RECORDED: 13 Jan 1958


Script by Spike Milligan


GREENSLADE: This is the BBC Light Programme. By the power of electricity and microphone placed in the proximity of the protagonists, we present an all-wireless show with a brandy base.

FX: Old fashioned gramophone music

SECOMBE: That music should give you a clue to the financial position of the BBC's music department.

SELLERS: (Australian) One moment, Mr. Secombe, you can't attack the Corporation from the back!

SECOMBE: Can't I? Bend down!

FX: Slap

SELLERS: [screams]

SECOMBE: Now, read the name of the play.

GREENSLADE: We present... The Great String Robbery.

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic music link

SELLERS: The String Robbery started very simply with a man saying...

MORIARTY: My socks keep coming down.

GRYTPYPE: We must try and obtain a certain amount of cheap string.

MORIARTY: What, what'll I do till then?

GRYTPYPE: For the time being, keep your socks up with the famous Eccles method.

MORIARTY: Ah, what's that?

GRYTPYPE: Stand on your head.


ORCHESTRA: Dramatic link

SEAGOON: Hello, folks! Hallo, folks! Through the power of megaphone, folks, three days later, I was called from Scotland Yard to Scotland. At Edinburgh Station - than-cue, than-cue - at Edinburgh Station I was met by a platform.

FX: train arriving

Flowerdew: [screams] There should be a law against trains letting off steam when people are wearing kilts...!

SEAGOON: Excuse me, porter, I'm a stranger here, could you tell me the way to walk?

Scots Porter: Aye, d’ya see yon ticket barrier? Well, head over there for that.

SEAGOON: Thank you.

CHISHOLM: Hey, Inspector Seagoon?

SEAGOON: The voice came from underneath the Chisholm.

CHISHOLM: Aye, you see, I m a ventriloquist! I threw my voice. Sometimes from my knee, sometimes from my shin and sometimes from my nose, bing!

SEAGOON: Oh, jolly good, jolly good, ha-ha! [nose throw sound] Now, where's the scene of the crime?

CHISHOLM: This is the hoose.

SCOT No.1: Aye, welcome to the scene of the crime.

SEAGOON: Ah, where’s the front door?

SCOT No.1: It's in this brown paper parcel. [opens it] We only use it for going in and out. Agh, there.

FX: door opens

SCOT No.1: The black-bearded criminal must have got in through the door or the windows. Everything else was locked.

SEAGOON: I see. Right. Now, who was killed?

SCOT No.1: No one's been killed.

SEAGOON: Then this is a job for the police.

SCOT No.1: You are a policeman.

SEAGOON: Oh, yes, yes, I wasted no time getting here, did I, eh? - Hands up! You're all under arrest!

FX: Door through which they enter

GREENSLADE: The String Robberies, Part Two.

SEAGOON: Part Two? That's us!

SCOT No.1: You see that piece of string on the table?

SEAGOON: Yes. What's that space in the middle?

SCOT No.1: That's the piece that's missing.

SEAGOON: So! So that's what a piece of missing string looks like, eh? Where's it gone? Ah! But wait... can't you see, you, you poor Scottish fool!

SCOT No.1: What is it, sir?

SEAGOON: It's all, it's all a practical joke!

SCOT No.1: [gnashing teeth sounds]

SEAGOON: Someone's cut that string in the center, pulled the two pieces in opposite directions, giving the impression that a piece had been removed from the middle.

SCOT No.1: Harry gringlers, he's right! Och, it's true! If you put these two pieces together, the gap disappears!

SCOT No.2: Aye, but did you notice when you did that, the two outside ends got shorter?

SEAGOON: Gad, gad, Chisolm's right! Now I see what happened. What cunning! [laughs] The criminal's cut a piece off each end, then cut across the middle pulled them apart, making the string look the original length.

SCOT No.1: Oh dear, this makes it a baffling case.

SCOT No.2: Aye.

SEAGOON: Ah yes. Instead of one piece we're looking for two separate ends... It's a good job I can count! [laughs] We must start investigations at once!

ORCHESTRA: Link music.

GREENSLADE: [as radio announcer] ...Finally, here is a police message: Will all people in possession of two pieces of string please report to their local police station. Now, sport: The boxing match between the Irish and Italian football teams has been cancelled...

CRUN: Oh, dear, dear. Oh, dear, dear, dear, dear, oh, dear. Min, Min! Oh-ow-ee. Miiiin! Min! Min!

BANNISTER: Are you calling me, Henry?

CRUN: Yes! Hurry up, I'm next! Oh, you sinful woman, you... Always at the cigarette rolling machine you.

BANNISTER: Oh, you gotta, gotta match, Henry?

CRUN: Oh, hey, you vixen, not satisfied with making your own fags, now you want to smoke 'em!

BANNISTER: There's nothing to worry about, Henry, this is herbal tobacco.

CRUN: Herbal?

BANNISTER: Yes. Crazy herbal tobacco, made from dandelions.

CRUN: Well, don't leave any in my bedroom, our water rates are high enough as it is.

BANNISTER: [inhales, exhales] Ah! [inhales, exhales] Oh! These cigarettes are strong, Henry.

CRUN: Oh...

BANNISTER: Better not light them.



CRUN: What?

BANNISTER: You naughty, naughty man.

CRUN: What, what?

BANNISTER: How do you like my new frock?

CRUN: Min!


CRUN: Where did you get that modern sack dress!

BANNISTER: I got it off the coalman.

CRUN: I'll talk to you later about this, Min Bannister.

BANNISTER: [inaudible]

CRUN: Oh I will.

BANNISTER: you, you devil, you! [inaudible]

CRUN: You...

CRUN:BANNISTER: Your conk, Henry!

CRUN: You cow[?], you, all of you! Let's get down to the fire station - To the police station.

BANNISTER: It's, it's the same, Henry, because the police station's on fire....

CRUN: Oh, good, good, good...

BANNISTER: Now, Henry, now, you're not allowed out, Henry, so you sit by the fire, and I'll drive the house round to the...

CRUN: All right, all right...

FX: driving sounds. Minnie saying "Oh!"

GREENSLADE: As the house drives away, we arrive at the String Robberies, Part Three.

SEAGOON: Hello, folks! Calling all folks! Three weeks, folks, and still no fear of solving the crime. I think I'll have a bath.

FX: bathing sounds

SEAGOON: Ah! There's nothing like a bit of sand paper for bringing up the old knees' white! [laughs]

WILLIUM: Eh, pardon me, Inspector?

SEAGOON: Constable Vritt! How dare you creep in here when my shins are exposed?

WILLIUM: Oh, sorry, I, I won't, I won't look, Inspector. In any case, I'm a married man with shins of me own, you know.

SEAGOON: Constable, state your business!

WILLIUM: I'm a policeman.

SEAGOON: I know you're a policeman, but what do you want?

WILLIUM: Well, there's an 'ouse outside waiting to see you.

SEAGOON: House? I must go and inspect it. <-- remaster-->Meanwhile Max Geldray will show what fun can be had <-- remaster--> Brandy!?

FX: Runs out




FX: Music. Knock on door.

CRUN:BANNISTER: Coming, coming, oh...

SEAGOON: Good morning.

CRUN:BANNISTER: Good morning, good morning [etc.]

SEAGOON: It's late afternoon already. Good morning. I was told that this house wanted to see me.

CRUN: Ah, sir, we have come to hand in our three pieces of string.

BANNISTER: String, string!

SEAGOON: Well, there's some mistake. We only wanted people with two pieces.


CRUN: Oh, well, then we'll throw one piece away.

SEAGOON: Good. Now you're a suspect.


BANNISTER: I'm innocent.

SEAGOON: Hello, folks! I wonder could this aged man be the string thief?

CRUN: No, sir, no!


SEAGOON: Not so loud, he might hear.


CRUN: What?

BANNISTER: Put your fingers in your ears, Henry.

CRUN: Oh, all right, all right... All right, sir.

SEAGOON: ...robbery's been done...ever will be so...

BANNISTER: ba... mucka ba... a comes... come rory aba...

SEAGOON: ...what do I... [etc.]

GREENSLADE: Dear listeners: This disjointed conversation is being caused by Mr. Crun moving his fingers in out of his ears, thereby causing an intermittent break-in sound.

CRUN:BANNISTER: [sing] [inaudible]

SEAGOON: Constable! Follow that house!

FX: Running

WILLIUM: Come back! Naughty house. come back! I arrest you in the name of the law...

SEAGOON: Throw a cordon around England! No one must leave the island!

Throat: Right.

FX: music

GREENSLADE: The String Robberies, Part Thrun. The scene: the Cliffs of Dover.

FX: Sea-side sounds

MORIARTY: It says in the paper on page ten here... there is a nationwide search or people with two pieces of string!

GRYTPYPE: What? We must leave England! Brlng the brown paper pudding and follow ne!

FX: Moriarty lifts; splashes of water


GREENSLADE: Meantime, a hundred miles away, Seagoon springs from a foreign bed.


FX: [spring] Ahh!

SEAGOON: As I jumped out of bed I, I thought I heard two splashes.

Jim Spriggs: Two splashes, Jee-em! Oh, Jeem, are your feet wet, Jeem? Are your feet wet, Jeee-m?

SEAGOON: Yes, I've been sitting with damp socks on.

Jim Spriggs: Oh, Jeem, can't you afford a clothesline, Jeem?

SEAGOON: Yes, but I found a bed more comfortable.

Jim Spriggs: Oh, oh, Jeem, oh, Jeem, oh, Jeem! We must take action, Jeem - we must take action, Jee-em!

SEAGOON: Right, Jee-em!

Jim Spriggs: You taking the...

SEAGOON: Send a signal...

FX: code

SEAGOON: send a signal to all coast guards!

Jim Spriggs: All right!

SEAGOON: Especially those on the coast. Arrest the owners of those splashes!

FX: Major Bloodnok thene. Rain, gales, splashing music.

BLOODNOK: Oh, oh, oh I've never had it as bad as this before! Oh, dear, oh, oh, the wind must be 40 knots at least! Well, I hope we don't have to launch the lifeboat tonight. Just in case they ask me, I'll put one arm in a sling and lie down in a mock faint.

FX: knock on door

BLOODNOK: Who is that there, who is it? Who is, who is out of there? Only a lunatic would be out on such a storm!

FX: opens door.


Eccles Choir: [multiple overdubs] "Good King Wenceslas"

BLOODNOK: Thank you.

FX: Slams door. Knock. Opens.


ECCLES: Merry Christmas?

BLOODNOK: You crazy, mixed-up Eccleses, you. Christmas is gone!

ECCLES: Oh, which way'd it go?

BLOODNOK: It's finished!

ECCLES: Finished? Oh, I better talk with my friends here. [mumbles] Penny for the guy?

BLOODNOK: That's not til next November!

ECCLES: Can we come in and wait then?

FX: Major beats them off

BLOODNOK: Well, that's got rid of those idiots.

FX: Knock on door

BLOODNOK: Where's me club? Take that, you...

FX: Beating sounds

Jim Spriggs: I don't like clubbing, Jeem, I never liked clubbing. I have a message for You, Jeem.

BLOODNOK: Well, play it on the gramaphone.

Jim Spriggs: All right, Jeem.

FX: Typewriter sounds

BLOODNOK: Curse, it's written in typewriter, and I can't speak a word of it.

WILLIUM: Turn it over.

Eccles Choir: [singing/multiple overdubs] Good King Wenceslas

BLOODNOK: Oh, this is too much! Ellington, attack the hit parade with a melody, poo-wee-hoy! A brandy, oh, oh, a brandy




GREENSLADE: Ah, that was Ray Ellington. We all wish him a speedy recovery. Now, by, ah, clenching my fists, gritting my teeth, and contracting my abdomen, I find myself in an ideal position to hear Part Three of The String Robberies.

FX: Music; sea storm sounds

MILLIGAN: [distant, unintelligble sailor-type souting of commands]

SEAGOON: It was very brave of you to put the lifeboat out in the storm.

BLOODNOK: Yes. It's amazing what a man'll do at pistol point, isn't it?

SEAGOON: What's our position?

BLOODNOK: I don't know, I'm a stranger around here.

SEAGOON: What does the label on this wave say? "Made in Birmingham for the English Channel"? Hmmmm.


SEAGOON: Look! I can see the word "Help" coming out of that big striped bubble.

BLOODNOK: It must be a drowning cartoonist. Here! Catch this pencil paper!

MORIARTY: Thank you! I'll draw the life boat! There! Saved! Now I'll draw myself on board! Touché! On board.

SEAGOON: First, I must ask you to empty your pockets.

MORIARTY: Alright.

FX: Many items land on floor

SEAGOON: Quit stalling. Empty your pockets!

GRYTPYPE: Sir, that is our entire worldly wealth.

SEAGOON: What's the ominous bulge in the seat of your trowsers?

MORIARTY:: Ah! Nothing, I tell! Just some old clothes!

SEAGOON: This we'll see, Blocknok, hand me that stick there.

FX: slap

BLUEBOTTLE: Oh! My lug hole! Thank you, friends of mine.

SEAGOON: Gad, a stowaway! Come on out!

BLUEBOTTLE: All right, I'll come out. Lowers flap of Moriarity's trousers. Steps out, waits for audience applause.... Not enough, I say! Puts on record of own clapping.

FX: Wild applause

SEAGOON: Stop! Who are you?

BLUEBOTTLE: I'm young Timmy Bluebottle, Ace Private Detective! Own catapult, own scooter, own legs. Will go anywhere... in Finchley.

SEAGOON: Lad, lad, little looney lad, who are you trailing?

BLUEBOTTLE: I'm after the string criminals. I suspect the Moranrty man.

MORIARTY: Arrgghhh

BLUEBOTTLE: Points finger at him, point, point, pointy, pointy point.

MORIARTY: That's [grumbles] quiet! The child is lying!

BLUEBOTTLE: Keep him away from me!

MORIARTY: The child is lying!

BLUEBOTTLE: Lets fly with catapult: Bing!

FX: Breaking glass

MORIARTY: Ah! My spectacles!

SEAGOON: All right, gentlemen, a final question: are you the owner of these splashes?

FX: Two splashes

GRYTPYPE: No, I've never seen those splashes in my life before.

SEAGOON: Would you care to try them on?

MORIARTY: If you wish.

FX: Two splashes being tried on

BLUEBOTTLE: There! They fit them perfectly! Arrest them in the name of the lee!

MORIARTY: Run for it, Gryptype! Run for it!

FX: Running, two splashes

SEAGOON: After them!

FX: Two splashes

Little Jim: They've fallen in the water

FX: Music

SEAGOON: Hello, folks! I've lost my megaphone - Hello, folks! It's coming to you via cupped hand. Folks! This is the position of it. Moriarity and Grytpype have landed at Dover disguised as splashes and are making inland. They've thumbed a lift from a passing house.

FX: Broken car/house sounds, Minnie and Henry "Oh!"ing. Crowd sounds.

SEAGOON: Ah! Breathless, breathless, breathless. Curse! They drove away in that house!

BLUEBOTTLE: Don't worry, Captain, I took a photograph of the number.

SEAGOON: Good lad!

SEAGOON: And what luck. Here comes a Hindu photographers darkroom.

FX: Loud knocking on door

LALKAKA: Abrada. You are knocking on the door? Is that correct sir?

SEAGOON: We want this camera developed.

LALKAKA: ...Ready in a few moments. If you'll accomodate yourself in the European-type chair over there

FX: Door slams

LALKAKA: Mr Bannerjee?

BANERJEE: What are you calling my name for, Mr Lalkaka

LALKAKA: I thought it might be attached to you man

BANERJEE: Oh oh butut

LALKAKA: Listen, we have had sudden employment in the nature of developing a European-typa film

BANERJEE: Oh, this has come at a most update sense moment. I was in the entrepid process of wrapping up the curry powder you understand.

LALKAKA: You will have to postpone the making of the curry for the temporary type moment.

BANERJEE: It will be difficult, but I, but I am understanding the necessary of gainful employment. There I am willing to concur you understand.

LALKAKA: Alright, alright man.

BANERJEE: Digeye digeye

LALKAKA: Oh chabash


LALKAKA: Ahkabastan, now listen. Will you please...

BANERJEE: I'm waiting, I'm waiting. What are you, what are going to say to me?

LALKAKA: Letting me explain then.

BANERJEE: Alright then

LALKAKA: Place the european-typa film in the Hindu-type developer tray for preparation

BANERJEE: Alright Digeye digeye, wadda we do now? We are waiting for the London european-type developer to work on the type of film

LALKAKA: I tell you what I got, I got a revolutionary-type darkroom

BANERJEE: What have you got?

LALKAKA: No light in it


LALKAKA: I meant to say it's got a light in it, but I killed the joke by saying "no light in it", but we mysterious orientals...

FX: Knock knock on door

BANERJEE: What is that what is that

SEAGOON: Hurry up in there you sabus

BANERJEE: What are you calling us man?

LALKAKA: What is, what is... Here is your developed-type film

SEAGOON: Let's see.

LALKAKA: That's 14 rupees

SEAGOON: Look! The number of the house is 86 Fairy Cake Lane.

SELLERS: That's been changed!

SEAGOON: [laughs] Arrest all houses with that address!

BLOODNOK: Wait! 66 Fairy Cake Lane? That's where Henry Crun lives!

SEAGOON: Men, this is the plan: We go to the empty space on the street where Crun's house lives, we go down in the celler and wait for Crun's house to arrive.

BLOODNOK: We must hurry, the audience is leaving!

FX: Running, fades. Phone rings. Running, returns. Picks up.

SEAGOON: [out of breath] Hello, yes? Major Bloodknock? Hold on, I'll.. get him.

FX: Running, fades. Pause. Running, returns.

BLOODNOK: Oh, oh. [out of breath] Yes? Hello? Bloodnok here.

SEAGOON: [on phone] Hurry up, Major, we're all waiting up the street for you!

BLOODNOK: Cor blimey, I...

FX: Rings off, runs away

GREENSLADE: Those running boots are a repeat of the running boots you heard in "Those Were The Days" on the night program of March the 2nd and was taken from the BBC great sound library of 9,000 scatchy records. I should, at this juncture, like to thank the Wallace Greenslade Fan Club whose, um, 39,000 members clubbed together and sent me a copy of last year's birthday honors. How nice to have such nice, sweet friends.

GRYTPYPE: He's a bit of a crawler, Moriarity.

MORIARTY: Ah, [inaudible]

CRUN: Well, this is as far as my house goes, gentlemen.

MORIARTY: Ah, no, listen, Mr. Crunge. Can we stay here until it gets dark?

CRUN: Well, if you shut your eyes it'll get dark right away.

MORIARTY: Oh? I'll try that... He's right, Grytpype!

SEAGOON: Hands up, you two men in the dark there!


GRYTPYPE: Where are you?

SEAGOON: Under the floorboards in the cellar. Don't move or I'll fire!

BLUEBOTTLE: Captain! From where I'm lying, I can see up Moriarty's trowsers! E-he!

MORIARTY: What do you want?

SEAGOON: Hand down the two pieces of string tied around your socks!

GRYTPYPE: Dear listeners, as there is no audible sound for a piece of string, we substitute this:

FX: strange sounds / voices

SEAGOON: Moriarity? You're under arrest! Mr. Crun, how do we get up out of this cellar?

CRUN: There's no cellar in this house.

SEAGOON: No cellar? Then... where are we?

CRUN: You're all in your mind [laughs]

SEAGOON: Help! Help! Hold up this script! Get us out! Help!

Orchestra: End theme

GREENSLADE: That was the Goon Show, a BBC recorded program featuring Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe, and Spike Milligan, and George Chisholm, with the Ray Ellington Quartet, Max Geldray, and the orchestra conducted by Wally Stott. Script by Spike Milligan. Announcer Wallace Greenslade. The program produced by Tom Ronald.

Orchestra: Playout.