BROADCAST: 24 Jan 1956[1]


Script by Spike Milligan



GREENSLADE: This is the BBC Light Program.
FX: Coin in tin cup.
GREENSLADE: Thank you.
SEAGOON: Greenslade! Abandon these financial irregularities, hand over that copper coin of the realm and read this extract from a recent issue of the Telegraph.
GREENSLADE: Yes sir. “In building a new residence for the High Commissioner in Colombo, the British Government was ‘taken for a ride’ by the contractors. A witness at an enquiry said a semi-circular settee cost four hundred and twenty pounds.”
SEAGOON: Which naturally brings us to the highly esteemed Goon Show.
Scene one – we continue with the enquiry.
FX: Gavel on bench.
CRUN: Yes, yes, yes. That's all very well, but why a semi-circular settee?
GREENSLADE: Because sir, it was for the use of a semi-circular Vice-Consul.
CRUN: Oh.....
BANNISTER: (Distant) What about Mafeking? [2]
CRUN: Has the Minister of Works anything to say? What about the Ministry of Works? What, what, what  – where is he?
ECCLES: I chose all that furniture myself. (Raves)
CRUN: What is all this about? What are we all here for?
SECOMBE: (Distant) What about our lads in Korea then?
BANNISTER: What about the drains in Hackney?
CRUN: What about the drains in East Finchley?!
BANNISTER: Never mind them in Finchley. I live in Hackney and the drains pong.
SEAGOON: (Welsh) What about the Welsh reaction reasons?
BANNISTER: Shut up, Mister Bevin. [3]
CHURCHILL: But what about all this washing outside Number Ten! – that's what I want to know. [4]
GREENSLADE: Please gentlemen…

BANNISTER: I’m not a gentleman!

GREENSLADE: You said it. Gentlemen, this is an enquiry into the cost of a Government building in Colombo.
CAST: (Backbenchers interjections.)
CRUN: What! What! What! Who authorised this?
GREENSLADE: Oh, Mister Eccles here.[5]

ECCLES: Yeah, I chose all the furniture myself. (Raves)
CRUN: Mister Eccles, why did a seven-and-sixpenny window-seat cost two hundred and forty-six pounds?
ECCLES: Um… I RESIGN! You speak to my secretary. You can't talk to a Government Minister like that. I won't be out of work long, you’ll see! I'll get that Ministry of Fishery job, you watch – I've kept goldfish.
GREENSLADE: Mister Eccles, we are not for one moment doubting your sincerity. It's just your intelligence that's in question.
ECCLES: Well, I accept your apology.
CRUN: How dare you interrupt me when I wasn't saying anything! How dare you!
CAST: (Various) Shut up! &c
SEAGOON: One moment please!
BANNISTER: Aaah, shut up! You steaming nit you...
SEAGOON: Needle nardle noo. Now, as a strolling Prime Minister of no fixed address, I must protest at this gross misspending of Public Funds. This building in Ceylon was supposed to cost twenty-five thousand pounds – in fact it cost fifty-nine thousand!
BLOODNOK: We mustn't stand for this
SEAGOON: We're not going to! We're not going to indeed! To teach those concerned with this disgusting waste a severe lesson, I've ordered the building burned to the ground, and a new building put up at the proper price.
GRAMS: Hearty approval from crowd. Foot stamping. Chorus of “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow”
SEAGOON: Thank you lads! Thank you lads! – you'll get your OBE's as you go out.
GREENSLADE: That afternoon, the strolling Prime Minister was summoned urgently from The Windmill,[6]  to attend (of all things) a vital Cabinet meeting.
FX: Door opens.
SEAGOON: Good afternoon gentlemen. I'm sorry I'm late. Sabrina wasn't on until after the interval. I er ...
SELLERS: [7] I'm glad you got here. Now Mr Prime Minister, first question; What is the liquid that most inspires the British Soldier while on active duty?
SELLERS: Tea is correct. A big hand for the lucky winner!
GRAMS: Clapping and cheering.
SELLERS: Now – d'you wanna double your salary? Good. Question number two; What is the organisation that supplies tea to the troops?
SELLERS: Right again!
GRAMS: Applause.
SELLERS: Now, I'll just pour this bucket of custard over your head to prove that Prime Ministers ARE FUNNY!
GRAMS: Tremendous applause and whistling. Cut it dead.
SEAGOON: Thank you!
SPRIGGS: Yahiyahihouagh! Now sir, we want you to peruse these vital secret plans.
SEAGOON: I'll read them tonight in bed.
SEAGOON: And now gentlemen, I want you to peruse these plans.
SPRIGGS: A-hiou! What are they, sir?
SEAGOON: The new secret tunnel between the House of Lords and the Folies Berg
SPRIGGS: But sir, I thought we were cutting down on this sinful national expenditure.
SEAGOON: Of course we are! We haven't built any lighthouses in the Strand this year. And besides, we've cut the tunnel estimates down to the barest essentials.
LORD:[10] (Blustering) You mean they’re only once every hundred yards?
SEAGOON: Yes, and only plain silver chandeliers.
ECCLES: I dunno.
SEAGOON: Well, shut up.
CAST: (Various “shut up”s.)
SEAGOON: Please, lets not start that again.
BANNISTER: (Distant) What about the drains in Hackney!
SEAGOON: Please – Gentlemen! Now don't forget, economy is the watchword. (Calls) Black Rod?[11]
SEAGOON: Carry me to my car.
ORCHESTRA: Dramatic link.
GREENSLADE: That night in bed, Britain’s strolling Prime Minister unrolled the secret document.
FX: Paper unrolling.

GRYTPYPE: Oh, good evening sir. May I help you?
SEAGOON: Ah, Sir Grytpype! – my trusted butler, confidante, best friend, sincerest critic and author of "Ten Years as a Russian Spy at Number Ten", help me unroll this top secret document which nobody must unroll.
GRYTPYPE: Of course sir. First, do let me take a holiday snapshot of you.
SEAGOON: By all means. By all means. I'll just slip on my bathing costume. There!
GRYTPYPE: Splendid. Now, a little smile sir? Good. Look, just hold the plans right up in front of your face.
FX: Click of shutter.
GRYTPYPE: There. Thank you very much, sir.
SEAGOON: Thank you! (Laughs) Ha, ha. Now Grytpype, read these plans to me. No, no, wait! No-one must see these plans. Put on your dark glasses and look the other way as you read them.
GRYTPYPE: Certainly sir. Anything for the old country.
SEAGOON: Good! And to make doubly sure, I won't listen. Now, what are these plans?
GRYTPYPE: Let me see. (Mumbles as if reading.) Srampson scrampson &c… Good heavens, sir! It's a plan of a new Guided NAAFI. A self-contained missile capable of carrying eighty-two staff, ten NAAFI pianos, sixty thousand gallons of tea and twelve tons of buttered crumpet, being shot six thousand miles up and set fully operative at the point of impact in sixteen seconds. It sounds quite impossible.
SEAGOON: Do you think so? Give me that phone.

FX: Hand piece picked up.

SEAGOON: Hello? Tell the NAAFI launching site at Rockall to launch the prototype Guided NAAFI to Malaya and report on arrival.[12]

FX: Hand piece down.

SEAGOON: I'll show you, old faithful servant.  

FX: Phone rings. Hand piece picked up.

WILLUM: (On phone) NAAFI Manager, Kuala Lumpur here.[13] The old tea's ready now sir.
FX: Hand piece down.
SEAGOON: There you are. Shot to Malaya and set up in seven seconds!
GRYTPYPE: Gad, what a fiendish weapon. With this, Britain is unbeatable.
SEAGOON: Yes. What a pity we can't build more. Economy, you know. After all, the country can't afford tunnels to the Folies Berg
ère and guided NAAFI's, can we? (Laughs) Ha ha ha! (Suddenly) Shhh! Quick, hide these plans – here's Max Geldray.

MAX GELDRAY – “All God’s Chillun Got Rhythm.” [14]

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic link.
SEAGOON: (Snoring under.)

GRYTPYPE: (Approaching) Ah. Our little strolling Prime Minister of no fixed address is asleep.
GRYTPYPE: Who's that?
GRYTPYPE: How do you spell it?
MORIARTY: (Raspberry) Ppt!
GRYTPYPE: You illiterate swine. It's Moriarty – where are you?
MORIARTY: Here – in the piano.
GRYTPYPE: What the devil are you doing in there?
MORIARTY: I'm hidin'.
GRYTPYPE: Don't be silly – Haydn's been dead for years.[15]
MORIARTY: Silence! I don't wish to know that.
GRYTPYPE: Neither do I.
MORIARTY: (I say, look here!) Now, help me out – I'm disguised as one of the piano strings.
GRYTPYPE: Which string are you?
MORIARTY: I think I'm a G-string.
GRYTPYPE: So that's why I can't see you?
MORIARTY: Now then, I'm not sure which string I am, so you'd better play a scale.
PIANO: Plays middle C

GRYTPYPE: (Sings) Doh…
PIANO: Plays D.

GRYTPYPE: (Sings) Ray…
PIANO: Plays E.

GRYTPYPE: (Sings) Me…
MORIARTY: Me – that's me! (Effort) Help me out.
GRAMS: Mechanical creeks, clicks and pops.
MORIARTY: Argh! Thank you.
GRYTPYPE: Good heavens Moriarty, you're two feet taller than you used to be. How did that happen?
MORIARTY: Some swine sent in a piano-tuner.[16]
GRYTPYPE: Well, you always were musical.
MORIARTY: (Sings) Doinnnng.  
GRYTPYPE: Now Moriarty, I want you to photograph this photograph of the Guided NAAFI plans, record it on tape, swallow it, raise your right leg and flee the country.[17] Farewell!
MORIARTY: Farewell!
GRAMS: Single whoosh.

FX: Door opens.
SEAGOON: What’s going on down here?
GRYTPYPE: Nothing, sir. Nothing at all.
SEAGOON: That's funny Grytpype – I thought I heard the sound of a man photographing the photograph of the secret plans, recording them on tape, swallowing them, raising his right leg and fleeing the country.
GRYTPYPE: Quite impossible. We were whispering sir.
SEAGOON: I'm sorry, I must have been mistaken. Answer that phone
GRYTPYPE: What phone?
FX: Phone rings. Phone picked up.
SEAGOON: That one. Give it to me! Hello . . .
WILLUM: (On phone) This is the manager of the Guided NAAFI at Kuala Lumpur sir. Do you want this tea we brewed up, or shall we throw it all away?
SEAGOON: Certainly not! I will not tolerate waste. How much tea is there?
WILLUM: Ten thousand cups.
SEAGOON: Right! – keep it on the boil. I'll attend to it.
FX: Handpiece down.
SEAGOON: Grytpype, we're going to Malaya. Prepare airliners to carry ten thousand troops. Tell them we're going to Malaya for tea.
GRYTPYPE: That will mean tropical kit, sir.
SEAGOON: Tropical Kitt – I love that woman! Oh ho, you mean uniforms?
GRYTPYPE: Yes, yes.
SEAGOON: Yes, well have them issued at once.
GRYTPYPE: You will have your little joke.
SEAGOON: Yes, needle nardle noo. (Laughs) Ha ha ha! Isotopes brew! No expense must be spared to see that this tea is not wasted. Our watchword is still – ‘economy.’
GRYTPYPE: Right sir.
ORCHESTRA: Dramatic link.
GRAMS: Distant airliners warming up engines. Regiment on parade. Sergeant-Major giving orders. (Slightly sped up. Continue under.)
SEAGOON: Ah, what a magnificent economical sight. Twelve hundred planes, ten thousand men, all pledged to avert tea-wastage. Well, goodbye Grytpype.
GRYTPYPE: Oh, just a moment sir. It's ten to twelve.
GRYTPYPE: Time for your OBE sir. Say aahh.
SEAGOON: (Swallows) Oh, that's better. Well, goodbye Grytpype.
GRYTPYPE: Goodbye Charlie
SEAGOON: My name’s not Charlie – it's Neddie.
GRYTPYPE: I know, but… somehow I always think of you as ‘Charlie.’ [18]
SEAGOON: Thank you. Farewell, friend.
FX: Phone rings. Handpiece picked up.
MORIARTY: (On phone) Hello, Grytpype?
GRYTPYPE: Moriarty, where are you?
MORIARTY: I'm hiding in the lining of your underpants.
GRYTPYPE: Fool. What are you doing there?
MORIARTY: I couldn't get out of the country with the plans.
GRYTPYPE: Why not?
MORIARTY: The fares have gone up again!
GRYTPYPE: Great heavens! Wait a moment – we'll travel free, Moriarty.
GRYTPYPE: We'll reach Moscow via Malaya. Now quick! – crawl through this photograph of a hole in the fuselage of this aeroplane.
FX: Two pairs of boots scuffling inside a small space.

MORIARTY: (Effort) Argh!, Ohigh! Right, we're in.
MORIARTY: Now throw away that photograph of the hole before we fall out.
GRAMS: Airline engines roaring to life.
ORCHESTRA: Dramatic link.
GRAMS: Fleet of aircraft at great height.
GREENSLADE: (Over) By dawn, the mighty aerial fleet were approaching Ceylon.
SEAGOON: (Approaching) I've worked it all out here. Now, the cost of firing the Guided NAAFI to Malaya was a quarter of a million pounds; managers wages, eight pounds ten, making a total of, erm… Making a total of er…  Ah! Chancellor of the Exchequer – just the man. Now, how much is a quarter of a million pounds plus eight pounds ten?
ECCLES: I RESIGN! You can't talk to me like that.
SEAGOON: SHUT UP! Here, step outside this door.
FX: Door opens.

GRAMS: Roar of high altitude slip-stream.

FX: Door closes.
SEAGOON: He always wanted to visit Ceylon. Tell the Minister of Aerial Music to ask the Black Watch to play for dancing for all ranks.[19]

RAY ELLINGTON - "She's a Three-handed Woman" [20]

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic Air-Force introduction.
GREENSLADE: That night the aerial armada landed and the troops under Major Bloodnok bivouacked in the steaming jungles, a mere days march from the Guided NAAFI.
GRAMS: Multiple snoring, mouth noises and burps.
MORIARTY: Psssst!... Psssst!... Major Bloodnok.
BLOODNOK: Ooohh! Don't come in my tent yet, please – just a moment. Goodnight darling, I'll see you later.
THROAT: Goodnight darling.
BLOODNOK: Yes. Er… (Calls) Come in!
MORIARTY: (Approaching) Thank you. Now, Major le Bloodnok?
BLOODNOK: A civilian! How dare you enter my tent, sir.
MORIARTY: That's the only way I could get in.
BLOODNOK: For all you know I might have had some ladies in here. Get out!
MORIARTY: Be quiet or I'll tell them who sold those three cardboard tanks.
BLOODNOK: What!? It's all lies! In any case they never paid me. Is there no honesty! You know what happened to me last night?

BLOODNOK: Thank heaven for that. Now then, state your business sir.
MORIARTY: Now listen – tomorrow we reach the only jet-propelled Guided NAAFI in the world. It must be destroyed!
BLOODNOK: What! – are you a spy?
BLOODNOK: Then why are you covered in mince?
MORIARTY: I'm a mince spy.
BLOODNOK: A Merry Christmas!
MORIARTY: (They wish to know that. A merry Christmas to you too.) Now listen, would you be willing to sabotage this secret Guided NAAFI?
BLOODNOK: I'll have you know that I am a patriotic English Gentleman, sir.
MORIARTY: And what does that mean?
BLOODNOK: It means I'll only do it for money.
MORIARTY: Very well. Here – here is a carbon copy of an imitation hundred-pound note.
BLOODNOK: Wait a moment. How do I know this carbon copy isn't a forgery?
MORIARTY: How? Look here – here’s a life-size oil painting of me robbing the bank with it.
BLOODNOK: But it shows you clean-shaven.
MORIARTY: I was wearing an invisible beard.
BLOODNOK: Great malleable lumps of steaming thun!
MORIARTY: I apologise!
BLOODNOK: You Chinese think of everything.
MORIARTY: But I'm not Chinese.
BLOODNOK: Then you must have forgotten something! You should be more careful. Give me the money.
FX: Cash register. Money in till.
BLOODNOK: Thank you. Now then, what do I do?
MORIARTY: Now listen – all has been arranged. Hand this parcel of explosive sausages to the Guided NAAFI manager.
BLOODNOK: Right. Gad, there he goes, off to join Grytpype-Thynne in an attempt to reach Moscow with a photograph of the plans. See page four of the script. Any questions? Good – part five; ‘Arrival at the NAAFI.’
ORCHESTRA: Military bugle playing ‘Fall In’. Double the speed – fluctuate the speed wildly at the end.
SEAGOON: (Announcing) Men! (I think that takes most of you in) – we are here to drink NAAFI tea.

FX: Tin mug on bonce.

SEAGOON: Ooowooowooowooowooow. Who threw that?
BLUEBOTTLE: I did, Captain.[21]
SEAGOON: Who are you, you little tea-stained, crumpet-ridden idiot?
BLUEBOTTLE: I am a little tea-stained, crumpet-ridden idiot. (Thinks – I'm a little tea-stained, crumpet-ridden idiot.)
SEAGOON: Great larrups of dongle! – he thinks he's a little tea-stained, crumpet-ridden idiot.
SEAGOON: Don't shout so loud! – you'll wake up the Minister for Defence Against Surprise Air Attacks.
SEAGOON: Good! – and as you're out of work you can fill a vacancy that's just occurred.
SEAGOON: We need a Minister for Defence Against Surprise Air Attacks.
ECCLES: Fine, fine, fine. Okay Bluebottle, address the men.
BLUEBOTTLE: (Announcing) Soldier men of England; you have been broughted here to drink all this lovely, thick brown, lukewarm NAAFI tea. Drink and be merry, I say.
CAST: (Discontented grumbling.)
BLUEBOTTLE: Thank you for your encouraging words. Everybody inside! (To self) Oooh, I like this game, being the wonder-boy NAAFI manager. (Thinks: this is what a nice clean life leads to. Hmm, why did I ever lead one?)
ECCLES: Hello my good man.
BLUEBOTTLE: Oh, hello Lord Eccles.
ECCLES: Hello Lord Eccles.
BLUEBOTTLE: Are you the Minist’rers of Food?
ECCLES: Yeah. Ooh, look here. Here's a parcel of naughty sausages for you. Major Bloodnok gave them to me just before he deserted.
BLUEBOTTLE: Ooh, I love sausinges. A feast! We will have a feast of lovely, nitteln sausinges. We'll put them in the refridgimerators and go and get the frying pan. Come on Eccles.
ECCLES: (Self fade) Okay, okay!
FX: Door opens and closes.
(Slight pause)

FX: Door opens.
GRYTPYPE: Keep going, Moriarty. We can't be far now.
MORIARTY: (Out of breath) Yes! According to my calculations we are only a hundred yards from the Soviet Border.
GRYTPYPE: There’s a sign. What does it say?
MORIARTY: Let me see – (reading) Eggs and Chips, twelve-and-nine; Beans on Toast, ten shillings
GRYTPYPE: You big steaming nit you!
GRYTPYPE: You've lead us back to this dashed Guided NAAFI!
MORIARTY: Sapristi-yakakabakakacoo-and-needle-nardle-noo! It's that confounded compass. It's the last time I buy those cheap Christmas crackers.
GRYTPYPE: Shhh. Someone's coming. Quick! – into the fridge.
MORIARTY: Into the fridge, quick!
FX: Fridge door shuts.
MORIARTY: Now we're in here we'll change clothes and come out disguised as each other.
GRYTPYPE: Brilliant! You'll get a Russian OBE for this.
MORIARTY: Sapristi. Wait! The plans! They mustn't find these plans.
GRYTPYPE: Quick! – wrap them round these naughty sausages.
MORIARTY: Right. And now we imitate the sound of eight ounces of dripping.
FX: Sound of butchers paper crinkling. Door opens.

BLUEBOTTLE: Ah! – here are the naughty sausinges. Well, I will just pop them into this nice boiling hot frying pan.
GRAMS: Sizzling sound. Huge explosion.
BLUEBOTTLE: So that's why they call ‘em bangers! [22]
SEAGOON: Where did those sausages come from?
BLUEBOTTLE: The rotten Minister of Food.
GRYTPYPE: Hands up all of you!
SEAGOON: Don't be a fool, Grytpype. Drop that cucumber!
GRYTPYPE: What! – and leave myself cucumber-less in the salad season? Not likely. Moriarty, we've lost all the plans in the explosion.
MORIARTY: Never mind, I still have something up my sleeve.
GRYTPYPE: Splendid. We'll use that.
GRYTPYPE: Go to the launching control, point the whole of this Guided NAAFI to Moscow and off we go!
GRAMS: Rocket launch.
GREENSLADE: And that is how fifteen seconds later, under Sir Neddie Seagoon's great economy drive, the lucky natives of Aldershot were delighted to find a fully-operating three million pound NAAFI in their midst.
GRYTPYPE: Aldershot? How have we come to Aldershot?
MORIARTY: That's the last time I buy a box of those cheap Christmas crackers!
GRYTPYPE: You steaming nit you!!
ORCHESTRA: End theme.
GREENSLADE: That was The Goon Show, a BBC recorded program featuring Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Spike Milligan, with the Ray Ellington Quartet and Max Geldray. The orchestra was conducted by Wally Stott, script by Spike Milligan, announcer Wallace Greenslade, the program produced by Peter Eton.
ORCHESTRA:  Playout.


[1] After a mid-season hiatus of dud shows, the final ten scripts of the 6th series are amongst some of Milligan’s best. Based on a smorgasbord of current affairs references, this show utilizes two important events, and connects them (as was Milligan’s habit) with incongruous memories from his past – in this case the NAAFI. In 1954 the British Government had purchased its first US guided missile, the MGM-5 Corporal, for defence purposes - the first intercontinental missiles to be stationed on British soil. It was test fired in the western Hebrides, setting off a sequence of events which Spike lampooned in  Napoleon’s Piano’ earlier in the series. The Corporal missile was, as Spikes script suggests, notoriously inaccurate (hitting its target less than 50% of the time) and was mechanically highly unreliable. The second plot line concerned the current crisis in the British secret service, caused by the unmasking of two of the ‘Cambridge Five’ spy ring, Maclean and Burgess, who consequently had fled to the Soviet Union in 1951 to escape arrest.

Alongside these ideas, Spike noticed a recent newspaper article reporting an  exchange in the Commons.  On the 16th February 1954, the MP for Dover, John Arbuthnot had submitted a written question asking the Minister for Works, David Eccles (1904-1999), about the cost of the new house in Colombo for the British High Commissioner. Eccles replied to the effect that the cost to date of building the new residence was £48,000, while the total cost was expected to be approximately £54,000, (Milligan reports it as £59,000.) Coincidentally, the British Governor General to Ceylon at the time was Sir Oliver Goonetilleke (1892-1978), installed by the Queen in 1954 as the first native Ceylonese to hold that post.  Goonetilleke and Eccles were two names which seemed suspiciously as if they had been invented by Spike himself, providing him with a starting point to the plot, even to the point of having Eccles play Eccles.


[2] Mafeking, (present spelling Mahikeng), South Africa. Scene of a famous British victory during the second Boer War, 1899-1900.


[3] Aneurin Bevan (1897-1960), a Welsh Labour Party politician, lifelong champion of social justice and the rights of working people.


[4] Sellers. Following this line there is a confused exchange,  as follows:

GREENSLADE: Please, gen…
BANNISTER: Shut up you big steaming…

CRUN: Shut up!
GREENSLADE: Oh, shut up yourself!
BANNISTER: I don’t care. We've got…
GREENSLADE: Please, gentlemen
. (Continues script)


The washing incident it refers to involved Lady Avon, (the wife of the Prime Minister Antony Eden,) who had requested a cottager on the Prime Ministerial country estate of Chequers, to hang her washing out of sight of estate visitors. The story was taken up by the Daily Mirror in January 1956, and was reported as an example of Lady Avon’s (and by association Eden himself) alleged high handedness. The escalating Suez crisis eventually proved the journalists right as Eden’s own political dirty washing was soon to be dragged out, putting him on the nose with the electorate – an electorate which had recently voted him and the conservative party, back into power with the biggest majority in post-war history.

[5] Which was perfectly true. The Minister for Works in the Tory Government of Anthony Eden was David McAdam Eccles (1904-1999), later 1st Viscount Eccles. Compare with Seagoon’s prediction in ‘Forog’ (13/5th) when he exclaims to Eccles, “Just think of it! They’ll make me Lord Seagoon, and you – you’ll be Lady Eccles!” At this point of the Goon canon, Eccles was on the up and up.


[6] The Windmill Theatre existed in Great Windmill Street, London from 1932 until it’s closure in 1964. It was best known for its nude ‘tableaux vivants’ interspersed with stand-up comedy. Secombe achieved early success there after the war, as did Jimmy Edwards, Tony Hancock, Sellers, Bentine and Tommy Cooper.


[7] Imitating the format of  the ITV game show ‘Double Your Money,’ compered by Hughie Green (1920-1997.) This slightly shady British television personality had a transatlantic accent, due to living for an extended period in Canada, but Sellers uses a full blown US accent more like Jack Bailey or Bud Collyer.


[8] The acronym NAAFI stands for Navy, Army & Air Force Institutes, an organisation created in 1921 to run recreational establishments in the British Armed Forces for servicemen and their families. Milligan had a love/hate relationship with the institute, rubbishing it at every opportunity in his Memoirs, but relying on it, like every serviceman, for its facilities and its social ordinariness. His description of its food, in particular its ‘cold collation’ is extremely evocative:

“We are taken to a large NAAFI where we are given lunch. Ahhhhhhhgghhhh, Cold Collation!!! The most dreaded meal in the English culinary calendar: the dead chicken, the dead lettuce, the watery mayonnaise, the lone tomato ring! It’s the sort of meal you leave in your will to your mother-in-law.” (Goodbye Soldier!” – War Memoirs Vol 6, p 4)


[9] The famous music hall on the rue Richer in the 9th arrondissement, Paris. It was renowned for its erotic dancing, near nude performances and exotic revues.


[10] Sellers.


[11] This line was understandably excised from all broadcasts. The position of the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod was created in the 14th century, originating in the House of Lords, and has since been taken up by various other member nations of the Commonwealth. He is responsible for maintaining the buildings, services and security of the Palace of Westminster, that is to say the Parliament. Ellington’s sexual exploits were a matter of much gossip during this time, both behind scenes and in the newspaper columns. The gentlemen of the band frequently referred to him by this title.

[12] Rockall is an uninhabited granite outcrop situated in the North Atlantic, 267 kms northwest of Ireland. This 20 metre high monolith is the most isolated rock in all the world’s oceans, and was the final piece of land claimed for the British Crown, only months earlier in 1955. It is probable that Milligan, seeing it’s picture in the daily papers, thought it reminded him of an upside down grand piano with Napoleons hat stuck on top. (See ‘Napoleon’s Piano’ 4/6 series, for details.)

[13] Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia - a distance of approximately 6,500 miles, (10,590 kms).


[14] A famous Jazz standard written by three European émigrés -  Jurmann/Kahn and Kaper, cashing in on the advent of gospel swing during the 30’s. The number was in fact written for the specialty singer Ivie Anderson to sing in the Marx Bros. film ‘A Day at the Races’ (1937) where her performance is accompanied onscreen by members of Duke Ellington’s band. Anderson was herself an Ellington singer, holding the title for longer than anyone else, in a thankless position in the employ of the world famous band-leader who didn’t care to have his band eclipsed by some two-bit vocalist. Ellington himself never appeared in the Marx film, despite his band strutting their stuff on celluloid – it was the 30’s and Anderson and the other Afro-Americans were being overtly caricatured, something that the Duke took pains to avoid.


[15] Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) Austrian classical composer, and frequent butt of music-hall gags.

[16] A small Milliganism occurs here. It is possible to hear him do a short, sharp intake of breath  after the line. This was Spikes way of acting offended – being ‘sniffy’ as it used to be called. It became a regular habit of his during sketches in the ‘Q’ series which called for faux-surprise or a moral shock of some sort.


[17] For an instant Sellers almost corpses.

[18] The British term ‘Charlie’ means ‘a fool’. Its first usage is circa 1946. There are many suggestions as to its origin, but one plausible suggestion is that it was the code word for C in the International Code of Signals, commonly used during the war. What the C stood for is left to the imagination.

[19] Another dig at Ellington, also edited out of the broadcasts. The Black Watch was a Scottish Infantry regiment in the British Army. They are mentioned occasionally in Milligan’s War Memoirs.


[20] Written by Ben Raleigh and Irv Taylor and recorded in 1950 by Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five on  Decca, Johnny Moore’s ‘Three Blazers’ version (1950), Tex Ritter’s Nashville version on the album ‘High Noon’  in 1951 and Woody Herman & The Woodchoppers’ version also in 1951.

[21] Yet another of Milligan’s depictions of a military parade. Spike’s fondness for military gags and his memories of playing up during roll call are depicted  in ‘Adolf Hitler; My Part in His Downfall’ – the first book of his War Memoirs. The training camps and parade grounds of WWII were where Spike began trying out his early efforts at stand-up comedy. His war pals observed that one of Spikes witty remarks spoken at just the right time, would cause the whole company to fall about with laughter. In fact, when he was reduced to a wreck by battle fatigue, he became hugely resentful of his regiment commander for not appreciating his ability to keep the regiment laughing, and for not seeing it as tomfoolery, but for what is was – a morale booster. After that he was reduced in rank and sent back to a medical unit. He transferred this smouldering resentment and suffocating sense of non-appreciation to the BBC later on, for much the same reason.


[22] Which is apparently true. Sausages were generally made from scraps of meat, but during lean times producers would add more and more liquid to the mix. When fried, the sausage would burst, hence, bangers.