Educating Archie was a BBC Light Programme comedy show broadcast from June 1950 to February 1958 on Sunday lunchtimes featuring ventriloquist Peter Brough and his doll Archie Andrews. The programme was successful despite a ventriloquist on radio seeming strange, though in the United States, Edgar Bergen with Charlie McCarthy had also undertaken radio work. Educating Archie averaged 15 million listeners, and a fan club boasted 250,000 members. It was so successful that in 1950, after only four months on the air, it won the Daily Mail's Variety Award.
The show introduced comedians who became well known including Tony Hancock as Archie's tutor, who would greet Archie with a weary "Oh, it's you again" and always replied to a put down by him with "flipping kids". Other "tutors" included Benny Hill, Harry Secombe, Dick Emery, Bernard Bresslaw, Hattie Jacques and Bruce Forsyth together with a young Julie Andrews as Archie's girlfriend. Later, Beryl Reid took this role, playing the St. Trinian-esque Monica with catch-phrases, "jolly hockey-stick" and "as the art-mistress said to the gardener". Beryl also played a young Brummie girl, catch-phrase: "Evening each, moy noyme's Mar-leen".
Max Bygraves later played Archie's tutor with catch-phrases, "I've arrived , and to prove it, I'm here" and "That's a good idea ... son!". The duo recorded songs from the show on the HMV label namely "The Dummy Song" and "Lovely Dollar Lolly".
ITV sitcom adaptation
In 1958, Educating Archie transferred to ITV for a sitcom produced by ITV contractor Associated-Rediffusion broadcast under the same name, the adapted ITV sitcom was broadcast 1958–59 and featured the ventriloquist's dummy Archie Andrews taking on a life of its own, talking and walking all over its creator Peter Brough, aided and abetted by a housekeeper played by Irene Handl, a non-paying lodger played by Freddie Sales (later Ray Barrett), and a jack-of-all-trades, played by Dick Emery.
- Briggs (1979), p. 714