1st BROADCAST: 18 Oct 1956 [1]


Script by Spike Milligan and Larry Stephens.


GREENSLADE: This is the BBC light programme.

SECOMBE: Mister Greenslade, never mind the commercials mate. Enough of this splin splan slon and hern hern. Give us a magic lantern lecture on this week’s show.

GREENSLADE: As you will sir.

FX: Lantern slide operation. [2]

GREENSLADE: Ladies and gentlemen, on inserting the first colour slide we perceive the title to be, ‘The Great Nadger Plague.’


SELLERS: (Ancient) According to the next slide it was in the year sixteen fifty-six that the dreaded nadger plague swept across Europe like the dreaded nadger plague of sixteen fifty-six. The next slide says…

SPRIGGS: Ooooh Jim! …  Men were cut down in the prim of their prime.

They went down like pins of nine. (Ooh!)

                                        Oh! Oh hirror! Oh horror![3]

We present the musical lantern slide which follows immediately, Jim.

FX: Lantern slide operation.


GREENSLADE: As you see ladies and gentlemen, this beautiful slide shows the scene on the eve of the disaster – the stiddley hume of Lord Seagoon’s hountry coose at Ninfield in the sounty of Cussex.[4] The year, sixteen fifty-six, or for our regular customers at the reduced rate of fifteen thirty-seven.

GRAMS: Croquet balls in play. Distant birdlife.

SEAGOON: (Laughs &c) Oh, what ploon of plun! Like croquet Lady Platt, you have frecked me ball and merry crackie card. Ha ha ha! See you later m’carte. [5]

THROAT: Right darling.

SEAGOON: Begone then, delicate creature. But see – who approaches?

ELLINGTON: I pray pard your plin, me Lord Seagoon.

SEAGOON: Ah, me Lord Footman. How tarries?

ELLINGTON: Oh, a quill of quolls and quarms. But I splon – I deviate. Two ragged aristocrats await you.

SEAGOON: Usher them on in. Or in on. Strike out that which does not apply.

GRYTPYPE: (Approaching) There’s no need, me Lud. We took the liberty of striking it out ourselves.

SEAGOON: (Close) The voice came from one of two tall naked men.

GRYTPYPE: Yes. Pray pardon our ‘al fresco’ appearance, but our tailor is ill.

SEAGOON: What’s his name?

GRYTPYPE: Al Fresco.

SEAGOON: I’m not of humours to know that.

GRYTPYPE: Would you just step over here by this reeking unmade bed.

SEAGOON: Yes. Who is he?

GRYTPYPE: This bed is – (and I quote from this prison discharge paper,) the Compte de Jim ‘Reeking’ Moriarty, Knight of a Hundred Stars, Cheval de Notre Caleur [6] and fish potter extraordinary.

MORIARTY: Ah, Lord Seagoon. Your humble…

SEAGOON: You’re revolting.


GRYTPYPE: And now i’forth, allow me to introduce myself. Moriarty, announce my name.

MORIARTY: Certaine-mate. (Boxing announcer) Oh, Ladies and Gentlemen, announcing in the brown corner at two hundred pounds four shillings and eightpence my Lord Hercules Grydpype Thynne.

GRYTPYPE: Thank you Moriarty. Neddie we come from France seeking the hospitality for which the English are so ill-famed.

SEAGOON: MY LORDS! …you couldn’t have come to a better place.

GRYTPYPE: We could have, but we didn’t have the money.

SEAGOON: You jest i’ faith.

GRYTPYPE: You’re jest a charlie. Hahahaha!

SEAGOON: What! What what what what what what what what![7] Yes, a chamber for you. (Calls out) Othello, smoke out the bedding in room number six. It’s the ticks you know. We have them every year about this time. What is the time?
GRYTPYPE: Four twenty.

SEAGOON Gad! They’re late this year. (Horror) Arrrrgh! Dear listeners, at that moment the two men turned to go to their room and I observed the seats of their trousers were burned out.[8] I knew that sign only too well – it meant that these men were stricken with the dreaded nadger plague. (Screams) Arrrrgh! Run for it! The nadgers! The plague!

OMNES: The plague! &c


GREENSLADE: Listeners will no doubt be puzzled at Seagoon’s terror on seeing a pair of burnt-out trouser seats. To find the explanation I will insert another coloured lantern slide which shows the good people of Ninfield assembled in the Corn Exchange.

FX: Lantern slide operation.

OMNES: Various country mumbles and Sussex rhubarbs.

FX: Gavel on bench.

CRUN: Gentlemen. Lord Seagoon is right in calling this meeting.

SPRIGGS: Well said Jim.
CRUN: As chief apothek… apo… apothecary of Ninfield, I have been studying the humours of the trousers[9] for many years, and I can tell you that the two gentlemen staying at Lord Seagoon’s house… (fearfully) are clear cases of the dreaded nadger plague.

GRAMS: Duck quacks. Horse neighs. Chicken clucks. Cow moos.

SEAGOON: Citizens of Ninfield,[10] I must warn you. Beware the moment the seats of your trousers start to burn. Then you’ve got it!

SPRIGGS: Oh tell me sir – how can we avoid catching this dreaded malady?

SEAGOON: There is no cure Jim, but there is a preventative measure. As the disease only strikes the seat of the trousers it is best that we desist from wearing any.

SPRIGGS: Oh, hirrors of horrors! But would it not be unwise for the men of Ninfield to walk abroad without their nether garments? Remember, there’s a hard frost in the morning.

SEAGOON: He’s right. We can’t risk damage to our crops.[11] However, I have an alternative. As the seat of the trousers is the vulnerable part, that portion shall be cut out.

BLOODNOK: This is a lot of rubbish. Nadgers? I’ve never heard of it – it’s all fish and vinegar do you hear![12] (Sniffs) Can you smell…(Terror) Oh, me britches! Oohhh!

SEAGOON: Run for your lives! The nadgers!

OMNES: (Screaming) The nadgers!

GRAMS: Screaming. Boots running away at speed.


GREENSLADE: Dear viewers, as you will observe on this lantern slide Lord Bloodnok had indeed been stricken by the nadgers.[13] Now here on the next slide you’ll see the men of the village filing past Doctor Crun to have the seats of their trousers removed.

FX: Scissors snipping.

SEAGOON: Oops! Mind how you go Doctor Crun.

CRUN: I’m sorry. Next please. Your name sir?

GELDRAY: Max Geldray, English gentleman.

CRUN: Ploogie!


MAX GELDRAY: "John's Idea" [14]


GREENSLADE: That was Max Geldray, BBC Contract artist now under the threat of death. However with the seat of his trousers removed he can now face the world with a smile. Now the nadger Plague – coloured slide number four.

FX: Lantern slide operation.


MORIARTY: You naughty Gright-pype Thighne. The way they all run away from the manor, eh?
GRYTPYPE: Yes. That was a brilliant idea of mine that you thought of – burning those fake nadger holes in our trousers. Now put on that lantern slide of Lord Seagoon’s treasure chest.


FX: Lantern slide operation.

MORIARTY: There. What a beautiful picture.

GRYTPYPE: Isn’t it.

MORIARTY: (Strains) I can’t get the chest open.

GRYTPYPE: Well try this lantern slide of a bunch of keys.

FX: Keys jangling.

MORIARTY: Oh! Voila, voila! They all fit perfectly.[15]

GRYTPYPE: And look what’s inside! A lantern slide of four pounds seven shillings in coppers.

MORIARTY: (Raves)[16] Then it’s true. He is a millionaire.

FX: Distant hand bell.

ECCLES: (Distant) Hear ye! Hear ye! Proclamation; “Wherewithal the plague having come to Ninfield…”

GRYTPYPE: (Whispers) The plague? He must be joking.

ECCLES: (Distant) No I’m not! “The King has decreed [17] that the village shall be put in quarentyne and in quarantine and surrounded by a cordon of gened…. cordon of soldiers.” [18]

GRYTPYPE: What! Let’s get out of here.


GRAMS: Double whoosh.

FX: Door opens.

SEAGOON: Curse! Just as the listeners already know, Thynne and Moriarty in fake nadger trousers have made off with my entire fortune in coppers. Pausing only for an English summer, I leap on my favourite Arab. Hup…

GRAMS: Penguin-type quacks.

SEAGOON: Ahh! That’s better. Now, tango after them!

GRAMS: Recording of Tango (piano, violin and bass combo). Overlay with galloping horses hooves. Speed the whole thing up and fade into distance. Pause. Cockerel crowing.

GREENSLADE: We included that recording of a cockerel for people who like that sort of thing. And now, here is a recording for people who don’t like that sort of thing. [19]

MILLIGAN: (Cockerel imitation.)

FX: Pistol shot.

MILLIGAN: (Cockerel.) Aaagh!

GREENSLADE: If listeners will stand on their beds and face north they’ll be able to see a portion of the ensuing lantern slide, which shows a sentry on duty at the nadger-ridden village of Ninfield.

GRAMS: Distant owl.

BLUEBOTTLE: (Approaching) Halt! Who goes there? Oh, it is a little owl. Hello little owl. Thinks – I will make up a poetry up.

                                        Hello little owl.

                                        I can hear you ‘owl little howl.

                    (Going off)     You little lovely howl…

MORIARTY: (Very close) Shh. Shh. Shh! Look Grytpype. Look over there. That…it’s a… what is it?

GRYTPYPE: It’s er… Hand me that book on British wildlife. Let’s see. Lady Docker? [20] No, it can’t be her. Er – yes, yes! The lesser spotted sentry boys.

MORIARTY: Splendid Grytpype Thynne. I should talk to him because I’m wearing the hat.

GRYTPYPE: Right, and I’ll accompany you on this waistcoat.


GRYTPYPE: Is that alright for you?

MORIARTY: (Sings)Me. Me. Me”. Yes, right. (Calls out) I say, little ragged lad!

BLUEBOTTLE: Oooh. You’re not an owl.

MORIARTY: Of course I’m not an owl.[21] I’m on holiday.

BLUEBOTTLE:  But I heard one. I heard-ed one.

MORIARTY: You heard-ed?

BLUEBOTTLE: It went HOOT, HOOT, HOOTIE! Its fake howl makes an ‘owl howl.

MORIARTY: Quelle brilliant impression. Tell me little lad – can you do an impression of a sentry fast asleep?

BLUEBOTTLE: Yes I can. Yes.


BLUEBOTTLE: Lays on ground, closes eyes, does imitation cardboard snoring. Imitation ten seconds from now – one-two-three-four-five-six-seven-eight-nine-ten. (Snores)

MORIARTY: Right. All clear Grytpype. Lets go.

GRAMS: Double whoosh

SEAGOON: Good heavens, a piece of knotted string asleep at his post. Get up you rotten twine!

BLUEBOTTLE: Ahhie! Don’t shake my ITMA-type catch phrases![22] Stop shaking me – you’ll shake my knots off. I’m not doing real sleeping, I was doing an impression of sleeping.

SEAGOON: Well, do an impression of waking up.

BLUEBOTTLE: (Morning breath) Hello mum. What’s for breakfast?

SEAGOON: Very good. Now tell me little string-type soldier, did you see two criminals go by with four pounds seven shillings in coppers?

BLUEBOTTLE: No, but I saw two coppers go by with four pounds seven shillings in criminals. Yeoue-hee-hee-hee-hee! I have made a little jockulle.

FX: Thud on nut.

BLUEBOTTLE: Oh-heough! Type oh-heough!

SEAGOON: Shut type up! Type shut up. Type fool. You’ve let two men go through disguised as two other men. After the four of them! Wait - why is that gas stove wearing a hat?

BLUEBOTTLE: He’s going out. That gas stove is Eccles.

SEAGOON: Splin, splan, splon! Poor little cardboard grenadier – he thinks that the noble Eccles is a noble gas stove. Just to prove that he is mad and I am sane I will question the gas stove in its own tongue. A-hem. Hello gas stove.

ECCLES: (Approaching) Hello Neddie.

SEAGOON: Ahhh-ahhhhgh! Nowts, norts, newts it’s true! Eccles is a gas stove. Tell me Eccles, what’s cooking? Ah-ha ha ha! (&c)

ECCLES: I don’t wish to cook that.

SEAGOON: Get out of my oven. I mean, how did this fate befall you?

ECCLES: We-ell Neddie, when I heard about the nadger plague …(mumbles under.)

SEAGOON: (Very close) While he was mumbling I read an amazing story. Seemingly, as Eccles had no trousers he could not avoid the plague by having the seat cut out and had  therefore swallowed a witches magic potion which had changed him into a gas stove thus making him immune to the plague. This has given me an idea. I will hie me to the witch. Eccles, lead the way. But first – an impression of Ray Ellington.

ECCLES: That’s easy.


RAY ELLINGTON: “Green Door” [23]


GRAMS: Object dropped into water. Steam and bubbling liquid.

BANNISTER: (Incanting) Yim bom biddelly doh!

Double, double,

toil and trouble,

fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Eye of a newt and a toe of a frog,

wool of a bat and hair of a dog.

Ohiee, yim bom biddeldy doh! [24]

CRUN: Stop making those naughty spells Min.

BANNISTER: I’m not making a naughty spell.

CRUN: You are. You made a naughty spell.

BANNISTER: Henry, hand me that carton of frozen asses gall and a nose of a Turk, buddy.

CRUN: Oh, yum yum yum. Are you using Misses Beeton’s cookery book?[25]

BANNISTER: Of course. It’s the first thing that I put in.

CRUN: Ohhhh.

FX: Slow knocking on door.

SEAGOON: The door was opened by an elderly cupboard with the drawers open.

CRUN: Yes. I’m just putting some clean newspaper in.

SEAGOON: I understand. Some of my best friends are cupboards.

BANNISTER: Did you want me young welsh buddy?

SEAGOON: Mistress Bannister – are you the witch?

BANNISTER: Only part time. You see the B.M.A.[26] don’t recognize me.

SEAGOON: I didn’t recognise you myself. You’ve aged so much.

CRUN: Don’t you talk to Min like that, or I’ll… I’ll… ohie-er…oooouh! (fibrillations)

SEAGOON: I caught him as he fell. Mistress Bannister, I want a magic potion that will change me into some inanimate object.

CRUN: You mean, you’re not one? Ha ha ha… (Develops into heart attack.)

SEAGOON: I caught him as he fell.

BANNISTER: Here young man, take this bottle of green liquid.[27] Drink it when your powder’s running low and then you’ll be transformed into any object you want, buddy.

SEAGOON: Thank you ma’am. Here’s my personal, unsigned, plasticine A.E.I.O.U.

BANNISTER: Thank you and here’s a tip, buddy. (Whispers) Grytpype Thynne and Moriarty are on their way to the Green Sailor’s Inn. Oooooh![28]

SEAGOON: What? Hup! Onwards!

GRAMS: Horses hooves. Speed up gradually and fade. Wind, distant thunder.

FX: Knocking on door.

WILLIUM: (Approaching) Coming mate. Coming. Hold on a minute mate. I don’t know. I’m coming. I don’t know what mates are doing out on a night like this. (Raves)

FX: Locks being drawn back. Door opens.

GREENSLADE: Is this the Green Sailor Inn?

WILLIUM: Yes mate.

GREENSLADE: Then part seven in which two travellers arrive at the inn.

WILLIUM: Oh. Well I’d better go and get the beds ready mate

MORIARTY: Yes, yes mate. And a bowl of steaming venison and a side of mead for our horse’s friends.

WILLIUM: Who’s your horse’s friends?

GRYTPYPE: Oh, and landlord, we want a room with the walls facing inwards, a table laid with your best silver and napery…

MORIARTY: Yes, and a window overlooking our horse and a set of knotted sheets hanging there from.

WILLIUM: ‘Ere, wait a minute mate.

MORIARTY: What mate?
WILLIUM: Sheets hanging out of the window?
MORIARTY: Yes mate.

WILLIUM: … I know what you’re going to do matey. The moment my back’s turned that horse’ll be up them sheets for a free night’s kip.

MORIARTY: Curse it! Curse it! Curse it Grytpype – he’s guessed our plan.

GRYTPYPE: Alright landlord, you’ve rumbled us. Put the horse on the bill.

MORIARTY: Yes, and hurry.

FX: Door opens.

WILLIUM: Alright mates, in here. Room number ninety-nine. Named it after my old Dad I did.

MORIARTY: Ooh! What a lovely room your father must have been. Wait! Ah yes look, and a gas stove in the corner mate.

WILLIUM: Yes. A bloke left it here earlier on – and that clock on the mantuel-piece. Left his horse behind and all.

MORIARTY: Oh. I’ve never heard of a man with a horse behind,[29] but I’ll take your word for it.

WILLIUM: It’s the nadgers what do it, you know. I’ll go and get your dinner.

MORIARTY: Thank you lad. Thank you.

FX: Door closes.

MORIARTY: Now then Grytpype, let’s count Seagoon’s fortune and see how much it comes to this time.

FX: Paper being dealt out on wooden table.

MORIARTY & GRYTPYPE: (Distant counting of money).

GRAMS: Clock ticking under.

SEAGOON: Hello listeners. Hear that ticking? Yes. That clock on the mantelpiece was none other than I, Neddie Seagoon. I has drunk the witches magic potion and been transformed into an eight day all weather clock, with device for waking you up with a cup of tea. Now I must maintain the deception. A-hem. (Sings like clock striking the hour.) Dong, dong, dong, dong. Dong, dong, dong, dong. Dong, dong, dong, dong. Dong, dong, dong, dong. DONG! DONG! DONG!

MORIARTY: Three o’clock? My watch says four.



GRYTPYPE: Nonsense, I make it seven.


MORIARTY: There’s something strange going on in this room. That clock’s slow. I’ll wind it up from behind.

SEAGOON: Don’t you dare touch me or I’ll strike!

MORIARTY: (Horror) Ooooh! That clock spoke!
GRYTPYPE: It’s witchery. Run for it.

GRAMS: Boots run off at speed. Pane of glass smashing.

SEAGOON: Ha ha ha! Listeners, they’ve fled leaving the Seagoon fortune behind.

ECCLES: Ha ha! Listeners, they’ve fled leaving the Seagoon for…

SEAGOON: Shut up gas stove! Now to change into human form again. Hand me the magic potion.

ECCLES: I can’t move. I’m a gas stove.

SEAGOON: Well, change back to Eccles.

ECCLES: Ok. Hand me the magic bottle.

SEAGOON: I can’t. I’m a clock.

GRAMS: Ticking of clock.

GREENSLADE: And that dear listeners was three hundred years ago. To this day there is a room in the Green Sailor’s Inn available for travellers, complete with gas stove, clock and four pounds seven shillings in coppers. Goodnight Charlies everywhere.

ORCHESTRA: End theme.

GREENSLADE: That was the Goon Show, a BBC recorded program featuring Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe, 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] This episode is one of number of shows that Spike wrote about fake diseases. The list of the shows concerned are; “Lurgi Strikes Britain” (7/5th), “Scradje” (26/6th), “Spon” (1/8th),  The Spon Plague” (23/8th) and “The Fifty Pound Cure” (17/9th.) Apart from the whiff of hypochondria, what makes this show interesting is that it enters the imaginative realm of ‘Harry Potter’ with a cast of gothic characters including witches, apothecaries and talking clocks, ancient gadgets like lantern slides and treasure chests, and 18th century social customs and homeopathy.

Milligan rarely entered this literary territory on the BBC airwaves, but outside the Goon Shows he dabbled in children’s gothic tales quite regularly, particularly following the birth of his children and the associated growth of their own imaginative worlds.

To this gothic tale, Milligan and Stephens added a dab of history by setting the plot during the years of the plague. The most famous – and last plague the English experienced, was the great plague of 1665. Milligan, for reasons of his own, swaps the date to 1656. In that year, both Naples and Rome were devastated by a resurgence of the black death (Naples losing 300,000 souls – half its population) while England did not see its first victim in this final virulent wave until a decade later, via the sea ports of Holland. 

The etymology of the English word ‘nadgers’ is clouded in mystery. Worse still, Spike’s usage of it seems to have set it on the road to stardom and eclipsed its original derivation. In modern slang dictionaries it is acknowledged as being a ‘Goon’ word but with the assumption that it must have somehow existed previously either in rhyming slang or in some form of barracks lingo. The only fact that can be pinned down is its modern meaning – bollocks, both as a noun signifying ‘testicles’ and in the pejorative sense, meaning ‘nonsense’. After the 50’s, many British comedians began using the word frequently. Kenneth Williams often used it as the character Syd Rumpo in “Round the Horn.”

A final observation is that this Goon Show is one of a number set during the Restoration period of English history. Three shows of this type occur in this series alone; “The Nadger Plague”, “Personal Narrative” and “The Flea”. Only in series nine did Spike return to this period of history, with “Queen Anne’s Rain” (8/9th.) I wonder what book he was reading when he wrote these shows. It could well have been Pepys’ diaries, which narrated the period 1660 to 1669 and covered both the 1665 plague and the second Anglo-Dutch War, (see “Personal Narrative”.).


[2] I am assuming this. Milligan was famously enthralled by gadgets, particularly antique gadgets, and knowing his obsession with sound effects it is reasonable to suspect that this FX was quite a close imitation of the sound the lantern slide makes when being operated.

[3] There is a quick interchange between Sellers and Milligan here, slightly off-mic. Sellers seems to be doing his MacGoonigal impression. He says “It’s the author…” to which Milligan replies “Out of here you go!” before continuing on.


[4] Ninfield in Sussex, is situated approx. four miles inland from Bexhill. This area, the nearby coast and the surrounding countryside influenced Milligan greatly. It was where he trained to be a soldier, made lifelong friends and discovered the beauty of rural England after a youth spent in India, Burma and London. Many place names from this area crop up throughout the shows – Bexhill, Martello Towers, Pevensey Bay.


[5] This whole line is approximate. I suspect that Milligan was reacting to the sort of 17th century language that Samuel Pepys frequently used in his diaries. Here is an example:

Then I in, and my wife up and to visit my Lady Slaving in her bed, and there sat three

hours, with Lady Jemimah with us, talking and laughing, and by and by my Lady Carteret comes, and she and I to talke, I glad to please her in discourse of Sir G. Carteret, that all

will do well with him.” (Feb 26, 1665)


[6] The word ‘caleur’ is French argot. The popular meaning was either a lazy workman or an unemployed person. However it was also known to mean ‘waiter,’ probably derived from the German word ‘Kellner’. Literally, Grytpype calls Moriarty the “our waiter’s horse.” 

[7] Grytpype joins in the laughter, finishing off with the exclamation “Knicky knacky noo!”

[8] Milligan seems to have forgotten that they were both supposedly naked.


[9] ‘Humours’ was a normal seventeenth century medical expression. It was assumed, by reason of Hippocrates’ writings, that all diseases were imbalances of the body’s liquid equilibrium. Spike’s own melancholy would have been diagnosed as an overbalance of black bile in the blood. An imbalance of trouser fluids was something quite different.


[10] According to Ninfield parish records from a century later in 1776, there were at least 44 men and women in the village. At any rate, that is the number who turned out to receive a distribution of up to five shillings each, gifted by Lord Ashburnham, following a devastating storm.


[11] Another instance of Milligan getting round the BBC’s prudish broadcasting policy. Jokes about ‘hard frost’ and ‘crops’ were sailing very close to the wind, indeed ‘nadgers’ itself must have only barely scraped past the censors. The word was supposedly ‘lower ranks’ slang for testicles, which, considering the number of BBC employees who were probably aware of that fact, makes the BBC censors look extremely naïve or sheer ignorant. The second sentence by Seagoon referring to ‘our crops’ (ie: pubic hair) was excised from the TS.


[12] Despite persistent research I cannot find an antecedent to this idiom. The regular slang is “piss and vinegar” (meaning “youthful enthusiasm” or “mischief.”) I wonder if Spike was sliding round the censors again.


[13] Not only was he suffering from the nadgers but he also appeared without his customary theme music.


[14] Famously recorded by Count Basie, (1904-1984) and originally released by him on January 1, 1939, just as his band was finishing up a six month stint at the famous ‘Door Club’ in New York. Basie was undergoing a musical revival during the mid 50’s. The re-formed Count Basie band had toured Europe in 1954 to widespread acclaim, and later recorded the top 40 instrumental hit single “April in Paris” in July of 1955. It became Moriarty’s favourite song.


[15] This is an example of one of Milligan’s comic inventions – transference of utility. It is a reframing of the gag he used in “Tales of Old Dartmoor” (21/6th) when Grytpype and Moriarty dig for treasure in the cellar of the Château d’If.


[16] Grytpype says distantly “Don’t steam so, Moriarty.”


[17] With the audience and band cracking up, Milligan turns and says “Quiet Chisholm!”


[18] It has been sensibly suggested to me by other listeners that the word Eccles struggles to read is actually ‘grenadiers’.


[19] Once again it is important to point out that the sound of a cockerel aligned with the sound of some form of transportation is a basic Milliganesque comic effect which arises from an incident in WWII when his regiment marched along a highway in North Africa, clutching chickens eggs, and clucking in unison. (“Rommel? Gunner Who?” p. 25)


[20] Lady Norah Docker (originally Norah Royce Turner; 1906 – 1983), an English socialite, dance hall hostess and colourful Grande Dame. In 1949 she married her third husband, Sir Bernard Docker, chairman of British Small Arms and Daimler. Thereafter she took it upon herself to raise Daimler’s profile, designing her own vehicle and covering it with 7,000 gold stars. In Great Britain, such ostentation was considered scandalous since the country was still constrained by the rationing of food, clothing and gasoline. Willing to call a spade a spade, she socked a croupier in a Monte Carlo casino, and later, when crossed by Prince Rainier, publicly trampled the Monaco flag underfoot. Her husband was eventually removed from the board of Daimler on account of his wife’s exorbitant spending and his elaborate ruses to place her bills on the company’s account.  Lady Docker’s wild life led the gossip columnists to dub her ‘naughty Norah’.


[21] This play on words involves ‘owl’ and ‘awol’- (Absent Without Leave.) A soldier who skived off to the pub would say to anyone who asked any awkward questions, ‘I’m not awol, I’m on holiday’, and thus save himself a lot of problems.

The audience doesn’t seem to get the joke, though one or two voice behind the mic react to the phrase.


[22] ITMA refers to the popular radio show “It’s That Man Again.” Produced from 1939 to 1949, the title was taken from British popular culture during the 30’s when it was used when referring to the increasingly frequent (and annoying) appearances of Adolf Hitler in the press, newsreels and radio. The show reached its zenith of popularity during the war years, and was generally believed to have played a major role in keeping the public’s spirits up, particularly during the horrors of the blitz.

The show was well known for its catchphrases – eg: “It’s being so cheerful as keeps me going,” and the famous line, “I don’t mind if I do” spoken by Colonel Chinstrap, (played by Jack Train.)

[23]Green Door” Davie and Moore, released 1956. The meaning of the song has been much debated, however little seems to have been resolved about the significance of the lyrics. Variously it has been portrayed as the door to a lesbian club, a union ticket and in one depraved instant, as a euphemism for paedophilia. The song itself innocently climbed to #1 on the Billboard charts in 1956, recorded by Jim Lowe, then later a version by Frankie Vaughan reached #2 on the UK charts.


[24] Milligan’s arrangement of the three witches incantation from Macbeth, (Act IV scene 1). Shakespeare’s original play is subject to much controversy concerning the authenticity of many passages – particularly the scenes between Hecate and the witches. Published first in the folio of 1623, it is thought to have originally been penned between 1603 – 1606. In 1667  Samuel Pepys attended a performance of the play adapted by Sir William Davenant, and commented that it was “one of the best plays for a stage, and variety of dancing and music, that ever I saw.” The year before this series of Goon Shows, Lawrence Olivier and Vivian Leigh had starred in one of the most famous of all productions of the play at Stratford-upon-Avon.


[25] Isabella Mary Beeton (1836-1865) the famous cookery writer. Married to a publisher of books and magazines, he began to write articles concerning household management and cookery for her husband’s publications, until in 1861 they were released in a single volume, “The Book of Household Management”. Of the 1,112 pages, over 900 contained recipes, most with coloured illustrations, laid out in a format still used in cookery books today.


[26] B.M.A. is the British Medical Association.


[27] Spike used this same idea a year later in “The Great Regent’s Park Swim” (4/8th) when Neddie Seagoon fulfils his life’s ambition of  “…running along with a bottle of green liquid.”


[28] Although the “Green Sailor Inn” Spike refers to does not exist, there were a popular series of children’s books by that name written by Commander Frank Gilbert Hackforth-Jones R.N. (1900 – N.N) Published between 1951 and 1961, the ten books of the “Green Sailor” series combine whole hearted seafaring adventures with practical lessons in sea craft.


[29] This line was cut from the TS version.