You can still get many a laugh from today’s radio comedy but it’s nothing like it used to be.
The 1940s and 50s saw the golden age of radio comedy. The humour came more from situations rather than straight gags and this was how it went from the 1938 ‘Band Wagon’ to the ‘Goon Show’ and ‘Take it from Here’ in the 1950s.
Band Wagon was the first situation comedy on radio. It was set in a flat at the top of Broadcasting House and starred Arthur Askey and Richard Murdock. It inspired a film, a stage play a record bonanza.
ITMA with Tommy Handley was the most popular programme during World War Two. Who can forget its famous characters Mrs Mopp, Colonel Chinstrap and others?
Tommy was the Minister of Aggravation and Mysteries in the Office of Twerps. A lot of hilarity came from service life featured in ‘Stand Easy’, ‘Waterlogged’ and the hilarious ‘Much Binding in the Marsh’.
The wonderful ex-airmen pair of Frank Muir and Denis Norden wrote a great deal of comedy for radio. They brought Bernard Braden and Barbara Kelly to prominence in ‘Breakfast with Braden’ and also ‘Bedtime with Braden’. Laughter galore!