Kenneth Horne newsreel footage

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Here's another "it's my blog, and I don't care if anyone else is interested" posts.

Below is some rare newsreel footage from 1951 of the recording of a British radio comedy called Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh. The show began during World War II, and Much Binding was an RAF base in some obscure, presumably damp, locale in England. The show continued after the war with the same cast, but in new situations. In this clip you'll see the two leads, Richard Murdoch on the left and Kenneth Horne on the right, joined by Sam Costa (with the impressive mustache), Maurice Denham (as Mr. Blake with the west country accent and milquetoast Mr. Larkin), and Maureen Riscoe as Mrs. Larkin.

I'm impressed that the audience laughed at the Latin joke.

Kenneth Horne was not only a radio entertainer, he was a business executive, serving as sales director of Triplex Glass, managing director of the British Industries Fair, and managing director of Chad Valley Toys. After a stroke in 1958, doctors told him to choose between industry and comedy. He chose comedy and returned from his convalescence to star in Beyond Our Ken, a weekly sketch comedy show that ran from 1958 to 1964. Beyond Our Ken was followed by Round the Horne, from 1965 to 1968, with the same cast -- Kenneth Horne, Kenneth Williams, Hugh Paddick, Betty Marsden, Bill Pertwee, announcer Douglas Smith -- but different writers -- Barry Took and Marty Feldman.

Each episode of Much-Binding ended with the theme song with lyrics customized to fit the episode's story and the news of the day. Here's the song that ended the show's 100th episode, from 1949.

Finally, here's Richard Murdoch talking about the origins of Much-Binding and a royal visit to the show's performance.

MORE: BBC Radio 4 Extra features comedy, drama, documentary, and radio productions of classic literature, available worldwide online. An episode of Much-Binding, Beyond Our Ken, or Round the Horne airs almost every week; this week you can hear the second episode of Round the Horne. And this week they've started serializing Charles Dickens's The Pickwick Papers in eight hour-long episodes. A three-hour special, Horne of Plenty, featuring two episodes each of Round the Horne and Beyond Our Ken, plus commentary by Jonathan James-Moore, will air at 3 am Central Time Saturday, December 22, 2012, and will be available on the BBC Radio 4 Extra website for a week.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on December 21, 2012 12:16 AM.

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