Over here at Ganymede & Titan, we like to think we bring a certain amount of professionalism to our reporting. We’re happy to let you know then, that 1982 radio sitcom Wally Who? – penned by a certain Rob Grant and Doug Naylor – is currently being repeated every Wednesday on Radio 4 Extra, at 9:30am, 4:30pm, and 4:30am.

Admittedly, this piece of reporting may have been more impressive if this run hadn’t started on the 17th May, and if we hadn’t missed the first three episodes. It may also have been more impressive if we hadn’t started uploading and reviewing the series ourselves back in 2009, but stopped after the first episode. Mickey Mouse operation, etc.

In our defence, our competency in this matter is about on a par with what the series itself deserves. But judge for yourself. All three episodes so far are available on iPlayer for your listening “pleasure” – with the first episode having 15 days left online at the time of writing. For sheer historical interest alone, they’re worth a go. To be blunt, the first episode is a dreadful half-hour of comedy. The third episode is a bad photocopy of Hancock’s Half Hour, and thus is actually a massive improvement.

Oh, and the second? Let’s single it out for a couple of interesting moments. Such as this:

WALLY: What are those frames up there on the wall?
TIM: Oh, they’re just for certificates and qualifications – your degree, your FSA business diplomas, that sort of thing.
WALLY: Oh, I see – you just sort of stick them up there and show them off, do you?
TIM: Yes, I suppose so – sort of a…
WALLY: I’ll have to bring my lot in then! Now, I’ll tell you what’d look good up there as a centrepiece – my bronze medallion life-saving certificate.
TIM: That’s swimming is it, sir?
WALLY: Yes! And it’s not an easy one that, Tim: you have to swim two lengths in a pair of pyjamas.

And when Wally flames out of the financial services industry? He doesn’t consult The Junior Encyclopaedia of Space. No:

WALLY: And of course, it didn’t help the situation when the chairman walked in and caught me reading The Stock Market Made Simple: A Child’s Introduction


This is the first repeat the series has ever had, at least for absolute decades – so much kudos to Radio 4 Extra for dragging this out. One of the absolute best things about the whole of the BBC. Honestly, it’s brilliant they even remember this exists.

12 comments on “Wally Who?: A Belated Look & Listen

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  • You may not be fast, but you get there in the end. Thanks for letting us know about this. I’m sure you’ve realised this but in the earlier G&T article you link to you seem to think you’re missing an episode, but according to iPlayer there are only 5, in this current run at least. So either the BBC Programme Catalogue was wrong about it being a six-part series, or that last episode is lost altogether?

  • Yeah, that’s a little unclear. It *seems* that it’s two series of five episodes each – so perhaps Series 2 will follow? We never got out hands on any of the second batch of five.

  • Wallop eh! Just listened to half of the first episode. I am feeling the 1982 lad culture.

  • Yeah, that’s a little unclear. It *seems* that it’s two series of five episodes each – so perhaps Series 2 will follow? We never got out hands on any of the second batch of five.

    Just had a quick check of BBC Genome… and it’s rather interesting. It looks like Series 1 was six episodes long, but the last episode was Christmas-themed and may have been counted as a separate special. And it doesn’t have any listing for Series 2 that I can find, although a lot of the listings are incomplete, which only complicates things…

    Also: Unless it’s a mistake introduced by the Genome, for episode 1 Rob Grant was credited in the Radio Times as “Bob Grant”.

  • Probably an OCR error. My favourite Genome OCR typo of all time is “RONNIE HAZLEBURST”, if just because it occurs so relentlessly often.

  • I enjoyed the Radio 4 extra continuity announcer saying ‘yeah… not the radiophonic workshops finest hour’ after the Wally Who theme tune.

  • The fourth episode has a very familiar light switch gag! I really didn’t like the first episode but I think it’s got better each week.

  • Yeah, it’s difficult to overestimate exactly how bad that opening episode was to launch the show. ANY other episode would have been better!

  • According to epguides, 4 Extra have missed out 1.5 ‘The Caravan’, and jumped straight to 1.6 ‘All I Want For Christmas’ which they’ve broadcast as episode 5.

    Usually with them this means the episode is wiped or lost (or misfiled as has happened before, see On The Hour 2.5 which was missing in master form, skipped from repeats and released on CD from an off-air cassette, until *2015* when it suddenly turned up out of nowhere.) Example – whenever they repeat Eric Idle’s Radio 5 it’s the first two episodes of series 1 (all that officially exists) plus a hi-fi off-air of 2.4 show as ‘Episode 3’ (he actually made 11). They make up their own runs based on what they’ve still got, which can be both helpful and annoying at the same time.

    I haven’t listened to Wally Who whatsoever by the way – you’ve all put me off, but I’ve been diligently recording it regardless.

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