Stone me!

Doherty is a big Hancock fan

Babyshambles frontman Pete Doherty has recorded a song inspired by Tony Hancock for a new TV documentary.

The drug-abusing musician is a unlikely die-hard fan of the late comic, and will speak of his obsession  on BBC Two on Boxing Day.

For the programme, he recorded an acoustic version of his song Lady Don't Fall Backwards - a title taken from a book that featured in Hancock’s Half Hour.

The 26-year-old singer – whose battle with drugs might be said to echo Hancock’s own alcoholism - says he started watching the show ‘very young - just as soon as I was old enough to rummage in drawers and pull out tapes: The Unexploded Bomb, The Americans Hit Town, Sid's Mystery Tour and The Poetry Society.

'It's certainly a language of a long gone era, if it even existed in the first place. I don't know whether it's possible to be nostalgic for a time that didn't exist, but I think I am

The programmes producer, Ashtar Alkhirsan, said: ’[Doherty]  can quote big chunks of Hancock dialogue. I feel reluctant to make a comparison with Tony Hancock, but both have a life lived on the edge.’

In his radio shows, Hancock took the crime thriller Lady Don't Fall Backwards from the library – only to be frustrated when the last page revealing whodunit was missing.

And John Le Mesurier’s wife Joan used the title for her memoirs, which detailed her torrid affair with Hancock. She also talks to the documentary team, describing the year they spent together at the lowest point of his alcoholism.

Doherty has previously said he found solace in Hancock and old episodes of Hancock’s radio shows to entertain himself while his father, who was in the Army, was away from home.

He called the Libertines' debut album Up The Bracket after Hancock's phrase: ‘Watch it mate, or I'll have you, with a punch up the bracket.’

And he once said of his more devoted fans ‘I’m just like that as well - except I’m obsessed with pre-1966 Tony Hancock radio shows.’

The 90-minute documentary The Unknown Hancock airs at 9pm on BBC Two on Boxing Day.

There is also an Arena profile of his writers Ray Galton and Alan Simpson on BBC Two Christmas Day at 6.30pm.


Published: 21 Dec 2005

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