Beyond Our Ken


The BBC Light Programme’s hit surreal comedy

2K + 3P + 2M + 2J + 4H = BOK

bok1960The cryptic-looking equation above is the secret formula for BOK — the most talked-about thing in radio for some years: it was handed to us by none other than Kenneth Horne, who from tonight will once again preside (in the Light Programme) over the process in which its various elements combine into the powerful, even explosive, mixture whose chief side-effect is laughter.

To identify the two Ks is easy: one stands for Horne himself, and the other for Kenneth Williams whose quick-silver properties can take shape in many forms, from querulous old Ambrose to gushy Charles. The Ps? One for Hugh Paddick, the substance of Snaith and the overhydrated Birkinshaw, one for Paul Fenoulhet, the musical matrix of the mixture, and one for Bill Pertwee.

Betty Marsden is undoubtedly the first M, and the other must be Eric Merriman, whose brooding countenance belies the verbal wit and flashing fancies that run through his scriptwriting brain. One J is Jacques Brown, the producer and catalyst of it all. But the second J only yields its identity to further research: it seems that Janet Waters is entering BOK for the first time. That leaves 4H. Obviously a compound element but, being the last, easily isolated—the Hornets, a singing group evolved out of last season’s Fraser Hayes Four.

Article source: the Radio Times published 13 October 1960

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