BBC to broadcast lost episode of Hancock’s Half Hour

Photograph: Associated Rediffusion Productions/Getty Images

A lost episode of 1950s radio show Hancock’s Half Hour has been found and restored and will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 next month.

The episode, the only one to feature the actor and comedian Peter Sellers – who was standing in for Hancock’s regular collaborator Kenneth Williams – is from the first series of the sitcom and is called The Marriage Bureau.

It aired in February 1955 and has never been repeated, according to the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society.

The episode, which was discovered by actor Richard Harrison on a domestic reel-to-reel audio tape, will be broadcast on Radio 4 on 18 October.

In the episode, Hancock decides that he must get a job and find a wife.

The society wrote on Twitter: “We’re absolutely thrilled that a lost episode of Hancock’s Half Hour has been found, restored, & will be broadcast on Radio 4 on 18 October.

“The Marriage Bureau was never repeated and has not been heard since 1955. Only episode to feature Peter Sellers.

“Sellers plays the parts given in the scripts to Kenneth Williams who couldn’t make it that week. How did he play them? Tune in to find out! This is a brilliant find!

The society said a documentary about finding the lost episode, called Raiders of the Lost Archive, will be broadcast on Radio 4 on 13 and 17 October.

The society houses the world’s largest collection of audio and visual material concerning Hancock, who died in 1968 in Australia.

Hancock’s Half Hour ran for five years as a radio show and later as a television show of the same name.

During 1956 and 1957, the comedian also made two series for ITV, entitled The Tony Hancock Show.

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