RECORDED: 18 Nov 1957[1]


Script by Spike Milligan and Larry Stephens


GREENSLADE: This is the BBC light programme. We present the new, all-leather Goon Show.

GRAMS: The Greig Piano Concerto in A minor – opening. Cut before final chord. Body into water.

GREENSLADE: Yes. Tonight our story begins…

ANCIENT MP: (Interrupting) The man’s a fool – an absolute idiot, a ridiculous idiot. A load of cock-and-bull, absolute nonsense. A stupid nit. I can’t understand how he gets away with it. (Self fade) I don’t know…[2]

GREENSLADE: Tonight our story begins on board Britain’s latest battleship, the nineteen-hundred-and-two HMS Boxer,[3] where a broadcast of that favourite programme ‘Variety Awash’ is now in progress.

SELLERS: And here to open the show, is that wacky king of coons, your kimpare and compare – Halley Seaton!

GRAMS: Variety Hall Organ introduction with wild, rapturous applause.

SEAGOON: (over) Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Ha ha! Hello shipsmates. Well, well, well, well, well, well! Ha ha gnya gnya gnya gnya! It’s nice to be on board ship with all the lads in blue again.

GRAMS: Quick burst of laughter.
SEAGOON: Thank you! But seriously though, I was in the Navy myself, you know. As a matter of fact I was standing at the sharp end one day, leaning over the railings, when the Captain came up and said, “You can’t be sick here!” – and I said, “Can’t I? Just watch!”
GRAMS: Recorded laughter.
SEAGOON: (over) Please! Ha ha ha. No, no, no! But seriously though, as a matter of fact, I can’t seem to ***. As a matter of fact, let’s get on with our first act. So here to sing for you is Miss Millie Toolie. And here she is, Miss Millie Toolie. To sing for you, Miss Millie Toolie!
GRAMS: Applause – Crackly old recording of Gracie Fields singing the ‘Laughing Song’ from Act 2 of ‘Die Fledermaus’ with piano accompaniment. Continue under.

SELLERS: (Close to mic) Hello listeners, Brinnel Jolson here. It’s a really wonderful sight to see this simple country girl bringing the sailor’s memories of home, tears streaming down her innocent little face, and trickling onto her black, fishnet stockings.
GRAMS: Final note of song. Rapturous applause. Shouts of ‘encore’.
: (Over) Thank you! Thank you music lovers. Millie Toolie of course, was singing that lovely old ballad “In a Reformatory Garden’.[4] (laughs) Ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ahem. No, but seriously though, aren’t women wonderful? Now take my wife…please. Hahahaha. Now there’s a woman – I think.
GRAMS: Laughter, whistles etc
SEAGOON: (Over) Ha ha. But talk about fat! – when she walks down the street wearing slacks, it looks like two kids fighting under a blanket.
GRAMS: Laughter, cheering. Continue laughter under.
SEAGOON: Thank you. Ha ha ha. Ah, you’re spoiling me tonight. You’re spoiling me. Yes… She’s… (Please…Please… Haha, no, no! I… I can’t stand all this larkin.) [5] Now then, she’s a very funny woman, my wife. (self fade) Would you believe it, but last week I was talking to her in the kitchen…
GRYTPYPE: Men, Sabrina has fallen overboard.
GRAMS: Massed boots running into distance. Slight pause. Multiple splashes.
GRTPYPE: Well, that’s got rid of them Moriarty. Right, full steam ahead for the open sea!
GRAMS: Ship’s bell.
SEAGOON: (Fade in) No, no, no! But seriously lads – I always take my wife with me everywhere. I’d rather take her than kiss her goodbye. Ha ha ha … ha ha… aha. (Pause) Aye, you’ll have to see them faster than that. I said ‘I’d rather take her than kiss her goodbye!’… What’s the matter with the audience tonight? I paralysed them at Bolton with that one. Where…where’s me glasses? (Gulps) They’ve all gone. ‘Ere, where’s the audience?
GRYTPYPE: Control your powers, Neddie. You see, they heard that Sabrina had fallen overboard.  
SEAGOON: What!? What, what, what! Sabrina fallen overboard? Poor little innocent photographer’s model. I must get a lifebelt. Now, I’ll just join these two together and… [6]
GRYTPYPE: No, no, no, no, no, Neddie. With the crew gone, we need you on board as ballast.
SEAGOON: What? What, what, what? Where’s my speaking trumpet? (I have it in my hand.) Hello… (Megaphone) Hello! Hello folks! Calling folks! The speaker was a tall man, wearing the full dress uniform of a Naval confidence trickster.
GRYTPYPE: Ahoy! And now ship-mattey, the legs you see protruding from that swill bucket, belong to none other than Count Jim ‘Bilge’ …
GRYTPYPE: … Moriarty, voted ‘Miss Galley Slops’ of nineteen fifty-one and part owner of the suit he is now wearing.  
GRYTPYPE: And again, Moriarty.
GRYTPYPE: There. Two for the price of one.
SEAGOON: Wait. Why are we heading out to sea?
GRYTPYPE: Neddie, light yourself a hammock and let me explain. We are offering you the life of a modern-type buccaneer. Come lad, join us. You can live a life of luxury!
SEAGOON: Right! I’ll join you.
GRYTPYPE: Splendid. Now to swear you in. Drink this bucket of slops and say after me, “I am a Charlie.”
SEAGOON: (Swallowing noises – smacks lips) I’m a Charlie.

GREENSLADE: Meanwhile, HMS Boxer headed southwards to sunlit seas, where nought but the plaintive cry of the seagull and the soft lapping of the opalescent cobalt waters disturbed the hot, endless silence ‘neath the still, burning orb of the tropic sun.
GRYTPYPE: Have you quite done?
GREENSLADE: (Distant) Aye-aye, Sir.
GRYTPYPE: Then, left turn… Queeg hhaarrl.
GRAMS: Boots marching across deck. Pause, splash.
LITTLE JIM: He’s fallen in da water.
GRYTPYPE: And the best place for him, little Jim.
MORIARTY: Starboard five, ahoy!
GRAMS: Distant sea. Ship’s bell.
MORIARTY: Mid ships!
GRAMS: Ship’s bell.
MORIARTY: Maternity ward, ahoy! Starboard kipper on the cranbahal-mishplghyiyonghuplkhowwww. Owwww
GRYTPYPE: Shut up, you nautical French steamer!
MORIARTY: Owwwww!!
GRYTPYPE: Ahoy, little marker buoy.
SEAGOON: There are strange noises coming from the stoke hole.
GRYTPYPE: What!? [7] Lift the manhole, and let me listen.
FX: Clank of manhole cover. Shovelling noises.
ECCLES: (sings) Somebody loves me…

I live in a dream.

Oh hohoho.

Melody divine.

I love da moon…

and da moon loves me…(&c rubbish)

FLOWERDEW: (Goosed) Oooh!

ECCLES: Oh oooh!

FLOWERDEW: Eccles, mind what you are doing with that long handled shovel. You never know where it’s been. [8]
SEAGOON: Come here at once. Hup!
GRYTPYPE: So… stokers eh?
ECCLES: Stokers aye. Aye, stokers. (&c rubbish)
GRYTPYPE: Didn’t you hear me shout that Sabrina was overboard?
ECCLES: Who cares about him?  
MORIARTY: Grytpype, what are you going to do with them?
GRYTPYPE: Simple you fool, we’ll just maroon them somewhere, including Neddie.
SEAGOON: You can’t do that, you need me! I, I… I keep you entertained, with jokes and merry songs. Look, I’ll show you… (Music hall turn) Well, hello there! No, but seriously though…[9] (Megaphone) Well, hello there. No, but seriously though. My wife’s got a face like a million dollars – all green and crinkly. (Laughs) Hahaha. All green and crinkly. Ahem.

(sings) Oh, the moon belongs to everyone,

the best things in life are-free.

Horray… (Laughs) Hahah-ha.

GRYTPYPE: (close) Moriarty, lower the desert island.
MORIARTY: Right, over the bulwarks.
GRAMS: Hawsers lowering something heavy. Splash.
GRYTPYPE: Right you three, over you go. Hup!
ECCLES: Arrgghhhhh… (self fade)
SEAGOON: You can’t do this to me… (self fade)
FX: Bodies hitting ground.
GRYTPYPE: Goodbye!
GRAMS: Ship’s hooter.
ECCLES: (Distant) Neddie, you need your boots resoling.
SEAGOON: How do you know?
ECCLES: (As before) You’re standing on my face. Do you wish to know about that?
SEAGOON: I don’t wish to know about that. I wonder where we are? I’ll just play this map on the gramophone.
GRAMS: Theme of “Desert Island Disks”. Add in distant sea and seagulls.
SEAGOON: Good heavens, we’re on a desert island.
ELLINGA: White man, take off that record.
SEAGOON: What - and expose my turntable!?
ELLINGA: Yim bom darna goollas undum bluulan gunta looba.
SEAGOON: Let me handle this. (clears throat). You listen me. Me brave English Welshman. You no frighten me. Me give you clean, British punch-up-the-conk. That told him.
ECCLES: ‘Ere, that’s a nice spear stickin’ out the back of your head.
SEAGOON: Whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat?? (chicken clucking)
ELLINGA: Ah-ha! You there!
FLOWERDEW: (Distant) Awhhh!
ELLINGA: You nice-um young fella. You come along me! And you – little, round pudding…
SEAGOON: What what what? You can’t do this to me, do you hear? I’m free, white and twenty-one stone. Where are you taking us?
ELLINGA: Me going to put you all inside.
SEAGOON: Inside where?
GRAMS: Boots running into distance.
GREENSLADE: The intrepid trio ran on and on through the steaming jungle, till finally they heard a strange noise emanating from a clearing.
ORCHESTRA: Bloodnok theme played by single saxophone.
BLOODNOK: Oh, ho ho ho!
ORCHESTRA: Saxophone – single note.
BLOODNOK: Oh!! Jigger me crudlers!
SEAGOON: The speaker was a military gentleman, clad in a grass skirt.
BLOODNOK: That’s the last time I stand near a lawnmower. Ohhhh! That gardener. Oh, what a snake-in-the-grass he is.
SEAGOON: Pardon me sir, could you tell us the name of this island?
BLOODNOK: Yes, I can. It’s the Isle of Alassie, so called after our national anthem. (Sings) I love a lassie,

a bonny Chinese lassie…

SEAGOON: Splendid, I knew her mother!
BLOODNOK: Nonsense. We were just good friends, I tell you…
SEAGOON: Wait a minute! Haven’t I seen your photograph in the papers? Something about…
BLOODNOK: It’s a lie!! It’s a lie, I tell you! I never went near the regimental safe! Anyway, I was going to put the money back. I…could I help it if the horse lost? It was two other fellows named Smith, I tell you.
SEAGOON: Bloodnok!! Bloodnok! That’s it, you’re Major Bloodnok!
BLOODNOK: Well…er…I…er...I was.
SEAGOON: What do you mean, you were?
BLOODNOK: Well, I had to change my name, you know. It got dirty.
SEAGOON: Really? What did you change it to?
BLOODNOK: The Famous Eccles.
ECCLES: Ooooh. Dat’s my name! Oh, ‘erewrghrghrgh. ‘Ere, if you’re de Famous Ecc…If you’re de Famous Eccles, den who am I? I said… “DEN WHO AM I?”

(sings) Who am I,

who am I? (Sings rubbish &c)

SEAGOON: Just a minute. Let me see that, Ellington, Minnie. He’s Eccles, that’s Flowerdew, I’m Seagoon – you must be Major Bloodnok.  

ECCLES: Ooo. If I’m Major Bloodnok, I’d better start practising. (Imitating Bloodnok) Ohohohoh! Dat’s better. (Into distance) Hohohoho! I can’t sit ‘ere all day.

FX: knock on door – door opens.
ECCLES: Oh. Yeah?
WILLIUM: Oh, good mornin’. Five pound money order for Major Bloodnok.
ECCLES: Oh, dat’s for me. Thank you, my good man.
BLOODNOK: Here! Give me that money order!
ECCLES: It’s mine, I’m Major Bloodnok.
BLOODNOK: Nonsense! You give it to me, you thieving coward!
ECCLES: I’m not a thieving coward!
BLOODNOK: Then that proves it – you’re not Major Bloodnok!
SEAGOON: Major! Shh, I can hear something in the jungle, there.
BLOODNOK: It’s those cannibals again, they always attack when it gets dark.
SEAGOON: I’d better strike a match.
BLOODNOK: Don’t do that, you fool! They’ll see it! Here, use my lighter.
GRAMS: Man-eating Tiger
BLOODNOK: Do you hear that? That’s a cannibal, doing an impression of a tiger.
ELLINGA: (Distant) Um ban nooka loogs an Congo. (Laughs)
BLOODNOK: There’s worse to come, lad. Now they all get together and do an impression of the Ray Ellington Qintool!
SEAGOON: Men! Lower aim and fix earplugs!


GREENSLADE: And while Mr Ellington quickly changes back into his full drape lion-cloth for the part of the cannibal chief, let us re-set the scene. ‘The Stolen Battleship’ – part two. Maddened by the rhythm-type melodies, the cannibals surge into a frenzied attack.
GRAMS: Attacking natives. War whoops etc – continue under.
SEAGOON: Right men, fire!
GRAMS: Pistol shots, machine guns.
BLOODNOK: Keep firing.
GRAMS: Machine guns. (Continue under.)
SEAGOON: Gad! These magazines are red hot!
BLOODNOK: I know, I’ve been reading some of them.
SEAGOON: Wait, hold your fire! Someone’s coming!
ANCIENT MP: Ohh, man’s a fool, absolute idiot. Never afford a Sputnik with him in office, never. (Self fade) Never.
SEAGOON: Well, he seems to have scared away the cannibals.
BLOODNOK: Splendid, now, where was I? Oh yes, yes. Give me that money order. Give me that money order I tell you.
ECCLES: No, dat’s mine.
BLOODNOK: Wait a minute, it’s mine, I tell you!
SEAGOON: Major, Major, please, enough of this carefully rehearsed ad-libbing. Please! Who cares about money?
BLOODNOK: Who cares about money?? You must be mad.
SEAGOON: I want to get back to England.
BLOODNOK: Then you are mad!
SEAGOON: Bloodnok, if you just switch on the radio, everything will be explooned and explinned.
GRAMS: Radio being tuned in. [10]
GREENSLADE: (distorted – on the radio) And here is the news. This morning, five thousand dog lovers demonstrated outside Aldershot Barracks as a result of reports that soldiers had been smoking dog-ends.
SEAGOON: Never mind about dogs, or dog-ends. What about the reward?
GREENSLADE: (distorted – on the radio) I’m coming to that, you steaming nit. The government is offering a thousand pounds reward for information leading to the recovery of the stolen battleship, HMS Boxer.
SEAGOON: Now do you see, Major? That reward is ours if only we can get back to England!
BLOODNOK: But how? There aren’t any boats here.
SEAGOON: Let’s all concentrate.
ECCLES: Yeah. Let’s all…concentrate. Ooh. A thought just crossed my mind.
BLOODNOK: It didn’t take it long.
SEAGOON: It didn’t have far to go.[11] Wait! Wait…I’ve just had an idea! Eccles… You three carry it out while I…while I explain to the listeners. Where’s my speaking trumpet? Quickly, my speaking trumpet! There  - it’s on the chair there. Thank you, well done gentlemen. (Megaphone) Hello folks! Calling folks, and a little desperate hurry there. Folks! In order to make a sail, the others are now removing their shirts, trousers, vests, underpants and lapis lazuli belly binders. (I do hope the kiddies are in bed. Hahahaha!) They are now running the sail up a tall palm tree, and… (Without megaphone) Why aren’t we moving?
ECCLES: Ha hum. There ain’t any wind.
SEAGOON: What?! We must have some wind!
BLOODNOK: I’ve got a small packet of curry powder…
SEAGOON: No Major! Major, I’ve got it!
BLOODNOK: Then you won’t need the curry powder.
SEAGOON: Take your saxophone…
BLOODNOK: By the right…
SEAGOON: Now, stand behind the sail and blow.
ORCHESTRA: Solo saxophone – Bloodnok theme – continues vamping. Fade into distance.
GREENSLADE: And so, the Isle of Alassie sailed away, homeward bound. But that same night, a muffled battleship sailed silently up the Thames to the Pool of London, carefully aimed its guns, and as dawn broke…
GRYTPYPE: (In distance, through loudhailer) Hands up, England! Your money or your life!
FX: Large quantity of coins spilling.
GRYTPYPE: (Normal) Right Moriarty! Grab the moolah and the BBC megaphone and full speed astern.

GRAMS: Ships bell.
ORCHESTRA: Dramatic link.
SPRIGGS: Ohhhhh. All in all gentlemen, they got away with England’s entire cash assets, of seven pound, eleven and sixpence, folks.
LORD CHANCELLOR: [12] (As old as god.) Good heavens. Were there any witnesses?
SPRIGGS: Oh, yes sir. Constable Willium Mate. (sings) Willium Ma-ate. Willium Mate.
WILLIUM: Yes. Well sir, er… ‘bout spon o’clock I was receding along the beat in the direction of where I come from, trying all the shop doors to see if any of them had been left unlocked in which case I could nip inside and whip a few odds and ends.
LORD CHANCELLOR: Yes, yes constable.
SPRIGGS: Yes constable, but this battleship, what did it look like?
WILLIUM: I dunno sir. (sings) I dunno si-irrr.
SPRIGGS: (sings) Are you taking the Mickey out of me-ee? Jeeem?
WILLIUM: It was wearing a black rhythm mask.
LORD CHANCELLOR: Anything else? (sings) Anything e-else?
WILLIUM: (sings) No sir.
LORD CHANCELLOR: Ahhhh, gentlemen. A nude battleship!
WILLIUM: Yes, and it was flying the ‘Jolly Roger’.
SPRIGGS: What? Who’s flag is that? (sings) Who’s flag it that?
FIRST LORD:[13] Captain Kidd’s!
SPRIGGS: Gentlemen, England must declare war on Captain Kidd!
FIRST LORD: But he’s dead.
SPRIGGS: Then we’ve won!
OMNES: Cheers - applause
GREENSLADE: That night, as the Isle of Alassie sailed steadily northwards, two sturdy lookouts stood on watch.
GRAMS: Distant ocean. Ship at sea sounds.
BLUEBOTTLE: He he he he he! Eccles?…
ECCLES: Huh? What, what, what, what?
BLUEBOTTLE: Have you ever…um… Hehehehe. Don’t do dat, Eccles – it’s not nice.
ECCLES: Dat’s what you think! Ohha haha hooo
BOTH: Hehehe! (Extended.)

BLUEBOTTLE: It wasn’t a joke. It’s called.. hehe…what is ‘grass skirt’ Eccles. I say, have you ever worn a grass skirt Eccles?
ECCLES: No, but I once had a green top hat with a Union Jack sticking out the top. I’ve lived!
BLUEBOTTLE: Ohh, but didn’t people laugh at you when you was went out?
ECCLES: Oh, I never went out. I just used to sit in my room with a hammer, practicing Beethoven’s Fifth on my head.
BLUEBOTTLE: You must have been mad!
ECCLES: I wasn’t locked up in that place for nothin’. I was a private patient.
BLUEBOTTLE: Ah, well… Dat’s life, I suppose, my good man.
ECCLES: Yeah…‘Ere, Bottle?
ECCLES: What are we supposed to be lookin’ for?
BLUEBOTTLE: Land, of course! When we see land, we give like what is a warning.
ECCLES: Oh ghnghnghniy.
BLUEBOTTLE: Ho ho. Really, my good man. Did you know that it is as easy as A.B.C?
ECCLES: A.B.C is easy?!
BLUEBOTTLE: Of course it is, my good man!
ECCLES: (Rubbish)
BLUEBOTTLE: You went to school, didn’t you?
ECCLES: Yeah, but the door was locked.
BLUEBOTTLE: Why was dat?
ECCLES: I think they saw me comin’. (Laughs) Hohohohoho.

(sings) Somebody loves me,

I wonder who,

I wonder…

BLUEBOTTLE: (Loud whisper) Eccles!!
BLUEBOTTLE: Remember the cannibals. We must be quiet.
ECCLES: Ohh, den I’d better take my shoes off. (Effort) Now my socks. One… two… three!
BLUEBOTTLE: What about your feet?
ECCLES: I think I’ll leave them on.
BLUEBOTTLE: Yeah, it is a bit chilly tonight, isn’t it?
ECCLES: You ought to… ‘Ere Bottle!
ECCLES: Look in front of us – lights!
BLUEBOTTLE: Oh, it’s land. Quick, shout the warning!
ECCLES: OK. (shouts) WHAT A… (normal) What do I shout?
BLUEBOTTLE: Wait a minute; I’ve got it here in my Finchley Sea Scout’s Diary.
FX: pages turning
BLUEBOTTLE: (reads) Here, now. ‘How to give artificial drowning.’ No. ‘How to rescue Girl Guides from Boy Scouts.’ Ah, here it is. ‘Land ahoy!’
ECCLES: OK. (clears throat) Ahem. LAND AH……
GRAMS: Enormous crash.
GREENSLADE: (distorted - on radio) And here is a police message…Early this morning, there was a collision between an unknown desert island, and the Isle of Man. Any person who can give information… (self fade)
FIRST LORD: Gentlemen. There is still no sign of the battleship HMS Boxer, despite a search by our entire fleet, consisting of six armoured rowing boats, and one paddle-driven destroyer.
FX: door opening
SEAGOON: I wish to claim the reward for information about the stolen battleship. I…
GRYTPYPE: Stop! All right constable, there’s your man.
WILLIUM: Oh, right sir. (Clears throat) Are you the owner of island number DXB double six eight?
SEAGOON: Well, I – I – I – I…
WILLIUM: Then I must charge you with drivin’ a piece of land, without due care and attention.
SEAGOON: Now…I…I can explain it all. You see…
GRYTPYPE: And now gentlemen, your present ships are far too small and slow to get to the HMS Boxer.
OMNES: (Members of the House of Commons) Hear, hear. Too small? &c
GRYTPYPE: However, my friend here [14] happens to have a battleship outside, of exactly the same size and speed as the stolen one. (Aside) Did you remember to paint in the new name, Moriarty?
MORIARTY: (Low) In brown paint, yes.
GRYTPYPE: Its name is the HMS Wrestler.
SEAGOON: It’s the HMS Boxer, I tell you!
SPRIGGS: How can it be the HMS Boxer, you fool, when it’s the HMS Wrestler?
SEAGOON: But these men are the men who took it from me.
SPRIGGS: Silence! Silence Jim! Gentlemen, it’s the deal.
GRYTPYPE: Ten thousand pounds, please.
FX: Cash register, coin in till.
GRYTPYPE: I thank you.
SPRIGGS: Hon. members – now with the aid of this new battleship, we shall easily be able to find the HMS Boxer. (sings) Full steam ahe-ead.
GRAMS: Ships bell.
SPRIGGS: Drive off.
GRAMS & OMNES: Tug boat hooters. Cheering.
GREENSLADE: And as far as anyone knows, they’re still looking. It’s all in the mind, you know. Goodnight.
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. The orchestra conducted by Wally Stott. Script by Spike Milligan and Larry Stephens. Announcer; Wallace Greenslade. The programme produced by Roy Spear.



[1] Geldray missing. Title not coherently announced.


[2] Who is this? A later reference in the show p8 demonstrates that it is a political reference to sputnik. Check house of Lords.Never afford a Sputnik with him in office, never.’


[3] The HMS Boxer, a landing ship, was built in 1942, and thereafter earned distinction as one of the Allied Landing Ships in the invasion of Italy, disgorging the young Spike Milligan onto the shores with the rest of the 56th Heavy Artillery. Later she was involved in the Normandy landings. During 1956 she was decommissioned and was scrapped in 1958.

[4] Ref to In a Monastery Garden.

[5] This appears to be a real life caricature.  The band goes up badly, as they recognise the source.

[6] Milligan is making fun of her boobs I think.

[7] Sellers loses Grytpype’s voice for a second and interjects, “Must be trills for budgies!” before resuming the script in Grytpype’s normal voice.

[8] Long handled shovels down into stokers hold. Mmm. Was there a common joke about this?


[9] Somebody, most likely Milligan, hands him his megaphone as he is speaking. He interjects, “My… Thank you,! My speaking trumpet.” before resuming the script.

[10] After a burst of high frequency, Eccles says ‘Pardon!’


[11] Eccles interjects, ‘Anyone want to add to that?’

[12] Secombe.

[13] Sellers.

[14] Spike (as Moriarty) screams violently at this point.