7th SERIES No15

BROADCAST: 10 Jan 1957 [1]


Script by Spike Milligan and Larry Stephens.


GREENSLADE: This is the BBC home service .

SEAGOON: So you admit it then! Six months hard labour to be done in twelve monthly instalments.

FX: Gavel on bench.

GREENSLADE: I shall appeal.

SEAGOON: Very well. Released on bail of five long twisted things with holes in the end. (Aside) Next case.

CYRIL: A mental picture of the Goon Show sir.

SEAGOON: What! Sentenced to half an hour a week on the electric wireless, to commence this week with “Wings over Dagenham.”[2]

ORCHESTRA: Three dramatic chords.

NARRATOR:[3] Hear that stirring music folks? It was specially composed to give you a mental picture of an aeroplane carrying supplies to the besieged garrison at Fort Spon[4] in nineteen-hundred and two, one year before the invention of the aeroplane.

GRAMS: Gunfire. Fade under.

COMMANDING OFFICER:[5] Yes, we of the besieged garrison were grateful for that mental picture of an aeroplane bringing us supplies. ITMA prayed for the day when someone would invent one and save us all at Fort Spon.

GRAMS: Swell gunfire.

NARRATOR: (Over) Little did he know poor fellow that in a shed off Lyle Street a genius in grease stained evening dress – assisted by a dour Scots gentleman in a grease stained body, were at work on a strange and wondrous grease stained machine.

FX: Hammer on metal piping.

SEAGOON & McCHISHOLM: (Singing in time with hammering)

Ying tong, ying tong, ying tong, ying tong, ying tong iddle i poh.

Ying tong, ying tong, ying tong, ying tong, ying tong iddle i poh.

Ying tong, ying tong, ying tong, ying tong, ying tong iddle i poh.

Ying tong yi...[6]

SEAGOON: McChisholm – it's finished![7]

McCHISHOLM: Oh thank heavens for that. I couldn't remember any more of the words.

SEAGOON: No – my masterpiece, this apparatus!

McCHISHOLM: Oh! If it's not a rude question sir, what's it supposed to be?

SEAGOON: I wish I knew. I'd feel much happier.

McCHISHOLM: You said it was to be a mangle.

SEAGOON: Yes I know. But I added a bit here and a bit there – it got completely out of hand.

McCHISHOLM: I'll tell you what man, you get in the seat and I'll swing the propeller.

SEAGOON: (Camp French) Mad, impulsive boy! But as you wish...


SEAGOON: Gad – you've invented the method for starting an aeroplane! (Shouts)  CONTACT!

GRAMS: Bi-plane engine starting up. Splutters. A couple of backfires. Pause. Metal pipe falls on concrete. Then gradually a handful of bits and pieces of metal.

SEAGOON: Well… what shall we build now?

McCHISHOLM: Mister Seagoon – did you not notice? A moment before it fell to bits it rose seven feet off the ground.

SEAGOON: Correction – five feet. Two of those feet were mine!

McCHISHOLM: If you ask me sir we've invented the Hairyplane.

FX: Phone rings. Receiver picked up.


GRYTPYPE: (On phone) I hear you've invented the aeroplane.

SEAGOON: Who's this speaking?

GRYTPYPE: The Air Ministry.

SEAGOON: Air Ministry? – How are you off for air? (Laughs uproariously) Ha ha ha ha ha! Air ministry! How are you off for air! A-hahaha! A-hahaha! (Embarrassment sets in.) Ahem.

GRYTPYPE: Listen little square pudding, the question is how are you off for air?

SEAGOON: I'm just full of it.

GRYTPYPE: So I've heard.

SEAGOON: What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? (Does chicken impression.)

GRYTPYPE: It's all very well saying that Neddie, but if you've invented the aeroplane you'll need air to fly it in – and we are the sole agents.

SEAGOON: You low down, thieving, twisting, stinking, spiv!

GRYTPYPE: I see you're a wit as well. Well flattery will get you nowhere. Now, how much air do you need?

SEAGOON: Any chance of a supplementary ration?

GRYTPYPE: You get your machine finished and we'll come round and see you.


FX: Receiver being replaced. Rapid hammering on pipe.

SEAGOON: Finished!

FX: Door being opened

GRYTPYPE: And only just in time. Moriarty – there it is!

MORIARTY: Oh! It looks like an aeroplane…

GRYTPYPE: It smells like one.

MORIARTY: … and further more – (Chewing noises) …it tastes like an aeroplane!

GRYTPYPE: Let me try a slice. (Mouthful) Mmmmmm. Neddie – this aeroplane is beautifully cooked.

SEAGOON: Yes, we've had it in the oven all night.

GRYTPYPE: Splendid! Now Neddie, what does this aeroplane do?

SEAGOON: It flies.

GRYTPYPE: (Incredulous) It flies? This will revolutionise aviation!

MORIARTY: You realise that this means the end of the horse drawn zeppelin!

GRYTPYPE: “Tempus fugit” Moriarty.[8]

MORIARTY: What? To that I can only say – “Qu’est-il diable…” (What’s it say?) “est-il allé il faire dans cette galère!” [9]

SEAGOON: No fighting please you intellectual gentlemen.


GRYTPYPE: Just sign this document Neddie.

FX: Paper unfolding.

SEAGOON: (Reading) “For the use of the air over Lyle Street, ten pound seventeen shillings a quarter, payable in monthly instalments of fifty pound a year per week.” Hmm. That seems remarkably cheap!

FX: Money in till.

GRYTPYPE: Thank you Neddie. Now don't forget, when you want to fly just phone us up and we'll have the air fixed in place over Lisle Street immediately!

SEAGOON: Well, I'd like some air right now.

GRYTPYPE: Max Geldray, start blowing ploogee!


MAX GELDRAY – “Cheek to Cheek” [10]


GREENSLADE: That music was designed to give listeners in the Lake District a mental picture of Max Geldray playing a nude mouth organ.[11] And now here is a piece of music to give you a mental picture of the Air Ministry.

ORCHESTRA: Grandiloquent but innovative orchestral chords.

MORIARTY: Oh folks! That music was supposed to give you a mental picture which means the end of the horse drawn zeppelin.

GRYTPYPE: Moriarty – I tell you, you must stop manufacturing those Zeppelins.

MORIARTY: But I’ve just managed to get orders from the London Passenger Transport Board. (Raves)[12]

GRYTPYPE: Quiet Moriarty! I'm just getting a mental picture of Seagoon opening that door…

FX: Door opens.

SEAGOON: Gentlemen, I'm in terrible trouble...

GRYTPYPE: …he's going to say.

FX: Door closes. Door opens.

SEAGOON: Gentlemen, I'm in terrible trouble.

MORIARTY: You were right!

SEAGOON: My aeroplane won't take off in Lyle Street. [13]

GRYTPYPE: Are you concentrating Neddie?

SEAGOON: I tell you Grytters – I can’t get off the ground.

GRYTPYPE: Well if you can’t get off in Lyle Street, you’ll never get off anywhere. SEAGOON: The trouble is, just as the plane starts to gain speed the lights turn red.

MORIARTY: Ohh Neddie, what you need is a new modern-type taking off aerodrome.

GRYTPYPE: Yes, tell the orchestra to give us a mental picture of a meeting of aerodrome inventors.

ORCHESTRA: Eccentric link.

OMNES: (Over) Flying rhubarb. Aerodrome rhubarb &c.

SPRIGGS: Gentlemen! Mister Grytpype Thynne has called this mental picture of a meeting at the request of the beleaguered garrison at Fooort Sponnn!

BLOODNOK: (Approaching) Yes gentlemen. I have just returned from the very thin of the fray. Fort Spon will fall any day now.

SPRIGGS: But we've just had it wallpapered!

BLOODNOK: That's no use I tell you.

SPRIGGS: Double strength!

BLOODNOK: The defenders are weaponless. Some swine sold the men's rifles to the enemy for ten thousand pounds.

SPRIGGS: How much?

BLOODNOK: Just a minute, I'll count it again...

SPRIGGS: You mean that those men have only got bullets to defend themselves?


SEAGOON: Gentlemen, build me a taking-off type aerodrome, and I will fly out rifles in my newly invented aeroplane.

CRUN: Mr Seagoon, I have got here the plans of my proposed portable aerodrome.

SEAGOON: Ahh! Let's have a look.

FX: Paper rustling.

SEAGOON: Mmmm. What do you call it Mister Crun?

CRUN: Erm – Croydon Airport.

SEAGOON: Oh. And where are you going to build it?

CRUN: At Croydon.

SEAGOON: I say – how splendid! That'll save changing the name.

CRUN: Yes. Now then is there any questions?

BANNISTER: (Distant) How are you going to build this aerodrome?

CRUN: Well – I had intended, after consulting certain graphs and measures and having architectural surveys of certain Grecian soup recipes and other rare stews, I was going to build it flat.

SEAGOON: Does that mean aeroplanes can land on it?

CRUN: Well – now that you've asked me a straightforward question, I have no option … mnk… but to give you a direct answer. What was the question again?

SEAGOON: Does that mean aeroplanes can land on it?

CRUN: Land on what?

SEAGOON: The aerodrome!

CRUN: Oh! Am I building one of those?

SEAGOON: Yes, and you're calling it “Croydon Airport.”

CRUN: Splendid! Then I can build it near Croydon.

SEAGOON: The very place for it!

CRUN: Yes. Now to finance; apart from the aerodrome we shall need five thousand pounds for the hangars.

SEAGOON: I'd rather hand my coat on a nail.

GRYTPYPE: Mister Crun was referring to aeroplane hangars.

SEAGOON: Erm – will my aeroplane need a hangar?

CRUN: It will lose it's shape hanging on a nail you know. (Mumbles to himself.)

BANNISTER: (Distant) Speak up Buddy!

SEAGOON: Well, Mister Crun sounds like our idiot. What salary would you like?

CRUN: Ten thousand pounds a year.

SEAGOON: Who'll second that?

CRUN: I will.

SEAGOON: Right, those in favour raise their hands. A-ha! Come Mister Crun – you can't vote for yourself.

CRUN: (Bursting) I'm not!

SEAGOON: Then why are you holding your hand up when you...?

FX: Door opening and closing – rapid.


GRYTPYPE: He's gone of course to give the workmen a mental picture of what he has in mind.

GREENSLADE: And if listeners in Croydon in nineteen-hundred and two, will open their windows, they'll be able to hear a mental picture of the portable aerodrome under construction.

GRAMS: Construction site. Jackhammers etc.

DAI LABOURER:[14] Pardon me boy – where do you want this load of five hundred ton iron girders?

BLOODNOK: Well, I think you'd better put them in the safe. You see there's been a lot of pilfering lately.

DAI LABOURER: Right-oh! Dai, see me back will you?

DAI ECCLES: (Welsh impression) OK Dai! Come on now! Look you Dai! Sospan bach! Abergavenny! Look you now! Leeks! Cardiff docks! Swansea docks! Er – it's no good folks, I can't keep up this accent any longer. I'm not a Welshman at all – I'm de famous Eccles.

DAI LABOURER: You'll get my fist round the back of your famous filthy nut if you don't hurry up.

DAI ECCLES: OK. Get this lorry back. Come on… back now!

GRAMS: Lorry revving. (Continue under. Swell after each line.)

DAI ECCLES: Come on. Back – come on. Steady! Left hand down. As you are! Straighten – straighten up! Come along... come along! Right end… left end… middle… Come on. Come on now! Plenty of room. Come on… Come on…

GRAMS: Enormous crash. (Lorry of junk going over a hundred foot cliff.)

DAI ECCLES: O.K. That's enough.

GRAMS: Recording – (Gradually wind up the speed.)

SEAGOON: You dull, stupid, half witted, useless, jumped up, never come down, idle, dull-headed twinick! If I get my hands on you I'll beat all the sawdust out of that fat head of yours. (Raves at high speed)

ECCLES: (Frets. Pause) SHUT UP! Let that be a lesson to him.

SEAGOON: Never mind taunting that record of me Eccles. Great news – the lights turned green in Lisle Street, and my test pilot finally got the plane off the ground!

ECCLES: What a strain!

CRUN: Oh, you got to stop him from landing. The aerodrome's not quite ready yet. We haven't started.

SEAGOON: Right! McChisholm – contact the plane.

McCHISHOLM: He's on the phone now, sir.

SEAGOON: Right. Calling B four… Calling B four… Hello? Control calling B four.

BLUEBOTTLE: (On radio) Hello Captain!

SEAGOON: Is that you – B four?


SEAGOON: Why didn't you answer me B four?

BLUEBOTTLE: 'Cause I didn't hear you before.

SEAGOON: Listen. Warning! Do not land at Croydon Airport because it's not there yet.

BLUEBOTTLE: Right-oh den.

SEAGOON: Now – what is your exact position?

BLUEBOTTLE: I'm lying on my side with my knees drawn up under my chin.


BLUEBOTTLE: I'm at home in bed.

SEAGOON: You fool McChisholm – you've got the wrong number!

TEST PILOT:[15] (On radio)  Hello! Hello! Calling the proposed Croydon Airport.

SEAGOON: That's my pilot now. That's my boy. Hello there – don't land!

TEST PILOT: I can't land.

SEAGOON: Why not?

TEST PILOT: I haven't got enough petrol.


TEST PILOT: I tell you, you must get liquid petrol up to me or I'll never play the violin again!

SEAGOON: Why not?

TEST PILOT: It's a petrol driven violin, you know.

SEAGOON: Horrors, hirrors, hurruhs, horrors, horrens – the world's first horseless aeroplane trapped in the air!

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic timpani roll – bugle call. Goes berserk at end.[16]

SEAGOON: Ahem. That music was intended to give you a mental picture of a change in plan.


SEAGOON: Thank you. With the shortage of petrol, the invention of the aeroplane had to be delayed.


SEAGOON: Thank you. But still the burning question was to get guns to the garrison at Fort Spon.


CRUN: As luck would have it gentlemen I've got here the plans of a steam driven rocket.[17]


SEAGOON: That would overcome the petrol shortage. We'll build one right away!

MORIARTY: Ah – I suppose this means the end of the horse drawn zeppelin.

GRYTPYPE: Oh well Moriarty – et sequitor ad nauseum spon.

MORIARTY: Ow! You got to go...


ELLINGTON: Oh Moriarty, now stop plugging your record and remain silent while I plug one of mine, do you mind?


RAY ELLINGTON QUARTET “The Rockin’ and Rollin’ Man”


GRAMS: Rifle fire.

GREENSLADE: Ladies and gentlemen – that sound was specially recorded to give you a mental picture of the records that they're playing at the besieged garrison of Fort Spon.

SEAGOON: Never mind folks. If you were in this BBC studio you'd see – apart from the tatty curtains, bare floorboards, and outdated gilt scrollwork specially commissioned by the corporation, a large steam driven rocket. Ahoi-hoi-hoi-ohho! Now gather round early British aviators!

OMNES: (Mumblings – Early British rhubarb! Early British rhubarb!)

SIR CYRIL: Pardon me. I'm from the Geographical Society.[18] May I come along to your flight so that I can photograph the earth from a great height?

SEAGOON: What ever for?

SIR CYRIL: (Fiercely) Because sir there are some stupid fools who are still arguing whether the earth is round or flat.

SEAGOON: And so?

SIR CYRIL: I'm going to prove to them that it is flat.

SEAGOON: Prove the earth is flat? Hahaha! What a waste of time!

SIR CYRIL: Why – why – why?

SEAGOON: Everybody knows it's flat!

SIR CYRIL: (Sniggering) Aha ha ha ha ha ha har!

SEAGOON: Aha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haa!

SIR CYRIL: Aha ha ha har! But there are idiots in this world you know.

SEAGOON: Have you met them?

SIR CYRIL: Met them? I listen to you every week!

ORCHESTRA: Thin chord. Cymbal snap.

NARRATOR: Folks – that chord was to give you a mental picture of a steam driven rocket about to take off…

FX: Occasional hammer on different size metal pipes. Continue under.

ECCLES: (Sings to self) “Dai dum… la dum…Brockley land of my dreams… I travel the road in Brockley…”[19]

SEAGOON: Here Eccles, let me help you with that flange.

FX: Furious hammering all over the place.

SEAGOON: There! That's got it off.

ECCLES: I was trying to get it on!

CRUN: Gentlemen – I've been driven here from Reigate to say this line… (Fibrillations) Erm, erm, um… The rocket is ready. (Heart attack) Horayoo-oow!

SPRIGGS: He's gone in the direction of down! Now about this rocket, gentlemen – who knows how to drive it?

SEAGOON: Drive it? Good heavens! You're not going to let a little thing like that stop us.

BLOODNOK: Of course not! We can decide who's to drive when we're up there.

SEAGOON: Yes. We'll draw lots.

ECCLES: I can't draw lots! I don't even know what shape they are.

SEAGOON: Shut up Eccles!

MORIARTY: Ahh gentlemen – one thing. May I take an Arab stallion on board with us?

BLOODNOK: You filthy swine! What ever for?

MORIARTY: What ever for? To prove that the horse still has it's place in air travel – especially if it pulls a zeppelin.

BLOODNOK: Yes, and I'm taking an elephant.

SEAGOON: Are you mad?

BLOODNOK: Of course I am! You don't get normal people taking elephants on rockets do you?

SEAGOON: Well, he'll have to travel third class.

BLOODNOK: If you wish.

SEAGOON: How old is the elephant?

BLOODNOK: Why do you want to know? Tell me! Tell me before I strike you down. Why?

SEAGOON: Well – if the elephant’s under fourteen he’d travel at half fare.


FX: Phone receiver up. Dialling.

BLOODNOK: Hello? Just a moment. You speak to the lady would you?

SEAGOON: Hello? Can you tell me how old this elephant is?

FEMALE VOICE:[20] Yes, he’s six and a half.

SEAGOON: Are you sure?

FEMALE VOICE: I should hope so – I’m his mother.

FX: Receiver down.

SEAGOON: That was a trunk call. Now…

MILLIGAN: I don’t wish to know that.

SEAGOON: Kindly leave the theatre!

MILLIGAN: I say – look here.

SEAGOON: Now then, who's going to be at the controls when we take off?

ECCLES: Which way are we going?


ECCLES: Oh I'll drive! I know that way.

SEAGOON: Stout fellow!

ECCLES: Me a stout fella? You'd make two of me!

SEAGOON: I'll make two of you – give me that axe!

ECCLES: What? Get away!

FX: Phone rings. Receiver picked up.

SEAGOON: Yes? Right!

FX: Receiver down.

SEAGOON: Gentlemen –the garrison at Fort Spon are desperate!

ECCLES: Oh hohoho!.

SEAGOON: We must take off at once. Rifles on board?


SEAGOON: Right. (Calls) Close plinge doors.

ECCLES: Plinge doors closed!

BLOODNOK: (Distant) Close plinge doors!

SEAGOON: (Calls) Airmen, secure ports.

ECCLES: (Distant) Secure ports.

SEAGOON: Close all berks!

ECCLES: (Distant) Close all berks.

BLOODNOK: (Distant) Close all berks

SEAGOON: Bluebottle – tighten your belt.

BLUEBOTTLE: Why captain?

SEAGOON: Your trousers are falling down. Full steam! Maximum power!

MORIARTY: Maximum power!

SEAGOON: Parallax!

MORIARTY: Parallax.


SELLERS: (Off) Trollenberg terror, right…[21]

SEAGOON: Right, cut the string!

GRAMS: Engine whistle, steam train leaving station, speed it right up.

SEAGOON: Men, put on your pressurised shin pads and switch on oxygen. I'm going to accelerate to thirty miles an hour!

BLOODNOK: Don't be a fool Seagoon! No man can live at that speed.

SEAGOON: The devil with it Blooders! I’ve always lived dangerously. Hang on!

GRAMS: Engine whistle again. Steam train leaving station. Sped up.

MORIARTY: Oh steady! Steady, you demon of the speed! Beware! Observe – the wallpaper's already coming away from Bluebottle's hat!

SIR CYRIL: Er – could you slow down just a bit here? I want to take that photograph of the earth.

ECCLES: Oh here. I just saw the earth through the clouds.

SIR CYRIL: Did it look round?

ECCLES: Yeah, but I don't think it saw me.

SEAGOON: You're right Eccles and look – there's the besieged Fort Spon directly beneath us. Quick – parachute the rifles down to them.

BLOODNOK: Rifles away!

SEAGOON: They've got them!

MORIARTY: They're loading them!

BLOODNOK: They've fired!

SEAGOON: The enemy are all dead. Success!

MORIARTY: Curse! This is the end of the horse drawn zeppelin!

GREENSLADE: And it's also the end of the horse drawn Goon Show. Goodnight!

ORCHESTRA: Closing theme.

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





[1] This very clever script was most likely inspired by the imminent closure of Croydon airport. London’s airports were undergoing complete reorganization at this time. Gatwick airport was being developed (1956-1958), Heathrow was being built and Croydon was being phased out gradually until finally ceasing operations in 1959.

Originally opening in March 1920, Croydon airport – directly south of London just near his parents wartime home in Reigate, was the centre of British aviation for three decades and specifically the base for Imperial Airways. The terminal building with its geometrical design became synonymous with early international aviation, and often featured in the advertisements of the day behind a spanking new airliner, so as to impress upon the minds of the nouveau riche the wonderful world of modern air travel. Croydon in those early days was the magic jumping off point for jet setters, with destinations including Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australia, aboard aircrafts like the De Havilland’s and Armstrong Whitworth Ensigns.

Additionally Milligan added India as a sub-plot to the script. The relief of a British garrison somewhere or other in India had been a regular occurrence during the Raj and formed the basis of many schoolboy tales of British heroism. The British started using airships against Afghan targets in 1919, and later established a permanent base for the 11th Squadron RAF in Risalpur (in present day Pakistan) from 1928, though it is unlikely that the early bi-planes were involved in an incident of this sort. The flying ceiling in the North West Frontier province was at such a low altitude compared to the terrain that aviation over most ranges was impossible.


[2] Then a Municipal borough in east London. It has never had an airport.


[3] Milligan. The voice is of Adolphus Spriggs.


[4] Fort Spon is a Milliganesque creation based on the series of British Forts built on the border of present day Pakistan and Afghanistan to hold down the so called ‘tribal’ areas. Serious incidents occurred frequently – the worst when the British lost 14,000 men against the Pashtus with only 1 survivor. The siege of Malakand (1897) was another well known instance, documented by the young Winston Churchill.


[5] Sellers.


[6] The ‘Ying Tong Song’. Recorded  August 1956. Released October 1956. DECCA F.10780 According to Milligan’s biographer Humphrey Carpenter, after the chart-topping success of the Goon’s first recording, “I’m Walking Backwards for Christmas” in the summer of 1956, Milligan was inspired to try an experiment.


With the pop scene as it was, I thought – I bet I can write a hit record. I’ll write the worst song in the world, with three chords and no words.”


Spike meant nonsense words and the result was the ‘Ying-Tong Song’, which reached number 3 in the charts, thrilling Spike’s mother in Woy Woy Australia. (‘Spike Milligan: The Biography’ – Carpenter 2003. p167)


[7] George Chisholm; (1915-1997) – trombonist/arranger. Played for many Glascow and London bands prior to WWII: joined the RAF in 1940 and was a founding member of the ‘Squadronaires’: joined the BBC Show Band in 1952 and did a large amount of free lancing work in shows, stage and radio. For many years he led his own band, ‘Gentlemen of Jazz’ until forced by ill health to retire.


[8] A rough Latin translation is “Time marches on.”


[9] Basic French meaning “Why on earth did I get involved in this business?” Milligan’s pronunciation is hard to comprehend. Moriarty’s quote is from the Molière play “Les Fourberies de Scapin” (1671), a three-act comedy involving the activities of an archetypical comic servant. Named ‘zanni’ in traditional Commedia dell’arte and Scapin in Molière’s play, the character routinely engineers situations between characters then takes flight when things get too hot for him – much in the style of Moriarty and Grytpype in fact.

Molière’s usage of ‘galère’ (French for galley) in this context, added a new meaning to it; “a cumbersome, painful business”.


[10] Irving Berlin’s classic hit “Cheek to Cheek” was first performed by Fred Astaire in the movie ‘Top Hat’ (1935).


[11] An historic moment. Milligan (as Little Jim) butts in and says “He fell in the water!” at which the cast snigger. This catch phrase was written to be used in the next episode “The Rent Collectors,” which was due to be recorded later that same evening.


[12] Moriarty’s raving goes something along the lines of – “Ooh! Why did I en-tum a ying tong idle I po – and other words that I can’t think of now. Yumtatabyum bya…” etc


[13] Lyle Street in Soho was an area of brothels and sex shops during Milligan’s day. The next three lines were removed from the transcription version of the show. By 1961 an influx of Asian immigrants had begun to establish it as a thriving Chinatown.

[14] Secombe with a thick Welsh accent.

[15] Sellers.

[16] This bugle call is replicated almost exactly in the first 15 minutes of ‘The Party”, (1968) starring Peter Sellers. Playing a lone Sepoy soldier (in imitation of Gunga Gin), he tries to warn an advancing British column of a Pashtu ambush by playing the bugle atop a high ridge. He is shot, and while dying plays this bugle call in a series of extraordinary death contortions.


[17] So the odd thing is that despite the show featuring a newly invented aeroplane bringing supplies to Fort Spon, Milligan changes tack here and launches a steam driven rocket instead. It is suggested by ChrisTP that this was due to the re-introduced petrol rations at the time. The Suez crisis had forced the British government to reintroduce fuel rationing.

[18] The Royal Geographical Society was founded in 1830 and enjoyed huge prestige. Expeditions sponsored by the society enjoyed front page status in the newspapers and the opinions of the President and board members was eagerly sought by journalists.


[19] “I Travel the Road” (Parsons & Thayer,) a Peter Dawson favourite.

[20] Sellers.

[21] An interesting reference by Milligan to an ITV Saturday Night serial from 1956 – 1957 regarding aliens in the Swiss alps. It was one of the first British sci-fi movies – part of a series that later produced ‘Quartermass and the Pit” (1958-1959.)