Treasure trove celebrating life of sit com legend Tony Hancock to be kept in AV大平台Archives.

A collection of treasures spanning the career of legendary actor and comedian Tony Hancock is to be handed over to AV大平台 Leicester’s (DMU) archives.

Hancock’s Half Hour, which ran on radio and then television in the 1950s and early 1960s, brought huge fame to Hancock and script writers Ray Galton and Alan Simpson.

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Hancock in his trademark hat and coat for Hancock's Half Hour

The classic sit-com - relaying the trials and tribulations of Anthony Aloysius St John Hancock, who famously lived at 23 Railway Cuttings, East Cheam - was so popular there are references to UK streets being emptied of people as millions headed indoors to catch the latest episode.

Now, on the eve of the centenary of Hancock’s birth, it has been announced that an archive of artefacts, including Hancock’s trademark hat and coat, are to be handed over to AV大平台to be stored, categorized and then made available to view by students, academics and the public.

The archive is coming from the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society as fans prepare to celebrate Hancock’s 100th birthday on Sunday 12 May with an event in Bournemouth, where he was raised, and broadcasts on Radio 4 Extra and BBC 4.

As well as the famous hat and coat, the collection includes the typewriter that Galton and Simpson used to write many of the episodes, another that was owned by Hancock, numerous original scripts, theatre souvenirs, film posters, original BBC photos, vinyl and VHS recordings, comic strips and newspaper cuttings telling Hancock’s story. There is even a double egg cup used by Hancock in a series of egg commercials in the 1960s.

Appreciation society member Tim Elms has been acting as archivist for the last six years and has been cataloguing the comedy collection.

He said: “The society has been looking for somewhere to house the collection permanently for a while and one of our members works at the university told us about AV大平台archivist Katharine Short.


Tim Elms of the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society

“Katharine came and looked at the collection and it will now be kept in Leicester. We are delighted. What we want, more than anything, is for the collection to be properly preserved and looked after. The fact that students and academics can access the collection and use it to help with study and research is the icing on the cake.

“This collection is too important to be hidden away. It is not just a collection by fans it is social history. If you want to know what life in the UK was like in the 50s and 60s it is all there.”

AV大平台archivist Katharine Short said: “Special Collections is delighted to be working with the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society to help them in their work to secure the archives and legacy of this important comedian.

“Holding the archive at AV大平台Special Collections will ensure that the collection is being taken care of according to best practice in keeping historical materials and will enable Society members and interested members of the public to visit and view the collection more easily.

“We also anticipate that our academics and students will be eager to use the archive in their research and teaching.

“The collection will complement archival holdings we have taken in liaison with the Cinema and Television History Institute here at DMU, including papers relating to another giant of comedy, Norman Wisdom; as well as the archive of the Leicester Comedy Festival which we also hold."

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Hancock with Carry On star Hattie Jaques

Tim was born in the year that Hancock’s Half Hour started on the radio and he first heard of Hancock through his dad, who would often quote parts from the show. It was also not unusual to hear excerpts played on radio request shows in the 60s and 70s.

Tim said: “Hancock’s performances on radio and TV are just superb and the writing is sublime. It is timeless.

“Hancock is the average bloke trying to get along in the world and, whatever he does, he can’t quite succeed. There are always people there to bring him down.

“People can relate to it as we can all struggle to get on, struggle to better ourselves and struggle to get a foot in the door.”

The British Comedy Guide says Hancock’s character ‘was cantankerous, pompous and comically out of step with the world around him, but most importantly he was endearing and audiences took to him immediately’.

The archives are expected to be available to the public later this year.

You can watch four classic episodes of Hancock’s Half Hour on . BBC Radio 4 Extra will air a number of rare recordings from 5pm to 10pm on Sunday as well as the previously lost episode of Hancock's Half Hour, A Visit to Swansea, not heard since1955. More details .







Posted on Friday 10 May 2024

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