Round the Horne's ground-breaking mix of wordplay,
camp caricature and risqué innuendo proved
an irresistible combination with millions of listeners
worldwide (the show pulled in a regular audience of
fifteen million listeners). It is was one of the best
loved programmes in radio history.
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It was a direct successor to Beyond
Our Ken, which had been on the air from 1958
to 1964, with 7 series. Though having been on the
air for twice the time of Round The Horne,
with all cast members from Round The Horne
taking part, and dispite being similar in content
and style, it is much less remembered.
Round The Horne ran for 4 series and 66 editions,
and for the most part was written by Barry Took and
Marty Feldman (50 of the total episodes), whose scripts
were always of the highest standard.
The series occupied the much sought-after Sunday
lunchtime slot on the Light Programme (later Radio
2). The Radio Times said at the time "Many a
Sunday lunch will be hurried, delayed, or just plain
interrupted to catch every word".
Barry Took had written the first two series of Beyond
Our Ken with Eric Merriman, but left in 1959
to write Take it From Here, but returned to
write Round The Horne with partner Marty Feldman.
These scripts added a speed which had begun to be
lacking by the end of
Beyond Our Ken's run.
There were far more topical references than in Beyond
Our Ken, references to films, fashion and
even politics, many of which are completely baffling,
and were even at the time!
The Radio Times commented "This is satire, also
in the best sense: intelligent and amusing comment
on the time, creative comment too, to the extent that
it can invent its own language and still be intelligible"