Recording ITMA, 1945: Conductor Charlie Shadwell (right) laughs at Tommy Handley and Dorothy Summers during the recording of an episode of 'It's That Man Again'. The BBC Variety Orchestra is visible behind them on the stage.
It's That Man Again (or, commonly, ITMA) was a BBCradio comedy programme which ran from 1939 to 1949. The title refers to a contemporary phrase concerning the ever more frequent news-stories about Hitler in the lead-up to World War II, and specifically a headline in the Daily Express written by Bert Gunn. This was humorously transferred to Tommy Handley, the popular comedian around whom the programme was developed. The scripts were written by the prolific Ted Kavanagh. ITMA is believed to have played a major role in sustaining morale on the UK's "home front" during World War II.
The headline which inspired the name of the show appeared in the Daily Express of 2 May 1939, on the bottom of the front page, above a story about Adolf Hitler leaving his Chancellery on a mystery journey. The first show was broadcast on 12 July 1939, part of an initial run of four shows which were fortnightly.
The show was broadcast for much of the war from the BBC Wales studios in Bangor, Caernarfonshire in Wales, where the BBC's Light Entertainment Department was based during World War II after an initial brief relocation to Bristol.
Other performers in the show included Jack Train, a master of voices; Clarence Wright, who played the commercial traveller and the man from the ministry; Deryck Guyler, and Joan Harben (sister of Philip Harben) as Mona Lott. Hattie Jacques, who played Sophie Tuckshop (the earliest of Jacques' roles dependent upon her physical size) joined the cast towards the end of the run. The programme featured dozens of other characters, such as Mrs Mopp and Colonel Chinstrap. The speed at which the performances were delivered is still considered remarkable, even given later technical developments. Many gags were dependent on breaking news – Ted Kavanagh once admitted to being unable to understand some jokes in earlier scripts.
Charlie Shadwell (right) prepares to conduct the BBC Variety Orchestra during the recording of an episode of 'It's That Man Again' in 1945. On his left is Ann Rich, the 'ITMA' singer who succeeded Paula Green. To the left of the photograph, producer Francis Worsley chats to broadcaster Ronnie Waldman.
Some years later, Train reprised the role of Colonel Chinstrap for a couple of guest appearances on The Goon Show including the episode "Shifting Sands". Train would recount how the character was created. Shortly before the show started he was in the office of senior announcer John Snagge having a chat when the door opened and a slightly bleary-eyed gentleman entered. They were introduced, the man being a retired Indian army officer. He then turned to Snagge and said, "John. I have just done the most marvellous piece of business. I’ve bought a water-heater on ten year’s hire-purchase and what the gas company doesn’t know is I am drinking myself to death".
Train, along with scriptwriter Kavanagh, developed this into Colonel Chinstrap. The officer on whom Chinstrap was based heard the programme and reputedly totally failed to connect the character with himself but commented: "Wonderful character. I knew silly buggers like that in India".
Then, nine years and five months after the first meeting, Train received a telegram saying: THE COLONEL BEAT THE GAS COMPANY BY SEVEN MONTHS SNAGGE.
ITMA ran for over 300 episodes between 1939 and 1949. When Handley died from a sudden stroke, announced immediately after the usual second repeat, it was cancelled because he was considered irreplaceable as its star.
ITMA is remembered for a number of catchphrases, some of which entered popular vocabulary.
"Don't forget the diver" – spoken by Horace Percival upon entrance and exit as a diver. This became a very popular catchphrase in Britain during World War II
This catchphrase was apparently inspired by a diver who solicited pennies on pier from seaside crowds, saying "Don't forget the diver sir. Every penny makes the water warmer".
New Brighton is a sea-side resort on the Wirral Peninsula. during the late 40's, during the holiday season,there was a man on a bicycle on the landing stage of the New Brighton Ferry from Liverpool. When the ferry approached, he rode off the end of the landing stage, some 10 to 20 feet, into the river Mersey. His accomplice stood on the stage with a collecting box and cried out "Don't forget the diver." as the passengers left the boat.
"I'm going down now sir" – Another diver catchphrase, which became widely used in descending lifts during the era of ITMA popularity.
"This is Funf speaking" – German spy, spoken by Jack Train. This became a popular telephone catchphrase.
"I don't mind if I do" – Colonel Humphrey Chinstrap's catchphrase, spoken by Jack Train, turning any remark into an offer of a drink. The origin of this catchphrase precedes ITMA, but was nevertheless popularised by ITMA.
"Can I do you now, Sir?" – Spoken by Dorothy Summers as Mrs Mopp the office char.
"I go, I come back" – Middle Eastern vendor, Ali Oop. Spoken by Jack Train.
"It's being so cheerful as keeps me going" – Mona Lott, a depressed laundrywoman played by Joan Harben.
"Good morning, nice day" – commercial traveller about to offer some sales line.
"After you, Claude – no, After you Cecil" – Moving men spoken by Jack Train and Horace Percival This phrase became used by RAF pilots as they queued for attack.
"I'll have to ask me Dad" – Mark Time (an elderly ditherer). This "was a political phrase introduced into ITMA when post-war reconstruction was looming. It was spoken by a Jack Train character, Mark Time, who responded to all questions with this phrase.
"But I'm all right now" – Hattie Jacques' character Sophie Tuckshop, after describing a long list of food she had eaten.
"TTFN (Ta ta for now)" and "Can I Do You Now" – Spoken by Dorothy Summers' character, Mrs Mopp.
“D’oh!” and Diana Morrison
More ejaculation than catchphrase, D'oh! was the explosive parting shot of the character Miss Hotchkiss as played by Diana Morrison in numerous episodes from 1945 (series 8/166 onwards) to the demise of the programme in January 1949.
‘D’oh!’ was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2004, largely in response to the much later publicizing of it in the television programme The Simpsons, although ITMA is credited with the earliest recorded use of the term. 
Diana Morrison was already a cast member before the advent of the character Miss Hotchkiss in 1945. Miss Hotchkiss was Tommy Handley’s stentorian and authoritarian secretary. Authoritarian she may have been but she was susceptible to the amorous blandishments of Handley which however would lead on to an inevitable put-down. The explosive ‘d’oh!’ would signal her exasperated exit.
On Wednesday 19th February 1947 Mrs Jean Mann, MP for Coatbridge, introduced the epithet ‘twerp’ to the House of Commons when referring to Tommy Handley during a debate on, of all things, supplementary estimates.  She was apparently taking exception to the risqué character of Handley’s jokes that, according to her, were based on the kind that made families feel they should switch off the radio. The next day ITMA responded by opening the show with the overture revamped to “It’s That Twerp Again”.