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Comedy
ASSOCIATED LONDON SCRIPTS
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Tuesdays 11:30am - 12:00pm
A documentary series celebrating the careers and achievements of the group of writers who formed a writers' collective in the late 1950s and went on to dominate British TV and radio comedy writing.

The two-part series features new and archive interviews with the founder members of Associated London Scripts and with the younger comedy writers and performers who have been influence by their work.

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CONTRIBUTORS
Ray Galton
Alan Simpson
Eric Sykes
Beryl Vertue
Dick Clement
Ian La Frenais
Eddie Izzard
Paul Merton
Martin Clunes
Simon Nye
Graham Linehan
Arthur Mathews
Steve Coogan
Armando Iannucci.

Eric Sykes
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Spike Milligan

Associated British Scripts began life in London's Shepherd's Bush in the mid-1950s, when four young comedy writers - Eric Sykes, Spike Milligan, Ray Galton and Alan Simpson - decided to form a writing cooperative as a place to pool ideas, contacts and office space costs.

Tony Hancock with Ray Galton and Alan Simpson They decided it was important to choose a name that began with the letter 'A' (Associated British Scripts was an earlier choice) and set themselves up in a set of rooms above a greengrocer's shop, where they continued work on their respective comedy shows - including Hancock's Half Hour, Educating Archie and The Goon Show.

The next step was to hire a secretary to type the scripts and make the tea, and a schoolfriend of Alan Simpson - Beryl Vertue - was quickly recruited. New writers joined too, starting with Johnny Speight, an insurance salesman with no comedy experience. He was followed by such famous names as Terry Nation, Barry Took and Dick Vosburgh.

Johnny Speight at the typewriter The expanding team moved to High Street Kensington in 1957 and proceeded to conquer the world of British TV and radio, creating classic series such as Steptoe and Son, Sykes and Til Death Us Do Part.

Beryl, meanwhile, progressed from secretary to agent to company director and, when Milligan and Sykes left ALS, she set up Associated London Films with Simpson, Galton and Speight, which produced big screen versions of her writers' TV hits including Up Pompeii.

Associated London Scripts was eventually amalgamated into the Robert Stigwood Organisation in 1967, with Beryl Vertue taken on board as deputy chairman.

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