BBC Radio 4, 17 October 2009
This unpublished script, written in 1966, was discovered for sale on
an internet auction site by scriptwriter Wes Butters. Originally part of Williams' personal archives, it had been left to
the actor's godson, who sold it as part of an attempt to raise much-needed cash. Twice Ken is Plenty had been created
for Williams and Kenneth Horne, but the BBC decided not to produce it as Round the Horne was still playing at that
time, and the Corporation feared that the show's other stars - Hugh Paddick, Betty Marsden, Bill Pertwee and Douglas Smith
- might object if they found they had been excluded from this script.
Recorded in front of a live audience, Twice Ken is Plenty was performed
by Jonathan Rigby (Horne) and Robin Sebastian (Williams), with Charles Armstrong as the announcer. In truth its contents deviated
little from the familiar Round the Horne format - a series of comic skits containing references to contemporary television
and radio programmes (Juke Box Jury, Housewives Choice) and some excruciating puns. The script was something
of a nostalgia-trip, with its references to long-gone London landmarks such as Swan and Edgar and personalities such as Alvar
Perhaps the programme's most interesting aspect was the way in which it depicted
the father-son relationship between the two men. Williams' own father was an ineffectual type, dominated by his wife; and
the actor spent much of his career looking for a surrogate parent. He found it in Kenneth Horne, in both Beyond our Ken
and Round the Horne. In Twice Ken is Plenty Horne's word remained law, despite the fact that he functioned
as the butt of most of Williams' jokes. When Horne died of a heart attack in 1968 (bringing Round the Horne's run to
a premature end), Williams searched for a successor, but never found one, despite continued success in other series (Stop
Messing About, Just a Minute). This proced a source of considerable distress to him, and might explain why he
took his own life at the early age of 62 in 1988. If Horne had lived longer, then Williams might have been a far happier person.
Twice Ken is Plenty offered a fascinating glimpse into radio history, as
well as being well worth listening to in its own right. The co-producers were Butters and Stephen Garner.