RECORDED: 2 Feb 1959


Script by Spike Milligan



GREENSLADE: This is the BBC Home Service.

SELLERS: Hold it up to the light, not a brain in sight.

SECOMBE: Ah, John Friar Sellers! Taste this script.

SELLERS: (chewing) Mmm mynym mykm. What is it?

SECOMBE: A freshly-cooked version of…

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic chords.

GRAMS: Over music; sci-fi oscillations. [1]

SELLERS: (Over) Quatermess, OBE.

ORCHESTRA: Further horror chords. Diminuendo to quiet, foreboding background chords.

GRAMS: (Pre-recorded, over.) TIMOTHY: This is the terror-stricken service of

the BBC. Today at approximately this afternoon, a discovery was made on the site of the Notting Hill Gate site of the government’s new dig-up-the-roads-plan-for-congesting-traffic scheme.[2] Workmen in the absence of a strike settled for work as an alternative. It was during this brief lull in high-powered inertia that Morris Onions, a scaffolder’s knee-wrencher, stumbled across something he’d found. Ting-tong-billy-bong! (I would like it known that though I read this stuff, I don’t write it.) F’tang!

FX: Shovel digging gravel.

THROAT: (Complaining) Cor blimey… &c

WILLIUM: (Calls out) Here! Here Julian!

MILLIGAN: (Distant) What’s happening?

WILLIUM: Here. Over here mate, ‘ere!

MILLIGAN: Coming, Basil.

WILLIUM: Get your trousers on – hurry, Julian. Look at this!

ORCHESTRA: Horror chord.

GRAMS: Sci-fi oscillations. Swell to forte then fade behind.

MILLIGAN: Oh, dear! Saints preserve us!

SECOMBE: (Approaching) Hey, what’s all this about? (Shocked) HEY! Eurgh! That’s a human skull.


SECOMBE: Aye. Must be a woman – the mouth’s open. (Laughs) Ha ha ha!

MILLIGAN: Here, we’d better call an Irish doctor.

SECOMBE: Too late for that, it’s a goner man.

MILLIGAN: Oh, dear!

WILLIUM: Call the Chinese police. Here, hold this whistle and play that note.

FX: Police whistle.

GRAMS: Boots running. Swell into foreground then slow down and stop.

MILLIGAN: (Over) Listen! He’s coming. He’s almost here. (As footsteps slow down) He’s arrived.

GREENSLADE: (Panting and heavily out of breath) You were playing my song. I’m sorry I’m late, but the flin of the flong succumbed the nib of the ploong.

WELSHMAN: A likely story.

SECOMBE: Now have a look at this, boyo.

GREENSLADE: Gad, the head of a skull! I’d better take its fingerprints. (Narrates) Ladies and gentlemen, in my dual role of constable and announcer, I now assume the mantle of the latter, but only for a brief announcement. Next morning after my report as a constable, a man and a woman from the Ministry of Certain Things were flown in from Battersea by road, with a rug over their knees that travelled with them pwung!

FX: Digging continues under.

CRUN: Mnk… knick …

BANNISTER: Knickka knack.

CRUN: Knickka, knack… (&c – extended)

FX: Digging becomes rhythmic.

BANNISTER: Knick knack…

(Setting up a jive rhythm.) Knick knack paddy whack,

Give the dog a bone.

Give the dog a bone,

Mtta p’pow a’pwa – oww

Mtta p’pow a’pwa – (extended)

CRUN: What are you doing, Min? The dog’s had four bones already, you know. Three of them are mine, I tell you. Now look – another one. Oh, look!

BANNISTER: Ohhh! Lord Crun… this skull is five million years old!

CRUN & BANNISTER: (sings) Happy birthday to you,

happy birthday to you.

CRUN: (sings) Happy birthday, dear Minnie,

happy birthday to you.

BANNISTER: Thank you, thank you Hen. It’s nice of you to remember my skull.

FX: Shovel resumes digging gravel. Faster tempo.

BANNISTER: Now, dig on! Dig on to power.

CRUN: Aha.


CRUN: Min!

FX: Shovelling stops.

CRUN: Stop wallpapering my trousers while I’m straining with the trowel.

BANNISTER: You must get a new pair, then. The paint’s coming off the knees, you know.

CRUN: You had a return of the royal strains. I can’t understand it, you know. These knees were hand-painted by Anna Goonie.

WORKMAN: (Approaching) Sir, will you be long in your the restorations? Only the workmen are waiting to start work on their tea break, d’you see?

CRUN: Oooh, not yet. No. This is the vital brown archaeological site, sir. It could be that on this very spot the first men existed. Can you see this we’ve dug up just now? Do you recognise it?

GREENSLADE: It appears to be a piece of mud.

BANNISTER: And there’s MORE where that came from.

GREENSLADE: Now look, I may be ignorant…

BANNISTER: (interrupts) I’m sure you are.

GREENSLADE: Look, I will turn a deaf eye to all that nonsense.

BANNISTER: You’ll get a punch up the conk!

GREENSLADE: I was saying I don’t see the archaeological importance of mud.

CRUN: Ah no, no!

BANNISTER: Morning, morning.

CRUN: Morning! Here comes Professor Ned Quatermess.


ORCHESTRA: Big, bright “I Want to Be Happy” music-hall type intro.

QUATERMESS: Hello folks. It’s me, Ned Quatermess – son of a scientist and daughter of darkness. Two for the price of one! HUP! HEY!

GRAMS: Massed cheering.


GRAMS: Cheering stops.

QUATERMAS: Thank you. (Gloats) Ha ha ha ha! Now, what’s all this about, eh? What-what-what?

CRUN: Look at that. Something’s under the ground.

FX: Pick tapping rock.

QUATERMESS: So it is. It’s hard. Here, hold my coconut tree while I have a look. This is a job for those sons of fun – the army!

ORCHESTRA: Bright brass fanfare.

QUATERMESS: (Big public announcement) Ladies and gentlemen, his excellency Rifleman Dene of the Third Collapsing Fusiliers.[3]

OMNES: Cheers and applause.

QUATERMESS: His Grovelling Excellence, sergeant Sir Tom Flair of the Second Royal Army Games.[4]

OMNES: Pantomime murmurs.

QUATERMESS: And now… (give over…) and now Miss Stomach Trouble of 1958, Major Denis Bloodnok, OBE and bar.

ORCHESTRA: Majestic brass fanfare, segueing into Bloodnok theme double quick.

GRAMS: Explosion.

BLOODNOK: Ooeuggh! Will I never be free of them? Now then what’s the trouble?

QUATERMESS: An unexploded German bomb.

BLOODNOK: What? Aaaaagggh!

GRAMS: Single whoosh.

BLOODNOK: (Distant.) Don’t be frightened lads. They’ll soon have it safe. Sergeant Spinewaite, dig it up with dig.

CAST: (Variously) Oh, I don’t know what’s going on here…

FX: Shovels digging gravel.

QUATERMESS: Thus, with ten men holding one million shovels, they dug away in the direction of – THE THING!

SPRIGGS: Thinnngg!

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic musical link.

GRAMS: Bring in electronic oscillations – continue under next dialogue.

QUATERMESS: As they dug the thing took shape – twenty foot long, red, as large as an engine boiler, with an entrance on the side and a sealed compartment in the front.

BANNISTER: Oh, dear! Dear, dear, dear.

GRAMS: Oscillations stop.

CRUN: I don’t like the look of it.

QUATERMESS: Well, we can’t change it now – it’s the only one we’ve got.

CRUN: Yes, there is something in what you say.

QUATERMESS: Yes, it can happen to the best of us.

CRUN: Indeed it can.

QUATERMESS: Yes. Well… (nervous laughter) ha ha! That seems to have explored that argument in full, doesn’t it? Ha ha ha!

CRUN: But what is this thing…?

BANNISTER: (Bursts into song) …called love,

this funny thing…[5]

CRUN & BANNISTER: (Extended improvisation, including mouth pops, and whistling.)

CRUN: Min! Cease that power-singing and stop flashing your insteps, Min.

QUATERMESS: Well, we can’t stand around here doing nothing. People will think we’re workmen.

BLOODNOK: (Approaching) Neddie, how’s the work going on that silly, harmless old bomb, eh? Oh, you were all frightened of nothing, you know.

QUATERMESS: This line the Major spoke from inside a suit of creosoted armour, inside a Cromwell tank.

BLOODNOK: You like it? I wear it all the time during explosions, you know.

QUATERMESS: It must be hell in there.

GREENSLADE: In my capacity as announcer, I will say this: during the night, those concerned continued their digging. F’TUNG!

MILLIGAN: (Rapid burst of cod-Chinese.)

FX: Sporadic knocking on series of differently pitched woodblocks.

BANNISTER: Ohh! Oh, listen! Listen! Oh!

FX: Woodblocks develop into a jive rhythm.

BANNISTER: (Rhythmic) P’ta p’tappa tippi (&c in time to the woodblocks – extended.)

CRUN: There’s no doubt about these rhythm-skulls, Min. They are fifty million years old.

BANNISTER: Nonsense. According to my quillibbakanibynspoons, in my opinion these skulls were dropped by the Germans in 1943.

QUATERMESS: Unexploded German skulls? I hadn’t thought of that.

BLOODNOK: Elephant soup with squodged spuds.

QUATERMESS: I hadn’t thought of that, either.

BLOODNOK: Sabrina in the bath. [6]

QUATERMESS: Ha ha ha ha ha! I do have some spare time.

FX: Door opens.

BANNISTER: I don’t think she has. Gentlemen, look! From the bones we’ve discovered I have reconstructed an Irish stew.

QUATERMESS: Then this is what prehistoric Irish stews look like?


BLOODNOK: I knew it, I knew it! We are all descended from Irish Jews. Oiy, vey!

GRAMS: Electronic oscillations. Voice over (pre-recorded) WILLUM: OOOHI OOOOHIE! Wind the speed up and down.

QUATERMESS: Listen! Listen! Someone screaming in agony. Fortunately I speak it fluently.

WILLIUM: Oh tut! Oh, my krills are plurned!

QUATERMESS: Sergeant Fertannng, what’s up? Your boots have gone grey with worry.

WILLIUM: I was inside the thing picking up prehistoric fag-ends, when I spots a creature crawling up the wall. It was a weasel, and suddenly it went…

GRAMS: Electronic ‘pop’. Give it lots of reverb.

QUATERMESS: What a strange and horrible death.

WILLIUM: Then I hears an hissing sound, and a voice says, “minardor.”

QUATERMESS: Minardor? We must keep our ears, nose and throats open for anything that goes ‘minardor.’


CRUN: Be forewarned sir, the minardor is an ancient word that can be read in the West of Minster’s library, you know.

QUATERMESS: Well, it so happens that I have a Westminster Library on me and GAD – look! There I am inside, examining an occult dictionary.

 FX: Flipping through pages of a book.

QUATERMESS: Minardor… minardor… hmm, hmm, hmm… min min min min min…

BANNISTER: Yes yes yes yes yes?

QUATERMESS: I feel an attack of conks coming on. QUICK, THE BRANDY!!!!


MAX GELDRAY – “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love” [7]


GREENSLADE: Meantime, Professor Quatermess is endeavouring to open the front compartment.

QUATERMESS: Now workman, I want you to drill through this place here, do you see?

ECCLES: Yup yup yup.

QUATERMESS: Now, you’re sure you know all about using micro radium-tipped drills for non-porous surfaces?

ECCLES: (Rubbish) Ya, ya, much. I’ve gotta willug. 


ECCLES: OK, then. OK men, switch on!

GRAMS: Electric current on. Massive electrical short circuit. Hold under.

ECCLES: (Agonised screams of electrocution.)

QUATERMESS: Are you sure you know what you’re doing?

ECCLES: Yeah, but I’m willing to take a second opinion.

QUATERMESS: Look! There’s a hole appearing.

ECCLES: Oh. Let me look through – I specialise in appearing holes. Let me have a look. Ooooooahh!

QUATERMESS: What can you see?

ECCLES: A glass eye.

QUATERMESS: What’s the matter – doesn’t he trust you? Ha ha ha! I say! Can you smell something?

ECCLES: (sniffs) Yeah, yeah.

QUATERMESS: (Calls) Major Bloodnok!

ECCLES: No, no. This smells like Irish stew.

QUATERMESS: Gad! My brain raced in various directions – the frontal lobes to Charing Cross and Isle of Rhyl to the Antipodes. Listen, this smell ties up with Minnie’s replica of the Irish stew. Break that door down, with this break!

ECCLES: Leave that to me.

FX: Furious pounding on wood. Various types of hammers. Frantic sawing of wood. Keep it going for a while.[8]  

ECCLES: (Effort &c; finish off with exhausted panting.) I know when I’m beaten.

QUATERMESS: Hold this coconut tree. Let me try.

FX: Doorknob turned; hinge creaks

QUATERMESS: It was open all the time.

ECCLES: Ohhh! [9]

QUATERMESS: Dear listeners, inside the sealed compartment were the complete skeletons of three serge suits along with the bones of a bowler hat.

CRUN: Min, go and preserve these specimens in brown fumed spirit and quilled leather Ong.

MORIARTY: (Muffled – distant.) I say! I say! Hello freed? Are they freed down there? Grytpype, who’s that down there?

GRYTPYPE: It’s daylight, Count.

MORIARTY: Oh, lovely, lovely. Have you any food? (Approaching) Have you some food down there? Any nice food? Any small chips and things?

QUATERMESS: Who is that hovering on the stairs?

GRYTPYPE: That is the great International Leaper and Balloonist Extraordinary, Le Comte Viscomte de Comte Jim ‘Winds’…

GRAMS: Descending electronic glissando.

GRYTPYPE: …Moriarty, known as the Mantovani of Piccadilly. There he goes.

QUATERMESS: Gad! Time for Ray Ellington and the old BRAAAANDY THERE!

ELLINGTON: The introductions he gives me!




ELLINGTON: (Sings)        I sing melodies divine,

Melodies from old Ireland

QUATERMESS: There he goes – the Webster Booth of Ghana.[10]

GREENSLADE: We are now approaching the climax of this thrilling serial in one part. Around the great scarlet capsule the entire cast are assembled. That’s me in the wig.

QUATERMESS: My friends, you’ve just one hour to find out the origin of this giant scrimson-scramson-scroo, yakabakaka-koo! After that, they’re letting the press in.

BLUEBOTTLE: Yes, hurry up man. I’m waiting for a headline.

QUATERMESS: Gad, it’s a trilby hat on legs!

BLUEBOTTLE: Steady on, my man. I am Ace Bluebottle, known in Fleet Street as Scoop Bluebottle, wonder boy reporter.

QUATERMESS: What paper do you represent?

BLUEBOTTLE: Brown paper. What is the weekly organ of the Finchley Beat Generation, editors Bluebottle and Bluebottle. Headline: “Boy Reporter Bluebottle Scoops.”

FX: Typewriter behind.

BLUEBOTTLE: (over) Headline: From under the nose of Lord Beavinbrook, FLASHEE! Giant German bomb a hoax. "I did it in my spare time," says Sydenham night watchman. Quotee. Sitting in his watchman’s hut, grey-headed, sixty-seven-year-old Tom Onions of Puker’s Lodge Mon. said, "It all comes so easy in the dark hours."

ECCLES: You’re making it up!

BLUEBOTTLE: Silence, man! Bend down.

FX: Cloth ripping.

ECCLES: Oww! Oww!

BLUEBOTTLE: It’s Professor Eccles, the brains behind…

ECCLES: What?? What’s that?

BLUEBOTTLE: … the brains behind the Windscale Disaster. Scoop! Prof Eccles gives the Brown Paper Daily exclusive statement.

ECCLES: What what what?

BLUEBOTTLE: Can I quote you on that, please?

ECCLES: No. My “what what what’s” are private.

BLUEBOTTLE: Well, give us an exclusive statement then, prof.

ECCLES: OK, then. Mnummnummnum… I like chips in brown gravy.

FX: Telephone receiver lifts. Number being dialled.

BLUEBOTTLE: Ah – this will be good.... FLASHO! Hello? Give me the city desk.

GRAMS: (Pre-recorded, play at double the speed.) VOICE: (On telephone) “Hello. City desk here.”

BLUEBOTTLE: Listen Ed, “Scoop Bottle” here. Clear the front page!

GRAMS: (As before) VOICE: (On telephone) “What for, my lad?”

BLUEBOTTLE: Professor Eccles denies paternity case. “I like chips in brown gravy,” he tells the judge.

GRAMS: (As before.) VOICE: (On telephone) “Great work, kid. Keep it up!” BLUEBOTTLE: Thanks Ed. Now for the exclusive picture. Scene: Professor Quartermass pretends to sing, and all the others put your fingers in your ears. Ready? Points super junior candle flash-gun with cardboard built-in trigger... Say cheese.

GRAMS: Electrical short-circuit. Enormous explosion.

BLUEBOTTLE: (Over) Oiee! Ooo, my spons! Who’s been meddling with my thin equipment?

GRYTPYPE: Gentlemen, the Count and I have the solution to the red capsule thing.

QUATERMESS: How do you know?

GRYTPYPE: We have just watched the last instalment on the television.

ECCLES: That reminds me – I must pay my last instalment on my television. (Laughs) Ha ha ha ha haoo! Ha ha ha ha haooou!

QUATERMESS: Fell rather flat, didn’t it? Try singing it.

ECCLES: Anything to save it. (Coughs) Ahem.

(Sings) That reminds me,

I must pay the last instalment

on my television set.

Aha ha ha ha, ha ha ha!

(Slight pause. Spoken.) No.

QUATERMESS: No. Well, try it with full orchestral accompaniment.

ORCHESTRA: Melodramatic ballad accompanies next line

ECCLES: Ahem. (sings) That reminds me,

I must pay the last instalment on my

(Strained high note) television set…

GRAMS: Electronic jelly splosh. (Pre-recorded, played over the top at double speed.) MORIARTY: Ohie ohie ohie!

BLOODNOK: Who threw that stuff at the Count?

QUATERMESS: Gad! Look what it is!

BLOODNOK: The phantom strikes again. It must be hell in there, and there’s obviously more where that came from.

QUATERMESS: Now it’s coming clearer.


QUATERMESS: Yes. Poltergeists throw stuff about.

ECCLES: They must be in a bad way.

QUATERMESS: This proves my theory! This scarlet capsule is the seat of spirit beings.

WILLIUM: Sir, the gentlemen of the press is here. I tried to hold ‘em back, but they burst through by putting money in me hands.

QUATERMESS: Spoken like a true commissionaire.

GRAMS: Jelly splosh.

QUATERMESS: Gads! He’s been struck by a neolithic Irish stew. It’s the spirits at work again.

LALKAKA: (Going) Let’s get out of here my good fellow.

QUATERMESS: There’s only one answer. Eccles, prepare a series of TNT charges to destroy the THING!

ECCLES: Leave it to me. Leave it to…

GRAMS: Electronic jelly splosh.

ECCLES: (Strangled exclamations)

QUATERMESS: Another one!

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic chords. Hold under.

GRAMS: Electronic oscillations. Swell and fade. Big Ben chiming the hour.

FX: One strike on a rusty triangle.

GREENSLADE: All night, preparations to explode the thing continued. For miles around, people had to be evacuated.

FX: Knock on door; Door opens.


QUATERMESS: (Nervous) Oh, I…er, I’m terribly sorry to knock you up so late. Ha ha.


QUATERMESS: I’m afraid you’ll have to be evacuated.

BREATHY KENSINGTON DEAR: (Surprised) Oh! Come in. I’ll just pack a few things.

QUATERMESS: Well, I… I…er…

GREENSLADE: At this point the script was heavily censored. But we leave the ensuing silence for the listeners to imagine what followed.

(Short pause)

BLOODNOK: (Off) You filthy swines! Back to your own beds, now!

ECCLES: Major, the dynamite’s all ready in the Thing.

BLOODNOK: Oh? Well, tell everybody to take cover.

ECCLES: (Shouts) Take cover, Major!

BLOODNOK: Thank you for telling me, lad. Get hold of this plunger, lad.

QUATERMESS: Stop! There’s a man called Moriarty tied up inside the thing.

GRYTPYPE: (Approaching) Yes, yes, yes, I know. It’s all right, Ned.

QUATERMESS: All right!? He’ll be blown to bits.

GRYTPYPE: Don’t worry. I have the Count heavily insured against such things.

QUATERMESS: No no no, I… I… I’m afraid I can’t allow you to do such a thing.

GRYTPYPE: Fifty pounds be enough?

QUATERMESS: Right. Ahem. (yells) Stand by plunger! Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three… erm…

MILLIGAN: (Whispered)…two…

QUATERMESS: … two, one, FIRE!

(Short pause.)

ECCLES: Ha ha ha. I forgot to connect it up.

QUATERMESS: Well, get over and fix it then. And nobody touch that plunger!

FX: Telephone lifted from cradle. Dialling.

GRYTPYPE: (Hums over.) Hello? Imprudential Insurance? Can I take out another one of those… erm, policy things? Eccles, yes. Mad Dan Eccles, that’s right.

FX: Phone down into cradle.

GRYTPYPE: Another fifty be enough, Ned?


GRAMS: Explosion and speeded-up Eccles cries of anguish

(Rre-recorded) ANDREW TIMOTHY: This is the flibby-dabby-dee service of the BBC. The giant capsule was today exploded, and went – BANG! London transport experts have, however, discovered what the thing was. Apparently the remains of the three blue serge suits found inside inside, were in fact those of three sit-down tube strikers, and the capsule was a tube train that had been shunted into a siding and forgotten. The mystic word ‘minardor’ was in fact the word ‘mind the doors.’ Not a very good ending, but tidy, don’t you think? Goodnight.

GRAMS: Jelly splosh.


BLOODNOK: And there’s more where that came from, Tim!

ORCHESTRA: Closing theme: ‘I Want to Be Happy’

ORCHESTRA: Playout “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead”







[1] Some of the earliest work by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop was for  Quatermess and the Pit.” It was the first time electronic music had been used in television production, and the whole score (credited to Trevor Duncan,) was overseen by Desmond Briscoe. The sci-fi effects used in this episode by Spike are the actual ones produced for the TV series.


[2] Notting Hill (in the West of London) had recently exploded into race warfare. For a week in August 1958, a mob of 40 young white men engaged in a “nigger hunting expedition” round Notting Hill. It took three days to bring the rioting to a standstill. The black inhabitants – mostly Jamaicans, retaliated by throwing Molotov cocktails at the white youths. By a combination of police action and the aggressive black fightback, the streets of Notting Hill were cleared of the gangs.

Earlier that year, Lord Mancroet had risen in the House to move a Second Reading of a Bill to put in hand the improvement of various major thoroughfares in London, including the Notting Hill Gate bottleneck, and Hyde Park corner. Lord Mancroet put forward a stout recommendation for the plan, (suggesting that the Lords should delay the vote until they viewed the scale models of the project in the gallery of the house,) but plaintively asked if the noble Lord who had removed the models of one bus, two plane trees and the whole of the south side of Curzon Street would kindly put them back.


[3] Spike is referring to an odd episode which had hit the national headlines  the year before. The British pop singer Terry Dene (aka, Terry Williams, 1938- ) one of the best rock and rock performers before the Beatles and one of the “bad apples” of the music industry (having been arrested for public drunkenness and ripping out a telephone box from a wall), was called up for National service in 1958. He was due to join the Royal Rifle Corps, but when he arrived at Winchester Barracks, the press hounded him so badly that his health collapsed and after two months he was discharged on psychological grounds. By that time, hospitalised in a psychiatric ward, press interest in his private life had almost ruined his career. Questions were currently being asked in the British Parliament about Rifleman Williams (as he was known,) which escalated in the press with the naming of  other well-known celebrities who had  managed to withdraw from National service on “psychological grounds.” Milligan avoids naming him directly by calling him Rifleman Dene. You can’t help but notice the audience’s enthusiastic recognition of the subject. Public opinion (and probably Spike’s) was firmly set against his type of lily-liveredness.


[4] The PS says “Gooners” rather than Games.

[5] Min and Henry are singing the popular song “What is this Thing Called Love?” a Cole Porter classic from 1929.


[6] Milligan’s obsession with Sabrina (Norma Sykes) continues. Sabrina (41 – 18 – 36) had recently shot a silent 5min film called “Goodnight With Sabrina” in which she comes home, undresses, takes a bubble bath and prepares for bed. It is probable that part of  the short was to be used as pre-publicity for her later film “Satan in High Heels.”


[7] An American jazz standard by McHugh and Fields from 1928. There is some argument as to who wrote the song, but it first appeared in a Blackbird Revue at Les Ambassadeurs Club in New York, transferring to the highly successful show “Blackbirds of 1928.”  Fields and McHugh told the story of walking down Fifth Avenue and seeing a couple looking in the window of Tiffany’s. The young man said, “Gee honey, I’d like to get you a sparkler like that, but right now I can’t give you anything but love.”


[8] John Browell laboured long and hard to produce the sound effects. Owing to the technical difficulties, the BBC were asking for the scripts earlier and earlier – so that the boffins in the electronic department could experiment with the new noises. “The scripts,” said Browell, “…were like great fantasies and there was a lot of serious talk and work that went into them.” On Wednesday, the actual sound effects were tried out and pre-recorded. The original FX indication here was; [Long series of smashing door down. Goes on and on. Give it variation in kind. I.E. First confident crashes on door with axe. These all very long. Fail then renewed, then furious. Then frenzied. Then heavy full blooded blows. Furious sawing. Then hammering on door with fists. Mad rattling of the door knob. Then four or five heavy blows. Then a mad furious hatchet attack on the door.] As it happens, the FX sounds nothing like this, but is rather a continuous sequence of thumping and sawing.


[9] After Eccles say “Oooh!” there is the brief burst of electronic oscillations. It could be that a GRAMS entry was meant to be inserted here, but which Secombe overlooked, going straight on with his following line.

[10] Webster Booth (1902-1984) was an English tenor soloist, and famed for his duet partnership with the soprano Anne Ziegler, his wife from 1938. After an astonishingly successful career in variety, the pair faced a downturn in interest during the 50’s when changing public taste rendered their refined singing out-of-date. They immigrated to South Africa in 1956, finding – like many native Britons, that life in the colonies was more rewarding than the increasingly difficult life in post war Britain.