THE BURNING EMBASSY

 

GOON SHOW: TLO 39928

8TH SERIES: No 3

1st BROADCAST: 14 Oct 1957

 

Script by Spike Milligan and Larry Stephens

 

 

GREENSLADE: This is the BBC. And now the new all leather Goon Show.

SELLERS: (American jive show host.) All right kids, come on. Let’s make with the music kids.

GRAMS: Old fashioned gramophone recording of dance band circa 1929. End with explosion on final chord.

GREENSLADE: Part two. An early Gainsborough landscape depicting dawn over Wandsworth fire station. Lying in bed is a small lithograph of fireman Seagoon.

SEAGOON: (Morning breath) Ah huh. Ha! Oops! Where’s my speaking trumpet? Ah, there it is. I’ll just empty it. Ah-hem. (Megaphone) Hello folks! Calling folks! This is Fire Chief Seagoon speaking folks. Well folks, it’s a beautiful day here at Wandsworth Fire Station folks. The firemen will start their day by unrolling their hoses and watering the flowers. That’s all folks. That’s all folks! Fireman Willium?
WILLIUM: Oh, er good morning Chiefy.

SEAGOON: Any outstanding fire calls?

WILLIUM: Yeah. Well I got one ‘ere matey. I’m not too ‘appy about this. It says ‘ere, ‘Urgent,’ it says ‘ere. ‘ Cry - Crystal Palace is on fire.’

SEAGOON: A hoax. An absolute hoax I tell you. I was up there yesterday morning and there’s no such building as Crystal Palace at Crystal Palace. Right, now then…

FX: Fireman’s whistle. Two blasts.

SEAGOON: Fire drill! Light the fire and put the kettle on.

GRAMS: Hurried boots running up stairs.

FX: Door opens.

GRYTPYPE: Gentlemen. Bad news. Gange is on fire.

OMNES: Screams.

GRAMS: Boots running away. Fire bells. Speed up and fade.

GRYTPYPE: Well. That got rid of them Moriarty. Quick, stick these auction labels on the furniture and let the crowd in.

FX: Door opens.

OMNES & GRAMS: Serious auction house rhubarbs.

GRYTPYPE: Gentlemen! Control your rhubarbs. Gentlemen, what am I bid for lot one?

MILLIGAN: (Methuselah) Two shillings.

FX: Gavel on bench.

GRYTPYPE: Sold! One auctioneer’s mallet.

MORIARTY: Argghh! We’re off to a good start.

GRYTPYPE: Lot two. Complete set of Louis Quinge fireman’s furniture plus marble statues of fire-engine travelling at speed.

MORIARTY: Two shillings!

FX: Gavel on bench.

GRYTPYPE: Sold for the second time, one auctioneer’s mallet! And now we come to lot three. One cannon shell.

THROAT: Two shillings.

GRYTPYPE: Will you take it sir, or do you want it sent?

THROAT: Sent.

GRYTPYPE: Fire!

GRAMS: Cannon shot.

GRYTPYPE: It’ll be there when you get home sir. And finally gentlemen, for the musical connoisseur what am I bid for the original bedroom of fire chief Seagoon, comprising walls, roof, ceiling and one flock mattress?

MILLIGAN: Two shillings.

FX: Gavel on bench.

GRYTPYPE: Sold to the gentleman who keeps changing his voice. Moriarty, time for your Awww.

MORIARTY: Awwww.

GRYTPYPE: Splendid. Now, what am I bid for this auctioneer’s mallet?

FX: Door opens.

SEAGOON: What’s going on here? Eh, eh? What’s going on? I just passed a man on the stairs carrying my room.

GRYTPYPE: He’s taking it to be repaired. It’s … er, got a puncture.

SEAGOON: My room’s got a puncture? But it’s only done two thousand miles. Oh horror of horrors! I’ll get my speaking trumpet. Hello folks! (With megaphone) Hello folks! Calling folks. From where I am I can see that my entire set of Louis Quinge fireman’s furniture has been stolen. A lifetime’s work – ruined!

GRAMS: Jewish funeral weeping. Slightly higher speed.

GRYTPYPE: There, there, there, there, Neddie and fans. Now all of you stand in this bucket of water and let me explain. You see, this is all part of a great plan.

MORIARTY: Awwww!

GRYTPYPE: Shut up Moriarty! There’s a time and place for awww-ing.

MORIARTY: Where?
GRYTPYPE: I’ll think of it next week. Neddie, we’re from the Ministry of Psychologicals. The government are testing people’s reaction to sudden disaster.

SEAGOON: They’ve been doing that ever since they got in.

GRYTPYPE: Steady now. This microphone may be tapped.

FX: Distant taps on mic surface.

MORIARTY: There’s somebody tapping it now.

SEAGOON: What’s going to happen? I’m ruined!

GRYTPYPE: Ah, that’s where we the government officials come in, Neddie. With the aid of this war surplus piano we bring you the official government answer to national ruin.

PIANO: G7 introduction.

MORIARTY: (Sings)          You got to face disaster with a smile.

                                        Keep on laughing all the while

                                        When you’re shot through the head

                                        Don’t fall down dead -

                                        Just pick up your bed and smile, smile, smile,

                                        Pick up your bed and smile.

GRAMS: Wild applause.

SEAGOON: Oh, thank you. Gentlemen, you were right. That government type song has completely restored my confidence.

GRYTPYPE: Yes Neddie, and in your hour of need let us offer you the government’s full employment scheme - two pound ten a week and free laundry.

SEAGOON: Free laundry?

GRYTPYPE: Yes - you wash our clothes for nothing.

MORIARTY: Yes, and better still you pay us two pound ten a week for the privilege!

SEAGOON: Eureka! When do we start?
GRYTPYPE: Now. Moriarty?

MORIARTY: Yes?

GRYTPYPE: Take off those hessian underclothes.

MORIARTY: Right.

GRAMS: Boots departing at speed.

GRYTPYPE: (Distant) Neddie. Scrub those and return the barge pole.

SEAGOON: Right.

FX: Sawing on lump of wood.

SEAGOON: I’ll just saw through the crust on his hat. Don’t worry. I’ll soon have these nicotine stains out.

GREENSLADE: And what more ideal moment to bring in Max Geldray who has consented to play his teeth.

 

MAX GELDRAY – “This Can’t Be Love”[1]

 

GREENSLADE: And now part two.

SEAGOON: Hardly had I got Moriarty’s underpants back to running order and oiled the hinges on his socks when the phone rang.

FX: Phone rings. Receiver picked up.

SEAGOON: Hello? Wandsworth fire station here.

CHINAMAN: (At end of line) Ah. Can I come in prrease?

SEAGOON: Certainly.

FX: Door opens.

CHINAMAN: Ah, thank you. Thank you Mister Seagloon. I have misf’lortune to inform you that B’litish Embassy in China has caught fire and are blazing mellily away.

SEAGOON: I’m innocent I tell you. I was nowhere near the place. My grandmother keeps a duck farm in Kent! I was stamping eggs at the time.

CHINAMAN: Ah, prrease understand. Chinese government anxious that you B’litish f’lire-men put B’litish Embassy fire ou-ult.

SEAGOON: What! And freeze ‘em to death? We’ll do it. How far is it to Peking lads?

WILLIUM: Ah, ten thousand miles.

SEAGOON: Right. Get the long hose out.

WILLIUM: It’s only forty foot long mate.

SEAGOON: Oh then we’ll have to form a bucket chain from there on.

WILLIUM: Can’t use the bucket. It’s had a puncture mate.

SEAGOON: Curse. Another disaster.

WILLIUM: (Recites) You’ve got to face disaster with a smile,

                    Keep on laughing all the while…

SEAGOON: Stop, you singing fool!

WILLIUM: What! (A chance ruined!)

SEAGOON: I’ve had an idea.

GREENSLADE: Seagoon has just had the following idea. The water for the fire in China will be wrapped in brown paper parcels marked ‘Water. This way up’, and posted to Peking.

GRYTPYPE: Curse Moriarty. Did you hear that?
MORIARTY: Awww.

GRYTPYPE: You know very well that we can’t collect the insurance money on the British Embassy until it’s burned to the ground.

MORIARTY: Huzzah! At last – a plot!

GRYTPYPE: We’ve got to stop those parcels of water getting there alive. Link music please!

MORIARTY: Where’s my banjo?

ORCHESTRA: DRAMATIC LINK.

SEAGOON: All went well. The water parcels began to flow out of England like water. But then – bad tidings.

GRAMS: (Recording) GREENSLADE: This is the BBC Spon service and here is

the news. On reaching the middle east parcels of British water intended for the blazing embassy in China have completely evaporated.

SEAGOON: Evaporated! Are you sure?

GRAMS: (Recording) GREENSLADE: Positive.

SEAGOON: Send a radiogram to the British Embassy Peking.

GRAMS: Morse signal (continue under.)

SEAGOON: (Dictating) Water supplies held up. Try to keep fire going till it arrives. Now, I must catch a plane. Hand me that butterfly net.

GREENSLADE: And so saying, Seagoon collecting an ice pick and a life jacket, set off on a defrosting flight to the middle east. And now over to the British Military Advisor to the Abyssinian Girl’s School in Addis Ababa.

ORCHESTRA: START BLOODNOK THEME.
BLOODNOK: Wait a minute! Wait a minute! I haven’t got my trousers on yet, please. Aahhhh, that’s better. Now –

ORCHESTRA: BLOODNOK THEME.

BLOODNOK: Ooooohh!

GRAMS: Clouds of flies.

BLOODNOK: Blast these flies. Get out of it! Get out of it you flies! Schumm! Kebel O’Tour! Singhez! Singhez Thing!

SINGHEZ THING: I am coming sir.

BLOODNOK: Take these flies out and sell them.

SINGHEZ THING: Alright. Come on boys, break’s over. Come on boys, out you go.

BLOODNOK: Now having got that matter over, now to my private matters of the day.

FX: Scratchy nib on paper.

BLOODNOK: Dear Madam, reference your advert in shop window and well known photography magazine. As a keen student of photography I should like the …

SINGHEZ THING: Pardon me. There’s a European fireman waiting in the waiting room.

BLOODNOK: What! Well tell him to wait in the hiding room while I paste these photographs in my hat. PASTE! PASTE! (Well, there’s no sound effect for paste is there?)

FX: Door opening.

SEAGOON: No there isn’t. But there is one for doors opening. Good morning. Are you Major Bloodnok?

BLOODNOK: How dare you mention that name in this house. Step outside!

FX: Door closes.

SEAGOON: Well, are you Major Bloodnok?

BLOODNOK: Yes. Come in.

FX: Door closes.

SEAGOON: Thank you. I’m Neddie Seagoon.

BLOODNOK: Ah of course – one of the Queen’s beasts! Welcome to Abyssinia.

SEAGOON: Thank you. Major, the British Embassy in China is on fire.

BLOODNOK: What!! I must have a look.

FX: Door opens.

BLOODNOK: Gad, so it is.

SEAGOON: Good heavens. Could you see it?
BLOODNOK: Of course not. I take your word for it. And now to the burning Embassy part three.

ORCHESTRA: THIN CHORD.

SEAGOON: Didn’t take long, did it?

BLOODNOK: I don’t know who you are sir, or where you come from, but it did me a power of good, that – a power of good. Now, I suppose you’re worried about these parcels of water evaporating.

SEAGOON: Not really. I’m just acting you know.

BLOODNOK: You’re acting? So that’s what it is. Don’t worry lad, your secret is safe with me.

SEAGOON: You’re in condition tonight Major.

BLOODNOK: Thank you. Now, there’s only one way to stop evaporation in this heat. Send your water by a cooler route.

SEAGOON: For instance?
BLOODNOK: Over the north pole, through the white hell of Fitz-felloo, across outer Mongolia and finally a three – four – nine tram to the Embassy.

SEAGOON: But by the time we took that route the fire would be out.

BLOODNOK: You see? Success from the start! Eight guineas please.

FX: Cash register. Bell rings. Coin into tray.

BLOODNOK: I thank you, and the next please.

FX: Door opens.

BLOODNOK: Now my dear, what’s your problem?

SEAGOON: These parcels of water, what causes the evaporation?

BLOODNOK: The sun! The sun!

SEAGOON: The sun?

BLOODNOK: Yes.

SEAGOON: We must get rid of it. I know, I shall scrampton-scree the scrounds-screw…

BLOODNOK: Yes.

MORIARTY: Did you hear that Grytpype? Another part of the plot.

GRYTPYPE: Don’t worry Moriarty. The sun is safe.

MORIARTY: Are you sure?
GRYTPYPE: Yes. I put fire-guard in front of it.

MORIARTY: Supposing the fire is attacked?

GRYTPYPE: Not a hope Moriarty. It’s guarded by two Interpol sun-worshippers!

GRAMS: Fire crackling. Continue under entire scene.

BLUEBOTTLE: Eccles? Throw another twig on the sun. We don’t want it to go out on us, do we!

ECCLES: Yah, you got to be careful.

BLUEBOTTLE: Yeah.

ECCLES: The sun went out last night and it stayed out all night.

BLUEBOTTLE: Oohhao! It must be a Tom.

ECCLES: Oooh! That’s what his name is – Tom Sun.

BLUEBOTTLE: Yes! Ooheeeghe!

ECCLES: I wish I knew all them clever things that you know Bluebottle.

BLUEBOTTLE: Well, it all takes time you know my good man. Did you know that … (Don’t do that Eccles. It’s not nice.) Did you know Eccles… ?

ECCLES: I knew Eccles. Oh, that’s me.

BLUEBOTTLE: We mens are growing older all the time.

ECCLES: What! What! What! What!

BLUEBOTTLE: I said, we’re growing older all the time.

ECCLES: What, er – even when we’re standing still?

BLUEBOTTLE: Yes.

ECCLES: Well, it’s not fair. I didn’t know anything about this.

BLUEBOTTLE: Well, you have got to face up to it my good man.

ECCLES: I don’t – I don’t believe it. I don’t believe we’re getting old all the time.

BLUEBOTTLE: It’s true.

ECCLES: Ah, owwh. Let me have a little test.

BLUEBOTTLE: Alright then.

ECCLES: You stand ‘dere and I’ll watch and see if you get any older.

BLUEBOTTLE: Fair do’s. Fair do’s.

ECCLES: Alright then. Ready?
BLUEBOTTLE: Yes.

ECCLES: Go. (Pause) Still look the same to me. There’s no difference at all my good man.

BLUEBOTTLE: I know why. That’s cause you been getting older as well. (Thinks to self… )

ECCLES: Oh, I’d better go away then.

BLUEBOTTLE: Yes. (I must admit I didn’t notice Eccles getting older either. I will experiment.) Says aloud – Eccles!

ECCLES: Yeah!

BLUEBOTTLE: Do you know what I will do? I will time us getting old with my tiger-tim watch. Ready?
ECCLES: I’ll just put my hat on. Ok, ready.

BLUEBOTTLE: Go! (Long pause) There! You just got ten seconds older.

ECCLES: Oooh! Did I?

BLUEBOTTLE: Yes.

ECCLES: It didn’t hurt at all. Here, this is fun!

BLUEBOTTLE: Ye-ess!

ECCLES: Here, let’s go and stand over there and get old now.

BLUEBOTTLE: Let’s get older over there.

ECCLES: Let’s stand over there. Ok, ready?

BLUEBOTTLE: Yes.

ECCLES: One! Two!

GREENSLADE: And here to make everyone old is Ray ‘Do-it yourself’ Ellington and his rapidly decaying quartet.

 

RAY ELLINGTON – ‘I’ve Got a Rose Between My Toes’ [2]

 

GREENSLADE: And now a smoke filled room at the British Embassy Peking.

GRAMS: Flames crackling.

BANNISTER: (Singing hot rhythm) Ooooh. Yim bum biddle boh! They’re driving me crazy. I’ve got onions on my bunions. The rocking through the hot house with you. Dibba dibba dub bum…

CRUN: (Fibrillations) Stop it! Stop it! Stop that sinful singing Min. How can you perform those sensuous gyrations in those revealing low cut brown elastic sided boots I’ll never know!

BANNISTER: I’ve got the measurements for dancing buddy – forty-one, eighteen, thirty-six!

CRUN: (Fibrillations) Ooaauuugh! What a figure Min!

BANNISTER: Those are my leg measurements.

CRUN: WHAT! Who did you allow to measure your legs?

BANNISTER: I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you tonight!

CRUN: WHO?!
BANNISTER: Mrs. Millie Toolie.

CRUN: (Heart attack territory) Mrs. Millie Toolie? I’LL KILL HIM!!! I’ll put an end to your brown leather rhythms.

BANNISTER: Poooooooooow!

CRUN: Now, I’ll just get this gas stove under my head, and put these lead pipes down my trousers. There! Let that be a lesson to you, you sinful … (sniffs) What’s burning Min? What’s burning?

BANNISTER: Oooh! It’s soles of my boots are on fire.

CRUN: You shouldn’t stand with your back to the Embassy. Swallow this tablet of water.

GRAMS: Gushing fountain.

BANNISTER: Oooh. That’s better buddy. Oooooooo! Oooooh that’s better.

CRUN: Be careful Min, careful. Don’t let that steam get up your legs or you’ll get the dreaded Manchu knee-cramp.

BANNISTER: Listen Henry, we can’t keep this Embassy burning much longer buddy. The neighbours are starting to talk.

CRUN: Ooo. Then we’d better pull the curtains Min.

BANNISTER: Ok buddy. I”ll…

FX: Knocking on door.

BANNISTER: Ooh! Answer that burning door.

FX: Door opens.

MORIARTY: Ahm, awwww. Pardon me honourable sir. A parcel of water for you.

GRYTPYPE: At last. (Sniffs) Wait a moment sir. This water smells like petrol.

MORIARTY: Xah xah xah xah xah xah xahoh! Yes, it was disguised as petrol to get it through the customs.

CRUN: Thank you.

FX: Door closes

CRUN: Now Min, let us throw this parcel on …

FX: Door opens.

SEAGOON: Stop! Saved in the nick of time! The forces of evil are foiled.

OMNES: Pantomime cheering.

SEAGOON: Give me that parcel. Pour it in the tank of this car. Right.

GRAMS: Car speeds off and returns. Skids to a halt.

SEAGOON: Just as I thought. This car runs on water. But apart from that, that parcel contained petrol.

GRYTPYPE: We’ve got him worried Moriarty. He’s bluffing his lines.

SEAGOON: Mr. Crun, we’re having difficulty getting the water to this fire. It would help if you could load the Embassy onto a lorry and meet us in Addis Ababa outside the Odeon seven o’clock Thursday night.

CRUN: Ooh! How can we recognise you?

SEAGOON: I shall be driving a red fire engine. Goodbye!

BANNISTER: Goodbye.

ORCHESTRA: DRAMATIC LINK. RESOLVE INTO OMINOUS AFRICAN CHORDS WITH SPRIGGS ON LEAD VOCALS.

SEAGOON: All of which means I’ve arrived back in Africa.

BLOODNOK: Yes Neddie, and we’ve solved the evaporation problem.

SEAGOON: You mean you’ve frozen the water into ice blocks which have been placed in that giant cold storage van?

BLOODNOK: Yes. And it saved me saying it. Now put these furs on because inside that van it’s forty below.

SEAGOON: Gad yes, and three foot of snow. And the entire cast dressed in furs.

BLOODNOK: Gad what a sight. If only this were coloured radio.

SEAGOON: Right. Willium, insert this steering wheel under your dentures and away we go!

GRAMS: Lorry pulls away.

ORCHESTRA: DRAMATIC LINK.

GRAMS: Lorry travelling on highway.

SPRIGGS: As the refrigeration van bumped along folks, the heat outside was a hundred and thirty degrees. But inside the van –

GRAMS: Howling arctic wind. Huskies barking.

CYRIL: Mush! Mush! Must keep the dogs at the gallop.

SEAGOON: Whatever for?
CYRIL: We don’t want to be left behind.

SEAGOON: Left behind? But we’re inside the lorry.

CYRIL: Yes, but what if it goes faster than we do?

SEAGOON: Gad, you’re right. Mush! Mush!

BLOODNOK: Ooooo! It’s too cold in this van. I’m freezing. Forty degrees of frost.

SEAGOON: Yeah, it is a bit parkie isn’t it? I’ll get the temperature turned up. Eccles! Turn it up.

ECCLES: I ain’t done nothing. Oooo! – turn the thermometer up. Right.

GRAMS: Sudanese native drummers.

BLOODNOK: Ooh houhouhouhouhouho!

SEAGOON: The temperature’s up too high!

ECCLES: Ok. I’ll turn it down.

GRAMS: Timber wolves howling.

BLOODNOK: Too low! We’re being attacked by timber wolves.

ECCLES: I’ll throw ‘em some timber.

SEAGOON: You fool. Turn the temperature up again.

GRAMS: Native drummers.

BLOODNOK: Too low -

GRAMS: Wind howling.

BLOODNOK: Too high -

GRAMS: Native drummers.

BLOODNOK: Too low -

GRAMS: Wind howling.

BLOODNOK: Too high –

GRAMS: Native drummers.

BLOODNOK: Too low -

ORCHESTRA: FOXTROT. SMALL COMBO with SAXOPHONE ON LEAD.

GRAMS: Extensive explosion strength 7.

GREENSLADE: There was an accident this morning at the crossroads, High Street Addis Ababa. A lorry with a blazing British Embassy on the back was in collision with a cold storage van containing twenty-three sunburnt and frost bitten men. Would anyone who witnessed it please contact…

ORCHESTRA: PLAYOUT

GREENSLADE: That was the Goon Show, a BBC recorded programme featuring Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Spike Milligan, with the Ray Ellington Quartet, Max Geldray and the orchestra conducted by Wally Stott. Script by Spike Milligan and Larry Stephens, announcer Wallace Greenslade - the programme produced by Charles Chilton.

 

YTI



[1] Written by Rodgers and Hart for their 1938 musical ‘The Boys From Syracuse’.  Secombe’s favourite number ‘Falling in Love with Love’ comes from the same show. Nat King Cole had had a tremendous hit with the number in 1954.

 

[2] Written by Lou Carter, a sometime pianist and arranger for Tommy Dorsey, the song was one of a group penned by Carter for his new persona ‘Louie the Singing Cab driver’ – a character he developed for the new Perry Como Television Show after it had moved back to NBC in the mid 50’s.