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The World of Beachcomber

22 Jan 1968
30 min

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The World of Beachcomber was a surreal television comedy show produced by the BBC inspired by the Beachcomber column in the Daily Express newspaper. The show, like the column, consisted of a series of unrelated pieces of humour. Links between the items were provided by Spike Milligan, dressed in a smoking jacket and cap, as in the cartoon logo above the newspaper column. The other actors were a Who's Who of British comedy of the time, encompassing almost every supporting player seen or heard in comedy, not excluding people of diminutive stature. Likewise the writing staff included Milligan, Barry Took, John Junkin, Neil Shand and others. The producer was John Howard Davies. In all, 19 episodes were produced beginning in 1968. They were mostly shown on the new BBC 2 channel, which broadcast in colour using the 625-line PAL standard. BBC 2 was a minority-appeal culture channel, and thus allowed greater stretching of the boundaries of the art. Unfortunately, like many shows of the time, the original videotapes were wiped. Only one complete episode, on black and white 16mm film now survives of this show in the BBC archives, from the penultimate edition. In addition to this, excerpts for the 29.09.69 edition also survive. Audio soundtracks also survive for episodes Three and Four of the 1969 series. In addition to this, a soundtrack LP featuring excerpts from shows from series one was also released by PYE records, and rereleased on Audio Cassette in 1997.

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