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Classic Radio Revisited: Round The Horne



Round The Horne

Written by Barry Took and Marty Feldman Round the Horne was a radio show featuring a collection of Care in the Community characters, cracked excruciating puns and double entendres around the urbane figure of Kenneth Horne.

When was it on?
On radio from 1965 to 1969, the natural successor to Beyond Our Ken.

Who were the star turns?
Horne himself, Kenneth Williams, Hugh Paddick, Bill Pertwee and Betty Marsden.

Who were the main characters?
Julian (Paddick) and Sandy (Williams), a pair of outrageous queens whose weekly announcement of ‘Hallo, I’m Julian and this is my friend Sandy’ was enough to reduce an unsuspecting nation to hysterics; Dame Celia Molestrangler (Marsden) and Binky Huckaback (Paddick), a couple of theatrical theatricals; agony aunt Daphne Whitethigh (Marsden); senile old codger J. Peasemold Gruntfuttock (Williams); and rustic folk singer Rambling Syd Rumpo (Williams), a direct descendant of his Beyond Our Ken creation, gardening guru Arthur ‘the answer lies in the soil’ Fallowfield.

What did Rambling Syd Rumpo like to sing about?
He was big on cordwangling, not to mention whirdling his grummits, ganderbags, nobtiddlers and spottle guards. His greatest hits included The Ballad of Woggler’s Moulie and The Runcorn Splod Cobbler’s Song. Jimi Hendrix he wasn’t.

Who were the most popular characters?
The fantabulosa Julian and Sandy with their free and easy use of the gay language polari. Vocabulary included ‘bona’ (good), ‘dolly’ (pretty), ‘vada’ (see), ‘riah shusher’ (hairdresser), ‘omipolone’ (homosexual), ‘eek’ (face), ‘slap’ (makeup) and ‘trade’ (sex). Thus ‘how bona to vada your dolly old eek’ is roughly (but not too roughly, ducky) translated as ‘how nice to see your face’.

Did the show cause a fuss?
Self-appointed moral guardians Mary Whitehouse and Sir Cyril Black, MP, were always on the warpath but BBC Director-General Hugh Greene refused to tone down the content. Bold he was. Bold.