RECORDED: 5 Jan 1959


Script by Spike Milligan


GREENSLADE: This is the BBC Light Programme. To add seasonal cheer to the broadcast I've had written permission to wear a small holly leaf in my button hole.

SEAGOON: Whoop! There's white hot courage for you

GREENSLADE: What what what what what what what what what what what?

SEAGOON: Don't you realise Wal boy, that the Druids used the holly leaf for certain unsavoury ritualistic rites.

GREENSLADE: Oh dear. Well I'd better hurry and get that word cleared by the BBC censorship department. Gid up there!

GRAMS: Horses gallop off very fast.

SEAGOON: There he goes! And in the space we see Peter Sellers.

SELLERS: Scheiße! [1] And if listeners will stand up and place both hands on their partners shoulders, they will actually pick up the sound of the all-powerful BBC censorship department. Oh!

GRAMS: Grand orchestral fanfare. Stops suddenly. Tatty chord in C.

FX: Knock on door.

OLD UNCLE OSCAR: Ahhh... allaala... ahhie…  Comeeee... ahhhh... Ohh…Ohhh ... ahhh…

BANNISTER: He's trying to say 'come in'.

CRUN: Male hormones forever!

OLD UNCLE OSCAR: Ahhh... hha… (collapses) Helllaelllaelllaa...

FX: Thud of body & bits of body scattering. Ball bearings marbles roll along floor. Hand full of forks. Metallic resonant nuts and bolts falling.

CRUN: Oh dear – he's disintegrated, Min. I'll have to take over his trousers.

FX: Door opens.

GRAMS: Galloping hooves approaching at speed (coconut shells).

GREENSLADE: (Slight distance) Ahoy! I've come to get clearance on a word.

CRUN: What is the word, sir?

GREENSLADE: Well its er…um… yes, yes, 'holly'!

CRUN: What's wrong with it sir?

GREENSLADE: Well, it is believed to have an undertone of eroticism.

THROAT: Coooor blimey!

CRUN: Oh dear! Could you write this… mnk…  word down?

BANNISTER: Blindfold yourself Henry. Don't look!

GREENSLADE: Y-yes I could.

FX: Scratchy nib.

GRAMS: Loud startled cluck of chicken.

CRUN: (aside) Blast! He can write on chickens. You want us to see if this word is fit to be said?

GREENSLADE: I fear so.

CRUN: Ohh dear. Well that puts us in a rather nasty spot doesn't it? We don't like committing ourselves.

GREENSLADE: Well, it's alright, but you're the censors.

CRUN: Ah, but we don't like that sort of thing you see. We don't do it.

BBC GOVERNOR:[2] We don't like it at all.  

GRAMS: Startled chicken.

BBC GOVERNOR: Oooo! Mr Lord Scrudds – you're the oldest. What do you think of this word?

SCRUDDS:[3] Ahhhhh.. . ahhhhh, ahh I won't… ahh…  commit myself at this… ahh… at this stage. I... I'll... go along. Yes...I...I'll go along.

CRUN: Who will you go along with?

MILLIGAN: A-a-anybody.

SELLERS: (Australian) I think I'm with you there. I'm with you all the way. I'll go along with that, I reckon.

WELSHMAN: Does anybody agree with that?

LEW: I agree with that.

ABDUL: So do I.

GREENSLADE: Look, look, look, look – what are you all agreeing about?

MILLIGAN: (Hooray) I ratar mark these omplications that the most of the nouncing that in the time pass on the…er, the first one we’ve ever thorn.[4]

ANOTHER BBC GOVERNOR:[5] Ha, ha, ha! You devil! You devil! You devil! So then it's agreed that we all agree? Now what was the question again?

GREENSLADE: The word 'holly', is it…?

BANNISTER: Canteen's open!

CRUN: Canteen!


GRAMS: Great rush of boots departing. Distant slamming doors very fast.

SEAGOON: Well, well, well! They've escaped under cover of stupidity.

GREENSLADE: Oh dear! Oh dear! Very well, in place of the word 'Holly', here's an excerpt from my latest long-player called, “Suddenly it's the News.”[6]

SEAGOON: Get off that gramophone. In place of that, here is a conundrum – what is this sound?


SEAGOON: CORRECT! That is the right answer. Forward TAA, TEE, TAI, TOOOOH!

SELLERS: It is I, Tom.

SECOMBE: Yes, it's old “T’is – I – Tom” Peter Sellers, playboy of Old Finchley tube station and friend of West End managements.

SELLERS: I see a vision, Tom.

SEAGOON: Well, hold this song and accompany this next announcement.

SELLERS: (sings idiot tunes behind announcement.) “I see a vision Tom”…&c

GREENSLADE: Ladies and Gentlemen, what kind of Christmas has it been? Let us recount one, two, three...

GRAMS: (Pre-recorded Eccles choral version of 'Good King Wenceslas'. Fade out.) [8]

MILLIGAN: Hello listeners. Terry France here, and we're going over now to the services station in the Christmas Islands. So over to them...

GRAMS: Atom bomb.

SECOMBE: (Kid) Look Mum, another Atom Bomb.

SELLERS: (Mum) You lucky boy, that means Dad will be home early from work.

SEAGOON: And here in London we interview passers-by. (Vox pops) Excuse me sir, do you believe in a White Christmas?

ELLINGTON: Are you kiddin'?

SEAGOON: Ha, ha, ha! Yes, and you madam – do you believe in an old fashioned Christmas by the fire?

SELLERS: (whoops dear) Ooh, not half dear.

SEAGOON: Conks? Play that arrangement for nose and harmonica. Me? – I'm for the old brandy there.

GRAMS: Great rush of receding boots.

MAX GELDRAY - "Our Love is Here to Stay"


GREENSLADE: Ta. Ta. Thank you. Now, over Christmas a great story broke, (there being no newspapers it missed the headlines.)  But here it is in all it's monkey para toot-toot, pin-pon, pee-pee-pee tiddley. I doo too is the Story of the Tun Tack Tock!

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic chords.

MILLIGAN: It is Christmas, and somewhere in a goatskin flat in naughty Wales, a young hairy titch is working on a painting of a pain-TING!

SEAGOON: (Fade in - singing) I painted her!

I painted her!

(Laughs) Haha ha! Now, a dab of red here, and a touch of puce here.


SEAGOON: Steady Miss Fruit, keep still .

CYNTHIA FRUIT: It's awfully cold posing like this.

SEAGOON: I've got the candle on. Now, there! There we are. You can relax. It's a masterpiece.

CYNTHIA FRUIT: What is it.

SEAGOON: The plans of a new British dustbin.

CYNTHIA FRUIT: And you've had me posing nude for that?

SEAGOON: It's something to do with my unhappy childhood. Ha ha! Now, off you go and change behind that glass screen. There she goes. T.V. was never like this. Knock, knick, knack, knock, knockitty knock-knock-knock. It's an impression of a door knocker. Come in!

CRUN: Impression of inn!

SEAGOON: Steaming pud, it's my old wrinkled retainer Uncle Crun in his new king-size nightshirt.

CRUN: Here master Ned. A nice quince jelly for you.

SEAGOON: Ohh, it's not set.

CRUN: No, Min warmed it up. It's no good eating cold jelly on a windy night, you know.

GRAMS: Window bursts open. Whoosh of wind.

CRUN: Ohhhhhhhhh.

SECOMBE: I wonder where that draught's coming from.

CRUN: I don't know where it's coming from but I know where it's going to. (Laughs) Ah ah ah! Christmas cracker joke you know!

GRAMS: Whoosh of wind again as before.

CRUN: Ohh! This nightshirt is too big for me. The wind is...

SEAGOON: WAIT! (Horror) There's another pair of legs sticking out at the bottom.

CRUN: Ahh! Who's that in there? Come out or I'll...

ECCLES: (Muffled) Alright! Don’t shoot! I’ll come out. ‘Ello Neddie! ‘Ello Uncle Crun. ‘Ello! I’ve been slummin’.

SEAGOON: Eccles, what you doing in that nightshirt?

ECCLES: (Muffled) Nuttin'. Everything’s marked 'don't touch'.

CRUN: Yes – antiques, you know. But how did you get in, that's what I want to know.

ECCLES: (Muffled) I got a map of your legs.

SEAGOON: Come on out at once.

FX: Door opens.

SEAGOON: A door in the nightshirt opened and out stepped a street with a man in it.

GRYTPYPE: I say, what is all this noise? There's people in that nightshirt trying to sleep you know.

SEAGOON: What what what what what! You'll get a biff on the knee. Explain that krutty hand operated mattress.

GRYTPYPE: That mattress sir, contains the princely string and nut-bound body of such stuff as steams are made of,[9] none other than the Count Jim 'Wakey Wakey'...

FX: Colossal slap on bare skin.

MORIARTY: Aw-aw-ow!

GRYTPYPE: ...Moriarty.

FX: Scratching – use a fork on a piece of wood.

MORIARTY: Greetings my loyal subjects, and all...

FX: Slapstick.

MORIARTY: AAHH! Acchacchacch…

GRYTPYPE: (Stop that revolting scratching will you Count.) The dear Count is plagued this year with a return of the Royal Strains you know.

SEAGOON: Does he really own that nightshirt?

GRYTPYPE: Yes. E’en now, see how he walks the battlements. Of course he only rents the top.

SEAGOON: What about the rents in the bottom?

GRYTPYPE: Ned, old jokes will get you nowhere. Look what it did to the Count!

SEAGOON: Oh, I apologise for my altitude.

GRYTPYPE: It is low Ned. Could we sell you an extra three feet?

SEAGOON: Just what I need.

GRYTPYPE: Moriarty, saw three feet off your wooden leg.

MORIARTY: No, I'm going to the ball as a toffee apple.

GRYTPYPE: It's for money I tell you!

FX: Furious sawing. Lump of wood falls to floor.

GRYTPYPE: There Ned, three feet.

FX: Till.

SEAGOON: Thank you. I'll tie it to my head and put my hat on it.

MORIARTY: Sapristi nabolas! He looks like...

GRYTPYPE: (Aside) Sssh! Don't tell him!

SEAGOON: Now I must get my plans of the dustbin up to London. Where's the nearest station?

GRYTPYPE: In this cupboard. Admission threepence.

FX: Cash register bell. Coin in till. Door opens.

GRAMS: Whistle of steam engine. Distant station sounds.

WILLUM: 'Ere. Shut that door will you!  You want me train to catch cold?

SEAGOON: When's the next one to London town divine?

WILLUM: Ask that hairy doggie over there.

SEAGOON: Ask the doggie! Does he speak?

WILLUM: Does he what! Does he speak? Ohi ehi, 'ere listen – listen to this. 'Ello dog. 'Ello doggie. Go on, tell him dog. (Pause) No, he don't speak.

SEAGOON: How does he know when the train goes?

WILLUM: I told 'im. Ohh! I can feel a low stabbin' pain in the seats of me underpants. That means it's 9.20. Time to go innit. Hold tight!

FX: Guards whistle.

GRAMS: Train whistle. Then horse clops slowly away.

SEAGOON: Bit short of coal aren't you?

WILLUM: Yer. You ain't got a bit on you 'ave you?

SEAGOON: No. I gave up carrying it.

WILLUM: Cor, taking chances ehi? Ha ha!

GRAMS: Train whistle. Burst of steam.

GREENSLADE: On arrival in London town divine, Neddie rushed to ten Downing Street.

FX: Knock on door. Door opens.

ELLINGTON: (African chief) What you want man?

SEAGOON: Here! Who are you?

ELLINGTON: I'm the Foreign Secretary, man.

SEAGOON: Yes, you do look a bit foreign. Ha ha!

ELLINGTON: Oh, steady man. That could mean war with Ghana.

PRIME MINISTER: I say Basil. Who is that blotting out the sun with his head?[10]

ELLINGTON: It's a man with a wooden leg tied to his nut with a hat on top.

PRIME MINISTER: Oh, that'll be Lord Hailsham, I expect.[11]

SEAGOON: No indeed sir, I'm Ned Seagoon. I've got plans.

PRIME MINISTER: Oh? Let's have a look.

FX: Unrolling plans

PRIME MINISTER: Yes. There’s nothing here.

SEAGOON: The drawings on the other side.

PRIME MINISTER: Oh, there’s a clever idea. Who'd have guessed? Ha ha ha. Live and learn... Now, what about this – the plans of new anti-atomic dustbin. Ohhh.

SEAGOON: Yes, you see, in the event of radiation, this dustbin will keep your garbage atom free.

PRIME MINISTER: What rubbish!

SEAGOON: Indeed!

PRIME MINISTER: Well, here's a CBE on account. Now, would you like to try for the Knight-Star and Garter?[12]

SEAGOON: Well if it's okay with you sir, it's alright with me.

PRIME MINISTER: Good. Well come back tomorrow with Hughie Green.[13] Until then a sailor's farewell.

GRAMS: Body into water.

FX: Door slams.


PRIME MINISTER: I know, what an ideal intro for Rain Ellinungton.


RAY ELLINGTON - "I'm Getting Married In The Morning"[14]


GREENSLADE: Hardly had that music ceased and the wind gone up the chimney, when the PM presented a new atom proof dustbin to a meeting of high ranking idiots.

FX: Squeeze toy.

PRIME MINISTER: Gentlemen, this dustbin has great potential, potonsil and potunsal.

MP 1:[15] Can it go to the moon?

PRIME MINISTER: No. But from small beginnings you know... What, what?

MP 2:[16] Is that the prototype?

PRIME MINISTER: No. That is the dustbin.

FX: Dustbin lid.

MP 2: It sounds like a dustbin.

FX: Dustbin lid again.

MP 3:[17] I say, may I try that?

FX: Dustbin lid again.

MP 3: Ha ha! It's not at all difficult, is it?

FX: Dustbin lid.

ELDER STATESMAN:[18] I say fellas, let me try now.

GRAMS & FX: Dustbin lids in different tempo to denote that someone else has taken over. Add recorded clanging behind of various different dustbin lids. Multiple levels. Continue under.

ELDER STATESMAN: Oh, ha ha ha! Oh dear! Oh dear! Why didn't we get one of these before, eh?

CAST: (Hubbard of MP’s trying dustbin lids. Shouts of joy, laughter &c)

FX: Dustbin lids stop.

ELDER STATESMAN: Oh, what fun!  

PRIME MINISTER: I haven’t leapt for years, you know![19] Well – now Lord Stron, tell the House of your plan.

LORD STRON:[20] Yes, we intend to find if it's possible for a man to go over the Niagara Falls in a dustbin.

MP 2: (Variously) Hear! Hear!

LORD STRON: Thank you. We've got to keep it pretty dark, otherwise the Russians will start putting dustbins into orbit on the Volga rapids. Gentlemen, if you'll all step into this train we'll attend the first attempts to have the dustbin… (Raves.)

FX: Iron bar dropped onto concrete.[21]

GREENSLADE: Believe it or not, that was the sound of the Kremlin. You'll just have to believe us – there it is. And now, pardon me while I stand behind this freshly painted scene.

SPOTTOVITCH: Comrade Spondovitch, there is a man outside to see you.

SPONDOVITCH: Quick, swallow this desk in secretary. Prepare for a long siege.

SPOTTOVITCH: This man claims to be the son of Mata Hari.[22]

TOOLSVITCH: Is he persistent?

SPOTTOVITCH: He persisted that he was Mata Hari herself until I called a doctor.

SPONDOVITCH: Comrade Toolsvitch, send him in.

TOOLSVITCH: Come in son of Mata Hari.

FX: Door opens.

GRAMS: Set of tiny boots approaching at the double.

BLUEBOTTLE: The Black Eagle is sitting on the Red Flower Pot.

TOOLSVITCH: The password!

BLUEBOTTLE: Oh? All is well comrades. Bluebottleski is here with cardboard to spare.

SPOTTOVITCH: Tell us Comrade, what kind of undercover work have you been doing?

BLUEBOTTLE: (Naughty) Ohh, I couldn't tell you that. Oh, I don't know though... Well, I was look-out for the Finchley Wolf Cubs.

TOOLSVITCH: Ahhh! What did you spot?

BLUEBOTTLE: I spotted Mrs Evans and the Milkman.

TOOLSVITCH: What did you get for that?

BLUEBOTTLE: A clout on my ear 'ole.

TOOLSVITCH: Is that a decoration?

BLUEBOTTLE: Yes. That's why I wear one on each side of my nut.

TOOLSVITCH:[23] Magnificent! There is a tin rouble. Get the plans of the British anti-atomic dustbin or you will lose your deposit.

FX: Door opens.[24]

ECCLES: What's goin' on here.

TOOLSVITCH: Who are you?

ECCLES: Stalin.

FX: Pistol Shot

ECCLES: Owwww!

BLUEBOTTLE: You twitt Ecclesvitch, come with me. Farewell comrades. Nothing but death can stop Bottleski from the plans. Farewell!

FX: Door slams.

(Short pause)

FX:  Door opens.

BLUEBOTTLE: Here, dere's a big spider out there. Oh!

ECCLES: I ain't frightened of big spiders. I'll fix him!

FX: Door slams.

GRAMS: Lion roars. Continue under.


FX: Door slams. Boots trudge closer.

BLUEBOTTLE: 'Ere, where's all your clothes?

ECCLES: Bottle, say after me – I must learn the difference between a lion and a spider.

BLUEBOTTLE: Ohh... ah ha.

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic link.

SEAGOON: Hello folks, Neddie here folks; meantime the plans went ahead to test my dustbin over the Niagara Falls. For this the Government brought the Niagara Falls to London and put it up at the Savoy. (Laughs) Ha ha ha! In charge was a master of nuclear explosions.

ORCHESTRA: Last bars of Bloodnok theme.

GRAMS: Bombs exploding, liquid boiling (speed it right up,) old motor car engine, a burp, a pop gun and a vibrating spring.

BLOODNOK: Ohhhhh. It's a good job the room's sound proof. Poor old Frank Sinatra upstairs. My goodness.

GRAMS: Atom bomb.

BLOODNOK: Ahhh! That was the biggest explosion of the series.

SEAGOON: Was it Christmas Island?

BLOODNOK: No sir, Christmas pudding.

SEAGOON: Bloodnok, grand news! We have managed to send an elephant up the falls in the atom-proof dustbin, and it LIVED.

BLOODNOK: What? No other dustbin has ever done it and lived.

SEAGOON: [26] Now next, we want a human being to go in it.

ECCLES: (I'm safe folks!)

BLOODNOK: They've called you men, the flower of England and the flower of flunz, to volunteer. Come now, remember it's for England, men.

SEAGOON: Can you think of a better reason? Hahaha. Like money.

BLOODNOK: Cowards you are – cowards all! Very well, we'll draw lots for it. Now Eccles, write your name on fifty pieces of paper, and put them in a hat.

FX: Scratchy nib on paper.

ECCLES: Right. Dere!

BLOODNOK: Now, draw it out.

ECCLES: Right.

BLOODNOK: What's it say?

ECCLES: Mrs Gladys Smith.

BLOODNOK: You imposter sir! You're not Mrs Gladys Smith. I am!

ECCLES: I don't want to die!

BLOODNOK: You don't want to die? You superstitious fool you.[27] You won't die Eccles. Roll up your trousers!

GRAMS: Wooden slat blind pulled up.

BLOODNOK: Just as I thought, legs that reach to the ground. You know what that's a sign of?


BLOODNOK: No. It's the sure sign of a long liver.

ECCLES: Oooo, I got a long liver!

BLOODNOK: Yes. And I'll bet you five pounds that you'll live forever, starting NOW!

(Short pause)

BLOODNOK: You've done it! You've lived forever!

FX: Cash register.

BLOODNOK: Now strap him in that dustbin for the test.

ECCLES: No! No! Let me go! (Self-fade) Take your filthy hand off my filthy arm.

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic chords

JOHN SNAGGE: (Pre-recorded) This is London calling in the uncut bicycle service of the Baa Bee See. This afternoon, the Prime Minister told an eager half-empty House that today England would launch an atomic dustbin into the Niagara Falls, with a highly qualified pilot at the controls. There were demonstrations at the dustbin launching base, when a million barber electricians carrying soup tureens laid down in the road with socks full of grit. The driver of the steam roller said, “It was so tempting. I'm sorry, I won't do it again” Arsenal 8 – Tottenham 87.

GRYTPYPE: You hear that Neddie? They're debasing the original use of your dustbin.

SEAGOON: I'll get my revenge.

MORIARTY: No, I'll get mine. It’s nearer.

SEAGOON: No no no! Thank you, but my revenge is stronger and it lasts the whole drink through.

SEAGOON: Don't forget folks: When you want your own back, get REVENGE – today!

SEAGOON & MORIARTY: (Singing in American ad style)

When you want your own back,

Get REVENGE today!

GRYTPYPE: Ned, for no reason at all I will become your solicitor. Take a letter on uncut lino. (Dictates) “Dear Bloodnok…”

FX: Hammer on wood like morse code. Continues under.

GRYTPYPE: “…Unless you return the plans of Ned's dustbin, I will be forced to charge my client a higher rate. Signed Thynne.” Now let me hear that back.

GRAMS: (Pre-recorded) FX: Hammer on wood as before. Play at double speed. Then multiple recordings of Peter saying “Signed Thynne” at various speeds. Add some hammer sounds under. Play the lot at high speed.

GRYTPYPE: Splendid. Now, go and lay that under his military kippers.

SEAGOON: (Laughs) Ha ha ha! He who laffs liffs loofs las. Ahem. He who har hees, laffs loose lifs. Ha ha ha! Farewell.

GRAMS: Speeded up footsteps running away.

GRYTPYPE: Gad! I never knew his legs would move so fast

SEAGOON: Neither did I. I better get after 'em!

GRAMS: Single whoosh.

SEAGOON: Bloodnok!

BLOODNOK: Ohhhhhhh

SEAGOON: Ha ha ha!  This lino means curtains for you.

BLOODNOK: Lino curtains? What a quaint seasonal custom. But wait, this is solicitors lino. You'll hear from my linoleum layer in the morning sir. Meantime, take that!

GRAMS: Jelly splosh.

SEAGOON: (Choking) Pthghthghehthegh! Pooff! What is it?

BLOODNOK: I don't know sir. It was dark when I trod in it.

SEAGOON: Gad, it's a banner with a strange device, and clutched by a lad in snow and ice.

BLUEBOTTLE: Get your hands up!

SEAGOON: Bluebottle, take that silly rice-paper off.

BLUEBOTTLE: You touch one hair of that and SPLASHOO!. The disintergrater ray gun will speak in my hand.

FX: Metal clang.

BLUEBOTTLE: Oh, the elastic's come off the trigger.

SEAGOON: Don't cry Bottle. Here, have the suspender off my sock.

BLUEBOTTLE: Oh, thank… No! No! That suspender is just a glittering western prize to make me forget my mission. Now Seagoon, look into my eyes! Toot toot toot. . . Little daggers come out and point all the way along my eyes to his. Too-tooty toot toot! The secret of Bottle’s mesmerism is bending Ned to my will. Strain! Strain! Powers of eyes! Powers of eyes! Ohhh squint, squintie, squint, squint! Ohoei, my nose has started to bleed.

SEAGOON: You've crossed your eyes, you nit.

BLUEBOTTLE: Oh no! Den I'm finished with Russia, I am. I can't go out wid birds when my eyes are crossed.

SEAGOON: We've no time to lose!

BLUEBOTTLE: We must save Eccles from a death worse than fate!

SEAGOON: Yes, we must save Eccles!

BLOODNOK: Ah, but they never did. Oh dear, dear, dear. To think you poor people came all this way just for that! Diddle diddle diddle dum. Where are the pay offs of yester-year you know?

ORCHESTRA: "Old Comrades March." Theme music

ORCHESTRA: "Crazy Rhythm" Outro” Playout.



[1] German for “crap” or “shit”. Sellers slightly mispronounces it.

[2] Secombe

[3] Milligan. This voice is one of a series that Spike used to portray members of the upper class, typically with nervous or preposterous speech impediments. He had used it the previous episode for Hugh Jampton, and to extraordinary effect in “The Man Who Never Was” (27/6th) where the speech impediment gets him shot.


[4] Milligan’s performance of the line (as far as can be determined.). In the PS it appears as:


[5] Sellers could have his voices wrong here. It says “Crun” in the PS but Peter is using his Anthony Eden voice, a voice he typically used for parliamentarians or Governors of institutions.


[6] Could be a reference to the 1957 hit “Suddenly it’s the Hi-Lo’s”. The appeared on the Nat “King” Cole show.


[7] Sellers sings it thus:


[8] This Eccles choral version of the Christmas carol “Good King Wenceslas” was originally recorded in January of 1958 for use in the show “The String Robberies” (16/8th). The four part harmony was created using multitracking, with Milligan singing each part. Although not precisely together, it is admirably in tune, due in most part to Milligan’s sense of perfect pitch which he inherited from his mother.

[9] Milligan is almost quoting Shakespeare. “The Tempest” Act 4, scene 1.

[10] Sellers is doing an impression of Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, Prime Minister of Britain from the beginning of 1957 to 1963, who came to  power after Anthony Eden resigned for health reasons. Known for his pragmatism, wit and unflappability, he was the first Prime Minister to allow himself to be impersonated  on stage, when Peter Cook sent him up in the review “Beyond the Fringe” in 1960. As usual however, Spike got there before everyone writing this short scene for the extraordinary Peter Sellers. Peter’s uncanny ability to mimic public figures could be both a blessing and a curse to the BBC.


[11] Quintin Hogg, Lord Hailsham of St. Marylebone (1907-2001) was a vigorous force in the conservative  party, becoming chairman of the Conservative party under McMillan later this same year.

[12] Spike often got a bee in his bonnet about the Birthday Honours list. In 1958 among the recipients was Terence Rattigan the theatre writer.


[13] Spike is satirising the format and spiel of Hughie Green (1920-1997), English television presenter in his highly popular TV show “Double Your Money.”


[14] From the Lerner and Lowe musical “My Fair Lady”, which had premiered in New York in 1956, and had recently transferred to the West End, starring Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison. It would run for more than five years in London.


[15] Secombe.

[16] Milligan


[17] Sellers.


[18] Secombe


[19] Sellers may be improvising, but I suspect this was something Milligan had him say, as the reference to leaping was a typical Milliganesque touch. There is a leaping contest in “Tiddleywinks” (24/8th), Min enjoys leaping in “The Moriarty Murder Mystery” (17/8th) and there is an ancient Anglo-Saxon leaping house in Piccadilly in “The Sahara Desert Statue” (1/9th.) But in “Robin’s Post” (4/10th), Sellers makes a comment during the masked ball, “We shall be leaping soon!” I believe this is a reference not fully explained until Spike wrote his “War Memoirs”. In volume 1 there is an extended reference to leaping… and also during the D battery dance where various officers in different levels of intoxication attempted to do the Scottish leap whenever the band played a highland reel.


[20] Milligan.


[21] Distantly one can hear Milligan shriek as he backs off the mic and perform a mouth pop.


[22] Mata Hari, (Margaretha Geertruida MacLeod 1876-1917) was a Dutch exotic dancer and courtesan who worked as a double agent for the Germans during WWI. The Germans had her shot and her head was embalmed and kept in the Museum of Anatomy in Paris.

[23] By now Secombe’s Russian accent has deteriorated into a faux German accent.


[24] Milligan speaks right on top of the FX.


[25] In the distance one can hear Milligan moving from side to side of the stage to give the impression of being chased.

[26] The audience reaction to the previous gag is muted, so Secombe say, “Oh well.”

[27] Sellers muddles the line badly. He says” You suspicious fool you…” The mis-corrects himself by re-reading it as, “You superstitious mule you.”