July 12, 1939: It’s That Man Again first first broadcast

It’s That Man Again (or, commonly, ITMA) was a BBC radio comedy programme which ran from 1939 to 1949. It starred Tommy Handley in comic situations often related to current war news. It featured popular characters such as Colonel Chinstrap and Mrs. Mopp, and generated certain catchphrases that long outlived the series. ITMA was credited with sustaining wartime morale.

The title ITMA refers to a contemporary phrase concerning the ever more frequent news-stories about Hitler in the lead-up to the Second World War, and specifically a headline in the Daily Express.

ITMA was first broadcast on July 12, 1939, and followed the adventures of Tommy Handley as he undertook a series of (fictional) bizarre jobs that involved working with strange characters. The first series began with Handley working on a private radio station, but he later moved on to work as Minister of Aggravation and Mysteries at the Office of Twerps; the Mayor of seedy seaside resort Foaming at the Mouth; and Governor of the South Sea island Tomtopia.

Other performers in the show included:

  • Deryck Guyler
  • Hattie Jacques
  • Maurice Denham
  • Molly Weir

In 1943, a film adaptation was made of the series, also titled It’s That Man Again.


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