You are on page 1of 15

ISBN: 978 1471 320149



episodes one to TWENTY
‘To confirm that Laurie [sic] Wyman may proceed with the writing of our next series which should amount
to 20 programmes in all. At a later day I can give you some idea of the likely transmission point, but
perhaps you would like to assemble your ideas on when the programme can be pre-recorded,’ wrote
Con Mahoney, the Assistant Head of Light Entertainment (Sound) to Alastair Scott Johnston – the
producer of The Navy Lark – on Tuesday 3 January 1967. At this point, Alastair had recorded a second
run of the spin-off series The Embassy Lark which was due to broadcast on the BBC Light Programme
from Tuesday 17 January. This run of fourteen programmes had been taped in seven double
recording sessions conducted on Sundays from October to December, and it was this compressed
schedule which the producer now proposed should be adopted on a permanent basis for the ninth
series of The Navy Lark from mid-March. Since the show had begun in 1959, the show’s three stars –
Stephen Murray, Leslie Phillips and Jon Pertwee – were increasingly in demand for theatre, film and
television work, and it was often awkward to ensure that all of them would be available on Sundays
to record their regular misadventures as crewmembers of the hapless frigate HMS Troutbridge.
On Monday 9 January, Light Entertainment Organiser Peter Titheradge informed Alastair that
there could be scheduling problems for the ten proposed double recordings. The Paris – the studio
on Lower Regent Street which was the series’ usual home – would not be available for the first
four weeks of recording, and so the initial eight episodes would have to be taped at the Playhouse
instead. Furthermore, to accommodate The Navy Lark at the Paris would mean that the preferred
evening recording slots would not be available; instead two shows would be taped from 3.30pm to
5pm for five of the six weeks at the Paris, and even this was only achieved by moving rehearsals for
two other series – A Life of Bliss and Harry Worth – out of their scheduled studios. At this point, it was
planned that the announcer would be David Dunhill, as with the previous series; however, when the
shows were recorded, Ronald Fletcher – who had announced the bulk of The Embassy Lark – would
take on this role on most of the new episodes.
A couple of days later, Alastair wrote to Roy Rich, the Head of Light Entertainment (Sound) on a


different matter. The BBC Transcription Service had indicated that they were interested in selling
the 1966 series of The Navy Lark overseas. ‘They have suggested they would like a Christmas one
to add to the series, and, of course, we haven’t got one. In fact we have usually set our faces against
special Christmas ‘Navy Larks’ even when we run over this period, on the grounds that we are usually
funnier in our own context rather than joining the Christmas melee.’ The producer noted that he was
planning to tape the next series ‘on a tight schedule’ for broadcast in the third or fourth quarter of
1967, but indicated that he could include a festive edition in the new run if he knew that the Light
Programme would be broadcasting the shows over Christmas; Transcription could then use this
recording as Episode 14 on the end of the previous run of thirteen shows. Alternatively, indicated
Alastair, they could record a run of nineteen new shows plus a ‘Christmas special’ for the Light
Programme … or if Transcription were prepared to pay for a show of their own, to tape a twentyfirst show specially for overseas use. ‘I have searched the archives to see if by any chance we have
kept any earlier show which might be suitable. I regret we haven’t. It was a long shot anyway,’
explained the producer. On Monday 16 January, Roy responded that if a planned series featuring
Northern comedian Al Read materialised then the plan was to run The Navy Lark across Christmas
from the fourth quarter; even if the Al Read show didn’t appear, he would run another series in its
place during July.
Over the years that The Navy Lark had been on air, the cast and crew had formed a close bond
with the Royal Navy via the real HMS Troubridge, a wartime destroyer now refitted as an antisubmarine frigate. On Monday 23 January, Denis Morris – the Light Programme Controller – wrote
to Lt-Commander WRS Thomas of Troubridge and offered him a selection of recording dates to
attend with his men, noting ‘We could accommodate whoever is likely to want to come along and …
thereafter we could, perhaps, all have a noggin together – i.e. officers and crew – and that after that you
come along with whichever of your officers are accompanying you, plus any wives there may be, and
have a cold buffet somewhere with me and one or two of the production team.’
The cast were contracted for the twenty new editions of The Navy Lark around Tuesday 21
February; Sunday evening recordings (8.30pm and 9.15pm) would take place from 5 to 19 March,
after which Easter precluded recording on 26 March, and afternoon tapings (3.30pm and 4.15pm)
would resume from 2 to 30 April, following which the schedule would swap back to the evenings
for 7 and 14 May. No dates for transmission had yet been fixed.
The regular performers reassembled for the first double recording at the Playhouse on Sunday
5 March, and the first show saw HMS Troutbridge returning from the mission which it had been


despatched on at the end of the 1966 series. A running gag of Captain Povey being 39 years old
was established, and the increasingly popular trio of Commander Wetherby (Jon Pertwee), Captain
Ignatius Aloyious Atcheson (Michael Bates) and Commander Hardcastle (Ronnie Barker) returned
to the series. They frequently appeared with the Admiral (Tenniel Evans) who was becoming even
more over-powering and obsessed with the opening hours of the local hostelries. In the second
show, WREN Heather Chasen referred to the popular futuristic children’s Supermarionation series
Thunderbirds when sending Mr Murray, Mr Phillips and CPO Pertwee in to see Captain Povey.
Unfortunately, Ronnie Barker was not available for the recordings on Sunday 12 March; during
1966 his profile as a popular performer had increased considerably with his appearances alongside
Ronnie Corbett and John Cleese in BBC1’s sketch show The Frost Report. As such, the third and fourth
scripts were written to omit all of Ronnie’s characters, with Leading Seaman Taffy Goldstein (Tenniel
Evans) becoming CPO Pertwee’s whipping boy in place of Ronnie’s Fatso Johnson. Stephen Murray’s
daughter, Amanda Murray, who had appeared in an episode of the sixth series returned to join the
cast for these two episodes. The third show introduced a new character in the form of the Scots
Second Officer Jean Maclootie (Heather Chasen) who arrived to take control of the Communications
Sections at Portsmouth. The fourth episode revived the ongoing storyline of WREN Chasen dating Mr
Murray to make her former fiancé Mr Phillips jealous; this had been established early in the 1966 series.
With six shows recorded, Leslie Phillips embarked on another theatrical adventure when he
directed The Deadly Game in which he also starred alongside Stephen Murray; following a pre-London
try out, this was to open at the Savoy at the end of April. Following Easter, when recording resumed on
Sunday 2 April it was back at the Paris; in the seventh show it was revealed that Lt Claude Dingle, the
immensely irritating upper-class flag lieutenant attached to the new Admiral, was in fact the Admiral’s
wife’s nephew. The eighth show then featured a reference to the recently revived BBC1 police series Z
Cars in the form of the call sign ‘Z Victor One’ mentioned by DCI Sharpe.
In the first of the two shows recorded on Sunday 9 April, Mr Murray had a brush with the army
in the form of Lt Plummer (Michael Bates) and Sgt Coggins (Ronnie Barker) who had featured in an
episode of the 1966 run. The long-standing semi-regular character of Sir Willoughby Todhunter-Brown
(Tenniel Evans) was then back in the second show taped on Sunday 16 April, with the incompetent
official now promoted to the position of US to the NITS, and the character of DAUPS – introduced late
in the previous series – also made a return. This second show also included a reference to the Round
Britain Quiz which had been running on BBC Radio since 1947. The Embassy Lark concluded its run on
the Light Programme on Tuesday 18 April, and on Sunday 23 April, the second of the two editions of


The Navy Lark saw a rare appearance of the cod-Indians known as Potarneylanders. Although they
featured frequently in the early days of the series, they had been generally phased out in recent
years since it was felt that they were offensive to overseas listeners and since their last encounter
with the Troutbridge crew in 1965 they had made only a fleeting appearance in The Embassy Lark.
The first of the two shows recorded that night also included a reference from Lt Phillips to The Man
from U.N.C.L.E., the successful American adventure series than running on BBC1.
During March 1967, Denis Morris had handed over to his successor Robin Scott as the new
Controller of the Light Programme. On Monday 24 April, Peter Titheradge wrote to Robin Scott and
explained about the ‘long and amicable relationship between HMS Troubridge and the fictional HMS
Troutbridge of our ‘Navy Lark’ series.’ A date for a visit from fifty of the ship’s officers and crew had
now been fixed with Alastair Scott Johnston for Sunday 7 May, and Peter asked Robin if he would be
happy to act as the host of the evening, adding ‘Incidentally, Press Office has been alerted, so we may
even get some publicity for the programmes.’ Two days later, Robin responded that his predecessor
had told him about the arrangement and agreed to the estimated expenses for the reception,
noting that at the BBC there was ‘a natural built-in reluctance to spend any money at all on anything’
and adding ‘I look forward to acting as host for the evening and thank you for inviting me.’
Thursday 27 April saw Con Mahoney confirming that the Light Programme plans had changed;
The Navy Lark would now start earlier than expected, running as usual at 1.30pm on Sundays from 2
July with a repeat on Wednesday evening at 7.30pm.
Two strong editions were recorded in front of the men of HMS Troubridge on Sunday 7 May. The
first of these concerned the supposed Silver Jubilee of HMS Troutbridge, a script specially written by
Lawrie Wyman to commemorate the fact that HMS Troubridge was celebrating 25 years since her
original commission in 1942. The script also included a joke at the expense of Robin Scott: Povey’s
wife Ramona (Heather Chasen) delivered a terrible rendition of Softly, Softly, a 1955 number one hit
for Ruby Murray which had been composed by the new channel controller himself! Furthermore,
this allowed a quip about Detective Chief Superintendent Charlie Barlow, a major character in the Z
Cars spin-off Softly, Softly. This edition also saw the return of Rear Admiral Ironbridge (Michael Bates),
an old colleague of the Admiral’s last heard in 1964. In the second edition, Jon Pertwee’s turn as a
commanding officer who read vital memos incoherently would also later provide the platform to
develop the character of Vice Admiral Burwasher. Recording for the series concluded on Sunday 14
May with a sign-off episode in which Troutbridge was dismissed into quarantine until it could return
to the BBC airwaves.


Over the summer, The Deadly Game concluded its run in London and went on tour for a few
weeks and Jon Pertwee left the cast of There’s a Girl in My Soup which he had been in since June
1966; this was because he was transferring with the successful show to Broadway from October.
Meanwhile, Heather Chasen took on the regular role of Paula Dane in Sexton Blake, another series
produced by Alastair Scott Johnston which would air on the BBC Home Service (latterly Radio 4)
from 24 August to 14 December. (Richard Caldicot – who played Captain Povey in The Navy Lark –
featured in the fourth episode, The Vampire Moon.)
The Navy Lark returned to the Light Programme on Sunday 2 July, promoted by photos of the
costumed cast in the Radio Times and an article by the series’ producer in which Alastair set the
scene for the show’s return: ‘Since HMS Troutbridge sailed sadly away like an expelled schoolboy
last November to the South Shetlands, an aura of peace and tranquillity has sounded in the area of
Portsmouth Harbour. Of course the South Shetlands are quite a long way off so it’s no surprise that
Messrs Phillips, Murray and Pertwee have taken some time to find them, and even longer to find England
again on the way back.’ For its repeat broadcast, this first episode was edited to remove around a
minute featuring a parody of the traditional folk tune Widdicombe Fair. The listening figures for the
show were marginally down on the 1966 series at around six million, and while the Reaction Index
for the first episode was only 61, this figure climbed to the healthier 65 for the third edition.
On Saturday 22 July, a change to the intended transmission sequence was confirmed by the
BBC. The silver anniversary show was to be moved up the run; although it was the eighteenth
recording, it would be broadcast eleventh on Sunday 10 September so as to coincide with the
silver anniversary of HMS Troubridge itself. This would also make the jubilee edition programme
150. During the following week, the fifth episode was promoted in the Radio Times with another
photograph of the series’ three stars.
However, the approach of the fourth quarter of 1967 was a threat to The Navy Lark’s popular
Sunday lunchtime scheduling of 1.30pm, partly because the Light Programme itself was to change.
During the 1960s, there had been great debate about offshore ‘pirate’ radio stations, commercial
ventures which broadcast a stream of pop music to a massive audience. In August 1966, the
BBC had announced that they had plans for their own 24-hour music station, and at the end of
June 1967 it was revealed that the new channel would launch at the end of September; by this
time, the Marine Offences Act would have been passed on Tuesday 15 August, and the pirate
stations would be legally outlawed. Then on Thursday 27 July, Frank Gillard – the BBC Director of
Radio – revealed that at the end of September they would be introducing ‘Radio by Numbers’.


The Home Service carrying news, plays and discussion would be rebranded Radio 4, and the Third
Programme with its classical music and high-brow material would become Radio 3. However, the
Light Programme which had been on-air since July 1945 would be split; the existing range of light
music and entertainment shows would remain on long wave as Radio 2, while the medium wave
transmissions would be given over to the new pop-orientated programmes of Radio 1.
Meanwhile, various BBC department heads were concerned about alienating their existing
audiences at a time when radio was shedding even more of its audience to television. Writing
to Robin Scott on Thursday 27 July about a meeting the previous day, Con Mahoney – now the
Head of Light Entertainment (Sound) – commented ‘it has occurred to me that we would be adding
to the irritation of faithful Light Programme listeners if we switch The Navy Lark to 1631 from Week
40 onwards. Can it not remain in the 1400 spot because The Clitheroe Kid has a fresh start from Week
40, and for Week 47 onwards we are all working energetically to provide either a Ken Dodd or Frankie
Howerd show for Radio 2.’ On Wednesday 2 August, Robin replied that if they could be sure of
getting a Ken Dodd series from Week 47, then they would retain The Navy Lark in its post-Family
Favourites slot at 2pm from Week 40 with The Clitheroe Kid placed at 2.30pm. However, if a show
with Ken Dodd could not be arranged, he would prefer to keep The Clitheroe Kid at 2pm but with
The Navy Lark at 2.30pm. ‘The deciding factor will be “Inheritance”,’ noted the channel controller.
The seventh show of the run was promoted in the Radio Times by another publicity shot of
Stephen Murray, Leslie Phillips and Jon Pertwee. On Tuesday 8 August, Con wrote to Robin to report
on progress of getting either Ken Dodd or Frankie Howerd to commit to a series for November,
and added that he was less worried about The Navy Lark leaving its 1.30pm slot if it was aired
back-to-back with The Clitheroe Kid. The scheduling details were left to John Simmonds, a Light
Entertainment Chief Producer, who informed Alastair that the show might be rescheduled to either
2pm or 4.31pm. Then on Friday 25 August, John wrote to Alastair to confirm that after the change
to Radio 2, The Navy Lark would run at 2pm on Sundays with repeats at 7.45pm on Wednesdays.
By September 1967, the listening figures had been growing steadily; The Navy Lark was
now being heard by around seven million listeners, peaking when eight million tuned in for
Troutbridge’s Russian rendezvous on Sunday 24 September – the final Light Programme broadcast.
A feature about the Silver Jubilee edition appeared in the Radio Times with Alastair Scott Johnston
again recounting the history of the eighteenth century Admiral Sir Benjamin Troutbridge in the
article Splicing the Mainbrace?, and adding ‘Today marks a double celebration for the crew of HMS
Troutbridge. Not only is it the 150th Navy Lark broadcast; it also marks the 25th anniversary of the first
commission of her ‘sister-ship’, the Royal Navy’s HMS Troubridge whose crew are our honoured



Programme notes, episode synopses and cast
The Navy Lark Appreciation Society can be contacted at:
biographies researched and written by Andrew Pixley The Navy Lark Appreciation Society, Honeysuckle Cottages,
Little Street, Yoxford, Suffolk IP17 3JQ
Web address:

EPISODE THREE: A Filthy Ferryboat

Episodes written by Lawrie Wyman
Incidental music for the series was by Tommy Reilly and James Moody [20]
Announcer: Ronald Fletcher.
Produced by Alastair Scott Johnston
Regular cast unless indicated: Stephen Murray, Leslie Phillips and Jon Pertwee, with
Richard Caldicot, Heather Chasen, Ronnie Barker, 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 BBC Audiobooks/AudioGO 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: Back from the Antarctic
Broadcast 2 July 1967 (recorded 5 March 1967)
It’s Captain Povey’s birthday (39 … again!) but his day is ruined, first by a signal to say that
HMS Troutbridge is on its way back to port from the Antarctic after three months, and then
discovering that the hapless frigate has a strange assortment of other craft in tow...

EPISODE TWO: Fishing off the Faroes
Broadcast 9 July 1967 (recorded 5 March 1967)
CPO Pertwee is desperate to see the expression on Mr Murray’s face when the latter
emerges from Povey’s office. He then becomes even more nervous when he learns that
on their next mission they are taking aboard extra ammunition... for a special fishery
protection patrol near Danish waters.
Broadcast 16 July 1967 (recorded 12 March 1967)
(with Amanda Murray; without Ronnie Barker)
The Admiral is appalled by the state of Troutbridge when he inspects the frigate. As always CPO
Pertwee is evasive about what he is hoarding in the hold, and this time is ordered to dispose of
his stash – 247 brown ale bottles – before the frigate sets sail to collect a passenger from Ryde...

Episode Synopses


guests on today’s show.’ The celebratory episode attracted a good reaction index of 63.
The BBC Light Programme ceased to be at 2.02am on Saturday 30 September 1967. In the
wake of the Radio 2 launch and the move to 2pm, the listening figures for The Navy Lark were
significantly down, little over half what they had been previously and now peaking at just over five
million for the episode in which Ramona’s nephew joined the Navy on Sunday 15 October; this
got a good reaction index of 64, while a rating of 65 was achieved when the show signed off again
on Sunday 12 November. Meanwhile, the Wednesday repeats were heard on both long wave and
medium wave, since Radio 1’s schedule merged with that of Radio 2 at this time. The repeat of the
eighteenth episode was promoted by a photograph of Heather Chasen in the Radio Times.
On Monday 9 October, the BBC Audience Research Department assembled an Audience
Research Report on the Silver Jubilee edition broadcast the previous month. The 259 listeners
generally enjoyed the programme a great deal. ‘Really made me laugh. A vintage brew of stock Navy
Lark characters,’ declared ‘an Accountant’. ‘What better way to do it than having a party?’ noted one
listener of the anniversary while another said, ‘Congratulations to Lawrie Wyman. I just don’t know
how he keeps it up.’ In some quarters there was a feeling that the series was running a bit thin, but
most regular listeners were delighted with the show. ‘This is the sort of programme that I really love,’
wrote a Local Government Officer, ‘It makes me wish I’d joined the Navy! Wouldn’t miss it for anything!’
There were general plaudits for all of the highly versatile cast members in their many roles.
From November, Leslie Phillips starred in the ‘comic strip’ thriller The House of Unspeakable Secrets
which ran on Radio 1 and Radio 2 from Monday 27 November to Thursday 21 December. On
Tuesday 19 December, he also joined his Navy Lark co-stars Heather Chasen and Michael Bates as
guests of the Royal Navy Catering Display at State House, High Holborn. The senior service had set
up a promotional display entitled ‘Eat Well With the Royal Navy’, and the BBC radio cast were only
too happy to add to the publicity and aid with the presentation of a giant Christmas cake to Great
Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.
Troutbridge and its crew wouldn’t be in quarantine for long, and moves would soon be afoot to
bring its chaotic crew back to the Radio 2 airwaves for autumn 1968 …


EPISODE FOUR: Jigsaws and Jemmies

EPISODE NINE: Mr Murray’s Endurance Course

Broadcast 23 July 1967 (recorded 12 March 1967)
(with Amanda Murray; without Ronnie Barker)
Mr Phillips has set his sights on a new temporary WREN – Amanda Martin – who has been assigned
to Povey’s office in place of Heather. His plans for a surprise date (so surprising that he’s not even told
Amanda) go awry, and when he resorts to desperate measures he triggers a security alert …

Broadcast 27 August 1967 (recorded 9 April 1967)
Mr Murray fears that a month-long special training course with some ‘young chaps’ may finish him
off, while Mr Phillips becomes a power-mad Acting Number One... all part of Captain Povey’s latest
plan to divide and conquer the terrible Troutbridge trio …

EPISODE FIVE: The Naval Review
Broadcast 30 July 1967 (recorded 19 March 1967)
The crew of Troutbridge awake to find that they are alone in Portsmouth dock – the rest of the Home
Fleet have vanished! While Pertwee fears an attack from outer space, the truth is that Povey wants the
notorious frigate kept well clear of a top secret operation …

EPISODE SIX: The Curious Caravan Case


EPISODE TEN: Women in the Wardroom
Broadcast 3 September 1967 (recorded 9 April 1967)
When Second Officer Jean Maclootie is shown over Troutbridge by Commander Bell, she is heavily
critical of the furnishings in the wardroom. Povey gives the crew £100 to spend on redecorating
ready for a wardroom warming party, but Pertwee’s supplier of choice is his Uncle Ebenezer...

EPISODE ELEVEN: Troutbridge’s Silver Jubilee Party

Broadcast 6 August 1967 (recorded 19 March 1967)
It is decided that the huge, new caravan trailer parked across the dockyard railway line beside
Troutbridge is the crew’s responsibility – and they better get it moved! Pertwee gets nervous
with the police around, but an address label confirms that the caravan is indeed the property of
Troutbridge and owned by none other than... ‘splodge’.

Broadcast 10 September 1967 (recorded 7 May 1967)
(The pianist was Dennis Gomm)
The Padre informs the crew of Troutbridge that – despite the best efforts of Mr Phillips – their frigate
has been afloat for twenty-five years. News of a silver anniversary delights the Chief in particular,
since this will allow him to collect contributions for a special silver commemoration...

EPISODE SEVEN: Frenchmen in J.41

EPISODE TWELVE: CECIL The Navigation Computer

Broadcast 13 August 1967 (recorded 2 April 1967)
The Admiral and ‘Flags’ visit Povey to confirm that a French frigate on a courtesy visit will be docked
in Troutbridge’s berth at J.41. However, the original message was never sent to Povey, and when
Troutbridge returns they are similarly oblivious... but find another ship parked on their meter.

Broadcast 17 September 1967 (recorded 16 April 1967)
Captain Povey and Second Officer Maclootie visit Mr Merrivale, the Director of Naval Expenditure,
and learn about a new form of communication system: an electronic computer called CECIL. Half of
CECIL will be in Povey’s office and half aboard a test ship: Troutbridge.

EPISODE EIGHT: The Police Drop In

EPISODE THIRTEEN: A Russian Rendezvous

Broadcast 20 August 1967 (recorded 2 April 1967)
Povey is told to co-operate with Chief Detective Inspector Sharpe (with an ‘e’) over a theft from a
local museum; the Navy must stop and detain a fleeing motor launch. However, the nearest vessel to
intercept is Troutbridge and the crew are nervous when the constabulary drop in by ’copter...

Broadcast 24 September 1967 (recorded 16 April 1967)
Povey gets a call from DAUPS to FUS: a ‘boat’ is needed at the weekend to take a VIP, the US to the
NITS, to a TSR. In other words, Sir Willoughby Todhunter-Brown is to meet one of the Iron Curtain
mob in the North Sea, and Troutbridge is the only frigate available for this sealed order mission...


EPISODE FOURTEEN: The Bugged and Burgled Beer

EPISODE EIGHTEEN: When Sub Lt Phillips Was at Dartmouth

Broadcast 1 October 1967 (recorded 23 April 1967)
Confronted with another purchasing problem, CPO Pertwee is hiding in Number Two Hold to prevent
his customers lynching him because of his non-delivery of beer. Nunky accidentally left the offending
crates outside Povey’s office, but offers his nephew a bugging device to help recover the haul...

Broadcast 29 October 1967 (recorded 7 May 1967)
Mr Phillips misjudges the entry of Troutbridge into the docks at Pompey yet again which calls
his entire naval training into doubt. Attempting to defend himself, Leslie explains that he was
supposed to go to the Royal Military College at Sandhurst, but recalls how he caught the wrong
train and arrived at the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth instead...

EPISODE FIFTEEN: Picking up the Poppadom
Broadcast 8 October 1967 (recorded 23 April 1967)
The Admiralty have lost a ship... and now it’s being returned, they don’t want it back. A frigate was
loaned to Potarneyland years ago, and now the Potarneyland navy needs to get its books straight, so
a skeleton crew is needed to sail the PRNS Poppadom back to Portsmouth...

EPISODE SIXTEEN: Cuthbert Joins the Navy
Broadcast 15 October 1967 (recorded 30 April 1967)
The Poveys receive a visit from Ramona’s objectionable nephew, Cuthbert Spinks, who wants to ‘try
the Navy out for a couple of days’. Left little choice to refuse by his wife, Povey soon realises which
ship’s crew he likes the least to foist his detestable relative onto...

Broadcast 22 October 1967 (recorded 30 April 1967)
Johnson would like his Mum Min to have a bigger house and is entering a plethora of competitions
in the hope of winning on her behalf. When Pertwee hears about the rotund rating’s competitive
spree, he suggests that they aim to win some real money by entering the Man-Powered Flight
Competition using a vehicle constructed in Number Two Hold...


Broadcast 5 November 1967 (recorded 14 May 1967)
CPO Pertwee generously offers to buy the food on a night out if his mates buy the drinks, but when
the proprietor of Charlie’s Fish Bar fails to go along with his latest scheme, he concocts a plan of
revenge which will put the establishment out of business. Next morning, the crew of Troutbridge
awake to an all boiled breakfast...

EPISODE TWENTY: Troutbridge in Quarantine
Broadcast 12 November 1967 (recorded 14 May 1967)
While Pertwee conducts an inventory on the stores (i.e. his and the Navy’s), Mr Phillips is
interested in the new barmaid at the Popple’s Head, the establishment where the Chief is making
arrangements to barter for drinks with paint. As such, it is the worst possible time for the Admiral to
demand that Troutbridge should be repainted for a NATO exercise...


episodes one to fourteen
N.B. Although the episodes are not included in this Volume, here follows a guide to the making
of the second series.


I have been given to understand that the BBC are about to perpetrate another series of
affronts to my Government and country under the heading of The Embassy Lark.
Whereas we naturally hold the British Ambassador to Tratvia, Sir Jeremy Crighton-Buller,
and his First Secretary, Henry Pettigrew, in the highest esteem, I am instructed by His Majesty
King Hildebrande III to protest in the strongest possible terms on the scurrilous content of these
programmes as it reflects on the honour and competence of His Majesty and his virile, forwardlooking Government.
In the past it has been suggested that His Majesty’s solution to any financial crisis is to do the
Diplomatic Corps in general, and the British Embassy in particular, rotten; that his diplomatic
démarches are blackmail pure and simple; and that the carefully and painstakingly prepared
Plans of the Royal Tratvian Government are little more than a meaningless concept clad in the
splendour of overwhelming verbiage.
And when all this is accompanied by the vulgar laughter of the populace, you will readily
appreciate how easy it was for us to set you up last time for such considerable damages that you
were glad to settle out of court.
The Royal Tratvian Embassy confidently anticipates an even larger subscription to the
national Exchequer if you do not heed this protest.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant
(Name supplied)
Ambassador, Royal Tratvian Embassy, London

This was the letter apparently received at the BBC offices of the Aeolian Hall, New Bond
Street in connection with the second series of The Embassy Lark returning to the BBC Light
Programme – and duly reprinted in the pages of the Radio Times.
By the time the ninth series of The Navy Lark was heard by listeners, the Light
Programme had already broadcast a second run of escapades in the spin-off show
about the British Embassy in Tratvia which was made by the same production team. The
first series had run from March to June 1966, and on Friday 15 July, Con Mahoney – the
Assistant Head of Light Entertainment – told producer Alastair Scott Johnston that he
could commission writer Lawrie Wyman for a second series of nine programmes, with an
option for a further four.
At the start of August 1966, a long report on the Listener Attitudes to the first series was
forwarded to Alastair, summarising the reactions of 2,000 BBC Audience Panel members
to 23 specific questions about The Embassy Lark. By Friday 26 August, the producer
scheduled a series of fourteen shows to be recorded in seven sessions scheduled on a
weekly basis from Sunday 9 October to 6 November, and then on Sunday 20 November
and Sunday 1 January 1967. As with the early tapings for the first series, these would take
place at the Paris Studios on Lower Regent Street and would be recorded from 8.30pm
to 10pm, with rehearsals from 2.30pm. However, at the end of September, Alastair was
in for a shock when he heard about a new BBC1 sitcom called Foreign Affairs which had
started its six week run on Friday 16 September. Created by Leonard Samson, this starred
Leslie Phillips as Dennis Proudfoot, the personal assistant to the administrator of foreign
relations, and Ronnie Barker as Grischa Petrovitch, his opposite number at the Russian
Embassy. Horrified that a show that was so similar to The Embassy Lark could be developed
by BBC Television, he wrote to express his surprise to the Light Entertainment (Sound)
Department, commenting that this was reminiscent of when – a few years earlier – plans
for The Whitehall Lark had to be shelved after discovering that a similar radio project was
already under development in the form of The Men from the Ministry.

Most of the cast for the new series of The Embassy Lark was the same as the first:
Derek Francis returned as the ill-tempered Sir Jeremy Crighton-Buller, Frank Thornton as
the smooth and quick-thinking first secretary Henry Pettigrew, Francis de Wolff as the
conniving King Hildebrande III, Charlotte Mitchell as the oblivious Lady Daphne CrightonBuller and aged embassy switchboard lady Martha, and Michael Spice as both embassy
aide Mr Simpkins and Ivanoff, the Russian Ambassador. However, David Fallon had left the
cast and was replaced by Anthony Sagar and David Valla. Ronald Fletcher returned as the
show’s announcer.
The first recording on Sunday 9 October was actually conducted as a security
operation in conjunction with 10 Downing Street since the audience included ‘two
distinguished guests and their wives.’ During the series, new characters emerged in
the stories. To replace David Fallon’s original Chinese Ambassador, Fey Young Too,
David Valla now played Wong Hi Wong. Anthony Sagar portrayed Mr Edward Pomeroy,
the new, efficient controller of the Ambassadorial Household who was continually
reminding everyone how he had worked at Number 10 Downing Street itself. There
were more scenes at the Tratvian Parliament which saw Charlotte Mitchell as Minister
Nadia Esterlak, Anthony Sagar as Prime Minister Aldo Nozleff (a bluff Northerner akin
to real-life British PM Harold Wilson), Michael Spice as Tratvian Foreign Secretary Boris
Rudmoosh and David Valla as Yim Yimkinin, the Tratvian Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Charlotte also took on the role of Olga, the Palace secretary whose English was rather
fractured, while David Valla made a couple of appearances as Fosdyke of the Foreign
Office – complete with his supposedly uncrackable coded messages – and Francis de
Wolff featured twice as the doctor attached to the Embassy. David Valla also played
Blasted Sidney, the Embassy driver behind the wheel of the much-cherished RollsRoyce with its distinctively patriotic horn.


With six of the shows recorded, on Monday 24 October it was decided that the final
recording scheduled for New Year’s Day 1967 would be cancelled and brought forward
instead to Sunday 11 December. On Friday 28 October, it was confirmed that the
fourteen new editions would air at 7.30pm on Tuesdays from 17 January 1967. By the
time the final two shows were taped on Sunday 11 December, Alastair Scott Johnston
had offered a selection of episodes of The Embassy Lark for overseas distribution to
E ‘Stan’ Stancliffe of the BBC Transcription Services on Monday 21 November.
1967 arrived, and on Monday 2 January, Alastair was informed that the series’ placing
had changed; it would now air at 9pm rather than 7.30pm, and as such all the shows now
needed to be edited down to 29 minutes each to accommodate the hourly news bulletin.
The shows debuted as planned at 9pm on Tuesday 17 January and initially received
reasonable reaction index scores in the high 50s. On Tuesday 24 January, it was decided
that The Embassy Lark would move forward to 8.45pm from Tuesday 21 March. Con
Mahoney was now already thinking ahead and approached Denis Morris, the Chief of the
Light Programme, about recording fifteen more editions of The Embassy Lark from June;
Denis gave his consent to this on Tuesday 31 January.
The Embassy Lark received some decent reaction indexes: 62 for the fourth edition,
61 for the fifth, 63 for the seventh and 65 for the ninth. The sixth episode – about
Pettigrew’s romantic liaison with his female Russian counterpart – was the subject
of an Audience Research Report issued on Thursday 23 March which summarised
the comments of 194 listeners. ‘For most of those reporting, this was another enjoyable
and entertaining edition of a favourite programme,’ began the report, with one listener
opining that The Embassy Lark was ‘the best of the current comedy shows’. The show
was seen as ‘good clean fun’ and free of the sneering satire which was currently
present in other series. However, while some reporting felt that the episode was
‘one of the most amusing yet’ there was a substantial number who said that they had
heard ‘more enjoyable editions’ and believed that the amusing comedic idea had

been laboured. Criticisms were that the series was ‘too silly and ridiculous for words’,
while one member of the reporting panel commented that they had missed the
presence of Lady Daphne in this edition. Frank Thornton and Charlotte Mitchell were
cited as the most popular cast members, followed closely by Derek Francis. ‘All the
artists’ timing was perfect,’ concluded the report, ‘the production was lively and the
music attractive and appropriate.’
The feedback of 202 members of the BBC Listening Panel formed a further report
on the eighth episode – an edition about upset between the Crighton-Bullers – on
Wednesday 5 April. Many found this week’s news from Tratvia ‘gloriously witty’ with
one retired listener commenting, ‘I met some of these types when I was in the Colonial
Service.’ However, the majority of listeners were less enthusiastic, finding the episode
only moderately enjoyable; some still found the entire premise of the series ‘silly, farfetched and marred by a weak storyline’. The acting and script were generally felt to be
good, although there were a handful of complaints about the ‘noisy’ studio audience
and ‘Derek Francis’ shouting’ as Sir Jeremy amidst admiration for the cast in general
and the patriotic horn of the Embassy Rolls in particular.
The penultimate edition of The Embassy Lark’s second series received a reaction
index of 61, although the last episode rated only 59 following its broadcast on 18 April.
This sign-off episode was the subject of an Audience Research Report on Monday


22 May, presenting the views of 226 listeners. A fifth of those reporting ‘found little
to entertain them’ in this final edition, finding the story weak and the humour forced.
Many however had enjoyed the Ambassador’s exploits on the waffle-bird hunt and
saw it as a ‘light-hearted frolic’ which was well-written and had plenty of laughs. While
there were isolated complaints that the roles of the ‘foreigners’ had been overdone,
there was a great deal of praise for the performances of Derek Francis, Frank Thornton,
Charlotte Mitchell and Francis de Wolff. ‘Taken as a whole, the series was often voted a
success,’ concluded the report, ‘Listeners like the whole idea of satirising (albeit ever so
gently) the Diplomatic Service and were amused at the preposterous situations in which
the Ambassador and his staff found themselves... It is clear that listeners were often sorry
to say goodbye – even temporarily – to their friends at the British Embassy in Tratvia, and
were looking forward to their return.’
On Friday 16 June, it was decided that a series of seven ‘delayed repeats’ from The
Embassy Lark would be broadcast by the Light Programme at 9pm on Sunday nights
from 13 August; the editions selected were shows four, six, nine, ten and twelve to
fourteen. And by the time these hit the airwaves, Alastair Scott Johnston already
had plans to record a third series of what the Radio Times described as ‘a chronicle of
events in and around Her Britannic Majesty’s Embassy to the Kingdom of Tratvia’...


Episode Synopses

N.B. Although the episodes are not included in this Volume, here follows a guide to the
making of the second series of The Embassy Lark

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: Ronald Fletcher.
Note: none of the episodes were originally given titles. The ones here have been adopted for easy reference.

Episode ONE: The Grand Order
Broadcast 17 January 1967 (recorded 9 October 1966)
With Francis de Wolff (King Hildebrande), Charlotte Mitchell (Lady Daphne Crighton-Buller/Martha),
Anthony Sagar (Pomeroy), Michael Spice (Simpkins/Old Man/Ivanov), David Valla (Mr Ginsborough).
A missive from King Hildebrande’s Palace to the Embassy reveals that Sir Jeremy has been
appointed a GNIT – a Grand Noble of Imperial Tratvia. The first question directed at him in his
new capacity is, ‘When can I expect your cheque?’ for the GNITs are a charitable organisation,
and no noble has ever donated less than £500...

Episode TWO: The Wine Festival
Broadcast 24 January 1967 (recorded 9 October 1966)
With Francis de Wolff (King Hildebrande), Charlotte Mitchell (Lady Daphne Crighton-Buller/Olga/
Martha), Anthony Sagar (Mr Pomeroy/Tadek Rostodieoff), Michael Spice (The Russian Ambassador/
Simpkins), David Valla (The Chinese Ambassador)
While Sir Jeremy is busy trying to get central heating installed at the Embassy before winter arrives,
Lady Daphne has been asked to be on the committee of the four-day Tratvian Wine Festival which
the Crighton-Bullers were lucky enough to miss last year. Under the King’s royal patronage, they
have no chance but to become involved... and to foot the bill for the drinks as well!


Episode THREE: Economic Problems
Broadcast 31 January 1967 (recorded 16 October 1966)
With Francis de Wolff (King Hildebrande), Charlotte Mitchell (Lady Daphne Crighton-Buller/Nadia
Esterlak), Anthony Sagar (Aldo Nozleff, the Tratvian Prime Minister), Michael Spice (Boris Rudmoosh,
the Tratvian Foreign Secretary), David Valla (Yim Yimkinin, the Tratvian Chancellor of the Exchequer/
Managing Director)
The economic squeeze is on, and the Embassy can’t afford either marmalade for Sir Jeremy
or cornflakes for Pettigrew... having to fall back on the sub-standard Tratvian equivalents. In
addition to smuggling food in diplomatic bags, Lady Daphne and Mr Pomeroy experiment with
ways in which to cook the native waffle-bird...

Episode FOUR: The Birthday Surprise
Broadcast 7 February 1967 (recorded 16 October 1966)
With Francis de Wolff (King Hildebrande), Charlotte Mitchell (Lady Daphne Crighton-Buller/
Tania), Anthony Sagar (Mr Pomeroy), Michael Spice (Simpkins/Ivanoff), David Valla (The Chinese
Sir Jeremy Crighton-Buller’s birthday is looming and the hunt is on for presents while Pettigrew
enlists the help of King Hildebrande himself and all the other ambassadors in Tratvia to keep Sir
Jeremy busy while the Embassy staff attempt to set up a surprise party for him...

Episode FIVE: A Parking Problem
Broadcast 14 February 1967 (recorded 23 October 1966)
With Francis De Wolff (King Hildebrande), Charlotte Mitchell (Lady Daphne Crighton-Buller/Martha/
Olga/Tania Esterlak), Anthony Sagar (Aldo Nozleff, the Prime Minister/Mr Pomeroy), Michael Spice
(Boris Rudmoosh, the Foreign Secretary/Simpkins), David Valla (Yim Yimkinin, the Tratvian Chancellor
of the Exchequer).
Madame Esterlak, the Minister of Transport, has decreed that the street on which the British
Embassy lies should become a clearway... necessitating a bus journey for Sir Jeremy if he is to
reach the closest place that Blasted Sidney can park the embassy Rolls. This is the last thing he
needs when summoned to go trout fishing at the King’s Lodge...


Episode SIX: Tania Nostrova

EPISODE NINE: The Missing Document

Broadcast 21 February 1967 (recorded 23 October 1966)
With Francis De Wolff (King Hildebrande), Charlotte Mitchell (Tania Nostrova/Lady Daphne CrightonBuller/Olga), Anthony Sagar (Mr Pomeroy), Michael Spice (Ivanoff/ Simpkins), David Valla (Fosdyke of
the Foreign Office).
Nothing – not even a furious Sir Jeremy – can upset Pettigrew for he is blissfully in love.
Unfortunately, he is in love with Comrade Nostrova, the First Secretary at the Russian Embassy
next door. King Hildebrand is not happy, and informs the respective ambassadors that the
romance must be quashed by the presence of chaperones for the couple …

Broadcast 14 March 1967 (recorded 6 November 1966)
With Francis De Wolff (King Hildebrande), Charlotte Mitchell (Martha), Anthony Sagar (Sergeant
Barker/Mr Pomeroy), Michael Spice (Simpkins), David Valla (Captain Fosdyke/Officer).
Sir Jeremy plans that his weekend will start by watching Bodgie the Badger on television... but
his viewing is interrupted by a call from Fosdyke of the Foreign Office. A Tratvian Army exercise
to test a new British scout car under combat conditions is scheduled for the weekend. Pettigrew
is the only one available to attend... which means that he cannot help Simpkins find a vital
military document.

Episode SEVEN: The Oil Rig

Episode TEN: Students’ Exchange

Broadcast 28 February 1967 (recorded 30 October 1966)
With Francis De Wolff (Sir John Gripe/King Hildebrande), Charlotte Mitchell (Lady Daphne CrightonBuller/Olga), Anthony Sagar (Mr Pomeroy/Aldo Nozleff), Michael Spice (Simpkins/Ivanoff/Boris
Rudmoosh), David Valla (The Tratvian Naval Officer /Sidney/Yim Yimkinin) [also Lawrie Wyman –
uncredited (Ben)].
Pettigrew wakes Sir Jeremy at 2am with urgent news; Sir John Gripe, the head of Transworld Oil,
has arrived to deal with a potential international incident. Gripe’s company are drilling for oil offshore, and one leg of their rig is just over the concession line into Russian territory...

Broadcast 21 March 1967 (recorded 6 November 1966)
With Francis De Wolff (King Hildebrande), Charlotte Mitchell (Lady Daphne Crighton-Buller/Olga),
Anthony Sagar (Mr Pomeroy/Aldo Nozleff), Michael Spice (Simpkins/Chancellor/Heinrich/ Boris
Rudmoosh), David Valla (Cromwell Gladstone Farringham Frogmore/Sidney).
Sir Jeremy is aghast to learn that another of Daphne’s awful relatives is coming to visit... for three
years! Daphne has arranged with the University of Tratvia for her nephew, Cromwell, to study
there and live at the Embassy. And Cromwell is due to arrive at any minute...

Episode EIGHT: The Launching
Broadcast 7 March 1967 (recorded 30 October 1966)
With Francis De Wolff (King Hildebrande), Charlotte Mitchell (Lady Daphne Crighton-Buller), Anthony
Sagar (Mr Pomeroy), Michael Spice (Mr Simpkins), David Valla (Blasted Sidney/Chairman/Mayor).
For once, Sir Jeremy is in a glorious mood and everything is going well. Regrettably, Lady
Daphne is extremely upset with him for some reason which nobody seems able to fathom. The
embassy staff attempt to restore the couple to normal as they prepare to take Lady Daphne to
the shipyard where she is naming a new Tratvian passenger and car ferry...


Episode ELEVEN: The French Ambassador
Broadcast 28 March 1967 (recorded 20 November 1966)
With Francis De Wolff (Doctor), Charlotte Mitchell (Lady Daphne Crighton-Buller/Martha), Anthony
Sagar (Pomeroy), Michael Spice (Simpkins), David Valla (Cinema Manager).
When Lady Daphne is due to go out to an official function in the company of the French
Ambassador – whom Whitehall insist that Sir Jeremy maintains good relations with – the British
Ambassadors starts to get rather jealous. Particularly when it transpires that the entertainment
involves an X Certificate French film...


Episode TWELVE: Power Cuts
Broadcast 4 April 1967 (recorded 20 November 1966)
With Francis De Wolff (King Hildebrande), Charlotte Mitchell (Lady Daphne Crighton-Buller/Martha),
Anthony Sagar (The Tratvian Prime Minister/Mr Pomeroy), Michael Spice (The Tratvian Foreign
Secretary/Simpkins), David Valla (The Tratvian Chancellor of the Exchequer).
The Embassy is thrown into chaos by a series of power cuts caused by the Tratvian Electricity
Board; both Simpkins and the Ambassador are unable to use their razors, and Lady Daphne
needs to finish her frock for the royal dinner that night. But when Sir Jeremy is summoned to the
palace which is on the same circuit, he finds it warm and ablaze with light...

Episode THIRTEEN: The Comprehensive School
Broadcast 11 April 1967 (recorded 11 December 1966)
With Francis De Wolff (King Hildebrande/Doctor), Charlotte Mitchell (Lady Daphne Crighton-Buller/
Olga), Anthony Sagar (Mr Pomeroy/Aldo Nozleff), Michael Spice (The Tratvian Foreign Secretary/
Simpkins), David Valla (The Tratvian Chancellor of the Exchequer/Foreman).
Sir Jeremy and Pettigrew become curious about some Tratvian workmen who are busy outside
the British Embassy. After some local abuse they discover that in a year’s time, the Embassy will
have become the site for the new comprehensive school. A frantic hunt for the property’s lease
ensues prior to the arrival of a compulsory purchase order...

Episode FOURTEEN: The Weekend
Broadcast 18 April 1967 (recorded 11 December 1966)
With Francis De Wolff (King Hildebrande), Charlotte Mitchell (Lady Daphne Crighton-Buller/Olga),
Anthony Sagar (Mr Pomeroy), Michael Spice (Mellors, the Gamekeeper/Simpkins/Ivanoff), David Valla
(Charlie/Sidney/Wong Hi Wong).
Pettigrew would like the weekend off. As does Simpkins. And Pomeroy. And Lady Daphne is
looking for her weekend suitcase. Sir Jeremy suddenly realises that he will be the only one left in
the Embassy to be snared by the invitation to the Royal Hunting Lodge for the start of the waffle
bird shooting season...


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

Richard Caldicot

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.

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.

Leslie Phillips
Despite his famous well-bred ladies’ man image, 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
achieved acclaim with his one-man show On the Whole Life’s Been Pretty Good.
He was the voice of the Sorting Hat in the Harry Potter films and, in 2007, was
nominated for a Bafta for his role in the film Venus. He was awarded a CBE in the
2008 New Year’s Honours List.


Ronnie Barker
Born September 1929 in Bedford, Ronnie Barker trained as an architect and
worked in a bank before following his true vocation as an entertainer.
With a great deal of stage experience including work at the Oxford
Playhouse, he made his television and radio debuts in the mid-1950s
with I’m Not Bothered and Floggits respectively, and gave support
in British comedy films. The Frost Report gave him TV fame. Acting
– and writing under various pen-names – Barker’s TV work has
included The Ronnie Barker Playhouse, Frost on Sunday, Hark at Barker,
The Two Ronnies, His Lordship Entertains, Porridge, Open All Hours, Going
Straight, The Magnificent Evans and Clarence. Awarded the OBE for services to
entertainment, he died in 2005.


Michael Bates

Heather Chasen

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.

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, as Valerie Pollard in Crossroads and as Lydia Simmonds
in EastEnders. 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. She also appeared as Madame Magloire in the
2012 film version of Les Misérables.

Tenniel Evans
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.