The Hancock extract is from his Royal Variety Show performance of 1952.