Nauticold'n trainit


Actyup in spotlighty

Starrystage'n screel

Sitting cumftibold


It was a bit of inspired mucking about that got Stanley his first broadcast and eventually his first fan letter.


He was testing some equipment when broadcaster F R Buckley - 'Buck' - came over for a chat. Stanley was about to try a recording so he handed the microphone to Buck who then started ad libbing a commentary about an imaginary sport called the 'Fasche'. Buck handed the microphone back to Stanley - introducing him as Codlington Corthusite - who carried on in Unwinese. This went on for a good few minutes, finishing with Buck signing off.


The recording was played back to two of Stanley's producers, Peter Cairns and David Martin, who added some bizarre sound effects and got it aired on Pat Dixon's (later producer of the Goon Shows) 'Mirror of the Month' programme.


The piece got a very good response and led to another sketch where Stanley played a man from Atlantis being interviewed about his life in the sunken city. One enthralled listener was even moved to write in:

As a result of this radio interview I received my first Fan Letter. It was from Joyce Grenfell, the highly talented and whimsical lady who was, though she didn't know it, my own particular heroine. It gave such a boost to my own rather timorous entry into show business and was a kindness I can never forget.

His next big break came while out in North Africa recording a series of shows by Frankie Howerd for Combined Services Entertainment. By the time the tour got to Egypt, Howerd had succumbed to a bad case of the trots so anyone who could (including Eric Sykes, then Howerd's writer rather than a performer) had to fill in.


Stanley was pushed on stage by producer Roy Speer and told do 'a short burst':

...and with some timidity I sent up the cooking la Middle East with a recipe cooked in a hommily pammer with asbestos strimmel on the handload to prevent the heat which riseyhup and cause a blister on the parv. I know that it was early days for me, but they took it surprisingly well.

By now it was the 1950s and although he was more than happy in his engineering role at the BBC, recording interviews with Pablo Casals, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Sir Frank Whittle, Augustus John and Bertrand Russell amongst others, Stanley was beginning to do more and more work on the other side of the microphone.


The next major turning point came when Roy Speer took him along for a meeting with one of the country's most famous Music Hall and radio stars of the day, Ted Ray.