Kenneth Cope is the much-loved actor who people of a certain age will remember fondly for playing the role of dead detective Marty Hopkirk in the cult TV show Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), which aired in the US under the title My Partner, the Ghost.
Cope trained at Bristol’s Old Vic, making extra money by working part-time as a hospital porter. Still with us at the grand old age of 87, during his distinguished career he has appeared in more than 30 movies, and in such iconic TV shows as The Avengers, Coronation Street, Brookside, Casualty. Minder, a Touch of Frost and Doctor Who.
But there’s one thing that I’m pretty sure the Liverpool-born actor would rather forget, his one stab at pop success. In May 1963 he issued a Mike Sarne-inspired one-off single for Pye records, Hands Off, Stop Mucking About backed with Why Am I So Shy. Credited to Ken Cope and the Breakaways, the disc came out while he was still a regular cast member of Coronation Street and, at the time, Cope boasted that “It’ll get me a golden disc if one in every 24 folk who watch ‘Coronation Street’ go out and buy the record,” but sadly, despite the promotion the disc received, the TV watching public did not all rush out at once, and it sank without a trace.
The Breakaways, incidentally, were a Liverpudlian vocal trio who recorded a handful of discs for Pye between 1962 and 1965: Breakaways member Margo Quantrell penned the flip side of the disc, with the A-side co-written by Tony Hatch under the pseudonym Mark Anthony. With so much local talent on offer you would have thought the scousers would have gotten behind the disc, but as Disker (a.k.a. Tony Barrow) wrote in the Liverpool Echo “Mike Sarne has pumped every ounce of value from the Cockney comedy approach to love-making and love-resisting and The Vernons Girls have already done the same for the Liverpool parallel. ‘Hands Off’ is moderately amusing and it has a jolly, catchy tune, but it lacks that extra something which might have made it a best-seller.”
Anyway, here are both sides of this fun little 45.
Download Mucking HERE
Download Shy HERE