BROADCAST: 28 Feb 1956[1]


Script by Spike Milligan


GREENSLADE: This is the BBC Home Service. 
SECOMBE: (Belligerent) Let that be a lesson to you! 
GREENSLADE: I’ll strike you down, sir! 
SECOMBE: Don’t you dare raise your ‘Radio Times’  to me! One false move and I’ll horse-whip you with this… 
ECCLES: (Strangled) Put me down! 
SECOMBE: Eccles, you must stop wearing those leather suits. 
GREENSLADE: Shut up, both of you! 
ECCLES: Shut up, both of you! 
SECOMBE: Kindly allow me to announce The Highly Esteemed…
ORCHESTRA: Tatty chord in C.
SECOMBE: … Goon Show. You came in too quick there, Mister Conductor. (Giggles) Close your eyes. 
FX: Gunshot. 
MILLIGAN: (Off mic. Scream.) Aah! 
FX: Body falls to floor. 
SECOMBE: Get up, man. Get up! Stop sulking about that silly little hole in your head. Mister Greenslade, cease framing that copy of ‘The Listener’ [2] and give us the old chat, there. 
GREENSLADE: Ladies and Gentle-mon-la-monge, presenting the story of…  
ORCHESTRA: Timpani – hold under.
SCOTSMAN: ‘The Treasure of Loch Lomond’. It was six hundred years ago that the Spanish treasure galleon, San i tairy sunk in Loch Lomond with great treasure aboard.
GREENSLADE: So much for the clumsy, heavily-laboured plot. We move now to the clumsy, heavily-laboured hero. 
SEAGOON: My name is Neddie MC Seagoon. My story starts one warm day in London. My business partner had just handed me a vital financial report.
WILLIUM: We’re skint mate. 
SEAGOON: Skint-mate? Well, let’s try Leicester Square – they… they like good music there.[3] 
WILLIUM: Well you take the solo this time, mate. 
SEAGOON: I’m not afraid. Give me your tin hat. Keep an eye open for coppers… and silver. 
SEAGOON & WILLIUM (Singing): Twenty tiny fingers,
                                      twenty tiny toes, 
                                      two angel faces, 
                                      each with a turned up nose!... [4]
FX: Penny in mug. 
SEAGOON & WILLIUM: (Arguing - variously) Give it here! It’s mine! Here! Give it back to me! Let go of it! 
SEAGOON: That penny is mine! I’m the company director. 
WILLIUM: I’ll bring this up at the next board meeting, mate, you see if I don't. After all, it was in my mug it fell into, mate. 
SEAGOON: I don’t care. I’m the lead singer. You’re always moaning 
WILLIUM: No I’m not! I stop when I’m asleep, don’t I? Oha! Look out, here come the rozzers, mate. 
GRAMS: Double whoosh. 
FX: Door closes.
SEAGOON: Ha, that’s given them the slip. Bolt the door. 
FX: Bolt being slid home.
WILLIUM: Ooh! It's coming up the stairs, mate. 
SEAGOON: Quick! We’ll fool him – slide this window under your wig. 
GRAMS: Shattering glass. 
SEAGOON: There! Now help me fold up the walls, 
FX: Winch.
FX: Knock on door.
SEAGOON: That’s better, now get the floor into this sack. 
FX: Something heavy being dragged then dropped. 
SEAGOON: Ah, ha ha! He won’t find this house here anymore. 
WILLIUM: Mate! The floor’s stuck, mate. 
SEAGOON: Fool, you’re standing on it 
FX: Something heavy being shifted then dropped. Knock on door. 
WILLIUM: Aeoough! He’s at the door, mate. 
SEAGOON: Hurry, let’s put the door up at the ceiling where he can’t reach it.
SEAGOON & WILLUM: (Straining) Hup!
FX: A couple of thuds. 
FX: Heavy pounding on door. 
SPRIGGS: (Distant) I say, you two down there, open up in the name of the lee!
SEAGOON: It’s no good, we’re trapped. Put on these master disguises; this lead beard for you. Hurry man! Now I’ll just put this pear of plastic ears around my waist. (Effort) There, now he’ll never recognise us. (Calls out) Come in! 
FX: Door opens. 
SPRIGGS: Neddie Seagoon? 
SEAGOON: (Crushed) Yes. 
TOOF:[5] I’m Norris Toof of Messers Meal, Fean and Thudder, commissioners for oaths, and small bets placed. 
SEAGOON: You should know.
TOOF: I have been instructed to inform you that you are next in line for the treasures of Laird McGool. It’s a heritage sir, worth ten-thousand pounds. 
SEAGOON: Oh well, I’ll have to inform the Labour Exchange. 
TOOF: One point sir. Before you do, you must prove to me that you are of Scottish blood. 
SEAGOON: Simple. Och aye mon. It’s a warm, black, moonlit nacht tonicht. Robert the Bruce.[6] Partick Thistle three – Celtic Rangers nil.[7] P.S. Down with England! Mon voots!
TOOF: Proof positive sir! Proof positive! 
SEAGOON: Needle nardle McNoo! 
TOOF: You can’t go against the word of a patriot.[8] You must leave for Scotland at once. 
SEAGOON: Well how do I get there, mon? I’ve nae siller mon. 
MILLIGAN: (No silver, man.)
TOOF: Your dear uncle has provided for the journey. Put these boots on and off you go. 
GRAMS: Running footsteps behind.
                          SEAGOON: (Sings over) “For ye’ll tak the high road
                          And I’ll tak the low road,
                          And I’ll be in Scotland before ye.
                          For you and my true love will never meet again,
                          On the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond.” [9]
Gradually speed up and fade into distance.
ORCHESTRA: Scottish link. Trails off. 
GREENSLADE: At dawn the following year, Ned Seagoon galloped into the great yard of the castle McGool. 
FX: Approaching coconut shells – slow down and stop. 
SEAGOON: Whoa, proud beauty! 
ELLINGTON: Welcome to Scotland, white man. Let me help you down off these coconut shells.[10] 
SEAGOON: Gad, a member of the black watch! Are you the night porter?
ELLINGTON: No, no, I am a Gillie.
SEAGOON: Of course – the famous Gillie Porter, hup! 
ORCHESTRA: Tatty chord in C. 
SEAGOON: Thank you, thank you! Now, I’ll have you know I am of Finchley blood.[11] I’ve come to claim my treasure’s and heritage. I bring with me all the wealth of my London domain. 
ELLINGTON: Ah, let me take the honourable prince’s brown-paper parcel. 
SEAGOON: I, ah… I admit I have been travelling light. 
ELLINGTON: Too light. You forgot your trousers. 
SEAGOON: I didn’t forget them. I just came prepared for the kilting season. 
GRAMS: Bagpipes shadowing McGool’s lines.
McGOOL: (Approaching) Orr aye hua nich nohorneoh noo… Ooye! You must be wee Neddie. 
SEAGOON: And you… You must be my uncle, Laird McGool.[12] 
McGOOL: Come in lad. You must be cold… you must be cold. Put on this porridge. Come in. Come in and warm yourself by this roaring candle. 
SEAGOON: Ah, thank you, uncle. Real regal Scots’ hospitality. Tell me Mac-uncle, why have you brought me to Mac-Scotland? 
McGOOL: The truth is, Neddie, I’ve no heirs left. 
SEAGOON: I’m going a bit thin myself. (Laughs uproariously. Sudden sanity.) Ahem.
McGOOL: There’s treasure waiting for you. Ten-thousand pounds. It’s yours – you get it when I die. 
SEAGOON: Only when you die? 
McGOOL: Aye, aye.  
SEAGOON: How’s your health been lately? 
McGOOL: Fine, fine, fine. I've one weakness mind in me chest eh . . .  
SEAGOON: Gad, it’s stuffy in here, I’ll open a window 
FX: Window opens. 
GRAMS: Galeforce winds. Bagpipes over. 
McGOOL: (Tuberculosis coughing.)
FX: Window sliding closed. 
GRAMS: Stop. 
McGOOL: Oo, you devil! You tried to get rid of me the noo. Now get out or I’ll set the hounds on ye. 
SEAGOON: No, no, I was only joking…
McGOOL: Rover, see ‘im off boy. Go on! 
ECCLES: OK. (Imitates dog.) Ow ow ow ow ow wow! Bow wow wow wow! 
SEAGOON: Shut up, you Mc-idiot! You’re not a dog. 
ECCLES: Ssh, don’t give me away. All found and free collar.[13] (Dog imitation again.) Bow ow ow ow ow… Ow, mc-ow! 
SEAGOON: I’m going! I'm going, but you haven’t heard the last of me. I’m on House Wives Choice tomorrow. 
McGOOL: You’re always on House Wives Choice. Get out![14] 
FX: Door closes. 
McGOOL: Good work, Rover! Good dog. 
ECCLES: (Dog panting.)
McGOOL: Now of you go to the loch and bring up some more of that treasure from the sunken galleon.[15]
ECCLES: OK and you listen to Max McGeldray. 
MAX GELDRAY -  "I’m Beginning to See the Light" [16]
GREENSLADE: The Treasure in the Loch, part Mc-two. 
ORCHESTRA: Scottish link tapering out at end. 
GRAMS: Bird calls, howling wind.
MORIARTY: Sapristi freezing blue Mc-sporrons! Three days we’ve stood waist-deep in this ice-bound Loch Lomond. What’s the idea, eh? 
GRYTPYPE: Don’t you like fishing, Moriarty? 
MORIARTY: Fishing? Oiawiawiywiuwoo – type O! We haven’t any rods. How do you catch fish like this? 
GRYTPYPE: Well they’ve go to die sometime. We just wait until then. 
MORIARTY: By the great measurements of Sabrina, you must be off your nut! 
GRYTPYPE: Ssh! Frog eater – look… 
GRAMS: (Recording – distant.) ECCLES: Bow wow wow wow wow wow &c…
                                      (Continue under) 
MORIARTY: It’s a ragged idiot wearing a dog collar. 
GRYTPYPE: Quick, dive down and put out the fire. We don’t want to be spotted. 
MORIARTY: Too late. I’ve already been spotted. 
MORIARTY: I had measles. 
GRYTPYPE: Silence, heavily-oiled French joker. Observe yon dog-type man. 
GRAMS: Body into water.
MORIARTY: What’s he dived in for? 
GRYTPYPE: We’ll see when he surfaces. 
GRAMS: Water bubbling. Continue under. 
MORIARTY: Do you think he’s trapped on the bottom? 
GRYTPYPE: No. He would have shouted for help. 
GRAMS: Bubbles. Suddenly stop. 
               (Recording) ECCLES: Ow, be my love… 
                                                 Bow, wow, wow &c (Continue under)
GRYTPYPE: See what he’s got round his hind leg! 
MORIARTY: Sapristi! A platinum chandelier with a diamond studded candelabra. Pass the telescope! Now hold the jewellers glass on the end. Sapristi! – those diamonds are genuine. After him! Money! Moolah! Ooooh, money, money, money Ooee, ooee, ooee, … (Fiscal meltdown.)[17]
GRYTPYPE: Silence! – reeking garlic wreck. There’s more diamonds where that comes from at the bottom of the loch 
MORIARTY: But neither of us can swim underwater. How do we get down to it? 
GRYTPYPE: We’ll drain the loch. The question is, how? 
SEAGOON: (Approaching) Ahoy there, good fishermen! Are they biting today? 
MORIARTY: Yes, and I’ve been scratching them all night as well. 
SEAGOON: Ah well, I must be on my way. It seems as though I must leave Scotland for aye, and take the open road. 
ORCHESTRA: Drums of the Royal Scots Guards under.
SEAGOON:  I’ve got a great big rock for my pillow 
and a tuft of grass for my bed. 
I sleep naked by the roadside, 
it’s a wonder I'm not dead. 
Ah, walking through the fields of corn, 
leaning up against a rick of new mown hay. 
(Increasingly hysterical) 
The open road, 
the open road, 
the open road for meeeeeeeeee![18]
ORCHESTRA: Drums finish with a paradiddle.
GRYTPYPE: You raving idiot, you. 
SEAGOON: Thank you. Have you been here long? 
GRYTPYPE: Three hundred years. 
MORIARTY: (Aside) What are you talking about, Grytpype? 
GRYTPYPE: (Aside) Shut up! Shut up. It’s the plan. My plan. 
SEAGOON: You’ve been here three hundred years, ay? Ha, ha, ha! They don’t give holidays like that anymore. (Shocked) Aaargh! You’re three hundred years old! 
GRYTPYPE: Yes, it is a shock, I know. Let me explain. You see, my fast disintegrating friend and I have been keen drinkers of the loch waters. You see it has some sort of mysterious properties that rather prolong the lifespan. 
SEAGOON: I don’t believe this longevity story 
GRYTPYPE: Is that so? See that mountain? – that’s over two thousand years old. 
SEAGOON: Really? 
GRYTPYPE: Yes, and it’s not full grown either. 
SEAGOON: Proof positive. (Laughs) Hahaha! So that’s why it’s bald. Well you can’t go against the word of a mountain, can you? Oooh dear friend, what a lucky break! If I drink this lake water, I’m sure to live longer than my uncle Laird McGool and thereby inherit his treasures. (Laughs) Ha ha ha ha! (Sudden sanity) Ahem.
GRYTPYPE: Is that so? Well we’ll help you, won’t we, Moriarty? Give Neddie a glass of the loch water 
MORIARTY: Here. One shilling. [19]
FX: Cash register. Coin in till.
MORIARTY: Thank you. 
GRYTPYPE: Fiendish Frenchy! give the gentleman back that halfpenny in the silver paper. This glass of loch water is on the house 
SEAGOON: Thank you. Here’s health! (Drinks) Ah, marvellous. I’ll outlive him! 
GRYTPYPE: Of course you will, Neddie. You've put ten years on your life. 
MORIARTY: He’d put ten years on anybody’s life. 
GRYTPYPE: Here, Neddie, here’s another. 
SEAGOON: Thank you. (Drinking continues.) 
GRYTPYPE: (Aside)  Moriarty, this is the Charlie who’s going to drink Loch Lomond for us. 
MORIARTY: Of course, then that would reveal the treasure at the bottom. Ohhy hooy.hoo-ooo! Money money money money oooooo! 
SEAGOON: (Comes up for air) Ah, lovely. 
GRYTPYPE: Have another! 
SEAGOON: (Drinking)
GRYTPYPE: And again, Neddie! 
SEAGOON: (Drinking) Thank you. I… (Drinks)
GRYTPYPE: And more! 
SEAGOON: (Drinking) 
GRYTPYPE: (Aside) Is the level of the loch going down? 
MORIARTY: No. This way it will take years. 
GRYTPYPE: Neddie! Lie down. Good. Now put this end of the hose in your mouth. (Aside) Moriarty, put the other end in the lake.[20] 
GRYTPYPE: Now, Neddie, suck away. 
SEAGOON: (Drinking – continue under.)
GRYTPYPE: Good boy. Drink as much as you can. That’s it – it’s all free. 
MORIARTY: (Aside) It’s going down! Slowly mark you, but it is going down. 
GRAMS: Thunder. Heavy rain. 
MORIARTY: Ooh, sapristi! What bad luck – it’s starting to rain. 
GRYTPYPE: Drink faster, Neddie! Faster. There’s er…. a charabanc of pensioners arriving. Drink drink! 
SEAGOON: (Drinking.)
MORIARTY: That’s it! That’s it, drink little water bag! 
SEAGOON: (Drinking.)
MORIARTY: Quick, plug his ear! It’s leaking. 
SEAGOON: Hah, it’s no good. I’ll have to stop. 
MORIARTY: What for?
SEAGOON: Can’t you guess?[21] I’m feeling faint. 
MORIARTY: Faint? Here, have this glass of water. 
SEAGOON: Thanks. (Drinks)
GRYTPYPE: Now Neddie, on with the drinking. You want to live longer, don’t you? 
SEAGOON: (Stops) No more tonight – please. I must get a good night’s sleep. I promise I’ll come back tomorrow, needle nardle Mc-noo. I’ll be staying over in that old, red lodge. Goodnight! 
MORIARTY: (Aside) Sapristi, tomorrow’s too late! We must have that treasure tonight. Our plane leaves for Amsterdam at dawn. 
GRYTPYPE: Let me think. I have it. The water for that old red lodge comes from the lake. Let’s go and turn all the taps on and fix ‘em so they can’t be turned off. 
GRYTPYPE: Wait! The water for that old red lodge comes from the lake. Let’s go and turn all the taps on and fix ‘em so they can’t be turned off. 
MORIARTY: I heard you the first time. 
GRYTPYPE: You don’t count. I’m only interested in the listeners. Sssh, Ray Ellington 
MORIARTY: Let’s hurry! 
RAY ELLINGTON QUARTET“I’ve Changed My Mind a Thousand Times" / "Who’s                
                                                                              Sorry Now?" [22]
GREENSLADE: The Treasure of Loch Lomond, part Mc-three the noo. Och aye! 
ORCHESTRA: Scottish link – trails off. 
GRAMS: Running water behind. 
FX: Hammer on pipe. 
BANNISTER: Oooooh…  
FX: Hammer on pipe
FX: Hammer on pipe
BANNISTER: Oooooh…  
FX: Hammer on pipe
BANNISTER: Oooooooooooh…
FX: Hammer on pipe
FX: Hammer on pipe
FX: Door opens. 
CRUN: (Approaching) What’s going on in here, Min? You’re waking all the people in the lodge. 
BANNISTER: I can’t turn this tap off, Henry. 
CRUN: Give me the hammer. 
FX: Sudden burst of virtuosic pipe hammering.
CRUN: Min… 
CRUN: I can’t turn it off either. I know, I know! (Hold my saxophone a minute.)  I’ll just roll up my kilt… 
BANNISTER: Not too high, Henry. 
CRUN: Min, have you got the monkey wrench? 
BANNISTER: I gave it back to the monkey. 
CRUN: We don’t wish to know that type joke, Min. 
BANNISTER: I got it from a very expensive Christmas cracker, buddy.[23] 
CRUN: Oh, we’d better do something. The water is up to my sporran. Call a plumber, Min. 
BANNISTER: (Calls out) Plumber, Min! 
FX: Door opens. 
SEAGOON: Ah, dear landlord. I heard running water so I came running down. Good heavens, you’re flooded!
CRUN: Yes, we’ve got a burst pipe. 
SEAGOON: Which one of you? 
BANNISTER: Naughty Neddie! Naughty, naughty, naughty needle nardle noo Neddie. It’s the tap. 
SEAGOON: Ah, I see. Let me try. I didn’t study astral navigation in the isotopes brew for nothing you know. (Laughs) Ha ha ha! 
FX: Three heavy hammer blows on pipe. Spigot hitting the floor. 
SEAGOON: There, that’s got the tap off. 
CRUN: The water is still coming out of the pipe. 
SEAGOON: What bad luck. Where’s the stop-cock? 
CRUN: We don’t know cock.[24] 
BANNISTER: Ooooooh, look. There’s something coming out of the burst pipe. 
GRAMS: Cork squeezing in tube. Pop. Body into water. 
BLUEBOTTLE: Enter Bluebottle through pipe! Thank you! Thank you little sausage makers.[25] Thank you. Returns to serious business of acting. Strikes Frank-Sinatra Man- with-Golden-Arm pose.[26] Thinks: “ ‘ere, I like that bit where Kim Novac keeps him warm.” Hee hee hee! 
SEAGOON: Who are you? 
BLUEBOTTLE: I’m Mac-Blunebottles, talk of North Finchley. I go through life with a smile and a song. (Sings) With a smile and a song, 
                                      life is like …[27]
FX: Thud on nut. 
BLUEBOTTLE:  …ahi dha wand… nit, ooee. Who threw that porcelain-type sink at me? 
SEAGOON: I did. How dare you come through Mr. Crun’s water pipe without knocking? 
BLUEBOTTLE: I’m sorry, it was not my fault, Captain. Do you know that I was swimming in the lake with my first class swimmer’s badge pinned to my water wings, when suddenly – PLOOGEE! I was sucked up into the nasty water pipe. Then there was hours of darkness and writhing agony and finally, SPLUNGE! BLUT! … I was squirted out into this bathtub here. But I was not afraid. 
SEAGOON: Spoken like a man. 
BLUEBOTTLE: Yes, I can do impressions, you know. Oooh, I have got a message for you! Major Bloodnok says he wants you all to start building him a boat. 
BLUEBOTTLE: He’s drowning in the lake. 
FX: Thud on nut. 
BLUEBOTTLE: Ahie! Stop clouting me with that sink-type sink. I must not be nutted by strangers. 
SEAGOON: Wait! (BLUEBOTTLE shadows SEAGOON’S lines.) If this young, cardboard Captain Webb’s  tale is true, then this pipe is draining the lake of it’s life prolonging waters. [28] 
SEAGOON: All this water here must be returned to the lake. Form a bucket chain! 
BLUEBOTTLE: Can I help? 
SEAGOON: No, I must do this alone. A horse and bucket. Horse and bucket… 
BLUEBOTTLE & BANNISTER: …they go together like a…[29]
SEAGOON: SHUT UP!! Gid up, Dobbin! Come on Dobbin… 
ECCLES: OK. (Horse impression.) Neeeeeeiiiiigh! 
SEAGOON: Eccles, you’re not a horse. You’re a dog. 
ECCLES: I know, but I do impressions. 
SEAGOON: Right, gid up there! Come on – to the lake, Dobbin! 
ECCLES: OK. (Chicken impression)  No – that ain’t a horse. (Dog impression.) No. That’s a dog. (Motorcar impression.) No, no! I’ll get it. I’ll get it …
SEAGOON: I can’t wait. I must save the lake. OUT OF MY WAY! 
GRAMS: Horse galloping. 
ORCHESTRA: Dramatic link. 
GREENSLADE: So started that epic night of adventure. Back and forth went Seagoon with his bucket, trying to return the water. Meantime, back at the lake… 
GRAMS: Distant gulls. 
MORIARTY: It’s going down fast. 
GRYTPYPE: Good. Won’t be long now. 
GREENSLADE: Meantime, back in the bathroom… 
FX: Hammering on metal pipe.
BANNISTER: It’s up to the ceiling. 
CRUN: Swim Min! Swim! 
GREENSLADE: Meantime, on the road to the lake… 
GRAMS: Horse galloping.
SEAGOON: (Over) On proud beauty! 
GREENSLADE: Back in the bathroom… 
FX: Hammering on metal pipe.
BANNISTER: Good old Neddie! The water’s going down. 
GREENSLADE: Back at the lake… 
GRAMS: Distant gulls. 
MORIARTY: Sapritsti! The water’s going up. 
GREENSLADE: On the road to the lake… 
GRAMS: Horse galloping.  
SEAGOON: The water’s going backwards and forwards! 
GREENSLADE: Meantime, in the middle of the lake: 
BLOODNOK: Help! Oh, heeeeelp! 
GREENSLADE: Back in the bathroom… 
FX: Hammering on metal pipe.
CRUN: We must stop it rising! 
GREENSLADE: Back at the lake…
MORIARTY: We must stop it rising! 
GREENSLADE: Meantime in the steam baths in Edgeware Road… 
THROAT: Cor blimey! 
GREENSLADE: And in the Café Fred… 
GRAMS: Speeded up foxtrot. 
MORIARTY: You dance divinely. 
GRYTPYPE: Yes, but the water’s reached flood level.[30] 
GREENSLADE: Back in the bathroom… 
FX: Hammering on metal pipe.
BANNISTER: The water’s reached flood level. 
GREENSLADE: Meantime, back in…
BLUEBOTTLE: What about me? 
GRAMS: Huge explosion. 
BLUEBOTTLE: You rotten swine, you! 
GREENSLADE: Meantime, back in the studio I was about to say, “Meantime, back at the castle…” 
GRAMS: Bagpipes shadowing.
McGOOL: You’ve been good to me, laddie. For the last eighteen years you’ve been salvaging the treasures of the sunken galleon. 
ECCLES: Yeah, for the last eighteen years! 
McGOOL: Aye, and now we’ve got the lot – twenty-thousand pounds! 
ECCLES: Twenty-thousand pounds! That money must be worth a fortune. 
McGOOL: Do you know what it means to us both? 
McGOOL: It means that I’m a rich man and you’re a far better swimmer. 
GREENSLADE: Meantime, back in the bathroom… (Silence) Meantime, back in the lake… (Silence) Back on the road to the lake… (Silence) Don’t some people get discouraged easily? Goodnight. 
ORCHESTRA: Tatty chord in C.
GREENSLADE: Thank you. And now Mr Adolphus Spriggs, with Rubin Croucher [31] at the piano. 
ORCHESTRA: Piano introduction.
SPRIGGS: (Sings) I’m walking backwards for Christmas, 
across the Irish Sea. 
I’m walking backwards for Christmas, 
it’s the only thing for me. 
I’ve tried walking sideways, 
and walking to the front. 
but people just look at me, 
and say it’s a publicity stunt. 
I’m walking backwards for Christmas, 
to prove that I love you! [32] 
ORCHESTRA: End theme. 
GREENSLADE: That was The Goon Show, a BBC recorded programme featuring Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Spike Milligan, with the Ray Ellington Quartet and Max Geldray. The orchestra was conducted by Bruce Campbell, script by Spike Milligan, announcer Wallace Greens, the programme produced by Pat Dixon. 


[1] This is one of the best scripts Milligan ever wrote. The strength of Milligan’s writing was in his ability to develop ideas laterally. Taking one, two or even three disparate threads, Milligan could develop them in unexpected directions yet stay within the dramatic bounds of the Goon Show format. An example of this is his treatment of the problem of flooding. In “The Sinking of Westminster Pier,” (25/5th)  Seagoon needs to raise a sinking pier:

MORIARTY: Oh, don't raise the pier!

SEAGOON: What then?

MORIARTY: Lower the river.

… while in this show Seagoon needs to get to the bottom of a lake;

GRYTPYPE: Moriarty, this is the Charlie who’s going to drink Loch Lomond for us. 

MORIARTY: Of course, then that would reveal the treasure at the bottom!

Both of these unexpected solutions form the plots of both episodes and provide Milligan with a strong comedy basis on which to develop an entertaining show.

In the 17th century, the Duke of Argyll – a hereditary Scottish Peer, was granted license by King Charles 1st  to search for a sunken Spanish galleon in a bay off the Isle of Mull. In August 1954 newspapers had reported that,

“Divers yesterday began moving silt from the floor of Tobermory Bay, western Scotland, in a quest for a Spanish galleon with a reputed treasure hoard of 30 million pieces of silver.”

Over thirty attempts had been made to salvage the wreckage of the Armada vessel since 1900, and the efforts by Ian Campbell (the 11th  Duke), were to continue sporadically, but fruitlessly for another few decades. The ship was not just tricky to locate but also to identify. Legends suggested that it was either the San Juan de Sicilia, the San Juan de Baptista or the Duque de Florencia, that had gone down in Tobermory Bay in October 1588. None of these names appear on the Armada roles, although small finds from Spanish ships were brought to the surface over the years giving tantalising impetus to the continuing salvage operation . It seems obvious that Spike was filing tit-bits of interesting news reports away for future use, as this short news report was nearly ten months old by the time he wrote the script.


[2]The Listener” was a weekly magazine published by the BBC from 1929 to 1991. It was somewhat more eclectic than the “Radio Times”.


[3] Milligan quite fancied the idea of tramps begging. He returns to the image throughout the Goon Show and indeed throughout his writing career. He seemed to equate kerb-side poverty with the life of an artist, or with demobbed soldiers. There are a series of photographs taken in the 70’s of the cast begging on a London street in support of Harry Secombe’s show ‘Sing A Song of Secombe’ all sporting fake war medals.  Later he developed another sort of kerb-crawler, the traffic warden, playing one in “The Bedsitting Room” (1963) and in “The Magic Christian” (1969.) In the Goon Shows there are pavement artists in “The Greenslade Story” (14/6th); “The Moriarty Murder Mystery” (17/8th); and politicians begging in “The Pevensey Bay Disaster” (10/6th).


[4]Twenty Tiny Fingers” (Tepper/Bennett) had been a recent hit in the British charts for two artists; a number 4 hit for ‘The Stargazers,’ (the Goon Show’s original vocal group) in November 1955, and a month later Alma Cogan’s version reached number 17 on the charts. Willium (further off-mic than Secombe) sings the same words but with ‘mate’ at the end of every line.


[5] Sellers in a city voice.


[6] Raibeart Bruis – known traditionally as Robert the Bruce (1274-1329) led the Scots against the British during the Wars of Scottish Independence. He is considered the greatest Scottish patriot.


[7] Partick Thistle is a Glaswegian football club, one of the Premiership teams in the Scottish Professional Football League. Celtic Rangers is also a Glaswegian football club, but plays in the Scottish Championship League, the second tier of the SPFL. These two clubs are known as the ‘Old Firm’ and are fierce rivals, partly because of political associations, but mostly because of sectarianism. Each of the clubs were closely identified with the religious affiliations of their supporters – the Celtic Randers with Catholicism and Partick Thistle with Protestantism.


[8] Sellers stumbles badly over the line saying: “You can’t go a word against a hal-a-hal-ahalluming…”


[9] “The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond” is a traditional Scottish song first published in 1841. Seagoon mis-sings the fourth line of the text, apparently intentionally.


[10] Ellington clearly says “shelves.”


[11] At the beginning of 1956 Spike was in the process of shifting his growing family from their cramped flat in Highgate and moving to the new surrounds of Finchley in North London.

[12] The man Seagoon was meeting is a spoof on the real Laird – Ian Campbell, 11th Duke of Argyll (1903-1973)  who was responsible for commissioning the salvage operation on the Spanish galleon. Captured in France by the Nazi’s almost immediately the war commenced, he spent the whole of the conflict in a prison camp until liberation in 1945. Returning to the UK he fell head over heels in love with a millionaire’s daughter, Margaret Whigham, married her in 1952, took her home to his ancestral home, Inveraray Castle, and enjoyed a racy, dazzling life with her until her salacious affairs, multiple sexual conquests (the Duke reckoned she’d had 88 lovers) and voracious sexual appetite drove him to the divorce courts in 1959.

[13]All found” is an English expression meaning “…with everything provided,” eg: food, heating & laundry. Its usage is dying out.


[14] One of the most identifiable BBC radio programmes ever made (from 1946 until 1967) was the record request programme “Housewives Choice”, compèred by a different identity every week and designed to appeal to women in the home. Its morning broadcast spot ensured that it had a massive listening audience, (this was still the era when housework was hard, physical, time-consuming labour ,) and the appearance on its line-up of a new recording by a star like Harry Secombe almost guaranteed the recording’s success.


[15] Milligan features Eccles in the very strange guise of a frogman – or in this case a dogman. (This odd rhyming connection could have been  intentional.) The reason may be that the head diver on the Spanish galleon dive in Tobermoray Bay was the famous WWII veteran Lionel “Buster” Crabbe (1909-56) who was often mentioned in the press articles concerning the salvage operation. Starting the war as a gunner, he later joined the Royal Navy where he worked in mine and bomb disposal and eventually led an underwater explosives disposal team. Highly decorated, he continued dangerous commercial diving operations after the war, retiring in 1955. However, in 1956, a few months after this broadcast, MI6 secretly recruited him to investigate the propeller of the Russian Sverdlov class cruiser ‘Ordzhonikidze’ moored in Portsmouth harbour. Diving into the harbour,  he consequently disappeared.  MI6 tried to cover up his failed spy mission, but the Soviets blew the whistle on the event, causing the British a highly embarrassing international incident. A body, presumed to be his, was discovered a year later floating in nearby Chichester Harbour. Missing its head and both hands, it was dressed in clothing which identified it as the missing diver.


[16] A Duke Ellington number, published in 1944.

[17] Moriarty continues his fiscal meltdown. If one listens carefully you can hear Milligan suddenly say to Sellers “(Stop me!)” before continuing his rambling improvisation.


[18] This may have been Spikes version of John Betjeman’s poem “The Open Road for Me” published in the November 11th 1953 issue of Punch magazine.

[19] In the London of 1955, the price of a glass of beer was 9p.


[20] On two other occasions Grytpype and Moriarty try to stuff Seagoon. The first occurs in “The Childe Harolde Rewarde” (6/9th) :

GRYTPYPE: We'll soon fatten you up, lad. Swallow this stuffed elephant now.

SEAGOON: (Gulps)

GRAMS: Enraged elephant trumpeting.

SEAGOON: Ah, delicious!


 and similarly in “The Last Smoking Seagoon” (6/10th)  when they trap Seagoon into smoking one cigarette a day;


SEAGOON: Curse, trapped by a ninety-foot long cigarette!

GRYTPYPE: Come along Ned, you’ve only got eight hours to fulfil the contract. Light the end, Moriarty!


[21] Missing in the G S Compendium restored version of the show.

[22]I’ve Changed my Mind a Thousand Times” by Kay Starr, debuted in 1955. “Who’s Sorry Now?” by Snyder/ Kalmar & Ruby was written in 1923. It first featured in the Marx Bros. film “A Night in Casablanca” (1946). The Johnnie Ray version on Colombia Records had just reached number 17 in the UK charts.

[23] Milligan’s obsession with crackers surfaces occasionally in varying forms throughout the Goon Shows. Bluebottle gets a job from a cheap cracker at Myrtle Sprigg’s birthday party (“The Sleeping Prince” – 6/7th); he has the name of Shangri-La written on a fire-cracker (“Shangri-La Again” – 8/6th); and the cast uses cheap compasses from Christmas crackers in “The Curse of Frankenstein” (18/8th) and “The Jet-Propelled Guided Naafi” (19/6th.)

[24] “Cock” is a term of endearment used in areas around Manchester. At the time of this show, it was more often heard on radio than swear words, indicating its acceptability.


[25] Although it’s difficult to pin down precisely the first usage of the line, Bluebottle was calling applause “sausages” by the beginning of the 5th series, and if the recycled 4th series scripts used in the Vintage Goons series are any indication, the term was already well known to the audience. The earliest clear example is in “The Lost Goldmine of Charlotte” (2/5th..) In the 15th show of the same series, “Nineteen-Eighty-Five” he thanks the audience for the sausages, indicating that Milligan expected his audience to give Bluebottle a special welcome whenever he appeared. Later in the decade Milligan began to tire of Bluebottle’s applause and often attempted to subvert it. In “Queen Anne’s Rain” (8/9th) for example, Eccles steals it.


[26]The Man with the Golden Arm” – (1955) was a controversial American film starring Frank Sinatra, Eleanor Parker and Kim Novak, that featured drug addiction – a subject rarely confronted  by Hollywood at this time. Sinatra, as Frankie Machine the ex-con heroin addict, featured in a famous black and white publicity shot peering through the bars of a jail cell with a strange, trance-like stare. Later, as Sinatra goes through heroin withdrawal, Novak lies with him to keep him warm.


[27] Although it is not altogether clear, it seems Bluebottle is trying to sing “With a Smile and a Song” (1937), by Morey/Churchill.

[28] Captain Matthew Webb (1849-1883). Merchant seaman and hero of the British press for his daring swimming feats. He was the first to swim the English channel in 1875.


[29] Milligan is making fun of the hit single “Love and Marriage” (Cahn/Van Heusen.) Frank Sinatra had recorded it in 1955  in an arrangement by Nelson Riddle. On its release the following year it became a major hit and one of the songs most associated with Sinatra.


[30] Milligan used this ‘cross-cutting’ technique a few times in the Goon Show to good effect. Two instances are in “The Burning Embassy” (2/8th) when the show cuts between native drumming and the howling of timber wolves according to which temperature Eccles sets on the thermostat. The other is in “The Case of the Missing CD Plates” (5/6th) when Greenslade continually cuts to various locations in the Orient.


[31] Ruben Croucher, one of Spike’s amusing gallery of strange character names, pops up again on the fly leaf of “The Milligan Book of Records,” (M & J Hobbs in association with Michael Joseph Ltd, 1975). There he is a portrayed as a military figure, in explorers whiskers, striped colonial pyjamas, a pith helmet and bears the title ‘Mrs’.

[32] It is a great co-incidence that one of the greatest songs from the Goon Show, and one of Monty Python’s most enduring skits are both about strange walks. “I’m Walking Backwards For Christmas” (Milligan 1955) was first performed on Seller’s edition of ‘The Listening Room’ (Dec 1955), and first fully performed  in the previous ‘The Great Tuscan Salami Scandal’ (Feb 1956).  Spike eventually recorded the number for Decca (DECCA F. 10756 – along with ‘The Bluebottle Blues’) in May of this year, and the recording was released in August.