RECORDED: 5 Dec 1956 [1]


Script by Spike Milligan and Larry Stephens.


GREENSLADE: This is the BBC Home Service.

SECOMBE: Mr Greenslade, don't you get fatigued with saying that?

GREENSLADE: Fronkly I do.

SECOMBE: Then why don't you do something about it Bunter?[2]

GREENSLADE: I have. (Conspiratorially) You know when I said - "This is the BBC Home Service?"


GREENSLADE: Well, at the same time I was thinking – (Aloud) “Long live the ITV!"[3]

GRAMS: Marching boots under.

SECOMBE: What's this? What is it?

GRAMS: Marching continues. Recording. SNAGGE:[4] “BBC sharpshooters halt.” Boots halt smartly. SNAGGE: “Take aim… Fire!” Rifle shots.

GREENSLADE: Ouch… sir!

GRAMS: Recording. SNAGGE: “So perish all enemies of the Queen.”

SECOMBE: So Greenslade, you were All Enemies of the Queen. On your feet now -  come on. That was only a recording of John Snagge and his merry huntsmen. Now remove that fake bullet hole and replace it with an announcement. Go on Wal boy, give us the old Till Eugenspiel! [5]

GREENSLADE: Well, tonight the Gin Shaw brings you a dramatised version of -"What's My Line".

HERN: (American) Yes folks. Welcome to "What's My Line".

ORCHESTRA: Scratchy violin fanfare.

HERN: Thank you Eugčne Goossens,[6]  and welcome to “What's My Line” folks. Now you all know the rules so here they are again. Several competitors will sign in and do some mime as a clue to his or her occupation, and for the first correct answer the prize will be SIXTY-FOUR! And now will the first competitor sign in please.

FX: Chalk writing on blackboard.

SEAGOON: (Writing) Neddie Seagoon.

GRAMS: Massed cheers. Stops suddenly.

HERN: Mister Eddie Kneecroon[7]. Now sir will you stand in this revolving bath and do a mime.

SEAGOON: By all means. My mime starts when I was a student of archaeology (Self fade) at the Royal Naval College of Music ...

OMNES: (Mutterings) Hern, hern, hern, hern, hern, hern &c

SPRIGGS: Quiet! Quiet boys. Now here is your oral examiner to examine your orals.

OMNES: (Excitement) Oh oi oh oh oi oi oi!

SPRIGGS: Please - will he now sign in.

FX: Chalk writing on blackboard

GRYTPYPE: (Writing) Hercules Gryte pype Thynne.

ORCHESTRA: Corny music hall fanfare.

GRYTPYPE: Thank you music students. And now my mime is this. You lad - who wrote "The Yellow Road of Texas"?[8]

SEAGOON: I'm sorry sir, I can't sneak on a friend.

GRYTPYPE: Wrong! The second question.[9] When did you last see your father?

SEAGOON: When I had my glasses on.

GRYTPYPE: Wrong. It's a picture.

SEAGOON: Where's it showing?

GRYTPYPE: At the Blue Hall Islington.[10]

SEAGOON: Is there a matinee today?

GRYTPYPE: Yes, but they're only showing “Whistler’s Mother”.

SEAGOON: (Fondly) Ah! Musical…

GRYTPYPE: Ah! (Aside) Mister Spriggs, what instrument is this lad studying?

SPRIGGS: Neddie lad, play something nice for the gentlemon.

ORCHESTRA: (Bass drum – deaden the sound.) Thump thump thump.

GRYTPYPE: This lad has the gift of melody. Melody divine! Play it in a different  key boy!

ORCHESTRA: (Bass drum.) Thump thump thump thump thump.

GRYTPYPE: (Over) Stop! Stop, please.

SPRIGGS: Please, stop Neddie, the gentleman is overcome.

GRYTPYPE: Do you know, I find that tune quite touching. What was it?

ORCHESTRA: (Bass drum.) Thump thump thump(Continue under.)

SEAGOON: (Sings at distance.) Ah, over the waves

on the loveliest night of the year. 

Stars shining above

you almost can touch them from here…[11]

SPRIGGS: Quiet, quiet please students, I know you love melody.

GRYTPYPE: Neddie, come over here please.

GRAMS: Running footsteps, getting closer and slowing to a stop.

GRYTPYPE: You shouldn't sit so far away lad.

SEAGOON: I don't mind - except when it rains.


SEAGOON: I'm outside.

GRYTPYPE: Don't you find it difficult to follow what the teacher's saying?

SEAGOON: Oh no - I can't hear him.

GRYTPYPE: I do wish there were more idiots like you.

SEAGOON: But there are more idiots like me. (Shouts) Aren’t there?


GRYTPYPE: Great spon of nukes! That voice, that bearing – you're not Sir Malcolm Sargent? [12]

ECCLES: You're right. You're dead right you know - I'm not Sir Malcolm Sargent. I'm a student in this school. I'm studying to play the telephone in E flat.

GRYTPYPE: In that case you'd better sign in.


FX: Chalk writing on blackboard under.

ECCLES: (Writing) Mister E. EK – EX – how do you spell that “Eccles”?

GRYTPYPE: Double C. L. E. S.

ECCLES: Mister T. F. E. double C. L. E. S.


ECCLES: "The Famous"

GRYTPYPE: Ah! Thank you. Now just step into this dangerous street and do your mime.

ECCLES: Thank you –

FX: Door opens.

GRAMS: Heavy city traffic.

ECCLES: Aaaaaaaahhhhh! (Fade)

FX: Close door.

GRYTPYPE: And now will the next challenger sign in please.

FX: Chalk writing on blackboard.

GELDRAY: Max Geldray.


MAX GELDAY “C Jam Blues”[13]


SEAGOON: Thank you. Well, did anyone guess Max Geldray's line?

ECCLES: Ah, mouth organ player.

SEAGOON: Ha, ha, ha! No, no - although I admit that he certainly tried to give that impression. So would the next challenger sign in please.

FX: Chalk writing on blackboard under.

MORIARTY: (Writing) Count Jim ‘Thighs’ Moriarty. Count of ten, Second Baron lands and Marquis de la refreshments.

SEAGOON: Well Count, do your mime.

MORIARTY: Right, my mime is this; Grytpype! I have an urgent message from Major Bloodnok. He wants the number of a good tailor.


MORIARTY: He's in a phone box – naked.

GRYTPYPE: Naked? Why did he remove his nether garments?

MORIARTY: They were filthy buddy.

GRYTPYPE: Gentlemen, this is a job for the police laundry.

SEAGOON: Impossible sir. Bloodnok's on the laundry banned list.


SEAGOON: He plays in the laundry band!

ORCHESTRA: (Shout) Taa daa!” Cymbal snap.

SEAGOON: I don't wish to know that.[14] Apart from that – they discovered the truth about those nicotine stains on his shirt.

GRYTPYPE: You mean...?

SEAGOON: Yes - they were hand painted.

HERN: Well folks as nobody’s guessed Moriarty's line yet, will the next challenger sign in please.

FX: Chalk writing rapidly on blackboard under.

CRUN: (Writing) Ahh, ahhhh, eerr, ah, aaah! (Extended) Henry Crun…

BANNISTER: (Writing) … and Miss Minnie Bannister.

SEAGOON: Will you both do your mime?

CRUN: Yes, yes! Certainly we will. Yes - our mime.

BANNISTER: Yes, our mime. (Extended)

CRUN: I’ll say it… Miss Bannister!

BANNISTER: What? What?

CRUN: Weigh this telegram on the official Post Office scale.

BANNISTER: Ok buddy.

FX: Heavy boots on floorboards.

BANNISTER: It doesn't weigh anything at all.

CRUN: Well put a four ounce weight on it.

BANNISTER: Ok. (Surprised) Ohhhh!

CRUN: What, what, what?

BANNISTER: Now it weighs four ounces.

CRUN: Then it will need a tuppenny stamp.

BANNISTER: Ah there. Now where's that messenger boy?

SEAGOON: Here I am under this wig.

CRUN: Well do a mime of getting on your motorbike and posting this telegram at once!

SEAGOON: Wouldn't it go quicker by phone?

CRUN: I didn't know you could travel by phone! Ahhahaha, Ohhohoho, Ahhohoho, Ahahahaha Ohhoho! (Extended) Oh dear, dear, dear. Did you hear my joke Min?

BANNISTER: Hahaha... (Extended) Yes. I heard it Henry.

CRUN: Oh! Was it funny Min?


CRUN: All that laughing for nothing.

BANNISTER: Didn't you get anything for it?

CRUN: Not a penny. Still, we do have fun you know Min, working in the P.O.

BANNISTER: You must remember that the Post Office has a handle to its name. You must thank the Lord Chamberlain for that. [15]

CRUN: I’m the postmaster you know.

BANNISTER: And I'm the register of parcels and the rubber stamping. Now you listen to this gimmick buddy. Ready? One, two!

FX: Wooden gavels on different sized woodblocks. Add paper to make it sound like parcels.

BANNISTER: (sings)         Rubber stamping rhythm,

hear that rhythm go.

Let us stamp some parcels,

three cheers for the G.P.O!

BANNISTER: Now then, hip-hip-hip ...

CRUN: (Wheezing) Horrayyyyyy-oooooouuuh!

BANNISTER: Hip, hip …

CRUN: (Gasping for breath) ‘Raaaayyy!


CRUN: (Fibrillations) Horrayowwwooooowwwwww!

BANNISTER: He's fainted downwards onto the scales.

SEAGOON: Three stone! That's a two and six-penny stamp.

FX: Two quick gavel strokes on a paper parcel.

SEAGOON: Quick post it to a hospital.

CRUN: No – phone the doctor!

SEAGOON: I can't! There's somebody doing their mime in the phone box. Come out of there!

ECCLES: I'm practising the telephone! But I’ve just discovered folks, I'll never play the telephone again.

SEAGOON: Why not?

ECCLES: I ran out of coppers.

SEAGOON: Nonsense! Here's thruppence - play us a tune. Here, play something from A to D.

ECCLES: Ohhh – I only play telephones by ear. I can't read the directories.

SEAGOON: Hahaha! He's just being modest folks. Actually he can't read anything.

CRUN: Come on lad, what numbers do you know?

ECCLES: Ahhm, what about that good old good one, Whitehall One-two, One-two.[16]

SEAGOON: Yes. Let's have that one - played by Ray Ellington!




SEAGOON: (MC voice) Next dance please!

BANNISTER: Thank you very much Mister Secombe. You dance divinely you know.

SEAGOON: You too.

BANNISTER: Are you married?

SEAGOON: You're very light on my feet. (Laughs) Light on my feet! Hurm.

WILLIUM: 'Ere, 'ere! Who runged Whitehall one-two, one-two, mate?

SEAGOON: We did constable. We are looking for a Major Bloodnok who is missing you, understand.

WILLIUM: Oh well, the next contestant can help you there. Will he sign in mate, please?

FX: Writing on black board under.

GREENSLADE: (Writing) A. L. A. S. K. A.

HERN: It's Alaska – the well known piece of land. Will Alaska do its mime?

GRAMS: Howling wind. Dog sled team.

SEAGOON: Mosh, mosh, mish, mash, mush! Minch, moonch, munch, mensh, minsh! I think that's the lot. Gad – Alaska forty below and three on top. Brrrhahaha! This bathing costume isn't very warm.

ECCLES: Of course not – you've got the shoulder strap un-buttoned.

SEAGOON: Is your bathing costume warm?

ECCLES: Yeah, I wear it under a fur coat!

SEAGOON: You fisherman's nit!

ECCLES: What? You be careful how you talk to me!

SEAGOON: I don't wish to know this.

ECCLES: Do you know Lord Stromboli?[18]


ECCLES: Well, you just be careful what you say then. He might be listening.

SEAGOON: (Lava come back to me.) Now look, you'll never get sun-tanned like that. Here! Hold this violin.

ECCLES: Oh, will that make me sun tanned?

SEAGOON: If you play it naked in the Sahara, yes!

ECCLES: Hey! Wait a minute.


ECCLES: What are we doing in Alaska?

SEAGOON: Following the trail of Major Bloodnok's phone box.

ECCLES: Oh! What'd he come all the way to Alaska in a phone box for?

SEAGOON: A long distance call.[19] Now unroll that portable road.

SEAGOON: (Straining) Umph! Strain… urh… strain. You take the end of the tenors friend… There. (Catching breath)

ECCLES: What a bit of luck! This road leads straight to Major Bloodnok's phone box.

SEAGOON: Bloodnok! Come out!

BLOODNOK: I can't - I'm naked.

BANNISTER: (Slightly off) Come on - come out!

SEAGOON: Well, come out backwards with your hands raised.

BLOODNOK: No, I daren't risk it. There's a lot of holly about.

SEAGOON: Alright. We'll come forward with our heads down.

BLOODNOK: Oh, no, no, no! I'll come out. Now look here - why are you trailing me?

SEAGOON: First, may we present our cards?

BLOODNOK: Certainly.


GRAMS: Single line of soldiers coming to attention.

BLOODNOK: Thank you.

SEAGOON: Will you sign in please and do your disgusting mime?

BLOODNOK: Ohh! My mime starts in India (self fade) in eighteen eighty three.

GRAMS: Volleys of rifle shots. Give it lots of echo to make it sound as if it is in a canyon.

SEAGOON: It's no good Major Bloodnok. We'll never dislodge those naughty tribesmen from their rocky redoubt.

BLOODNOK: No, I fear they've built that mountain to last. Send Captain Spon for reinforcement's will you?

SEAGOON: He's gone sir. Spon's gone.


SEAGOON: Yes! Spon's scarpered. He's disguised as an Afghan riding a camel.

BLOODNOK: Spon has gone?

SEAGOON: Yes. Spon's gone for a burton,[20] but the camel was shot from under him.

BLOODNOK: What did he do?

SEAGOON: He changed to a horse sir.

BLOODNOK: Where is he now?

SEAGOON: Grazing. Wait! Ahehehoooohihihiou! Who's this approaching?

BLOODNOK: Well shall soon find out. Ask him to sign in.

FX: Writing on blackboard under

PILKINGTON CLING: [21] (Writing) Ahh, Lieutenant Pilkington Cling.

BLOODNOK: Right. Now do your mime – but not too much otherwise the tribesmen will guess what you are, d’you see?

PILKINGTON CLING: Right sir. My mime is - I've just come through the enemy lines disguised as a British soldier.

BLOODNOK: That is no disguise man.

PILKINGTON CLING: Yes it is. Actually I'm a British sailor.

BLOODNOK: Then what are you doing so far inland without a boat?

PILKINGTON CLING: We ran out of water.

BLOODNOK: Curse! I was relying on that boat to evacuate us.


BLOODNOK: I take them all the time you know.

SEAGOON: Have you done?


SEAGOON: This means we have to retreat on foot sir.

BLOODNOK: Right. Order some feet then.


GRAMS: Regiment on parade.

BLOODNOK: Haul down the NAAFI manageress.

SEAGOON: Bugler?

BLUEBOTTLE: Yes Capitan. I signed in then.

FX: Writing on blackboard under.

BLUEBOTTLE: (Writing) Bugeler Blunebottle of the Second Finchley Wolfcubs. Voted young knots of nineteen-fifty-six and all England egg and spoon race champion.

SEAGOON: Well done. Do your mime.

BLUEBOTTLE: Alright then. My mime is – I'm here to sound the retreat on my bugle.  Does brilliant mime. Picks up bugle, puts to mouth, does big blow.

ORCHESTRA: Big blast on trombone

BLUEBOTTLE: Ohheohhiew! I've hurted myself.[22]

SEAGOON: I'll get a stretcher.

BLUEBOTTLE: Don't stretch me – my legs might drop off.

GRAMS: Horses hooves approaching.

FX: Quick knock on door.

BLOODNOK: Ohhh, oehhhoho! Oohheho, hohoho! It's the son of mad mullah![23] Do your mime mullah.

MAD MULLAH: My mime is - open up Major Bloodnok!.

SEAGOON: Major! He wants us to open you up.

BLOODNOK: … and let the rain in? Never! Get your hands off will you!

FX: Furious knocking on door.

MAD MULLAH: Open up or I'll write to the Times.  “Dear Sir, this is me writing ...”

BLOODNOK: No. Stop! Please don't. Don't do that - England must never know.

MAD MULLAH: They never do!

BLOODNOK: Yes, that's quite true. What do you want you turbaned devil?  How dare you come to the front door - all enemies to the tradesmen's entrance.

MAD MULLAH: Tradesmen's entrance blocked with your creditors.

BLOODNOK: Arrggghhhohoho! Load that gun with I. O. U.s! That'll get rid of them, I tell you.

SEAGOON: Let him in Major.


SEAGOON: I'll keep him covered with this roof.

BLOODNOK: Alright, son of mullah - come in.  But I'm warning you, if there's any mud on your boots we shall fire.

FX: Door opened.

MAD MULLAH: Now, Bloodnok - me come to challenge you to fight a duel.

BLOODNOK: Fight a duel? I refuse sir! I'll fight anyone else but a duel.

MAD MULLAH: Bloodnok - you're acting like a coward.

BLOODNOK: I'm not acting!

MAD MULLAH: Name your weapon!

BLOODNOK: As an Englishman sir I choose the weapons of my country.


BLOODNOK: Conkers sir!

MAD MULLAH: Conkers mate? You make me laugh mate.

BLOODNOK: What!? I'll show you - step out side!

FX: Door opens and closes.

BLOODNOK: That's got rid of him.

MAD MULLAH: That's what you think!

BLOODNOK: (Fear) Arrgghh Ohoho Arhohoho ohohoho! So you're back! Well I'm going to teach you a lesson sir. Son of mullah, stand where you are. Captain Seagoon…


BLOODNOK: Stand on that chair over there.

SEAGOON: Right sir.


ECCLES: Yeargh?

BLOODNOK: Stand on top of that cupboard with this picture of Queen Victoria.


BLOODNOK: Sergeant O'Malley?

O’MALLEY:[24] Yes sir?

BLOODNOK: You stand in this elephants foot umbrella.

O’MALLEY: Right sir.

SEAGOON: What does Bluebottle do?

BLUEBOTTLE: I'll wrap myself in this cardboard Union Jack and lay under the sink.

SEAGOON: Well thought out lad.

BLOODNOK: We'll show you mad mullah. Abdul?

ABDUL: Yes sir?

BLOODNOK: Kneel behind this copy of the Times and I'll lay this in a hammock over the stove and hold this feather.

ABDUL: Alright sir.

BLOODNOK: There now. Son of mullah ...

MAD MULLAH: Now what?


MAD MULLAH: Alright Bloodnok. You win by a brilliant underhand trick. I give up. I’ll lay my cards on the table.

BLOODNOK: Gad! Sixteen. Pay pontoons only.

FX: Money from till.

BLOODNOK: Thank you gentlemen. Tomorrow, Jim Bowler son of Tom.

ORCHESTRA: Thin gong.

HERN: Well, I'm afraid the time’s up folks, and nobody guessed any of our contestants occupations. So will the constants all line up and tell the listeners what's their line?

SEAGOON: I'm an idiot.

ECCLES: I'm an idiot.

BLUEBOTTLE: I'm an idiot.

HERN: Well - yes, all the contestants have guessed their own occupations correctly, so goodnight from "What's My Line".

GRAMS: Mad cheering.

ORCHESTRA: Closing theme.

GREENSLADE: That was the Goon Show, a BBC recorded programme featuring Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Spike Milligan with the Ray Ellington Quartet, Max Geldray and the orchestra conducted by Wally Stott.  Script by Spike Milligan and Larry Stephens, announcer Wallace Greenslade. Programme produced by Pat Dixon.





[1] “What’s My Line?” was a vastly successful weekly game show developed by CBS, beginning in 1950 and finally ending its record breaking run in 1967. It was compeered by the veteran TV newsman John Charles Daly.  A further spin off of the show ran from 1968 to 1975. The BBC version of the show was hosted by Eamonn Andrews and ran from 1951 until 1963. Barbara Kelly, who featured in Spike’s earlier script ‘1985,’ (15/5th) was one of the panellists.

Each round of the show was a guessing game in which the panel tried to guess the line/occupation of a contestant. A small cash prize was attached to the failure of the panel to get the result right.


[2] Probably a reference to the famous schoolboy “Billy Bunter - the fat owl of the remove”, a comic appearing during the ‘fifties in the boys magazine “Knockout”.


[3] ITV, the “Independent Television Authority” had been established by the Television Act of 1954. Independent of the BBC, and regionally based, it was commercial but its charter went to great lengths to establish competition guidelines between advertisers, and to prevent ownership monopolies forming. News bulletins were produced by a central studio, the Independent Television News.


[4] John Derrick Mordaunt Snagge OBE (1904-1996). A long time BBC newsreader and commentator. He was one of Milligan’s biggest supporters within the corporation.

[5] Spike satirizes the title of the orchestral Tone Poem, “Till Eulenspiegels Lustige Streiche” – (“Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks,”) by Richard Strauss (1864-1949).


[6] Eugčne Goossens, (1867-1958) conductor and violinist, one of the enduring family of musicians who featured on the London concert platform and in broadcasts for most of the 20th century.


[7] Milligan was continually annoyed by the mispronunciation of proper names. At one stage of his life he took to signing himself Spike Milligna as revenge against a slipshod typist who had addressed a letter to him thus.

[8] Actually “The Yellow Rose of Texas”, an old Texan folk song, composed anonymously and originally published by Firth, Pond & Co. in the 19th century. Mitch Miller had made a recent popular recording of the number in 1955.

[9] Milligan interjects “Give them time. Give them time.”


[10] Islington was of course a major entertainment then, as now. It contained a famous picture theatre (The Carlton) with an unusual Egyptian Motive Façade, as well as theatres like The Collins, The Islington Empire and The Islington Hippodrome.

[11] “Over the Waves” composed by Juventino Rosas in 1884, was used in the MGM film “The Great Caruso” (1951) using different words. Secombe sings the original words for the first line, then segues to the second version of the words for the last 3 lines. The normal first line is “When you are in love…”


[12] Sir Harold Malcolm Watts Sargent, (1895-1967) one of the greatest British conductors of his generation. He was considered by many to be the greatest living British conductor, a champion of young British composers and a notorious womaniser. A popular saying at the time was; “I will go, so long as I don’t have to share a taxi ride home with Sir Malcolm.”

[13] A Duke Ellington standard, thought to have been partly written by Barney Bigard, the clarinettist in Duke’s orchestra in 1942.


[14] Milligan clearly leads the band in this response, then comments “They forgot their instruments!”

[15] This has nothing to do with the actual Lord Chamberlain (Lord Lumley), and more to do with a chamber pot, commonly called the ‘po’ in Britain. The P.O. (Post Office) was often the butt of this sort of ribaldry.


[16]That good ol’ good one” was a well known quote from Louis (Satchmo) Armstrong (1901-1971) who often ended his banter with this saying. Satchmo had toured Europe at the beginning of this year with his ‘All Stars’. Whitehall 12-12 was the original number of the New Scotland Yard. It was also the title of a BBC radio show playing from 1951-52, which drew inspiration from real life police cases.


[17] A rhythm and Blues number originally recorded in 1938 by Big Joe Turner and the pianist Pete Johnson. Count Basie recorded a version of it in 1957 on his ‘At Newport’ album.

[18] Stromboli, a volcanic island of the south east corner of Italy, had erupted earlier that year.


[19] This was current news. Global telephone communications using submarine cables had begun on 25th September 1956, when the first transatlantic undersea telephone system, TAT-1 went into service. It was a joint contract between AT&T BELL Telephone and the British Post Office Engineering Department.


[20] The expression to ‘go for a burton’ according to the Oxford Reference Dictionary means to ‘be lost or destroyed or killed’ but I suspect that Milligan had wanted to include a dig at Richard Burton. Secombe interrupts himself to say: “Can’t use that,” then moves on with the line. Burton was a major and controversial star at the time. His performance as the narrator in ‘Under Milk Wood’ on the BBC in 1954 was spoofed by Milligan in ‘The Moon Show’ later in this same series.


[21] Milligan playing another upper class officer with a breathless stammer.

[22] Another of Milligan’s obsessions – hernia caused by trumpet playing. Twice in the War Memoires this subject comes up; in book I, “Hitler, My Part in his Downfall” P19 and book V, “Where Have all the Bullets Gone?” P96. 


[23] Mullah, from the Persian Mawla was a title given by the British to the Muslim clergy in India. It most often applies to Shi’i clerics, though it is a term they themselves rarely use.


[24] Secombe – in an Irish voice.