7th SERIES No 23

BROADCAST: 14 Mar 1957 [1]


Script by Spike Milligan


GREENSLADE: This is the BBC Home Service.
SEAGOON: Joke number one: What did the elder statesman say when he read the Sunday Times?
CHURCHILL:  I'll kill that fellow Alan Brooke one of these days...
ORCHESTRA: Tatty chord in C.
GREENSLADE: Good heavens! That sounds like the Goon Show chord in C.
SEAGOON: It is Mister Greenslade, with the whole might of the BBC poised behind it.
GREENSLADE: Gad, it all sounds so romantic.
SEAGOON: Romantic's the word. You should see Broadcasting House at dawn, and see those bright-eyed typists rolling in at the crack of half past ten.
GREENSLADE: A little late isn't it?
SEAGOON: Perhaps. But once they're in those girls don't waste a moment –  it's coats off, sleeves up and straight down to the canteen!
GREENSLADE: Oh, per ardua.
SEAGOON: So you've got a touch of the old ardua's eh? (Laughs) Ha ha ha! Oh, it's March. Well as I was saying, by eleven-thirty the BBC is a hive of inactivity.
GREENSLADE: What a life that must be. Do you think I could become a typist?
SEAGOON: Only if you change your shape. Now then Wal, the old posh announcement… the old posh radio chat then. Come on Wal. He's a lovely talker. (Extended)
GREENSLADE: Ladies and gentlemong, tonight with the aid of the new steam leather microphone, we tell of yet another of those remarkable war stories: "Ill met by Goonlight".
ORCHESTRA: Dramatic Wehrmacht introduction.
FX: Typewriters. Continue under.
[5] The War Office, nineteen forty-two – or if you were in the Navy, the Admiralty in nineteen forty-four.
SEAGOON: (Approaching) Ah, good morning Major Spran.
MAJOR SPRAN: Good morning Lieutenant Seagoon sir.
SEAGOON: Now then...
[6] Sir, the American Sixth Fleet is ready sir.
SEAGOON: Right, put it on the mantelpiece. I'll smoke it later.
FX: Telephone rings.
SEAGOON: Six bells!. Must be the phone.
FX: Telephone being picked up.
SEAGOON: Hello folks!
[7] Hello Seagoon. Helllo Seagooooon. General Montgoonery here. I want you to come over to Combined Ops at once – at onceeee! I'll have a crane pick you up.
FX: Telephone down.
SEAGOON: Spran, keep my pyjamas in the oven and my wife in the fridge. I might be late.
THROAT: Right mate.
ORCHESTRA: Hurried link.
GRAMS: Elevator approaching. Grill door opening.
FLOWERDEW: Admiralty, first floor – battleships, submarines, Combined Ops and a rotten beast of a Wren called Freida Brottle.
FX: Door opens and closes.
SEAGOON: Seagoon RN, reporting sir.
[9] Seagoon, something big has just come up.
SEAGOON: What! What what what what what what? It's a lie I tell you! I've lost a stone. I took my boot off.
[10] Lieutenant Seagoon… Do sit down will you?
FX: Chair collapses.
MAJOR SPRAN: Curse, dry rot! I didn't know you had it. Now then, tell me  – this is General Platt…
[11] How d’you do.
MAJOR SPRAN: …Brigadier Qworres Spon…
BRIGADIER & SEAGOON: How d’you do.
MAJOR SPRAN: …Admiral Plin-Thirdsby...
ADMIRAL & SEAGOON: How d’you do.
MAJOR SPRAN: …and Wollington Ploot Scrampson…
GREENSLADE: How do you do.

MAJOR SPRAN: (Raving) …and that’s Scrompton Scri Scroy…

MAJOR SPRAN: …and Scrikkakaby…


MAJOR SPRAN: …and Scrittatabehiehoehynhieho…(Raves)

SEAGOON: Hallo folks! Ha-allo folks!
GENERAL BROOKE: Seagoon, we’ve sent for you for quite a reason lad. Have you ever heard of a place called Crete?
SEAGOON: No, but any good taxi driver will take me there.
GENERAL BROOKE: (Sharply) I don't think you're quite with it Seagoon! Crete is in the Mediterranean you know.
SEAGOON: Won't it get wet?
GENERAL BROOKE: What? It's got an umbrella you idiot.
GENERAL BROOKE: Commander Greenslade, explain your infallible plon.
GREENSLADE: Jove yes. Seagoon, the island of Crete is held by a series of naughty-type Germans. Now, it's about their commander General von Guttern…
GENERAL BROOKE: Yes – we want you to get him.
SEAGOON: You want me to get him what?
GENERAL BROOKE: D’you want a punch up the conk?
SEAGOON: No thanks – I'm driving.
GENERAL MONTGOONERY: You see Seagoon – you see Seagoooon… we want you to capture General von Guttern.
SEAGOON: Me – capture a dirty big German?

SEAGOON: What! I’m off…
GRAMS: Running footsteps under. RECORDING – SEAGOON: (Singing) "We'll

keep a welcome in the hillside..." (Speed the whole thing up gradually.)

GENERAL BROOKE: Quick! Stop him before he gets back to Wales!
ORCHESTRA: Dramatic link.
GREENSLADE: They gave chase, and finally caught Seagoon...
SEAGOON: Yes, but I made them come to me on their knees.
SEAGOON: I was hiding in a drain.
GRAMS: Distant sound of parade ground.
SEAGOON: The following December on the third of January, I was sent to the Marine Commando Spaghetti Hurling Depot at Rhyl.
ORCHESTRA: Bloodnok theme.
BLOODNOK: Oh, ooooh! Oh that's better. D’you know I was inspecting me knees for storm damage, when suddenly in walks that singing Welshman, Neddie ‘where-are-me-legs?’ Seagoon.
SEAGOON: I'm sorry to butt in during knee inspection Bloodnok, but I'm the volunteer for the Crete job.
BLOODNOK: Oho, I see right. Unchain him sergeant.
FX: Chains rattling.
SEAGOON: Now major, what's all this spaghetti hurling about?
BLOODNOK: Well, you see lad, it's the Bloodnok method of ending the war, you see. Each commando… (ohh-hoo) … is issued with an army sock full of lukewarm spaghetti you see, and when he meets a Hun full-face it's WHOOSH PHUT NUK BNOOL – right in the square-head's moosh. And by the time the Jerries have scraped it off, it's too late – the pubs are all shut lad!
SEAGOON: But why use spaghetti?
BLOODNOK: But don't you see, you military fool? When a German is struck with the full force of spaghetti he'll think the Italians have turned on them, d’you see.
SEAGOON: What a brilliantly mediocre idea.
BLOODNOK: Ohohoho.
SEAGOON: You'll get an OBE for this.
BLOODNOK: Oh good. My last one died.
SEAGOON: Well, we've all got to go sometime.
BLOODNOK: Yes. I went this morning. It was hell in there you know!
SEAGOON: Well Major, I'll see you at the briefing room at oh-six-hundred hours.
ORCHESTRA: Dramatic chord.
OMNES: (Murmuring. Variously - Rhubarb, custard, cheddar cheese &c)
SERGEANT GLADYS: Eyes front there! Put those Wrens out! Commanding officer…
C.O: Thank you Gladys. At ease. Now are we all here?
ECCLES: I'm not all here. (Sings) Da da da…
C.O: What did you say?
ECCLES: I said “da da da…”
C.O: Then would you mind putting your head on this table?
ECCLES: Right.
FX: Large wooden mallet smartly onto hard surface.
ECCLES: Aaahooow! Owwowwowwowwgnhoww!
C.O: Say "Sir" when you go "owwowwgnhow" to me.
ECCLES: Owwowwgnhow – sir!
C.O: Thank you. Now lieutenant Seagoon, you've been chosen to lead the raid on Crete, so let's put you in the picture. (Quiet Bloodnok!)
SEAGOON: Too late – Dirk Bogarde’s already in it.
ORCHESTRA: Tatty chord in C.
C.O: Seagoon, stop those brilliant Movietone jokes, you.
[15] Now listen, you'll be put ashore from the submarine alone with three men with blackened faces.
SEAGOON: Three? I've only been given enough blacking for two.
C.O: One of the men is Ray Ellington. Any questions?
ELLINGTON: It ain't fair! Just because I've got a sunlamp…
C.O: Well, that's how it goes Ellington.
ELLINGTON: Yeah? And this is how this goes...

RAY ELLINGTON QUARTET - Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. [16]

GREENSLADE: ‘Ill met by Goonlight’ part two. Part two? Gosh, doesn't time fly!
GRAMS: Muffled sound of speeding train. Hold under.

ECCLES: (Idiot singing) Dai da haim dai dai, dai um dai dai dai… &c
SEAGOON: With others on the Crete mission we entrained at midnight for Portsmouth.
GRAMS: Train compartment door sliding open – swell sound of speeding train,  door slides shut – muffle sound of train.
WILLIUM: All tickets please, all tickets. 'Ere, you three under the seat – tickets!
SEAGOON: Curse – he’s spotted us! Aaaa-hem.
WILLIUM: Come on now, what you 'idin' hunder the seat for?
SEAGOON: Well, hahaha, hahoihiehiehie – we're on a secret mission and we thought you were a German spy.
WILLIUM: Me a German spy, mate? I come from Clapham South, mate.
SEAGOON: Well, we’ve got to be careful you see. We're going to Crete to capture General von Guttern.
WILLIUM: Good luck mate – good luck. But I still want to see your ticket, mate.
SEAGOON: I'd like to see my ticket too. Ha ha ha!
GRAMS: Crescendo sound of train, add train whistle over. Fade out. Fade in sounds of train pulling into station. Squeal of brakes. Station announcements faintly in background.
SEAGOON: At two in the morning we arrived at Portsmouth. We were all heavily disguised and sworn to secrecy.
FLOWERDEW: (Lots of echo – make it sound like station announcement.) Will the party of commandos due for the secret trip to Crete, please remove their beards so that they can be recognised.
SEAGOON: Gad, the wonders of British war time security.
MORIARTY: Ah ha haa, Lieutenant Seajuone – I am the Sunburian Ace Commander, Count Jim ‘Knees Nabollah’ Moriarty of the Fried French Forces. Ohehiho!
SEAGOON: Hello folks! I’m terribly eased to pleet you.
ECCLES: (thick) Comment allez-vous?
SEAGOON: This is… Private Eccles.
MORIARTY: Sapristy groins of leather – you can't take a raving idiot like that with you.
SEAGOON: Take him and don't bring him back.
LIEUTENANT HERN: Oh Lieutenant Seagoon sir…
LIEUTENANT HERN: …the American seventh fleet is ready sir.
SEAGOON: Good. Leave it at lost property – I'll pick it up later.
MORIARTY: Come Lieutenant. The submarine ‘La Grippe’ is waiting.
SEAGOON: Is that a French submarine?
MORIARTY: I don't know – I’ve never heard it speak.
ORCHESTRA: Dramatic chords.
GRAMS: Ripples.
GREENSLADE: At four in the morning the Crete party went aboard and received their final instructions from a British agent.
LEW: Now then, you've got everything – the lokshen soup,
[21] bibles, motzes,[22] all the lot?  
SEAGOON: Yes. One more thing though – where are the sealed orders?
LEW: I've seen them! I've seen them somewhere! I've seen them – on the back of the fag packet.
SEAGOON: Are you sure this mission is secret? I mean, do the Germans know I'm in Portsmouth?
LEW: You've got nothing to worry about at all. I've had Portsmouth's change its name change to Berlin.
SEAGOON: Splendid! The Germans won't bomb us with a name like that.
GRAMS: Bomb whistling down – sharp explosion.
SEAGOON: What's that!?
LEW: The RAF… The ROF… The RAF… I don't know. My life! Oh, this’ll ruin business I'm telling you.
MORIARTY: Never mind Lew, we must make for the sea at once. All aboard!
SEAGOON: What about security?
LEW: Leave your watch and five nicker.
[24] It’ll be alright. Good luck.
FX: Cash register – coin in till.
ORCHESTRA: Nautical link.
GRAMS: Water rippling. Wind blowing. Hold under.
GREENSLADE: At midnight on January the second, the submarine surfaced off Crete.
SEAGOON: In rubber dinghies we made for the dark outline of the shore.
ECCLES: (Struggling off mic.) Oh... oh… oh…
ELLINGTON: (Whispers) Lieutenant Seagoon…
SEAGOON: (Whispers) Shhh. What?
ELLINGTON: You know, I don't fancy this fellow Eccles.
SEAGOON: Never mind.
ELLINGTON: You know when you just said – “start paddling"?
ELLINGTON: Well, he took his shoes and socks off and went over the side.
SEAGOON: You fool Eccles. How deep is it?
ECCLES: (Drowning) ‘Eelp… ooh…awww… This water is taller than me!
SEAGOON: Well it's older.
BLOODNOK: My line says we're coming into the beach.
GRAMS: Dinghy running up onto sand.
SEAGOON: All ashore, lads – we're on Crete.
BLOODNOK: (Whispers) Argh, this beach is hard.
SEAGOON: Then we must be on con-crete. Hup…!
SEAGOON: Eccles?
SEAGOON: Shut up!
ECCLES: Shut up!
ELLINGTON: Look! There's someone coming down the beach.
SEAGOON: Give me my sock full of spaghetti.
SEAGOON: Now, one…two…
GRAMS: Whoosh. Jelly splosh.
BLUEBOTTLE: Eh-eeayh! Eeeeh! You rotten swines you. Who threw them warm worms at me? I bet it's them playtime rotters Eric Twilge and Bert Prong.
SEAGOON: Hands up! Are you General von Guttern?
BLUEBOTTLE: No I'm not. I'm Bluebottle – East Finchley's greatest authority on re-conditioned bloomers.
SEAGOON: At this time of night, why aren't you at school?
BLUEBOTTLE: I been playing truant.
SEAGOON: Play it again.
ORCHESTRA: Corny saxophone break.  
BLUEBOTTLE: Hey! Now I shall play the "Ill Met by Moonlight" game.
SEAGOON: You’ll get a clout on the nut with a fanlight game.
ECCLES: Don't you be a fool, my good man. Do-not-be-a-foool-my-goood-man! I've been planted here to show you the way to the guerrilla's hideout.
SEAGOON: Right. But first Max Geldray. Round the back for the old Marlon Brando there!
GRAMS: Massed boots running away.

MAX GELDRAY - "Basin Street Blues" [26]

GREENSLADE: “Ill Met by Goonlight,” part three – The Capture. Ooh, I'd better get out of the way.
ORCHESTRA: Dramatic link.
GRAMS: Night noises. Footsteps on hard ground.

CAST: (Struggling sounds.)
SEAGOON: We marched all night. At dawn we marched all dawn. Finally we met up with the leader of the resistance.
CORBLIMEOS: (Approaching) Welcome Engliosh commandos. I'm Bibelo do Corblimeos.
SEAGOON: Good. Now where is General von Guttern?
CORBLIMEOS: Every night at ten his staff car passes through the coast road, south of Yarbonzmate.
SEAGOON: Where is Yarbonzmate?
CORBLIMEOS: Under your hat, chum
SEAGOON: What what what what what what what what?
ECCLES: 'Ere, isn’t it cold up these mountains? I’d freeze to dead up here.
SEAGOON: Right, you stop here then.
SEAGOON: You and Bluebottle keep your eyes on the road. When you see Von Guttern's car lights coming, stop it – that'll give the rest of us time to dynamite the bridge further down. Right, action stations!
ORCHESTRA: Dramatic chord.
GRAMS: Night time noises. Crickets, owls, frogs.
BLUEBOTTLE: You got your sock full of spaghetti ready, Eccles?
ECCLES: Yeah. I'm keeping mine warm.
ECCLES: I got it on.
BLUEBOTTLE: Ah! Are all your family brainy?
ECCLES: Well, um – my father was clever.
BLUEBOTTLE: Ooh. What did he do?
ECCLES: Nothing. He was really clever.
BLUEBOTTLE: Ooh. It’s fine when they’re clever, isn't it?
ECCLES: Yeah, yeah, yeah… What did you say?
BLUEBOTTLE: I said, that it is fine when they’re clever like that. It's fine.
BLUEBOTTLE: Eccles, shall I tell you something?
BLUEBOTTLE: Well my good man, for no reason at all I'm going to tell you that I once knew an Engslish girl who could speak French. "Oo la la", she said. "Oi wee, oi wee", she said.
ECCLES: (Teenage wet dreams) Stop it, stop it!
BLUEBOTTLE: And she used to dance the can-can for me.
ECCLES: Hahaha! Ooh you naughty man.
ECCLES: Oh dear!
[28] Here, how did she dance the can-can?
BLUEBOTTLE: Well, shall I tell you what she did?
ECCLES: Don't keep me waiting. My socks are burning. Haoihaoi! Oh, the spaghetti's boiling.
BLUEBOTTLE: Well I tell you, she used to put an oil can on each foot and jump up and down. (Singing) Tahn ta ta ta tahn ta tahn ta tahn tahn... &c
ECCLES: You sinful man, you! Ooh, that's livin'…
GRAMS: Distant motor vehicle approaching.
ECCLES & BLUEBOTTLE: (Laughing lecherously) Yewwee hahaha owowow!
ECCLES: What? Look!
BLUEBOTTLE: It's a car.
ECCLES: Hehaoww! Who’s going to stop it?
BLUEBOTTLE: Look, let’s draw lots for it. We'll both close our eyes and when we open them, who ever’s left stops the motorcar.
ECCLES: OK, mine are closed. (Pause) Well – are yours closed?
BLUEBOTTLE: (Distant) Yes.
ECCLES: (Very close) He's gone. He thinks I'm mad, folks. He thinks I'll open my eyes and find him gone. Well I ain't going to open them.
GRAMS: Car approaches. Tyres squeal. Vehicle stops. Door opens.
ECCLES: Those tyres ain’t going to fool me.
FX: Boots marching on gravel coming closer. They stop.
[30] Open your eyes Englander!
ECCLES: Ahahahooo. You silly man Bluebottle! I'm not going to open my eyes and you can't fool me with that phony German accent.
FX: Blackjack on hard surface.
ORCHESTRA: Dramatic Wehrmacht link.
GRAMS: Car driving along. Fast footsteps running. (Continue under.)
[31] Who vas zat idiot?
OBERLEUTNANT: An idiot vif his eyes closed. (Laughs) Hehehehe! Ach Himmel! He's running alongside the car. Faster driver!
DRIVER: Jawohl!
GRAMS: Speed up sound of car and sound of footsteps.
VON GUTTERN: Gerblutten – he's still keeping up with us. Faster driver, faster!
DRIVER: Jawohl.
GRAMS: Car and footsteps even faster.
OBERLEUTNANT: Great gerblutten! He's still alongside and we're doing an hundred miles an hour.
VON GUTTERN: Lower the window.
FX: Car window down.
ECCLES: (Distant) Ohohow!
VON GUTTERN: Look, go away you! Stop running after us.
ECCLES: (Distant. Struggling) I can't. I have got my coat caught in the door!

VON GUTTERN: Stop the car!

GRAMS: Car and footsteps stop suddenly.
SEAGOON: Hands up and good evening General.
VON GUTTERN: Gerblungen verschitts gerimmen. A ripe steamer hier es secumben!  A British commando.   
SEAGOON: Move over. Eccles – where's Bluebottle?
ECCLES: He's back there.
SEAGOON: Right. Ray, turn the car 'round.
GRAMS: Car starts and speeds away. Continue under...
SEAGOON: Now General Von Guttern, say one word and you're dead.
VON GUTTERN: Tell me the word and I won't say it.
SEAGOON: What's the disposition of your troops?
VON GUTTERN: Hoho – they're pretty nice fellows you know, really.
GRAMS: Hard jelly splosh.
BLOODNOK: There lads! Old Bloodnok's spaghetti sock silenced him. One good clout on von Guttern's big steaming nut sufficed.
SEAGOON: Clout him again.
BLOODNOK: But I've already hit him once.
SEAGOON: Yes, but von Guttern deserves another!


SEAGOON: I though we'd never get to that gag, my life.
GRAMS: Car speeding up.
ORCHESTRA: Dramatic link.
GRAMS: Night time noises; crickets, fogs etc.
BLUEBOTTLE: (Distant) Eccles! Eccles? You can open your eyes now, Eccles. Eccles! Eccles!? Where are you? I don't like it in the dark Eccles! I can't see where I'm going. I...!
GRAMS: Body falls into water.
LITTLE JIM: He's fallen in de water!
BLUEBOTTLE: Naughty little Jim! Did you put that water there?
BLUEBOTTLE: Are you sorry?
BLUEBOTTLE: All right then. Look! The car's coming back! Quick little Jim – put this dynamite in the road and light the fuse.
LITTLE JIM: Light the fuse.
GRAMS: Vehicle approaching at speed. Swell. Large explosion. Seagoon and Eccles screaming into distance. Vary the speed slightly.

BLUEBOTTLE: Hooray! We got them!
LITTLE JIM: We got them!
BLUEBOTTLE: I'll get a cardboard medal for this.
SEAGOON: You'll get a cracker up your shirt. We were in that car.
BLUEBOTTLE: Oh, oh, oh! It's my captain – all rags and no eyebrows. That's a good costume for explosions, daddy.
ECCLES: 'Ere! Can I open my eyes now?
BLUEBOTTLE: Ooh! What's that bread pudding stuck on the wall?
ECCLES: That's me!
SEAGOON: Shup up! Where’s General von Guttern?
BLOODNOK: He's unconscious, Neddie.
SEAGOON: Are you sure?
BLOODNOK: Here’s his wallet.
SEAGOON: Let me see. Gad, it's full of Deutsche Marks.
BLOODNOK: He must be a German.
SEAGOON: Gad good!
BLOODNOK: Look at the time by the General's wristwatch which I've got on my wrist.
SEAGOON: Nearly dawn. The submarine "La Grippe" should be appearing any minute.
WILLIUM: You won't be on it, mate. Hands ups uns.
SEAGOON: Heavens, it's the old ticket collector!
ECCLES: Quick – under the seats!
WILLIUM: You was right, you know. I was a German spy.
SEAGOON: You! What's your name?
WILLIUM: Von Gutterns, mate.
SEAGOON: Then who's this German who got tied up?
WILLIUM: He's a ticket collector – come from Clapham mate.
SEAGOON: You know folks, I sometimes wonder how we won the war.
ORCHESTRA: Tatty chord in C.
GREENSLADE: And with that stirring chord in C, you’ll realise we've bluffed our way through another Goon Show. Why not write to your MP about it today?
ECCLES: Yeah – why not?
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, announcer Wallace Greenslade, the programme produced by Pat Dixon.
ORCHESTRA: Play out.




[1] Milligan must have worked quickly to prepare this script, one of only two in the seventh series that he wrote alone. The film on which it is based, ‘Ill Met By Moonlight’ (Powell & Pressburger - 1957) had been released in the UK on the 4th March, only six days before the recording - which occurred on Sunday the 10th. At the most, this gave him four days writing time – assuming he saw the film almost immediately on its release. Notice how he starts the script by acknowledging the typists who came in early to do his typing for him.

The film, starring Dirk Bogarde and Marius Goring, was based on the 1952 book ‘Ill Met by Moonlight: The Abduction of General Kreipe’  by W. Stanley Moss describing real events which happened behind German lines in Crete during the Allies futile push to capture the island in 1942. The film seems to have totally captivated Milligan. Unconsciously, Spike was looking for a way to express his war experiences. Whereas ‘Shangri-La Again’ (8/6th) expresses Spikes childhood experience of being taken away from the Hindu Kush, ‘Ill Met by Goonlight’ expresses his adult experiences during the War. Every scene in this script has a parallel in his War Memoirs – the briefing at headquarters, the train journey to the coast, the sea voyage, the landing, sentry duty lying doggo in a trench waiting for an explosive death.

The great genius of Milligan is this; these comic conversations based on his and Edgington’s long nights lying doggo, waiting for the shell that would do them in. Spike and Harry talking about jazz, and home and pulling the birds in alleyways in Bexhill; Bluebottle and Eccles talking about time and aging, their fathers legs, exotic bus conductresses and how to operate spaghetti hurling socks. The narration by Spike Milligan of the conversations between two London layabouts hiding down a hole in North Africa are some of the most comic and touching ever penned.


[2] Field Marshall Alan Brooke, Viscount Alanbrooke (1883-1963) was Chief of the Imperial General Staff during WWII. His war diaries were published in London at the beginning of 1957 edited by Alex Danchev and Daniel Todman. Some extracts of these were published by the Sunday times in the lead up to the book launch.

These diaries were highly controversial as they pricked Churchill’s pompous proposition made in his own published memoirs that he had been the architect behind the Allied victory, and instead presented Brooke as the driving force behind many of the ideas and innovations that led to the defeat of Germany. Churchill reportedly was furious. Winston’s anger would have turned to apoplexy if he had read the unexpurgated version of Brookes’ diaries, published later after the death of both men.

[3] Latin for “Through difficulties.” It is part of the Royal Air Force’s motto – “Per Ardua ad Astra,” – meaning ‘Through difficulties to the stars.’


[4] I think it is reasonable to assume that Milligan had some sort of War Memoir in mind as far back as this date. Later in ‘Tales of Men’s Shirts’ (2/10th – broadcast on the last day of 1959) he pictured the whole of the General Staff writing their war memoirs and suffering from exploding shirt tales, but it wasn’t until ‘Adolf Hitler – My Part in His Downfall’, (Michael Joseph, 1971) the Spike actually began to write one of his own. The trilogy turned into a septet and laid the basis for a wider understanding of Milligan’s humour, particularly in relation to his war experiences.


[5] Milligan.

[6] Sellers. The US Seventh Fleet he refers to was a crucial arm of the US navy, formed late in WWII in Brisbane Australia as part of the US Pacific Fleet. One of its first engagements was the Battle of Leyte Gulf, a crucial turning point of the war in the Pacific and now considered to be the largest Naval battle in History.


[7] Milligan in Sprigg’s voice.


[8] A ‘Wren’ was the acronym for members of the Women’s Royal Naval Service – (WRNS). During WWII they were employed as office workers for the Military, drivers and sometimes as mechanics. Their recruiting slogan was “Join the Wrens and free a man for the fleet.”


[9] Sellers.


[10] Milligan was a little unreliable with his different voices. He alternates between Sprigg’s voice and Spran’s voice in this scene almost at will. I think it is likely Milligan decided on the spur of the moment when to use either voice, depending on if he could insert a sung line for Spriggs or not. He even decides that Spran should speak with Throat’s voice for one line.


[11] Sellers.

[12] Rhyl is in Denbighshire, north east Wales.

[13] The next five lines were cut from the transcription service version.

[14] See footnote #1.


[15] Movietone News produced cinematic newsreels from 1929-1979 in the US, the UK and Australia. Regularly narrated by the actor Lowell Thomas, they filmed the news of the day in a dramatic manner, usually with a full Symphony backing and with wonderfully rich (read ‘melodramatic’) commentary. They also included a few humourous contributions from writers such as Lew Lehr (1895-1950) who coined a famous phrase “Monkeys is the kwaziest people!”


[16] A classic song from 1932 by Arlen and Koehler, originally recorded by Cab Calloway. The odd thing about this show is that Ellington and Geldray seem to have swapped spots.


[17] Three? Eccles and Seagoon and who else…?


[18] By using a large series of advertisements – in newspapers, magazines, cinemas, buses and on hoardings, the British Government educated the public to ‘think war.’ War time security was a major issue and eleven years later few adults had forgotten the fact. The biggest wartime billboard said            

“Careless talk costs lives.

Mr. Hitler wants to know!

He wants to know the unit’s name

Where it’s going – whence it came,

Ships, guns and shells all make him curious,

But silence makes him simply furious.”

Before observers sixty years later laugh at this petty slogan, remember that nightly many British residents felt Hitler’s fury rain incendiary bombs and high explosives upon them and their loved ones, and so tended to take these petty slogans very seriously.


[19] Following the collapse of the French Government of Marshall Petain on the 16th June 1940, the French split into the ‘occupied’ and the ‘free.’ Milligan – like many British during and after the war, considered the French to be weak and ill disciplined and constantly made them the butt of his jokes. But the Free French were brave and were led by the young Charles de Gaulle who immediately broadcast to the population of France that –

" This war is not over as a result of the Battle of France. This war is a worldwide war. All the mistakes, all the delays, all the suffering, do not alter the fact that there are in the world all the means necessary to crush our enemies one day. Vanquished today by mechanical force, in the future we will be able to overcome by a superior mechanical force. The fate of the world depends on it.”


[20] ‘La Grippe’ was the French term for the pandemic disease we call ‘Influenza.’


[21] Lokshen is a Yiddish word for noodles or pasta.


[22] Uncertain derivation. It was once slang for ‘winnings’ – usually those obtained by gambling.


[23] Milligan rather liked this gag. He had used it as far back as ‘The Dreaded Batter Pudding Hurler of Bexhill on Sea,’ (3/5th) once again in a WWII context.


[24] British slang for a pound.

[25] Marlon Brando (1924-2004) had become rhyming slang for ‘Brandy’ ever since the actor’s gradual rise to stardom during the fifties. In that single decade he was nominated for Best Actor five times, receiving the award just once – in 1954 for ‘On the Waterfront.’


[26] This Spencer Williams number from 1926 is one of the classic numbers of the jazz era. The Basin Street of the title refers to the main street of Storyville, the notorious red-light district of the early 20th-century New Orleans French Quarter.


[27] In the original film this part was named Manoli and was played by Laurence Payne. In the absence of any real knowledge of Cretean pronunciation, Sellers speaks in a rather effective all-purpose cod-Spanish accent.

[28] Milligan mistakenly starts to re-read his previous line - “Ooh, you nau...” before correcting himself.


[29] Bluebottle starts off by approximating the tune of the ‘Can Can’ by Jacques Offenbach.


[30] Secombe.


[31] Sellers. His German impressions were always remarkable.


[32] Although the original transcription says ‘that is,’ I feel sure that what Sellers actually says is ‘daddy.’

[33] Once again this parallels an event which happened to Milligan in WWII when he ‘liberated’ a beautiful Swiss watch from a dead German soldier. Milligan had made use of  this event before, most notably in “Rommel’s Treasure.” (6/6th)