A couple of articles from the Radio Times today. Tomorrow we’ll be looking at the first episode of the fifth series – ‘The Whistling Spy Enigma’ – first broadcast on 28 September 1954.
That week’s Radio Times carried a short piece in its gossip column, ‘Both Sides of the Microphone’, featuring some comments from Jimmy Grafton about the origins of the show.
The listing page for ‘The Whistling Spy Enigma’ is available here. The fifth series was the only one for which almost every episode had a synopsis published in the Radio Times.
The first few episodes of the sixth series had them, too, but the editors appear to have abandoned this idea – possibly because Milligan’s synopses were getting further and further removed from what was actually broadcast, or possibly because of several instances where the episode broadcast was not what the RT said it would be. But more of that later.
Eagle-eyed readers should probably see an optician, but before they do so they might notice in the cast list one Wallace Greenslade as Two-Ton Terence O’Toole. Although this was obviously a slightly mean joke at Wal’s expense, according to an article in the Daily Mirror from 28 September 1954, the joke caused an argument between the BBC and Equity, the actors’ union. The corporation had previously agreed not to list announcers as performers. Whoops.
Skipping ahead four years, the Radio Times issue from this very day in 1958 carried a larger promotional piece for the start of the ninth series, which began on 3 November 1958.
‘The Goons – as others see them’ makes for quite interesting reading, as it covers not only the show’s fans within the royal family, but also politicians and academics. Bud Flanagan – a member of The Crazy Gang series that has been cited as an inspiration for the Goon Show – also makes an appearance.
Lew (Sellers): Aaaaaach! What's on the telly? Greenslade: You will find the answer to that question in the Radio Times, price thruppence. Three copper coins, mark you, and by jove, it has become so interesting I would much sooner settle down and read it than listen to the radio any day. Secombe: Didn't you once have a photograph in the Radio Times, Mr Greenslade? Greenslade: I did indeed, page 12, March the 14th, 1935, and strangely enough I happen to have four copies on me now. Secombe: Well take them off and put a shirt on.
(From ‘Yehti’, Series 5 Episode 24, broadcast 8 March 1955)
And before anyone asks, yes I did check, and no, Wal did not have his picture in the Radio Times that week. The Radio Times may never lie, but BBC announcers do.