BROADCAST: 13 Mar 1956 [1]


Script by Spike Milligan and Larry Stephens

GREENSLADE: This is the BBC Home Service. We present the golden tones of yours, and my favourite singer.

(Sings) Oh my beloved daddy,

I love him, yes – (falsetto) I do-oo-oo.[2]

SEAGOON: Shut that great steaming porridge-muncher, and give the listeners the new low in Goon Show plots.

GREENSLADE: We present the awesome, fearful and – (on the admission of the authors), incomprehensible story of...


ORCHESTRA: Tatty chord in C. Cymbal snap.

SEAGOON: Ta. Next bit.

GRAMS: Burst of Arabic music. Continue under.

SEAGOON: Hear that next bit, dear listeners? It's that lovely date-encrusted voice of that great Arab singer, Lee Lawrence of Arabia.[3]

GRAMS: Two small explosions.

SEAGOON: Yes, listeners. Those mysterious explosions were the first of many. It is that story we tell tonight. Sir Seeathons?

SELLERS: Klimage?

SEAGOON: Please go.

SELLERS: Aag saag hoon.[4]

SEAGOON: Well hurry up then!

SELLERS: Klinge.

SELLERS: (Announcer) It was in the autumn of nineteen quinty-quodge – the year Major Bloodnok was discharged from the army.

SEAGOON: Yes, it was the usual. Cowardice in the face of ENSA; found dressed as a woman in the ATS barracks.[5]

BLOODNOK: (Distant) Lies! All lies do you hear. It was carnival night, I tell you!

JAMPTON:[6] Shh! Please, Major Bloodnok. My name is Jampton, Captain Hugh Jampton. I remember at the time both Bloodnok and Lord Seagoon became members of the Athenaeum Club, Glasshouse Street.

GRAMS: Jazz trio – last few bars.

SEAGOON: Thank you. Gad, you waltz divinely, my darling. What's your name?

BLOODNOK: Bloodnok. Dennis Bloodnok.

SEAGOON: Gad! I hardly recognized you in that tartan beard.

BLOODNOK: I… wear it for sentimental reasons. You see – (emotional) it belonged to my mother. By the way, Neddie, I hear you've been de-mobbed.

SEAGOON: Afraid so, Major.

BLOODNOK: Well, don't take it to heart lad...  

GRAMS: Two small explosions.

BLOODNOK: Great naked kippers! My boots have exploded.

SEAGOON: Gad, yes. Major, how could you? Look, your old Etonian socks have got holes in them.

BLOODNOK: Yes, I know, but I have to wear them. You see – (emotional) they belonged to my Mother. But look at my boots! They've had it, lad.

SEAGOON: There, there, there, Bloodnok. How are you going to break the news to Mother?

BLOODNOK: Ooh, the usual way. Small two-page column in The Times.

SEAGOON: Yes, yes. I wonder what could have caused them to go so quickly?

BANNISTER: (Approaching) I'll tell you what's happened to them, buddy. Your boots exploded because you've been doing all that sinful Charleston-ing and modern rhythm-type dancing, buddy.

SEAGOON: Madam Bannister! What are you doing off the bandstand? Get back to your saxophone at once! You can't leave Mr Crun up there alone with that loaded E-flat carpet-loom.

BANNISTER: He can't play it. I put the safety-catch on. Now next dance please, boys.

(Sings) Yim-bom-biddle-I do-oo-o! &c (extended).

BLOODNOK: Stop that pulsating melody-singing, Madam!

SEAGOON: Yes! Stop it! Stop it! You've got my feet tapping in a frenzy of primitive rhythms!

GRAMS: Two small explosions.

SEAGOON: Aaaaaaaaagh!

BLOODNOK: Great knobbly plates of toes! Your boots have exploded! Oooh!

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic link.

GREENSLADE: With the exploding of his boots, Seagoon realised that something sinister was a-feet. With the aid of a 129A bus and several lengths of road, he took his shattered boots to the strolling Home-Office pathologist, who carefully patholed them.[7]

SEAGOON: Are they… are they dead, doctor?

DOCTOR:[8] I'm afraid so. We did all we could, but I'm afraid the welt was too far gone.

ORCHESTRA: Violin solo “Hearts and Flowers” behind.

SEAGOON: (crying) My poor, beloved boots – gone. Gone, and never called me mother.

DOCTOR: Never mind, Madam. I tell you what, I'll keep these boots...

GRAMS: Two small explosions.

DOCTOR: Ow! Good heavens! The buttons on my boots have exploded! (Self fade) I say, what's going to happen... 

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic link.

SEAGOON: Dear listeners, with the exploding of those boot-buttons, I decided it was time for action. Brooking no delay, I caught the next hockey-stick factory up to London, where I called a meeting of England's leading scientists. [9]

OMNES: (Pandemonium; whooping; shouting; various clicks, pops and whistles; shrieking clarinet over.)

SPRIGGS: (Approaching) Gentlemen! Gentlemen please! Cease these impressions of stars of stage, screen and labour-exchange. And now pray silence for his excellent shortness, Lord Neddie Seagoon, sixth in succession to the Muswell Hill tube station.[10]

WILLIUM: (Distant) Hurry up mate! Hurry up! We scientists is busy men mate, I tell you.

SEAGOON: I know mate. I'm fully aware – but I've called you here to find the reasons for these mysterious boot-explosions. Now has anyone any suggestions?

OMNES: (Immediate pandemonium. Whooping; shouting; trombone glissando. Stops suddenly.)

SEAGOON: No. I don't think it's that.

SPRIGGS: I tell you, Lord Seagoon, it's the work of a practical joker.

GRYTPYPE: (Distant) Gentlemen and fellows of the Royal College of Charlies!

SEAGOON: The voice came from a cadaverous stranger who peered down at us from the top of an isosceles triangle. [11]

GRYTPYPE: Yes – (emotional) it belonged to my mother. (Aloud) Gentlemen, Lord Seagoon is not alone. There are other victims of these mysterious boot-explosions.

SEAGOON: May we ask why your friend is wearing bare feet and a black, cardboard trilby?

GRYTPYPE: He is Monsieur le Compte Frederique "Jim" Moriarty of the house of Frutt. Tell them the story, Compte.

MORIARTY: Certainement. Je tais la livre. Madame, monsieur; on je te gare.

GRYTPYPE: Gentlemen, need he say more? Each one of him can tell a similar story. Tragedy. The Count will now pass amongst you, his fellow- scientists, with a collecting-box and a professional strangler.

THROAT: Oh blimey, I'm off.

GRYTPYPE: To cover the screams of dying Scotsmen, here is Max Geldray.


MAX GELDRAY – “Sweet Lorraine” [12]


GRYTPYPE: Thank you, thank you. Gentlemen, that voluntary collection for the victim Moriarty amounted to four and nine-pence in pennies – many from this country.

SEAGOON: Mr. er, er...

GRYTPYPE: Grytpype… Grytpype. Professor Grytpype. The strolling anchor-man for the Penge and district tug o'war team, and fruit-bottler extraordinary to the house of Chatterley. (aside) And Gamekeeper.

SEAGOON: Thank you, thank you very much indeed. You didn't say what this collection was for.

GRYTPYPE: Money! My dear short Sir, these accumulated monies, this four and nine-pence, will be used for vital scientific purposes such as er, food, rent, laundry and er…

SEAGOON: But we want a solution to these mysterious boot-explosions.

GRYTPYPE: Ah, well that will be extra.

SEAGOON: My dear professor Grytpype, the expense is no object at all.

GRYTPYPE: What? What?

SEAGOON: I'll just sign this blank wall. There. Fill in the bricks yourself. [13]

GRYTPYPE: That's very, very kind of you. I'll cash it at the Building Society.[14] Count, will you explain the phenomena please.

MORIARTY: Certainement. Certainement. Gentlemen, these boot-explosions are caused by a weakening in Britain's deposits of Scradje.

GRAMS: (Bagpipes, over.)

SCOTSMAN: Scradje? Did you say Scradje, the noo?

MORIARTY: Certainment. Scradje is a substance found beneath the Earth's surface. This Scradje radiates upwards, keeping level with the Gulf-Stream and keeps the pressure on the Earth's surface at an even level, thus preventing boots from exploding. Unfortunately, Britain's Scradje deposits are rapidly losing their potency, with the results that have now become apparent.

GRAMS: (Bagpipes, over.)

SCOTSMAN: I've heard nay such a lot o' rubbish since I left the House of Commons. Scradje indeed! If you think I'd believe one word of that...

GRAMS: Two small explosions.


GRAMS: (Bagpipes slow down to a stop.)

SEAGOON: Great green squirts of gringe! He's exploded completely.

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic link.

GREENSLADE: Indeed, the Scottish gentlemen had disintegrated. From then on, the boot-explosions became fiercer. That night, on the Light Programme.

GRAMS: (Record of Alma Cogan singing "Twenty Tiny Fingers", a few bars into.)

FX: (Explosion.)

GREENSLADE: Yes, yes, Alma Cogan exploded. Then on March the third in the Home Service.

GRAMS: Record of David Whitfield singing "Cara Mia", a few bars into. [15]

FX: (Colossal explosion, boing.)

SELLERS: (Announcer) Poor David, how he must have suffered. The worst was to come. The following night, on the Third Programme.

GRAMS: (Record of the Goons singing "I'm Walking Backwards for Christmas", a few bars into.)

FX: (Colossal explosion.)

SEAGOON: Up till now I had not believed Moriarty's story of Scradje. But now it was obviously true.

SELLERS: Yes, Britain had to find fresh Scradje deposits or explode, one by one.

GREENSLADE: The Home Secretary sent a warning on the wireless.

GRAMS: (Pre-recorded) SNAGGE: Good evening. I'm speaking to you about

these boot-explosions. We, the government are doing all in our power to rectify this grave Scradje-deficiency which apparently exists. Until then, the British public must take the following precautions. To prevent yourselves exploding, remove your boots, reverse the buttons on your socks and walk backwards, holding a gas-stove above your head. I do hope this is only a temporary measure. Good night.

GREENSLADE: We return you now, to Scradje, part three.

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic link.

SEAGOON: On the suggestion of Professor Grytpype and Moriarty, the government financed a Scradje expedition, myself in charge – armed with an elephant boot-protractor.

GRYTPYPE: Yes. I took charge of the money and directed operations from the treacherous camp three.

MORIARTY: Which way have you sent those Charlies on the Scradje expedition?

GRYTPYPE: Well, right now they should be nearing the north pole and certain death.

GRYTPYPE & MORIARTY: (laughter, fading off)

GRAMS: Howling wind; distant dog team barking.

BLOODNOK: Mush! Mush! Get along you hairy little doggies you!

SEAGOON: Good work! Good work, Bloodnok! You're a born leader of dogs.

BLOODNOK: Yes I used to be a boxer you know.

ECCLES: (fades in singing) Land of hope and glory, mother of the sea...

SEAGOON: Ah here comes the Doctor.

ECCLES: He-el-lo!

SEAGOON: How are the men?

ECCLES: Oh fine, fine, fine.

SEAGOON: Any cases of frozen feet?

ECCLES: You didn't order any cases of frozen feet!

SEAGOON: Well, we'll have to get along without them that's all.

BLOODNOK: But we've got to eat, Seagoon.

ECCLES: OK, I'll put him in the oven.

BLOODNOK: Shut up you idiot!

CAST: (shouts of "shut up you idiot!")

SEAGOON: Quiet please, gentlemen, please, please. We're here to find Scradje, not to fight. Now, think of those poor people in England walking backwards with their boots off, carrying gas-stoves above their heads. Now, lower those fudge replicas of the Eiffel Tower.

ECCLES: (mumbles)

SEAGOON: Come along, Eccles. Drop that Eiffel Tower!

FX: (Clang.)

BLUEBOTTLE: Eeeeh! My nut! Ooh you swine you, I was sitting on the top of the Eiffel Tower, eating my East Finchley boy-scout-type lunch when, whongy! blong! blat! splurgie! spludgeledoo! and then, clout on the nut! Jumps up, says "Oooh!" says that.


BLUEBOTTLE: Ooh, it's silly old Eccles.

ECCLES: Silly old.. Oh, he-he-he-re. Woooooah! I'm… I'm not silly any more, I'm the doc.. er, um, Shut up Eccles! Shut up Eccles! I'm the doctor in this game.

BLUEBOTTLE: Oooh doctor?


BLUEBOTTLE: Feee-eee. Do you do operations?

ECCLES: No, but we all got to start sometime. Now lay down.

BLUEBOTTLE: Here, n-no, no.

ECCLES: (distracted humming, over following)

BLUEBOTTLE: ‘ere, mind what you're doing with those sharp sausage-knives! Harm can come to a young lad like that!

ECCLES: (sings) Ooooh, he hasn't long to be....

BLUEBOTTLE: Here! Stop cutting a hole in my shirt!

ECCLES: Don't be frightened! I'm only lookin' round.

BLUEBOTTLE: You'd better not then.

ECCLES: Oooh, let me say it.


ECCLES: I won't touch anythin'.

BLUEBOTTLE: Well don't 'cos that's all new stuff in there.

ECCLES: (hums, stops) Oooooooooh. Ooooh, h-h-h-here! What's dis?

BLUEBOTTLE: That's Ray Ellington and his Quartet.





GREENSLADE: And now, the Scradje, the part the plinge. On and on pressed the Scradje Arctic expedition. Following the route charted by the famous doctor Eccles to the North pole.

GRAMS: Arabic belly dancing music.

SEAGOON: Gad! It's hot at the pole for this time of the year.

BLOODNOK: Yes, I've never known it so hot.

GRAMS: Diving aircraft, strafing machine-gun fire, roars away.

BLOODNOK: Blast these arctic mosquitos!

SEAGOON: Bloodnok! How far are we from the pole now?[16]

BLOODNOK: Just three inches.

SEAGOON: Aaah! Gad! We'll never make it before nightfall.

BLOODNOK: Well we shall have to stop here.

SEAGOON: Yes. I know, let us try an erect some sort of rude shelter.

BLOODNOK: You build the walls and I'll write on them. Ah-ha-ha! Bloodnok, you comic you! Oooooh!

SEAGOON: I don't wish to know that.

BLOODNOK: (sings) I'm a happy-go-lucky la-a-d Ohhh!


BLOODNOK: What? What?

SEAGOON: Bloodnok, there's a pyramid!


SEAGOON: Let's see if they can put us up for the night. I'll do the talking.

BLOODNOK: I'll do the silences.

SEAGOON: I knew we were going to rely on you.

BLOODNOK: Thank you.

SEAGOON: Ahem. Knock-knock!

BANNISTER: (Distant) Who's there?


BANNISTER: Cohen who?

SEAGOON: Cohen you put us up for the night? Ha-ha-ha! I like working these little jokes.

BANNISTER: Well you can work that one for a start.


CRUN: Minnie! Shut that naughty, hairy pyramid door!

SEAGOON: Good heavens! It's Crun and Minnie! What are you doing here?

BANNISTER: Ooooh! A special job, buddy, buddy.

CRUN: Yes. Mister Thynne pays us a goodly sum to mix "Foot-o" the Wonder Boot-Exploder into boot-polish that is then exported to England.

SEAGOON: Good heavens! What a fiendish plot!

BLOODNOK: Yes, I wonder who wrote it?

SEAGOON: Of course! Of course! Those boot-explosions were deliberately caused by this mixture of "Foot-o" and boot-polish. There's, there's no such thing as Scradje!

BLOODNOK: The naughty men! They've got all the expedition money!

SEAGOON: They won't keep that money for long, lads!

BLUEBOTTLE: You're not a long lad! You won't get any!

SEAGOON: Shut up!


SEAGOON: Hand me my saxophone!

ORCHESTRA: (Single bass saxophone note.)

SEAGOON: Ah that's better! Ahem, now, who can drive a pyramid?

ELLINGTON: Me drive pyramid mate.

SEAGOON: Right! Drive us to Monte Carlo. Hup!

ORCHESTRA: (Pursuit music link into.)

GRAMS: (Car noises)

GREENSLADE: In the huge pyramid with its powerful 2000 BC engine. The avengers of the Scradje hoax fraud were soon seeking out Moriarty and Grytpype-Grytpype. Who were sipping the most expensive cooking- type sherry.

GRAMS: Italian cafe music.

MORIARTY: (hums along)

GRYTPYPE: Don't rock the hammock so much, Moriarty. You'll have us both out.

MORIARTY: Think, Grytpype. It was all so easy. Now we're millionaires thanks to "Footo" the Wonder Boot Exploder.

GRYTPYPE: (laughs) And we'll never grow another leg.


GREENSLADE: Pardon me, sir.

MORIARTY: What is it Chilvers? Can't you see we're engaged?

GREENSLADE: Oh, congratulations sir! I hope you'll both be very happy together.

GRYTPYPE: Thanks you, Chilvers.

GREENSLADE: Erm, there's a pyramid in the lounge, sir.

GRYTPYPE: Really? What's his name?

GREENSLADE: I don't know, he didn't say, sir. He was a tall, bearded pyramid with hieroglyphics.

GRYTPYPE: Come in, do!

FX: (Crash, Falling bricks.)

GRYTPYPE: Now, what can I do for you?

SEAGOON: Hands up! I'm no pyramid. This plaster and string fez is a fake! I'm Neddie Seagoon!

ORCHESTRA: (Tatty chord, cymbal smash.)

SEAGOON: Thank you!

MORIARTY: Sapristi! The game is up!

GRYTPYPE: Neddie, can't we talk this over like normal...

SEAGOON: Don't come too near! This gun is ready to load! Now come on, you swine. Where's all that money gone?

BLOODNOK: Yes, that four and nine-pence you collected from us.

SEAGOON: And that blank wall I signed.

GRYTPYPE: That blank wall was a bouncer. Sent back, ‘refer to builder.’

SEAGOON: Nonsense! I've got ten thousand bricks in my account. Come on, empty your wallets!

FX: (Falling bricks, grunting.)

BLOODNOK: Great steaming lumps of therk! It's a British wall!

SEAGOON: Yes. But the bricks are in French.

BLOODNOK: Curses! Foiled by French bricks!

SEAGOON: Come on! I want the original wall! We're waiting, Moriarty! Talk! And talk fast!

MORIARTY: Certainly! (high-speed, spoof gabbling)

SEAGOON: Rubbish!

GRYTPYPE: But beautifully spoken.

SEAGOON: Right! Bind these two Scradje-hoaxers to the bed-rails, and stack the tins of their own fiendish boot-polish around the base of Moriarty.

GRYTPYPE: I'll help you.

SEAGOON: What's the idea? Grytpype? Why are you turning on Moriarty?

GRYTPYPE: I've just found his tap.

SEAGOON: You can't joke your way out of this, Grytpype. Tie him up men! Light the fuse.

SPIKE: Right!

FX: (Sizzling of burning fuse.)

SEAGOON: (laughs) Now gentlemen, you've got three minutes to tell us where that four and nine-pence is.

MORIARTY: (Panicking) We'll talk! We'll talk!

SEAGOON: Bluebottle! Quick! Extinguish the fuse!

GRYTPYPE: Here's your four-and-nine, and your wall, damn you!

SEAGOON: Right, you may go.

FX: (Whoosh.)

SEAGOON: (laughs) Gloating laugh (laughs) So, dear listeners, you see? Honesty triumphs over...


SEAGOON: Shh! Shh! Please! Honesty triumphs over naughtiness, and in the end...

BLUEBOTTLE: Capting! Capting!


BLUEBOTTLE: What was that that you told me to do?

SEAGOON: Told you to...The fuse!

GRAMS: Colossal explosion.

GRAMS: SNAGGE: (Pre-recorded) Good evening. Since I last spoke to you, the

dreaded boot-explosions have ceased. Thanks to the courageous and untiring efforts of Professor Grytpype-Grytpype and Mr. Moriarty both of whom are to be knighted. Therefore, as from now, you can all stop walking backwards, put on your boots, and lower your gas-stoves to the ground. (strains).

FX: Clank.

SNAGGE: Oh, puff! Heavy, weren't they? Good Night.



[1] Diseases were a regular feature of the Goon Show. They made an appearance in nearly every series, including such shows as “Lurgi Strikes Britain” (7/5th), “The Nadger Plague” (3/7th),  “The Spon Plague” (23/8th) and “The £50 Cure” (17/9th). As summer approached, the number of British children contracting poliomyelitis was sky-rocketing. Every summer during the early 50’s the disease had regularly swept Europe and America, reaching virulent proportions in mid-1952 when 57,000 cases had been reported in the US alone. The British government, faced with an estimated 8000 cases annually, had just begun a public vaccination programme using the newly developed Salk vaccine. The social effect of the disease was especially terrible, including ostracism from family and friends, (residents of particularly hard hit areas were shunned, often in a most aggressive way), with ghastly incidents of prejudice towards the victims regularly reported. The health effects, needless to say were devastating, and included total paralysis in a small percentage of the victims. Faced with pitiful lines of suffering children, the British health service could do little to alleviate suffering, other than by massaging their twisted limbs and applying hot compresses to the children’s agonised joints. In the mid 50’s William Morris (Lord Nuffield, 1877-1963), the British motor car manufacturer and philanthropist responded to the crisis in a typically practical manner. The childless Morris donated an iron lung to any hospital in the nation who asked, selflessly turning over part of his factories to the manufacture of these breathing aids for victims stricken with polio in the chest muscles. Milligan, as the father of two small children, must have felt the same awful fear when seeing the press photographs of lines of small children encased in these respirators, their small heads poking out the top, destined to spend the majority of their young lives trapped in these contraptions that looked like gas stoves.


[2] Greenslade is singing the English version of  O mio babbino caro” from the opera Gianni Schicchi, by Giacomo Puccini. There had been a plethora of instrumental recordings of the number released recently, including one by the UK trumpeter Eddie Calvert, “the man with the Golden Trumpet” in 1955, the US trumpeter Ralph Martiere earlier that same year and by Andre Kostelanetz and his orchestra in May.


[3] Lee Lawrence (born Leon Siroto – 1920-1961) was a popular British vocalist, who had had a number of hits in the early 50’s. Spike is conflating his name with Ted Lawrence ‘of Arabia’ (1888-1935)  who’s final book “The Mint”,  recounting his time in the RAF during WWI, had  been posthumously published in 1955. The book was heavily expurgated by the editor, removing the barrack room humour and filthy language which characterised the original manuscript. It could be that Spike read the book – he seems to have read many War biographies as he notes at the beginning of the series in “The Man Who Won the War” (1/6th) and later in “Tales of Men’s Shirts” (2/10th), and began to think about a biography of his own that would be written in the language of the common soldier, and include tales of dirt, blood, sex and boredom from his own desert campaign, the North African conflict.


[4] This mumbled conversation is odd. At first it seems they are speaking nonsense, but after careful listening it seems that they are attempting to form actual words. What is stranger, is that Sellers almost says a line in Hindi.


[5] ENSA; Entertainments National Service Association – the organisation which supplied entertainment to the troops in WWII. It was known by the troops as “Every Night Something Awful.”

The ATS were the Auxiliary Territorial Service, the women’s branch of the British Army. Originally clerks, cooks and storekeepers, they eventually manned searchlights, provided transport services and worked as orderlies and ammunition inspectors. By the end of the war there were 65,000 in the service.


[6] Milligan. It may bear explaining that this is a famous piece of rhyming slang. Jampton rhymns with Hampton, which is short for Hampton Wick (a suburb of London)  which was slang for a dick. With the word ‘Hugh’ in front, it conjointly forms the word “Huge Hampton” meaning a large penis.


[7] This reference to the Home Office Pathologist  – petty as it seems to modern listeners, was cutting edge news at the time. The nation had been transfixed in recent years by the trial and conviction of the serial killer John Christie. After the police muddled the evidence, botched the forensics and hanged the wrong man for the original crime in 1950, Christie went on to kill more than eight times. Keith Simpson CBE, the first Forensic Pathologist to be recognised by the Home Office, became involved with the case, and made sensational news in 1953 by proving that Christie had indeed murdered his wife, for which he was hanged. Simpson continued to make news by unravelling forensic evident throughout his career, and is considered one of the first medical specialists to genuinely combine scientific, medical and investigative logic in the examination of criminal evidence. Milligan had alluded to Simpson’s job in “The Choking Horror” (22/6th) where he calls him a ‘trichologist.’ In both references, Spike seems to find his job title amusing.


[8] Milligan.


[9] Another of Milligan’s favourite concepts was factories. There are quite a few amusing instances in the Goon Shows. There is a “fish-squirting” factory in “The Greatest Mountain in the World” (23/4th); a “passing glue-factory” in “The Dreaded Batter-Pudding Hurler” (3/5th); a “leg-wrestling factory in Nova Scotia” in “The Missing Ten Downing Street” (3/V); a ‘grannie-hurling factory in Tooting” in “The Spon Plague” (23/8th) and finally a “cake-bottling factory in Burton Wood” in “Robin’s Post” (4/10th.)


[10] Plans to extend the underground system out to Alexandra Palace in Muswell Hill were well advanced by the end of the war, and in 1948 London Transport actually printed a map showing the proposed branch line. However, by 1954, the plans had been abandoned, and the regular passenger route closed down, due to a shift in public housing policy. Spike was in the process of moving into nearby Finchley.


[11] This image of a person in authority peering down from an improbable position, tickled Spike’s fancy. He used it a number of times in the shows, for example twice in the next series;

SEAGOON: …As I entered the Foreign Secretary's office, I became aware of a distinguished white face peering down from the top of an airing cupboard,” – “Emperor of the Universe” (14/7th.)

then four shows later when he meets Grytpype and Moriarty up a tree;

GRYTPYPE:We are mountaineering on a rather tight budget. Neddie, allow me to introduce my friend here on the south col branch.” The Moon Show” (18/7th)

and again in the eighth series, when Grytpype and Moriarty are discovered again up a tree in a crow’s nest;.

GRYTPYPE: …Moriarty, store the teeth away, we’re leaving. We’re leaving by first class legs.

MORIARTY: But we’re safe, safe in this tree!

GRYTPYPE: No, it’s to be chopped down. The Ministry of Works say it’s dangerous.

MORIARTY: Dangerous? Why?

GRYTPYPE: Every time they pass it, there it is – defying them. “The Great British Revolution” (12/8th)


[12] A 1928 jazz standard written by Burwell and Parish, it was made famous by Nat King Cole at the beginning of the war, though Geldray’s performance seems more in the mood of the exquisite Chet Baker recording from 1954, one of the most beautiful examples of West Coast jazz from the 50’s.


[13] Milligan’s notion of  ‘legal tender’ was extremely fluid. Variously he presented cheques as; a gramophone record – (“Here’s a recording of a blank cheque,”) a photograph – (“Here’s a photograph of two shillings,”) the side of a horse – (“How do I know this horse won’t bounce?”,) singing – (“Sing this blank cheque. Higher… Higher!”,) cigarette cards – (“You will be paid in the current Bank of England cigarette card series of famous criminal footballers,”), and antiques – (“We’ll refund you the money and here is an advance in Hittite pottery vases.”)


[14] Only one other time did Spike refer to a building society – in “The Last Goon Show of All” when Moriarty proclaims; “There is a curse on the house of Moriarty – the Hampstead Building Society.”


[15] “Cara Mia” (Mantovani & Bunny Lewis) was a soppy 1954 hit for the British entertainer David Whitfield.

[16] Milligan refers to the North/South pole quite often throughout the Goon Show. He seemed to enjoy the notion that the pole was both a remote, desolate spot and at the same time “just over there near that bus-stop.” This “transference of locality,” although not a fixed rule in Spike’s mind, amounts to this premise; If the north pole is the remotest spot on earth, then any remote place can be the north pole. Also; If the north pole is the coldest place on earth, then the coldest place on earth is anywhere you place the north pole.
Some of Milligan’s greatest scenes set at the pole are in “The Curse of Frankenstein”(18/8th,) 


BLOODNOK: Look! The South Pole is only over there by that bus stop.


“The Battle of Spion Kop” (9/9th)


BLOODNOK: I claim the South Pole in the name of Gladys Pills of 13 The Sebastopol Villas, Sutton.

SEAGOON: Who is she, sir?

BLOODNOK: I don't know, but obviously we're doing her a big favour.


and finally “The Burning Embassy” (3/8th.)


               BLOODNOK: Send your water by a cooler route.

SEAGOON: For instance?
BLOODNOK: Over the north pole, through the white hell of Fitz-felloo, across outer Mongolia and finally a three – four – nine tram to the Embassy.