Only 65 years late... Lost Tony Hancock script finally gets heard | Vacant Lot predates Hancock's Half Hour

Only 65 years late... Lost Tony Hancock script finally gets heard

Vacant Lot predates Hancock's Half Hour

Two long-lost radio scripts written for Tony Hancock are to get an airing after 65 years.

Goon Show writer Larry Stephens penned Vacant Lot for his comedian friend in 1952 – two years before Hancock’s Half Hour hit the air and made him a huge star.

The series focused on life in the faded fictional seaside town of Churdley Bay, where the blundering, slightly pompous  Hancock aspires for a better life.

Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Kenneth Connor had all been considered for supporting roles – however, the show was never recorded, amid executive confusion as to whether to tape it in front of a studio audience or not. Exasperated by the to-ing and fro-ing, Hancock insisted the project be dropped.

Stephens’s cousin, Julie Warren, rediscovered the forgotten scripts in the BBC archives while working on a biography, which she is currently crowdfunding.

Now they are to be performed at the Funny Things festival in Stephens’ hometown of Wolverhampton in November.

The festival says: ‘We proudly present the much-belated premiere of a forgotten slice of British comedy history from two West Midland comedy heroes.’

In the first episode, Hancock wrecks his chances of getting elected to the local council when he accidentally auctions off a prized clock. In the second, he’s asked to help drive tourism to the resort – but makes an embarrassing copywriting gaffe.

The shows will be performed at the Light House Media Centre on November 4, including a Q&A with Warren. Tickets

Published: 28 Sep 2017

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