'Lost' Hancock script to be performed

Highlight of new comedy film fest

A lost comic gem, originally written for Tony Hancock, is to have its first public performance at the first London Comedy Film Festival next year.

Alan Galton and Ray Simpson wrote The Day Off to be the follow-up to Hancock’s 1961 film The Rebel – but the temperamental star rejected the story of a hapless bus conductor, demanding something ‘more international’.

In the end, he cut his ties with Galton & Simpson to make The Punch and Judy Man, despite its lack of international appeal. Hancock

No scripts for The Day Off were thought to survive, but author Christopher Stevens discovered a copy behind a filing cabinet in Galton’s home while researching his book about the writers, The Masters of Sitcom.

Stevens said: ‘It's probably the best thing they ever wrote, It's not just very, very funny and archetypally Hancock – you can hear his voice in every line – but it's also desperately sad.’

Now it will have a reading on January 29, the final day of the four-day LoCo festival at the BFI Southbank. The cast has not yet been announced, but Galton and Simpson will also take part in a Q&A after the reading.

The festival will also include a preview of the new Muppets movie, a couple of weeks before its official UK release, while Edgar Wright will introduce a screening of his film Shaun Of The Dead and Mike Leigh's Life is Sweet, followed by an on-stage discussion.

The festival also includes a two-day course for aspiring filmmakers and a 50th anniversary screening of the rarely seen British comedy Go To Blazes, about three crooks who steal a fire engine as a getatway vehicle, whose stars include Robert Morley, Maggie Smith and Derek Nimmo.

Published: 18 Nov 2011

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