leave in the lurch


Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh was the title of a comical BBC radio and Radio Luxembourg show broadcast from 1944 to 1954, starring Kenneth Horne and Richard Murdoch as senior staff in a fictional RAF station battling red tape and wartime inconvenience. Over the years the station turned to non-combatant operations, became a country club ("the proposed membership drive has been cancelled as it is far cheaper to give everyone a bus ticket") and finally a newspaper The Weekly Bind. The programme's title may have been inspired by the RAF station at Moreton-in-Marsh, along with the word "binding", period RAF slang for whining or complaining.

Other cast members included Sam Costa, Maurice Denham, Maureen Riscoe, Dora Bryan and Nicholas Parsons. Musical interludes were provided by Stanley Black and the Dance Orchestra, and songs from Helen Hill. The cast were occasionally joined by special guests; a prominent example of this was the Hollywood star Alan Ladd. Maurice Denham in particular played an important part in the programme, playing a multitude of roles of varying gender and age. These included Mr. Blake the Sexton (the name a homage to the fictional detective Sexton Blake), the local Vicar, Mrs Dinsdale, young Percy and others. His agile vocal talents were later put to good use in the 1954 animated film Animal Farm in which he provided all voices and animal noises.

The show broadcast on BBC radio from 1944-1950 before briefly being cancelled and transferring to Radio Luxembourg between 1950-1951, after which it returned to the BBC until its end in 1954.


  • "Good morning Sir, was there something?" - Sam Costa, batman
  • "Oh, I say, I am a fool!"
  • "Have you read any good books lately?"
  • "Leave it with me, sir"
  • "Leave it with him, sir"
  • "Would you like to see my puppies?"
  • "Not a word to Bessie"
  • "Did I ever tell you about the time I was in Sidi Barrani?"

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