by Mark McKay (reprinted from LAUGH MAGAZINE #15, 1996)
On the face of it, it had all been done before. The memory stretches back to pioneer broadcaster and film star, Will Hay, who made an enormous impact as the seedy and disreputable principal of St. Michael’s School for Boys. A decade or two later and we saw Alastair Sim go one further, appearing as both Headmaster and Headmistress on the screen (the latter, of course, of that infamous den of delinquents, St. Trinian’s School for Girls).
Yet, in spite of all that had gone before, a 1950s television series presenting life behind the ivy-covered walls of Chiselbury public school, can rightly be regarded as unique. A delicate blend of subtlety and slapstick, the classroom had never been funnier.
The Whack-O! story begins in 1956 with writers Frank Muir and Denis Norden. Having written almost exclusively for radio for the past ten years (most significantly with Take It From Here and Bedtime With Braden), they were now eager to work for the new, burgeoning medium.
This led to a meeting between Head of Light Entertainment (or ‘HOLE’) for BBCTV, Ronnie Waldman and TIFH star, Jimmy Edwards, during the course of which an offer of employment was put forward. Edwards accepted and threw in some of his own ideas. Essentially, he wanted to develop his music hall schoolmaster turn, which saw him, kitted in academic gown and mortarboard hat, addressing the audience as though they were his students.
As Professor James Edwards, conniving Headmaster of that most ignominious of boys’ schools, Jim was in his element. Indeed, he even brought some practical experience to the role.
Before going up to Cambridge, where he was to pick up a Master of Arts for his troubles, Edwards joined the staff of a junior school in Kent for a term. Incredibly, he maintained that he was unable to command any discipline from the boys. Certainly the cane-wielding Head of Chiselbury gave no evidence of any shortcoming in this area. Pupils and teachers alike trembled upon entering Jim’s study, appropriately nick-named “the house of the swinging bamboo”.
More terrified than most was the assistant Headmaster, Mr. Oliver Pettigrew, as portrayed by talented character actor, Arthur Howard. Muir and Norden decided the situation called for someone upon whom Jim could vent his spleen (“All comedians need somebody to bully!” as Edwards explained). When it came to casting, Frank remembered his old RAF entertainments officer during the war.
Arthur, brother of Gone With The Wind star, Leslie Howard, is a delight to watch, as his expressive face shows the constant turmoil in his soul. Torn between loyalty for his Headmaster and unwillingness to compromise his sense of decency and justice, he comes across as a dithering buffoon. “I may be a fool, but. . .” he would protest to his superior, before being cut short with “No buts about it, Pettigrew!”
Other regulars to the common room included senile octogenarian, Mr. Dinwiddie (“He’s past it — we shall have to get another PT instructor”), incompetent geography master, Mr. Halliforth, and a succession of sexy cockney matrons, more occupied with tending to the needs of their employer than those of the boys in their care.
The plots frequently represented microcosms of military strategy. One could only admire the methods by which Edwards avoided attack on three flanks, often playing one off against the others. His chief antagonists were the school governors, appalled by his scholastic record and wise to his tricks, parents, unimpressed by their sons’ progress, dissident masters, disgruntled with their poverty-line salaries, and (perhaps the most intimidating of them all) the young terrors of the Lower Third, crafty beyond belief.
Yet “lucky Jim” usually came out on top, unhindered as he was by moral considerations or pangs of conscience. Any means to an end for the Professor: bribery, deceit, blackmail, abuse, flattery, violence or even pleading on bended knee were merely the weapons in his armoury, ready for use whenever his enemies threatened.
But what of Chiselbury itself? A visitor to this venerable seat of learning (so called because it has no standing) will first notice the surrounding high stone wall, designed to keep the undesirable elements in. A sign on the gate proclaims “Chiselbury School, for the sons of gentlefolk”. With good reason too — at 110 guineas a term, not including extras (such as food, bedding and use of the bathroom), it seems only the nobility can afford to send their sons here. Naturally, doors open instantly to school leavers — specifically those of the labour exchange and Pentonville.
The curriculum covers gambling, forgery, and the three ‘R’s — rumpus, riots and rebellion. But rest assured, the more conventional subjects are not neglected. The mathematics teacher is pleased to report that his class has come to grips with the metric system: “The boys have been putting feet into metres, Headmaster” — “Dear dear, as if l haven’t got enough trouble with the gas company.”
Most of the shows went out live, with stills of the school clock inserted to cover any scene or costume changes. Jim remembers Liz Fraser, playing matron, once entering the Headmaster’s study four pages too early: “In a brilliant improvisation I said to her, ‘Matron, you’re far too early — get out!’.” Supposedly, the audience were none the wiser.
Between the fourth and fifth seasons, production began on a feature-length film treatment, directed by Mario Zampi. Michael Pertwee penned an original screenplay, but a few familiar scenes from episodes Top School, Exposure! and The Student Price resurfaced. Not to mention a generous helping of Muir & Norden one-liners.
Choice moments include a simultaneous public beating of five boys, with the Head brandishing an obscenely long cane (“Once more into the breeches”), and Jim’s loss of half a moustache in a close-range explosion (“Semi-detashed! “). Support was provided by Melvyn Hayes and Donald Hewlett (both better known today for It Ain’t Half Hot Mum) and a very young Richard Briers. Released under the title Bottoms Up!, it has happily worn well and is still capable of giving the chuckle muscle a thorough work-out.
Back on the small screen, episodes were now being recorded on telecine to enable repeat screenings and for overseas distribution. Along with Hancock’s Half Hour, Whack-O! was now able to enjoy success on television screens in such far-off locations as Australia (in all, 17 episodes from series 5, 6 and 7 were included in the package).
Shortly after the last television episodes were in the can, Whack-O! became the first TV sitcom to be recorded for sound only, a trend which has continued with Steptoe & Son, The Likely Lads, Dad’s Army, Yes Minister, and more recently One Foot In The Grave. The original scripts were adapted by David Climie, and production was by Edward Taylor, later responsible for The Men From The Ministry.
No sooner had the series begun than, in a typical case of real life imitating art, a Chiselbury master found himself doing ‘bird’! Amazingly, it was the meek Mr. Pettigrew, who, although billed in Radio Times, was unable to attend recordings whilst he was detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure!
Widower Arthur Howard stood trial for importuning (or more precisely “cottaging”, the street term for frequenting public toilets with homosexual intent) on June 2 1961, with Muir and Norden accepted as sureties. A fine of £25 was imposed. The scandal clearly worried the BBC, and consequently he never returned to Whack-O!. His place was taken by Taylor-discovery Roddy Maude-Roxby, fortunately quite wonderful as the adenoidal Aubrey Potter.
In 1971, Chiselbury returned to TV, but now in colour and making the most of modern studio technology. The dust was blown off thirteen old scripts, which were performed by a new cast (including Julian Orchard as Pettigrew) for transmission in an early evening timeslot. Asked how difficult it was to get back into the role, Jimmy confided that “to play this frightful character is no effort at all.”
Tragically, it appears that Whack-O! is destined to be remembered only in audio form. Only two original black and white episodes remain in the BBC vaults, together with one edition from the 1970s revivals. We live in hope that others will come to light, but in the meantime, retribution is called for. BBC archivists, report to Jim’s study for a whacking!
Titles for series 7 are taken from the script cover pages. In addition, titles were supplied for the 17 shows from series 5, 6 & 7 (all except 6/6) issued for overseas use. Other titles given are unofficial.
Starring Jimmy Edwards (Professor James Edwards), Arthur Howard (Mr. Oliver Pettigrew), Edwin Apps (Mr. Halliforth) (from series 3)
BBC, Thursdays 7.30pm (1), 8.00pm (2-5), 7.45pm (6).Fortnightly, 4 October to 13 December 1956 (6 x30 min)
1/1 October 4 1956
1/2 October 18 1956 Top School
(based on final sketch from Take It From Here 9/17 [31 Jan 1956])
Forced to demonstrate scholastic achievement, the Headmaster decides to enter Chiselbury in a radio school quiz programme. To ensure a win, masters are dressed as boys and the answers are relayed up to the cricket scoreboard.
1/3 November 1 1956 The French Mistress
A sexy Latin mistress from Paris on a temporary Anglo-French teachers’ exchange, has boys and masters alike fluttering around her ‘like a lot of old bees round a young honey’. Jim decides this can’t go on, and chooses one lucky member of staff to spend the evening with Mam’selle.
1/4 November 15 1956
1/5 November 29 1956 The Student Prince
A distinguished visitor, Prince Gopal of Jakari, turns out to be an 11 year old boy wishing to continue his education at Chiselbury. Chaos breaks out when the VIP student does a bunk just as Mr. Burgess of the Foreign Office is due to visit.
1/6 December 13 1956 The Book Prizes
When Lady Uppingham withdraws from the book prize-giving ceremony, Jim has to manage with only 17 dust jackets and one spicy confiscated novel, Piccadilly Gun Moll.
SP September 28 1957 These Are The Shows
featured a Whack-O! segment.
BBC, Tuesdays 7.30pm. Weekly, 1 October to 3 December 1957 (10 x 30 min)
2/1 October 1 1957 The TV Set
Brigadier Taplow wants to see the new TV he has donated to the school, unaware that it is no longer in a working condition. The staff and students are forced to create their own broadcast, projected into the empty TV case via a giant pen-scope.
2/2 October 8 1957 The Girl
Professor Edwards awaits the arrival of Harry Littlewood, son of the British Consul-General to Fernando Po. But when young Harry turns out to be a ‘Harriet’, a deception must be staged, with Pettigrew playing the Consul-General’s wife.
2/3 October 15 1957 Jim’s Attempt To Win Respect
Following a spate of schoolboy pranks, the school governor warns the Head that he must earn the boys’ admiration. Jim decides to be seen saving the school trophies from a dangerous, armed burglar (Pettigrew).
2/4 October 22 1957 The Marchioness
When Jim hears Dr. Sopwith of Melchester is to meet a new prospective parent, the Marchioness of Retford, he ensures that Chiselbury will take on her 13 year old son instead. However the Marchioness insists on a married Headmaster, and a suitable woman cannot be found.
2/5October 29 1957 The £25 Outing Money
(based on The Glums from Take It From Here 10/12 [20.3.57])
The Headmaster finds himself needing to replace the Lower Third’s outing money, which he has borrowed to purchase a Ph.D. gown and degree. Suddenly hope is offered in the guise of an old schoolboy burglar and a falsified insurance claim.
2/6 November 5 1957 Pettigrew Takes Over (unconfirmed)
The school governor is aghast when Wordsworth’s Daffodils is judged the winner of the original poetry competition, and Edwards is sacked. Pettigrew is duly promoted, introducing new ‘progressive education’ policies.
2/7 November 12 1957#
2/8 November 19 1957#
2/9 November 26 1957#
2/10 December 3 1957 The End-Of-Term Report (unconfirmed)
On the last day of term, Jim has written a vindictive damning report. As a result, he falls victim to a campaign of psychological warfare, aimed at persuading him to produce a more favourable assessment.
# These storylines correspond to three unidentified episodes:
The School Council
In a sentimental mood on his birthday, the Professor is persuaded by the boys to set up a joint School Council.
The Grange School For Boys
‘The Grange’ next door has become a rival boys’ school, but Prof. Edwards is determined it will not be granted a licence when the ministry inspector calls tomorrow. Dressed in Nicholas Nickleby costume from the school play, he poses as the Headmaster.
The Cricket Pavilion Fire
Jim is caught in the act of setting fire to the school, in an attempt to cover up a burnt-out new cricket pavilion. He tries to transfer the blame.
BBC, Tuesdays 7.30pm. Weekly, 23 September to 4 November 1958 (7 x 30 min)
3/1 September 23 1958 Exposure!
A wealthy American, Mrs. Van Stuyvesant, enrolling her son Marvin for the new term, turns out to be a Sunday newspaper reporter, investigating corruption in phony private schools. Jim endeavours to prevent the story from being published.
3/2 September 30 1958 This Is Your Life
Guest star: Eamonn Andrews (as himself)
Unable to produce Pettigrew’s back-pay enabling him to visit his elderly aunt in Australia, Edwards offers to bring her to England instead. The plan is to encourage the BBC to feature his assistant as the subject on This Is Your Life. A fictitious Pettigrew story is concocted, highlighting daring sea rescues and heroic action with the Indian army.
3/3 October 7 1958 The New Matron
The masters have to take on all the domestic duties following matron’s departure. When Mr. Lumley sees the appalling condition of his son, he insists that a replacement be found. His choice is a dictatorial battleaxe, so Jim dreams up a bogus illness to force her resignation.
3/4 October 14 1958 The Burglary* (recorded on telecine)
When the cash box from a £500 laundry robbery is found in the school grounds, Prof. Edwards suspects Lumley and Taplow, and the boys suspect their Headmaster. Then the real burglars return…
3/5 October 21 1958 The Boxing Championship
Mr. Lumley wants to see his son achieving something, so Jim decides A. J. Lumley should win a boxing championship. The boy is initially reluctant, until he falls in love with Deirdre at mixed ballroom dancing classes.
3/6 October 28 1958 The Whacking Machine
With his flogging arm in a sling after a football ‘accident’, the Headmaster is at the mercy of schoolboy pranks. That is, until he introduces a caning machine, dubbed the ‘TERRA’. Is Chiselbury about to enter a ‘golden age of obedience’?
3/7 November 4 1958 The Popularity Ballot
An old boy has left £100 to be awarded to the most popular school personality, as decided by ballot. Jim is determined to win, so he organises a publicity stunt. Our hero will overpower a maniacal Pettigrew, who is threatening to blow up the school.
SP December 25 1958 Christmas Night With The Stars*
featured a Whack-O! segment (recorded on telecine)
BBC, Tuesdays 7.30pm. Weekly, 12 May to 16 June 1959 (6 x 30 min)
4/1 May 12 1959 The Russian Visitor
In preparation for a visit by the Russian Under-minister of Culture, the Headmaster orders in various exhibits from the Victoria & Albert museum, hoping to pass them off as the pupils’ handiwork. Meanwhile, a booby-trapped bottle of whisky almost starts World War III!
4/2 May 19 1958 The Factory
The Head is told he is eight years in arrears with the rent for the school playing fields, and that consequently the land has been sold for industrial development. With his protests falling on deaf ears, Jim impersonates the proposed factory owner in a bid to enlist support from the villagers.
4/3 May 26 1959 The Upjohn Statue
In need of money to settle outstanding bills, Jim decides to make use of an unwanted Greek statue. He sends out letters requesting donations for the purchase of a memorial to spurious old boy, Samuel Upjohn.
4/4 June 2 1959 The Fête
Keen to once again host the annual village fête, Prof. Edwards promises a performance of the Chiselbury floral dance, con-ducted by Mr. Halliforth. When the boys discover they will be dressing up as flowers, a sit-down strike is called.
4/5 June 9 1959 Mr. Phipps’ Bet
Charles Phipps’ father wagers £50that the Headmaster cannot outwit his son within a month. Jim arranges a public flogging for Phipps, until he finds something worth more to him than money — the perfect wife.
4/6 June 16 1959 The Cross-Country Cup
Jim pays his staff using the money given to him for the pun-chase of a sports day trophy. A cup is ordered on approval from the jewellers, with the Head relying on his champion to win the race. But hopes are not high as Mr. Pettignew dons his running togs.
BBC, Tuesdays 7.30pm. Weekly, 10 November to 15 December 1959 (6 x 30 min)
(all recorded on telecine for overseas distribution)
5/1 November 10 1959 The New Post
When Jim learns that the Americans have taken oven a local airfield and a Headmaster is needed to teach their children, he offers his services. Unfortunately, his Chiselbury contract can’t be broken unless he is dismissed for gross moral turpitude.
5/2 November 17 1959 Task Master
Crombie overhears a conversation about a schoolboy taking his teacher to court for excessive cruelty. After receiving six of the best, he too brings his case before a magistrate, alleging that Prof. Edwards administered 347 whacks!
5/3 November 24 1959 The Inspector’s Visit
Jim allows his boys to become guinea pigs for St. Tallulah’s girls’ cookery class, believing it will become useful as a threat. When the meal turns into a success, the threat becomes an incentive for hand work before the inspector’s visit.
5/4 December 1 1959 The Empty Cash Box
The governor’s chartered accountant nephew, examining the accounts, finds a cash box with £30 missing. To replace the money, Prof. Edwards takes over Crombie and Potter’s insurance scheme against whacking.
5/5 December 8 1959 Madison Avenue
Jim attempts to fund an advertising campaign for new pupils. A commercial is filmed, but must be scrapped when the son of a BBC governor is sent to Chiselbury.
5/6 December 15 1959 The Recording
Guest star: Vera Lynn (as herself)
Pettigrew has promised Mr. Dinwiddie a cottage for his long service present, and the Headmaster decides a hit tune for the school will bring in the loot. Vera Lynn is persuaded to come and sing The Chiselbury Boating Song at Dinwiddie’s bedside, unaware that her performance is being recorded!
SP December 25 1959 Christmas Night With The Stars
featured a Whack-O! segment.
BBC, Fridays 8.30pm. Weekly, 13 May to 17 June 1960 (6 x 30 min)
(episodes 1 to 5 recorded on telecine for overseas distribution)
6/1 May 13 1960 The New Uniform
When Jim hears the boys’ detested new Eton suits have been stolen in a burglary, he smells a rat. Then the masters’ clothes are also pilfered, with the village ladies arriving any minute to hear a recital by the musical Moussaka Ensemble.
6/2 May 20 1960 The Quiz Game
Featuring Jerry Desmonde (Quiz-Master)
An old boy now in commercial TV offers the Headmaster an appearance on the Break The Bank quiz show, with questions supplied beforehand. Jim chooses maths as his subject, relying on his top pupil to come up with the answers.
6/3 May 27 1960 The Dismissal
A photo of a naked lady is found in the school magazine under the heading ‘Proposed new addition to hobbies room’, and Edwards is sacked! Mr. Foster takes over as Head, but, determined to clear his name, Jim stays on — as a schoolboy!
6/4 June 3 1960 The Old Lag (aka The New Pupil)
Lady Westbury offers to halve Prof. Edward’s rent if he helps her humanitarian cause by accepting an ex-Pentonville inmate on the staff. Mr. Tozer gains the respect of the boys, but Jim is adamant that he must go.
6/5 June 10 1960 The Missing Sculpture
The Headmaster decides to accompany the boys on their form outing to the Tate Gallery. All his trepidations prove well founded when one pupil and a piece of sculpture disappear.
6/6 June 17 1960 The Variety Concert
Guest star: Max Bygraves (as himself). Also featuring Barry Took (Barry Hayman)
As chief of entertainments, Jim books Max to perform at the Chiselbury village hall Grand Variety Concert.
BBC, Tuesdays 7.30pm. Weekly, 22 November to 27 December 1960 (6 x 30 min)
(all recorded on telecine for overseas distribution)
7/1 November 22 1960 Pools Win*
Seeing no benefit in his £38,000 pools win, Pettigrew plans to give it all to the Four-Footed Friends Fund. Disgusted, Jim urges him to first sample the fleshpots, so they head off for a night of wine, women and song at the flashy Ritz-Canton.
7/2 November 29 1960 Mildred’s Little Bit
The lovesick geography master, Mr. Halliforth, announces his engagement to Mildred, daughter of the village tea shop proprietor. The Headmaster convinces him of the folly of such a union until he learns of a £8000 inheritance.
7/3 December 6 1960 The New Master (aka Minimum Wage)
Mr. Halliforth departs and his Welsh replacement, Mr. Morgan, demands that the teachers’ salaries are raised to regulation levels. To find the money, Jim plans to run adult evening classes, until he discovers a demand for English lessons for foreign domestics.
7/4 December 13 1960 Chiselbury Experiment
Featuring Cliff Michelmore & Derek Hart (as themselves)
Jim decides to give a poor urchin free education at Chiselbury and ensures maximum publicity by appearing on the Tonight TV show. Suddenly he has two weeks to make a gentleman out of a young tough from the Dockland slums.
7/5 December 20 1960 Jim’s Better Self
The Head is preparing for a winter holiday in St. Moritz when the doctor diagnoses an infectious case of measles in the school. Jim upsets Pettigrew by refusing to authorise extra food for the quarantined boys, and so suffers a troubled sleep during which he is visited by his conscience.
7/6 December 27 1960 Jim Ahoy
Visiting disciplinarian Admiral Sir Archibald Ballard is concerned about Chiselbury’s 95% school leaver unemployment figures. He insists that before his next visit, Prof. Edwards appoint a vocational guidance master and find a position for the unemployable R. A. Hunter.
Series 8 (Revival series of remakes)
BBC1 (colour), Saturdays 5.00pm. Weekly, 27 November 1971 to 26 February 1972 (not 25 December 1971) (13 x 30 min)
Starring Jimmy Edwards (Professor Edwards), Julian Orchard (Pettigrew), Peter Greene (Halliforth), Harold Bennett (Dinwiddie), Gary Warren (Taplow), Greg Smith (Potter)
8/1 November 27 1971 Exposure!
8/2 December 4 1971 The New Uniform*
8/3 December 11 1971 The Inspector’s Visit
8/4 December 18 1971 The Quiz Game
8/5 January 1 1972 The New Post
8/6 January 8 1972 The School Council
8/7 January 15 1972 The Whacking Machine
8/8 January 22 1972 The Upjohn Statue
8/9 January 29 1972 Pettigrew Takes Over
8/10 February 5 1972 The Old Lag
8/11 February 12 1972 Top School
8/12 February 19 1972 The Recording (guest-star: Clodagh Rogers as herself)
8/13 February 26 1972 The Popularity Ballot
* the BBC Film Library retains the following episodes:
3/4 October 14 1958 The Burglary
SP December 25 1958 Christmas Night With The Stars Whack-O! segment
7/1 November 22 1960 Pools Win*
8/2 December 4 1971 The New Uniform*
All other episodes are unfortunately thought to be lost.
(Associated British 1960)
Starring Jimmy Edwards (Professor Jim Edwards), Arthur Howard (Pettigrew), Sidney Tafler (Sid Biggs), Raymond
Huntley (Garrick-Jones), Melvyn Hayes (Cecil Biggs), John Mitchell (Wendover)
With 12 weeks to produce an improvement in school affairs, Prof. Edwards hears that young Prince Hassid Ali of Giwak is planning to enrol in an English public school. Under pressure to accept his bookie’s son at Chiselbury, Jim agrees, adding the proviso that Cecil Biggs, blacked-up, will pretend to be the incognito Prince.
Biggs takes advantage of his unpunishable position, and consequently loses favour with schoolboy ringleader, Wendover. This in turn leads to a full-scale military coup, with boys laying siege to the school. Meanwhile, it has been decided that the real Prince is to stay at Chiselbury.
(adapted from series 1 to 7 TV episodes)
Starring Jimmy Edwards (Professor James Edwards), Roddy Maude-Roxby (Mr. Aubrey Potter), Frederick Treves (Mr. Alfred Tennyson), Edwin Apps (Mr. Arnold Halltforth) (series 2 & 3), June Whitfield (Matron), Roy Dotrice, Roger Shepherd (Lumley) (series 1 & 2), John Coxall (Phipps (series 2), Fenner (series 3)
Light Programme, Tuesdays 8.00pm. Weekly, 23 May to 3 October 1961 (20 x 30 min)
(15 editions were subsequently distributed by the BBC Transcription Service to overseas broadcasters)
1/1 May 23 1961 details unknown
1/2 May 30 1961 The School Council
1/3 June 6 1961 The Grange School For Boys (TS 1)
1/4 June 13 1961 The French Mistress (TS 2)
1/5 June 20 1961 The Marchioness (TS 3)
1/6 June 27 1961 The Student Prince
1/7 July 4 1961 Potter Takes Over (based on Pettigrew Takes Over) (TS 4)
1/8 July 11 1961 The £25 Outing Money (TS 5)
1/9 July 18 1961 The Boxing Championship (TS 6)
1/10 July 25 1961 The Inspector’s Visit (TS 7)
1/11 August 1 1961 The Popularity Ballot (TS 8)
1/12 August 8 1961 Exposure! (TS 23)
1/13 August 15 1961 Task Master (TS 9)
1/14 August 22 1961 The Dismissal
1/15 August 29 1961 The Book Prizes (TS 10)
1/16 September 5 1961 The New Post (TS 18)
1/17 September 12 1961 The Cricket Pavilion Fire (TS 11)
1/18 September 19 1961 The Burglary (TS 12)
1/19 September 26 1961 This Is Your Life Guest star: Eamonn Andrews (as himself) (TS 13)
1/20 October 3 1961 The End-Of-Term Report
Light Programme, Thursdays 8.00pm. Weekly, 1 March to 17 May 1962 (12 x 30 min)
(11 editions were subsequently distributed by the BBC Transcription Service to overseas broadcasters)
2/1 March 1 1962 The Russian Visitor (TS 14)
2/2 March 8 1962 Jim’s Attempt To Win Respect (TS 15)
2/3 March 15 1962 The Recording Guest star: Vera Lynn (as herself) (TS 16)
2/4 March 22 1962 details unknown
2/5 March 29 1962 Mr. Phipps’ Bet (TS 17)
2/6 April 5 1962 The Factory (TS 19)
2/7 April 12 1962 Pools Win (TS 20)
2/8 April 19 1962 Chiselbury Experiment (TS 21)
2/9 April 26 1962 Mildred’s Little Bit (TS 22)
2/10 May 3 1962 The New Master (aka Minimum Wage) (TS 24)
2/11 May 10 1962 The Old Lag (TS 25)
2/12 May 17 1962 The Cross-Country Cup (TS 26)
Light Programme, Mondays 9.00pm. Weekly, 29 April to 22 July 1963 (13 x 30 min)
3/1 April 29 1963 Madison Avenue
3/2 May 6 1963 The Quiz Game
3/3 May 13 1963 The Girl
3/4 May 20 1963 The Whacking Machine
3/5 May 27 1963 The New Matron
3/6 June 3 1963 Jim’s Better Self
3/7 June 10 1963 Top Of The Form (based on Top School)
3/8 June 17 1963 The New Uniform
3/9 June 24 1963 The Empty Cash Box
3/10 July 1 1963 The Fête
3/11 July 8 1963 The Upjohn Statue
3/12 July 15 1963 The TV Set
3/13 July 22 1963 Jim Ahoy
* BBC Radio Archives holds the following episodes:
2/3 March 15 1962 The Recording (TS version)
3/1 April 29 1963 Madison Avenue
All 26 TS versions exist, of programmes from the first two seasons
Most episodes also survive as amateur off-recordings in varying degrees of fidelity.
The BBC Written Archives Centre at Caversham retains scripts for the Whack-O! television programmes (though the collection is missing 1/1 and 1/4 and the entire second series).
In addition, since spring 2000, the Manuscripts Collection in the University Library at the University of Sussex, Brighton has been home to the Frank Muir and Denis Norden Archive of radio and television scripts.
This includes the following Whack-O! scripts …
2 episodes from series 1 or 2
9 episodes from series 2
6 episodes from series 3
1 episode from series 4 (plus assorted oddments)
2 episodes from series 8
Following Whack-O!, Jimmy Edwards starred in numerous television series over the next twenty years…
The Seven Faces Of Jim
BBC December 16 1961 to January 27 1962 (7 episodes)
Six More Faces Of Jim
BBC November 15 to December 20 1962 (6 episodes)
More Faces Of Jim
BBC June 28 to August 9 1963 (not July 12) (6 episodes)
Bold As Brass
BBC1 April 4 to June 13 1964 (6 fortnightly episodes)
BBC1 April 14 to June 16 1965 (10 episodes)
Mr. John Jorrocks
BBC2 July 23 to September 10 1966 (8 episodes)
The World Of Wodehouse: Blandings Castle
BBC 1 February 24 to March 31 1967 (6 episodes)
The Auction Game
LWT August 4 to September 22 1968 (8 episodes)
The Fossett Saga
LWT January 10 to February 21 1969 (7 episodes)
The Galton And Simpson Comedy
LWT April 19 to May 24 1969 (6 episodes)
Edwards starred in #4: Don’t Dilly Daily On The Way
Yorkshire July 13 to August 20 1973 (London) (6 episodes)
Bruce Forsyth’s Big Night
LWT October 7 to November 18 1978 (not Nov 11) (6 Glums segments)
LWT November 11 to December 30 1979 (8 episodes)
Does The Team Think?
Series 1: BBCTV Sunday 9pm May 28 to August 13 1961 (12 editions)
with Ted Ray, Bernard Braden, Frank Muir, Richard Murdoch, Kenneth Horne
Series 2: Thames January 14 to March 11 1982 (9 editions)
Series 3: Thames May 17 to June 21 1983 (6 editions)
with Will Rushton, Beryl Reid, Frankie Howerd, Tim Brooke-Taylor