BROADCAST: 18 Oct 1955 [1]


Script by Spike Milligan


GREENSLADE: This is the BBC Home Service and automatic steam laundry – a combination which is working out very nicely thank you.

SECOMBE: Enough of the ol' chat there Greenslade. Back to your mangle and get John Snagge's shirt re-soled. (Sniggers) Gnya-nya-nya! And in the meantime...

SELLERS: Yes dear people, in the meantime we present the extraordinary talking-type wireless Goon Show!

GRAMS: Old phonograph record.

SEAGOON: So much for the mysterious horn-equipped, hand-operated phonograph. And now Greenslade, stop scraping that heavily soiled sheet and read the inscription thereon.

GREENSLADE: Very good, sir. We present Baroness Orczy's masterpiece, Baron Orczy[2] – or "A Strange Case of Diplomatic Immunity", in which a strange case of diplomatic immunity is recounted. Chapter one, “A Strange Diplomatic Case of Immunity”, or “A Diplomatic Case of Strange Immunity”, or “Through Hook, Line and Blizzard with Ava Gardner.[3]

SECOMBE: Chapter Two.

OMNES: Hooray!

SEAGOON: Chapter three – me.

MILLIGAN: (Raspberry)

SEAGOON: One morning in the year needle-noddle-noo I had decided to spend a holiday abroad. How I love Rome with all her fountains. Ah, Rome – there's no place like Rome. Hah-ha! Ahem. So I thought as I sat eating a small string pie in Trafalgar Square. I spent the next hour pleasantly washing my overcoat in the fountain.

GRAMS: Running water.

BLOODNOK: (singing) The Man from Laramie.[4]

He had an elbow on each arm,

and one upon his shoulder...

I say, you with the zinc cardigan – are you English?

SEAGOON: Only by descent.

BLOODNOK: By descent?

SEAGOON: I came down by parachute.

BLOODNOK: Then you ought to be ashamed of yourself! Here in the…

SEAGOON: I don't wish to know that sir! [5]

BLOODNOK: …in the most beautiful fountain in Trafalgar Square you have the audacity and the audacity to wash an overcoat, thus fouling the water. You might have waited until I finished my bath!

SEAGOON: To tell you the truth, sir, I thought you were a statue.

BLOODNOK: I have enough decency sir, not to move when I'm naked.

SEAGOON: Haven't you got a bath where you're staying?

BLOODNOK: Of course I have.

SEAGOON: Where are you staying?


SEAGOON: What made you choose Trafalgar Square?

BLOODNOK: Do you like pigeon pie?

SEAGOON: Disgusted by his old-world courtesy, I strapped on my nickel-plated bagpipes and strode into Regent Street – a dreadful mistake!

GRAMS: Sound of approaching steamroller.

SEAGOON: I’d hardly lowered myself off the payment, when...

GRAMS: Crescendo approaching steamroller.

PASSER BY: [6] Look out!


GRAMS: Recording of bagpipes – gradually wind it down.

GREENSLADE: Dear Listener, the sound that you've just heard was that of a hundred-ton steam roller passing slowly over Neddie Seagoon and his nickel-plated bagpipes. Of course, to record this sound the BBC naturally did not actually run over Neddie Seagoon with a steam roller. Instead, the steam roller was driven over Eccles. Thank you.

ECCLES: Fine, Fine, Fine.

WILLIUM: (Approaching) Here, here, here – what’s a-goin' on 'ere?

SEAGOON: Constabule! I demand that you arrest the driver of that hundred-ton, anthracite-filled, reciprocating-engine steam roller.

WILLIUM: Well, let's hear the charge.

SEAGOON: I'll play it for you

GRAMS: Bugle plays charge; sound of cavalry charge.

WILLIUM: Thank you.

SEAGOON: Now, I want you to arrest the driver of that steam roller.

WILLIUM: Oh – well, well, righto. Where's the driver?

MORIARTY: Sapristi knyuckles, yakka-kakka-koo – who wants to know? I am the man.

WILLIUM: Now then, this gentleman here says that you're the driver of the steam roller, sir.


SEAGOON: That makes two of us. Constable, arrest the driver. I have witnesses.

MORIARTY: Who are they?

SEAGOON: You and me.

MORIARTY: You can't arrest me!

SEAGOON: And why not?

MORIARTY: (Laughs) Ha hoo, ha ha hie! See that plate on the steamroller – see the letters on it? C.D.!

WILLIUM: Cor blimey!

MORIARTY: No, Corp Diplomatique. I have diplomatic immunity!

WILLIUM: Get me out of here. Call a doctor!

MORIARTY: Sapristi yakkabakkaka! Diplomatic immunity means I cannot be arrested, sued, disfranchised,[7] blackballed, guillotined, run out, left in bulk, charged, hung, drawn or quartered, or needle-nardle-noo! You see, I happen to be the Deputy Vice Pomfret[8] of the Titicacan legation.[9]

SEAGOON: Then why are you driving a steamroller?

MORIARTY: My feet hurt me.

GRAMS: Pensive moment from film score. Hold under.

SEAGOON: And so, here I was – freshly run over with my bagpipes irreparably flattened and without a remedy. The weight of the steamroller has made a lasting impression on me. I was now two inches thick and twenty-four feet wide. This was very awkward – people kept opening and shutting me. But what I needed most was a kind word.

ECCLES: Hallo.

SEAGOON: (And that wasn't it!) As I lay on the road, I looked down through a lidless top hat at an up-turned face.

ECCLES: Here, sit down on the pavement and rest a while. Hey! What's that sailing out of a sixth-floor window up there? It's a piano.

SEAGOON: A piano? Ha ha! Bird-brained idiot – what would a piano be doing falling from...

GRAMS: Fatal piano crash. Drop a load of lumber, add in a few clumps of notes, then the sound of the iron frame and strings crashing down.[10]

SEAGOON: (Muffled) Help! I'm under the piano!

ECCLES: Give us a tune?

SEAGOON: I can't find my music.

ECCLES: Okay, then it's time for Max Geldray.


MAX GELDRAY - "The lady is a tramp" [11]


GREENSLADE: That was Mister Max Geldray playing a harmonica. (We thought you ought to know what it was, anyhow.)[12] (Thank you.) And now – a word from Neddie Seagoon.

SEAGOON: (Muffled) HEELP! Get this piano off me! Send for the fire brigade.

ECCLES: Why, are you on fire?


ECCLES: Okay, we gotta have a reason for sending for 'em. I'll start one.

GREENSLADE: And so, while Eccles set fire to nearby Craven Hotel, the East Acton Volunteer Auxiliary Civilian Fire Force came dashing up.[13]

GRAMS: Horses hooves at slow canter; hand rung bell; vary the speed. Continue under.

CRUN: Come on Min, load the water pistols and fill that wicker basket at the fountain.

GRAMS: Sudden variation of speed.

CRUN: Ohhhh! Steady, Lightning.

BANNISTER: (Distant) Oohhooooieeioooh! Oh, dear, dear! (Approaching) There's a naughty, naughty man bathing in the fountain!

GRAMS: Fade in sound of burning building. Continue under.

BLOODNOK: (Distant) Madam, put away that spy glass and stop using my bath water.


CRUN: Don't you worry young man. We shall have that heavy piano off you before you can say ‘Jack Robinson’ – but don't say it for the next seven hours.

ECCLES: Here, that big hotel over there is on fire.

CRUN: Where?

GRAMS: Swell sounds of inferno. Mix in distant shouts and cries.

CRUN: Oh, yes, yes. Minnie, make a note that that hotel over there is on fire.

BANNISTER: Okay fire chief Crun, buddy.


ECCLES: Hey, where are all the other firemen?

CRUN: They're all at the Fire Safety Week Dinner.

ECCLES: Where’s that?

CRUN: In that hotel over there. Now then Min, get that leather crane into position over the piano.

BANNISTER: (Leaving) Okay, buddy.

FX: Clanking noise of block and tackle. Continue under.

CRUN: Did you sign for the crane before we left, Min?

BANNISTER: Mnk mnk…Yes, yes...


CRUN: Good, good. Well, I'm glad you signed because we've got to have the documents to prove it, you know. You must have the documents.

BANNISTER: (Distant) What documents, Henry?

CRUN: For the crane, Min – the documents for the crane. You must have them, you know.

SEAGOON: Never mind about the blasted documents!

CRUN: Oh, I'm sorry – you must have the documents. (Rambles on) Where are they, Min?

BANNISTER: Where are what?


CRUN: You must have the documents…You can't get the wood, you know.

GREENSLADE: Meanwhile, in a teahouse in Saigon:

GRAMS: Oriental foxtrot with electronic jews-harp on vocals.

GREENSLADE: We just thought you'd be interested. We return you now to our story.

CRUN: All right, Minnie – he has returned us to the story. Lower the crane.

FX: Old fashioned cogwheel and rack easing off.

CRUN: All right, hook it on...

FX: Large hooks and chains fastening.

CRUN: Take the left tension...

FX: Block and tackle winching up.

BANNISTER: Left tension, buddy.

CRUN: Now the right tension. Right…

FX: Block and tackle winching up again.

BANNISTER: Right tension, Henry.

CRUN: Attach the grappling claws...

FX: Block and tackle continue to winch.


CRUN: Take up the slack. Are you ready?


GRAMS: Factory whistle.

CRUN: Lunch!

GRAMS: Horses galloping away at speed. Fire bell ringing over. Speed the whole thing right up.

SEAGOON: I never saw them again. I finally extricated myself from under the piano.[14] Fill me with rage at the perpetrators of this outrage, I knocked at the door of the window from which the piano had been thrown.

FX: Knocking on door. Door opens.

GRYTPYPE: Oh, yes, we've been expecting you. Give me your hat and coat. Thank you. Now, get out.

FX: Door slams shut. Ernest knocking. Door opens.

GRYTPYPE: Oh, yes, we've been expecting you. You left your hat and coat. Here… Now, get out!

FX: Door slams shut. Urgent knocking. Door opens.

GRYTPYPE: I'm sorry, everyone's out.

SEAGOON: Wait! I have a question – are you a piano short?

GRYTPYPE: Only one.

SEAGOON: And where is that?

GRYTPYPE: I really couldn't say. I threw it out of the window one night and the next morning it was gone.

SEAGOON: You careless, lackadaisical, piano waster! [15] Do you realize that it struck me on the bagpipes?


SEAGOON: I'm going to sue you for wanton piano hurling, and fifty thousand pounds.

GRYTPYPE: You can't have both.

SEAGOON: Very well, I shall take the money.

MORIARTY: (Approaching) You will have neither!

SEAGOON: Great heavens! It's Count Foreign Fred Moriarty, the fiendish steamroller driver of Regent Street.

MORIARTY: Yes, likewise we claim diplomatic immunity from charges that you have been struck by a piano.


GRYTPYPE: This is the Titicacan legation and that piano carried a corp diplomatique plate.

SEAGOON: It does not – and what is more, I have the bits stored in a secret bonded warehouse in Bond Street until I produce it as evidence in the forthcoming legal proceedings.

MORIARTY: Sapristi piano! Unless we can get that corp diplomatique plate secretly screwed on that piano, we are PSST – TCK – BOONG!

GRYTPYPE: Unless we can get a corp diplomatic plate securely screwed to that piano we are PSST – TCK – BOONG!

SEAGOON: Sapristi piano! Unless they can get a corp diplomatique plate securely screwed to that piano, they are PSST – TCK – BOONG!

GREENSLADE: Meanwhile, in a stench-packing factory in Saigon...

GRAMS: Oriental foxtrot with novelty effects ending – PSST –TCK – BOONG!

GREENSLADE: We return you now to where we left off – Psst, tick, th’ung! [16]

SEAGOON: Dear listener, I realised I had them. Without that CD plate on the piano their cook was goosed! So I went to see the most astute legal mind in Trafalgar Square.

GRAMS: Fountain gushing.

BLOODNOK: (Sings)... the man from yiddle-ong-pong.

SEAGOON: Bloodnok! Bloodnok! Bloodnok – I need your help.

BLOODNOK: I'm sorry, it's her day off.

SEAGOON: I want you to sue the Titicacan legation for striking me with a piano.

BLOODNOK: How much for?

SEAGOON: They did it for nothing.

BLOODNOK: No wonder we get so many overseas visitors.

SEAGOON: I want you to sue them for fifty-thousand pounds.

BLOODNOK: I accept the case. But first the man from Illing-tong, demonstrate with that mad banjo and split mackerel head!


RAY ELLINGTON QUARTET - "Cloudburst" [17]


ORCHESTRA: Dramatic introduction.

GREENSLADE: The Case of the Missing CD Plates, part the two.

SEAGOON: Dear listener, my legal advisor Major Bloodnok, demands a salary of forty-thousand pounds before he will proceed with my case against the Titicacan legation and thus see justice done.

GRYTPYPE: Ah, Neddie?


GRYTPYPE: Neddie, how would you like forty-thousand pounds?

SEAGOON: In money.

GRYTPYPE: Gad! You drive a hard bargain.

SEAGOON: Name the task.

GRYTPYPE: (Very close) It's very simple, dear boy, very simple. All you have to do is to go to a certain bonded warehouse in Bond Street,[18] effect an entry, and blindfolded, screw a small, white, metal plate to a certain object in the dark – which, for the time being, will remain incognito.

SEAGOON: Wait. What's on this small plate?

GRYTPYPE: Well, if I promise to tell you, will you promise not to tell anybody?


GRYTPYPE: Good. Then it will be a secret between us.


GRYTPYPE: You'll do it?

SEAGOON: Yes. Stop! What is this object I am to screw this plate to?

GRYTPYPE: I can't tell unless I keep completely silent about it.

SEAGOON: Right – tell me in silence then.

GRYTPYPE: Very well.

(Lengthy pause)

SEAGOON: I can't believe my ears!

GRYTPYPE: Good – then here's a screwdriver, a blindfold, and a cucumber.

SEAGOON: Cucumber?

GRYTPYPE: You've got to eat, haven't you? Now then, off you go. (Aside) Little does this poor idiot know that inside the cucumber is a powerful infernal machine, timed to explode the moment it detonates and to blow him to perdition, when he has completed his task. Exits humming. (Goes off humming)

GREENSLADE: By the magic of wireless we now take you to a tar barrel in Yokohama.

GRAMS: Oriental foxtrot with novelty effects ending – PSST – TCK – BOONG!

GREENSLADE: Thank you. “The Diplomatic Case of Strange Immunity”, chapter eight. “A Case of Strange Diplomatic Immunity” – or “With Igloo, Jack Knife and Saxophone Along the Appian Way”. Chapter ten; It is midnight in a certain bonded warehouse in Bond Street.

ORCHESTRA: Midnight prowler link.



BLUEBOTTLE: Eccles, it is nice sitting on this glowing brazier being a night-watchman, isn't it, Eccles?

ECCLES: Yeah – fine, fine.

BLUEBOTTLE: Yes, it is fine being a night-watchman.


BLUEBOTTLE: Enckles, do you like being a night-watchman?

ECCLES: Yeah – fine, fine.

BLUEBOTTLE: Yes, I like being a night-watchman. It is like being a day-watchman only it's in the dark.

ECCLES: Yeah, that's fine.

BLUEBOTTLE: Yes, it's fine to be a night-watchman isn't it?

ECCLES: Yeah – fine, fine. (singing to himself) "That man from Laramie".

BLUEBOTTLE: You are a brave night-watchman, aren't you Eccles?

ECCLES: Yeah, sure – fine, fine.

BLUEBOTTLE: And I am a brave night-watchman.


BLUEBOTTLE: I like being a brave night-watchman.

ECCLES & BLUEBOTTLE: We are both brave night-watchmen.



BLUEBOTTLE: There's something crawling up my trousers![19]

SEAGOON: Ah, never fear. It's only me, little wooden-sock night-watchman.

BLUEBOTTLE: Ah, my captain! Springs smartly to attention putting left toe into rat trap.

FX: Mouse trap snaps shut.

BLUEBOTTLE: (screams) Aaahhie! Aiaahhaaou! Writhes in agony on floor. Thinks – what shall I think? Thinks – I can't think of a think. Un-thinks.

SEAGOON: Listen, tiny nerk – I have a job for you. Now, take this plate and screwdriver and screw it into the object which I am told is in the far left-hand corner of this warehouse.

BLUEBOTTLE: What is the reward, Capiten?

SEAGOON: This lovely, green, succulent, prize-winning cucumber.

BLUEBOTTLE: Ooh, goodie!

SEAGOON: Now, off you go and do your task. Come Eccles, we must watch without to see that little Nerk shall not disturbéd be. Exeunt Tucket and Treeze, fighting.

FX: Door slams.

BLUEBOTTLE: There. I have screwed the plate onto the piano. Now for a nice, succulent meal of luskious cucumber. Thinks – I wonder what it would be like to be a manmade salatite, a-hundred and twenty miles above the earth?[20]

GRAMS: Huge explosion; sound of high altitude jet stream wind.

BLUEBOTTLE: Ahh! So this is what it's like! Oooye!

ORCHESTRA: Solemn link.

FX: Gavel on bench.

JUDGE SCHNORRER: The case of Seagoon versus the Titicacan Embassy. We award Count Morrisarty, and Hercules Grytpype-Thynne, Consul of no fixed address, the sum of fifty-thousand nicker for wrongful accusation. Thank you.

SEAGOON: Fifty-thousand nicker! How will I get it? Wait, I know! (Laughs) I'll get even with them – I'll go to Titicaca.

GREENSLADE: And so, Seagoon took a ship for Titicaca. Meanwhile, in a notorious fish shop and ballet school in Yoshiwara...

(Lengthy silence)

GREENSLADE:  By Jove, I do believe they're closed!

SEAGOON: And so I arrived in Titicaca, with my bagpipes bent on revenge. All I had to do was to find a steamroller, throw myself under it and sue for damages. I hadn't long to wait. See – here comes one now!

GRAMS: Approaching steamroller.

PASSER BY: [21] Look out!

GRAMS: Steamroller sound crescendos; steam whistle blows;


GRAMS: Bagpipes slowly winding down.

GREENSLADE: Dear listener, the sound of Seagoon and his bagpipes being run over is the second sound in the series "These we have loved", as broadcast in the programme, “David Whitfield Sings Again and Again and Again.”

TITICACAN 1: [22] Oh! All right, lift him out gently, lads. And now, unroll him.

TITICACAN 2: [23] He keeps curling up like a blind, matey.

TITICACAN 1: Are you all right, chum?

SEAGOON: Arrest that man!

TITICACAN 2: What man?

SEAGOON: The driver of that steamroller. I demand fifty-thousand pounds compensation!

TITICACAN 2: Driver, did you hear that?

BLOODNOK: Yes, and I won't pay it.

SEAGOON: You can't get out of it.

BLOODNOK: Yes, I can! See these CD plates on the steamroller? Diplomatic Immunity, you see.

SEAGOON: You're not...

BLOODNOK: Yes, I am! Major Bloodnok, British Ambassador to the Court of Titicacan!

SEAGOON: You mean...

BLOODNOK: Yes, I have diplomatic immunity! Keep away from me. And what is more, I shall charge you.

SEAGOON: Indeed? And may I hear this charge?

BLOODNOK: Certainly!

GRAMS: Bugle plays cavalry charge. Thunder of charging hooves. Hold under.

SEAGOON: Oh, no! You can't do this to me...!

ORCHESTRA: End theme.

GREENSLADE: And 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 was produced by Peter Eton.




[1] There was much public debate in the 1950’s regarding the conduct of foreign service personnel residing in Great Britain. Stories of foreign diplomats breaking the law, refusing to pay bills and collecting hundreds of parking tickets before decamping back to Moscow or Washington, often filled the papers and the issue was much debated in Parliament.

Questions had been asked in the House about the civic conduct of foreign embassy staff as early as the late 40’s and a commission of enquiry was instituted by the then foreign secretary Bevan. Its report – tabled in 1951, resulted in new laws which endeavoured to define the term ‘diplomatic immunity’ and put a curb on the various abuses of civic responsibilities by consular officials, staff, employees and their families.

Whereas in 1939, 294 cars were entitled to bear C.D. plates of consular identity, by the 50’s there were more than 790 vehicles using them, providing transport for about 2,500 consular officials. In the meantime, the expansion of British trade agreements meant that there were an increasing number of permanent Trade Delegations in London, and in the course of Parliamentary discussions about the rights and privileges to which they were entitled, the following exchanges took place:

Mr. Alfred Robens (Blyth): Large numbers of people are not aware of the fact that “C.D.” confers no privilege at all on a man riding in a motor car. (&c)

Mr. Hughes (South Ayrshire): I live in a part of the country where there are a large number of foreign representatives from the United States of America, all of whom are under the impression that the motoring laws do not apply to them. (&c)

Mr. C.R. Hobson (Keighley): Is my Hon. friend aware that a constituent of mine had parked his car in front of a rather large Hotel in London when a grand piano was thrown out of a window, and smashed down upon his car, and that as it was thrown out by a diplomat my constituent could not recover damages?

               Mr. Hughes: That was carrying the respect we pay to international music rather far.(&c)

Mr. Hobson: There is a point concerning C.D. plates which is worrying many Hon. Members, not only on this side of the House but on the other side too, I am sure. Can the right Hon. gentleman tell us whether the letters “C.D”  stand for Corps Diplomatique or Chauffeur Dangereux?

Mr. Turton (Joint Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs): I leave that to the imagination of the Hon. Member which is very strong, as strong as the man who could throw a grand piano out of a window.

These exchanges, from the second reading of the ‘European Coal and Steel Community Bill,’ occurred on the 29th June 1955, and are undoubtedly the source of Spike’s story.

[2] Baroness Emma Orczy (1865-1947) was a British novelist, artist and playwright of noble Hungarian parentage. She is most notable for creating the character ‘Scarlet Pimpernel’ who featured in a series of sixteen novels she wrote, the first published in 1905. In 1955 a British television series based on his adventure was shown. Produced by Lew Grade’s Incorporated Television Company (ITC) and starring Marius Goring, it ran for eighteen episodes.


[3] Ava Gardner (1922-1990) was discovered in 1941, and despite her thick North Carolinian drawl, was primed by MGM for stardom. Her first big hit ‘The Killers’ in 1946 made her a legend and sex symbol. In 1955 Gardner was in the United Kingdom shooting interior scenes for the film ‘Bhowani Junction’ at Borehamwood, right across the A41 from where A.E. Matthews, his concrete lamp-post and the town council of Bushey (see 25/8th) would later become engaged in a singular environmental stand-off.


[4] The Man From Laramie (1955) was the seventh western movie directed by Anthony Mann, and the fifth in collaboration with James Stewart. The plot deals with Stewart’s arrival in an isolated western cowboy town, looking for the man who killed his brother. Along the way the plot becomes entangled with the sale of contraband rifles to the Apaches, a plot device Milligan utilised in ‘The Call of the West’ (12/9th).  The song from the film was written by Lee & Washington and was a current hit on the UK charts for Jimmy Young.


[5] Something goes astray here. I suspect that Sellers blunders on without waiting for Secombe to say his line.


[6] Probably Sellers.

[7] Milligan mispronounces this. The word is usually ‘disenfranchised’ (the act of depriving someone of their vote), but Spike says ‘disfranchied’.


[8] An odd word. It is a species of fish, well known in India, and also an old term for Pontefract in Yorkshire, the town which gave ‘Pontefract cakes’ their name. Also known as ‘pomfret cakes’ they were a popular laxative in the late Victorian times. Bluebottle refers to them in ‘The Flea’ (12/7th). Spike was just being imaginative I assume.


[9] A legation are the office and staff of a diplomatic minister. 


[10] Fate was avenging itself on Seagoon – he had thrown his own mother under a steamroller in ‘The Secret Escritoire’ two episodes previously. Once again a piano features heavily in the plot as in the previous week’s episode ‘Napoleon’s Piano’ (4/6th).


[11] One of the great jazz classics, it comes from the 1937 Rodgers and Hart musical ‘Babes In Arms’. Both Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra made popular recordings of the number during the 50’s.

[12] Eccles interjects with the words “Fine, fine, fine.”


[13] Milligan is playing fast and loose with the geography of London here. The Craven Hotel he mentions is probably the one that still stands in Craven Terrace, Paddington, to the north-west of Trafalgar Square, on the other side of Kensington Gardens. However, this setting brings up the intriguing possibility that originally Spike intended Seagoon to be struck down in the Italian Gardens, on the north side of the park, and only a few steps from Craven Hotel. This would also account for his line, “Ah Rome with all its fountains!” This park, with its Romanesque fountains and paths had featured in many recent major motion pictures.

[14] Somebody onstage blows a quick raspberry in Secombe’s direction, causing him to crack up momentarily. The interjection causes Secombe to read the beginning of the next line while laughing, making it hard to be completely sure of the first word of the sentence. ‘Fill me with rage…’ doesn’t make sense in the context, so it is possible that Secombe skipped a word of two due to his momentary loss of concentration.


[15] Asides from Secombe and Sellers:

               GRYTPYPE: Needle-nardle-noo.

               SEAGOON: To name but a few…

               GRYTPYPE: Of course. (&c)


[16] Laughing, Milligan – (making no attempt to play Eccles), says off mic “Fine, fine, fine.” Secombe finds great difficult in starting his next line due to a fit giggling.


[17] Originally written and recorded by the remarkable US vocal trio Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. One of the most innovative post-war vocal groups, they developed a highly complex singing style which revolutionised jazz. Their writing and precise style influenced later vocal groups like Manhattan Transfer and the Pointer Sisters.


[18] A ‘bonded warehouse’ is a Government secured warehouse for imported goods, specifically those goods on which import duties are required. Occasionally they were also used for the custody of impounded goods. Bond Street – despite its name, historically had nothing to do with bonds or bonded goods.


[19] Although Spike took great pains not to repeat his gags, this is an occasion when he writes two identical scenes within a month of each other. In ‘The Lost Emperor’ (3/6th) we first hear this scene between Bluebottle and Eccles played out. The punch-line on that occasion is slightly different, but the long dribbled series of questions and statements by Bluebottle in the depths of terror are the same, as are the monosyllabic answers (‘Yeah’, ‘Fine, fine, fine’) from Eccles.


[20] Satellite technology was in its infancy at this point, but US and Russian announcements concerning the intentions by both countries of launching their first proto-types had the world’s media scurrying for headlines. The White House had made its announcement on July 29 of this year, projecting the launch to be in the spring of 1958, while the Russians announced on July 31st their intention to launch a satellite by autumn 1957.


[21] Sellers.


[22] Milligan.


[23] Sellers.