Band Waggon (film)

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Band Waggon
"Band Waggon" (1940).jpg
UK trade show poster
Directed by Marcel Varnel
Written by John Watt
Harry S. Pepper
Gordon Crier
Vernon Harris
J. O. C. Orton
Val Guest
Marriott Edgar
Robert Edmunds
Produced by Edward Black
Starring Arthur Askey
Richard Murdoch
Cinematography Arthur Crabtree
Henry Harris
Edited by R. E. Dearing
Distributed by General Film Distributors
Release date
23 March 1940 (UK)
Running time
85 minutes (UK)
CountryUnited Kingdom

Band Waggon is a 1940 British comedy film directed by Marcel Varnel and starring Arthur Askey, Richard Murdoch and Moore Marriott. [1] It was based on the BBC radio show Band Waggon . [2]



Arthur Askey and Stinker Murdoch, two out-of-work performers, are living on the roof of the Broadcasting House in Central London. After being called in for an audition with the BBC three months before, they were forgotten about and settled down to live there waiting for their big chance. One day an item from their clothes line falls and hits Claude Pilkington, a senior figure at the BBC, who has them evicted. They are forced to pack up all their belongings and leave.

While driving home that evening one of the tyres on Pilkington's car gets a puncture from broken glass lying on the road. It has been put there by the owners of the Jack-in-the-Box restaurant, who hope their cabaret act will be given a contract with the BBC and have so far failed to gain an audition. Pilkington sits unwittingly through their act, including singers Jack Hylton and Patricia Kirkwood, barely noticing it while he reads the newspaper. When he discovers that they have caused his puncture, he storms off in anger.

Meanwhile, Askey and Murdoch have found themselves in the countryside. Needing somewhere to live they go to a local estate agent hoping to pick up a cheap cottage. Instead they are offered a castle for £3 rent, which the owner is trying to get off his hands as it is haunted. After they settle down in the castle they begin a sequence of sinister happenings occur despite the estate agent's insistence that there is a "perfectly natural explanation for everything". When they encounter Jasper Blackfang, a ghost who claims to haunt the place, they flee and take shelter at the nearby Jack-in-the Box restaurant.

Emboldened by the realization that the ghost is in fact the caretaker of the castle, who has been living there rent free, they return along with Hylton and Kirkwood. They discover a television studio inside the castle, which the caretaker claims is being used by a pirate commercial station. In fact it is being used by Nazi agents in Britain, but the caretaker is unaware of this.

Frustrated by their failure to secure an audition at the BBC, they decide to use the studios to broadcast their own show. Arthur Askey does a performance on the same wavelength as the BBC television station, interrupting a programme by Pilkington himself, who has to be faded out. Pilkington is furious by the interruption, but the pirate show generates huge interest amongst the general public. Pilkington, meanwhile, gets Scotland Yard to hunt down the pirate station. Their determination to find the station is boosted by the realisation that the castle contains plans of British planes stolen by the Nazi agents, and Askey unwittingly holds up the plans during his broadcast.

Askey has organised a major hour-long performance which ends in a finale with where the police, BBC officials and Nazi agents all converge on the castle, while a time bomb is ominously ticking down. The programme is such a roaring success that the BBC eventually agree to Askey, Murdoch and their associates having their own show.



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  1. "BFI | Film & TV Database | BAND WAGGON (1940)". 16 April 2009. Archived from the original on 13 January 2009. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
  2. "Band Waggon 1940 | Britmovie | Home of British Films". Britmovie. Retrieved 15 January 2012.