Home TV by Decade TV Shows - 1950s Secombe and Friends

Secombe and Friends

1 9 5 9 (UK)
3 x 60 minute episodes
1 9 6 6 (UK)
1 x 60 minute episode

In this 3 part ATV variety series, Harry Secombe played host to guests including Stanley Baker, Lionel Blair, Hattie Jacques, Harry Worth, Spike Milligan, Donald Houston and Bill Fraser.

The shows were aired in black and white and music was courtesy of Jack Parnell and his orchestra.

Secombe returned for a one-off show in 1966, where he was joined by Tony Hancock, Michael Bentine, Danny La Rue, Stanley Baker, Richard Burton, Roy Castle, Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers and Donald Houston.

Born in Swansea, South Wales, Harry Secombe began singing as a child in local church choirs. His first job was as a clerk and during World War II he served in the Army in North Africa and Italy.

He met the comedian Spike Milligan while on duty in the Western desert and their common bond was a unique brand of humour. Secombe appeared in many troop concerts where he was known for his trademark high pitched laugh and blowing raspberries.

After the war he appeared as a comic at London’s famous Windmill Theatre and in 1945 became one of the stalwarts of the hugely successful radio series Educating Archie.

His greatest popularity began in 1951 with the birth of radio’s Crazy People, later to be renamed The Goon Show. One of the most famous radio comedy programmes of all time it helped launch the careers of Secombe, Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers and Michael Bentine.

Whilst The Goon Show was in its prime the comedy team made several films associated with the series including Down Among the Z Men (1952).

His most notable film work began with Davy (1957) in which he played a music hall performer who auditions for an opera at Convent Garden. It was meant as a star vehicle for him but was not a box office success.

International audiences became familiar with him when he played Mr Bumble, the beadle in Oliver! (1968)