When Tony Hancock failed to turn up for three episodes of his radio show in 1955, producers simply replaced him with Harry Secombe as if nothing had happened. The fourth episode followed Hancock and Sid James as they travelled to Swansea to thank him – where they found him singing down a coalmine.
The recorded episode was wiped and continues to be lost, but the script – along with a host of others – has now emerged. They have been catalogued by the actor turned rare books dealer, Neil Pearson.
It is a true treasure trove, featuring scripts by and for comedy stars such as Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, Frankie Howerd and Kenneth Williams. "It is a rather extraordinary and rather moving collection of material that reminds us of how we used to