49 - "Incidents in the career of Police Constable
Archibald Berkeley-Willoughby", so
began a typical episode for the London bobbie, created by Australian
Stranks and played by Brian Reece in
over 100 episodes on BBC radio from 1947 till
1953. The Series was produced by Vernon Harris.
The upper crust Archie
was a uniformed constable, but that didn't stop him following his own theories
and solving cases, often to the dismay of his superiors.
Also feaured in the series were Joy
Shelton as Joan Carr, Forty Nine's
girlfriend (later wife), Leslie Perrins as
Inspector Wilson and Eric Phillips
as Detective Sergeant Wright.
The series was a mixture of drama and
light comedy, something the cast seemed to thrive on, with Joan
proving to be as much a bane in the lives of Wright
& Wilson as P.C.
49 himself. The stories also proved very popular
as a cartoon and appeared in The Eagle from
1950 - 57.
based on the series were released in 1949 & 51.
The series featured several
popular catch phrases, P.C. 49's exclamation
"Oh my Sunday helmet" & Sergeant Wright's
"out you go Forty Nine" after P.C. 49 has said something exasperating to
Wilson, being two.
The episodes had individual titles,
and each episode was self-contained. The Case of the...
Burning Passion, Homing Pigeon, Untarnished Copper, Silver Slipper, Record
Catch, Lovely Liar, Fallen Idol, Haunting Refrain, Green Golliwog, Copper's
Coffin, Indian Rope Trick, Heart of Gold, Sticky Wicket, Wrong Romeo, Eleventh
Hour, Second Murder, First Cuckoo, Third Single, Twisted Tiara, Last Bus,
Morning After, Fourth Alibi, Muderous Mouse, Sixth Sense, Treble Chance,
being some of the transcribed
Top The series was made available to overseas
broadcasters by the BBC Transcription Service. 2 articles from the New
Zealand Listener about contemporary broadcasts.
May 18 1951 issue. Adventure
on the Beat.
an Anglo-Indian officer of the old school, who owned a priceless ruby,
was stabbed to death in his floodlit grounds, an inspector, a sergeant
and a constable of the police force were a matter of yards away, and the
constable saw an Indian shinning up a rope and disappearing into thin air.
Happily for the course of justice the constable (who was strictly sober
at the time) was Police Constable Archibald Berkeley-Willoughby.
In his usual unorthodox manner he not only proved how the dead man was
murdered, but also how Indian's can shin up ropes and disappear into thin
Reece and Joy Shelton as
Case of the Indian Rope Trick is one episode of a new series The
Adventures of P.C. 49, which will begin from 4YZ at 7:30pm on Monday,
May 21, and later be heard from all other YZ and YA stations. P.C.
49 became a very popular character in the BBC
Light Programme. He has his own way of going about the solution of crimes,
and is something of a thorn in the flesh of his superior officers. Having
done the brain work, he not infrequently finds himself difficulties too
great to manage single-handed, and has to call for assistance. Always close
at hand to help is his fiancee Joan Carr,
and as listeners will discover, it takes more than a short tempered Chief-Inspector
to stop her from concerning herself with matters that in the official view,
she should leave alone. Brian
Reece who plays the part of P.C. 49 in
the comedy-thriller series, has done a good deal of broadcasting since
the war, as well as playing the comedy lead in one of London's outstandingly
successful musical shows Bless the Bride. Joy
Shelton who plays Joan Carr was
given a microphone test by the BBC while
with a touring show. After that she took part in Front
Line Family. Since the war she has acted for
stage and films as well as radio. The Adventures
of P.C. 49, begins with The Case of the Homing
Pigeon, but a fatal finger, a silver slipper,
a blushing bride, a copper's coffin, a red hot cert, a black daffodil -
and even a morning after (two black eyes for Chief-Inspector Wilson and
a broken dental plate for Sergeant Wright, all by the hand of P.C.
49), are some features of the cases with which
in later weeks.
1952 issue. P.C.
49 and The White Mouse Mystery <=
Reece and Leslie Perrins as
49 and Detective Inspector Wilson.
was an unpleasant old man, and when he was found dead in his gas-filled
rooom the police put it down to his stumbling against the gas pipe and
and cracking it while under the influence of red biddy. Then
Constable Archibald Berkeley-Willoughby - P.C. 49 - found a dead
mouse, a white one, in the room and in Forty-Nine's
opinion Snorky was one of the last persons on earth to keep a white mouse,
or any other kind of pet for that matter. That discovery and Forty-Nine's
deductions lead him to solve a mystery that had been bothering his superiors
for days. How he went about it listeners will discover from The
Case of the Murderous Mouse, which starts
a new series of The Adventures of P.C. 49
2YA at 7:30pm on Thursday October 30. They will be heard later from other
stations. A football pools coupon which Dai Evans was filling in when he
met his death in the little room behind his shop, the sounds of a flute
from an apparently deserted garden at two o'clock in the morning, the last
bus home on a winter's night with a man downstairs with a leg in plaster
and a man upstairs with a knife sticking out of his neck - these are some
of the ingredients in later adventures of P.C. 49.
Listeners will find that Forty-Nine
has not lost his knack of being at the right place at the right time and
that the intuition of his financee, Joan Carr,
is not only as strong as ever but as annoying as it has always been to
people like police sergeants and inspectors. In The
Adventures of P.C. 49, which was first broadcast in the BBC
Light Programme, Brian Reece plays P.C.
49, Joy Shelton is Joan,
Perrins is Inspector Wilson, and Eric
Phillips is Sergeant Wright. The stories
are written by Alan Stranks. Top Films
produced by Hammer
Adventures of PC 49'
Berkeley-Willoughby), Patricia Cutts (Joan), Eric
Phillips (Sgt. Wright), Arthur Brander (Insp. Wilson),
John Penrose (Barney), Annette Simmonds (Carrots),
Pat Nye (Ma Benson), Martin Benson (Skinny).
are caught by an undercover Police Officer. Producer - Anthony
Hinds Directed by Godfrey
Grayson Writers - Alan
Stranks & Vernon Harris (based on
the radio series by Alan Stranks)
(Archibald Berkeley-Willoughby), Joy Shelton (Joan),
Campbell Singer (Sgt. Wright), Gordon McLeod (Insp.
Wilson), Christine Norden (Della Dainton),
Leslie Bradley (Victor Palatine), Jack Stewart (Cutter),
PC 49 grapples
with a beautiful artists model in a case involving the murder of a millionaire. Notable for the
presence of radio stars Reece
unlike the first film.
Producer - Anthony
Hinds Directed by Francis
Searle Writers - Alan
Stranks & Vernon Harris (based on
the radio series by Alan Stranks)
a popular comic actor who had considerable success in West End shows. He
began his acting career in repertory companies, before joining the Army.
While in the Service he appeared at a large number of troop concerts and
then in broadcasts with Kenneth Horne. He
started working for the BBC in 1946, and when
49 started in 1947, he quickly became a popular radio personality.
He also appeared in other radio shows and many theatre productions. Pictured here in the
radio variety programme: Arthur's Inn,
Arthur Askey Reece &
Ann Howes =>
Episodes? 112 episodes were made,
although the The Radio Detectives episode
broadcast on BBC
Radio 4 in 1999 states that only 2 episodes have survived within
the BBC. Excerpts from both were used in the
documentary, both episodes from 1950 - The Case of
the Black Diamonds, and The Case of the Perfect
Fiddle. If anyone has any other episodes, I would certainly like
to know. Back to Top
Thanks to Stuart Monk for
providing the log.**
Golden Age of Radio - An Illustrated Companion"
by Denis Gifford
published by the Batsford Ltd. 1985.
Motion Picture Guide - 1927 - 1983" by Jay
Robert Nash and Stanley
Ralph Ross Published by Cinebooks Inc 1986.
Internet Movie Database