Main content
This programme is not currently available

Dick Barton: A Very Special Agent

4 Extra Debut. Alexander Armstrong explores why Special Agent Dick Barton's adventures have been thrilling audiences since 1946. From July 2010.

Alexander Armstrong examines the impact and popularity of special agent Dick Barton whose adventures ran on the BBC Light Programme from 1946 to 1951- and are still enjoyed today on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

Dick Barton starred in the BBC's first ever daily radio serial, and went on to appear in over 700 episodes. Millions gathered around the wireless feeling a rush of excitement when they heard the serial's memorable signature tune 'Devil's Galop', listening entranced to the exploits of the ex-commando Captain and his faithful lieutenants Jock and Snowy.

Alexander looks back to Barton's arrival and discovers that despite the serial's enormous popularity the programme attracted many critics, including one listener who described it as "blatant sadism corrupting the minds of our youth using the exact method used by the Nazis".

And discover how in an attempt to respond to the controversy, the script-writers adhered to 13 codes of conduct, such as: no sex, no booze, no bad language and all violence must be limited to "clean socks on the jaw."

Contributors include Gareth Johnson, son of the first actor to play Barton, award winning playwright Phil Wilmott and Barton fan John Mundy.

Archive interviews include Producer Neil Tuson and various cast members including Thora Hird who played various female roles in the first few series

The programme also reveals Barton's various reincarnations on film, television and most recently a stage musical.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2010.

30 minutes

Last on

Tue 18 Sep 2018 01:30


Role Contributor
Producer Stephen Garner