Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh (1944-54)

Murdoch and Horne
Murdoch and Horne disregarding pressing problems at the Air Force Station at Much Binding to pay attention to the News. "These sets take a very long time to warm up", Murdoch would say, as Horne pipped and whistled and tootled in the background...

The RAF station of Much-Binding was first introduced in a show from the Merry-go-round series on the 31st March 1944, and was around until 1954, although by that time, the RAF station was no more, and the former staff now ran a newspaper - The Weekly Bind.

The original idea had set up Laughter Command of the RAF, and a ramshackle air station called Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh, where the inmates gave battle to all the frustrations of inconvenience and red tape that war had laid upon them. In peacetime, Much-Binding simply turned itself over to non-combatant operations.

The programmes were written by, and starred Kenneth Horne and Richard 'Stinker' Murdoch, although other notable names present were Maurice Denham, Nicholas Parsons, Sam Costa, and Dora Bryan.

Diana Morrison, Kenneth Horne, Richard Murdoch,Sam Costa and Maurice Denham
Diana Morrison, Kenneth Horne, Richard Murdoch,Sam Costa and Maurice Denham

Horne and Murdoch met in the Air Ministry during the war, when Horne was Wing Commander, and Murdoch a Squadron Leader. Sam Costa joined them to represent the rank and file, and Maurice Denham played the upper class Dudley Davenport, Ivy Clingbine and Winston the dog. Following on from ITMA, which was a multitude of catchphrases, both characters had their own - Costa with his batman's, 'Good morning Sir, was there something?', Denham's 'Oh, I say, I am a fool!', and Murdoch's 'Have you read any good books recently?' and were always met with applause. The singer Dorothy Carless also took part as Flying Officer Flannel.

Costa also played Prudence Gush, the radio critic, when Much-Binding became a weekly newspaper, The Weekly Bind, with Dora Bryan as Gladys Plumb, its fashion editor. Much-Binding was said to be King George VI's favourite show after the death of Tommy Handley put an end to ITMA.

There followed a successor show to Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh under the title of Over to You.
The name was then changed again to simply Much-Binding.

There's an Airforce station, somewhere tucked away
Where it is exactly,
we're not supposed to say.
The C.O. and the A.C.O. were always very kind
It's name is quite misleading, life never is a bind ...

At Much Binding in the Marsh, we've had some races of all sorts and sizes,
At Much Binding in the Marsh, we're giving several Waafs' away as prizes.
The quarter mile was not a race on which I will enlarge:
The Station Warrant Officer was beaten by the Sarge,
And now, of course, as you can guess,
The Sarge is on a Charge
At Much Binding in the Marsh.

Much Binding Sheet MusicAt Much Binding in the Marsh -
The crime wave's come we must do something drastic,
At Much Binding in the Marsh
From one plane they've stolen the elastic,
We've twisted it and then let go,
Thro' space we used to swish:
We're stuck without elastic now, but have a shrewd 'suspish',
that 'flannels' using it, to keep her 'is-sues' in 'po-sish'
At Much Binding in the Marsh.

The Hangar has been made a trifle wider,
At Much Binding in the Marsh
We did it to accomodate our glider
Our pilot said he'd like to try it out as it was new,
We took him up ten thousand feet and then we waved a-dieu,
He came down six months later to the north of Katman-du from Much Binding in the Marsh.

At Much Binding in the Marsh
Our aerodrome defence is quite in-spiring,
At Much Binding in the Marsh
We feel as safe as houses when they're firing.
Our A.A. Bo -fors gunner is a man who never cowers,
Last Tuesday week he got the chance to demonstrate his powers,
He shot one Jer-ry aircraft down and eighty two of ours At Much Binding in the Marsh ( Cheerio, folks)
At Much Binding in the Marsh ( See you later)
At Much Binding in the Marsh.

Words and Music by
Richard' Stinker' Murdoch
Kenneth Horne
Sidney Torch

Click Here!Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh theme

Radio Luxembourg also produced a series of the show which ran in 1950-51.

Musical accompaniment was provided by The Skyrockets Dance Orchestra, conducted by Woolf Phillips and then The Squadronaires Dance Orchestra conducted by Ronnie Aldrich. Patricia Hughes also appeared and the show was compered by Bob-Danvers-Walker.

(With acknowlegements to The British Comedy website)

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