Second rare Hancock's Half Hour broadcast unearthed by Suffolk superfan

A superfan says "lightning has struck twice" after he found a second long-lost episode of a 1950s BBC radio comedy.

Richard Harrison stumbled upon an episode of Hancock's Half Hour in a box of old reel-to-reel tapes last year, but thought it would be a once in a lifetime find.

However, hidden deeper in his jam-packed loft in Lowestoft, Suffolk, lay another nugget of ancient broadcasting bounty.

The 47-year-old was stunned to find a second of the legendary missing Hancocks. Not heard since it was broadcast in 1955, this episode features Goon Show star Harry Secombe.

Mr Harrison said: "Can lightning strike twice? Evidently it can.

"I was absolutely blown away. This is the only ever episode where Secombe and Hancock are together in one particular programme - and this is everything."

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

Tony Hancock, who starred in Hancock's Half Hour. Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

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.

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

He has been scouring car boot sales and online auctions for old reel-to-reel tapes for 20 years, listening to thousands and thousands of hours of radio.

The radio set belonging to Richard Harrison, who has a rare recording of Hancock's Half Hour. Credit: ITV News Anglia

"I think it's a shared cultural heritage that we all have," he said.

"It's not only our heritage but the heritage of our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents. It's the things they listened to and to preserve that is very important."

Mr Harrison's first rediscovered episode was called 'The Marriage Bureau' and featured Peter Sellers - but he is even prouder of his second find.

Titled A Visit to Swansea, it follows Tony Hancock's fictional journey to thank Harry Secombe, who had stood in for him on previous shows. He eventually tracks him down in a Welsh coalmine.

Mr Harrison described it as a "radio goldmine".

He said: "Radio without Hancock would be like looking at the history of art without Picasso paintings.

"If there are no Picasso paintings, how do we know what he was like as a painter?"

Mr Harrison, who has affectionately been dubbed a raider of the lost archive, now hopes his latest treasure will be restored and re-broadcast.

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