Film ID: NEFA 21801 Video of NEFA 21801 Interview with Tony Hancock SUMMERTIME AND NEWS: INTERVIEW WITH TONY HANCOCK ON HIS RETURN FROM ADEN 1967 Visitor TabsDescription Tyne Tees Television reporter Phil McDonnell interviews comedian Tony Hancock on his return home from entertaining the troops in Aden. He talks about the visit and why he went as well as about performing to a live audience rather than on television for his show Hancock’s Half Hour. This report was transmitted 26 July 1967. Sitting in a hotel room in London, Tony Hancock smokes a cigarette while speaking with Tyne Tees Television reporter Phil McDonnell. He has just returned from Aden where he had been entertaining the troops. He was one of the first performers out there. He believes the troops need a lot of entertainment, but there wasn’t enough publicity or more performers would have gone. He explains that there are ‘contractual problems’ for entertainers, as they can’t just walk out on a show. He felt the visit was rewarding. It was easy to make the troops laugh as they wanted to, they need it. It means a great deal to them that he was out there. He remembers entertaining the troops during the war and the importance of meeting them after the show. Phil asks how difficult is it to move between a real nightclub from that of Hancock’s club on television. Tony smiles and says this is a very interesting question. There isn’t much difference. He is then asked if it is easier to operate to a live audience or one through a camera lens. Working on television you aren’t really playing to the live audience, you have to direct yourself to the camera. He is asked if his impressions of comedy have changed during his career. He says up to a point as you grow older, you become wiser, but not by much. Of his future plans Tony is interested in film as it gives him a chance to go over a scene again and again until he get it right. Finally, Tony is asked if he would go back to Aden. He say’s he would if he is asked, but thinks the situation is ‘packing up now’. Context After Aden, Hancock’s last stand From East Cheam to Aden, Tyne Tees TV interviews British comedian Tony Hancock on his return from entertaining troops in the Middle East. The self-destructive genius of comedy, Tony Hancock, returns home from a 5-day tour entertaining British troops in Aden. In this Tyne Tees TV interview, a morose Hancock recalls his RAF Gang Shows during World War Two and discusses performing for live audiences in comparison to the TV studio cameras. At the time, Hancock’s career was on the wane and his comments about a return to film reveal the comedian’s anxiety, fuelled by his increasing dependence on alcohol. At his peak, Tony Hancock created some of the country’s best-loved, loser comedy characters on radio and TV, achieving stardom with the BBC sitcom Hancock’s Half Hour (1954-1961) and later Hancock (1961), wonderfully scripted by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson. However, he parted ways with both his co-star Sid James, and his writers in 1961. The quality of his comedy declined. His move into film with The Rebel (1960) and The Punch and Judy Man (1962) was unsuccessful, in Britain and the United States. Increasingly, Hancock turned to drink as his career floundered, an addiction he explained would “send away the tigers”. Whilst on a tour of Australia in 1968, Tony Hancock committed suicide, aged 44.