Monday, 12 March 2012

Beyond the Horne

Betty Marsden and Hugh Paddick, Radio Times 19 April 1980
With the demise of Round the Horne following the death of Kenneth Horne in 1969 the cast went their separate ways. The ensemble of Horne, Kenneth Williams, Hugh Paddick and Betty Marsden had been in comedy’s top flight for a decade. Post-Horne, Williams, Paddick and announcer Douglas Smith teamed up with Joan Sims for the short-lived series Stop Messing About. But it was to be another 9 years before Hugh Paddick and Betty Marsden worked together again in the 1978/9 Radio 4 comedy show The 27 Year Itch.   

No longer paired as Dame Celia Molestrangler and ageing juvenile Binkie Huckaback they played the more prosaically named couple Dorothy and Edward, a married couple “with enough problems to keep Marjorie Proops on overtime until 1990”.

Described as a “marital black comedy” The 27 Year Itch was written by Barry Pilton who, at the time, had just finished working as one of the script writers on Week Ending. The show’s producer was Geoffrey Perkins, an assignment a million miles away from the other programme he’d just been working on, the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

As you’ll hear in this first episode from the second series it was a pretty standard family-based sitcom lifted somewhat by Betty and Hugh’s acting. Their grown-up children Sebastian and Hilary are played by Stephen Pacey and Tammy Ustinov. This programme was first broadcast on Monday 21 April 1980.

The 27 Year Itch Episode Guide
Series 1
Episode 1: 12 December 1978 There's No World Beyond Sidcup
Episode 2: 19 December 1978 You're Never Too Old to Stay at Home
Episode 3: 26 December 1978 All Play and No Work Makes Jill an Unemployment Statistic
Episode 4: 2 January 1979 Edward Seeks to Explore His Mind, with the Help of a Gentle Armlock from Dorothy
Episode 5: 9 January 1979 A Pill a Day Keeps the Doctor at Work
Episode 6: 16 January 1979 The 28th Anniversary - All Roads Lead to Home
Series 2
Episode 1: 21 April 1980 The Family That Stays Together, Lives Apart
Episode 2: 28 April 1980 The Charity Shop
Episode 3: 5 May 1980 The Swagman Cometh
Episode 4: 12 May 1980 At Hilary’s
Episode 5: 19 May 1980 The Decline and Fall of Frozen Food
Episode 6: 26 May 1980 Home and Abroad

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