1st BROADCAST: 3 Nov 1958


Script by Spike Milligan


GRAMS: Dripping water.[1]

GREENSLADE: This is the BBC light programme, and the roof leaks.

OMNES: Gasps of horror.

GREENSLADE: Yes. Even worse, I have a severely shattered shirt-tail.[2]

SECOMBE: Do it again, Wal.

GREENSLADE: A severely shattered shirt.

SECOMBE: Steady on. Remember what happened at rehearsal, Wal.

SPRIGGS:[3] He got a better laugh that way too, Jim.


SPRIGGS: Foiled – stop!  

SECOMBE: What's this approaching? It's a lorry driven by a Rolls Royce, isn't it? It is, it is! It's that great thespian star of brouhaha-ha-ha ha ha ha, Beerbohm Sellers! [4]

GRAMS: Lengthy, sustained applause, whistling and cheering.

SPRIGGS: Oh, he's not as popular as he used to be. I'll sing that bit, folks.

(Sings) He's not as popular as he used to beeee!  

SELLERS: Lies, all lies pauper Proust. Nuxt week I shall be appearing in "The Impotence of Being Ernest," by Oscar Wilde the blackguard of Reading Jail. Yours, Neddie.[5]





MILLIGAN: (High pitched) TOOO!

SELLERS: All together!


SELLERS: Oh, what it is to have friends!

MILLIGAN: I know – I’m one. Next question please.

SECOMBE: (Reading) "Dear sir: My wife has just made a pancake thirty foot round. Is this a record?"

MILLIGAN: I don't know. Try playing it on the gramophone.

SELLERS: Together! – the band.


SELLERS: Ah! Caught with their instruments down!

SECOMBE: And now folks, take off your slacks while we unwrap this brown paper parcel.

FX: Paper unwrapping.

SECOMBE: Look! Ah, ha ha ha ha, look! It's a life-sized Goon Show in imitation plastic.

SPRIGGS: Oh, oh ooh! And what are these little round things?

SECOMBE: Gad! It's a set of spare glass jokes.

SELLERS: Let us hear one, Tom.

GRAMS: Glass breaks.

SPRIGGS: Ha-ho! That's an old one, Jim.

GREENSLADE: Gentlemen --

SPRIGGS: "Gentlemen"? What's up with you?

GREENSLADE: This registered brassiere here has just arrived by female.

SPRIGGS: From a bosom friend! (I got it in quick there.) Thank you! Thank you! (It won't last long, folks.) And here's an impression of Tom Sellers reading it.

SELLERS: TA, TEE, TOE, TA, TOO! This message shows this week's story of the French wine yards entitled "I Like Claret…

(sings) …and to hell with Burgundy!" [6]

SPRIGGS: And now, here wearing a three knot river is page one.

SECOMBE: Hello folks. My name is page one but it’s spelt differently.

SPRIGGS: What do you mean it’s spelt differently?


SPRIGGS: Yes, yes, yes. But how do you pronounce it?

SECOMBE: It’s pronounced bang, but it’s spelt…

GRAMS: Large explosion.

SECOMBE: But the ‘e’ is silent.

SPRIGGS: Silence? How does it work?

SECOMBE: There is no ‘e’ in what.

SPRIGGS: Yes there is Jim. (Oh, yes there is even though they’re laughing.) It’s spelt W-H-A-T-E.

SECOMBE: That’s pronounced wha-TEEEE!

SPRIGGS: I heard that the ‘e’ is silent, Jim.

SECOMBE: Let’s hear a silent ‘e’.

SPRIGGS: Right!  A silent ‘e’.

(Short pause)

SECOMBE: Perfect!

SPRIGGS: Right! We all saw it coming, didn't we? Now then, a word from Peter Sellers!


SPRIGGS: Next week, another one.

SELLERS: And now, for no reason at all: Where did you get the money to escape from Australia?

SPRIGGS: For no reason at all, my stand-in will answer that. Forward stand-in.

SECOMBE: My name is Spike "Stand-In" Milligan, but the knees are silent as in trousers.

SELLERS: Not trembler?

SECOMBE: Touché.

SELLERS: Mister Greenslade, answer that for me as me!

GREENSLADE: My name is Peter Sellers.

SECOMBE: And who's playing you?


SECOMBE: Then who's Peter Sellers?

MILLIGAN: I am! But the "i" is silent as in looking.

SECOMBE: Will you care to elaborate?  


SECOMBE: Well you'll have to wait. (Laughs) Ha ha ha!

MILLIGAN: (He gets them in somehow.) It's a joke, folks! Oh ha, ha, ha-ha-ha!

SECOMBE: And ha-ha, ha-ha-ha! is the right answer! So say "Ah!"


FX: Pistol shot.

SPRIGGS: (Chewing) Three-oh-three – my favourite bullet.

SECOMBE: Do you like it? I fired it myself.

SELLERS: Too much salt for me.

SECOMBE: Who heard of too much salt in Sellers?

SELLERS: I am not salt sellers. My name is Peter.

SPRIGGS: Saltpetre!

SECOMBE: That's an explosive!

GRAMS: Explosion.

SELLERS: (Into distance) OOHH! THERE I GO!

SPRIGGS: Thank you. A triumph of matter over mind.

SECOMBE: And now from Peterborough, summoning you all, Max Geldray! And here he is, summoning you all, Max Geldray from Peterborough!

GELDRAY: Oh boy, at last the breaks!


MAX GELDRAY – “Don’t Take Your Love Away from Me” [7]


GRAMS: Professional mourners, loud weeping, seals in zoo.

SECOMBE: (As Hughie Green.)[8] Ha, ha! That was contestant number four, summoning you all Gladys Geldray from morse. So, big hand for contestant number four, thirty year old Frank Elroy from Leeds.

ORCHESTRA & OMNES: Desultory applause.

SECOMBE: Ha, ha. Hum…

GREENSLADE: Now, the Goon Show proper. I have in my left ventricle a copy of the addict of Nantes holding an elephant cardigan.[9] Through the hole drilled up the bottom, I can see the House of Commons. In the Strangers Gallery, disguised as strangers, are two sinister figures rampant on a cloth of filleted spon. (Sings) Spo-o-o-on!

FX: Fork scratching across wooden surface at various speeds. Continue under.

MORIARTY: Ah! Ohh! The plin! The plin! Ah!

GRYTPYPE: Moriarty, will you stop that revolting buttocks-scratching in the Strangers Gallery!

MORIARTY: But I've got strangers in my gallery!

GRYTPYPE: Stop this noise in Parliament, you hear! Do you want to wake them up?


LORD TAVENER: (Over – mouth noises and yawning)

GRAMS: Water splashing in bath.

GRYTPYPE: You fool, you've woken up Lord Tavener!

MORIARTY: He's getting out of the bath.

LORD TAVENER: Hon. members, mems and moggins, as I was saying...

MP 1: (Distant) What?

MP 2: (Distant) Hear, hear!

LORD TAVENER: As I was saying... do you realize that the British Atomic Commission… (Raves)

OMNES & CAST: (Scattered applause  from the backbenches – cries of ‘Bravo’ &c)

LORD TAVENER: You’d better tell them, Lord Fuels...

LORD FUELS: The British Atomic commission have no idea what the effect of an atom bomb would be on a nude Welshman holding a rice pudding.

MP 1:[10] Do the Russians have this information?

WELSH MP:[11] No, and I would say the way is clear for us to take the lead.

LORD FUELS: Would Mr. Bevan have any comment upon that?

GRAMS: Fred the oyster.

LORD FUELS: Thank you.

INDIAN MP: Gentlemen, the government are willing to pay… (thank you) are willing to pay one thousand pounds in cloth Hindu leggings for any Welshman who is willing to stand naked holding a rice pudding and hit by the power of an atom bomb.

GRYTPYPE: (Close) Moriarty! I know the very man. Come!


GRAMS: Two quick whooshes.

GREENSLADE: Sure enough those whooshes were pointed at an early Anglo-Saxon leaping house in Piccadilly. Within, two men are repairing the ravages of Roman occupation.

FX: Hacksaw sawing wood. Thud of heavy object onto floor boards. Hacksaw again. Heavy object falls to floor  

WILLIUM: (Singing over – distant) Roses of old England,

I’m in love with you.

Rose --

SEAGOON: William! – what are you doing in there?

WILLIUM: (Distant) Cutting my toenails, mate. When I gets in bed at night they tears the ceiling, mate.

FX: Heavy knocking on door.

BLOODNOK: (Distant) I say, you in there!

SEAGOON: Gad, it's Bloodnok! – professional soldier and amateur landlord.

BLOODNOK: (Off) Have you got a woman in your room?

SEAGOON: I certainly have not!

BLOODNOK: (Off) Well get out of here, will you? This is not that kind of a house, do you hear!

SEAGOON: Now he tells me, after all those nights of raffia and fretwork.

MORIARTY: (Off) Knock, knock, knocky-knock chum.

SEAGOON: Knock, knock, knocky- knock chum?!

MORIARTY: (Off) Yes.

SEAGOON: That's the private number of the door knocker! Come in!

FX: Door opens.

GRAMS: Rush of boots. Sudden stop.

MORIARTY: Hello, Neddie!

SEAGOON: I recognize those octagonal shins. Of course! – it's Count Jim ‘Thighs’ Moriarty, voted Miss Knacker’s Yard of 1901 and known in North Africa as the white Charlie Chaplin!

MORIARTY: Psssstuoo.

GRYTPYPE: The steam count has been commissioned to do a statue of the Sahara Desert holding a rice pudding, and he wants you Neddie to pose for it.

SEAGOON: Me – pose as a desert?

MORIARTY: Certaine-ment. You're just the right size, and twice as barren.

SEAGOON: Do I... do I have to pose N – U – D – E?

GRYTPYPE: Of course you do. The Sahara never wears clothes.

SEAGOON: Not even for supper?

GRYTPYPE: Malicious rumours.

SEAGOON: But I can't sit down to dinner nude. Supposing there are ladies present?

THROAT: Ohhhh!

SEAGOON: To continue, how long would I have to hold the pose for?

GRYTPYPE: You don't have to hold any pose, Ned. You can move at will, just as long as you don't move.[12] Now, for salary – you will be paid in the current Bank of England cigarette card series of famous criminal footballers.

SEAGOON: I accept!






GRYTPYPE: All together!


GRYTPYPE: Yes, coming on very nicely, thank you. And now to contact the British Sahara Desert Atomic Centre. But first, Ray Ellington will sing through his mouth and other things. [13]


RAY ELLINGTON - "When I grow too old to dream" [14]


SECOMBE: (As Hughie Green) Thank you! Discovery number two, sixty year old Greg Mitre from Portsmouth. A big hand then for the thirty year old Ray Item from twenty year old Portsmouth.

GREENSLADE: Ta! By placing a microphone near Grytpype-Thynne's trousers, we pick up the thread which shows Ned in the Sahara Desert.

GRYTPYPE: Now then Ned, off with your clothes, Neddie!

FX: Cloth ripping.

SEAGOON: Whoop! There! – how do I look?


GRYTPYPE: I suppose he makes somebody happy. Hold this rice pudding.

MORIARTY: (Aside) Grytpype! Grytpype!

GRYTPYPE: (Aside) What?

MORIARTY: (Aside) It's only three minutes till zero hour before they drop the bomb. Hurry! (Aloud) Now Neddie, just stand on this bull's eye and don't move.

GRAMS: Two whooshes.

SEAGOON: (To himself) Don't… don't move, he said. Right. (Humming) Dee dee dee dee… Gad, if only my mother could see me now, posing for a statue of the Sahara. What a proud day for Wales – not to mention sardines and kippers! (Laughs) Ha ha ha! Ahem. (It's a bit early in the show, really isn't it now.)

GREENSLADE: Ta. Seeing that Mr. Seagoon is in a state of… er, dishabille...

SEAGOON: Cheeky.

GREENSLADE: ... it would be appreciated if old ladies with binoculars would all listen with your backs to the wireless or place a dark cloth over the speaker.


it's not fair, you know, not fair at all...

SEAGOON: Gad, this is living! Now, what was it that Moriarty said...?  

GRAMS: Single whoosh.

MORIARTY: I said "Don't move!"

GRAMS: Single whoosh.  

SEAGOON: Ah. Wait? What's this approaching across the desert?

ECCLES: (Distant –approaching singing) Dang dang dangaylang alang

alang alang adang…

                    dang dang dang ylang alang &c (Continues under)

SEAGOON: It was a ragged soldier clad in cement sacks, playing an imaginary piano. He must be one of ours.

ECCLES: (At front) … dang alang alang a dang dang &c

SEAGOON: Good morning.

ECCLES: Morning. (Continues singing without a break) Alang dang dang &c.

SEAGOON: Gad, that sun's hot!

ECCLES: Well, you shouldn't touch it.  

SEAGOON: Well, it's touched you! (Narrates) Just then I caught a glimpse of the label on his head. It said, "Early English Idiot, circa 1899."

ECCLES: I'm not an in-diot. Ask me any question – I'll show you I'm clever, real clever. (Spells) C – L – X – L – X – er, pronounced…

GRAMS: (Pre-recorded – played back at a higher speed.)

MILLIGAN: Clurullarummallarummm…

SEAGOON: All right then; what's your name?

ECCLES: Oh, the hard ones first ehi? Ok, my name she knows. Lord Salisbury? No, no. He’s got two pairs of trousers. Brigit Bardot…?

SEAGOON: Come on man, your name!

ECCLES: (Raves) Come on man, your name! My name, man. That’s funny, ehi? I had it on the tip of my tongue.

SEAGOON: Stick it out then.

ECCLES: Arggg…

SEAGOON: Ah, yes, "Fred Smith, Esq." So, you're Fred Smith Esquire.

ECCLES: No, that's the name of my tongue.

SEAGOON: We must be related! Smith is the maiden name of my right elbow.

ECCLES: Well, I'd better be getting back to the barracks. How far is it to the fort, Fort Doe?

SEAGOON: Thirteen miles.

ECCLES: Thirteen? That's unlucky.

SEAGOON: All right then, fourteen miles.

ECCLES: You see! – it was unlucky. I'm a mile further away now. I shall go…[15] m on you.

GRAMS: Riffs chorus from ‘The Desert Song’. (Double speed.)

                    Ho! So we sing as we are riding.

                    Ho! It’s time you’d best be hiding

`                   Lo – it means the Riffs are abroad

Go before you’ve bitten the sword… &c

(Continue under. Add in occasional horse whinnying. )[16]

ECCLES: Look! – the riffs!

SEAGOON: I thought they were abroad.

ECCLES: I'm off!

GRAMS: Single whoosh.  

SEAGOON: Now, I mustn't loose my head. If I keep dead still, the Arabs will think I'm a statue of a statue.

GRAMS: Final cadence of chorus. Horse neighs loudly.

RED BLADDER: AARGH! Oh look! Statue of fat man holding rice pudding. Just what I need to put in my harem . Keep wives happy till I get TV or more time! Get him up on horse! (Effort) Huh! (Self-fade) Allaaah!

OMNES: (Various) Allah! Allah!

GRAMS: Repeat Riffs chorus, with occasional horses whinnying over. Gradually fade into distance. (Double speed.)

                    Ho! So we sing as we are riding.

                    Ho! It’s time you’d best be hiding

`                   Lo – it means the Riffs are abroad

Go before you’ve bitten the sword…

GREENSLADE: (Over) Dear listeners, what a stroke of luck for Mister Seagoon! Another thirty seconds and the A-bomb would have burst on that very spot. But wait! Someone approaches the danger zone.

SELLERS & SECOMBE: (Distant – singing “Blue Heaven”.) [17]

                    Blue heaven and you and I.

                    Alone, alone…[18]

MILLIGAN: It's the long-lost number eight touring company of ‘The Desert Song.’ [19]

SELLERS & SECOMBE: (Approaching singing)

                       A desert breeze whisp'ring a lullaby,
(Bannister joins in) Only stars above you
                       To see I love you…

ROMANTIC LEAD: Ah my dear, look at the peaceful scene.


ROMANTIC LEAD: Let us rest here in the shade of this grasshopper's leg.


ROMANTIC LEAD: Oh, the inspiration!


ROMANTIC LEAD: I feel a song coming on, my dear.

GRAMS: Distant whistle of incoming missile. Crescendo over dialogue.

BOTH: (Singing) Because a blue heaven

                    and you…

GRAMS: Enormous atomic explosion.

FX: Odds and ends falling onto hard surface.

GRAMS: Two separate whooshes.

MORIARTY: (Out of breath) Huh, huh… Look, Grytpype!


MORIARTY: He's there, a direct hit! But he's in bits, otherwise he's all right.


MORIARTY: Come on, wake up Neddie! It was only an atom bomb.(Laughs) Ha ha ha!

GRYTPYPE: Let me. Allow me, Moriarty – I'm rather good at jigsaw puzzles. Now that bit goes in there... This leg goes there... That bit in there, and this goes in there!


GRYTPYPE: No it doesn't. No, I’m sorry. Wait a moment – this knee fits here. Gad, he's changed! He's turned into more than one person!

MORIARTY: Well, there was always enough of him.

GRYTPYPE: Let's get him to the Atomic Centre!

ORCHESTRA: Excerpt from ‘Scheherazade’ with trombone and trumpet solos. The whole thing falls apart woefully at the end. [20]

GREENSLADE: There then we have the situation. But the capture of the nude Neddie soon came to the attention of the O.C. Fort Bowels , Kenya.

ORCHESTRA: Bloodnok theme.

GRAMS: Series of explosions. Followed by three enormous blasts from the liner the Queen Mary. Wind up the last one to infinity. Add on an engine whistle at high speed, wind it back gradually and bring in the sound of a wall collapsing.

BLOODNOK: (Over) Ooooh! Ooooh! Oh, dear, dear, dear! Oh, there must be a cure for it. Oh, oh...  &c

CAPTAIN: (Distant) Knock, knock!

BLOODNOK: Come in, knock–knock!

CAPTAIN: Good morning, Major.

BLOODNOK: Gad, it's Secombe playing a different part. (Curse these small-budget shows!) What's in that envelope?

MILLIGAN: The next part of the plot and a messenger in the plain wrappers.

FX: Large piece of paper being torn up.

BLOODNOK: So it is! Come out! Speak up golliwog or I’ll have you flunned!

ARAB:[21] (Cod-Arabic.) Ma-lala. La vendu a dulagarh amooch anga muglar. Ammah ghandha hai! Rubba dubba-dubba-dubba dumb! ‘Dha-hamma ghai. OO! OO! Ammah ghanda ghanda-hai. Ammah gho. Maratoo, kammaloh mate. OO! OO! Ammah ghanda!

BLOODNOK: Tell him we can't understand what he's saying.

MILLIGAN: Er... Gala ta-mi g’g’g’g’gong, nala-taga.

ARAB: Garach ka goch? Garach ka goch!? Halama gallah hamargon arh vanda hai!  Ammorh buttoo!

MILLIGAN: Er… He says he doesn't understand what he's saying, either.

BLOODNOK: Then I was right!

MILLIGAN: Er… yes!

BLOODNOK: Oooooooh! (Narrative) Even as I spoke, the native plunged his hand into his lunch basket and drew out a glass ball – a daring move on his part.

CAPTAIN: It's a fortune teller's ball.

BLOODNOK: What?! Why weren't we invited? Oh, I can't resist 'em. Hand me the turban. Now crystal ball, what can we see? (Turn up the brightness…) Ah ah ah! It's a nude Welshman holding a rice pudding being abducted into Red Bladder's harem. Action! Bugler, sound the sound of the buge!

MILLIGAN: Right! (Does imitation bugle.)

FX: Pistol shot.

MILLIGAN: (Dying bugler.) [22]

ORCHESTRA: “Scheherazade’ excerpt - trumpet solo. Tatty ending.

GRAMS: (Pre-recording – Slowly speed up then wildly fluctuate the speed.)

BLOODNOK: Left, right, left, left. Come on – pick them up lads. Come on, pick up those dog ends. &c

CAPTAIN: (Calls) Ensign! Ensign!

BLUEBOTTLE: Yes capi-capi-captain. What is it?

CAPTAIN: How far from Red Bladder are we?

BLUEBOTTLE: I think we must be within earshot.


BLUEBOTTLE: He’s just shot off one of my ears.

OMNES: Enormous crowd singing “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow,” followed by cheers.

BLUEBOTTLE: Thank you, thank you, Bluebottlers! I'm glad to back. And the good news now; during the summer hols, guess what happened? I started to grow hairs on my little legs! Tee hee hee! Nature is preparing me for marriage. Hoo-ray! For the next part, I will…

FX: Slapstick.

BLUEBOTTLE: Ehi hi! Hey, you hit me like that again and see what happens!

FX: Slapstick.

BLUEBOTTLE: See what happens?


GRAMS: Train pulling into station. Squeal of brakes; escaping steam.

BLOODNOK: Gad, it's the four-twenty Arab fort from Islington – dead on time. Take cover, lads!

CAPTAIN: There's the Red Bladder, up on the battlements.

BLOODNOK: Do you think he's going to capitulate?

CAPTAIN: I don't know, but I should stand back in case he does.



BLOODNOK: You speak the language – you challenge him.

ECCLES: Okay. (Calls out) Red Bladder! – you can't frighten me.

FX: Pistol shot.

ECCLES: Oow! He frightened me.

BLOODNOK: (Calls out) Bladder – I give you till dawn to get out and surrender, or the new rent act will come into force.

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic scene change music.

GREENSLADE: Meanwhile, the P.M. addresses the House.

SELLERS:[23] Hons. mems, ma'ams and momsers,[24] I have just received great news. The Atomic Commission have ascertained that when a nude Welshman holding a rice pudding is struck by an atomic bomb, he turns into a fully clad number eight touring company of ‘The Desert Song.’

BACKBENCHER: Then Britain leads the world!

OMNES: Cheers.

GRAMS: Recording of ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ with brass band and vast crowd singing along.

SPRIGGS: Soon, all over England reactors were set up and atomic furnaces were turning nude Welshmen into Number Eight Touring Companies of The Desert Song! Song-song-song-song… (Replicating Morse code) ding-ding-ding-ding-ding…

GRAMS: Morse code telegraph.

SPRIGGS: (Oh, they've taken over.)

HERN: And it was ascertained today that England now leads the world in the production of Number Eight Desert Song touring companies

GREENSLADE: And what of Neddie?

GRYTPYPE: To this day he stands stock still as a statue in a harem. One move would mean... ha! – well, the unkindest cut of all.

GREENSLADE: I think they've finished, so would you all leave quietly? Thank you.

GRAMS: Pre-recorded sound of audience leaving; cast murmuring onstage; distant palm court trio playing. Wind down to nothing.

GREENSLADE: I expect that you're surprised that that was the Goon Show. In real life, they are disguised as Wally Stott's orchestra, the Ray Ellington Quartet, Max Geldray, Harry Secombe, Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan, who also writes the thing. The only unreal persons in this recording were Wallace Greenslade, announcer, and the producer John Browell, who prefers to be called… [25]

ORCHESTRA: Playout “Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead”. [26]



[1] Milligan increasingly wasted time in the Goon Show during the introduction. In this case he wastes the entire first third of the show (up to Geldray’s number) with nonsense and lame spelling games. Spelling games became a regular part of Goonology. The other gag that became common during this ninth series was the TAA, TEE, TAI, TOE interplay. Spelling (at which Spike was terrible, having undergone a fractured education) and spelling gags were present as far back as the 2nd series. Towards the end of the decade, Spike began to include jokes about spelling pronunciation which involved GRAMS playback of strange, convoluted noises. “World War One” (22/8th): “Tiddleywinks” (24/8th): “The Great British Revolution”(12/8th): “The Chinese Legs” (3/10th);


[2] Spike’s obsession with shirt-tails comes to fruition in series 10 with the episode “Tale of Men’s Shirts” (2/10th)


[3] It’s difficult to know sometimes whether Milligan is playing himself or a character. Secombe and Seagoon are distinctly different voices. Sellers often resorts to his normal voice, but Milligan almost never uses his real voice, inflecting it (as in this show) with traces of Jim Spriggs or Eccles. Spike’s voice was considerably lower than the voices he used in the Goon Show. In fact Bannister is the character closest to his normal register. Here I have called him Spriggs because he has a tendency to call everyone ‘Jim’ in the manner of Spriggs.


[4] Max Beerbohm (1872-1956). For Sellers, 1958 had been his breakthrough year. Album had reached number 3 on the charts. Four successful films. Started using tape recorder. (“Queen Anne’s Rain” 8/9th)

[5] A very complex series of references. It seems Spike references both Marcel Proust and Oscar Wilde.

[6] The line “…and to hell with Burgundy” is the final line of the number  Song of the Vagabonds” from the operetta  “The Vagabond King” written by Friml & Hooker in 1925. The show was filmed twice; the second version from 1956 starred Kathryn Grayson and Oreste Kirkop. The original operetta also launched the famous song “Only a Rose I give You”, another tune Milligan was fond of using.


[7] A popular song written by Henry Nemo, and first published in 1941. Johnnie Ray, Doris Day and The Four Aces had released versions of it during the fifties.


[8] Secombe is lampooning the ITV show “Opportunity Knocks”. Originally a BBC radio talent show it moved to ITV in 1956. Eleven episodes had aired, and the public voted for the best talent by postal vote.


[9] Spike is manufacturing a joke on the historical “Edict of Nantes,” a


[10] Milligan.


[11] Secombe.

[12] The pair are making a joke about the current indecency laws concerning public nudity in Britain. The ‘Windmill Theatre’ under the direction of  Vivian Van Damm had, for many years, presented public nudity in the form of ‘dramatic tableaux’ in which voluptuous women formed classic scenes onstage, entirely naked, for the appreciation of artistic minded gentlemen. Secombe had performed often at the Windmill since his demob a decade previously, and his pals were quite fond of visiting his dressing room there.

[13] Moriarty mutters here.


[14] A popular song from 1934 by Sigmund Romberg and Oscar Hammerstein II. The American jazz singer and composer Ed Townsend had had a hit with the song earlier in 1958.

[15] An excision here.


[16] This music is from the musical “The Desert Song” (Romberg, Hammerstein, Harback & Mandel, 1926), inspired in part by the Riffs uprising in Morocco in 1925. The musical was extremely successful and it’s songs became something of a byword for 1920’s schmaltzy theatre.


[17] Milligan runs out of characters here. Ideally he needed Sellers and himself to approach while singing the excerpt from “The Desert Song” but he seems to have decided to do the announcement about the ‘long lost touring company’ himself, so he gets Secombe to cover Bannister’s voice for him, makes the announcement, then carefully joins in with the other two as the song continues.


[18] Sellers and Milligan get the words muddled with another song from “The Desert Song.” The melody they are attempting is “Blue Heaven” one of the greatest hits of the show, however the second line they sing is confusingly the beginning of another song, “One Alone” from the same musical. All of the cast would have known this, (they were all musicians) so it was probably intentional on Spike’s part.


[19] The Desert Song” was also one of the great touring shows of the 1920’s. It was also one of the earliest recorded shows. The London cast recorded excerpts of the show in 1927, while Columbia Records made a recent complete recording in 1953 starring Nelson Eddie.


[20] This was the beginning of little recognised feature of the ninth series – the regular appearance of the trombonist George Chisholm (a member of the Wally Stott orchestra) in featured outbursts of orchestral mayhem. This mad link here, based on the trombone theme from “Scheherezade” by Rimsky Korsakov, is the first of six solos George performed in the ninth series. The others are in;I Was Monty’s Treble” (2/9th) where a drunken Chisholm sings and plays the trombone, then “Dishonoured Again” (13/9) the same sequence; “The Tay Bridge Disaster” (15/9) where Chisholm plays the phantom trombonist of the glen; and finally “The Fifty Pound Cure” (17/9) where Chisholm is part of a complicated madhouse orchestral link.


[21] Secombe.

[22] This is the kernel of the idea which begins the Peter Sellers film “The Party” (Blake Edwards – 1968) in which Sellers plays the part of Gunga Din saving a British regiment from slaughter in the North Western Frontier provinces by playing a bugle on the spur of a mountain. Shot by the Pashtuns in the valley, he re-performs this gag about a dying bugler, almost exactly replicating Milligan’s performance here.


[23] Although the current P.M was Harold MacMillan, Sellers’ vocal impression seems closer to the pitch and accent of Anthony Eden, the previous Prime Minister who had been forced to resign the previous January over the Suez crisis.


[24] ‘Momser’ is Yiddish for ‘bastard’. See “The Greenslade Story” 6th.

[25] This was Browell’s first Goon Show as BBC staff producer. Milligan had wanted ….. but the BBC considered him too inexperienced. John Browell (1917-1997) restored discipline to the show after the mess of the eighth series, and went on to produce the 10th and final series and “The Last Goon Show of All” in 1972.


[26] Ding, Dong, the Witch is Dead  was written by Harold Arlen, with lyrics by E.Y. Harburg. It featured in the famous 1939 classic “The Wizard of Oz” and charted numerous times since in jazz cover versions. This was the first time it had been used as the playout music for a Goon Show.