RECORDED: 7 Mar 1957 [1]


Script by Spike Milligan and Larry Stephens


GREENSLADE: This is the BBC. We commence with a flourishing chorus of 'The Gallant Hussar' by Fotheringay's Singing Midgets.

GRAMS: Speeded up recording of “Take Her to Jamaica”.[2] Massive explosion. Falling masonry, bricks and rubble.

GREENSLADE: And here is the midget composer, Harry 'Nuts' Secombe.

SECOMBE: Hallo folks! Ha-allo folks! Now let me inform you Wallace that no midget composer am I. Ha-allo folks! My vocation is engineering – I graduated in tunnel building.

GREENSLADE: How terribly, terribly.

SECOMBE: Yes yus yes yous yes yahs. My first big tunnel I built in nineteen thirty-one.

GREENSLADE: Oh yes, I remember now – six other convicts escaped with you.

SECOMBE: What what what what what what what! All lies I tell you. We were just dressed as convicts – it was carnival night. That's how we slipped away unnoticed. All lies I tell you! All lies! (Goes off raving.) I wasn’t there at the time because… &c

NARRATOR:[3] Yes, this is a story of how an escaped convict became a great engineer and vice-a-versa.

SECOMBE: What? It's true!

NARRATOR: I will. If you’ll just stand naked upon the piano with your back to the audience you will hear the story of “The Great Trans-Africa Canal.”

ORCHESTRA: Epic introduction.

GREENSLADE: Scene one – that well known variety theatre, the House of Commons.

GRAMS: (Lots of reverb as if inside large empty chamber) Applause.

RECORDING – ELDER STATESMAN: [4] (Unintelligible speech.)

(Occasional coughing from opposition benches. Continue under.)

SEAGOON: (Over) Hallo folks! On that fateful day in Parliament two sinister figures were present.

GRYTPYPE: Hello folks – it was us. We were camping in the lobby; an al fresco mode forced on us by the dreaded Rent Act. I refer of course to the Rent Act of eighteen thirty-one which introduced rent.[5]

MORIARTY: Hallo folks!

GRYTPYPE: (Violently) Shut up you la-grippe ridden steaming French-nit!

MORIARTY: I only wanted to go owww.

GRYTPYPE: You fool! Anyone found going oww in the lobby can be charged with ‘felo de se.' [6]

GRAMS: Barking sounds of performing seal. Continue under.[7]

GRYTPYPE: Don't forget, when the Honourable Minister's finished this speech we put forward our plan.

MORIARTY: The plan! Ah, what a plan that will be I tell you.

CRUN: (with echo) Yes Mister Minister…

BANNISTER: (with echo) Speak up.

CRUN: What, what?

BANNISTER: Speak up! Speak up!...  What about the suffragettes?

CRUN: [8] With the closing of the canal our ships have been forced to travel around the Cape.

M.P. SPRIGGS: Oh! Just a minute – couldn't they travel overland?

CRUN: Yes, well we’ve tried that but it ruins the bottoms of the ships. Has the Hon. Min. any suggestions?

PRIME MINISTER ECCLES: Me? No, no – you just carry on. You just forget I'm here. I've got other things... (Raves)

CONSTABLE: Excuse me Mister Minister.


CONSTABLE: There's a blonde suffragette chained to the railings outside number ten sir.[9]

PRIME MINISTER ECCLES: I know – I chained her there! Ha ha ha ha! Oh dear, I'm no fool.

SEAGOON: Hallo folks. Ha-allo folks! (Extended)

GRYTPYPE: The voice came from a man in the distinguished visitors gallery, who lowered himself into the chamber on a rope attached to a distinguished visitor.

SEAGOON: Ha-aaallo folks. I've just come from France.

CHURCHILL: Down a rope?

SEAGOON: I always travel by rope – it's cheaper! Ha-aallo folks.

M.P. SPRIGGS: Wait a minute. Will the 'Ha-allo Folks' intruder kindly explain why he's disguised as Ferdinand de Lesseps? [10] Ferdinand de Les-seeeeeeps! [11]

SEAGOON: Yeeeees! My other suit's at the cleaners. (Ha-allo folks!) Gentlemen, you realise of course... (assumes Parliamentary voice) that due to the canal closing British aeroplanes are forced to fly around the Cape.  It is my intention to cut a canal across Africa so that they can fly over that.

CRUN: Fly over a canal? What if they crash? They'll all drown!

SEAGOON: Don't worry folks! (Hallo folks!) All aeroplanes will be fitted with the new wooden lifeboats.

OPPOSITION LEADER:[12] Yes, but even lifeboats can sink!

SEAGOON: They can't in this canal – there's not going to be any water in it.

OPPOSITION LEADER: Ooohhooohh, you're cleverer than I am you know. Come to think of it anybody's cleverer than I am.

SEAGOON: Thank you. Hon. Membs, you will have guessed of course from my ragged clothes that this canal is going to cost you a lot of money.

CHANCELLOR OF EXCHEQUER: (Welsh) [13] Ooo! Ooooa! But you'll have to see the Chancellor of the Exchequer about that, won't you?

SEAGOON: But you're the Chancellor of the Exchequer!

CHANCELLOR OF EXCHEQUER: Oooh, am I? Lend us a couple of quid will you boy?

M.P. SPRIGGS: Gentlemen! Gentleme-eeen! Quiet please, gentlemen. This idea of a dry canal for aeroplanes is brilliant. Brilliant I saaaaaaaay! I think Mister Seagoon-Ferdinand-de-Lesseps mark two, should receive some kind of support, and wear it at all times.

SEAGOON: Whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat! (Chicken impression)

CHURCHILL: Well look here, what would be the cost of this scrinston scrattons?

SEAGOON: I … would like to say.

GRYTPYPE: Gentlemen – why spend all this money, when for fourteen shillings the Moriarty horse drawn zeppelin service will fly you round the Cape in eighty days, thereby avoiding the traffic at Oxford Circus. And anyway, this idiot knows nothing about canals.

M.P. SPRIGGS: Honourable members, I move that... I mooooooovvvvve – I move that as it is customary in our beloved country England, a man so totally unsuitable for the job should be given the contract.

SEAGOON: Thank you folks! Thank you – I'll start work right away. Hold my coat.

GRAMS: Pneumatic drill.

MORIARTY: Curse, Grytpype – he's got the contract!

GRYTPYPE: But not for long. Get my lawyer Max Geldray on the blower.


ORCHESTRA: Geldray’s introduction.

GRYTPYPE: (Over) Shall we dance Moriarty?

MORIARTY: Ahh, the leaping divine of a modern melody...


MAX GELDRAYOnce in Love with Amy. [14]


GREENSLADE: The well known Trans Africa Aeroplane Canal – part derx.

BLOODNOK: We move now to Congo jungle and district Commissioner.

ORCHESTRA: Jungle drums.

BLOODNOK: (Sings theme over.) La da-da dum diddle de-dum da dah de doh-oh, ah  diddle-iddle-iddle dum diddle dum! Oooh! Well, that saved paying for an orchestration anyway. Oh I've had a hard day – I thought she'd never go. Ellington, take my boots off will you – AND DON’T YOU LET ME CATCH YOU WEARING THEM AGAIN! Oohh, gooo ging gong gueeeh!

FX: Rapid knocking on door.

BLOODNOK: Abdul, bring that door in here for me to open will you?

FX: Door opens.

SEAGOON: Oh thank you. Hallo folks. Ha-allo folks! I'm Neddie Seagoon. You've heard of me – Neddie Seagoon?

(Sings) “Be my love…”

“Falling in love with Jim is falling for Arnold Cringe…”

“When you come home again to Wales!” [15]

BLOODNOK: You'll get a punch up the duster you will.

SEAGOON: Major, I've come to inform you that we’re building a canal and I'm afraid it's going to cut right through your house.

BLOODNOK: What! Well if you think I'm going to run downstairs and open the door every time a ship wants to come through, you're barmy.

SEAGOON: You don't have to open the door – you can leave the key under the mat.

BLOODNOK: Over my dead body!

SEAGOON: No – under the mat. (Laughs) Ha ha ha ha ha! Under the mat... Ha ha ha ha ha! A-hem...

BLOODNOK: Are you sure it was a prison you escaped from?

SEAGOON: Lies, lies, all lies – I'm perfectly sane I tell you! It's a lie. Never! All lies, lies, I tell you! Nyuienyuienyuienyu!

BLOODNOK: Look here – I tell you, I won't have aeroplanes flying through my house. Now get out!

FX: Door slams.

SEAGOON: Very well. If that's the way you feel about it, goodbye.

FX: Door slams.

BLOODNOK: Never darken my door again.

FX: Door slams.

SEAGOON: Since you insult me, I shall leave. Goodbye.

FX: Door slams.

GREENSLADE: Listeners with a degree in higher mathematics will have counted four doors slamming. This was in fact an aural illusion.[16] What you did hear was not four doors being slammed, but one door being slammed four times. Or – in your parlance, one to the power of four. You see it is these little snippets of information that makes me feel that my job is worthwhile. Thank you.

SEAGOON: (Brummie) 'Ave you done?


SEAGOON: Thank you.

GRAMS: (Under dialogue) Earth moving equipment.

SEAGOON: So work began on the Great Trans-Africa aeroplane canal folks. But meanwhile, on the top of a number eleven-A tree, two sinister figures sit steaming in a brown airing cupboard.

MORIARTY: Ahhh, I tell you Grytpype, we've got to sabotage the canal with sabotage type sabotage.

GRYTPYPE: Don't worry Count Jim – “The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley.”

MORIARTY: Aye mon, aye! Ah – “Wee cowering, timorous beastie, oft gang agley”.[17]

GRYTPYPE: Do you like Burns?


GRYTPYPE: Well hold this white hot poker.

MORIARTY: (Screaming) Awwwwwwwww! Awwww! Oooh – you fool.

GRYTPYPE: This is no time for beauty, mark ye. Hold this leather piano in the key of C.

MORIARTY: What's the plan?

GRYTPYPE: We are going to steal the Trans Africa Aeroplane Canal.

MORIARTY: Where are we going to hide it?

GRYTPYPE: We are going to bury it.

MORIARTY: It's dead?

GRYTPYPE: As good as, Moriarty!

GRYTPYPE & MORIARTY: Becauuuuussseee –

GRAMS: RECORDING - GRYTPYPE & MORIARTY: (singing in unison – gradually speed it right up.)

'We're riding along on the crest of a wave

and the sun is in the sky,

all our eyes…' (Speed up to infinity.) [18]

NARRATOR: And so they headed for Seagoon, who was watching the canal being dug by forty thousand British labourers.

FX: Feeble hammer blow on chisel.

WILLIUM: (Whistling)

SEAGOON: I say there – foreman!

FX: Footsteps.

WILLIUM: 'Allo Mate.

SEAGOON: Why are you the only one working?

WILLIUM: Well, all the men are on strike mate![19]

SEAGOON: What for?

WILLIUM: We can't think of anything yet... but er, we will – we'll think of somethink.

SEAGOON: What are they doing here this morning?

WILLIUM: Er, they come along for the tea-break.

SHOP STEWARD: (Unctuous) Yes, they’re out. We want our old tea break there. All the lads have             there. What all the lads down there want is fifteen pound a week there. Fifteen pound a week.[20]

WILLIUM: That was the head striker, that was. He says what they stricked for is fifteen pound a week.

SEAGOON: Alright – I'll pay them fifteen pound a week.

GRAMS: RECORDING - OMNES: Hooray! (Singing) 'Land of Hope and Glory'. Suddenly stops.

SEAGOON: What's up?

WILLIUM: They've gone on strike again.


WILLIUM: They want more money, mate. And here's their spokesman Rage Nellontoungs to give the message on the old bonjoes. Now let's get rap back round the old brandy there.

SEAGOON: Alright...

GRAMS: Boots running away.


RAY ELLINGTON QUARTETRap Your Troubles in Drums [21]


GREENSLADE: Now the Trans Africa Aeroplane Canal, part the derx.[22]

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic modern aeroplane link.

SEAGOON: To break the strike, I had sent for two professional strike breakers who even now were on their way from England by electric rowing boat.

GRAMS: Ocean waves and seagulls. (Continue under.)

BLUEBOTTLE: Eccles, why did they throw you out of being Prime Minister?[23]

ECCLES: Well, er… um, anybody listening?


ECCLES: Well then Bottle, you remember that blonde suffragette chained to the railings outside number ten?

BLUEBOTTLE: (Dirty minded) Yes, yes…

ECCLES: Well… well I chained myself to her. (Laughs) Ha ha ha ha ho ho ho!

BLUEBOTTLE: Oh, that was naughty that was Eccles.

ECCLES: Oh yeah – was that naughty?

BLUEBOTTLE: Yes it was.

ECCLES: Owwowwwoowww.

BLUEBOTTLE: I never did that when I was Prime Minister you know. Did you know what I did my good man?

ECCLES: What did you do my fellow?

BLUEBOTTLE: Well den, when I found the lady what was chained to the railings, in a flash I whipped out my boy scout knife and in a flash I removed a stone from her hoof.

ORCHESTRA: Corny chord in C.

SEAGOON: Alright you two. That's your bit done; that's over now. Now – welcome to Africa!

BLUEBOTTLE: Hello Captain. We have broughtèd from England this Budden-Kelsop super canal digging machine. [24]

ECCLES: Machine?

BLUEBOTTLE: Yes. It's inside this parcel.

SEAGOON: Inside the parcel? What a neat idea.

BLUEBOTTLE: Yes it is a neat idea! Yes.

FX: Rustling paper

BLUEBOTTLE: Save the brown paper Eccles – I need a new suit.


BLUEBOTTLE: Now Captain, let us demonstrate this machine. Do you know that that it can pick up four tons of earth in three seconds?

SEAGOON: Hallo folks.

BLUEBOTTLE: I will time it with my watch.

GRAMS: Extraordinary machine in operation. Gears grinding, conveyor belts rotating, cogs rattling. Punctuating everything a cuckoo clock and a duck whistle. Increase the speed gradually then suddenly wind down everything at the end. End with a couple of ‘pops’,  a ‘bang’ and a penny falling onto a hard surface.

SEAGOON: That was a noisy machine.

BLUEBOTTLE: Machine? That was my watch! Captain, this machine can do the work of two men.

SEAGOON: Well let's see it.

BLUEBOTTLE: Alright, but you'll have to help us, ‘cause it takes three men to work it.

SEAGOON: Right! Eccles and Bluebottle, you three get it going.

BLUEBOTTLE: 'Ere – wait a minute Captain. Eccles and me only make two.

SEAGOON: Nonsense. (Parade ground voice.) Fall in! From the left… number!



SEAGOON: Two and One equals...?

ECCLES: Three.

SEAGOON: Right – off you go, and get cracking! Now, the next problem is this fellow Bloodnok.

GRAMS: Whoosh.


SEAGOON: Grytpype – you!

GRAMS: Running footsteps extremely fast. Crescendo – stop suddenly.

SEAGOON: What's this?

GRYTPYPE: My legs – I thought they'd never get here.

MORIARTY: I'm sorry Grytpype. It was my fault – I let them out for a run in the park.

GRYTPYPE: You sentimental steaming Latin you. Never let my legs out un-chaperoned again, d’you hear? The world must never know those thin measurements.

SEAGOON: Gentlemen, I see from the next line that you can help me with this Bloodnok problem.

GRYTPYPE: Neddie, you see this piece of knotted string leading from Moriarty's wrist up into that cloud?

SEAGOON: You mean... you mean there's... there's something on the other end of it?

GRYTPYPE: Yes Neddie, it's the perfect device for removing Bloodnok's house. Id est [25]  – Count Moriarty's hand-sewn blue-serge Zeppelin.[26]

MORIARTY: Yes Neddie, we can lower our sky hooks and lift Bloodnok's house out of the way in a second.[27]

GRYTPYPE: Now Neddie, go in and tell Bloodnok that in fifteen minutes his house becomes sky borne.


FX: Door opens and closes.

GRYTPYPE: (Calling) Right up there?… Easy! Attach skyhooks and haul away.

GRAMS: Powerful crane cranking up a heavy object.

MORIARTY: Up he goes! We’ve got him…

BLOODNOK: Ooooaarggghhh! Call a doctor!

MORIARTY: Major Bloodnok! Qui-es-quer-ce-ces-say-sain, c’est in French.

BLOODNOK: I stepped out of the back of my house, walked down to the bottom of the garden – pleasure bent. Finally I turned around and to my building society's horror my house had vanished.[28] There was nothing there!

MORIARTY: Nothing there? You must have been seeing things.

GRYTPYPE: Moriarty – never mind that man of no fixed abode. I've got great news! I've bribed the workmen to fill in the canal.

FX: Telephone rings. Receiver picked up.

MORIARTY: Splendid. Answer that door.

GRYTPYPE: (On telephone) Hello? Yes?

SEAGOON: (On other end of phone) Hello Grytpype? I'm speaking from Bloodnok's house, and he's not here.

GRYTPYPE: Neddie, don't wait any longer – you come out lad.


FX: Telephone into cradle.

GRYTPYPE: Moriarty, quick! Put that fire bucket over there…

MORIARTY: (Off mic) Right! How's that?

GRYTPYPE: … a little bit more to the right. That's it.



GRAMS: Water splash.

LITTLE JIM: He's fallen in the water.

GRYTPYPE: Thank you Little Jim for telling us where he is.

SEAGOON: Thank heaven for that water - it broke my fall and my neck. But wait – the canal, where is it?

GRYTPYPE: It's gone Neddie, and the Moriarty Zeppelin Service is back in operation.

SEAGOON: You devils of green!

GRYTPYPE: Now Neddie – we're still good friends aren't we?


GRYTPYPE & MORIARTY: Because... (cheesy saxophone intro.)

CAST: (Singing)      “We're arm in arm together just like we used to be,

arm in arm together in perfect harmony….”

GREENSLADE: The cast, with no strong finish to the show, now go into a cowardly song and dance routine.

HERN: And so as the Goon Show sinks slowly in the popularity polls, and the audience move menacingly towards the stage, we say goodnight from happy...

GRAMS: Jelly splosh.  

ORCHESTRA: End 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, the programme produced by Pat Dixon.[29]




[1] This script is Milligan’s response to the Suez Crisis – (July to November 1956). This complex event had its roots in Britain’s colonial history, and was brought to a head by the nationalisation of the Suez Canal by the Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser. The Prime Minister, Anthony Eden, (here played by Eccles) responded by signing a pact with Israel and France – the Protocol of Sèvres, engineering an attack on the Egyptian forces in Sinai by Israel, with a follow-up intervention by France and Great Britain obstensively to broker a peace, but in reality to take back the Suez and place it under their joint control. All three signatories lied about the deal to the USA and the UN, and in the mêlée that followed were forced into a cease-fire by Eisenhower who threatened to sell the USA’s currency reserves of British pounds and Sterling bonds thereby causing the British currency exchange rate to collapse. On the 6th of November 1956, faced with an oil embargo, the imminent collapse of the pound and  the condemnation of both France and Britain by the member states of NATO, Eden resigned.

The Goon Show scheduled for broadcast two days after Eden’s crucial resignation was ‘The Sleeping Prince’ (6/7th) which involved a revolution in the nation of Yukka-Bukk-koo and the attempted assassination of its leader Mr Tom-Dick-or-Harry Seagoon. Considering the International situation at the time and the national sentiment, the BBC wisely delayed the broadcast until February 1957, after all troops had been withdrawn from the Sinai area.  A United Nations Peace keeping force – the first ever deployed, was sent to the canal to restore order, and ultimately to hand the canal over peaceably to the Arab Republic of Egypt.


[2] “Take Her to Jamaica” (Fields/Edwards) performed by Lord Messam and his Calypsonians.

[3] Sellers, in an heroic voice.


[4] Milligan. Spike could fake ‘unintelligible’ better than anyone.


[5] I can find no mention of this law in the Common’s listings. There was a Landlord and Tenant Act passed in 1851, but it is more likely Milligan was just being immaginative. Rent was a common practice from Saxon times and the various Acts of Parliament which later dealt with the subject were usually in the interests of legal maintenance and social appropriateness.  1831 was however a tumultuous time – the first reform bill was introduced to Parliament and for a time it seemed that many counties of Great Britain would rise up in common rebellion against the Government. There was even talk of a republic.

[6] An archaic English legal term meaning ‘to make an end of himself’, ie: suicide.


[7] It is interesting to speculate whether this was a dig at R. A. Butler (Rab), the Lord Privy Seal of the time, who chaired the cabinet during Eden’s absences in the Suez Crisis and was widely considered weak and ineffectual. He was very clever in conversation, once calling Sir Anthony  “half mad Baronet, half beautiful woman” and remarking to guests in an after dinner speech that “ after dinner speeches should be like a lady’s dress – long enough to cover everything and short enough to be interesting.”


[8] Henry Crun seems to be doing an impersonation of Selwyn Lloyd, the foreign Secretary at the time.


[9] The Suffragette movement was the 19th century movement which agitated for women’s suffrage. Suffragettes resorted to direct acts of extreme personal danger to make their ideas heard, including hunger strikes, rioting, chaining themselves to railings, arson and in the most extreme case of self immolation under the hooves of the Kings horse at the Epsom Derby. Full suffrage was granted to British women in 1928.

[10] Ferdinand de Lesseps, (1805-1894) French Diplomat and entrepreneur. He led the drive to build the Suez canal from 1854, arranging a consortium of International backers, public subscriptions and the financial involvement of the Khedive of Egypt and the British – (though only after stubborn opposition.) It was this history of French and English involvement that lay behind the Suez crisis of 1956.


[11] Milligan as Spriggs says quickly, “I thought I’d get that in.”


[12] It seems this may have been an imitation of Atlee. The leader of the opposition at the time however was Hugh Gaitskell who had replaced Atlee in December 1955.


[13] This was probably a dig at Peter Thorneycroft, the current  Chancellor of the Exchequer who was MP for Monmouth in Wales. He lasted a year in the portfolio, resigning in protest at increased government expenditure under MacMillan. Sir Harold called his resignation “a little local difficulty.”

[14] Written by Frank Loesser, from the 1948 show ‘Where’s Charlie?”

[15] An assortment of Secombe’s greatest hits; ‘Be My Love’ (from The Toast of New Orleans - Cahn/Brodsky, 1950), ‘Falling in Love with Love’ (from The Boys from Syracuse – Rodgers/Hart, 1938) and ‘We’ll Keep a Welcome in the Hillside,’ (Traditional.)

[16] This seems to be the closest Milligan ever got to explaining his bizarre ability to turn technology into comedy. In his writing for both radio and TV, Milligan seems to have instinctively comprehended the illusion inherent in broadcasting and worked hard to invent comic ways in which to subvert it. Breaking the ‘fourth wall’ is a theatrical technique known about as far back as Shakespeare’s times, and involves breaking the ‘observation gap’ between audience and players, something which is hard to do in broadcasting. What Milligan did therefore was to play with the psychology and methodology of broadcasting – a door slams, someone is thought to have left the room. Then he breaks the perceived mental image by challenging the listeners aural assumption. This aural deception is at the heart of Milligan’s comic creativity from now on in the Goon Shows.


[17] A quote from the poem ‘To a Mouse; On Turning up her Nest with the Plough’ (1785) by Robert Burns – (1759 – 1796). Grytpype quotes from the seventh stanza, while Moriarty replies by quoting part of the poem’s first line.

[18] The words of this old song are by Ralph Reader and were written for the 1934 ‘Gang Show’ – the variety show performed by junior members of the Scouting movement. It is traditionally performed nowadays at the end of the performance as a positive and merry finale.


[19] In terms of days lost to strikes, Britain’s record was not bad for the fifties. However Rab Butler in the treasury, confessed he had no wages policy, only “Walter (Minister for Labour) Monckton’s friendship with trade union leaders.” At that time a large number of industrial workers were employed by the State – some 1.7 million in transport, mines and the power industry alone. One joke at the time said there were more shop stewards in Britain than soldiers. 


[20] Partly incomprehensible. In 1959 Sellers went on the make the film “I’m All Right Jack” (Boulting Brothers) and it seems to me that this characterisation by Milligan could have inspired the peculiar mannerisms of Sellers’ award winning character ‘Fred Kite.’

‘Kite’s voice is low and clipped – formed by a lifetime of whispering secrets and strategies to a huddle of like-minded factory foremen. He is so enraged by the exploiters with carnations in their buttonholes, who own the workshops and foundries, his speech is strangulated; he is pop-eyed with indignation.’

Elsewhere in the same film, John Le Mesurier’s time-and-motion-study inspector muses, ‘The natural rhythm of the British worker is neither natural, rhythmic or much to do with work.’


[21] A George Shearing composition released in 1955. Ellington does not sing but plays the bongo drums in this number.


[22] Greenslade is miscounting (in badly pronounced French.) The last part was also numbered derx.


[23] This was an controversial thing to ask. Anthony Eden had stepped down as Prime Minister only recently over his handling of the Suez Crisis.


[24] I am taking a risk with this transcription. At first I was convinced that Sellers said ‘Bardon’ or ‘Barden’ but despite my best efforts I cannot find a meaning or background for the word. However ‘Budden’ which is close to Bluebottle’s pronunciation, was the name of one of Milligan’s mates from the 56th Heavy Regiment in World War II, so all I can suppose is that Spike used his name gratuitously.

[25] Id est is the full Latin form of ‘ie’ -meaning "That is (to say)", "in other words", or sometimes "in this case", depending on the context.


[26] This is the fourth  time this series that Spike resorted to his Zeppelin idea. They appear in numbers #7, #15 and #20.


[27] The concept of ‘skyhooks’ here is very revealing. Had Spike seen a recent 1956 film entitled ‘Earth vs. the Flying Saucers’ directed by Fred Sears which involves a US satellite programme called ‘Project Skyhook?’


[28] Milligan makes a joke about building societies twice. Once here, the other in ‘The Last Goon Show of All’ when Moriarty reveals a certain curse upon his family.

[29] Some references in this episode are taken from “A History of Modern Britain”, Marr. A, MacMillan – London. 2007 and from “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers,” Lewis. R, Century – London. 1994