Hancock: The Best Of Hancock [DVD] £3.97 @ Amazon
The Very Best of Hancock isn't just a miscellaneous compilation of his television work, rather it is five of the six episodes from Hancock's last season with the BBC in 1961. Writers Ray Galton and Alan Simpson followed Hancock to television after making him a star on radio, and it is to them as much as to Hancock's lugubrious persona that these few shows owe their classic status. In a conscious effort to throw the spotlight more firmly on himself, Hancock had parted company with his radio cohorts in the transition to TV, and here for the first time he also dispensed with stalwart comedy partner Sid James. Thanks to Galton and Simpson, however, the gamble paid off handsomely and these shows remain some of the best sitcoms ever created for British television. No longer a resident of Railway Cuttings, East Cheam, here we find Hancock in Earl's Court in the first episode, "The Bedsitter". Whether trying vainly to live the life of a carefree bachelor, playing an old country character in a thinly disguised version of "The Archers" ("The Bowmans"), wrestling with the complexities of valve radio ("The Radio Ham"), annoying everyone in an awkward situation ("The Lift") or giving that famous pint of blood ("The Blood Donor"), Galton and Simpson provide Hancock with every opportunity to exercise his wonderful pomposity and pretentiousness with scripts full of comic invention and eminently quotable lines. Hugh Lloyd and June Whitfield are among the supporting cast.