man again' -1947
That Man Again", otherwise known as ITMA, was launched in 1939,
when the BBC decided that what its radio broadcast needed was a weekly
comedy show. The
Liverpudlian comedian, Tommy Handley was chosen and with the help
of Ted Kavanagh, they created what was to become one of the most popular
radio series of the 1940s.
show was named after the phrase newspapers commonly used to describe
Hitler; "It's that man again!". Like all other war abbreviations,
RAF, ARP, the programme title was turned into initials and named
Handley with a cup of tea courtesy of Mrs Mop, 1944
was originally set in a pirate, commercial radio station, Tommy
was assisted by Cecilia Eddy, playing his secretary Cilly
and Eric Egan, as a mad Russian inventor. Four episodes were
broadcast over a trial period, yet were not the huge success that
they were destined to become.
content with just a namesake, Hitler was to aid the show's future
once again, as the outbreak of war saw the return of ITMA. A pirate
radio station was no longer considered an appropriate setting, and
instead was replaced with the Office of Twerps, where Tommy was
to become Minister of Aggravation and Mysteries and a brand new
supporting cast was introduced.
Tickle the office char
Vodkin the Russian inventor
stars who have appeared on ITMA over the years include;
June 1941, the show was renamed 'It's That Sand Again', and was
set at a seedy seaside resort, named Foaming at the Mouth. This
was thought to be a welcome escape from the subject of war and introduced
some memorable characters, including Deepend Dan the Diver, inspired
by a man who Tommy Handley had once seen diving off New Brighton
mind if I do' - Jack train as Colonel Chinstrap
seaside setting ran for four series and the show reverted to its
original name. In April 1941, the cast were invited to Windsor Castle
to perform a special show in honour of Princess Elizabeth's 16th
a stage show and a film of ITMA was made, and it enjoyed some success,
the radio show still remained by far the most popular medium in
which to enjoy this brand of humour.
1942, a nondescript war factory was introduced to Foaming at the
Mouth, where the audience first met Colonel Humphrey Chinstrap and
his famous catchphrase 'I don't mind if I do'. In further reincarnations,
the factory became a spa, holiday camp and hotel.
war ITMA, saw a new cast and a whole variety of new settings; the
South Sea Island of Tomtopia, Castle Weehouse and the Office of
Industrial and Scientific Affairs, before Tommy Handley became a
permanent guest in Henry Hall, a tramp's guesthouse.
cast of ITMA - 1947
the 6th January 1949, the final ITMA was broadcast. Tommy Handley
was to die just three days later of a brain haemorrhage and with
him died one of the most popular radio shows of the forties.
a special tribute, 'Mirror of the Month' demonstrated some of the
ITMA sound effects. The item closed with the poignant suggestion;
"Shall we close the door for the last time." They did.