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Tony Hancock

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Ken Stott to play Tony Hancock in new BBC Four drama


Ken Stott (Rebus, Messiah) is to play troubled comic genius Tony Hancock in a new BBC Four drama entitled Hancock & Joan.

 

Also starring Maxine Peake (Cinderella, Shameless) as Joan, this one-off poignant drama charts the final year of Hancock's life and the love affair with his best friend's wife, his battle with drink and his final fateful series in Australia.

 

Only months after her marriage to Dad's Army favourite John Le Mesurier, Joan Le Mesurier fell in love with his best friend, the godfather of British sitcom, Tony Hancock.

 

Tony was fresh out of rehab and desperate to resurrect his career with the offer of a new series in Australia.

 

John stood by as Joan and Tony embarked on an obsessive and passionate love affair.

 

Though clearly besotted with Joan, Tony was struggling with drink and violent depression.

 

After months of turmoil, Joan gave him a final ultimatum: If he makes a go of Australia, if he keeps off the booze for a year, she will leave John and marry him.

 

Tony left for Australia determined to win Joan over. But tragically he never returned.

 

Based on Joan Le Mesurier's autobiography Lady Don't Fall Backwards and Edward Joffe's Hancock's Last Stand, this moving film tells the story of Hancock and Joan's love affair and its tragic end.

 

Ben Stephenson, BBC Head of Drama Commissioning, says: "It's a sign of the calibre of Ric Cottan's funny, moving, and powerful script that it has attracted Ken Stott and Maxine Peake, who we're delighted to welcome to BBC Four.

 

"Hancock remains a much-loved national treasure and this is an extraordinary insight into the mind of a comic genius."

 

Hancock & Joan is being made for BBC Northern Ireland by World Productions.

 

It has been written by Richard Cottan, directed by Richard Laxton and produced by Simon Heath.

 

Patrick Spence is Executive Producer for the BBC.

 

Hancock & Joan is a 1 x 90-minute and will be shown in spring 2008 on BBC Four.

 

The drama follows in the footsteps of acclaimed BBC Four dramas Kenneth Williams: Fantabulosa!, Fear Of Fanny and the recent, raucous Fanny Hill.

 

EF/RI

 

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Category: BBC Four; TV Drama; Northern Ireland
Date: 23.11.2007
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