If you thought Legal, Decent, Honest and Truthful (1982-6) was the only radio comedy series set in an advertising agency, think again. Between 1960 and 1962 the Light Programme offered listeners "a light-hearted look at the advertising world" in Something to Shout About. Now, more than fifty years later, its getting its first ever repeat starting next month on BBC Radio 4 Extra.
Something to Shout About was penned by scriptwriter and songwriter - Right said Fred and Hole in the Ground being his best known - Myles Rudge and Ronnie Wolfe - think On the Buses. It had a cast of well-known actors: Michael Medwin, straight out of The Army Game and years before Don Satchley, as account executive Michael Lightfoot, Fenella Fielding as his secretary Janet, Eleanor Summerfield, Joan Sims, Nicholas Phipps, Warren Mitchell and, in the final series, Sheila Hancock.
Set in the agency of Apsley, Addis, Cone, Barbican, Blythe, Giddy & Partners the programme ran for three series. Sound Archives kept very few episodes so the repeats are taken from the Transcription Services discs.
At the start of the second series on 2 January 1961 the Radio Times published this article, though it actually tells you very little about the programme:
"From the outset listeners were quick to express their appreciation of this show, and its revival after so brief a lay-off is further proof of its popularity. Myles Rudge, who with Ronald Wolfe, writes the scripts of Something to Shout About did some pretty intensive investigations in the world of advertising before starring to write and, he says 'infiltrated into the offices of several of my friends in that line of business. Actually, to present that quite unique world as it really is would utterly bewildering to the uninitiated. Nobody would understand what was going on, and, if they did, they wouldn't believe it. Our show presents a sort of compromise.
"As before Michael Medwin has three leading ladies, Eleanor Summerfield, Fenella Fielding and Joan Sims, and those who held their breath at the prospect of the sparks that could fly around the studio when three start comediennes were cast in the same show have been disappointed. the girls are the firmest of friends, and woe betide any of the men in the cast who don't keep in line. As Eleanor Summerfield puts it: 'If the men tread on any of our toes, we girls gang up on them, and they have a very rough time!'
Series 1 of Something to Shout About starts on BBC Radio 4 Extra on Friday 8 July at 8.30 am. You can read more about the programme on Laughterlog.