Stone me!

BBC blasted 'moody' Hancock

Tony Hancock so enraged BBC bosses with his increasing demands, that they branded him a “moody perfectionist" obsessed with money, according to documents published for the first time.

In 1962, the corporation tried to tie the temperamental comic genius into a deal to prevent him signing to emerging new commercial TV or to the cinema.

But his stubborn refusal prompted the BBC’s head of light entertainment, Tom Sloan, to write in an internal memo: "Hancock is a moody perfectionist with a great interest in money and no sense of loyalty to the corporation."

He said that the only thing that would keep the star at the BBC for another 13 episodes of Hancock’s Half Hour would be to hand over control of production to him –  and pay him £150,000, the equivalent of £2 million today.

The memo is reproduced in a new book Fifty Years of Hancock's Half Hour, published on Thursday

In the end he did switch to ITV, where he failed to capture quite the same the magic that made him a star at the BBC.

However, Hancock writer Ray Galton said that the comic was not driven by money or a ‘starry’ ego, but was simply wanted to become an international comedian.

He told today’s Independent on Sunday: "I don't think he was at all interested in going to ITV, but into the film industry."

Published: 31 Oct 2004

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