Suffolk radio fan finds lost episode of BBC classic 'Hancock's Half Hour' featuring Peter Sellers

A long-lost episode of the classic BBC radio comedy Hancock's Half Hour has been found by a collector in a box of old reel-to-reel tapes.

Richard Harrison, from Lowestoft in Suffolk, discovered the missing episode The Marriage Bureau from series one, almost 70 years after it was first broadcast.

"I thought 'wow... this is it'," said the 46-year-old film and media studies teacher. "This is a lost show. The legendary lost show.

"It's the only show with Peter Sellers in 1955 so I almost had to pinch myself. It was one of those moments.

"It's always been something I've kind of fantasised about finding, so it was quite a surreal moment, really."

Boxes of old reel-to-reel tapes at Richard's home in Lowestoft, Suffolk. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Hancock's Half Hour hit the airwaves in 1954 before moving to the TV screen.

With big names such as Sid James, Hattie Jacques and Kenneth Williams - who went on to become stars of the Carry On films - it was prime-time comedy viewing.

Tony Hancock, 'Hancock's Half Hour'. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The show fostered Mr Harrison's love of all things audio.

He has been collecting old reel-to-reel tapes for 20 years, buying collections online, in auctions and car boot sales.

Often the boxes of ancient tapes have no labels and Mr Harrison has spent thousands of hours listening and documenting audio which would otherwise be consigned to history.

"It's a great hobby," he said. "Sometimes I think what on earth would I have done if I hadn't got into radio? It is colossal fun."

Mr Harrison's find has been restored and will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in October.

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