1 9 6 0 (UK)
6 x 30 minute episodes
It’s title inspired by the initials of the television company that produced the series (ATV), Arthur’s Treasured Volumes is an underrated and unfairly forgotten TV gem.
Although regarded as the ultimate ‘end-of-the-pier’ performer and in spite of a hugely successful BBC radio series, Arthur Askey had great difficulty in finding a starring vehicle for television that was met with approval by both critics and viewers alike.
In 1960 the diminutive comedian renewed an earlier successful association with producer Bill Ward, who had masterminded Arthur’s earlier success on BBC with Before Your Very Eyes.
Ward acquired the services of experienced scriptwriter Dave Freeman who came up with a formula in which Arthur’s real-life daughter (actress Anthea Askey) would pull a book down from a shelf and begin reading it to her father.
This would be the cue for Arthur and his regular cast of supporting characters to launch themselves into the plot.
Many other guest stars, who would soon become household names in their own right, appeared throughout the series, including Wilfrid Brambell, June Whitfield, Barbara Mitchell and Geoffrey Palmer.
Regular supporting roles were played by Sam Kydd (as Captain Murphy) and Arthur Mullard (as Briggs). But the real star of the show was Askey himself whose personality positively shone through as he joked and ad-libbed his way from beginning to end of each episode.
A Blow in Anger | The History of Mr Lacey | The Command Performer | The Curse of the Bellfoots | A Slight Case of Deception | Pillbeam of Twickenham