7th SERIES No 5

BROADCAST: 1 Nov 1956


Script by Spike Milligan and Larry Stephens.


GREENSLADE: This is the BBC home service.

GRAMS: Except from “Tintagel” by Arnold Bax.[1]

SELLERS: (Deathly) The Spectre of Tintagel.

GRAMS: Long drawn out scream. Fade in sounds of waves on rocks, sea gulls etc. Swell music.

SELLERS: (Over, with echo) “Tintagel... Tintagel… Tintagel…” (self fade)

GRAMS: Hold music underneath.

DYALL:        Sometimes on a stilléd night

                    from misty summered seas

                    there comes a-riding clean and white,

                    two knights on palfreys.

                    Avoid you then that haunted dell

                    that skirts the rocks

of Tintagel.[2]

GRAMS: Swell music and fade.

SEAGOON: My name is… ha, ha – now you laugh, but the fact is I was christened ‘King Arthur Seagoon. You see my parents were illiterate, but they had a round table. This led me to believe that I might be descended from Mallory’s ‘Mort  d’Arthur’![3]

GREENSLADE: And what did you do about it, Mr King Arthur Seagoon?

SEAGOON: Do?... Do young Wallace? In the bleak autumn of nineteen-forty-six, I made my way to the country of the Arthurian legend…

GRAMS: Swell music and fade under. Pub sounds. Cornish murmurs etc.

FX: Tankards clanking. Continue under.

YOKEL: Two pints, please.

MINNIE: Ooh, thank you. Small gin…

CORNISHMAN: Aye. There be ghosts in there they say.

SEAGOON: Tell me more - cherry-nosed Cornishman.

CORNISHMAN: Arr, there be ghosts in there they say.
SEAGOON:Tell me more, cherry-nosed Cornishman.
CORNISHMAN: Arr, they do say as how at midnight you hears 'em.
SEAGOON: Does 'em?
CORNISHMAN: Arr, when I was a boy, I remember...
SEAGOON:Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes…?
CORNISHMAN: I can't remember - my mind's gone dry.
SEAGOON:Two pints please Landlord!
FX: Tankards clanking, liquid pouring.
CORNISHMAN: Arr, it's coming back to me now. That's right - there's a haunted manor near Tintagel. They do say King Arthur buried his treasure there.
SEAGOON: Buried his treasure?
CORNISHMAN: Arr, and when the Moon is full they do say as how the spectre walks and plays strange music…
SEAGOON: (Gulps)
CORNISHMAN: … and if you hears that tune three times - you dies. Good health sir!
SEAGOON: Mazal tov! [4]
GRAMS: Excerpt from Saint Sean’s “Danse Macabre”[5]
SEAGOON:After certain investigations, I discovered the Spectre haunted Tintagel Manor, allegedly built on the site of Sir Galahad's hunting lodge.[6] Eventually I found the house agents too, in a cave at the bottom of dead man's cliff.
GRAMS: Seashore sounds. Waves breaking; gulls. Fade under.
MORIARTY: Aww eeyoww. (sings) I must go down to the sea again,

to wash my dirty socks,

and all I ask is a bar of soap

and a... [7]

GRYTPYPE: (Approaching) Good morning, my reeking French lascar. Did you sleep well?
MORIARTY: No, no, at three o'clock this morning, I had to get out of bed.
MORIARTY: I was shivering wet.
GRYTPYPE: Oh - and how was that sonny?
MORIARTY: The tide came in.
GRYTPYPE: Uninvited? Damned impertinence! Take a letter to the editor of The Times.
GRAMS: Whoosh.
GRYTPYPE: Wait till I've written it will you?
GRAMS: Typewriter under.
GRYTPYPE: Let me see… Dear Sir, I must complain about the abnormal high tides in Cornwall. Is this a record? Sign it Liberace - then they'll print it. [8]
GRYTPYPE: Now, what's for breakfast this evening?
MORIARTY: This steaming debris spracco
ût. [9] Here - taste it.
GRYTPYPE: (Smacking of lips.)

MORIARTY: A dish fit for a king, yes?
GRYTPYPE: Only if he's abdicated.
FX: Door knock. .
MORIARTY: What? I'll see who it is.
FX: Door opens.
GRAMS: Sudden burst of ocean waves.
SEAGOON: I'm sorry for bursting in like this.

 GRYTPYPE: Come in sir, come in. Excuse the mess - we've got the sea in.
SEAGOON: Ha ha ha! What a splendid cure for mal-de-mer.
GRYTPYPE: Isn't it!  Ah, who is that who came in with you?
SEAGOON: The Atlantic Ocean.
GRYTPYPE: Oh yes. It's the Equinox you know.
SEAGOON: Of course. Tell me - are you the agents for Tintagel Manor?
GRYTPYPE: You want to rent it?
MORIARTY: Aahheeyoooeeyoeo!
GRYTPYPE: (Close) Shhh Moriarty you fool. (Aloud) Have you a car?
GRYTPYPE: We'll drive you there. Off we go.
GRAMS: Slow horses hooves.
MORIARTY: Pardon mon ignorance mon ami, but quelle type of car is this?
SEAGOON: It's one of le new carriage-less horses.
MORIARTY: Ahhh! The wonders of the steam-age!
GRAMS: Horses hooves crescendo and pick up speed.
GRYTPYPE: Whoa! Moriarty, dismount and put a brick under the horse.
MORIARTY: Isn't that dangerous?
SEAGOON: So this is Tintagel Manor?
SEAGOON: How much is the rent for, say, a month?
GRYTPYPE: Open your wallet.
GRAMS: Treasure chest with rusty hinges.
GRYTPYPE: Mr Seagoon - how remarkable! You've brought the exact amount. Moriarty count this lot and see how much there is, would you?
GRAMS: Bank teller counting bundles of
£10 notes at speed.

MORIARTY: (Counting.) One… two… three… four… five…” Two Pounds - and worth every penny of it!
SEAGOON: Exactly. Now, how do I get in?
MORIARTY: Here's a ladder.
SEAGOON: Ladder? I want the keys.
MORIARTY: There's no keys to this ladder - it's already open.
SEAGOON: Aha! The wonders of the Steam-Age!
GRYTPYPE: And here's another wonder of the Stream-Age...Max Geldray!
SEAGOON: (In terror) Ahhhh! Don’t leave me!

Max Geldray: “Doggin' Around.”[10]

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic return to the story link.
GREENSLADE: The Spectre of Tintagel part two. Placing a ladder up against the door of Tintagel Manor, Mr King Arthur Seagoon climbed up and rang the bell.
GRAMS: Huge church bell. Massive wooden doors squeak on hinges.
DYALL: Did you toll sir?
SEAGOON: Yes - my mama done tol’ me! Ha ha ha... My momma done tol’ me... [11]
DYALL: I have no wish to know that sir.
SEAGOON: I am King Arthur Seagoon the new tenant.
DYALL: Curses! So they've let the old manor at last. I'll see his stay is short and brief.
SEAGOON: Finished?
SEAGOON: Right, please carry in my brown paper luggage.
DYALL: (Scared) I'm sorry sir - I won't go back into that house! The sun's gone in…
SEAGOON: But surely there's room for you both?
DYALL: No! No sir! After dark I'd rather go home to mother. You see sir, in Tintagel Manor there's... there's something nasty in the woodshed! [12]
SEAGOON: Who did it?
DYALL: I think sir… I think the Phantom's struck again!  If you're wise sir you'll leave this place at once, otherwise you'll hear the ghastly music. Goodnight!  Mind the doors!
GRAMS: Tube train doors closing. Train departing. Speed it right up.
SEAGOON: Gad - they run late! Beware the music... Of course! The music! What did that old Cornishman say?
CORNISHMAN: I said, if you hear the music three times you dies. Good health.
SEAGOON: Thank you for coming.
SEAGOON: … and thank you for going. Well I'd better get inside.
GRAMS: Creaking door shuts.
DYALL:  Let the fool go in. He won't be there in the morning. (Fiendish laugh.) Ha ha ha!
ORCHESTRA: Mysterious chords.
GRAMS: Church bell strikes one. Vary speed.
SEAGOON: One o'clock - the witching hour. I must prepare my equipment with which I hope to record the voices of long dead knights, which will give me a clue as to my direct descent from King Mort d'Arthur. Now let me check the equipment in stores. One quon of thynne; a spin of blatz; a plun of quorns; a thin of monders, a thirst of nurglars... (self fade)
GREENSLADE: And so he settled down for the night.
GRAMS: Excerpt from Danse Macabre. (Fade under.)

SEAGOON: (Snoring over.)
GRAMS: Cockerel crows.
FX: Door opens.

SEAGOON: (Snoring continues.)
WILLIUM: Hello hello hello - who's this kipping on the floor? What's this label round his neck say - (Reads) ‘I am the new tenant here’. Oh are you mate? What’s this second label say? (Reads) ‘Yes I am’.
SEAGOON: (Still snoring.)
WILLIUM: Well - I'll just tie this label saying 'wake up mate’ round his neck!
SEAGOON: (Waking up noises.) Good Heavens! Look at the label on my watch - it says half past eight. What does your label say?
WILLIUM: Ten to nine.
SEAGOON: Your label's slow.
WILLIUM: I'm Willium the gardener, mate.
SEAGOON: Well, go and grow me a breakfast.
WILLIUM: Oh right mate.
FX: (Door opens)
DYALL: (Singing.) I bring along a smile and a song for everyone... (Startled.) You! Still here? Didn’t you hear anything during the night?
SEAGOON: No - I fell into a heavy trance, six feet deep.
DYALL: Didn’t you hear the dying screams of a Zulu caught in the clutches of a man eating Matabele [13] Iguana plant?
DYALL: But didn’t you see me whitened up with flour sacks and a false head screaming?
SEAGOON: Come to think of it... no!
DYALL: Curses! At least you must have heard the agonized moans of Sabrina [14] being passed through an electric sausage machine?
SEAGOON: I'd have ‘eard that.
DYALL: A pox on it! To think I paid Peter Kavanagh a fortune in ha'pennies and all he could drink from the tap for those impressions!
SEAGOON: Never mind! Tonight I shall stay awake and track down the Spectre of Tintagel
DYALL: I'm afraid that is impossible sir. The ghost only plays when it's daytime in Australia and Wednesday over here. [15]
SEAGOON: This ghost has a map and a calendar? I must contact him.
DYALL: I admire your vacuity sir. And now if you'll pardon me, I'll go and prepare your demise.
SEAGOON: Thank you. Please leave it in the oven.
FX: Door closes.
SEAGOON: Tonight for sure I'll lay this ghost. E’en now my gallant squire hastens hencewards to assist me. But… (terror) yeeaayarrgggh!  What are these blackened twigs approaching?
BLUEBOTTLE: They are my legs my Captain. Yes! It is I Blunebottle, all ready for the game. Moves right, transfers quarter of Jelly Babies from pocket to gob.
SEAGOON: Good lad. Now listen - we must lie in wait behind the arras.[16]
BLUEBOTTLE: Be careful my Captain, 'cause I redded in Hamlet that Palonius was stabbed through the ‘arris.[17]
SEAGOON: (Whispering.) Shhh! Here's an orange.
BLUEBOTTLE: Ooh - ta Captain! I like oranges, Captain.
SEAGOON: (Whispering.) Shhh! Keep quiet!
BLUEBOTTLE: Why are you keeping me quiet my Captain?
SEAGOON: (Whispering.) Shhh!  
BLUEBOTTLE: Captain - why have you turned the light off?
SEAGOON: (Whispering.) Shhh!
BLUEBOTTLE: Don't shush me my Captain. I don't like eating oranges in the dark!
SEAGOON: (As before.) Well - don't eat it!
BLUEBOTTLE: And I don't not like oranges eating in the dark.
SEAGOON: Well, what do you like doing in the dark?
BLUEBOTTLE: Yeeheeheehee!
SEAGOON: Yes - but there's no time for that now! It'll be here any moment…
BLUEBOTTLE: (Terror)  What'll be here any moment, Captain?
SEAGOON: The Spectre of Tintagel.
BLUEBOTTLE: The Inspector of Tintangel? Is he on nights then?
SEAGOON: No, the Spectre is a ghost.
BLUEBOTTLE: Ghost, Captain?
SEAGOON: Yes, he's due here at one o'clock
GRAMS: Tubular bell strikes one.
BLUEBOTTLE: Can I go home now Captain? I left the cat running in the sink.
GRAMS: Distant violin solo. Lots of wrong notes.
SEAGOON: Listen - it’s ghostly music!
BLUEBOTTLE: I don't like it captain. It's not on the hit parade.
SEAGOON: Shhh! Hist - a melody not heard for a thousand nay, nay, two thousand years!
GRAMS: Violin solo segue’s into dodgy jazz solo. Ends with a flourish.  
SEAGOON: At last I've heard it - the Spectre of Tintagel! If I can meet him perhaps I can learn the secret of my lineage. But hold - what did the old Cornishman say?...
CORNISHMAN: If you hears that ghostly music three times you dies. Good health!
GRAMS: Train whistle. Train pulling out of station – gradually speed it up.
SEAGOON: Gad! The wonders of the steam age!
BLUEBOTTLE: What is the wonder of the steam age, Captain?
BLUEBOTTLE: Ohh, how does it work?
SEAGOON: On the same principle as the boiling kettle. (Has an idea.) Let me demonstrate! Fill your mouth with water…
SEAGOON: Now - put this whistle between your lips. Good. Now sit over this candle…

BLUEBOTTLE: Yeouheheooh!

SEAGOON: …and wait. But hist! Here is more ghostly music!

Ray Ellington: “Alright, OK, You Win.”[18]

SEAGOON: Curses! It was Ray Ellington - I recognised the applause.
GRAMS: Violin reprise - closer. Continue under.
SEAGOON: The spectral music again, and for the second time! It appears to be coming from outside.
FX: Door opening.
GRAMS: Wind howling.
SEAGOON: Gad it's dark out here - it must be night-time. What did that long streak say?
DYALL: (Menacing.) I said the ghost only plays when it's daytime in Australia and Wednesday over here.
SEAGOON: You! What are you doing here? And I say, why are you taking my hat off?
DYALL: (singing – slightly off mic) Only a rose I bring you &c…
SEAGOON: (Over) Why are you parting my hair in the middle? I say, why are you chalking a cross on my head? Why are you raising that iron girder and sighting it towards my nut? Why are you...
GRAMS: Metal bar on brick.
SEAGOON: Aaargh!
FX: Body falls to ground.
WILLIUM: Ohhh - you nutted him mate!

GRAMS: Distant bugle at sunset.
DYALL: (Over) Yes - there he lies in the corner of some foreign suit that is forever England.
WILLIUM: Come on, let's go in Mr Valentine. It's nearly two o'clock and the mist's coming up on the moors.
DYALL: Yes, I'll put a light in the window and a pound in the till to guide the master safely back home.
GRAMS: Tubular bell strikes two. Distant prison sirens – lots of echo. Baying of hounds coming closer, running feet, shouting. Swell the lot up then gradually decrescendo into distance. Sudden pair of boots running closer.
: Urgent banging on door. Immediately opens.
BLOODNOK: (Panting) Quick - hide me!
DYALL: Master, welcome home. (Calls) Willium, lay out the final demand notices!
FX: Door shuts.
BLOODNOK: Oh it's good to be home.
DYALL: Yes sir. How did you find your way in this mist?
BLOODNOK: I followed the arrows on my suit.[19] Quick burn it! I wouldn’t like the dogs to get my scent.
DYALL: I wouldn’t like anyone to get your scent sir.
BLOODNOK: You're not my best friend! Don't you realize I've been passed nadger free. By the way - what was that lump lying in the garden?
DYALL: That sir, was a Mr King Arthur Seagoon.
DYALL: He took a lease on the house and we couldn’t get rid of him. He will be unconscious for hours!
BLOODNOK: Lucky devil! Now lets dig up the loot and then scarper.
ORCHESTRA: Dramatic link.
GREENSLADE: Meanwhile - at great expense, we are placing a microphone by an inert lump in the garden.

GRAMS: Wind howling.
SEAGOON: Ohh - what hit me? Ahhahhahh! Struck down on the old Welsh nut from behind in my prime. Oooh, oooh!
GRAMS: Violin solo coming closer and closer.
SEAGOON: Listen, the Spectre of Tintagel again! But hist – see! The Spectre draweth nigh from out yon bushes. Hold oh long departed minstrel… Speak!
ECCLES: Hallo!
SEAGOON: Ahhh!! Spectre aid me! Sire, I seek to prove I'm descended from King Arthur.
ECCLES: Good luck.
SEAGOON: I recognise your voice!
ECCLES: He recognises my voice!!
SEAGOON: You're the famous Eccles!
ECCLES: I'm the Famous Eccles!!
SEAGOON: Shut up!
ECCLES: Shut up Eccles!!
SEAGOON: Wait a minute!
ECCLES: Wait a minute Eccles!!
SEAGOON: Who put you up to this false type haunting?
ECCLES: That false type Mr Dyyyaaall.
SEAGOON: Valentine Dyyyaaall eh?
ORCHESTRA: Dramatic link.
GRAMS: Metal plates being arranged. Continue under.
BLOODNOK: Three hundred golden cups and a hundred silver goblets. Yes it's all here - the entire regimental plate of the Second Poona Horse.
DYALL: Splendid.
GRAMS: Amateur violin solo. Distant.
DYALL: Somebody run outside and tell Eccles to stop playing that fake ghost music!
Eccles: But I'm in here.
BLOODNOK: Then… that must be the real Spectre of Tintagel!
DYALL: Run for it!

CAST: Screaming.
GRAMS: Boots running away.
FX: Door opens.
SEAGOON: Hahaha - that taught the devils a lesson. I'm glad now I learned the violin, even if it did take me all afternoon. Great sputting thuns! What's this? Golden platters!! This must be the lost treasure of Tintagel, revealed to me as a sign that I am the direct descendant of King Arthur.
GRYTPYPE: (Three months at the Palladium and he thinks he's the King of England!)  [20]
SEAGOON: What what what what what what what what?
FX: Knock on door. Door opens.
POLICE INSPECTOR: Oh err - good evening sir.
SEAGOON: Good evening Inspector.
INSPECTOR: Are you the owner of this manor?
SEAGOON: That is correct.
INSPECTOR: I see. Then perhaps you could explain this gold plate here?
SEAGOON: Certainly. It's mine.
INSPECTOR: The stolen regimental plate of the Second Poona Horse is yours?
SEAGOON: Yes - by Royal Prerogative.
INSPECTOR: Royal Prerogative? I see. What did you say your name was sir?
SEAGOON: King Arthur.
INSPECTOR: King Arthur?
SEAGOON: That's right - yes.
INSPECTOR: Well, you'd better come with me Your Majesty. There's a plain van outside that all our King Arthurs and three Napoleons have ridden in.
SEAGOON: Ha ha ha! It's good enough for me. Of course - this means the end of the House of Windsor of course. (Going off.)  Prince Philip will have to go you know.
INSPECTOR: You come with me Your Majesty - it'll all be all right in a moment. You just come outside…
SEAGOON: I think I'll make you Prime Minister. You've got the right build, you know.
INSPECTOR: That's very kind of you, Your Majesty. Just follow me outside…
SEAGOON: Fancy Ireland? Wales is doing nothing at the moment …
FX: Door shuts.
GRAMS: Ambulance bell. Vehicle driving off at speed.
ORCHESTRA: Closing theme.
GREENSLADE: That was The Goon Show, a BBC recorded program featuring Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe, Spike Milligan, Valentine Dyall, 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 program produced by Pat Dixon.



[1] Sir Arnold Edward Trevor Bax, KCVO (18831953), was an English composer and poet. His symphonic work ‘Tintagel’ was composed between 1917-19.


[2] Tintagel is a site on the Atlantic coast of Devon, reputedly the birthplace of King Arthur. Geoffrey of Monmouth was responsible for the first telling of this story, and it was taken up and embroidered by Alfred, Lord Tennyson in ‘The Idylls of the King.’ Excavations on the nearby promontory have shown the site to be a princely fortress or trading station from the post-Roman era.


[3] Sir Thomas Malory, (c. 1405-1471), author or compiler of Le Morte d’Arthur.

[4] Mazal tov; Hebrew, via Yiddish: means ‘Good fortune!’.


[5] Charles-Camille Saint Saëns, (1835-1921), French composer, organist and conductor. ‘Danse Macabre’ 1870 - Symphonic composition Op.40, portraying death dancing with skeletons at midnight on the night of Halloween.

[6] Sir Galahad was one of the central knights of the Arthur legend. He was the illegitimate son of Sir Lancelot, and renowned for gallantry and purity.


[7] A satire on John Masefield’s ‘Sea Fever’, 1902, set to music by John Ireland (1913).


[8] Why exactly he says this is not clear. Liberace, the flamboyant stage performer and musician, was not one to be reticent about himself in the press. The following year, ‘Cassandra’ in the ‘Daily Mail’ called him a ‘quivering, giggling, fruit-flavoured, mincing, ice-covered heap of mother love," to which Liberace replied with an £8,000 libel suit.


[9] A Milliganesque word based, I think, on the French word ‘ragoût’.

[10] Famous Count Basie number, originally recorded June 6, 1938.


[11] A reference to the famous Harold Arlen/Johnny Mercer classic ‘Blues In the Night.’ (1941)


[12] Another military punch line Spike smuggled past the censors. This line, and Dyall’s next line about the phantom was in reference to the military joke of putting turds (made of sodden brown paper) in each others bunks. See ‘The War Memoires’ Vol. 5.

[13] A warlike South African Kaffir tribe. (Webster 1913, Supp.)


[14] Sabrina, born Norma Sykes, was a 1950’s British pinup girl, famous for nothing except her figure and her looks. These next 3 lines were cut from the TS version.


[15] Probably a sly reference to the 1923 novelty song “When it’s Night-time in Italy it’s Wednesday Over Here” by Kendis & Brown. (ChrisTP.)


[16] A tapestry or wall hanging. (Fr) These next 2 lines were cut from the TS version.


[17] London slang for small ineffectual man. ‘Harris’ short for ‘Harris and Tweed’ = Weed.


[18] By Sid Wyche & Mayme Watts. Famously recorded by Count Basie in 1955.

[19] English prisoners traditionally wore a white jacket, trousers and pillbox hat with arrows stencilled on them denoting them as property of the Crown.


[20] The London Palladium was run at this time by Val Parnell, one of the great theatrical impresarios of his time. He had a policy of booking international acts, apart from the standard local stars, and from 1955 – 1967 broadcast a weekly live revue from the theatre called ‘Sunday Night at the London Palladium.’