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Round the Horne

Round the Horne was one of the most influential BBC radio[?] comedy programmes, comparable to the Goon Show in its influence on other comedy programmes. Round the Horne was transmitted in four series of weekly episodes from 1965 until 1968.

It was created by writers Barry Took and Marty Feldman, with other writers contributing to later series, and starred Kenneth Horne with Kenneth Williams, Hugh Paddick, Betty Marsden, Bill Pertwee and Douglas Smith. The show featured a parody a week, several catchphrases, and had a great feeling underlying it. It has musical interludes by the Fraser Hayes Four, and accompaniment by Edwin Braden and the Hornblowers, except for the final series. It normally opened with a deadpan delivery by Horne of the answers to "last week's quiz", a quiz that listeners never heard nor knew about.

One of the most popular sketches was Julian and Sandy, featuring Williams and Paddick as two flamboyantly camp men, with Horne as their comic foil. They usually ran fashionable enterprises in Chelsea[?] which started with the word 'Bona' (for example 'Bona Pets') and they spoke in the language of Palare.

Other popular characters included J. Peasemould Gruntfuttock (the world's dirtiest dirty old man), Charles and Fiona, and criminal mastermind Dr Chou En Ginsberg MA {failed} (accompanied by his 'female' servant Lotus Blossom, played by a cockney Hugh Paddick) and parodies of popular British TV entertainers such as Eamonn Andrews and Fanny Craddock. The shows featured old English folk singer Rambling Syd Rumpo (not "Sid"), played by Kenneth Williams, who sang such delightful and parodic nonsense ditties as "Green grow your nadgers-O!", "What shall we do with the drunken nurker?", and the timeless "The Ballad of the Woggler's Mooly".

Charles and Fiona was a regular comedy sketch in the show. Betty Marsden played Dame Celia Molestrangler, and Hugh Paddick was 'ageing juvenile Binkie Huckerback'. Their characters - Fiona and Charles - were a pair of lovestruck, dated cinema idols engaging in stilted, extraordinarily polite, dialogues, in scenes that were parodies of Noel Coward's style. Typical dialogue (imagine it spoken in BBC English) included:

Charles: "I know."
Fiona: "I know you know."
Charles: "I know you know I know."
Fiona: "I know you know I know you know."
Charles: "I know."

or

Charles: "Everything is the same ..."
Fiona: "and yet somehow different."

The programme ended with Horne's untimely death by a heart attack in 1969.

At time of writing, episodes can be heard on BBC 7 at 12.30 and 19.30 (UK time) each Wednesday.

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