Ban this George Formby filth...

How 30s comic fell victim to censors

He may seem innocuous compared to today’s shock comics, but George Formby was once banned by the BBC, it has been revealed.

BBC archivists have discovered that the banjolele-strumming comedian’s song With My Little Stick Of Blackpool Rock was banned from radio shows in 1937.

Moral guardians were offened by the innuendo in lines such as ‘With my little stick of Blackpool Rock, along the promenade I stroll / It may be sticky but I never complain, it's nice to have a nibble at it now and again.

Other banned songs included Cole Porter's 1930 ballad Love For Sale, because of its references to prostitution, and Frankie Laine’s 1953 Answer Me, thought to be a ‘mockery’ of a prayer.

The rules were found in files stored at the BBC’s Written Archives Centre in Caversham, Berkshire, during research for a programme about censorship.

One censor wrote: ‘No one is more alive than I to the need to buttress the forces of virtue against the unprincipled elements of the jungle.’

Here’s Formby’s once-controversial song:

Published: 17 Dec 2007

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