The Navy Lark

The Navy Lark[1] is a radio sitcom about life aboard a British Royal Navy frigate named HMS Troutbridge, (a play on HMS Troubridge, a Royal Navy destroyer) based in HMNB Portsmouth. In series 1 and 2, the ship and crew were stationed offshore at an unnamed location known simply as "The Island". In series 2 this island was revealed to be owned by Lt. Cdr. Stanton.

The programme was transmitted on the BBC Light Programme and subsequently BBC Radio 2. It was produced by Alastair Scott Johnston.[2] Jon Pertwee is frequently quoted as having suggested the idea of a forces comedy based on the Royal Navy, but writer Laurie Wyman and Alastair Scott Johnston both contemplated an Air Force and an Army themed sit-com before going to the BBC with The Navy Lark. Laurie Wyman included ideas based on excuses for late return from leave and other misdemeanours from HMS Troubridge bulletins. He worked with George Evans (Pertwee's personal scriptwriter) from quite early on, but Alastair Scott Johnston did not want him named until the 12th series onwards. For most of its run, it starred Leslie Phillips, Jon Pertwee and Stephen Murray, whose names rotated in order of precedence every episode over the entire 15 season run.

Episodes of The Navy Lark series are still replayed in rotation on BBC Radio 4 Extra, and made available for delayed listening through their iPlayer service.[3]

The Navy Lark
GenreComedy
Running time30 minutes
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Home stationBBC Light Programme
StarringLeslie Phillips
Jon Pertwee
Judy Cornwell
Heather Chasen
Ronnie Barker
Dennis Price
Stephen Murray
Richard Caldicot
Michael Bates
Tenniel Evans
Original release1959 – 1977
No. of episodes244 (includes 2 Christmas "Specials" to HMS Troutbridge / Arctic Survey teams 1962 & 1965)

Plot

Episodes were self-contained, although there was continuity within the series, and sometimes a reference to a previous episode might be made. A normal episode consisted of Sub Lt Phillips, scheming Chief Petty Officer Pertwee, and bemused Lt. Murray trying to get out of trouble they created for themselves without their direct superior, Commander (later Captain) "Thunderguts" Povey finding out. Scenes frequently featured a string of eccentric characters, often played by Ronnie Barker or Jon Pertwee. Over the course of the programme Lt Murray marries Admiral Ffont-Bittocks daughter Rita.

The Republic of Potarneyland, a country situated somewhere on the Indian subcontinent, is featured in several episodes. Over the course of the series, it is revealed that Potarneyland had recently been granted independence from Great Britain, and had joined NATO because the Potanis considered it to be a "free gift scheme". During Series 3 of The Navy Lark, a Potarneyland frigate, the Poppadom, appears in several episodes manned by various Potani officers voiced by Michael Bates and Ronnie Barker.

Cast

Production

Radio Times, Navy Lark Extract.jpeg
A Radio Times magazine extract from 1960, showing the cast of the show and promoting the show's return.

The series used accents and characterised voices to supplement the humour, as well as a good deal of innuendo.

The show's theme tune was "Trade Wind Hornpipe" written and performed by Tommy Reilly on a Barry Music compilation of short interlude pieces published in 1958 on BMC118.

The programme was strong on creating identifiable characters, the listener was able to clearly differentiate each person Laurie Wyman created; many of whom acquired enduring catchphrases, most notably from Sub Lieutenant Phillips: "Corrrrr", "Ooh, nasty...", "Oh lumme!", and "Left hand down a bit". "Ev'rybody down!" was a phrase of CPO Pertwee's, necessitated by a string of incomprehensible navigation orders by Phillips, and followed by a sound effect of the ship crashing. Also, whenever Pertwee had a menial job to be done, Able Seaman Johnson was always first in line to do it, inevitably against his will: "You're rotten, you are!". The telephone response from Naval Intelligence (Ronnie Barker), was always an extremely gormless and dimwitted delivery of "'Ello, Intelligence 'ere" or "This is intelligence speakin'".

Other recurring verbal features were the invented words "humgrummit" and "floggle-toggle" which served to cover all manner of unspecified objects ranging from foodstuffs to naval equipment. Unspecified illnesses include "the twingeing screws", a illness to which Pertwee was a martyr, especially when hearing about being under sailing orders.

Reception

The programme made household names of Leslie Phillips, Jon Pertwee and Richard Caldicot. Ronnie Barker's versatile contributions were recognised and Laurie Wyman (later known as Lawrie Wyman) was asked by the producer to write more parts for Barker.

Dennis Price returned for a guest appearance in the fourth series episode A Hole Lieutenant. Other 'guest stars' included April Walker, Norma Ronald and June Whitfield.

Spin-offs and adaptations

There were several radio spin-offs, including The Embassy Lark and The Big Business Lark. The TV Lark was intended to be a replacement for The Navy Lark starting with what would have been the programme's fifth series. This situation came about due to the head of light entertainment believing that "forces"-based humour had become dated and television was the next "big thing", so Lawrie Wyman was ordered to create a show with the same cast in an independent TV station situation. Alastair Scott Johnston and Wyman tried to stop this but were overruled: hence, the arrival of The TV Lark.

The entire crew had been drummed out of the service and hired by Troutbridge TV Ltd. Janet Brown joined the cast due to the absence of Heather Chasen for this series. However, mainly due to public pressure, the production team of Alastair Scott Johnston and Laurie Wyman managed to revert the show to nautical capers. Storylines in The TV Lark nudged back to naval origins across the ten shows until they were finally reunited with Troutbridge.

In 1959 a film version was made, written by Laurie Wyman and Sid Colin and directed by Gordon Parry. It stars Cecil Parker, Ronald Shiner, Elvi Hale, Leslie Phillips and Nicholas Phipps. According to Jon Pertwee's co-written memoir, published shortly after his death in 1996, the film was also supposed to star Pertwee and Dennis Price. However according to Pertwee the film's producer Herbert Wilcox refused to employ Price "because he was gay." Pertwee was among those who objected to Price not being in the film and believed that this contributed to his own replacement in the cast by Shiner. Pertwee noted that the film "bombed" and said audiences did not consider the film to be The Navy Lark due to the absence of himself, Price and Stephen Murray.[7]

Wyman co-wrote with three other writers a television sitcom HMS Paradise (Associated-Rediffusion, 1964–5) set in a naval shore establishment in which Caldicot played Captain Turvey, but only one series was made. The entire series is considered lost.

The show was condensed from 30 to 27 minutes by Transcription services, then the discs were exported around the world except for South Africa. Springbok Radio broadcast to English speaking listeners from their Durban studios, but because it was a commercial station, the BBC refused to allow the station to re-broadcast the recorded shows. However, the station acquired the scripts from Laurie and edited them to around twenty-five minutes each, to accommodate the commercial breaks. The revised show was recorded by local actors in front of a live audience. All the UK associations were kept for the South African audiences which must have been incomprehensible on occasions. The Pumamouse site once offered a chance to hear these shows but the site has undergone changes due to costs which now means the largest collection of these shows exist only at The Navy Lark Appreciation Society archive.

Episode guide

[8]

1st Series Spring 1959[9]
No. First broadcast Title
1. 1- 1 29 Mar 1959 "The Missing Jeep"
2. 1- 2 5 Apr 1959 "Operation Fag End" (pilot episode)
3. 1- 3 12 Apr 1959 "Number One's Chair"
4. 1- 4 19 Apr 1959 "The Fairground Lights"
5. 1- 5 26 Apr 1959 "The Comfort Fund"
6. 1– 6 3 May 1959 "Stuck up the Inlet"
7. 1– 7 10 May 1959 "The Admiral's Party"
8. 1– 8 17 May 1959 "The Hank of Heather"
9. 1– 9 24 May 1959 "The Multiple Mine"
10. 1–10 31 May 1959 "The Gun Mechanism Test"
11. 1-11 7 Jun 1959 "The Whittlesea Bay Yacht Regatta"
12. 1-12 14 Jun 1959 "The Psychology Test"
13. 1-13 21 Jun 1959 "A Watch on the Initiative Test"
14. 1-14 28 Jun 1959 "An Exercise in Filming"
15. 1-15 5 Jul 1959 "The Smuggling Spy"
16. 1-16 12 Jul 1959 "The Whittlesea Carnival and Fête"
2nd Series Autumn 1959[10][11]
No. First broadcast Title
17. 2- 1 16 Oct 1959 "New at the Helm"
18. 2- 2 23 Oct 1959 "Fatso's Box Brownie"
19. 2- 3 30 Oct 1959 "Bring Back the Barge"
20. 2- 4 6 Nov 1959 "The Mock Action"
21. 2- 5 13 Nov 1959 "Going Dutch"
22. 2- 6 20 Nov 1959 "The Figurehead"
23. 2- 7 Nov 27 1959 "Gunboat to Gumba"[12]
24. 2- 8 4 Dec 1959 "Johnson Finds Treasure"
25. 2- 9 11 Dec 1959 "The Charter Trip to Antarctica"
26. 2-10 18 Dec 1959 "Cementing Relations"
27. 2-11 25 Dec 1959 "Strike up the Band"
28. 2-12 1 Jan 1960 "The Route March"[13]
29. 2-13 8 Jan 1960 "A Trip up the Thames"
30. 2-14 15 Jan 1960 "Radar Talk Down System"[14]
31. 2-15 22 Jan 1960 "A Crisp Romance"
32. 2-16 29 Jan 1960 "The Lighthouse Lark"
33. 2-17 5 Feb 1960 "Pertwee Posted to Portsmouth"
34. 2-18 12 Feb 1960 "Johnson's Diet"
35. 2-19 19 Feb 1960 "Tug of War"
36. 2-20 26 Feb 1960 "Return to Portarneyland" [15]

Missing as of 2019.

37. 2-21 4 Mar 1960 "The Cross Country Run"
38. 2-22 11 Mar 1960 "The Morning After"
39. 2-23 18 Mar 1960 "The Admiral's Present"
40. 2-24 25 Mar 1960 "Secret Mission to Calais"
41. 2-25 1 Apr 1960 "Mr Murray Goes Sick"
42. 2-26 8 Apr 1960 "The Portarneyland Fishing Limit"
3rd Series 1960 [16]
No. Title
43. 3- 1 2 Nov 1960 In Portsmouth for a Re-Fit
xx. Sp-01 5 Nov 1960 Wrens' Reunion at the Royal Festival Hall. Not broadcast. The team took part in a special appearance on stage at the Royal Festival Hall, in the presence of The Queen and The Queen Mother, in celebration of the WRNS 21st anniversary. The 20 minute performance was not broadcast, but a recording survives.
44. 3- 2 9 Nov 1960 Refitting Ebeneezer Pertwee's Tug
45. 3- 3 16 Nov 1960 Sea Trials of the Poppadom
46. 3- 4 23 Nov 1960 Mutiny Aboard Troutbridge
47. 3- 5 30 Nov 1960 The Explosive Biscuits
48. 3- 6 7 Dec 1960 Sir Willoughby Takes Over the Island
49. 3- 7 14 Dec 1960 Mount Rumpus Atoll
50. 3- 8 21 Dec 1960 Mr Murray's Houseboat - the 50th show
51. 3- 9 28 Dec 1960 Johnson's Birthday
52. 3-10 4 Jan 1961 Povey's Unexpected Leave
53. 3-11 11 Jan 1961 Families' Day
54. 3-12 18 Jan 1961 Falmouth Ghost Ship
55. 3-13 25 Jan 1961 Onabushkan Flu
56. 3-14 1 Feb 1961 The Efficiency Expert
57. 3-15 8 Feb 1961 The Floggle Grummit Missile
58. 3-16 15 Feb 1961 The Hitch Hiking Counterfeiter
59. 3-17 22 Feb 1961 Commodore Goldstein
60. 3-18 1 Mar 1961 Mr Phillips Has Navigation Tuition
61. 3-19 8 Mar 1961 CPO Pertwee and the Laundry
62. 3-20 15 Mar 1961 The Surprise Wedding. Included in Navy Lark Collection: Series 6 Part 2

4th Series 1961 [17][18]

 63.   4- 1   15 Sep 1961   Returning from Leave        
 64.   4- 2   22 Sep 1961   Captain Povey's Spy      
 65.   4- 3   29 Sep 1961   The Secret of Nessie's Youth
 66.   4- 4   6  Oct 1961   The Northampton Hunt Ball
 67.   4- 5   13 Oct 1961   Hijacked
 68.   4- 6   20 Oct 1961   Admiral Troutbridge
 69.   4- 7   27 Oct 1961   Relatives and Reservations
 70.   4- 8   3  Nov 1961   Humgrummits on the High Seas
 71.   4- 9   10 Nov 1961   Are Captain and Mrs Povey Married?
 72.   4-10   17 Nov 1961   Cine Cameras at Sea
 73.   4-11   24 Nov 1961   The Citizen Adjustment Course
 74.   4-12   1  Dec 1961   A Hole Lieutenant
 75.   4-13   8  Dec 1961   Spy Catching in Casablanca
 76.   4-14   15 Dec 1961   Mount Pot Erupts
 77.   4-15   22 Dec 1961   Captain Povey's Shop
 78.   4-16   29 Dec 1961   Leading Seaman Goldstein's Party
 79.   4-17   5  Jan 1962   The Invitation
 80.   4-18   12 Jan 1962   The Cornish Exercise
                            Missing as of 2019.
 81.   4-19   19 Jan 1962   A Strange Hobby
 82.   4-20   26 Jan 1962   Mr Phillips Get Engaged
 83.   4-21   2  Feb 1962   The Sinking of the Bubble Car
 84.   4-22   9  Feb 1962   Long John Pertwee
 85.   4-23   16 Feb 1962   The Admiral's Accident Report
 86.   4-24   23 Feb 1962   Over the Sea to Rosyth
 87.   4-25   2  Mar 1962   The Return of Sir Frederick Flatley
 88.   4-26   9  Mar 1962   The Ship's Concert

Christmas Special 1962

 xx.   Sp-02  Xmas   1962   Calling The Antarctic. Christmas Special 1962. 
                            Not broadcast in the UK. Released on The Navy Lark: 
                            The Collection: Series 4, Vol 2.

The TV Lark 1963 [19]

 T01.         25 Jan 1963   Opening Night
 T02.         1  Feb 1963   The Prestige Show  
 T03.         8  Feb 1963   Z Ambulances
 T04.         15 Feb 1963   House of Commons
 T05.         22 Feb 1963   Back to Portsmouth
 T06.         1  Mar 1963   On Safari
 T07.         8  Mar 1963   Ship Ahoy!
 T08.         15 Mar 1963   The Portarneyland Election
 T09.         22 Mar 1963   The Top Secret Rocket Trials   
                            Missing as of 2019.
 T10.         29 Mar 1963   Back in the Navy

5th Series spring 1963

 89.   5- 1   5  Apr 1963   First Day out of Dock
 90.   5- 2   12 Apr 1963   The New Barmaid (100th edition)
 91.   5- 3   19 Apr 1963   A Deliberate Bashing
 92.   5- 4   26 Apr 1963   Whittlesea Regatta
 93.   5– 5   3  May 1963   HMS Troutbridge Gets a Rocket
 94.   5– 6   10 May 1963   The Ghost Ship

6th Series autumn 1963 [20][21]

 95.   6- 1   27 Sep 1963   Wren Chasen Returns
 96.   6- 2   4  Oct 1963   On the Carpet
 97.   6- 3   11 Oct 1963   The Bungalese Spies
 98.   6- 4   18 Oct 1963   Troutbridge's Party
 99.   6- 5   25 Oct 1963   Rescuing Admirals
100.   6- 6   1  Nov 1963   Demise of the Depth Charges
101.   6- 7   8  Nov 1963   The Struggle for Promotion
102.   6- 8   15 Nov 1963   Navigation by Computer
103.   6- 9   22 Nov 1963   Stormy Weather
104.   6-10   29 Nov 1963   Chasing the Kepeac
105.   6-11   6  Dec 1963   The Submerged Island
106.   6-12   13 Dec 1963   The Sicilian Secret Agent
107.   6-13   20 Dec 1963   German's Troutbridge
108.   6-14   27 Dec 1963   Confirming Povey's Rank
109.   6-15   3  Jan 1964   The Calais Dock Strike
110.   6-16   10 Jan 1964   Johnson's Memoirs
111.   6-17   17 Jan 1964   The Emperor of Tratvia
112.   6-18   24 Jan 1964   Open Day
113.   6-19   31 Jan 1964   Stuck on a Sandbank

7th Series 1965 [22]

114.   7- 1   11 Jul 1965   Taking Some Liberties
115.   7- 2   18 Jul 1965   Smugglers in the Solent
116.   7- 3   25 Jul 1965   Mr Murray is Victimised
117.   7- 4   1  Aug 1965   The Poveys Move House
118.   7- 5   8  Aug 1965   Captain Povey Reports Sick
119.   7- 6   15 Aug 1965   Admiral Pertwee's Fleet
120.   7- 7   22 Aug 1965   Let Loose with a Chopper
121.   7- 8   29 Aug 1965   Making a Right Pig's Breakfast
122.   7- 9   5  Sep 1965   The Mysterious Pudding Mine
123.   7-10   12 Sep 1965   The Hovercraft Training Course
124.   7-11   19 Sep 1965   Sabotaged Floggle-Toggle Box
125.   7-12   26 Sep 1965   The Portarneyland Training Exercise
126.   7-13   3  Oct 1965   Going on Leave to Croydon

Christmas Special 1965

xxx.   Sp-03  Xmas   1965   Hitting the Ice Floe. (Christmas Special. 
                            Not broadcast in the UK. Released on The Navy Lark:
                            The Collection: Series 7.)

8th Series 1966 [23]

127.   8- 1   4  Sep 1966   Where is Troutbridge?
128.   8- 2   11 Sep 1966   Float a Peddle Fiddle
129.   8- 3   18 Sep 1966   A Sticky Business
130.   8- 4   25 Sep 1966   Buoys Will Be Buoys
131.   8- 5   2  Oct 1966   Steamship Day
132.   8- 6   9  Oct 1966   Farewell to HMS Varsity
133.   8- 7   16 Oct 1966   The Army Lark
134.   8- 8   23 Oct 1966   Just the Ticket
135.   8- 9   30 Oct 1966   Mr Phillips Promotion
136.   8-10   6  Nov 1966   Pertwee and the Tratvian Beer
137.   8-11   13 Nov 1966   The PM Papa
138.   8-12   20 Nov 1966   Getting Rid of Pertwee
139.   8-13   27 Nov 1966   Off to Sea at Last

9th Series 1967 [24]

140.   9- 1   2  Jul 1967   Having Been Towing (a.k.a. Back from the Antarctic)[25]
141.   9- 2   9  Jul 1967   Fishers off the Faroes
142.   9- 3   16 Jul 1967   Cleaning Up (a.k.a. A Filthy Ferryboat)[26]
143.   9- 4   23 Jul 1967   Jigsaws and Jemmies
144.   9- 5   30 Jul 1967   The Naval Review 
145.   9- 6   6  Aug 1967   The Curious Caravan Case
146.   9- 7   13 Aug 1967   Frenchmen in J.41
147.   9- 8   20 Aug 1967   The Police Drop In
148.   9- 9   27 Aug 1967   Mr Murray's Endurance Course
149.   9-10   3  Sep 1967   Women in the Wardroom 
150.   9-11   10 Sep 1967   Troutbridge's Silver Jubilee 
151.   9-12   17 Sep 1967   CECIL the Navigation Computer
152.   9-13   24 Sep 1967   A Russian Rendezvous
153.   9-14   1  Oct 1967   The Bugged and Burgled Beer
154.   9-15   8  Oct 1967   Picking up the Poppadom
155.   9-16   15 Oct 1967   Cuthbert Joins the Navy
156.   9-17   22 Oct 1967   The Flying Machine
157.   9-18   29 Oct 1967   Sub-Lieutenant Phillips was at Dartmouth
156.   9-19   5  Nov 1967   Fishy Business 
159.   9-20   12 Nov 1967   Troutbridge in Quarantine

10th Series 1968 [27]

160.  10- 1   13 Oct 1968   Troutbridge Electrifies Portsmouth
161.  10- 2   20 Oct 1968   The Redundancy Drive
162.  10- 3   27 Oct 1968   The Smugglers Return
163.  10- 4   3  Nov 1968   Commander Trotter Takes Charge
164.  10- 5   10 Nov 1968   The Anti-Submarine Missile
165.  10- 6   17 Nov 1968   Sub-Conductor Phillips
166.  10- 7   24 Nov 1968   The South Kawowan Summit
167.  10- 8   1  Dec 1968   Pertwee's Enlistment Expires
168.  10- 9   8  Dec 1968   Capt. Povey Takes Over
169.  10-10   15 Dec 1968   Sir Willoughby Goes to Kawowa
170.  10-11   22 Dec 1968   The Padre's Birthday
171.  10-12   29 Dec 1968   The Portsmouth Kiosk
172.  10-13   5  Jan 1969   The Radio Beacon
173.  10-14   12 Jan 1969   Mr Phillip's Wrong Uniform
174.  10-15   19 Jan 1969   Harold Wilson Reviews the Fleet
175.  10-16   26 Jan 1969   The Relief of the Weather Ship
176.  10-17   2  Feb 1969   The Mickey Mouse Toothbrush
177.  10-18   9  Feb 1969   The Brick Smugglers

11th Series 1969 [28]

178.  11- 1   28 Dec 1969   Commander Murray and The Squatters
179.  11- 2   4  Jan 1970   What is the S.S.E.?
180.  11- 3   11 Jan 1970   Pertwee Climbs Up The Promotion Ladder
181.  11- 4   18 Jan 1970   Stranded 
182.  11- 5   25 Jan 1970   Sir Willoughby's Party
183.  11- 6   1  Feb 1970   The Fleet Initiative Test
184.  11- 7   8  Feb 1970   C.P.O. Pertwee's Long Service Medal
185.  11- 8   15 Feb 1970   The Phenomenal Pertwee Tug
186.  11- 9   22 Feb 1970   The Security Clampdown
187.  11-10   1  Mar 1970   The Anniversary and the Washing
188.  11-11   8  Mar 1970   The Forbodians Hijack Troutbridge
189.  11-12   15 Mar 1970   Number One Gets Married
190.  11-13   22 Mar 1970   The Honeymooners Return
191.  11-14   29 Mar 1970   C.P.O. Pertwee and the Lead Half Crowns
192.  11-15   5  Apr 1970   Sub-Lt Phillips to Leave for Dartmouth
193.  11-16   12 Apr 1970   The Mark 31 Radar

12th Series 1971 [29]

194.  12– 1   16 May 1971   The Put-a-Horse-out-to-Graze Fund
195.  12– 2   23 May 1971   Impressions for Survival
196.  12– 3   30 May 1971   The Beard-Growing Race
197.  12- 4   6  Jun 1971   The Mysterious Radio Signals
198.  12- 5   13 Jun 1971   Operation Recovery
199.  12- 6   20 Jun 1971   The Slogan Contest
200.  12- 7   27 Jun 1971   Sir Willoughby at Shanghai
201.  12- 8   4  Jul 1971   Operation Cowes Barge
202.  12- 9   11 Jul 1971   Number One's Anniversary
203.  12-10   18 Jul 1971   The Loch Ness Monster

13th Series 1972 [30]

204.  13- 1   26 Mar 1972   The TV Documentary
205.  13- 2   2  Apr 1972   The P.O.W. Escape Exercise
206.  13- 3   9  Apr 1972   Number One's Married Quarters
207.  13- 4   16 Apr 1972   The Newhaven-Dieppe Smuggling Run
208.  13- 5   23 Apr 1972   The Bumble Spit Lighthouse Affair
209.  13- 6   30 Apr 1972   The Tongipouhaha Treasure
210.  13– 7   7  May 1972   The USA Navigator Swap
211.  13– 8   14 May 1972   Son of a Sea Lord
212.  13– 9   21 May 1972   Hypnotising Ramona
213.  13–10   28 May 1972   The Master of Sardinia
214.  13-11   4  Jun 1972   Opportunity Knockers
215.  13-12   11 Jun 1972   Friday the 13th
216.  13-13   18 Jun 1972   The New NAAFI

14th Series 1973 [31]

217.  14- 1   29 Jul 1973   The Montezuela Revolution
218.  14- 2   5  Aug 1973   The Island Swordfish
219.  14- 3   12 Aug 1973   Bunged in the Rattle
220.  14- 4   19 Aug 1973   Kangaroo Polka
221.  14- 5   26 Aug 1973   The Digital Isles Go Unstable
222.  14- 6   2  Sep 1973   Egbert Hitches a Ride
223.  14- 7   9  Sep 1973   Povey an Admiral at Last
224.  14- 8   16 Sep 1973   The Bergan Horse Trials
225.  14- 9   23 Sep 1973   Captain Povey's Wig
226.  14-10   30 Sep 1973   Brain Pill
227.  14-11   7  Oct 1973   Operation Showcase
228.  14-12   14 Oct 1973   CPO Pertwee Yachtmonger
229.  14-13   21 Oct 1973   The Talpinium Shell

15th Series 1975

230.  15- 1   9  Nov 1975   Sequel to the Talpinium Shell
231.  15- 2   16 Nov 1975   NANA
232.  15- 3   23 Nov 1975   Helen, the New Wren
233.  15- 4   30 Nov 1975   Relief for Station 150
234.  15- 5   7  Dec 1975   Black is Beautiful
235.  15- 6   14 Dec 1975   Sidney and the Stamp
236.  15- 7   21 Dec 1975   Riding to Victory (aka Commander Murray Becomes a 
                            Showjumper)
237.  15- 8   28 Dec 1975   Horrible Horace
238.  15- 9   4  Jan 1976   Officer's and Gent's Lib
239.  15-10   11 Jan 1976   The Case of the HGM Mark 5
240.  15-11   18 Jan 1976   Uncle Wilberforce Pertwee

Special 1977

xxx.  Sp-04   16 Jul 1977   The BBC Are Sending The Bill To Buckingham Palace
                            (Queen's Silver Jubilee Edition)
Special 2006

13 May 2006 Left Hand Down a Bit - With Leslie Phillips. BBC Radio 7 broadcast of selection of episodes over 3 hours presented by Leslie Phillips. Featured:[32]

  • Operation Fag End (January 1959)
  • The Hank of Heather (April 1959)
  • The Lighthouse Lark (January 1960)
  • A Deliberate Bashing (April 1963)
  • Mr. Phillips at Dartmouth (October 1967)
  • The Jubilee Navy Lark (July 1977)
The Reunion

31 Aug 2008, BBC Radio 4 programme The Reunion. Sue MacGregor presents the series which reunites a group of people intimately involved in a moment of modern history. She brings together some of the original team behind The Navy Lark. Participants included June Whitfield, Leslie Phillips, George Evans, Heather Chasen and Tenniel Evans.

References

  1. ^ "The Navy Lark - BBC Radio 4 Extra". BBC. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  2. ^ "An Exercise in Filming, Series 1, The Navy Lark - BBC Radio 4 Extra". BBC.
  3. ^ "The Smuggling Spy, Series 1, The Navy Lark - BBC Radio 4 Extra". BBC.
  4. ^ Obituary of Jon Pertwee in The Independent
  5. ^ Obituary of Ronnie Barker in The Times
  6. ^ Obituary of Tenniel Evens in The Independent
  7. ^ Pertwee, Jon; Howe, David J. (1996). I am the Doctor:Jon Pertwee's Final Memoir. London: Doctor Who Books, Virgin Publishing Ltd. p. 20. ISBN 1-85227-621-5.
  8. ^ "The Navy Lark (a Titles and Air Dates Guide)". Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  9. ^ "Navy Lark Series 1 Booklet". Scribd. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  10. ^ "Navy Lark Series 2 Pt 1 Booklet". Scribd. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  11. ^ "Navy Lark Series 2 Pt 2 Booklet". Scribd. Retrieved 8 July 2016.
  12. ^ The script is included on "The Navy Lark Series Two Volume 1". Episode on 'The Navy Lark: The Collection: Series 12
  13. ^ The script is included in "The Navy Lark Series Two Volume 1." Episode on 'The Navy Lark:The Collection: Series 7
  14. ^ Episode on 'Navy Lark Collection: Series 12"
  15. ^ This is still missing in 2015, but the script is included on "The Navy Lark Series Two Volume 2".
  16. ^ "Navy Lark Series 3 Booklet". Scribd. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  17. ^ "Navy Lark Series 4 Pt 1 Booklet". Scribd. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  18. ^ "Navy Lark Series 4 Pt 2 Booklet". Scribd. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  19. ^ "Navy Lark Series 5 Booklet". Scribd. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  20. ^ "Navy Lark Series 6 Pt 1 Booklet". Scribd. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  21. ^ "Navy Lark Series 6 Pt 2 Booklet". Scribd. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  22. ^ "Navy Lark Series 7 Booklet". Scribd. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  23. ^ "Navy Lark Series 8 Booklet". Scribd. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  24. ^ "Navy Lark Series 9 Booklet". Scribd. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  25. ^ "The Navy Lark, Having Been Towing". BBC Radio 4 Extra. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  26. ^ "The Navy Lark, Cleaning Up". BBC Radio 4 Extra. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  27. ^ "Navy Lark Series 10 Booklet". Scribd. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  28. ^ "Navy Lark Series 11 Booklet". Scribd. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  29. ^ "Navy Lark Series 12 Booklet". Scribd. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  30. ^ "Navy Lark Series 13". Scribd. Retrieved 17 July 2016.
  31. ^ "The Navy Lark Series 14 Booklet". Scribd. BBC. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  32. ^ "The Navy Lark: Left Hand Down A Bit! - BBC Radio 4 Extra". BBC.

External links

Deep Trouble (radio comedy series)

Deep Trouble is a BBC radio comedy series, written by and starring Jim Field Smith and Ben Willbond, which first aired on BBC Radio 4 in October 2005.

It takes place in the year 2012, aboard HMS Goliath, a Royal Navy stealth nuclear submarine, and follows the trials and tribulations of the submarine's chaotic crew, underneath their inept commanding officer, Captain Paul Wade (played by Jim Field Smith) and his officers Lieutenant Trainor, Weapons Officer (played by Ben Willbond), Commander Alison Fairbanks, second-in-command (played by Katherine Jakeways). The series has also included a fourth regular character - in season one only this was Petty Officer Lucy Radcliffe (played by Miranda Raison) and in season two this was Alice Barry, Computer and Weapons Expert (played by Alice Lowe).

The series parodies several features of the submarine genre established by The Hunt for Red October and Crimson Tide and as such its announcer is a version of Tom Clancy.

Series One started on Thursday 20 October 2005, and the series contains four episodes in total: "Startled Deer", "Special Relationship", "Prize Hamper", and "Crispy Duck".

Series Two started on Thursday 24 May 2007.

Writing for The Times, Chris Campling compared the programme favourably to the famous Naval radio sitcom The Navy Lark and called Deep Trouble "hilarious". It was also selected as a 'Pick of the Day' by Phil Daoust of the Guardian on 24 May 2007.The series was produced and directed by David Tyler at Pozzitive Television for BBC Radio 4.

Frank Thornton

Frank Thornton Ball (15 January 1921 – 16 March 2013) professionally known as Frank Thornton, was an English actor. He was known for playing Captain Peacock in Are You Being Served? and its sequel Grace & Favour (Are You Being Served? Again!) and as Truly in Last of the Summer Wine.

Gordon Harris (actor)

Gordon Harris (1918 – 1965), was an English actor who appeared in films such as Murder, She Said (1961), Murder at the Gallop (1963), as well as The Navy Lark (1959).

Before beginning his acting career, Harris was a professional soldier and served as a Major in the British Army's Devonshire Regiment.

Heather Chasen

Heather Jean Chasen (born 20 July 1927) is an English actress. Chasen is known for her roles in soap operas; playing Valerie Pollard in the ITV soap opera Crossroads from 1982–86 and guest roles in Doctors, Holby City and Family Affairs. Chasen also played many roles in BBC Radio 2's The Navy Lark from 1959–77, and appeared in the television series Marked Personal from 1973–74. She played Lydia Simmonds in the BBC soap opera EastEnders, a role which received positive reviews from critics, EastEnders cast members and crew. Furthermore, she has appeared extensively in theatre productions and film; in 2012, she appeared in a film version of Les Misérables.

Jon Pertwee

John Devon Roland Pertwee (7 July 1919 – 20 May 1996), known professionally as Jon Pertwee, was an English actor, comedian, entertainer and cabaret performer.

Pertwee was born into a theatrical family. After service in the Royal Navy and the Naval Intelligence Division during the Second World War, in his early career he worked as a vaudeville comedian, which included performing at the Glasgow Empire Theatre and sharing a bill with Max Wall and Jimmy James. As an actor, Pertwee appeared in many comedy roles, including four films in the Carry On series.

Pertwee became known for spending 18 years (1959–1977) playing Chief Petty Officer Pertwee (and three other roles) in the popular series The Navy Lark on BBC Radio, as well as starring on television as the Third Doctor in the science-fiction series Doctor Who between 1970 and 1974. He had further success playing the title character in the television series Worzel Gummidge from 1979 to 1981 (reprising the role from 1987 to 1989). Towards the end of his life, he maintained a close association with Doctor Who by appearing at many fan conventions related to the series and giving interviews. He also performed a one-man show called Who Is Jon Pertwee?.

Judy Cornwell

Judy Valerie Cornwell (born 22 February 1940) is an English actress best known for her role as Daisy in the successful British sitcom Keeping Up Appearances (1990 - 1995). She also played Anya Claus in the 1985 film Santa Claus: The Movie.

Leslie Phillips

Leslie Samuel Phillips (born 20 April 1924) is an English actor known for his work in the Carry On, Doctor in the House, and Harry Potter film series.

List of ship names of the Royal Navy

This is an alphabetical list of the names of all ships that have been in service with the Royal Navy, or with predecessor fleets formally in the service of the Kingdom of England or the Commonwealth of England. The list also includes fictional vessels which have prominently featured in literature about the Royal Navy. Many of the names have been re-used over the years and thus represent more than one ship.

Altogether over 13,000 ships have been in service with the Royal Navy.Note that, unlike many other naval services, the Royal Navy designates certain types of shore establishment (e.g. barracks, naval air stations and training establishments) as "ships" and names them accordingly. These establishments are often referred to in service slang as stone frigates.

Merry-Go-Round (radio programme)

Merry-Go-Round, also known as Mediterranean Merry-Go-Round and Middle East Merry-Go-Round, was a BBC comedy-variety radio show introduced as entertainment for British troops during World War II. It led to several spin-offs, such as Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh, Waterlogged Spa and Puffney Post Office. It provided the first major role for Jon Pertwee, who would later star in The Navy Lark and as the Third Doctor in Doctor Who.

Oozlum bird

The oozlum bird, also spelled ouzelum, is a legendary creature found in Australian and British folk tales and legends. Some versions have it that, when startled, the bird will take off and fly around in ever-decreasing circles until it manages to fly up its own backside, disappearing completely, which adds to its rarity. Other sources state that the bird flies backwards so that it can admire its own beautiful tail feathers, or because while it does not know where it is going, it likes to know where it has been.The Oxford English Dictionary describes it as "[a] mythical bird displaying ridiculous behaviour" and speculates that the word could have been suggested by the word ouzel, meaning a blackbird (Turdus merula). The earliest citation recorded by the dictionary dates from 1858.A variant of the oozlum, possibly a mutation, is the weejy weejy bird, which has only one wing which causes it to fly in tighter, faster, smaller circles, until it disappears up its own fundament. The oozlefinch is an American relative without feathers that flies backwards ("to keep dust, trivia, and other inconsequentia out of his eyes") at supersonic speeds, and preys on enemy bombers, which it rips from the sky. The oozlefinch has been adopted as the unofficial mascot of the United States Air Defense Artillery.

The oozlum bird was the subject of the 1970 British film Carry On Up the Jungle. There was also a recurring joke in an episode of the BBC radio comedy, The Navy Lark that Lt Commander Murray (Stephen Murray) did not know what the oozlum bird was. Sub Lieutenant Phillips (Leslie Phillips) suggested that when young, oozlum birds fly straight, and it is only when they turn left that the trouble starts.

The oozlum bird is sometimes used as a symbol of self-reference and circular argumentation. For example, author Charles Seife wrote: "Like the mythical oozlum bird, Wikipedia seems to have the ability to fly around in ever decreasing circles until it flies right up its own rectum."The fabulous qualities of the oozlum bird are the subject of a poem by W. T. Goodge (1862–1909). In the poem The Oozlum Bird, the bird is said to fly backwards and has the singular ability of being able to fly up in the air while letting the earth turn under it. The bird is said to be large enough to bear the weight of a man.

Richard Caldicot

Richard Caldicot (7 October 1908 in London – 16 October 1995) was an English actor famed for his role of Commander (later Captain) Povey in the BBC radio series The Navy Lark. He also appeared often on television, memorably as the obstetrician delivering Betty Spencer's baby in Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em. His father was a civil servant and he attended Dulwich College. He then appeared in repertory theatre and on the West End stage (in the original production of Journey's End) from 1928. He found success in 1947 when he appeared in a stage production of Edward, My Son. His film debut was in The Million Pound Note (1954).Caldicot's television appearances include The Four Just Men, The Prisoner: "Many Happy Returns", Steptoe and Son, Vanity Fair, and Coronation Street. He was also seen in the United States on The Beverly Hillbillies.Caldicot worked virtually right up till his death in October 1995.

Richard Coleman

Richard Coleman (20 January 1930 – 16 December 2008) was a British television and stage actor.

Stephen Murray (actor)

Stephen Umfreville Hay Murray (6 September 1912 – 31 March 1983) was an English cinema, radio, theatre and television actor.

Tenniel Evans

Walter Tenniel Evans (17 May 1926 – 10 June 2009) was a British actor and, latterly, clergyman.

The Big Business Lark

The Big Business Lark is a radio comedy sitcom of partly satirical form broadcast in 1969. It stars Jimmy Edwards and Frank Thornton and was written by Lawrie Wyman as a spin-off from The Navy Lark, although no characters crossed over between the two shows. In a sense, the spin-off element was in The X Lark name format.

The show is set in the boardroom of fictional company British United Plastics, and concerns with the business machinations of the chairman, Sir Charles Boniface (Edwards), and his son and deputy chairman, Frank Boniface (Thornton). Plots included landing an order to provide the Red Army with plastic tents, a trip to America to make a good deal from another board member's mistake and an attempt to find a plastic novelty made by the firm for breakfast cereal boxes.

The main production ingredient of the company is a patented indestructible plastic named Polystumer. It can be molded for statues (Ep 11), used for novelty items (Ep 10), used as armour for tanks in which capacity it can repel mortar bombs (Ep 12) or used for plastic clothing (Ep 2) carpets, bathroom fixtures and fittings (Ep 1).

The comedy was more broad farce than subtle satire with Edwards playing a bluff, hard-drinking, chauvinist old rogue character and Thornton his more proper sidekick, analogous to the same role he played against Derek Francis in the other Navy Lark spin-off, The Embassy Lark.

Thirteen episodes were made and off-air recordings of all episodes are in circulation.

The Embassy

The Embassy may refer to:

The Embassy (band), a Swedish music group

The Embassy (professional wrestling), a professional wrestling faction in Ring of Honor

World Professional Darts Championship, a championship previously referred to as The Embassy

The Embassy Lark, a radio comedy series broadcast from 1966 to 1968 as a spin-off from The Navy Lark

The Embassy Visual Effects, a visual effects studio located in Vancouver, Canada

The Embassy (TV series), a 2014 Australian factual television series

The Embassy Lark

The Embassy Lark is a radio comedy series broadcast from 1966 to 1968 as a spin-off from The Navy Lark. It was written by Lawrie Wyman and starred Frank Thornton and Derek Francis. It was produced by Sir Alistair Scott-Johnston. Three series, of 13, 14 and 15 episodes, were made.

The show was set in the British Embassy in the fictional country of Tratvia and was concerned with the various (mis)adventures of the British Ambassador Sir Jeremy Crichton-Buller (Francis) and his First Secretary Henry Pettigrew (Thornton) as they tried to keep smooth relations between Tratvia, Whitehall and the other Embassies (China, the USSR and the U.S.). Plots included a sudden requirement to hold a multinational concert in Tratvia with a major hydro-electric contract going to the best entertainment, a boundary dispute over oil fields and numerous examples of the Tratvian authorities attempting to get as much money or services from the Embassy staff as possible. Although written as a broad farce and straight-ahead sitcom, there was thus an undercurrent of xenophobic satire also present. Tratvia was an absolute monarchy, ruled by the fat and greedy, but always very sly, King Hildebrand III. Although never specifically located, Tratvia seems likely to have been a loose parody of the Balkans.

Like all Wyman's comedy, a lot of mileage was gained from peculiar accents, with the other Ambassadors being the most frequent target. Unlike later spin-off The Big Business Lark, there was a crossover between this and the parent series with Francis appearing in both series and Leslie Phillips making an appearance in his Navy Lark character of "silly ass" Sub-Lieutenant Phillips in the spin-off. Also in one episode, HMS Troutbridge visits Tratvia with Ronnie Barker as Commander Bell and Able Seaman Johnson, Stephen Murray as Lt Murray and Lawrie Wyman as Tiddy all reprising characters from the Navy Lark though there were no other characters from the previous series in the show. Richard Caldicot and Heather Chasen also both appeared in separate episodes though not as their Navy Lark characters.

Off-air recordings of all 42 episodes have survived and are readily available from Old Time Radio sites and newsgroups. Occasional repeats have turned up on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

The episode "National Grumpschnog Week" has been released as an extra on the BBC's "Navy Lark Series 8" compendium of CDs.

The Navy Lark (film)

The Navy Lark is a 1959 British comedy film based on The Navy Lark radio series broadcast on the BBC Light Programme. It featured Cecil Parker, Ronald Shiner and Leslie Phillips, Gordon Jackson and Hattie Jacques. It was filmed mainly at West Bay, Bridport, Dorset. Only Phillips had appeared from the radio version – all other parts were recast. The film was produced at Walton-on-Thames.

Truly, Madly, Bletchley

Truly, Madly, Bletchley was a BBC Radio 4 comedy series from 1997 written by and starring comedian and impressionist Julian Dutton and produced by Dirk Maggs. Series 2 was produced by Andy Aliffe.

Starring Julian Dutton, Liz Fraser, David Battley, Toby Longworth and Simon Godley, Truly, Madly, Bletchley follows a group of Councillors who decide to start their own public access cable radio show.

A surreal take on small-town life, the series mixed stream-of-consciousness sketches with a nod to the vivacious world of 1950's variety, including a musical interlude from spoof tea-dance band, Enrico Valdez and his Orchestra, with accordionist Micky Binelli and singer Cleo Rocos, of Kenny Everett Show fame. In series two the cast included Stephen Critchlow, Matthew Bell and Peter Hugo-Daly.

The show attracted praise from reviewers: "The most confident radio sitcom since The Navy Lark," - Independent on Sunday.

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