BBC TV Series 4

Between Series 3 and 4 of Hancock's Half Hour, Tony appeared in a straight role in The Government Inspector and also appeared in a sketch in Christmas NIght with the Stars broadcast on Christmas Day 1958.

Series 4 of Hancock's Half Hour was broadcast between 26th December 1958 and 27th March 1959, this series comprised 13 episodes of which the first 4 were recorded and the remainder were broadcast live. Episodes 1, 3, 4, 11 and 12 survive in the BBC Archives whilst off-air audio recordings exist of episodes 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. The series was broadcast weekly on Fridays at 2105 (episodes 1 - 3) and Fridays 1930 (episodes 4 - 13). There were no repeats during the run other than a repeat of the third episode between episodes 9 and 10 on 27th February 1959.

Regular cast of Hancock's Half Hour comprised Tony Hancock and Sid James, with the main cast members detailed under each individual episode below.

The Government Inspector 9.2.58

The Government Inspector is a satirical play by the Russian and Ukrainian dramatist and novelist Nikolai Gogol which was originally published in 1936.

With Tony Hancock at the height of his success, with Hancock's Half Hour running on both radio and television,  Tony gave a rare straight acting performance in the BBC World Theatre production of Gogol’s play.

and he acquitted himself well – although he’s still recognisably Hancock.  Indeed, it would be easy to believe that some of his lines were written by Galton & Simpson, which is possibly why it was felt that this play would be a perfect fit for him.

There was an impressive supporting cast  Wilfred Brambell, Peter Copley and Noel Howlett.and the prgramme was honoured with  front page coverage on the Radio Times.

The entire performance survives in the BBC archive.

Christmas Night with the Stars 25.12.58

Hancock appeared in a sketch on Christmas Night with the Stars which was broadcast on Christmas Day although this was recorded on 2 December 1958.

Written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, The Budgie Sketch became a Hancock perennial. The sketch is set in a suburban living room.  Enter the owner accompanied by the Vicar.  The owner uncovers the budgie’s cage to reveal…Hancock.  A hilarious dialogue then ensues between the owner and the budgie as she tries to get him to perform his party trick!

Cast comprised: Tottie Truman Taylor, Alec Bregonzi and Percy Edwards.

The entire show survives in the BBC archive.

1 Ericson The Viking 26.12.58

Sid has persuaded Hancock to make a dramatic film which the BBC have agreed to broadcast. But Hancock is worried; after all when shooting started Sid's production company didn't even have a movie camera!

Main cast comprised: Laurie Webb, Ivor Raymonde, John Vyvyan, Mario Fabrizi, Arthur Mullard, John Vere, Manville Tarrant, Anthony Shirvell, Alec Bregonzi, Louis Adam, Pat Coombs, Herbert Nelson, Pat O'Meara, Rufus Cruickshank, George Crowther and Richard Statman.

2 Underpaid! or, Granddad's SOS 2.1.59

Hancock discovers that his extremely rich grandfather is very ill in hospital in Australia. Sid, expecting a large bequest, hurries to Australia masquerading as Hancock..but the old man has no money left.  Meanwhile, back in the UK, Sid's grandfather falls dangerously  ill in prison....

A poor quality audio recording of this episode survives.

Main cast comprised: Mario Fabrizi, John Vyvyan, Harry Drew, George Crowther, Arthur Mullard, James Bulloch, Con Courtney, Claude Bonser, Anthony Shirvell, Rolf Harris, Evelyn Lund, Len David, Andrew Faulds, Warren Mitchell, Richard Statman. Philip Carr and Tony Hancock as his Grandfather and Sid James as his Grandfather.

3 The Set That Failed 9.1.59

Hancock doesn't know what to do: his television set has broken down. He sets off on a quest to find a working TV and joins a family who are so focused on their TV that they don't notice that  they have additional guests!

Main cast comprised: Hugh Lloyd, John Vyvyan, John Vere, Rose Howlett, Claude Bonser, Evelyn Lund, Sidney Vivian, Patricia Hayes, Robert Dorning, Margaret Flint, Mario Fabrizi, Anne Marryott, Ivor Raymonde Leslie Smith and Anthony Shirvell.

4 The New Nose 16.1.59

After a particularly unsuccessful date, Hancock's puts his lack of success with the girls down to his nose.  After refusing to come out from his home, Sid arranges for a friend who had had plastic surgery to visit Hancock.  Hancock has the surgery so success with the ladies is now guaranteed....or is it?

Main cast comprised Barbara Archer, Mario Fabrizi, Roger Avon, Anne Marryott, John Le Mesurier, Annabelle Lee, Elizabeth Fraser, Pamela Manson, Alec Brgonzi and Ivor Raymonde

5 The Flight of the Red Shadow 23.1.59

Hancock has been in a production of 'The Desert Song' but when it closes prematurely Hancock and Sid escape with only their costumes.  Dressed as an Indian Maharajah, Hancock is mistaken for a genuine visiting Maharajah and ends up addressing a meeting but has to flee again.

A reasonable quality audio recording of this episode survives.

Main cast comprised Louise Howard, Mario Fabrizi, Alan Simpson, Ray Galton, Robert Dorning, Alec Bregonzi, Ivor Raymonde, Rolf Harris, Arthur Mullard, George Crowther, Con Courtney, John Vere, Bert Simms, Evelyn Lund, Harry Drew, Guy Mills, James Bulloch, Ben Bowers, Louis Adam, Patrick Milner, Herbert Nelson, Stanley Seagal, Stanley Ayres, Frank Littlewood, Anna Churcher and Ann Jay.

6 The Horror Serial 30.1.59

Hancock has been watching the last episode of the horror serial 'Quatermass & The Pit' and is now in a very nervous state. When he discovers an unknown object in his garden, Sid thinks it's an unexploded bomb and calls in the Bomb Squad but Hancock is convinced its an extra- terrestial craft.

A good quality audio recording of this episode survives.

Main cast comprised: Dennis Chinnery, John Le Mesurier, Alec Bregonzi, JohnVyvyan, Laurie Webb, Hugh Lloyd, Arthur Mullard, Phyllis Norwood and Anne Marryott





7 The Italian Maid 6.2.59

Hancock hires a domestic help but she turns out to be an Italian beauty.  An immediate rivalry develops between Hancock and Sid for her attentions with Hancock ending up doing all the housework...but then her family arrives.

A good quality audio recording of this episode survives.

Main cast comprised: John Vere, Harry Lane, Michael Stainton, James Bulloch, Marla Landi, Elizabeth Gott, Jeanette Edwards, Betty Lloyd-Davies, Frederick Schiller and John Vyvyan.

8 Matrimony - Almost 13.2.59

Hancock meets a girl at an upper class party.  Hancock believes that she has money and Sid tells her that Hancock has money so a marriage is rapidly arranged.  But all is not as it seems!

A poor quality audio recording of this episode survives.

Main cast comprised: Terence Alexander, Vivienne Martin, Cardew Robinson, Cameron Hall, John Vere, Phillip Carr, Alec Bregonzi, Mario Fabrizi, Ivor Raymonde, Arthur Mullard, Edith Stevenson, Elizabeth Fraser, Frank Littlewood, Michael Greenwood, Lionel Wheeler, John Vyvyan, Louis Adam, Patrick Milner, Phillip Howard, James Bulloch and  Evelyn Lund.

9 The Beauty Contest 20.2.59

The local council decide not to hold a Miss East Cheam contest because of the low standard of entrants the previous year.  So, instead, they decide to hold a Mr East Cheam contest instead.  Hancock and Sid enter and both expect to win!

A poor quality audio recording of this episode survives.

Main cast comprised: John Vere, Robert Dorning, James Bulloch, Frank Littlewood, Harry Lane, Charles Julian, Bert Simms, Roger Avon, John Vyvyan, Mario Fabrizi, Arthur Mullard, George Crowther, Herbert Nelson, Richard Statman, John Blyth, Alan Simpson, Patrick Milner, Ann Smith, Phillipa Steward, Joe Robinson and Con Courtney.

Repeat of The Set That Failed 27.2.59

Repeat of Series 4 Episode 3.  Please see above for full details

10 The Wrong Man 6.2.59

Hancock agrees to attend an identity parade at the local Police station. But when he is mistakenly picked out by 3 witnesses he decides to prove his innocence by recreating the crime!

A reasonable quality audio recording of this episode survives.

Main cast comprised: Roger Avon, James Bulloch, Campbell Singer, Harry Locke, Nancy Roberts, Gordon Philpott, Alec Bregonzi, Pamela Manson, Arthur Mullard and John Vyvyan

11 The Oak Tree 13.3.59

The tree in Hancock's garden is threatened with felling because it is a danger to passing buses and also to make way for a lamp-post.  He is incensed and organises a protest march to Downing Street to try to save it!

Main cast comprised John Vere, Reginald Beckwith, Hugh Lloyd, Robert Dorning, Arthur Mullard, Laurie Webb, Mario Fabrizi, Graham Leaman, John Vyvyan, Gwenda Ewen, Mary Fletcher, Joyce Hemson, Margerie Mason, Sonia Peters, Edwin Morton, Albert Grant, James Langley, John Caesar, Norman Taylor, Robert Pitt, Bill Matthews, Victor Charrington and Anthony Jennett.

12 The Knighthood 20.3.59

Hancock is determined to receive a Knighthood and decides that Shakespearean theatre is the only answer.  Surely a stint at Stratford interpreting Shakespeare as Long John Silver will be all that's required?

Main cast comprised: Richard Wattis, Robert Dorning, Mario Fabrizi, Lynne Cole, Ivor Raymonde, Andrew Faulds, John Vyvyan, Jack Leonard and James Bulloch.

13 The Servants 27.3.59

The TV Series is finally over so Hancock and Sid need to get jobs. They take on the role as servants dressed as an elderly couple.  But when they take it turns to be the woman suspicions are aroused!

Main cast comprised: John Le Mesurier, Mary Hinton, Alec Bregonzi, Hugh Lloyd, Nancy Roberts, Charles Julian, Evelyn Lund, Gordon Philpott, Patricia Hayes, James Bulloch, Con Courtney, and John Vyvyan.


BBC Series 1 Series 2 Series 3 Series 5 Series 6 Series 7

ITV Series 1 Series 2 Series 3 Series 4 Series 5

Australian TV Show

Episode Guide Home