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‘After an extended world-wide cruise, HMS Troutbridge returns today to Portsmouth harbour
having, we hope, purged her contempt for the many misdeeds for which she was responsible last
autumn. Perhaps wisely, she has been in ‘hiding’ hoping that others have drawn the wrath of the
Navy Board in the interval – and several have. Quote from the Daily Mail of August 22, 1968 –
Headline: ‘The Navy Lark – or how the gunners missed the target by two miles and hit Nellie
picking cockle.’ Story begins: ‘Fragments of a shell fired by the frigate R… hits Mrs N… M… as
she gathered cockles on the beach at Cape Wrath …’
‘Besides, the customary entrance of HMS Troutbridge into Portsmouth harbour can hardly
be described as ‘merging quietly with the fleet’. You can hear the bangs in Newton Abbott.
Nevertheless Troutbridge will do its best to survive in a hostile world for the next three months –
come what may.’
With these words in the Radio Times, producer Alastair Scott Johnston introduced the
tenth series of The Navy Lark as the accident prone crew of the senior service’s dodgiest
frigate sailed back onto the airwaves in October 1968. But exactly when the long-running
naval sitcom – now aired on BBC Radio 2, the new incarnation of the Corporation’s Light
Programme – would return had been somewhat vague at the start of the year. One of the
main issues about scheduling a further series of The Navy Lark was the availability of one of
the show’s three stars: Jon Pertwee. In July 1967, it had been announced that Jon would be
travelling to the USA to take part in a Broadway version of his West End hit There’s a Girl in My
Soup that autumn; the show opened at the Shubert Theatre in late September.
Meanwhile, the third run of the spin-off series The Embassy Lark (which had been taped
from October 1967) aired on Radio 2 on Wednesday evenings for fifteen weeks from 6 March;
the seventh show featuring the guest appearance of Sub-Lt Phillips aired on 16 April. In the
meantime, at the end of March, Leslie Phillips began a pre-West End tour of the comedy The
Man Most Likely To … which he would also act as producer and director of.


Although Jon Pertwee was enjoying strong reviews for There’s a Girl in My Soup during
the spring of 1968, in mid-May he announced that he was quitting the show to return to
London. He had been offered a major role in another new production, Blandings Castle, an
adaptation of the works of PG Wodehouse, which was to open at the Lyric on Wednesday 28
The Embassy Lark concluded its run on Wednesday 11 June by which time Alistair Scott
Johnston was producing the Radio 2 entertainment round-up Galaxy. Meanwhile The Man
Most Likely To … opened at the Vaudeville Theatre in London on Thursday 4 July. Blandings
Castle had been on tour since the end of July and when it opened at the Lyric at the end
of August it was renamed Oh Clarence! Stephen Murray’s skills as a dramatic actor had also
been much in demand, appearing on stage in productions of The Prisoner and Inadmissible
Evidence as well as editions of ABC’s prestigious Armchair Theatre.
Despite the fact that Jon Pertwee was now available (and would also be shooting the
Children’s Film Foundation item Up in the Air in the autumn), there would still be one case
of ‘man overboard’ when the series returned. This was Ronnie Barker, whose talents had
been much in demand over the previous decade and who was now receiving far more
television exposure, largely as a result of the BBC1 sketch show The Frost Report which had
been broadcast in 1966 and 1967. In the spring of 1968, he had starred in his own comedic
anthology The Ronnie Barker Playhouse for Rediffusion. For the autumn, there was a major
ITV franchise reshuffle pending. A major new station was London Weekend Television run
by a consortium that included David Frost. Frost aimed to host three live shows across the
weekend, with the third of these – Frost on Sunday – being of a comedic nature akin to The
Frost Report and again featuring Ronnie Barker and Ronnie Corbett. As such, Ronnie Barker
would not be available for the traditional Sunday evening recordings of The Navy Lark since
he would be busy on the far higher-profile LWT show. In his place, it was planned that Lawrie
Wyman himself would now feature more regularly in the series; he had made uncredited
appearances as far back as 1962, usually playing members of the Cornish Tiddy family.
The rest of the cast were available. Richard Caldicot had spent some time reprising his role
of solicitor John Faversham in the American sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies, having first played
the character in some British-based episodes in the summer of 1967. Since July, Heather
Chasen had been appearing as Caroline Kerr in the BBC1 soap opera The Newcomers, a role
which she would continue through to July 1969 (and indeed be involved with a witchcraft


storyline in the lead-up to Halloween 1968). Michael Bates had been working on film and
television projects since Loot closed in August 1967; these included Hammerhead and a
number of TV plays. More recently, he had been working with Alastair Scott Johnston on the
Radio 2 series The Dave Allen Show which aired from Tuesday 8 October. Tenniel Evans had
been similarly in demand on television, and would indeed be joining Heather in her witchcraft
storyline in The Newcomers during October.
Since The Embassy Lark, the series’ creator and writer Lawrie Wyman had been scripting
another Radio 2 sitcom entitled So I’ll Tell You, a seven-part series which revived an earlier Light
Programme title and starred David Kossoff as private enterprise businessman Matthew Soames.
This debuted on Monday 9 September.
By the start of October, the recordings for the next thirteen programmes at the Paris Theatre
on Lower Regent Street were confirmed; these would take place on Sundays from 6 October
to 22 December and then – after a Christmas break – conclude on 5 January 1969. However,
this final New Year date was subsequently cancelled and it was decided that the fourth session
on 27 October would see a double recording at both 8.30pm as usual and then at 9.15pm.
No options for an extension of the run were made, and it was left to Radio 2 to schedule the
broadcasts at a later date. Concurrent with the series, Alastair was also producing Ivor Novello
musicals for Radio 4 to broadcast from November.
The first new edition of The Navy Lark picked up where the ninth series had left off as HMS
Troutbridge returned from the commission which it had been despatched on. Picking up on the
counter-culture hippy movement which had blossomed since 1967’s ‘Summer of Love’, Heather
made reference to the “flower people”. The script also included a rare appearance from the
character of quacking electrical officer Lt Bates. Presenter Michael de Morgan, who had been
a BBC radio announcer since 1959, stepped into the role of the series’ announcer, taking over
from Ronald Fletcher.
In fact, the new series was rapidly scheduled by Radio 2 as a replacement for the long running
panel game Does the Team Think? (on which Leslie Phillips had appeared on Sunday 8 September)
which ended its run at the start of October. HMS Troutbridge would set sail again at its usual time
of 2pm on Sundays from 13 October running between Family Favourites and a new series of
another perennial sitcom, The Clitheroe Kid. There would also be a repeat the following evening
(again replacing Does the Team Think?) at 8.45pm on the combined Radio 1 and Radio 2 service
which merged at this point in the evening to transmit on both long wave and medium wave.


The Radio Times promoted the new run of naval disasters with an article penned by
Alastair Scott Johnston in its edition of Thursday 10 October. This text was accompanied by
an illustration by Jack Dunkley of CPO Pertwee attempting to lasso Captain Povey, and so
draw attention to the programme billing which promised ‘A chronicle of events aboard HMS
Troutbridge’. The programme listing would also promote The Man Most Likely To … and Oh
Clarence! in the coming weeks. The opening show netted an audience of only two and a half
million – barely half what it had been at the end of the previous series. In terms of quality
it was given a Reaction Index score of 63 which was above average for radio sitcoms and
considered to be a good rating.
The second episode of the run (recorded on Sunday 13 October) saw the welcome return
of the Padre – a popular character of Michael Bates’ – and the first of several characters to
replace the roles left absent by the departure of Ronnie Barker. Since the eighth series, a
popular trio of characters had been Michael Bates’ hay-fever suffering Captain Atcheson, Jon
Pertwee’s veteran character of Lt-Commander Wetherby (who dated back to the 1940s show
Waterlogged Spa) and Ronnie Barker’s blunt Northern Commander Hardcastle. Hardcastle was
now replaced by the near identical Captain Ormanroyd, played by Lawrie Wyman.
On Monday 14 October, there were further changes to the planned recording schedule.
The taping for the following weekend now became a double session while that for 27
October reverted to a single show at 8.30pm. The recording for Sunday 3 November was now
cancelled and so two shows would be taped the following week.
The third show saw the effective replacement for Ronnie Barker’s AB ‘Fatso’ Johnson
introduced in the form of AB Tiddy – a substitution made on various previous occasions since
the sixth series. Joining the cast as AB Simpson was Nigel Graham, a writer, presenter and
radio actor whose credits included numerous plays and serials (including the Paul Temple
adventures) and who had worked with Alastair Scott Johnston on his 1967 Sexton Blake
series. This edition had Sub-Lt Phillips referring to Police 5, a crime-stopping programme
made by ATV since 1962. For the recording of the fourth show, another new character was
introduced. Commander Bell – Troutbridge’s continually unlucky captain since the fifth series
– had also been rendered unavailable due to the departure of Ronnie Barker. Bell was now
confirmed as being in Scunthorpe on compassionate leave, and his replacement sent from
Whitehall was Commander Trotter played by Alan Reeve-Jones, a former writer of musicals
and light entertainment shows. Trotter’s handicap was that he had not been to sea in years


and suffered from terrible seasickness whenever Troutbridge actually left Portsmouth dock.
Another switch to the recordings was made when, three days before taping, the Sunday
27 October session was cancelled and the fifth show deferred to Sunday 3 November.
Around now, Tenniel Evans started work on Big Breadwinner Hog, a controversial new crime
series made by Granada television.
The fourth show, aired on Sunday 3 November, netted a reaction index of 64 which was
considered to be very solid. That evening, the fifth show was taped with Nigel Graham
returning – this time as Leading Seaman Harper – and also introduced another ‘funny voice’
character from the versatile Jon Pertwee. This was Vice Admiral Buttenshaw, a very vague
senior officer who had a habit of talking to himself and mumbling when he got to vital parts
of the instructions he had to impart to his underlings.
AB Tiddy was back in Johnson mode for the sixth and seventh episodes, taped on Sunday
10, with Trotter also reappearing in the second of the two episodes. Tiddy was generally
stationed in the W/T room and Lawrie Wyman was soon developing new catchphrases such
as ‘Good art’noon’ and ‘Just as you say sir. You know about these things’. The seventh episode
was actually a semi-topical script concerning the independence of a fictional former British
colony called South Kawowa (inhabited by a fictional population akin to the Potarneylanders
presented frequently in the show’s early years but phased out at the request of BBC
Transcription Services as being unacceptable for overseas listeners). In November 1965, the
leading statesmen of Rhodesia has issued a declaration of independence which the British
government failed to recognise and led to a number of summit meetings between British
Prime Minister Harold Wilson and Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith. The latest of these
during October 1968 had been aboard HMS Fearless. In addition to Tiddy’s reference to
Harold Wilson – who famously smoked a pipe as an appeal to the image of the ‘working man’
– there were comments on the fact that a two tier First and Second Class postage system
had been introduced in mid-September (with 5d for a first class letter). In a cross-over
reference to The Embassy Lark, Mr Phillips indicated that – like Sir Jeremy Crighton-Buller –
he too was a devotee of television’s Bodgie the Badger.
A BBC Audience Research Report on the first episode of the new series was prepared on
Tuesday 12 November, summarising the views of 638 members of the Listening Panel. ‘For
most of the sample, HMS Troutbridge and her company were very welcome back; it was hoped
that Sub Lieutenant Phillips would never quite succeed in sinking her,’ stated the report, noting


that of the sample audience ‘just over half were quite jubilant ... as light-hearted, ludicrous, and
thoroughly laughable as ever; in spite of the predictability – or rather inevitably – of everything
that happened, perhaps because of it, the crew’s antics were consistently hilarious.’ One in three
of the panel ‘felt the episode was not quite as funny as it might have been’ and there was a
feeling that the show was settling into a formula (‘but a pleasing one’). Other listeners who
had not enjoyed the show felt it was ‘old and tired’ but even those who did not like the script
had admired the performances of the cast. ‘It was a pity, some remarked, that Ronnie Barker
was absent; they hoped he would put in an appearance later’ summarised the report in which
the production was generally declared to be ‘smooth, slick and fast moving’.
Yet again, the recording schedule was amended. On Wednesday 13 November, the
recording planned for Sunday 1 December was dropped and instead two programmes
would be recorded at the Paris on Sunday 8. When the sixth show aired on Sunday 17
November, the ratings increased to almost 3.5 million. By the time the ninth show was
recorded, it had become usual for Michael de Morgan to engage in banter with the regular
cast members at the start of the programme.
The tenth and eleventh shows were taped on Sunday 8 December, and the first of these
was a sequel to the seventh edition of the run. South Kawowa was now independent
and Harold Wilson – played by Alan Reeve-Jones – now featured in parliamentary scenes
which also featured reference to Barbara Castle, who had become the Secretary of State
for Employment and Productivity in April 1968. The twelfth show, recorded on Sunday 15
December, saw a guest appearance from Stephen Murray’s actress daughter Amanda in the
role of Mandy; Amanda had previously appeared in a few editions of The Navy Lark since the
show’s sixth series. The thirteenth edition, taped on Sunday 22, then saw a rare appearance
from AB Ginger, one of Michael Bates’ characters from the earliest days of the series.
By now the series had been extended by a further five weeks. When recording resumed
on Sunday 5 January 1969, Heather Chasen was suffering badly from a cold but struggled
on during the show. A double taping on Sunday 12 January opened with another topical
episode which featured not only Prime Minister Harold Wilson, but also his wife Mary (played
by Elizabeth Morgan whom Alastair Scott Johnston had worked with on the 1964 series One
Man’s Meat and more recently on Follow the Stars and The Dave Allen Show earlier that year).
As well as comments about Wilson’s trademark pipe and mackintosh, there were further
references to the Rhodesian negotiations which had taken place in the Mediterranean
aboard HMS Tiger in 1966 and also off Gibraltar on HMS Fearless a few months earlier;


Chancellor of the Exchequer Roy Jenkins was also alluded to. WREN Chasen also made
reference to Sir John Wilder, the ruthless business tycoon anti-hero of the ATV drama series
The Power Game which had just returned for a third series. The second show of the evening
– which also featured Elizabeth Morgan – saw Jon Pertwee reviving another character
from his long radio career; the dockyard policeman Constable Barker was recognisably his
West Country postman character from the 1940s sitcom Waterlogged Spa, complete with
his original catchphrase (‘What’s it matter what you do as long as you tears ‘em up’). During
rehearsals that day, Tenniel Evans commented on the news that Patrick Troughton was
leaving the BBC1 science-fiction series Doctor Who in June and suggested that maybe
Jon Pertwee should consider himself for the role, prompting the comedy actor to make a
tentative approach via his agent …
The seventeenth episode, recorded on Sunday 19, saw another new character for Lawrie
Wyman; this was Dumbo, the character from the Intelligence arm of the Navy previously
played by Ronnie Barker. The series then concluded with taping of the eighteenth edition
on Sunday 26 January. Some time later, an Audience Research Report on this final escapade
for the Troutbridge team – broadcast on Sunday 9 February – was assembled to summarise
the comments of 665 radio panel members. The brick smuggling incident attained a good
Reaction Index of 64 with the report noting that the programme was ‘well up to the standard
of hilarity expected from a series that had “never lost its appeal”’. ‘Once again an excellent script
with plenty of laughs’ was one comment and some felt that this edition was ‘one of the best
yet’ coming from a series which had ‘a new lease of life’. It was felt that the addition of the
new characters during the run had given ‘a much needed boost’. A third of the sample still
disliked the show’s ‘daft humour’, and they offered a noticeable feeling that this was ‘one of
the less amusing episodes’ with a small group claiming that The Navy Lark was ‘showing signs
of wear’. Although some listeners reported missing some familiar characters (presumably
those played by Ronnie Barker), the series was still generally well liked; ‘Jon Pertwee and
Leslie Phillips make the show, but everyone is so good it is hardly fair that anyone should take
the laurels’. By the end of the run, the series had amassed a stronger audience of almost four
million listeners.
Oh Clarence! came to a close at the start of February 1969 while The Navy Lark was
replaced on Radio 2 by re-runs of the classic 1950s sitcom Hancock’s Half Hour in tribute to


Tony Hancock who had committed suicide in June 1968. On Thursday 6 March 1969, Con
Mahoney – the Head of Light Entertainment (Sound) – wrote to the Acting Controller of
Radio 4 to say that he hoped the most recent run of The Navy Lark could perhaps have a
series of delayed repeats at 12.27pm on Sundays. Later in the month, HMS Troubridge – the
sister ship and inspiration of the sitcom’s much beloved vessel – arrived in London for a
farewell three day visit prior to heading for the breaker’s yard at Chatham. Launched in
September 1942, the vessel had been home to a crew who had become good friends with
the cast and production team of The Navy Lark over the last decade, and the show’s stars
were invited to attend the farewell party between Monday 24 and Wednesday 26 March.
Ronnie Barker, Jon Pertwee and Leslie Phillips (who had just started work on the comedy film
Some Will, Some Won’t) donned naval costumes for a final lark around the twin four inch guns
of HMS Troubridge at London’s Tower Pier on Wednesday 26.
Charles Maxwell, the Chief Producer (Light Entertainment) at Radio 4, confirmed on Friday
11 April that the channel would take nine repeats from the recent series on Saturdays at
1.15pm from 5 July to 30 August. In May, Jon Pertwee opened in a tour of My Dear Gilbert,
and soon entered another major phase of his career when – at the end of the month – he
was contracted to take over as the star of Doctor Who. He also joined up with Leslie Phillips
on Sunday 25 May to form a Navy Lark team on a new BBC1 quiz show Give Me Your Word;
this ‘game of words and wit’ was hosted by John Junkin and the duo’s opponents were
George Cole and Muriel Pavlow from the long-running radio sitcom A Life of Bliss.
The first, second, fourth, fifth, seventh, eleventh, sixteenth, thirteenth and eighth episodes of
the tenth series of The Navy Lark were selected for the Saturday lunchtime repeats on Radio
4 through to the end of August. During this period, Give Me Your Word was screened on BBC1
at 6.20pm on Wednesday 23 July, Tenniel Evans took part in a pilot for a new BBC1 series
called Special Project Air … and another new radio Lark hit the airwaves in the form of The Big
Business Lark: ‘A chronicle of life in and around the higher echelons of British United Plastics Ltd.’
Programme notes, episode synopses and cast
biographies researched and written by Andrew Pixley

The Navy Lark Appreciation Society can be contacted at:
The Navy Lark Appreciation Society, Honeysuckle Cottages,
Little Street, Yoxford, Suffolk IP17 3JQ
Web address:




EPISODE THREE: The Smugglers Return


Broadcast 27 October 1968 (recorded 20 October 1968)
With Lawrie Wyman, Nigel Graham


Announcer: Michael de Morgan

Returning to port from France, Troutbridge collides with a customs officer and has to take him on
board. This means that all the contraband being carried by the crew has to be quickly disposed of
… which in turn leads AB Simpson to realise that Portsmouth harbour mouth must be crammed
with dumped smuggle …

Produced by Alastair Scott Johnston

EPISODE FOUR: Commander Trotter Takes Charge

Episodes written by Lawrie Wyman
Incidental music for the series was by Tommy Reilly and James Moody

Regular cast unless indicated: Stephen Murray, Leslie Phillips and Jon Pertwee with Richard
Caldicot, Heather Chasen, Tenniel Evans and Michael Bates.
Note: none of the episodes were originally given titles. The ones here have been adopted for
easy reference and are in line with previous commercial releases.
Due to the age and, in some cases, the off-air source of these recordings, the sound quality may at times vary.

EPISODE ONE: Troutbridge Electrifies Portsmouth
Broadcast 13 October 1968 (recorded 6 October 1968)
With Lawrie Wyman

Commander Bell has not been seen for some time, and although Pertwee believes he has been
kidnapped by spies, Murray explains that he is in Scunthorpe on compassionate leave. Whitehall
assigns HMS Troutbridge a new captain, Commander Trotter … who is afraid of going to sea!

EPISODE FIVE: The Anti-Submarine Missile
Broadcast 10 November 1968 (recorded 3 November 1968)
With Nigel Graham

Captain Povey has been delighted that HMS Troutbridge has been away for months, but now that
she is returning he receives a deputation from the dockyard electricians who are concerned about
having to work on the vessel … and a more destructive than usual return to port by Mr Phillips
results in a refusal to connect the unfortunate frigate to its power supply …

Povey is looking forward to his holiday in Broadstairs when the Admiral cancels his leave because
of a top secret mission from Whitehall. HMS Troutbridge is to be fitted with an anti-submarine missile launcher which is to be supervised on sea trials by Leading Seaman Harper, who tells the crew
not to touch the weapon …

EPISODE TWO: The Redundancy Drive

EPISODE SIX: Sub-Conductor Phillips

Broadcast 20 October 1968 (recorded 13 October 1968)
With Lawrie Wyman
The Ministry of Defence announces a cut-back on seafaring personnel and since Lt Murray is
over the age limit, Povey sees this as his chance to get rid of him and his crew. Pertwee – who
has already got Murray’s possessions packed – suddenly realises the implications, and Murray
goes to appeal before the board headed by the Admiral.


Broadcast 3 November 1968 (recorded 20 October 1968)
With Alan Reeve-Jones

Broadcast 17 November 1968 (recorded 10 November 1968)
With Lawrie Wyman, Nigel Graham
Povey orders Sub-Lt Phillips to get a new uniform because his current one is falling apart – but
Leslie’s piggy bank is empty. Luckily Pertwee is able to suggest that Leslie visits Uncle Ebenezer’s
War Surplus Emporium … where a bus conductor’s uniform has been suitably altered.


EPISODE SEVEN: The South Kawowan Summit

EPISODE ELEVEN: The Padre’s Birthday

Broadcast 24 November 1968 (recorded 10 November 1968)
With Alan Reeve-Jones, Lawrie Wyman

Broadcast 22 December 1968 (recorded 8 December 1968)

The independence of South Kawowan is debated in parliament, resulting in Sir Willoughby Todhunter Brown of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office being sent out to talk to Kawowan Prime
Minister Mr Golfball aboard the aircraft carried HMS Vulture. And the only frigate available for this
mission is HMS Troutbridge …

EPISODE EIGHT: Pertwee’s Enlistment Expires
Broadcast 1 December 1968 (recorded 17 November 1968)
With Lawrie Wyman
Pertwee is deeply suspicious when summoned to Captain Povey’s office early in the morning; he
has forgotten to re-enlist in the senior service and so will be leaving for Civvy Street on Monday. It
seems that the only way to avoid the unwanted discharge would require him to have his release
refused in the interests of security …

EPISODE NINE: Captain Povey Takes Over
Broadcast 8 December 1968 (recorded 24 November 1968)
With Alan Reeve-Jones
The Admiral and Flags visit Captain Povey and tell him that he will be going to sea again in command of a frigate in a NATO exercise. And that frigate will be HMS Troutbridge. Pertwee wants to
get off the vessel if Povey is on the bridge – as wise move as the Captain has no idea of how to
command a vessel!

EPISODE TEN: Sir Willoughby Goes To Kawowa
Broadcast 15 December 1968 (recorded 8 December 1968)
With Alan Reeve-Jones
Povey and WREN Chasen are summoned to see the Admiral and discover that HMS Troutbridge is
to take Sir Willoughby out to Kawowa where he will become the next British governor of the South
Sea island. However, Pertwee believes they are bound for the Antarctic …


Lt Murray calls a ward room meeting about an impending anniversary: next Thursday is the Padre’s birthday. And nobody knows what to get him as a present. Captain Povey suggests getting
the ship’s spiritual adviser a new pipe … just the first in a series of gifts the Padre already has or
does not need.

EPISODE TWELVE: The Portsmouth Kiosk
Broadcast 29 December 1968 (recorded 15 December 1968)
With Amanda Murray
Lt Murray is amazed when Sub-Lt Phillips – a non-smoker – starts carrying all manner of different brands of cigarettes, plus chocolates and sweets. And he needs to sell them quickly to raise
money so that he can again visit the tobacconist’s kiosk where a new girl is working …

Broadcast 5 January 1969 (recorded 22 December 1968)
With Lawrie Wyman
Povey receives a complaint from Mr Bellchamber of the Gosport and Havant Lawn Tennis Club;
once more his nets have been stolen for the purposes of fishing. And when Uncle Ebenezer’s
trawler snags an unexploded mine in his stolen nets, it is up to HMS Troutbridge to assist …

EPISODE FOURTEEN: Mr Phillips’ Wrong Uniform
Broadcast 12 January 1969 (recorded 5 January 1969)
With Lawrie Wyman
HMS Troutbridge returns to port but has to be diverted to a different dock, and the change of
“parking space” results in Mr Phillips falling in the drink. With his current uniform soaked and his
other at the dry cleaners, the race is on to get the hapless navigation officer presentable for the
Admirals’ inspection …


EPISODE FIFTEEN: Harold Wilson Reviews The Fleet

BONUS ITEM: Navy Lark Special: Left Hand Down a Bit (links only)

Broadcast 19 January 1969 (recorded 12 January 1969)
With Alan Reeve-Jones, Elizabeth Morgan

Broadcast 13 May 2006 (recorded 10 April 2006)
Producer: Martin Dempsey

Prime Minister Harold Wilson is due to review the fleet at Portsmouth and have lunch aboard
the destroyer HMS Makepeace. But Povey’s plans for the visit are destined to go awry when HMS
Troutbridge has to go to the aid of a civilian ferry boat adrift near the Isle of Wight …

BBC Billing: Cast member Leslie Phillips roams the high seas of comedy, with a three hour celebration of the long-running radio favourite. Featuring: Operation Fag End (January 1959); The Hank
of Heather (April 1959); The Lighthouse Lark (January 1960); A Deliberate Bashing (April 1963); Mr.
Phillips at Dartmouth (October 1967); The Jubilee Navy Lark (July 1977).

EPISODE SIXTEEN: The Relief Of The Weather Ship
Broadcast 26 January 1969 (recorded 12 January 1969)
With Lawrie Wyman, Elizabeth Morgan
Captain Povey’s day off is disrupted by a call from the Admiral; HMS Troutbridge has damaged the
launch of a weather ship which urgently needs to take Professor Charles out to the weather ship
itself … so Troutbridge will have to make the journey instead …

EPISODE SEVENTEEN: The Mickey Mouse Toothbrush
Broadcast 2 February 1969 (recorded 19 January 1969)
With Lawrie Wyman
Mr Phillips bungs up his cabin basin plug hole with his Mickey Mouse Toothbrush and damages
the lead piping; Pertwee and AB Tiddy cannot help until they can steal some lead from the Admiral’s roof … and suddenly Mr Murray says that HMS Troutbridge must put to sea immediately …

EPISODE EIGHTEEN: The Brick Smugglers
Broadcast 9 February 1969 (recorded 26 January 1969)
With Lawrie Wyman
While scrounging for credit at the pub, Pertwee meets a man who asks if he would be interested
in taking on a job next time he visits France; to take a full brick out to a friend of his who has built
a chateau and who needs to swap two half-bricks. At the same time, Povey tells the crew that he
needs some French perfume acquiring as a gift for his wife …


Long-running radio sitcom The Navy Lark is almost as much of a national institution as the
Navy itself. With a worldwide following, it remains one of BBC radio’s most fondly remembered
comedies, and continues to entertain new generations of listeners. Sub-Lieutenant Leslie Phillips
welcomes you aboard the infamous HMS Troutbridge for a three-hour voyage through six classic
episodes in the life and times of a legendary comic flagship.
Find out how The Navy Lark got started; discover who might have been in starring roles; learn
how the cast of the radio series were invited to take large bits of a real-life ship! What other
popular “Larks” appeared on radio? How did the Troutbridge crew come to be running their own
TV company? How exactly did Sub-Lieutenant Phillips get through Dartmouth? All is revealed.

BONUS ITEM: The Smugglers Return
Five out-takes from the recording session on 20 October 1968.

BONUS ITEM: The Anti-Submarine Missile
The warm up and two out-takes from the recording session on 3 November 1968.

BONUS ITEM: Captain Povey Takes Over
Three out-takes from the recording session on 24 November 1968.

BONUS ITEM: The Portsmouth Kiosk
The sign off from the recording session on 15 December 1968.


Lawrie Wyman
Rather than serve in the Royal Navy, Lawrie Wyman was actually a lance-corporal
in the Army. After the war, he started writing comedy for radio and television with
shows like Happy Go Lucky and The Lighter Side. Teaming up with Len Fincham, he
wrote for Morecambe and Wise, and Jimmy Jewel and Ben Warriss. Concurrent with
The Navy Lark he wrote So I’ll Tell You and The Motor Way, and he transferred The Navy
Lark to TV as HMS Paradise. On radio he also wrote The Embassy Lark, The Big Business
Lark and Just the Job, the latter with his new co-writer, George Evans, with whom he
collaborated on scripts for Bless This House, Love Thy Neighbour and Carry On Dick.

Stephen Murray
Stephen Murray was born in Lincolnshire in September 1912, and he made
his professional acting debut in Much Ado About Nothing in Stratford in
1933. After working at Birmingham Rep, Westminster Theatre and at
the Old Vic, Stephen was commissioned as an Army officer during the
war. After 1945, Murray returned to the theatre and focused initially on
directing, touring Europe with his controversial interpretation of King
Lear. On stage, Stephen appeared in On the Rocks, School for Scandal and
Six Characters in Search of an Author, although his favourite performance was
as George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? in Edinburgh in 1965. On television,
he starred in plays such as Thunder Rock and Marriage Lines. Stephen died in April
1983 at the age of 70.


Jon Pertwee
The son of playwright Roland Pertwee, Jon was born John Devon Roland
Pertwee in Chelsea in July 1919. A keen performer, he trained at RADA in
the 1930s and was soon in demand on stage for his versatile character
work. After wartime Naval service, Jon entered radio by accident where
his vocal talents made him a star in The Waterlogged Spa and
Up the Pole amongst others. His film career included movies like
Murder at the Windmill, Will Any Gentleman? and several of the Carry
On... films while on television he was best known as the third Doctor
Who, scarecrow Worzel Gummidge and as the host of Whodunnit?
A showman all his life, Jon died in New York in May 1996.

Leslie Phillips
Despite his famous well-bred ladies’ man persona, Leslie Phillips was born
in the working class environs of Tottenham in April 1924. A child actor at
the Italia Conti School, he made his debut in Peter Pan at the Palladium.
Picking up his cultured tones from officers in the Durham Light Infantry,
Leslie appeared in comedy movies including The Smallest Show on Earth,
early Carry On films and taking over the Doctor series. On television,
he starred in Our Man at St Marks and Casanova ‘73 while his film work
includes Out of Africa and Empire of the Sun. Awarded an OBE in 1998, he
recently achieved acclaim with his one-man show On the Whole Life’s Been
Pretty Good.


Richard Caldicot

Michael Bates

Born October 1908 in London, Richard Caldicot enjoyed a long acting career,
often playing irritable authority figures. In demand in both comic and
serious roles, his movies included The Million Pound Note, Room at the Top
and The VIPs, while on television he was seen in If the Crown Fits, Moody in
..., Steptoe and Son, Pet Pals, The Beverly Hillbillies, Vanity Fair, Coronation
Street, Fawlty Towers, Minder, Bergerac, Lord Peter Wimsey and Casualty. He
was the only cast member of The Navy Lark to appear in the short-lived
television version, HMS Paradise, and on radio he also featured in The
Motorway Men. Working to the end of his life, Richard died in October 1995.

Born in December 1920 in Jhansi in what was British India, Michael Bates was
versed in many languages and dialects which made him much in demand
as a character actor. Entering films in the 1940s he appeared in I’m All Right
Jack, Bedazzled, Oh! What a Lovely War, A Clockwork Orange and No Sex Please
– We’re British amongst others. On television, his first starring sitcom was
Turnbull’s Finest Half-Hour, followed rapidly by the role of Cyril Blamire in Last
of the Summer Wine. Diagnosed with cancer in 1975, Michael continued to
work, appearing as Rangi Ran in It Ain’t Half Hot Mum through to his death in
January 1978.

Heather Chasen

Tenniel Evans

Born July 1927 in Singapore, Heather Chasen and her mother escaped on
the last ship to leave before the Japanese occupation. Training at
RADA, she did a lot of stage work including a tour with Frankie
Howerd in Hotel Paradiso, appearing with Dame Sybil Thorndyke in
Call Me Jackie and receiving a Tony nomination as the New York lead
of A Severed Head. On television she appeared as Caroline Kerr in The
Newcomers and as Valerie Pollard in Crossroads. On stage, she has
enjoyed seasons at Chichester, done open-air Shakespeare at Regent’s
Park and appeared in The Mountain Women at the Royal Court.


Born in May 1926 in Nairobi, Welshman Tenniel Evans spent his
childhood in Kenya before settling in England. His great uncle was the
illustrator Sir John Tenniel and his great-great aunt was Marian Evans
(George Eliot). On television, he appeared in series such as The Plane
Makers, Budgie, War and Peace, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, Yes
Minister, The Citadel, Inspector Morse, Casualty and Heartbeat, as well as
featuring regularly in Shine on Harvey Moon, The Two of Us and One by
One. Tenniel also performed on stage across England in everything from
Shakespeare to modern drama. Before his death in June 2009, Tenniel spent
his later years as a clergyman, writing an autobiography about his childhood
called Don’t Walk in the Long Grass.


‘I am glad to report that our Ambassador to the Kingdom of Tratvia, Sir Jeremy CrightonBuller, and his First Secretary, Mr Pettigrew, are still holding their own in their battle to survive
to pensionable age in the Diplomatic Service. But it’s not easy. The British Foreign Office
expects the earth and will pay nothing for it. King Hildebrande of Tratvia expects the earth and
will do nothing unless he gets it.
‘Our Embassy staff are left, therefore, with little but their native wit and a well-developed
flair for improvisation with which to climb out of the muck. But they do it, again and again –
fifteen times to be precise in the next few months.’
Producer Alastair Scott Johnston heralded the return of The Embassy Lark on its new
home of Radio 2 in the pages of the Radio Times alongside a publicity photograph of
Derek Francis as HE Sir Jeremy Crighton-Buller KCMG British Ambassador to Tratvia, Frank
Thornton as his first secretary Henry Pettigrew and Charlotte Mitchell as Lady Daphne
Crighton-Buller – and image taken as part of a publicity session when the series, now in its
third year, had launched in 1966.
The consent for a third series of The Embassy Lark comprising fifteen shows had been
given by Denis Morris, the head of BBC’s Light Programme, in January 1967, as the second
series (which completed taping in December 1966) was starting transmission, and some
months prior to the Light Programme being rechristened Radio 2.
The cast and characters for the third series remained fundamentally the same as for
the first two: Derek Francis was still blustering as the unlucky Sir Jeremy Crighton-Buller,
Frank Thornton aided him as the quick-thinking and girl-fancying first secretary Henry
‘Sexpot’ Pettigrew, Francis de Wolff continued to batter the British Embassy as the sly King
Hildebrande III (‘Gasometer Guts’), Charlotte Mitchell played the dizzy and oblivious Lady
Daphne Crighton-Buller plus the aged switchboard operator Martha, and Michael Spice


took on the roles of embassy aide Mr Harold Simpkins and the neighbouring Russian
Ambassador Ivanoff. But two cast members were not returning: Anthony Sagar (whose
agent failed to negotiate a suitable fee with the BBC) and David Valla (who had joined the
cast of the Light Programme soap The Dales as Barrie Hancock). In their place came Peter
Stephens, an actor with a varied television and radio career. Mr Edward Pomeroy (played
by Anthony Sagar), who had arrived in the second series as the efficient controller of the
Ambassadorial Household straight from 10 Downing Street, was now replaced by Mr
Proudfoot – complete with affected speech patterns – whose previous posting had been
11 Downing Street. Charlotte’s character of Olga, the Palace Secretary with the fractured
English, had proved popular during the second series and so frequently returned in the
new diplomatic incidents.
On Wednesday 9 August 1967, it was planned to record a new series of fifteen editions
of The Embassy Lark at the Paris Studios on Lower Regent Street on Sundays from 1
October through to 14 January 1968, apart from Christmas Eve. Rehearsals would take
place from 5pm with the recordings themselves performed before the audience from
8.30pm to 9.15pm. Meanwhile, seven editions of the second series formed a run of
‘delayed repeats’ on the BBC Light Programme appearing at 9pm on Sunday nights from
13 August to 24 September.
Recordings at the Paris commenced on Sunday 1 October and saw Michael de Morgan
taking over from Ronald Fletcher as the show’s announcer for this new run. The first episode
was structured around the arrival of the new ambassadorial household controller Mr
Proudfoot, the regular role taken by Peter Stephens. The fourth recording – on Sunday 22
October – saw the introduction of the new Chinese Ambassador Foo Choo Too (replacing
David Valla’s Wong Hi Wong), and also writer Lawrie Wyman joined the cast to play the small
role of an electrician and would play other minor characters in the coming weeks.
On Monday 23 October, the remaining recordings were rescheduled to some extent.
The tapings due on Sunday 12 November, Sunday 26 November and Sunday 17 December
were cancelled; instead, an extra recording from 9.15pm to10pm would be scheduled for
the tapings on Sunday 3 and 10 December, with the third cancelled session to be placed
at a later date in the New Year.


After a week’s break, when The Embassy Lark resumed recording for its seventh edition
on Sunday 19 November, it was without the imposing presence of Francis de Wolff, but
with a guest appearance from Leslie Phillips in his Navy Lark alter-ego of Sub-Lieutenant
Phillips, a ‘distressed British national’ who needed help and assistance from the British
Embassy following his accidental arrival in Tratvia. The eighth show – taped on Sunday
3 December – was again based around the luckless Sir Jeremy’s membership of the
GNITs – the Grand Nobles of Imperial Tratvia – with all the expense and inconvenience
that this generally incurred. The second of the two shows taped on Sunday 10 December
presented a different format to the usual ambassadorial mishaps and adopted a format
recently employed on The Navy Lark; this saw Mr Pettigrew explaining to Simpkins how he
had ended up at the embassy in Tratvia and saw Derek Francis playing not Sir Jeremy but
other senior figures caught up in the first secretary’s various misdemeanours.
The final recording session scheduled for Sunday 14 January 1968 was turned into a
double session on Wednesday 3 January; the first of the two shows in this last session saw
Francis de Wolff reprising the role of the doctor which he had played in the earlier series.
All edited ready for transmission, the new episodes were finally scheduled for broadcast
on Wednesday 24 January; The Embassy Lark would run at 8.45pm on the combined
station of Radios 1 and 2 on Tuesdays from 5 March. On Monday 19 February it was
confirmed that the shows would air in their original recording order.
The Embassy Lark was scheduled as a replacement for Does the Team Think? The show’s
return at 8.45pm on Tuesday 5 March was promoted in the Radio Times with a short
report on events in Tratvia from Alastair Scott Johnston. While this opening edition was
promoted with a photo of the British contingent from the 1966 session, a similar shot of
King Hildebrande III emphasised the programme billing of the second show. The third
edition was carried only on Radio 2 since Radio 1 was carrying coverage of boxing from
8.45pm onwards on Thursday 19 March.
An Audience Research Report for the debut episode was available on Tuesday 2 April,
summarising the comments of 260 members of the BBC’s Listening Panel. The show had
attained a reaction index of 54, which was unexceptional, while the audience size had
been estimated at around half a million, approximately one percent of the population.
‘Although the script of this programme … appealed very much to just under half the sample,


there was a strong feeling amongst the remainder that this was not as good as the previous
series. Indeed, a quarter of the sample considered it very silly, not at all funny, some describing
it as ‘utter rubbish’, ‘very poor’ or ‘corny’’ noted the report, with the verdict that the show was
felt to be ‘nowhere near as funny as The Navy Lark’ . ‘A few indicated that the Ambassador
used too many ‘blasts’ for their liking’ reported the report compiler and that the cast
‘had done their best with poor material’. Of the performances, the view appeared to be
that ‘Derek Francis over-acted in places’, that the dropped and added aitches from Peter
Stephens’ new character of Mr Proudfoot ‘seemed a bit too extreme’ and that Charlotte
Mitchell’s characters ‘all sounded the same’. There were other negative comments that the
script was slow and the sound effects overdone. However, there was also a sector of the
audience that very much enjoyed The Embassy Lark. Of the newly arrived Mr Proudfoot,
one listener noted: ‘I am sure he will be as much an asset to the show as Pomeroy’. The guest
character of Queen Augusta, King Hildebrande’s grandmother who arrived from Portugal,
was highlighted and ‘would seem to offer many possibilities’. There was also praise for
Charlotte Mitchell (‘there can surely be no one like Charlotte Mitchell as the delightfully vague
Lady Daphne’), Proudfoot and Pettigrew. The report concluded by noting: ‘However, in
spite of the views of these listeners, the fact remains that many of the sample were somewhat
disappointed in this edition of The Embassy Lark.’
The reaction index scores improved as the series continued with 62 for the fourth show
and then 61 for the seventh. The eighth edition was partly promoted in the Radio Times
by a small feature which promoted Radio 2 comedy such as I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again,
Round the Horne and The Men from the Ministry and also included a cartoon of the four
main characters from The Embassy Lark. However, by the ninth edition, the reaction index
had fallen again down to 59.
Radios 1 and 2 visited the British Embassy in Tratvia for the final time when the
ambassadorial household experienced the freezing Tratvian winter on Tuesday 10 June
1968; taking the place of The Embassy Lark the following week was the new series It’s
Mike and Bernie with the Winters brothers. While The Navy Lark enjoyed numerous repeats
as a fondly remembered radio classic in the decades since its original transmission, The
Embassy Lark was not so lucky. The series remained off British airwaves for almost 40
years, and next reappeared on the digital channel BBC7; launched in December 2002, a


Episodes written by Lawrie Wyman
Produced by Alastair Scott Johnston
Starring: Derek Francis (HE Sir Jeremy Crighton-Buller KCMG British Ambassador to Tratvia),
Frank Thornton (Henry Pettigrew, First Secretary, British Embassy)
Announcer: Michael de Morgan
Note: none of the episodes were originally given titles. The ones here have been adopted for
easy reference.

EPISODE ONE: The King’s Hostess
Broadcast 5 March 1968 (recorded 1 October 1967)
With Francis de Wolff (King Hildebrande), Charlotte Mitchell (Lady Daphne Crighton-Buller/
Olga/Queen Augusta), Peter Stephens (Mr Proudfoot), Michael Spice (Simpkins).
Sir Jeremy is unhappy to discover that all the furniture in his office has been moved around
and understands that this is the part of “a bit of a change” initiated by a new arrival at the
British Embassy in Tratvia: Mr Proudfoot, the new controller of the ambassadorial household. And at the same time as Proudfoot arrives, King Hildebrande asks Lady Daphne to
become a hostess at a special reception.

EPISODE TWO: A Question of Convenience


major part of BBC7’s schedule comprised archival drama and comedy, and many episodes
of The Navy Lark had featured since its inception. Very few editions of The Embassy Lark
had been retained by the BBC, but a short run of three editions - The Spy (from the first
series), Students’ Exchange (from the second series) and Up the Pole (from the third series)
– appeared on Fridays from 31 March to 13 April 2006, with repeats in June/July 2007
and September 2008. A 1968 edition of the show was also included in an edition of 2’s
Comedy hosted by Ken Dodd and first broadcast on Saturday 29 September 2007, while
similarly another edition appeared in Barry Cryer’s collection of Comedy Greats: The Sixties
on Saturday 27 June 2009 by which time the station had been rebranded BBC Radio 7.
With another change of name to BBC Radio 4 extra, starting on Friday 28 May 2010 there
was a longer run of episodes of suitable broadcast quality, comprising Security, National
Grumpshnog Week, A Trip to London, The Spy and The Party from the first series, Student’s
Exchange from the second series and then Mr Pettigrew’s Life Story, Up the Pole and Sir
Jeremy Goes on Holiday from the final run.
Conscious that, with Jon Pertwee on stage in the USA, The Navy Lark might have
reached its conclusion, Alastair Scott Johnston had attempted to visit Tratvia for a fourth
run of The Embassy Lark in late 1968. On Monday 30 December, he had contacted the
Head of Light Entertainment (Radio) and asked if a new series could be commissioned for
the Sunday 2.30pm slot on Radio 2 from July. He then followed this up on Thursday 13
March 1969 to ask Douglas Muggeridge – the newly appointed Controller of Radios 1 and
2 – if he could review three editions of the third series – referred to as ‘Devaluation’, ‘The
Flagpole’ and ‘Archery’ – in the hope that his series would be renewed. However, Douglas
Muggeridge’s reaction was that while his stations wouldn’t be returning to Tratvia, there
was room in the schedules for a new series of Larks with a similar cast and vein of humour.
The wheels were set in motion so that, by June 1969, recording could commence on a new
series from the successful partnership of Lawrie Wyman and Alastair Scott Johnston …

Broadcast 12 March 1968 (recorded 8 October 1967)
With Francis de Wolff (King Hildebrande), Charlotte Mitchell (Lady Daphne Crighton-Buller/Olga/
Helga), Peter Stephens (Mr Proudfoot), Michael Spice (Ivanoff/Tratvia Borough Surveyor [Old Man]).
Nursing a hang-over induced by attending too many official but unwanted parties, Sir
Jeremy is less than happy when pneumatic drills start a new project from the Tratvian Borough Surveyor’s office … and even more unhappy when the name on the building under
construction translates as ‘Gentlemen’ …



EPISODE THREE: Sir Jeremy Goes on Holiday

EPISODE SIX: The China Figures

Broadcast 19 March 1968 (recorded 15 October 1967)
With Francis de Wolff (Lord Frogmore/King Hildebrande), Charlotte Mitchell (Martha/Lady Daphne
Crighton-Buller), Peter Stephens (Proudfoot), Michael Spice (Simpkins/Hawkins/Policeman).

Broadcast 9 April 1968 (recorded 5 November 1967)
With Francis de Wolff (King Hildebrande), Charlotte Mitchell (Olga/Lady Daphne Crighton-Buller/Martha), Peter Stephens (Proudfoot/Minister), Michael Spice (Simpkins).

Pettigrew and Simpkins are agreed that Percy Shuttlethwaite – the chargé d’affaires deputising for Sir Jeremy while he holidays with his in-laws – will have to go. King Hildebrande is also
strangely keen to have the British ambassador back. Meanwhile, Sir Jeremy is desperate to escape
from the endless topiary forced on him at Lord Frogmore’s estate …

When a visiting minister returns to England and forgets to present King Hildebrande with a gift of
a shepherdess ignoring a goat herd crafted in china, it is up to Sir Jeremy and Pettigrew to deliver
the present. Unfortunately before they can see the ruler, the delicate gift suffers a little accident
and rapid repairs are necessary …


EPISODE SEVEN: Sub Lt Phillips Drops In

Broadcast 26 March 1968 (recorded 22 October 1967)
With Francis de Wolff (Milkman/King Hildebrande), Charlotte Mitchell (Martha/Olga/Lady Daphne
Crighton-Buller), Peter Stephens (Proudfoot/Foo Choo Too), Michael Spice (Ivanoff/Grimshaw/Simpkins), Lawrie Wyman (Electrician).

Broadcast 16 April 1968 (recorded 19 November 1967)
With Leslie Phillips (Sub Lt Phillips), Charlotte Mitchell (Olga/Lady Daphne Crighton-Buller), Peter
Stephens (Proudfoot), Michael Spice (Simpkins/Fosdyke).

A new ambassadorial directive means that British representatives must raise and lower the Union
Jack at their embassy every dawn and dusk … but when Sir Jeremy has an accident with the
Tratvian flag pole and a replacement cannot be obtained via official channels, the diplomats are
forced to source timber locally, and timber is the royal preserve of King Hildebrande …

Broadcast 2 April 1968 (recorded 29 October 1967)
With Francis de Wolff (King Hildebrande), Charlotte Mitchell (Olga/Martha/Lady Daphne Crighton-Buller), Peter Stephens (Foo Choo Too/Proudfoot), Michael Spice (Ivanoff/Simpkins), Lawrie Wyman (Man).
The contents of every buff envelope of directives to ambassadors seem to be known to King
Hildebrande even before they reach Sir Jeremy – even when it related to meaningless orders
about alighting from cars. With another ‘social nosh up’ looming for the hard-up embassy, the
ambassador tries to find the Tratvian bugging devices in his abode …


Pettigrew is looking forward to Sir Jeremy leaving the embassy for a golfing weekend with King
Hildebrande, but none of the British ambassadorial staff have bargained in the arrival of a ‘Distressed British National’ who has ended up in Tratvia while his luggage, money and passport have
flown to Majorca: Sub-Lieutenant Leslie Phillips.

Broadcast 23 April 1968 (recorded 3 December 1967)
With Francis de Wolff (King Hildebrande), Charlotte Mitchell (Lady Daphne Crighton-Buller/Martha),
Peter Stephens (Proudfoot), Michael Spice (Simpkins/Ivanoff).
The Grand Nobles of Imperial Tratvia request the presence of Sir Jeremy at the annual donation
ceremony the following week ... and the penalty for non-attendance in full regalia is an ever
increasing donation fee! And when Sir Jeremy is too big to get into his GNIT attire, drastic action
is needed to make him fit …



EPISODE TWELVE: The Temporary British Embassy

Broadcast 30 April 1968 (recorded 3 December 1967)
With Francis de Wolff (King Hildebrande), Charlotte Mitchell (Lady Daphne Crighton-Buller/Martha),
Peter Stephens (Proudfoot), Michael Spice (Simpkins).

Broadcast 21 May 1968 (recorded 31 December 1967)
With Francis de Wolff (King Hildebrande/Builder), Charlotte Mitchell (Martha/Olga), Peter Stephens
(Proudfoot), Michael Spice (Simpkins/Ivanoff).

Lady Daphne, Sir Jeremy and Pettigrew head out into the royal parks for a picnic, and King Hildebrande sees his chance with Senior Diplomat Harold Montgomery Simpkins left in charge back at
the British embassy. The next thing Sir Jeremy knows, paperwork has been signed to provide the
Tratvian monarch with a new Rolls Royce …

Sir Jeremy’s desire to proudly display his ‘skin diving’ certificate (swimming a width underwater)
in the same manner as his fellow ambassadors’ accomplishments results in the destruction of the
weak plaster wall which separates his office from that of neighbouring Russian Ambassador, and the
builder called in to effect repairs insists that the British contingent move out while he is at work …

EPISODE TEN: The Embassy Party


Broadcast 7 May 1968 (recorded 10 December 1967)
With Francis de Wolff (King Hildebrande), Charlotte Mitchell (Olga/Lady Daphne Crighton-Buller/Martha), Peter Stephens (Proudfoot), Michael Spice (Simpkins/Fosdyke).

Broadcast 28 May 1968 (recorded 7 January 1968)
With Francis de Wolff (King Hildebrande/Postman), Charlotte Mitchell (Lady Daphne Crighton-Buller /
Olga), Peter Stephens (Proudfoot), Michael Spice (Simpkins/Ivanoff/Mellors).

Simpkins comes to Sir Jeremy for an advance on his wages. As does Lady Daphne for her housekeeping. And Proudfoot. But the petty cash has already been spent by Sir Jeremy because the
Tratvian cost of living is continually increasing. And when King Hildebrande wants another party
to be held, it is not a good time to discuss devaluation …

Sir Jeremy is disappointed to learn that his application to join the Tratvian Automobile Association has actually resulted in membership to the Tratvian Archery Association by mistake. And
since King Hildebrande has just become the head of the TAA and nominated him to join their
ranks, the ambassador has little option but to take up the bow and arrow provided …

EPISODE ELEVEN: Mr Pettigrew’s Life Story


Broadcast 14 May 1968 (recorded 10 December 1967)
With Derek Francis (The Professor/Chief at the Foreign Office), Francis de Wolff (Father/Army Sergeant/
Doctor/King Hildebrande), Charlotte Mitchell (All the Ladies: Girl/Mrs X/WRA COC), Peter Stephens
(Pierre/Capt Farquharson … and the Common Market), Michael Spice (Simpkins).

Broadcast 4 June 1968 (recorded 14 January 1968)
With Francis de Wolff (King Hildebrande/Doctor/Jacques), Charlotte Mitchell (Martha), Peter Stephens
(Proudfoot/Foo Choo Too), Michael Spice (Simpkins/Ivanoff).

Pettigrew recounts to Simpkins exactly how his talents – mainly his incompetence and unfortunate choice of girlfriends – has led him on a convoluted from school through a number of
universities, his father’s firm in the City, a spell as an army cadet, and then through the Foreign
Office to the Tratvian Embassy.


Sir Jeremy misjudges how to deal with the embassy staff’s sloppiness in his dialogues with Mr
Proudfoot, resulting in a work to rule with his employees taking back-dated sick leave. And with
the palace staff down with Tratvian flu, King Hildebrande is looking for some luckless embassy to
stage his next big party …


Broadcast 11 June 1968 (recorded 14 January 1968)
With Francis de Wolff (King Hildebrande), Charlotte Mitchell (Martha/ Lady Daphne Crighton-Buller /
Olga), Peter Stephens (Proudfoot), Michael Spice (Simpkins).
An icy blast hits Tratvia, and Sir Jeremy uses the last of the hot water as the embassy plumbing
freezes solid. But getting a plumber to resolve the problem is no easy matter, especially when
King Hildebrande has 52 bathrooms of his own …