''Hancock's Half Hour'' was a BBC radio and later television comedy series of the 1950s. It was written by Ray Galton and Alan Simpson, who also created ''Series/SteptoeAndSon''.

The main character, a pompous self-important fool, was played by Tony Hancock. His boorish offsider, whose chief task it is to bring Tony back to reality, was played by Creator/SidneyJames. Bill Kerr also featured as Hancock's dim Australian boarder. (Hancock, James and Kerr's characters all used variations on their real names.) Moira Lister and then Andrée Melly played Tony's girlfriends. Later, Creator/HattieJacques played Hancock's secretary, the rather prim Miss Pugh. Creator/KennethWilliams featured as a number of characters, most notably one nicknamed 'Snide'.

In the TV version the regular cast was pared down to Hancock and James, although Williams and Jacques made a couple of guest appearances in early episodes.

Both versions were smash hits. Previously, comedy had centred around music hall-style slapstick, rather than situation comedy, and ''Hancock's Half Hour'' could be said to be the first British situation comedy. The BBC received a string of complaint letters from pub owners because so many of their patrons went home to watch or listen to the show. In any voting contest of great British comedies, ''Hancock'' always comes in with a high ranking, even though many of its fans were not even born when it was made.

Not to be confused with ''Film/{{Hancock}}'' (although the title was abbreviated to this for the final TV series).
!!This show demonstrates examples of:

* ABNegative: Tony is found to be AB in 'The Blood Donor'. He is quite pleased about it, considering himself "one of nature's aristocrats".
* AuthorExistenceFailure: "The Missing Page" features an in-universe example. After spending the episode frantically trying to track down the missing last page of Darcy Sarto's murder mystery ''Lady Don't Fall Backwards'', Tony and Sid obtain a copyright edition and discover that the manuscript ends literally ''one word'' before the murderer is identified, as Sarto died while writing the book and his publishers decided fans of his detective, Johnny Oxford, would like to read the book anyway.
* BackupTwin: Parodied in 'The Bowmans'.
* BagsOfLetters: In the episode 'The Bowmans' Hancock finds himself bombarded by mail the day after his radio SoapOpera character is killed off.
* BlatantLies: Tony's inflated sense of pride means he often tells face-saving lies to people who witnessed the event or conversation that prompted the lie. For example, in "The Espresso Bar", he calls his agent and, after spending an inordinately long time jogging his memory as to who he actually is, is reduced to begging for whatever work is available, even the back half of a pantomime horse. When he hangs up, he claims to Bill that his agent had a long list of offers, but he didn't find them interesting enough. (Bill, who has been listening to the entire conversation, isn't fooled for a second.)
* BottleEpisode: 'The Bedsitter'
* BreakingTheFourthWall happens a number of times:
** In "The 13th Episode", Hancock interrupts the announcer at the start of the episode to announce that since it is the thirteenth episode of that season, he refused to do it. Filler music starts up, making the listener wonder if there will be no episode, but then the episode continues with him finding out that the BBC will cancel the series if he refuses, and him trying to find around his superstitions.
** In "The New Radio Series", Hancock decides to retire, while at the same time the BBC is trying to kick him out. Bill and Sid are already there when Hancock arrives at the BBC - the BBC has commissioned a new series, presenting "Bill Kerr, Sid James, Hattie Jacques, and Kenneth Williams" in "Kerr's Half Hour". Bill and Sid's characters were named after themselves, Jacques' character was named "Grizelda Pugh", while Williams played many characters, normally unnamed.
* BrickJoke: In 'The Blood Donor', Tony decides to give blood and discovers that he's got the rare blood type AB Negative. When he finds out that he has to give a whole pint ("That's very nearly an armful") he tries to back out, but in the end he gives in. At home afterwards, he feels hungry and decides to make a sandwich. He cuts himself on the breadknife and is taken back to the same hospital where, as luck would have it, they have a single pint of AB Negative blood. Which ''could'' be seen as AllForNothing, except that ([[LampshadeHanging as he points out]]) if he hadn't given blood in the first place he'd be in real trouble.
* BritCom: Arguably the first one.
* CatchPhrase:
** Tony's preferred expression of frustration at the world around him was 'Stone me, what a life!'
** Kenneth Williams' Snide character had two phrases trotted out with some regularity: 'No, don't be like that!' if someone (usually Tony) was losing their temper with him, and 'Stop messing about!' if someone was, well, messing about and wasting time. The latter was used in [[TheSeventies the '70s]] as the title of a Kenneth Williams comedy series on BBC Radio 4.
* {{Corpsing}} - Happened from time to time and [[ThrowItIn left in]] since either the shows were live or (later) done without retakes. Most noticeable when Kenneth Williams or Bill Kerr broke, but occasionally all the cast would be in tears - particularly in the episode "Wild Man Of The Woods":
--> '''Bill:''' Hey, Sid, look - what's that there up in the trees?\\
'''Sid:''' Ah nothing, probably a squirrel or something.\\
'''Bill:''' No, it's not a sirrel, Squ... ''[everyone starts laughing]''\\
'''Tony:''' If Mister Kerr will say 'It's not a sirrel, Squid' again... ''[everyone takes a moment to regain their composure]''\\
'''Bill:''' It's not a squirrel, Sid!
* CutLexLuthorACheck: Lampshaded in one episode, where Sid realises it's easier to go to the bank for an overdraft rather than come up with one of his usual over-complicated schemes.
* DroppedABridgeOnHim: Played for laughs InUniverse in "The Bowmans". After Hancock's character has been unceremoniously killed off from a radio soap opera, popular pressure forces the producers to bring him back. Tony Hancock insists that if he comes back, he be allowed to write his own scripts. The next episode features the rest of the cast walking across a field before falling down an abandoned mineshaft.
* EmbarrassingMiddleName: Tony's middle names are Aloysius St John.[[note]] Tony the actor's middle name was simply John (no Aloysius, no Saint).[[/note]]
* EveryoneLooksSexierIfFrench: Andrée Melly put on a French accent, because Tony Hancock was a Francophile in real life.
* TheFifties: Being a British show, though, it's quite realistic rather than a Stepford suburban nightmare.
* {{Flanderization}}:
** Averted with Sid James, who goes from being an HonestJohn in the radio series to a DeadpanSnarker on TV.
** The plots themselves became less flanderized as the series progressed; changing from the complicated schemes of the radio series to simple character studies in the TV series (Sid & Tony take a train, Sid & Tony take bus ride, Tony goes to give blood).
** Played straight in the radio series with Bill Kerr, who became more simple-minded and childlike with each series.
* FunnyForeigner: Bill Kerr "lately of Wagga Wagga", and the (fake) French girl Andrée Melly.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar:
** Tony sees one - or, rather, two - advantages to the height difference between himself and Jane Russell:
--->'''Tony:''' This could be the only chance I'll ever have to dance with Jane Russell!\\
'''Bill:''' A little shrimp like you? She'd be head and shoulders above you.\\
'''Tony:''' [[BuxomIsBetter I know.]]
** In 'The Blood Donor'.
--->'''The Nurse''' Have you had any of these diseases?\\
'''Tony:''' ''(Reads the list and looks insulted.)'' No, I have not and especially not ''that'' one!
* HaveAGayOldTime: In 'A Sunday Afternoon At Home', Tony compares the excitement of a Sunday afternoon 'on the Continent' with a boring old English Sunday afternoon, where everything's shut. Naturally, this leads him to describe continental Europe in the most positive terms, where 'everything's gay! Not over here [Britain].'
* HonestJohnsDealership: Sid James in the radio version - he is introduced in the first episode by the moniker "Smooth Talk Sidney"
* InSeriesNickname: Bill calls Tony 'Tub', though no-one else does.
* IronButtMonkey: Bill is on the receiving end of all sorts of slapstick abuse in the radio series, and yet is always back for more with an innocent smile on his face in the next episode.
* KilledOffForReal: 'The Bowmans' again.
* KnowNothingKnowItAll: Tony loves the sound of his own voice and often speaks with great authority on almost any subject you'd care to name... and, in so doing, displays an almost complete lack of knowledge of said subject.
* LampshadeHanging:
-->'''Gangster:''' One false move and the girl's dead!\\
'''Moira:''' Might as well be, I've had nothing to say for the last few minutes.
* LethalChef: Miss Pugh, at least according to Tony:
--> '''Tony:''' I thought my mother was a bad cook, but at least 'er gravy moved about a bit!
* LockedInARoom: 'The Lift' - of course, it's all Tony's fault as usual.
* LostInTransmission: 'The Radio Ham'.
* NegativeContinuity: Several radio episodes ended with Tony (and sometimes Sid and / or Bill) being killed or sentenced to a long stint in prison, or with Tony's house razed to the ground. By the next episode, everything was back to "normal".
* NewJobAsThePlotDemands:
** Although the various characters for whom Kenneth Williams used the "Snide" voice in the radio series were never explicitly said to be the same person, Tony tended to react as though he had had unpleasant previous encounters with them in other jobs.
** Sid is a more straightforward example, overlapping with HonestJohnsDealership. In most episodes, his job is whatever allows him to "help" Tony's latest ZanyScheme by conning him out of the contents of his bank account or duping him into helping his other shady enterprises.
** Tony as well, playing a defense lawyer in an episode of the third series.
* OddCouple: Lord knows why Tony puts up with Sid. Lord knows why Sid puts up with Tony. Probably only because sharing the rent is cheaper and nobody else would put up with either of them.
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: In 'The Reunion', all of Hancock's World War II army chums all have forties-style nicknames ('Chalky' White etc.).
* OohMeAccentsSlipping: In the radio version of "The Emigrant", Tony shows up at Australia House to ask about emigrating, and introduces himself to the desk clerk with a speech packed with Aussie slang and cultural references (most of which he misuses for comic effect). He tries to affect an accent to match, but he ends up sounding far more Brummy than Aussie, and eventually breaks character and laughs, "Straight from Birmingham!"
* OverlyLongGag: The first radio episode opens with very slow typing sounds, followed by:
-->'''Tony''': Might help if you took the gloves off...
-->'''Bill''': My hands are cold. Anyway, what's wrong with typing in gloves? I like typing in gloves. Lots of people type in gloves.
-->'''Hancock''': Not in boxing gloves.
* PressureSensitiveInterface: 'The Lift'.
* QuirkyHousehold
* RogueJuror: Thanks to Sid finding out that they'll get paid by the day and Tony thinking the accused has a nice face. The episode is even called "Film/TwelveAngryMen".
* RunningGag: A number of episodes featured scripts with running gags built into them. For example, in the radio version of "The Emigrant", Tony presents himself at each embassy he visits with a speech packed with slang terms from and references to the country to which he hopes to emigrate, delivered in an attempt at the appropriate accent - to desk clerks who invariably turn out to be British. His conversations with them, which go from investigating his "references" (Bill's family, who are all wanted criminals) to just saying his name to not even getting as far as his name, always end with the desk clerks asking "Have you tried [other country]?" until they name a country he hasn't tried.
* RunningTimeInTheTitle: It was indeed half an hour. There was also a TV special called "Hancock's Forty-Three Minutes". The last season was reduced to 25 minutes and renamed ''Hancock'' (as we said, [[Film/{{Hancock}} not to be confused with...]]).
* {{Sampling}}: ''VideoGame/JetSetRadio'', of all things. The "Will you stop playing with that radio of yours? I'm trying to get to sleep!" in [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ya8Srg9ngoU Let Mom Sleep]] is from ''Hancock's Half Hour''. It was in a Creator/GeorgeMichael song, too.
* SitcomCharacterArchetypes: Tony is The Dork and Sid is The Wisecracker.
* SomethingThatBeginsWithBoring: 'The Train Journey'. Tony and Sid's fellow passengers are not amused...
* SoundToScreenAdaptation: The radio show started in 1954, and the TV series in 1956. From 1956 to 1959 the two versions ran simultaneously. Also screen to sound, since four of the TV episodes were adapted for LP records and recorded in front of audiences, just like the radio episodes except without the BBC's involvement.
* StudioAudience
* VinylShatters: After his ultimately unsuccessful search for the last page of ''Lady Don't Fall Backwards'' in "The Missing Page", Tony forsakes books and decides to listen to a nice gramophone record instead, sending Sid out in search of Music/LudwigVanBeethoven's Fifth Symphony. Sid returns to say he couldn't find it, and instead picked up a copy of Music/FranzSchubert's "Unfinished" Symphony. The unamused Tony says "I know how ''this'' one's going to end!" and smashes the record over Sid's head.
* WithFriendsLikeThese:
** In the radio series and some of the early television series, Sid would frequently exploit or manipulate Tony for personal gain, such as by tricking him into stealing valuable goods, selling him (and Bill) into the French Foreign Legion, or conspiring to have his house knocked down to build a used car lot on the land.
** For his part, Tony was often comically cruel to Bill, making him do such dangerous tasks as lying in the road to prevent his car from being towed or acting as a human shield in case an unexploded bomb should go off. Nevertheless, Bill still considered "Tub" a friend.
* YouSayTomato:
** In one episode where Tony was planning to emigrate, he was continually mispronouncing Canada (he said it as if it rhymed with Grenada) despite everyone's attempts to correct him.
** In another episode when Hancock is complaining to a policeman (Williams) about kids vandalising his car, the following exchance occurs:
--->'''Policeman''' Why don't you put it in a garage? ''(GA-rij)''\\
'''Hancock''' I have not got... a ''garage''. ''(guh-RAHJ)''
** In fact Hancock is constantly affecting a higher-class accent and associated pronunciations than his native one, then dropping back into the vernacular, as his pomposity ebbs and flows. Often evident when asked to spell his name - "Haytch-hay-hen, cee-ho, cee-kay".
* ZanyScheme