Whack-O! (subtitled Six of the Best during the first series) was a typical 1950's comedy series from the pens of Denis Norden and Frank Muir and starring Jimmy Edwards who had been awarded the DFC during the war when he fought with the RAF. Edwards, whose trademark was a magnificent handle-bar moustache, had been a radio star since the 1940's as Pa Glum, but it was for his role as Professor Jimmy Edwards, the corrupt, crafty and cane swishing headmaster of Chiselbury School for which he will always be most famously remembered, a character that Edwards had already developed three years before in various BBC variety shows.
His bullying tactics were not confined simply to his students, and members of his staff were given a particularly rough ride, especially his weedy right-hand man, Mr. Pettigrew (played by Arthur Howard, brother of movie star Leslie). During it's initial four-year run Kenneth Cope (Marty Randall in Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)), and Peter Glaze of Crackerjack fame appeared. A cinema version Bottoms Up was released in 1960 (the same years as the last of the original series was broadcast) and radio adaptations were also broadcast on the BBC Light Programme before the series itself was revived in 1971 as Whacko! with some of the original scripts reworked for a modern audience.
Published on February 12th, 2019. Written by Laurence Marcus for Television Heaven.