Friday, 2 February 2018

"Roses are red, violets are blue... I'll be your lamb, if you'll be my ewe..."

"Roses are red, violets are blue... I'll be your lamb, if you'll be my ewe..."

When attempting to talk about the work of Galton and Simpson in Episode Seven, we were faced with a difficult choice. How to pick a single episode that summed up their massive contribution to the world of radio and television comedy?

Clearly, this was an almost impossible task, so it was easier to pick something we liked, but probably wouldn't have been the first choice for most people.

So, 'Hancock's Half Hour: Lord Byron Lived Here' became our episode to showcase their style.
In this one, Tony and Sid are fighting a losing battle with the repairs required at 23 Railway Cuttings amd wonder whether their home is of any historical interest to the National Trust.

Sid concocts a scheme based on the idea that George Gordon Byron might have lived there, by writing some suitably high-flown verse on the walls. Our particular favourite runs:

Oh wondrous moon, who shines its beam, across the pine trees of East Cheam.
I'm very pleased to see your light. Comin' out tomorrow night?

If that ain't poetry, then we don't know what is...

As a piece of writing, it's a glorious collision between history, art and good old-fashioned British tattiness. Studying this episode gave us the chance to learn a thing or two about Byron - his fondness for animals scored him more than a few points in our book.

There's also a cynically modern commentary on the fact that anywhere with a bit of history attached to it, insists on selling cheap and nasty trinkets to any passing visitors...

HUGH LLOYD: That's not 'is shaving mug!
HANCOCK: It is 'is shaving mug!
HUGH LLOYD: It isn't!
HANCOCK: It's got 'is family crest on it, look... A lion standin' on a wheel!
HUGH LLOYD: That's British Railways!

When it comes to memorable dialogue, there are few people to rival the effortless genius of Ray Galton and Alan Simpson. Robert Browning? We wouldn't give 'im 'ouseroom!

(By Andrew Trowbridge)

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