British popular culture would probably be very different had Larry Stephens not been born. We could now be living in a world without the Carry On films or Monty Python, and we may never have heard of Tony Hancock, Peter Sellers or Spike Milligan.
Stephens’ promising career as a jazz pianist was interrupted by the war, and after serving as an officer with the commandos he moved to London and struck up a friendship with Tony Hancock, becoming the sole writer of his stage material. Hancock introduced him to Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe, Spike Milligan and Michael Bentine and together they created The Goon Show, arguably the world’s most influential comedy programme. As one of the main writers throughout its nine-year run, Stephens’ experiences and acquaintances became themes and characters within the show.
For the first time, the life and work of this unsung hero of British comedy has been thoroughly explored. Using unrivalled access to Larry Stephens’ personal archive of letters, photographs and artwork, plus interviews with Stephens’ many notable friends, family members, comrades and colleagues, It’s All In The Mind tells the story of a boy from the Black Country whose short life had an enduring impact.