The first of two CD releases featuring the soundtracks to missing TV episodes of Hancock’s Half Hour comes out at the start of July.
The season four episodes – “The Flight of the Red Shadow” (tx 23/01/1959) and “The Wrong Man” (tx 06/03/1959) – are released by BBC Audiobooks as a two-CD set on July 2, 2009，and are currently available for pre-order on Amazon.
In “The Flight of the Red Shadow” (aka “Desert Song”), Hancock is on the run from disgruntled members of the East Cheam Repertory Company. In order to escape, Hancock is forced to masquerade as the Maharaja of Renjipur, with disastrous consequences.
“The Wrong Man” sees Hancock and Sid called in to take part in a police identity parade. However, when a witness picks Hancock out for the burglary of a high street tobacconist, he has only days to clear his name.
In addition to series regulars Tony Hancock and Sid James, “The Flight of the Red Shadow” features Rolf Harris and small walk-ons for series creators/writers Ray Galton and Alan Simpson. Simpson also appears briefly in “The Wrong Man”.
In total, 26 episodes of the TV version of Hancock’s Half Hour (1956 – 61) are missing, all from the first four seasons.
Before season five, HHH went out live and, sadly, the majority were never telerecorded.
Thankfully, some forward-thinking fans made off-air home recordings at the time.
Those soundtracks were returned by the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society to the BBC in late 2008 and consisted of the recordings featured on the forthcoming CD alongside further season four episodes: “Underpaid! Or, Grandad’s SOS” (tx 02/01/59); “The Horror Serial” (tx 30/01/59); “Matrimony Almost” (tx 13/02/59); and “The Beauty Contest” (tx 20/02/59).
A follow-up CD, featuring “The Horror Serial” and “The Beauty Contest”, is scheduled for November, and is also available for pre-order from Amazon here.
Both CDs will include explained sleeve notes explaining how the episodes came to be released.
Unfortunately though, according to comedy website Chortle the remaining two soundtracks may be too poor quality to ever get issued commercially.