Click on the above pic to visit our sister site Bear Alley Books

Thursday, June 16, 2011

TV Express Scrapbook: Tony Hancock and Sid James

More features on the stars of yesterday from the pages of TV Express, these two relating to the comedians Tony Hancock and Sidney James.

The two had been working together for years on Hancock's Half-Hour and had made the successful switch to television together. But with the end of the TV show's sixth series, James was dumped by Hancock who feared that he and James would be seen as a double act. Hancock went off to star in the film The Rebel and James was left to his own devices. But Sid was already an established film actor with about 150 movies under his belt and would have no trouble finding more work, including the launch of a new star vehicle on TV, Citizen James. The show was in effect Hancock without Hancock, Sid playing much the same character as he had on the radio, with support from Bill Kerr, another star from Hancock's Half Hour. The series was created by Galton & Simpson, although later episodes were by Sid Green & Dick Hills, better known for working with Morecambe & Wise.

Citizen James ran for three series and 32 episodes in 1960-62, during which time James also established himself as the leading star of the Carry On movies. He went on to star in a number of TV series, including Taxi!, George and the Dragon, Two in Clover and the long-running Bless This House.

Hancock, meanwhile, had successfully transitioned to solo player in Hancock, but his follow-up to The Rebel, The Punch and Judy Man, which was at attempt to get away from the character of Anthony Aloysius Hancock and prove he could tackle a more dramatic role, was not so well received. His film career on hold, Hancock split from Simpson & Galton and made two more TV series in 1963 and 1967 but eventually left for Australia where he hoped to relaunch his career with Hancock Down Under. He managed three shows but committed suicide during the production in 1968.

(* © TV Publications Ltd.)


Mike W said...

Bill Kerr who was 89 last week has outlived James (& Hancock) by many years & is still active in Australia where he lives. Some comedians such as Kerr , Clive Dunn & Eric Sykes appear almost immortal! I wonder if there are any still alive who once appeared in comic strips as Arthur Askey, Bill Frazer (?) who was married to Pamela Cundell (still alive & played Mrs Fox in Dads' Army) & Dickie Henderson once did.

Mike W said...

By coincidence, in The Times this week was the obituary for the brother of Tony Hancock - although he died in April(!)- aged 79 so he outlived his brother by over 40 years.