Hancock (1963– )
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The Assistant 



(story) (as Ray Whyberd),


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Episode credited cast:
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Patrick Cargill ...
Mr. Stone
Kenneth Griffith ...
Owen Bowen
Adrienne Posta ...
Little Girl (as Adrienne Poster)


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Release Date:

3 January 1963 (UK)  »

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"You are not Uncle Bunny!"
21 January 2009 | by (Ambrosia) – See all my reviews

The first episode of Tony Hancock's ill-fated A.T.V. series.

A London department store has had a window broken, so an assistant is told to move out stock in case people try to make off with it. Hancock, passing by, is shocked to see what appears to be a woman undressing in full view of the public. Of course she is only removing an expensive garment from a mannequin.

He goes to cover it with his jacket and, not realising there is no glass there, falls through. He takes the dummy into the shop and complains to the manager ( Patrick Cargill ) about the poor service.

The manager challenges Tony to work there for one week without managing to lose his temper...

Probably the single biggest mistake of Hancock's career was his decision to sack Ray Galton and Alan Simpson. Those men understood the character of 'Anthony Aloysius St.John Hancock' better than anyone else, and this is evident from viewing 'The Assistant'. It was written by Terry Nation ( creator of 'Blake's Seven', 'Survivors', and the 'Daleks' from 'Dr.Who' ) from a story by Rhy Whyberd ( better known as ventriloquist Ray Alan ) and, while not being particularly bad, could have been written for anybody. It is as though Hancock has wandered by mistake into Charlie Drake's 'The Worker'.

Though it has some genuine laughs, the major flaw is the ending - we never find out whether or not Hancock won his bet. Ray and Alan would not have made this mistake.

At least he had the good sense to keep supporting actors of the calibre of Patrick Cargill, who was 'The Doctor' in the classic 'The Blood Donor'. Kenneth Griffith is very good as 'Owen Bowen', a fiery history-obsessed Welshman who Hancock encounters in the packing department.

The annoying little girl whom Tony meets while dressed in a rabbit costume ( 'Uncle Bunny' ) is Adrienne Poster, later to change the spelling of her surname to 'Posta' and appear in films such as 'To Sir With Love' and 'The Alf Garnett Saga'.

Funniest moment - the aforementioned brat denouncing Hancock's 'Uncle Bunny' as an impostor, to which he replies: "Clear off before I fetch you one around the ears!".

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