Page 3 Profile: Tony Hancock, comedian

 

Katie Grant
Sunday 11 May 2014 22:36
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Before Ricky Gervais and Steve Coogan, there was…

… Tony Hancock. A household name in Britain in the 1950s, the “comedian’s comedian”, who was born in 1924, has been honoured with an English Heritage blue plaque.

Oh yes, Hancock’s Half Hour.

The show originally aired on radio from 1954 before transferring to TV two years later, when the two formats began running concurrently. The series, written by Alan Simpson and Ray Galton, went down a storm with the British public: the Queen Mother is said to have told Hancock: “You are so popular in our house, we all stop in when Hancock’s Half Hour comes on.”

Gone but not forgotten?

Hancock had a troubled personal life and committed suicide in Sydney in 1968. Today, on what would have been his 90th birthday, a blue plaque will be unveiled outside the apartment block in Kensington, south-west London, where the Birmingham-born comic lived with his first wife, Cicely Romanis, between 1952 and 1958.

The English Heritage historian Howard Spencer said: “This blue plaque recognises a colossus of comedy. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Tony Hancock became one of Britain’s first comedy superstars, a radio and television phenomenon, and his influence is still apparent today.”

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