After the huge success of his first theatrical sketch Bairnsfatherland or the Johnson 'Ole (written in collaboration with Basil Macdonald Hastings) in the London Hippodrome revue Flying Colours in September 1916 , and with a second sketch due to open in See-Saw at the Comedy Theatre in Spring of 1917, the suggestion was made that Bruce Bairnsfather should write a full length play based around his popular character Old Bill,
The idea was taken up by Bairnsfather and, in collaboration with Capt. Arthur Eliot, he wrote a comedy-drama titled The Better 'Ole. It was made up of two acts and eight scenes (described in the programme as "Two explosions, Seven Splinters and a Short Gas Attack"): at a "Gaff" behind the lines, outside the Cafe des Oiseaux near the front, in billets behind the line, on the way back "in," in the trenches, at Headquarters, on the Leave Train and back at Old Bill's home in England.
Click on any of the links opposite to read more about the numerous stage productions of The Better 'Ole worldwide.
The Better 'Ole UK touring companies 1917-20
The Better 'Ole in India 1919
The Better 'Ole in Singapore 1921
The Better 'Ole in Vaudeville 1927
The Better 'Ole - Anne Bronagh Players 1927
The Better 'Ole in Detroit 1931
The Better 'Ole - George Ricketts tour 1930