7th SERIES No 19

BROADCAST: 7 Feb 1957


Script by Spike Milligan and Larry Stephens.


GREENSLADE: This is the BBC Light Programme.

SEAGOON: You'll get a punch-up-the-conk, Wal!

GREENSLADE: Mister Seagoon, the practice of punching BBC announcers up the conk was outlawed in seventeen seventy-three.

SEAGOON: Wrong Wallace, wrong! Wrong indeed! Only recently there was an fresh outbreak of up-the-conk punching. So loosen your gentleman's support for elderly couples whilst the great poet-tragedian William MacGoonigal sets the scene.[1]

ORCHESTRA: Scratchy violin fanfare. Continues playing ‘Hearts and Flowers’ under.

MacGOONIGAL:[2] Thank you Paganini. Let me hear that melody divine Thompson. Oh folks. Oooh folks! 'The Ballad of the Punch Up The Conk'. (No laughing please, folks.) Listen folks: ‘Twas in the year of nineteen tgenytnee,

when the Punch Up The Conker struck without rhyme or rea –

son. Late one night without any warning,

he struck a gentleman's private conk whilst he was yawning.  

WILLIUM: (Snoring)

FX: Boxing glove on punching bag. Pneumatic car-horn.

WILLIUM: Owwwhhhwhhhawhawhhawhwh… mate! Oww – me 'ooter! Owww.

FX: Police whistle.

SEAGOON: Hello, hello! What's going on here?

WILLIUM: I've been punched up the conk, officer.

SEAGOON: I'll have to make a note of this. Now where did I put my notebook?

FX: Wooden drawer sliding open.

SEAGOON: Ah, it's in the sideboard here. Now – tell me all.

WILLIUM: Well, I was sleeping on the joe in the garden – (the piano,)[3] when a leather omnibus draws up and out jumps a man wearing a masked boxing glove on 'is 'and. “What's that up there?” he says. Up I looks  and WALLOP – right up me ol' conk dere![4]

SEAGOON: I see. Have you ever committed a murder?

WILLIUM: No, no.

SEAGOON: I can't get you on that then. Now tell me, why were you sleeping on the piano in the garden?

WILLIUM: Cos the grass was damp mate and I don't want to get the nadgers again you see. My wife's got the lurgi, and my eldest boy's got the plin mate.[5]

SEAGOON: Sergeant Dongler, take this man along to the station...

P.S. DONGLER: Yes Sir.

SEAGOON: ...and put him on the train for Birmingham

P. S. DONGLER: Right Sir.

WILLIUM: (Going) Leggo mate. I tell yourn I wasn’t… (Argues into distance.)

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic detective-series link.

NARRATOR:[6] Eleven-ten, Inspector Seagoon dismissed the conk-punching as drunk's hallucination – hern, hern of the hern. Eleven-eleven, Seagoon returned to Scotland Yard. Eleven-twelve, Scotland Yard returned to London. Ghurl quorl knurl…

FX: Old fashioned telephone rings. Receiver picked up..

SEAGOON: Hello. Seagoon of Fabian Yard here. [7]

SINGHIZ THINGZ: (On telephone) Pardon me sir, this is the management of the Red Indian Youth Hostel in Paddington W2. We are just having a nasty incident here sir.

SEAGOON: Really?

FX: Door opens.

SEAGOON: What happened?

SINGHIZ THINGZ: I tell you – I tell you all about it. Please put on this cardboard turban. Thank you. Now, we were sitting down sir playing ping pong in the oriental style, when a leather omnibus approaching from the direction of W4, and the occupant wearing a masked boxing glove is punching poor Bert Ramjat Singh right up his conk and poor Ramjat Singh is falling backwards in the direction of SW2. (So help me, it’s the truth I tell you…)

SEAGOON: “Gad!” I said. Then that old man sleeping on the piano was telling the truth.

WILLIUM: (Off) Yes I was!

SEAGOON: Constable, go up to Birmingham and bring him back. (Shouts off) I'm sending someone for you.

WILLIUM: (Off) Ta mate!

SEAGOON: Now then – Sergeant Greenslade, question all people wearing masked boxing gloves and driving leather omnibuses.

GREENSLADE: It'll take time sir.

SEAGOON: Very well, take time – and… and... Greenslade...

ORCHESTRA: Soft saxophone version of ‘Laura.’ [8]


SEAGOON: …do be careful. Remember – you're… you're all I've got.

GREENSLADE: Don't worry sir, I'm wearing my trousers back to front.

SEAGOON: (anguish) It must be hell in there!

GRAMS: Steam locomotive. Start at high speed, slow down rapidly to a stop. Brakes squeal.

P.S. DONGLER: Here he is Sir.

WILLIUM: Hello mate.

SEAGOON: You're back quickly.

WILLIUM: Yes, we brought the train by h’aeroplane.

SEAGOON: Splendid. Now look, what did this attacker look like?

WILLIUM: I dunno… I dunno – I didn't see 'im mate.

SEAGOON: I see. And would you recognize him if you didn't see him again?

WILLIUM: Straight away! Although you know sir, I must admit me eyes ain't what they used to be.


WILLIUM: No – they used to be me ears.

SEAGOON: Sergeant! Take this man to Birmingham, and put him on the Police Station for crew.

P.S. DONGLER: Fyakfyakfyia sir.

SEAGOON: And Sergeant Geldray...

GELDRAY: Yes boys?

SEAGOON: ...your nose is an obvious temptation to the punch-up-the-conker.[9] Place this harmonica under it as a protection!

SEAGOON: Right, round the old back for the brandy there!

GRAMS: Running footsteps.


MAX GELDRAY – “Can’t We Be Friends?” [10]


FX: Boxing glove full tilt into boxing bag. Pneumatic car horn.

GELDRAY: (Blows harmonica chord) Oooh! My nose! Ooooo…

GRAMS: Bus bell. London bus driving away quickly.

SEAGOON: Quick – they've clouted Geldray's hooter. After that leather omnibus on these national health feet.

GRAMS: Running footsteps.

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic link.

SEAGOON: Unfortunately the leather omnibus out-distanced us whilst I was having lunch,[11] and when I got out of bed next morning it was completely out of sight.

CONSTABLE: Inspector, I have been looking through this log book of leather omnibus manufacturers…

SEAGOON: Let me see – hmm, there's only one entry. We'll have to go in there. (Laughs) Ha Ha! Ha ha! Ahem... Dear listeners, up a narrow street, in a broad road which ran through a long narrow lane, (Sings) in a quaint little old fashioned town…[12]

GRYTPYPE: You'll starve.[13]

SEAGOON: … we saw a small green door. [14]

GREENSLADE: We now reveal for the very first time exactly what is going on behind that green door.

BANNISTER: (Singing.) Dum binim bibim, GREEN DOO-OR! Yim bom biddle. Yatta tappa pappum pittoyl di boi. GREEN DOO-OR! Bwak bwak bwak-ark! (&c.)

CRUN: Min – Min! I can't concentrate on the brown leather when you keep singing the green door you know.

BANNISTER: Ah – you gotta get modern Henry.

CRUN: (In a temper) Modern? I am modern Min! I am known as 'Modern Crun'.[15] You think that because I don't sing rhythm-type melodies that I'm a corny. Well – you asked for this! You asked for it! I'm going to sing moderrrrrn!!

BANNISTER: Oh! I'll put my corsets on.

CRUN: (With foot stomping.) One, two, three, four… Mister Whatchacallim whatcha doing tonight – YEAH! Pitta dada doo. I hope you’re in the mood because I'm feelin' alright.[16] Ohhh, go man go... oww. Dimmal nuppa duppa doo. Da da da da da da…

ORCHESTRA: High-hat cymbal snap.

CRUN: There Min. Let that be a lesson to you – you and your Dan Leno school of rhythm![17] Now let us get back to the leather omnibus.

BANNISTER: We never seem to sell any.

CRUN: I know – I can't understand it. You know, we make the finest leather omnibuses in the world.

GRAMS: Penguin sounds.

CRUN: Min, Min – the penguin wants to go out. [18]

BANNISTER: I tell you what Henry, if we want to sell more of these modern leather rhythm omnibuses we should do more modern American advertising-type advertising.

CRUN: We can't get more modern than we are already Min.

BANNISTER: What do you mean Henry?

CRUN: We've got a gas lit poster in the gents wash-up and brush-up in Piccadilly Tube you know.

BANNISTER: I bet that's been marked for life by now.

CRUN: We must keep production rolling Min.


CRUN: Help me lace up this leather engine.

BANNISTER: Mind the piston rods now.

FX: Door opens. Shop-bell rings.

SEAGOON: Good morning.

CRUN & BANNISTER: (Variously) Oooh! Ahhh! What is it?

CRUN: Min! It's a customer direct from the Piccadilly wash and brush up. (Sings) Mister Whatchacallim whatcha doing tonight – YEAH!!!

SEAGOON: So that's what happened to Harry Roy.[19] Now sir, I'm from the police department.

CRUN: (Fibrillations) Ahhhhhhhhiiiiee! Min and I haven't done anything wrong.

SEAGOON: I don't suppose you could at your age. Now – what I've come for is your record of all leather omnibuses sold.

CRUN: Just a minute sir. We shall – let’s have to look in the vital ledger. [20]

FX: Pages being leafed through.

CRUN: Ahh let's see – omnibuses sold. Yes, here's the first one we sold; eighteen seventy-three.

SEAGOON: And the next one?

CRUN: Yes? Oh, we haven't finished it yet.

SEAGOON: Well, who did you sell the first one to?

CRUN: We don't know. You see he punched me up the conk and displaced my spring and leather wig.

SEAGOON: Dear listeners, here was proof. Whoever bought that leather omnibus was the punch up the conker!

BANNISTER: Whoooooooooooooaaaaaa

ORCHESTRA: Police detective link.

NARRATOR: Eight seventy-six, got back to headquarters. Found dinner in oven…

SEAGOON: Two months went by.

NARRATOR: … dinner got cold. Three months went by – there were no more reports of punch-up-the-conking. Work at Scotland Yard went on as normal.

GRAMS: Traction engine – jack hammer pounding – hammering – violin tuning.

SEAGOON: (Calls out) Sergeant Hobbs, turn that radio down will you?

GRAMS: Noise stops.

SEAGOON: Thank you. Now, any news?

HOBBS:[21] Yes sir. I think we can close the Dick Turpin case now. We discovered where he was hiding sir.


HOBBS: Under a gravestone in Highgate Cemetery sir.[22]

SEAGOON: Are you sure it wasn't a disguise?

HOBBS: Oo – I never thought of that sir. I'll send a man round with a police shovel.

FX: Office buzzer.


OFFICER:[23] (Rubbish &c)

SEAGOON: Send him in.

FX: Door opens.

GRYTPYPE: Good morning Inspector. Grytpype Thynne is the name. Permit me to introduce you to the part owner of my suit, Count Jim 'Thighs' Moriarty…

MORIARTY: Owwwwwww.

GRYTPYPE: …Schlapper Royal and noted amateur postman.[24]

MORIARTY: Hoowww do you doooo. Hoowww do you dooooo.

SEAGOON: The voice came from a thin, heavily oiled, Lisle Street Frenchman.[25] His suit was a West End misfit and fitted him perfectly. He occasionally took a sip from the steaming jam tin of porridge.

MORIARTY: (slurps)

GRYTPYPE: Inspector, we seek the long lost heir to the Spon fortune of forty thousand pounds.

SEAGOON: Have you any clue to his identity?

GRYTPYPE: He has a habit of leaping off leather omnibuses and punching people up the conk.

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic link.

SEAGOON: Gad! There's just a chance that this might be the 'up-the-conk-puncher'.

ORCHESTRA: Police detective link.

MORIARTY: (Engine noises) Bbbbbbbbb – beep beep! Owwww owwww – beep beep! Brbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrb – owwwww. Brbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrbrb…

GRYTPYPE: Moriarty?

MORIARTY: Mm? (Applies the brakes) Yuuyuyuyuyuyoo!

GRYTPYPE: Moriarty, how many times have I told you not to drive that leather omnibus round the bedroom in broad daylight. You know these blinds are drawn – they're not real. [26]

MORIARTY: I was only practising my leap and conk punching.

GRYTPYPE: Yes, I quite understand Moriarty. Now, did you put the advert in The Times?

MORIARTY: Yes, here – read it…

GRYTPYPE: Let me see.

MORIARTY: … from left to right, the new style.

GRYTPYPE: Ah. How appropriate – they've put it in the fourth leader. (Reads) “Don't risk being punched up the conk. Wear a Moriarty nose protector. Now available in flesh tint plastic. Send ten shilling postal order for free receipt.” Splendid! Well, according to the nine o'clock news it's getting dark outside.

MORIARTY: Dark? What ideal conditions for night!

GRYTPYPE: Yes! A few more punch up the conk attacks and the orders will start rolling in, Moriarty.


MORIARTY: Right. Tonight we start punch-up-the-conking!

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic link.

SEAGOON: I called an all night meeting, but held it in the day because the light was better.

OMNES: (General rhubarbs, scrampsons and murmurs.)

SEAGOON: Now gentlemen – where’s the head of the river police?

GRAMS: Large splash.

LITTLE JIM: He's fallen in der water.[27]

SEAGOON: Thank you Sir Lawrence.[28] Gentlemen, I'm of the opinion that the heir to the Spon fortune and the punch-up-the-conker are one and the same person.

OFFICER:[29] How can two people be one person Sir?

SEAGOON: It's all done under cover of darkness. Therefore until further notice, all people showing signs of darkness will be searched.

ELLINGTON: (Distant) I object!

SEAGOON: Silence Ellington. Give us the old calypso banana boat song while we slip round the back for the old Marlon Brando there.[30]

GRAMS: Massed boots running off.


RAY ELLINGTON “Banana Boat Song” [31]


ORCHESTRA: Dramatic Police Detective link.

NARRATOR: Midnight, twelve-thirty; entire London police force now wearing Moriarty nose protectors. Inspector Seagoon checked on all police posts for the purl gnurl in the hern furl.

GRAMS: Big Ben striking midnight. Vary the speed.

SEAGOON: (Approaches whistling ‘Maybe it’s Because I’m a Londoner’ over.)

FX: Footsteps approaching.

SEAGOON: Evening, Doxon of Dick Green.[32] Anything to report?

P.C. DOXON:[33] Ahh… ahhh yes. Ahh… ahhh… I was – ahh… ahhhhh...(fades)

FX: Body hitting the ground.

SEAGOON: Good Heavens! He's collapsed in the direction of pavement. Just as I thought – the Constable's nose protector has been severely dented and there's a finger print of a boxing glove on it. Quick – give him some air! Undo the buttons on his boots.

P.C. DOXON: Ahh. I want to be buried in my socks or I…[34]

SEAGOON: Here my poor man, swallow this bottle of smelling salts. Steady now – just sit in the direction of up and tell me what happened.

P.C. DOXON: I felt alright sir until some idiot made me swallow a bottle of smelling salts.

SEAGOON: Quick Sergeant – after him!

SERGEANT:[35] Mydargharroidarlwaa! (Self fade)

FX: Single pair of boots running off into distance.

SEAGOON: Now Bowser,[36] when I arrived here you were lying in the gutter. Why?

P.C. DOXON: I was off duty Sir.

SEAGOON: I trust it's different when you’re on duty?

P.C. DOXON: Oh yes sir. Then I lie on the pavement.

SEAGOON: That's better.

FX: Telephone rings. Receiver picked up.

SEAGOON: Hello? What? Yes!

FX: Received down.

SEAGOON: Bowser – great news! A leather omnibus has been discovered grievously injured. It collided with a lead tricycle on the roof of the Kensington Science Museum.[37]

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic link.

SEAGOON: Gentlemen, the mystery assailant is now immobilised. There's only one place he can get a new leather omnibus.

OFFICER: [38] Where?  

SEAGOON: Men – surround Crun's factory! And wear your nose protectors.

CAST: (Excited muttering.)

ORCHESTRA: Badly played Detective link. End with cymbal snap.

GRAMS: Recording - GREENSLADE: “This is the Light Service of the BBC Home

Programme. Here is the neen o'clock noise. To date, the forty-thousand pounds due to the heir of Spon is still unclaimed. (Fades) The only clue to the missing heir is that he always rides in a leather omnibus....”

BLOODNOK: Oooah!, Oooerrr! Oh, did you hear that Gladys darling?

GLADYS:[39] Yes darling.

BLOODNOK: If I can get a leather omnibus I could pass myself off as the heir of Spon and collect forty-thousand naughty pounds.

GLADYS: Cor blimey!

BLOODNOK: Gladys darling, this is the moment I've been waiting for. All these years I've lived off you – you've lent me money, bought me suits and never asked for a penny back.

GLADYS: Not a penny…

BLOODNOK If I get this forty-thousand pounds, at least I can afford to run away from you.

GRAMS: Penguin sounds.

BLOODNOK: Ellington – let that Penguin out will you!


BLOODNOK: Yes, now lay out your pugree,[40] your dhoti [41] and your loin cloth.

ELLINGTON: Oh good. Am I going out?

BLOODNOK: No – I am. And lay out one boot…


BLOODNOK: I'm going to hop to where the leather omnibus factory lives.

ORCHESTRA: Eccles ‘Hopping’ Concerto in C.

SEAGOON: Meanwhile in a sleeping England - (and let's face it England is asleep), I had surrounded the Crun omnibus factory with two plain clothes detectives, who were secreted in the ground floor attic of a nearby clock repairers.

GRAMS: Various timepieces ticking out of sequence.  Add various different clocks striking – from small Swiss time-pieces, cuckoo clocks, to a couple of large grandfather clocks. Add in a broody chicken, tubular bells, and finish off with a pneumatic car horn.

BLUEBOTTLE: What time is it, Eccles?

ECCLES: Um, just a minute – I got it written down here on a piece of paper. A nice man wrote the time down for me this morning.

BLUEBOTTLE: Oh! Then why do you carry it around with you Eccles?

ECCLES: Well – um, if anybody asks me the time I can show it to them.

BLUEBOTTLE: Wait a minute Eccles my good man…

ECCLES: What is it fellow?

BLUEBOTTLE: It's writted on this bit of paper what is eight o'clock is writted.

ECCLES: I know that my good fellow. That's right – when I asked the fella to write it down it was eight o'clock.

BLUEBOTTLE: Well then supposing when somebody asks you the time it isn't eight o'clock?

ECCLES: Well then I don't show it to them.

BLUEBOTTLE: Ooh. (Thinks) Well, how do you know when it's eight o'clock?

ECCLES: I got it written down on a piece of paper.

BLUEBOTTLE: Oh I wish I could afford a piece of paper with the time writted on. Here Eccles – let me hold that piece of paper to my ear would you… Here – this piece of paper ain't going!

ECCLES: What? I've been sold a forgery!

BLUEBOTTLE: No wonder it stopped at eight o'clock. You should get one of them things my grand-dad’s got. His firm gave it to him when he retired. It's one of them things what it is that wakes you up at eight o'clock, boils the kettule and pours a cuppa tea.

ECCLES: Ohhh – yeah... what's it called…


ECCLES: Ohh. Wait a minute – how does she know when it's eight o'clock?

BLUEBOTTLE: She's got it written down on a piece of paper.[42]

SEAGOON: Alright, a man has just gone into Crun's factory.

BLUEBOTTLE & ECCLES: Oooowwwwahuoooo!

SEAGOON: If he comes out driving a leather omnibus, arrest him.

BLUEBOTTLE: Is this man armed?

SEAGOON: Armed and legged.


GRAMS: Sound of a bus driving in low gear.

SEAGOON: (Whispers) Psst! Here he comes. Quick Eccles, do an imitation of a bus stop.

GRAMS: Sound of a bus pulling up. Brakes squeak etc.

ECCLES: Stop! Stop bus!

BLOODNOK: (Approaching) I'm sorry. This is a private bus.

SEAGOON: Come out with your hands up and your legs down.

BLOODNOK: What? I'm the heir to the Spon fortune.

SEAGOON: That's him! The dreaded punch-up-the-conker is brought to book. Take him men.


ECCLES: Hit hit.

BLUEBOTTLE: Hit hit hit HIT!!! End of hitting.

ORCHESTRA: Tatty chord in C.

BLUEBOTTLE: Thank you.


SEAGOON: Yes folks. Bloodnok is now doing a hundred years imprisonment and lucky he didn't get life.

BLOODNOK: What! I deny it all…

GREENSLADE: And thus another glorious miscarriage of justice was perpetrated.

BLOODNOK: It's a lie I tell you… what!

GREENSLADE: Grytpype and Moriarty, for their nose protectors were each given a knighthood and a spare pair of trousers

MORIARTY: Owww – saved the day.

GREENSLADE: Sic transit gloria, or in English – goodnight!

ORCHESTRA: Closing theme.

GREENSLADE: That was the Goon Show, a BBC recorded program 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. The programme produced by Pat Dixon.




[1] William Topaz McGonagall (1825-1902) was a Scottish poet of such appalling talent that ‘he backed unwittingly into genius.’ Milligan developed a great fondness for his verses, often imitating his weak vocabulary, inappropriate imagery and clumsy rhythms with Goonish verses of his own. Two notable occasions are in “The Hastings Flyer – Robbed!” (15/6th) and “The Tay Bridge Disaster”, (15/9th) which was a subject the actual McGonagall wrote about twice – once when it was built and again when it fell down. Following the death of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, McGonagall – a resident of Dundee, walked to Balmoral through a violent thunderstorm, (a distance of 60 miles), to ask the Queen for the post of Poet Laureate. He was refused and died penniless in Edinburgh.


[2] Milligan in Spriggs’ voice.


[3] Cockney rhyming slang. ‘Piano’ is pronounced ‘piana’ in London, and it rhymes with ‘joanna’ – shortened to ‘jo.’


[4] This ‘walloping’ of Willium was a characteristic of the early series. One of the few instances we have left is from ‘The Missing Ten Downing Street (3/Vin) which was originally a 4th series show.


[5] Here Milligan says faintly “On his legs!” I am not sure whether Spike finishes his line for him or just interjected. The lurgi and the nadgers were two of many fake diseases Milligan wrote about. The list of disease shows are – ‘Lurgi Strikes Britain,’ (7/5th), ‘Scradje,’ (26/6th) ‘Spon,’ (1/8th) ‘The Spon Plague,’ (23/8th) and ‘The £50 Cure.’ (17/9th)


[6] Sellers. (This is a take off of Sgt. Joe Friday from the long running radio and TV series ‘Dragnet’.)


[7] ‘Fabian of the Yard’ was possibly the first police drama made for British TV, based on the memoirs of real life Scotland Yard detective Inspector Robert Fabian. It had aired on BBC from 1954-1955. This and the following eighteen lines were cut from the transcription service version.


[8] Laura’ the theme from the 1945 film, was one of Milligan’s favourite melodies. He christened his eldest daughter in memory of it.


[9] Two things stood out about Geldray (1916-2004); his extraordinary jazz playing and his nose, which was often the butt of Spike’s jokes.


[10] By Swift & James 1929. A classic early jazz standard sung by Sinatra, Fitzgerald and Sammy Davis Jr. &c.


[11] Milligan burps audibly off mic. Secombe corpses and says “We should have had them afters.”


[12] I am not sure, but Secombe could be singing a line from “An Old Fashioned Town.” Written by Squire & Harris and published in 1914, it was the sort of music his mother would have sung in Indian concert parties.

                              I love ev’ry mouse in that old-fashioned house,

                              In the street that runs up hill and down;

                              Each stone and each stick, ev’ry cobble and brick

                              In that quaint little old-fashioned town.


[13] …which of course is a reference to ‘The Moon Show’ – the previous episode in which Seagoon also tries to wax lyrical.


[14] This was a recent hit by Davie & Moore, and sung by Jim Lowe. It reached No #1 on the Billboard in 1956. There was much speculation as to the meaning of the song.

[15] Milligan (as Minnie) interjects, “Lawks a mercy, he’s losing his reason!”


[16] In the Mood’ – Razaf & Garland (1941.) The text Crun uses is from the original ‘Andrews Sisters’ version.


[17] Dan Leno – (George Galvin, 1860-1904) was a Victorian music hall comedian and dancer. He was a brilliant clog dancer, but moved on later in his career to doing comic characters including pantomime dames. He was considered the greatest music hall artist of his era, and the precursor of Charlie Chaplain, Buster Keaton and Laurel and Hardy.


[18] Milligan’s bout of Sphenisciformology lasts for the remainder of the 7th series, and sees him write scenes for a company of military penguins (‘Round the World in Eighty Days,’) and singing penguins (‘Insurance, the White Man’s Burden.’) The Monty Python team also suffered from the same ‘ology’ in their 3rd series.


[19] Harry Roy (1900-1971) was a British dance band leader and clarinettist. His was the most popular band in London during the 20’s – 30’s, playing dixieland jazz at venues like The Alhambra, the Coliseum and the Café Anglais. He was known as the ‘King of Hotcha’ and recorded a smash hit entitled ‘My Girl’s Pussy’ in 1931. He went out of favour at the beginning of the 50’s when the big band era died out.


[20] This is how Sellers reads the line. He was probably mistaken.

[21] Sellers.


[22] Dick Turpin (1705-1739) – highwayman, cut throat, rogue and murderer was eventually hanged and buried in York. Highgate Cemetery (in London) has a better class of criminal, including Adam Worth, the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes’ nemesis Moriarty.


[23] Milligan. The voice is his usual imitation of a slightly breathless upper-class twit.


[24] One of the inner joys of the Goon Shows is Moriarty’s nickname, which fluctuates from show to show and series to series. So far this series he has been nicknamed ‘reeking,’ ‘legs,’ ‘knees’ and on five occasions ‘thighs’.


[25] Lisle Street in Soho had been a relatively prosperous district of Huguenot immigrants during the 17th – 18th centuries.  By Milligan’s day it was a Bohemian rat’s nest of brothels, drinking establishments and a refuge for the many new immigrants arriving from Great Britain’s fast disintegrating colonies. Its French days were well and truly over.


[26] Milligan waits for the audience to get the joke and comments (slightly off mic) “Give them time… Thank you. Thank you. Here they come one by one.”

[27] This time – (the third show in which it is used,) the line gets applause.


[28] He refers most probably to Sir Lawrence Olivier, English actor and director, (1907-1989) known for his beautifully phrased delivery and impeccable timing.


[29] Milligan, in the usual upper-class twit voice he reserved for petty minded bureaucrats.


[30] The name of the Hollywood heart-throb was becoming London slang for a glass of brandy – a liquid that was strictly forbidden on BBC premises.


[31] This ‘The Banana Boat Song’ is not the one generally known by this title nowadays. This version is now known as ‘Hill and Gully Rider.’ Both songs come from the same Trinidadian folk song tradition, and both hit the billboard charts at the end of 1956 – this version performed by ‘The Tarriers’ while the other (and more enduring version) sung by Harry Belafonte.


[32] Milligan is playing on the title of the successful BBC television series ‘Dixon of Dock Green’ which had premiered in 1955. Staring Jack Warner, it emphasised the ordinary, everyday nature of a suburban police beat. The series would continue until 1976.


[33] Milligan. This is precisely the same voice he uses for the Officer in ‘The Great Bank Robbery’ who, under the influence of Benzedrine, performs a startling act of vocal-velocity.


[34] Milligan doesn’t finish the line.


[35] Sellers


[36] I am not certain, but there is a possibility that Milligan was referring to ‘Bowser the Hound,’ a 1920’s children’s book by Thornton Burgess (1874-1965.) Bowser loved to track someone who would lead him on a long, merry chase. Burgess created ‘Peter Rabbit’ among many, many other delightful children’s characters.


[37] Founded in 1857, it was originally part of the South Kensington Museum, but after considerable re-organisation the present museum opened to the public in 1919-1928. Stephenson’s Rocket resides there, with Puffing Billy, the first jet engine and the first typewriter. Milligan’s strange excursions into petrology, sphenisciformology and his various other forms of object obsession seem right at home in these surroundings.


[38] Milligan.

[39] Milligan. This is the feminine version of ‘Throat.’


[40] An Indian headdress. In Hindi it is spelt ‘pagri’.


[41] An Indian sarong.

[42] One of the great comedy scenes of the twentieth century. It ranks with the Marx Brother’s ‘Tutsi Fruitsy Ice Cream’ scene from ‘A Day at the Races,’ Abbot & Costello’s “Who’s on First?’ from ‘The Naughty Nineties,’ and the Python’s ‘Dead Parrot Sketch’ as being one of the extraordinary pieces of comedy creation ever written. It comes from a tradition in which comedians used nothing onstage but words – a tradition which modern cartooning has obliterated. It is totally self contained, brilliantly thought out, thoroughly well characterised, and is the sort of scene which makes you recognise the possibilities of comedy as an art form.