Whack-O! is a British sitcom TV series starring Jimmy Edwards, written by Frank Muir and Denis Norden, and broadcast from 1956 to 1960 and 1971 to 1972.

The title sequence emulated a chalk blackboard, with caricatures of Jimmy Edwards interposed with credits, often with letters the wrong way around.
Created byFrank Muir
Denis Norden
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of episodes60
Running time30 minutes
Original networkBBC1
Original release4 October 1956 
27 December 1960
27 November 1971 – 26 February 1972

The series (in black and white) ran on the BBC from 1956–60 and (in colour) from 1971 to 1972. Edwards took the part of Professor James Edwards, M.A., the drunken, gambling, devious, cane-swishing headmaster who tyrannised staff and children at Chiselbury public school (described in the opening titles as "for the sons of Gentlefolk"). The Edwards character bore more than a passing resemblance to Sergeant Bilko as he tried to swindle the children out of their pocket money to finance his many schemes.

The first six episodes were subtitled "Six of the Best". In 1959 a film was made based on the show, called Bottoms Up!. The series was revived in colour with updated scripts in 1971–72, slightly retitled Whacko!. In all, it ran for a total of 60 episodes, with 47 of black-and-white and 13 colour, of 30 minutes each. There were three special shorts. There was also a radio version, on the Light Programme, 45 episodes of 30 minutes broadcast from May 1961 – July 1963, with Vera Lynn starring as herself in the second episode. Many of these radio episodes were recovered by a BBC archivist from a listener's collection of tapes in 2012, and are now being broadcast on Radio 4 Extra.

The front of the historic house of Great Fosters was used in the opening title sequence of the TV comedy series behind the name of the fictional Chiselbury School.[1]


Surviving episodes

Most of the show's episodes are missing, presumed lost. Six of the original black-and-white episodes are known to exist today; from the colour revival series of the 1970s, only one is known to have survived.[4]

Only 7 episodes exist in the BBC TV archives, with 3 (out of the 6 remaining B&W episodes) having been rediscovered in December 2016.

  • TBA
  • Series 3 episode 5 (21 October 1958)
  • Series 5 episode 4 (1 December 1959)
  • Series 6 episode 4 (3 June 1960)
  • Series 7 episode 1 (22 November 1960)
  • Series 7 episode 5 (20 December 1960)
  • Series 8 episode 2 (4 December 1971)

See also


  1. "Whack-O! Opening titles, BBC TV". Retrieved 28 July 2008.
  2. "Whacko! - BBC One London - 19 February 1972 - BBC Genome". genome.ch.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  3. "Whack-O! (TV Series 1956–1972)". Retrieved 20 September 2018 via www.imdb.com.
  4. "Whack-O!", Kaleidoscope website
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