BROADCAST: 4 Oct 1955 [1]


Script by Spike Milligan


GREENSLADE: This is the BBC Light Programme. Please accept our apologies.
ECCLES: Good, good. Fine, fine, fine.
GREENSLADE: Ahem. We present the extraordinary, talking type wireless Goon show.
GRAMS: Old fashioned gramophone record.
: What a divine melody. Greenslade, take up the story lad.
GREENSLADE: Certainement. The story so far: an old fashioned gramophone record was played, after which a short fat man remarked, “What a divine melody.” Now, read on.
SECOMBE: Thank you Mister Greenslade. Go and rehearse the nine o'clock news and learn that wall by heart. Ha ha! Ahem.
MILLIGAN:[2] Ho ho ho lads – ho ho ho! Listen while we tell you a tale. Music lads! Ho ho ho! (Sings) “See them march by ...” [3]
ORCHESTRA: Dramatic oriental introduction. Link to subdued scene setting music with harp, flute and gong.
: (Ancient oriental) When I die, take all the treasures of my kingdom, place them at my feet, then bury me in some high forgotten mountain. [4]
FX: Gong.
SECOMBE: Those words were spoken by the Tartar Emperor Genghis Khan as he lay on his death-bed.
ECCLES: Fine, fine, fine.
SELLERS: Yes. (US Newsreel voice.) To this day, the tomb of Genghis Khan with its untold treasures, remains undiscovered. He lies buried in some Mongol hillside where no human eye has ever set foot.
FX: Gong.
ORCHESTRA: Oriental link – segues into dodgy eastern style jazz. (Xylophone and saxophone with nanny-goat vibrato.)
GREENSLADE: It was nineteen twenty-seven, which lasted exactly one year. Late one night within the oriental exhibits room, young Neddie Seagoon… (double-take) Young? (sniggers) Heh heh heh heh! (Pardon me listeners.)
SEAGOON: I'll see you in the yard at playtime Wal. I'll clout that big fat nut of yours.
ECCLES: Fine, fine, fine.
GREENSLADE: (Clears throat) Ahem… Neddie Seagoon, a young archaeologist, was at work inside the Victoria and Albert Museum.
SEAGOON: (singing to himself.) Da-da de dee, da yum da-da dee… (Suddenly normal) Yes, I always work late at the Victoria and Albert. You see for years I'd been searching for the lost tomb of Genghis Khan. I was unwrapping some ancient Mongolian inscribed tablets, that I had reason to believe would give me the exact location of the tomb of Genghis Khan, when… suddenly… at about midnight ...

FX: Door knocker. Two knocks
SEAGOON: Who's there?
FX: Door knocker. Two knocks.
SEAGOON: Anybody else?
FX: Door knocker. Four knocks
SEAGOON: How do you spell it?
FX: Sixteen rapid knocks.
SEAGOON: I've never heard of either of you.
FX: Door opens.
GRYTPYPE: (Approaching) Good evening.
MORIARTY: Bonsoir.
SEAGOON: Make up your minds.
GRYTPYPE: Pardon the intrusion little nit. Ahm – I'm afraid we got lost in the fog.[5]
MORIARTY: Yes, is this place St Leonards?
SEAGOON: No, it belonged to the L.C.C.
GRYTPYPE: What is this place?
SEAGOON: Victoria and Albert.
GRYTPYPE: Oh really, and which one are you?
SEAGOON: I'm neither.
GRYTPYPE: I'm pleased to meet you. This is my partner Count Fred Moriarty – the worlds louse ladder champion of nineteen twenty-seven.[6]
SEAGOON: What do you both want at this time of night?
MORIARTY: Shut your big pudding muncher! Silence – this pistol is almost ready to explode.
SEAGOON: You crazy continental louse ladder champion of nineteen twenty-seven, what do you want?
GRYTPYPE: Draw the curtain Moriarty.

FX: Hurried rustling of fabric.

GRYTPYPE: (In a low voice) Now then – is there anyone else in the building apart from you?
SEAGOON: Yes, two others.
GRYTPYPE: What are they doing?
SEAGOON: Holding me up with a pistol.
MORIARTY: A likely story. Silence!
SEAGOON: What do you want?
GRYTPYPE: Neddie, we want to examine a parcel of rare Mongolian clay tablets that arrived by air today. [7]
SEAGOON: You're wasting your time. I won't tell you where that parcel is.
MORIARTY: Oh-ho-ho? I'll give you something to make you talk. Take THAT!
SEAGOON: A pound note! I'm English – money won't make me talk. I'll just point. There.
MORIARTY: Mersi. Right, turn round.
SEAGOON: I'm not strong enough.
MORIARTY: Very well, we'll walk around you.
SEAGOON: Dear listener, even though I had my back turned to them, I could still see them in a sixteen foot mirror which I rushed out and bought. I observed them open the rare parcel, take out the clay tablet, then placing it in separate pockets make to leave.[8]
GRYTPYPE: (Distant) Close your eyes Neddie.
FX: Blackjack on punching-bag.
SEAGOON: (Gradually going off mic) Ohoooowwwwooooohh! Awwwwooooohh!
MORIARTY: Dear listeners – the thud you heard was me striking Seagoon on the head with the heavy side of a mummified Egyptian piano.
SEAGOON: Oooowwwwooooohh! Struck down. Oooowwwwooooohh! Struck down in my prime. Oooowwwwooooohh! Oooowwwwooowwoohh! Ow – struck down… (Going off mic) Oooowwwwooooohh!
GRYTPYPE: Dear listeners – the groans you hear are those of Ned Seagoon falling unconscious to the ground, (and hamming it for all he's worth I might say.)
SEAGOON: (Approaching) Lies, lies, lies – all lies dear listener. I'm not hamming – it's just that I like to give Seagoon fans good value for money. Hahaha! (Going off mic again) Ohoooowwwwooooohh! (Close) Apart from that it's good publicity. (Going off mic again) Ohoooowwwwooooohh!
FX: Door slams.
SEAGOON: They've gone. I must phone the police.
FX: Dials as he spells.
SEAGOON: P. O. L. I. S… (Ohh! Oh my head.)
ECCLES: (on phone) Hello?
SEAGOON: Hello – police? I want to report a lump.
ECCLES: (on phone) Fine, fine, fine.
SEAGOON: What do you mean ‘fine, fine, fine?’ Constubule, there's been a robbery.
ECCLES: (on phone) A robbery? Anything stolen?
SEAGOON: You see that parcel on the table?
FX: Door knob rattles. Door opens.
ECCLES: (normal, panting) Yeah, I see it.
SEAGOON: Well, they rifled that.
ECCLES: (on phone) We're on our way round.
GRAMS: Two quick whooshes.
BLOODNOK: (Approaching) Aho! I'm sorry we're late, but I was asleep in Bedfordshire. I always sleep in beds. Ahhoiho! I'm in condition tonight. Sergeant Eccles, sharpen your note book. Now sir, tell me all.[9]
SEAGOON: Two men committed a robbery.
BLOODNOK: Two men, eh. Male or female?
SEAGOON: I don't know – they were dressed.
BLOODNOK: What a cunning disguise. Continue.
SEAGOON: I shall.
BLOODNOK: Thank you. Any money stolen?
SEAGOON: Yes – a pound note.
BLOODNOK: Why did you steal it?
SEAGOON: I didn't, they took it off me.
BLOODNOK: Orrgch! This pound note… (Er, just a moment – may I lay on the couch?) [10] Thank you. Now, describe that pound note.
SEAGOON: Well, it was valued at a pound.
BLOODNOK: Tell me more – wonderful money! Tell me more. This pound note – what colour was it?
BLOODNOK: IT’S MINE! Mine was green.
SEAGOON: Inspector. It's not the pound that was important.
BLOODNOK: Nonsense, any American will give you six shillings for one. In fact the Bank of England will give you seven.
SEAGOON: I am concerned with the very rare, missing Mongolian tablet. You see, that's what they stole.
BLOODNOK: Describe these felons.
SEAGOON: You'll easily find them. They're carrying a Mongolian clay tablet in their pockets.
BLOODNOK: Splendid! With that description they won't get far.
ECCLES: Neither will we.
BLOODNOK: Shut up Eccles!
ECCLES: Shut up Eccles!
BLOODNOK: Don't you worry Seagoon – we shall get them. Remember, we police are always on our toes, (and everyone else's for that matter). But wait! Who is this approaching in a five piece cardboard bikini and wearing male falsies? Yes – it's Max English gentleman Gildrung.

MAX GELDRAY – “The Peanut Vendor.” [11]

ORCHESTRA: Oriental theme.
GREENSLADE: The Tomb of Genghis Khan part two, in which Neddie Seagoon awaits news of an arrest.
SEAGOON: Yes – five days passed, six, seven, eight, nine, a week, but no news. By now the criminals had almost given up hope of being caught. Then one night, unable to sleep, I walked through the fog bound streets of Hyde Park.
WILLIUM: (Surprised) Ohhh!
SEAGOON: Oh, I'm sorry I didn't see you standing in that tree.[12]
WILLIUM: 'Ere, you’re looking for them two crooks, ain't you mate?
SEAGOON: Yes. Why mate?
WILLIUM: Ooo, I know where they is mate. Needle nardle noo! They're in Singapore mate.
SEAGOON:  How do you know mate?
WILLIUM: They left their address for me to send on this parcel of laundry to 'em mate.
SEAGOON: Ahh. I have an idea mate. (going off) Come with me. I think...
GREENSLADE: While Seagoon is executing his idea-mates, we go over to Mister Grytpype and Count Moriarty in Singapore mate.
GRAMS: Loud bagpipes.
GRYTPYPE: Shut that window mate.
FX: Window being shut.

GRAMS: Bagpipes stop.
MORIARTY: There, mate.
GRYTPYPE: Thank you. As I was saying Moriarty, this clay tablet gives the exact location of the Emperors tomb, but as a precaution I have had the entire inscription tattooed on the back of my false teeth, just in case the tablet gets lost. By the way, the man who did the tattooing was Doctor Fred Fu Manchu, Chinese tattooing artist.
MORIARTY: Thank you for telling the listeners the entire plot. Talking of Doctor Fred Manchu the oriental tattooist, reminds me – as I was coming through the theatre tonight this parcel of the laundry just arrived from England.
GRYTPYPE: Splendid Moriarty. Well, I'm going to take a bath.
MORIARTY: You English – you're so brave!
GRYTPYPE: Yes. Now take this gun…
GRYTPYPE: … and if the phone rings ...
GRYTPYPE: … don't hesitate to answer it.
MORIARTY: Sapristi brains! You think of everything.
GRYTPYPE: Not everything. Sometimes I don't think of Aardvarks.
MORIARTY: You mustn't be so careless. After all Aardvarks never killed anybody.
GRYTPYPE: I don't wish to know that. (pause) Neither do the audience.[14] Now, open that parcel.

FX: Unwrapping paper. Continue under.
MORIARTY: Certainement, or if you're French – certainement.
MORIARTY: (Sings) “April in Paris,

we found a charlie…”[15]

GRYTPYPE: (Off) Save the brown paper for dinner.
MORIARTY: Certainement. Sapristi! What's this inside?
SEAGOON: (Approaching) Hands up Count Moriarty, world’s louse ladder champion nineteen twenty-seven!
MORIARTY: Sapristi, yukka kakka koo!
SEAGOON: Count, this is my friend Eccles.
ECCLES: Hallo.
SEAGOON: Eccles, this is Count Moriarty.
MORIARTY: Your humble servant.
SEAGOON: Right! Now hands up again. Where's that rare tablet?
GRYTPYPE: Neddie, lower that finger!
SEAGOON: (Narrates) In the forty foot mirror I rushed out and bought, I could see behind me Grytpype-Thynne standing up in the bath. Don't move Grytpype! Drop that towel.
GRYTPYPE: Right – there!
ECCLES: (Agog) Ooooohh.
GREENSLADE: Ladies and gentlemen, now you know why this show can never go on television. We will continue with this delicate scene, if the ladies in the studio audience will kindly put their hands over their ears. Thank you. [16]
SEAGOON: Right Eccles, keep these two covered with this flint pistol. I'm going to look for that tablet.
ECCLES: Fine, fine, fine.
SEAGOON: I shan't be long.
FX: Door opening then closing.
ECCLES: (Singing nonchalantly) De daim...

de dum bie boi...

ya da doo...  

ya da doo.

Da dum doo…

GRYTPYPE: So you're the famous Eccles?
ECCLES: (On guard) Don't move, or I'll blow my brains out!
GRYTPYPE: I'm sorry.

ECCLES: (Sings as before) Da dum…

doi-a ladadum…

ma ha dhoei… &c

GRYTPYPE: My, my, my. What a lovely voice you have.
ECCLES: (Sings) Doi… (Double take) Eh?
GRYTPYPE: I say – what a lovely voice you have.
ECCLES: You think so?
GRYTPYPE: Yes I do. Quite beautiful.
ECCLES: Oh. (Clears throat) (Sings full voiced) Lie die...

die dumma la da die,  

oh ayia-lao-ao-ao-aow…

a crowded room,

and somehow you know…[17]

GRYTPYPE: Do you know any more like that?  
ECCLES: Yeah, here's one.

         (Sings)           Oyi… ooooarrrrum...  

a crowded room...

GRYTPYPE: Eccles, ah – not quite right. You see, to get the right feeling you must close your eyes.
ECCLES: (Giggling) Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. I'm no fool. If I close my eyes, I won't be able to see you.
GRYTPYPE: (Suddenly very close) Will you miss me?
ECCLES: (Alarmed) Oh here, here, here, here, here, here! Well, listen – if I close my eyes, I won't be able to see to point the gun at you. Ah, but wait – you're keeping your eyes open.  
GRYTPYPE: Of course.
ECCLES: Ooh, that's easy then. Then you take the gun, but mind you keep it pointed at you.
GRYTPYPE: Scouts honour.
ECCLES: Now then… (clears throat) Listen to me sing with my eyes closed. I'll close 'em. There. Hey – it's dark in here.

         (sings)           “I'm singing in the dark...

Melodies of love for my old dad...

Play that crazy saxophone…

Get that crazy rhythm.

Lover, come back to me.” [18]

FX: Blackjack on punching-bag.
ECCLES: Ohooowoowoow!
FX: Door opens.
SEAGOON: Eccles, look! I found the clay tablet and....
FX: Blackjack.
SEAGOON: Owahoowoow!
MORIARTY: Well done Grytpype, you've got both of them!
GRYTPYPE: Yes, well a bird in the Strand is worth two in Shepherds Bush.[19] Quick, let's get going Moriarty.
MORIARTY: Right. But the Mongolian clay tablet…?!
GRYTPYPE: Leave it behind, then they'll think we've forgotten it.
MORIARTY: But if we leave it behind, we will have forgotten it.
GRYTPYPE: Gad, Moriarty – you think of everything. [20]
MORIARTY: Not everything. Sometimes I don't think of Aardvarks.
GRYTPYPE: You mustn't be so careless.
MORIARTY: You're right – Aardvarks never killed anybody.
GRYTPYPE: It's going to kill us if we use it anymore.
SEAGOON: Oh my head! Ooowahoowoowoow! What happened to me?
FX: Blackjack.
SEAGOON: Oowoow! Thank you for telling me. Oowahwoo…  
GRYTPYPE: Let's go.
FX: Door opening and closing.
ORCHESTRA: Dramatic Oriental link.
SEAGOON: I knew that in order to reach the tomb they'd make for the Singapore-China frontier.[21] To bar the way I placed Eccles and comrade on guard.
BLUEBOTTLE: Eccles – how do you like being on guard?
ECCLES: Fine, fine.
BLUEBOTTLE: Yes it is fine. I feel fine on guard.
ECCLES: Yeah, so do I. I feel fine on guard.
BLUEBOTTLE: Yes. It is nice to feel fine, isn't it Eccles?
BLUEBOTTLE: Yeah. Yes, it is fine.
BLUEBOTTLE: Yeah. Encles?
ECCLES: Ahahahum?
BLUEBOTTLE: How do you feel now?
ECCLES: Fine. I feel... fine.
BLUEBOTTLE: I feel fine too.
ECCLES: Fine, fine.
BLUEBOTTLE: Yes. It is good that we both what is us feeling fine, isn't it?
ECCLES: Yeah. We both feel fine.
BLUEBOTTLE: Yes. We are both…
BLUEBOTTLE & ECCLES: … feeling fine.
BLUEBOTTLE: (Panicking) 'Ere…!
ECCLES: What?!
BLUEBOTTLE: I feel sick! But never mind, all is well. Here comes my Capitan on his horse, Silver. Hi-ho Silver! [22]
GRAMS: Old motor taxi approaching. Back-firing, spluttering pistons etc. Stops.
SEAGOON: (Approaching) Whoa silver! Whoa there! Whoa-a, Whoa! How much will that be Gladys?
GLADYS: Needle nardle noo.
FX: Clink of coins.
SEAGOON: Keep the change. Away you go!
GRAMS: Steam train leaving station. Speed up faster and faster and fade out.
GREENSLADE: Astute listeners will no doubt be puzzled at a horse sounding like a taxi and a train. The truth is the animal was also a brilliant impressionist. And here now is his impression of Ray Ellington.

RAY ELLINGTON – “Lover Come Back to Me.” [23]

GRAMS: Whistling wind. Boots on gravel.
GRYTPYPE: (Exhausted) You hear that sound dear listeners? It's the eternal wind that howls over the lichen backed mountains of Mongolia. It was over these we passed, searching for the tomb.
MORIARTY: Ahh oh ho! Sapristi monkeys, it's so cold. Look – even the ice is frozen!
GRYTPYPE: You should have bought some warm clothes.
MORIARTY: I did, but they got cold up here.
GRYTPYPE: I understand well. Where's that Mongolian porter?
SEAGOON: (Chinese accent) Here I am mlaster, willing to slerve. (Aside - normal) Little does he know that I am really Neddie Seagoon, heavily disguised as a man who is heavily disguised.
FX: Blackjack on punching-bag.
SEAGOON: (Injured) Arroowoow.
GRYTPYPE: Little does he know that that was a heavily disguised clout.
SEAGOON: Little do they know that I am only feigning unconsciousness. I daren't attack now, there are too many. I'll wait till they've both gone and then I'll spring.

FX: Multiple belts on punching-bag with blackjack.

SEAGOON: (Grunts and groans as if in a fist-fight.)

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic fight-scene music. (Spriggs over.) End on dramatic descending phrase. Large bass-drum note at the end.
SEAGOON: (Out of breath) Right you swines – had enough?
SEAGOON: Then untie me.
GRYTPYPE: Come along now Neddie – why are you following us?
SEAGOON: You're so attractive.
MORIARTY: Silence nyuckoles. Now then, what's your little game?
SEAGOON: Ping Pong. What's yours? [24]
MORIARTY: Please Neddie, no ad-libbing.
SEAGOON: Needle nardle noo. You won't get away with this. The treasure in that tomb is mine, mine, mine, mine! [25] If only I could get my hands free I could use the phone. (Straining) Ahh! I'll dial with my feet.

FX: Telephone dialling.

SEAGOON: Get my toe in the di.. Ooh! Ooh!... I've got a long nail… (Further straining)
FLOWERDEW: (on phone) Hello. You want me?
SEAGOON: Who are you?
FLOWERDEW: (on phone) I'm a chiropodist.
FX: Phone down.
SEAGOON: Heavens! I had the corn exchange.
MORIARTY: So Neddie – caught you using the telephone. Come on, out with it!
MORIARTY: Threepence.
FX: Cash register. Coin in tray.
MORIARTY: Thank you. Now start walking in front with your hands and feet raised above your head.
SEAGOON: So we trudged the barren landscape. It was a long day – it lasted thirty-six hours. We camped at night fall. Next morning the blow struck.
GRYTPYPE: (toothless) Neddie. Neddie – bad news lad.
SEAGOON: What's up?
GRYTPYPE: (toothless) While I was asleep the world’s Louse Ladder Champion of nineteen twenty-seven stole my false teeth – (aside) which, dear listeners you will remember had been inscribed on the back with the map of the tomb by Doctor Fred Fu Manchu, oriental tattooist.
SEAGOON: Then Moriarty is the only one who knows the way to the tomb.
FX: Knocking on door.
SEAGOON: Come in.
FX: Door knob rattles. Door opens.
ECCLES: Hello. Here, here – I followed Moriarty in the tomb. (Going off) I'll show you where it is. Come on now.
GREENSLADE: Listeners will no doubt think it ludicrous that Eccles should suddenly come through a door a thousand miles from the nearest building. The truth is, several doors have been placed at intervals in the Mongolian mountains so as to obtain the sound of a door opening, thus making it more interesting for listeners – especially those without doors of their own.
ORCHESTRA: Corny chord in C. Cymbal snap.
GREENSLADE: Thank you. Meantime, Neddie has arrived at the mouth of the tomb.
ECCLES: Here, here – you see this big rock blocking the cave? Well the tomb’s behind there.
SEAGOON: How the devil could Moriarty have moved that by himself?
ECCLES: He didn't, he said he would need four men to open it.
MORIARTY: [26] (Approaching) Yes gentlemen – four men.
GRYTPYPE: Yes Neddie, four men. Hands up!
SEAGOON: Argh, you two swines! So that's why you got Eccles and me here – to help open the tomb door.
GRYTPYPE: Come lads, start working.
ECCLES: Hey, who're you pushing?
ECCLES: So that's why I'm moving.
GRYTPYPE: All together, heave...

GRAMS: Continuous sound of falling pebbles, lumps of rock and various odds and ends. Hold under.
CAST: (straining noises – continue under.)
SEAGOON: Watch out for the old tenors friend. (Straining) Urrghhh…
GRYTPYPE: (Straining) Aardvarks never killed anybody.  
MORIARTY: (Out of breath) There – it's open. Sapristi nuckoles! The tombs empty! It's been ransacked. Who could have taken the treasures? Who could have known about this place?
GRYTPYPE: (toothless) What's this card on the floor? Doctor Fred Fu Manchu, oriental tattooist.
MORIARTY: Huh huh huh huohoa! FOILED BY FRED! [27]
SEAGOON: Anybody for tennis?
GRYTPYPE: Too much like hard work!
SEAGOON: Aardvarks never killed anybody!
GRYTPYPE: Darling, together again! Shall we dance?
SEAGOON: Love to!
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.



[1] Milligan regularly sent his casts to China; ‘China Story’ (18/5th),  Shangri-La Again’ (8/6th), ‘Emperor Of the Universe’ (14/7th) and ‘The Burning Embassy’ (3/8th) being the main episodes. Although Spike spent some time in the Orient as a child – in Rangoon, Burma, his writing gives away little to suggest that he had the same affinity for that area of the world as he had for India. His characterisation of Chinamen on the whole seems to have its genesis more in the cartoon characters and adventure books that he read as a teenager, where the Chinese were regularly portrayed as inscrutable, unscrupulous, underworld figures, sly in friendship, devious in business, and given over to opium in their private lives.

In 1954, British newspapers reported that the Government of the People’s Republic of China had began the construction of a central mausoleum to the memory of Genghis Khan in Hohhot, Ordos Prefecture, Inner Mongolia. Destroying the Emperor’s original commemorative shrines, (Genghis’ burial place was – and still remains, unknown) the Central Committee authorised the construction of the new shrine in 1954 against Ordos opposition, confiscated the historic relics, reinterred the bodies of his relatives, dismissed the 500 Darkhads (votaries), and imposed strict controls on the public veneration of the Khan.

The interesting thing about this episode is the tone it takes – a slightly mystical, otherworldly style, based on the mysterious, ancient words of the venerable figure, lost in the mists of time and fable of central Asia. This atmosphere is developed further five episodes later, in the remarkable show ‘Shangri-La Again.’ (8/6th)


[2] Milligan uses a voice similarly pitched to Sellers in ‘The Secret Escritoire’ (the previous show) when announcing the evening’s drama. It is slightly arch, highly pitched and fancifully otherworldly.


[3] My research suggests that this is a line from an Irish Marching song. Why Milligan is singing it here is somewhat of a puzzle.


[4] Which is actually what happened to the great Khan. Efforts have been made in the late 20th century to locate the tomb, the description of which is clear in Chinese records. Although Khentii Aimag, in eastern Mongolia is generally believed to be the approximate site of his tomb, the palace mandarins, following a long tradition of maintaining respect for the Emperor in his afterlife, made sure that the exact location remained unknown, though several stories concerning the location were published in the centuries after his death.

This was normal procedure. Only by accident was the tomb of one of the earliest emperors, Qin Shi Huang (BCE259-BCE210) discovered near Xi’an in 1974. His mausoleum had been built by 720,000 workmen and was filled with almost ten thousand terra-cotta figures of foot soldiers, chariots and cavalry, but still not a clue as to its location had survived the intervening 1700 years.

Throughout this episode all cast members, including Greenslade, pronounce the name Genghis as Jenghis – apparently on purpose. The actual pronunciation is approximately Chinggis Kaan.

[5] London ‘pea-soupers’ were not to last much longer. The ‘Clean Air Act’ of 1956 – one of the first serious initiatives in environmental protection, put an end to these endemic hazards. In 1952 a particularly virulent one had killed 8000 Londoners through street accidents and respiratory ailments.


[6] According to a dictionary published in 1811, a ‘louse ladder’ was a stitch fallen in a stocking. In the twentieth century the saying contracted to merely having ‘a ladder’ in ones stocking.


[7] Mongolian clay tablets are a Milliganesque fantasy. He may have arrived at the idea via a recent newspaper article (Manchester Guardian, July 6, 1955) describing excavations in Sultan Tepe, Turkey, where archaeologists discovered the first known funny story inscribed on a Sumerian tablet. One sentence of the article seems to have caught his eye:

               “Perhaps clay tablets are particularly unsuited for transmitting laughter,”

a challenge for Milligan, who habitually filed tit-bits like this for future use in the Goon Show.


[8] An odd sentence. Surely the clay tablet was the rare object – parcels are hardly rare objects. It could have been a reading error on behalf of Secombe.

[9] One of the few times that Bloodnok takes a job other than being a retired Indian Army Major.


[10] This is another unrecognised one of  Milligan’s imaginative phobias. He loved depicting detectives doing their questioning of victims from a reclining position on a couch with a box of sweeties in their laps. In ‘The Case of the Mukkinese Battle Horn’ (Joseph Sterling – 1956), Assistant Commissioner Sir Gervase Fruit reclines on a couch eating chocolates while questioning Superintendent Quilt over the telephone. It also seems to occur in ‘The Batter Pudding Hurler of Bexhill on Sea’ (3/5th) when Grytpype Thynne (Special Investigations, Scotland Yard), calls Inspector Seagoon to question him regarding a Miss Bannister. His languid questioning is carried on while loudly munching. Why? Perhaps Spike considered Senior Detectives as upper class lay-abouts, with curlicued hair and living on dainties - (and what’s more, closet homosexuals).


[11] One of the most culturally important songs to emerge from Latin America, ‘The Peanut Seller’ is strictly speaking a ‘son-pregón’ – a rhythmic street-sellers cry, but when published in the west, it became known as a ‘rumba’. Written by a Cuban musician, Moises Simon (1889-1945), it was first recorded in 1927 and led to the enormous rumba craze that swept through the US and Europe in the 1940’s. The big band leader Stan Kenton recorded an instrumental arrangement of the number in 1947, creating one of his greatest, and longest lasting hits. The arrangement Geldray uses is highly innovative, (eg: large percussion section) and sounds like it could have been especially composed for him.


[12] Willium is not the only Goon character found up a tree. Grytpype and Moriarty are found in an arboreal position in ‘The Moon Show’ (18/7th) and in ‘The Great British Revolution.’ (12/8th) Sellers himself climbs a tree in ‘Tiddleywinks’ 24/8th but that is due to the psychological malady, ‘cars, cameras and a touch of the old tape-recorders.’


[13] Another reference to the character Doctor Fred Fu-Manchu. The Sax Rohmer character was a famous identity well before Milligan made use of him, appearing in cinema, books, radio and comic strips ever since 1913. He appears only in the fifth and sixth series of the Goon Shows, and is variously described as a fiend (‘The Secret Escritoire’ – 2/6th), a sinister oriental saxophonist (‘China Story’ – 18/5th), a Chinese tattooing artist (see above) and again an oriental saxophonist in ‘The Terrible Revenge of Fred Fu-Manchu.’ (12/6th) The final oblique mention of his name is in ‘The Burning Embassy’ (3/8th) when Crun warns Bannister about the dangers of the ‘dreaded Manchu knee-cramp’.


[14] Indeed. No doubt the bewildered laugh was a disappointment to Milligan, but he did not give up on the idea of introducing absurd varieties of wild animals into the scripts. In the following series (#7) he introduced penguins with rather more success and tigers in series #8.


[15] One of Count Moriarty’s favourite melodies, the tune “April in Paris” originated from the 1932 Broadway musical ‘Walk a Little Faster’, written by Duke and Harburg. One of the best loved renditions of the number was recorded by Count Basie in 1955, only months before the sixth series of the Goon Shows went to air. 


[16] Milligan increasingly found it funny to confuse the attributes of TV and radio. Not only did it amuse him to confuse the mediums but it tickled his fancy to confuse the listening/viewing habits of the audience – particularly the prudish, maiden-auntish attitudes that assailed the burgeoning television industry at that time, demanding that TV conform to rigid standards of decency, just as the BBC in recent years had been forced to follow stringent rules such as the ‘toddler’s truce time,’ and the rule requiring the BBC to wait 14 days before reporting Parliamentary debates. He tries another version of this gag in ‘The Sahara Desert Statue’(1/9th) when little old ladies are advised to place a dark cloth over the speaker.

[17] Without doubt this is one of Milligan’s funniest moments playing Eccles. Without the bitterness of the later episodes or the self destructive violence of which he was often capable, it is the sweet, innocent singing of an idiot.  It is also one of the only times he has an entire scene alone with Grytpype. The final lines are from the song “Some Enchanted Evening”, one of the hit numbers of the Rogers and Hammerstein musical ‘South Pacific.’ The London season at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, had run from 1951-1953.

[18] These are actual songs. Line by line they are; “Singing in the Rain” (Freed & Nacio Herb Brown – 1929); “Melody of Love” (Engelmann & Glazer – 1954); “Doin’ the New Low-Down” (Fields & McHugh – 1928) ; “Crazy Rhythm” (Kahn/Meyer/Caesar – 1928); “Lover, Come Back to Me” (Hammerstein & Romberg – 1928.)


[19] Shepherd’s Bush was to be the site of the BBC Television Centre, still in the planning stages. It was the world’s first building purpose built for television.


[20] Grytpype stumbles over the pronunciation of his accomplices name. It was the beginning of a habit for Grytpype – Moriarty would eventually be pronounced as Mor’arty.


[21] The cast were well known for using compasses from cheap Christmas crackers. This is a case in point. Singapore’s frontier is nowhere near China.


[22] A direct reference to the ‘Lone Ranger’ series. Existing in book form, comic-book form, a long running radio series, a television series, and a film serial, the story followed the exploits of a masked cowboy and his offsider Tonto, as they righted wrongs in the Wild West. The Lone Ranger’s horse Silver was traditionally spurred onwards by the cry “Hi-ho Silver. Away!” The radio series of the story, commencing in 1933 and later broadcast on NBC, amounted to 2,956 episodes; 18 novels of his exploits were published; and the famous television series (starring Clayton Moore) ran from 1947 to 1957.


[23] Quoted by Eccles earlier in the show, ‘Love Come Back to Me’ is one of the great standards of the jazz era, although its source was not the jazz dives of any of the US capitals but rather the genteel surroundings of the 1928 Broadway show ‘New Moon’ by Hammerstein and Romberg. Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy gave the song a new lease of life in their 1940 film version of the same show, while Tony Martin and Joan Weldon reprised it in the 1954 bio-pic ‘Deep In My Heart.


[24] It is not unlikely that Milligan is alluding to the decree by Chairman Mao Zedong that Table Tennis would henceforth be the ‘Sport of the People.’ China was admitted to the International Table Tennis federation in 1953.


[25] In a major interruption Eccles (off mic) imitates Seagoon’s word saying ‘Fine, fine fine!’ Secombe corpses slightly before continuing.

[26] Effortlessly, Spike changes voices from Eccles to Moriarty. Additionally, he takes a single step backwards so as to give the allusion of Moriarty’s sudden approach. As much fun as the shows seemed to be, there was actually a very high level of recording discipline present in the performances.


[27] It is likely that this line ‘FOILED BY FRED’ either inspired or was the kernel to the idea which became ‘Foiled By President Fred’ (7/6th) four episodes later. From the knowing way Spike says the line, I rather think he already knew about it, and was hinting at using it in the coming episode. This catchcry ‘FRED’ appears the following year in ‘The Case of the Mukkinese Battle Horn’ (Joseph Sterling – 1956) when inexplicably the three musketeers arrive in a the middle of a pub melee and cry out ‘Long live FRED!’