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Big Blue

Alan Simpson RIP

Oh bugger. Had to happen I suppose.

In case you didn't know, one of the writers of Hancock's Half Hour and Steptoe and Son. In the golden era of TV Steptoe and Son recorded the highest regular viewing figures when TV ownership was not as widespread as it is now, or during the Only Fools... era.

In the '50s when Hancock was on the radio there was almost NOBODY out on the streets for 30 minutes. It was (and remains) that good. In addition all sitcoms since Hancock owe their format to Galton and Simpson. It was the first light programme with no musical break, using instead incidental music to link the scenes. 30 minutes of script, read live, week in week out.

My late father used to drink with Alan in Kingston and the Tony Hancock appreciation society used to be run from a house in Seaforth Gardens, a road I used to walk past on my way to school pre-teen years. And of course there were various local (to me) references (he lived in "East Cheam"; a killer would catch the No 93 from Putney; Sid would steal Harry Secombe's TV (he lived in Sutton) and a bloke in Epsom had a Trombone player from a cereal box -  all off the top of my head). As a proud Brummie (maybe not!) my dad would always remind me that the greatest radio character in history was from Brum, and of course Galton and Simpson met in a TB hospice in Milford where Marlene's mother was housed for a few months when I lived in Milford.

All in all a fabulous comic writing duo that took the real-life characters of the part players and turned them into comedy. Harry H Corbett really was the great stage actor that became trapped doing something he didn't want to do (sit com, but his wife told him it was paying the bills!) and Hancock really was overly concerned about his public persona and neurotic about the fact he never made it in the film business when Sid, Kenneth and Hattie all did - even Bill was in the Dam Busters!

RIP Mr Simpson. Thanks for all the laughs.
Bob Sacamano

I still download Hancock's Half Hour and listen to them when on long journeys. RIP.

Before Xmas I received a Parking Charge Notice for overstaying my hour in a car park in Darlington from Parking Eye. I appealed to them and it was rejected, leaving me on the hook for 100.
I then went to POPLA and wrote another appeal which, it has to be said, was largely modeled on Tony Hancock's speech in "Twelve Angry Men" . I've just received notification that a demoralised Parking Eye no longer wish to contest the the appeal. Thank you Alan Simpson.

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