The first line to one of the most popular series spawning from the war years. The RAF station of Much Binding was
first introduced in a show from the Merry-go-round series on the 31st March 1944, and was around until 1954, although by that time, the RAF station was no more, and the former staff now ran a newspaper - The Daily Bind.
The programmes were written by, and starred Kenneth Horne and Richard 'Stinker' Murdoch, although other notable names present were Maurice Denham (as the vocal chameleon), Nicholas Parsons, Sam Costa, and Dora Bryan.
Horne and Murdoch met in the Air Ministry during the war, when Horne was Wing Commander, and Murdoch a Squadron Leader. Sam Costa joined them to represent the rank and file, and Maurice Denham played the upper class Dudley Davenport. Following on from ITMA, which was a multitude of catchphrases, both characters had their own - Costa's, 'Good morning Sir, was there something?', and Denham's, 'Oh, I say, I am a fool!', and were always met with applause.
Although this is one of the older generation of radio shows, and most are dated now, this is one of my favourites. The writing and the teaming of Horne and Murdoch make it easy to listen to and very enjoyable, but the best bit in my opinion, is the ending song. The shows that have been released on tape are from the latter series where they are working on the Daily Bind, and the use of a standard 'theme' tune, but with different words each week is inspired. I hope to be able to bring details of what survives in a later update of this page, and if anyone has any shows, I would be very grateful if they could contact me.
Although the shows were around from 1944 they did not achieve their own status until 1947 but revolved with Waterlogged Spa and Stand Easy on Merry-go-round. The following accounts for those shows which went under their own banner after the war.
This consisted of 38 weekly half-hour shows and a Bank Holiday special and ran from the 2nd January until the 18th September 1947. The shows were transmitted on a Thursday evening generally at 7.30pm on the light programme with the Bank holiday special going out at 1.30pm on the 4th of August.
There was a reduction to 30 half-hour shows for the next series, again with Bank Holiday special, and it ran from 26th November 1947 to 16th June 1948 on a Wednesday evenings in a slot varying between 7.30 and 10.00pm on the Light programme. The Bank holiday Special was broadcast on 29th March 1948 at 2.00pm.
This made up for the shortening of the second series as this was 43 weeks long running from 21st September 1948 to 12th july 1949 on the Light programme at 8.00pm. The series ended with the 113th post-war edition of the show.
There was also a Christmas special broadcast on Christmas Day 1949, again 30 minutes, and it went out on the Light programme at 9.30pm.
Series 4 was broadcast from the 15th March until the 13th September 1950 and consisted of 27 half-hour shows. These were broadcast on Wednesdays at 8.00pm on the light programme.
There followed a successor show to Much Binding in the Marsh under the title of OVER TO YOU, and this ran for 28 weeks on the Light
programme. The cast were the same, and the half-hour shows went out at varying times on Sundays between 30th September 1951 and 14th April 1952.
The name was then changed again to simply MUCH BINDING and was extended to 35 weeks running on the Home service, Fridays at 9.30pm (except weeks 5 and 7 which came from the Radio Show at Earls Court at around 10.20pm).
There are other shows which are connected to Much Binding including the Forces Show written by Monkhouse and Goodwin, but details are not given here.
A BBC Radio Collection Cassette was issued in the early 90s (shown to the left and is sadly deleted now) that contained four editions from:
MUCH BINGING IN THE MARSH
|21st September 1948|
|23rd November 1948|
|28th December 1948|
|1st February 1949|
The story doesn't end there though as RADIO LUXEMBOURG also produced a series of the show from 30th October 1950 tp 17th June 1951. The 34 shows were sponsored by Mars Ltd , recorded before a live audience,a nd broadcast on a Sunday afternoon between 3.00 and 3.30pm.
The cast was Murdoch and Horne, with Sam Costa, Maurice Denham and Dora Bryan, with musical accompianment provided by The Skyrockets Dance Orchestra, conducted by Woolf Phillips for the first three editions, and then The Squadronaires Dance Orchestra conducted by Ronnie Aldrich for the remaining shows. Patricia Hughes also appeared in the show from episode 4 (except ep 19 where Barbara Leigh took her place) and the show was compered by Bob-Danvers-Walker from ep 4 onwards. The entire series was produced by Towers of London, and I am pleased to say that some of these shows survive although I do not have any.