I very much enjoyed BBC4’s remake of the Hancock’s Half Hour episode The New Neighbour, which aired as part of their current Lost Sitcoms season tonight.
I’ve written here before of how excellent I thought the Kevin McNally-fronted radio series The Missing Hancocks was, thanks largely to McNally’s note-perfect performance as ‘The Lad Himself’. His attention to detail is extraordinary, managing to get Tony’s intonation, timing and mannerisms right, without descending to the point of becoming a one-dimensional impression. It was clearly a labour of love from a huge fan of the man I’m also a huge fan of, and must have been the dream job. Likewise, Kevin Eldon’s reading of Bill Kerr and Robin Sebastian’s of Kenneth Williams in the radio series were eerily spot on.
The other huge point that rang throughout tonight’s programme was just how exceptional Galton & Simpson’s writing is. Their choice of language is so vivid and creative, and has barely aged, outside of the odd then-topical reference; it’s incredible how fresh and current the scripts that they wrote sixty year ago are today. I had a bit of a chat with Kevin Eldon about this, one of the times he played Mostly Comedy, and he said the same thing, saying the rhythm of the lines were so good, he barely had to do anything when reading them aloud, as the script did all the work itself; it must have been such a luxury to do a job like that, though it would have also been incredibly daunting when Galton & Simpson were in the audience.
I’m not one to blow smoke up the arse of something if it isn’t good, but these revisitings are beautifuly rendered and performed. It makes me wish I’d been a part of it. Stone me, that would have been cracking.