In a radio studio, they're doing an episode of the rural melodrama "The Bowmans"(a play on "The Archers"). Cast member Tony ad libs and can't keep in character. He's going to get sacked, so he tries to make the most of his final programme.

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(uncredited)
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Cast

Episode credited cast:
...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bruno Barnabe ...
BBC Official
Alec Bregonzi ...
Fred
...
The Producer
Richard Carpenter ...
Old Ben Merryweather's friend
Constance Chapman ...
Gladys Bowman
Dennis Chinnery ...
Reporter
Carmen Dene
Antonita Dias
Gwenda Ewen ...
Diane (as Gwenda Ewan)
James Fitzgerald
Peter Glaze ...
Harold
Donald Hoath
Bernard Hunter
Hugh Lloyd ...
Florist
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Storyline

In a radio studio, they're doing an episode of the rural melodrama "The Bowmans"(a play on "The Archers"). Cast member Tony ad libs and can't keep in character. He's going to get sacked, so he tries to make the most of his final programme.

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Genres:

Comedy

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Release Date:

2 June 1961 (UK)  »

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Trivia

"The Bowmans" was a parody of long-running BBC Radio soap "The Archers". The character of Joshua was a reference to Walter Gabriel, who performed the same function in The Archers as Joshua does in The Bowmans. The Archers, which began regular broadcasts on the BBC Home Service in 1951, continues on BBC Radio 4 to the present day. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Hancock's Last Hurrah
12 December 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Driving home from this show, Tony Hancock was involved in an accident where he suffered concussion and could no longer remember his lines. It marked the end of his heyday, just when the Sixties were starting to make him look dated in any case.

This episode of 'Hancock', previously 'Hancock's Half-hour', reflects a mass of ironies. The story is set in a BBC sound-studio, which is where his ascendancy began. The Hancock character in the serial (clearly based on The Archers) is meant to be dying, and when the actor is sacked, he says "Shall I just do away with myself?", as Hancock did a few years on. Having quarrelled with all his colleagues (as Hancock had), he re-negotiates his contract, dispensing with the scriptwriters, just as Hancock himself was about to sack Galton and Simpson, the team who had brought him fame. Almost poetic.

A fine cast, including Constance Chapman and Richard Carpenter, manage to mimic farm-yokel dialogue in this 'everyday story of simple people', and Hancock's dog (Peter Glaze) barks aggressively on-cue, and supposedly off-cue as well. "It says here three yelps and a growl", complains Hancock. The hapless producer/director is played by Patrick Cargill, who has arranged for Hancock to be killed-off in an accident with the threshing machine because research shows that the audience is losing interest in his character. Hancock protests that he is the mainstay of the series, pointing out that he couldn't even cough without the listeners sending him 14 gallons of lung syrup.

Defiantly, he storms off, declaring that he is too good to work with 'untutored hams' - only to find himself auditioning for an African production of Hamlet, and being instantly dismissed by a casting director heard-off, played by Hugh Lloyd, possibly at his funniest as voice-only. Trying again, he appears in a TV commercial for tinned pilchards, whose sales immediately plummet.

As the last Hancock show to be broadcast live, it is interesting for its imperfections. At least three characters, including Hancock, manage to fluff their lines. And the final twist in the plot doesn't quite work. When the public hears of his death, they react with outrage, and a BBC spokesman says "We had no idea this character was so popular." That's why he is able to make his re-entry to the series on his own terms. (And watch his non-reaction when Cargill tries to call him Tony instead of Mr. Hancock.) But of course, it's at odds with the audience research Cargill mentioned earlier.

Still - a good enough way to spend half an hour, and an interesting nostalgic glimpse of old-style radio shows in the making.


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