BROADCAST: 9 Feb 1959 [1]


Script by Spike Milligan


GREENSLADE: This is the BBC Light Programme. Tiddey pong.

SEAGOON: And now the same thing in Aramaic. Tiddey pong.

GRAMS: (Pre-recorded) Sellers & Milligan: Ping tar nat plung tar fern tule, knin querdge, harat, hume. (Sellers & Milligan hit a cow bell, temple block, and blow a whistle duck call. – Play fast.)

GREENSLADE: It sounds naughty.


MORIARTY: And there’s more where that came from I tell you…

FX: Slapstick.

MORIARTY: (Shrieks) Argh…

GRYTPYPE: Back you fumed frog of a man.

SEAGOON: Mister Greenslade, clutch the shins and announce this announcement on the wireless set.


ECCLES: (distant) Hello…

GREENSLADE: (Going off) Oh, I don’t know. I give up, really this is too much.

SELLERS: Snatching up his dying announcement, Ned continues – aye!

SEAGOON: Thank you. (Megaphone) Hello folks. Leather speaking trumpet announcement in the modern wireless talking manner, folks. To celebrate the two-hundredth anniversary of Burns, Cuts and Bruises, we go over to the Krutty crab-ridden sea shore of the Scotland, folks.

ORCHESTRA: Drone. Chisholm plays tatty trombone bagpipe melody over.

                    Chisholm sings a Scots melody.

                    GRAMS: Jelly splosh.

                    Chisholm plays another trombone phrase.

                    FX: Pistol shot

                    CHISHOLM: Och, nigger nag the noo.

                    FX: Drop brass piping on hard surface. (As if dropping a trombone.)

ORCHESTRA: Immediate segue to very fast “I Want to Be Happy” playoff. Great cymbal smash at the end. (FX: Drop a load of cymbals to boost it.)[2]

HAIRY SCOT: Aye. Hernia the big nerr the noon loch derrn the hoilyyn.

McTHROAT: (Scottish growling)

SEAGOON: (megaphone) Hello, hello! Ned calling on his Mac-megaphone made from red Scottish hairs folks. These sounds were the dreaded sound of the phantom trombonist of the glen.

HAIRY SCOT: Ayeeee, they do say it’s the ghost of George Chisholm’s grandfather, killed one stormy night when the Tay Bridge died.

CHISHOLM: Aye – that’s true, real true. I was killed outright the noo!

SEAGOON: Thank you George Chisholm and his phoney Scots accent.

CHISHOLM: (Going off) Ach tapass karren karren, forrcen Charlie korran.

SEAGOON: There he goes folks – he and his speaking part fee of two guineas.

WOLFIT:[3] Oooh. Dee pah, ooh! And now folks – the tale. ‘Twas a dark and windy night…

GRAMS: Wind howling.

BLOODNOK: (Off) Ohhhhhhhhhh!

WOLFIT: …and as far as the eye could see and the teeth could chew, it was eighteen seventy-eight and (self-fade) the krins were…

GRAMS: Wind howling. Explosion.

BLOODNOK: (Distant) Ohhhhh! So soon in the programme too. Ohhh!

SEAGOON: In the year eighteen seventy-eight I had a bridge building company in Sauchiehall Street. I didn’t have an office but I did have a Sauchiehall Street.[4]

GRAMS: Mix in terrible mass crowd brawl. Smashing glass, screams, thuds and thumps, distant bagpipes.

SEAGOON: Hear that? Celtic verses the Rangers.

HAIRY SCOT: Aye! While half of Scotland crammed the fotbaw stadium, Ned diligently went about building his business.

SEAGOON: (sings) “I belong to Glasgow” – (speaks) Ice creams, fotbaw badges, bandages, guns, clubs… (sings) “Dear old Glasgow town.”

FX: Penny in tin mug.

SEAGOON: Thank you sir! A dud Burmese sixpence? Scotland for ever sir!

ELLINGTON: Och aye and oi vay mon. It’s a warum bracht moonlacht nacht for the schidduch the noo mon.

SEAGOON: And bless old Ghana too.

ELLINGTON: Folks, I don’t know how I get these parts. I just don’t know!

GELDRAY: What about me boy? They got me down as a Chinese.[5]

ELLINGTON: Man, you won’t get away with it.

GELDRAY: I know boy. It’s the old conk that gives me away.

SEAGOON: Never mind Max – it keeps the rain off your tie mate.

GELDRAY: Yes! That conk is working for me boy. Ploogie!

WILLIUM: ‘Ere, ‘old on ‘ere. What’s all this? An Englishman, Irishman and a Jew? What you a doin’ all then?

SEAGOON: We’re just posing for a joke.

WILLIUM: Can’t you read that hairy sign mate? “No posing for English, Irish or Jewish jokes on even dates.” Lift up yer ‘at! (Effort) Huh…

FX: Resounding whack on the head.


WILLIUM: Now sign this receipt for that lump I just give yer.

GRAMS: Short, smart vibraphone break. End with champagne cork popping.


WILLIUM: What’s this  – Maureen Shag? That’s your name?

SEAGOON: No – that’s the name of my signature.

GRAMS: Car races up. Boots running across pavement. Shop window smashes. Boots running back down the pavement. Car races away. Police whistle sounds.

WILLIUM:Ark on it! It’s the sound of a pea vibrating inside a metal cylinder, agitated by human wind – known to the outside world as the rozzers flute or the nark’s lullaby. ‘Ere, them criminals don’t arf lead us a dance, matey!

SEAGOON: (Announces.) Take your partners for the smash and grab one-step!

GRAMS: Old recording of a band playing a one-step. Mix in coppers, crooks, police whistles, occasional whacks on the head. Fade under.

SEAGOON: Gad, what a night that was!

GRYTPYPE: You dance divinely little hybrid fellow.

SEAGOON: You must be Lou Preager! [6]

GRYTPYPE: Ha ha ha – you devil. Is that your barrel organ outside?


GRYTPYPE: Drive me to the millionaire’s entrance of the unemployment exchange.

SEAGOON: Splendid! – and it’s his turn in the barrel organ.

FX: Taxi flag down.

GRYTPYPE: Step on it.

SEAGOON: So saying he threw down a dog end.

GRAMS: Car driving off at speed. Mix in sound of barrel organ. Speed up.

GREENSLADE: Ladies and Gentlemen, the Sauchiehall Labour Exchange.

ORCHESTRA: Massed snoring. Whistles.

McGONAGALL: Ohhh what a glorious sight to see,

                    ten thousand unemployed Scotsmen

                    all happy and free.

                    They lay there kipping,

                    row after row and…

FX: Knock at door.

McGONAGALL: …ohh and ohh!

ORCHESTRA: Snoring stops abruptly.

MORIARTY: (On the verge of panic) Oh…awwah… ah… owh…fshtoo… Everybody quiet. Fshtoo…Fshtoo… (Calls) Who is dere? Who is out dere? Is it… work?

GRYTPYPE: No, it’s me, Thynne – friend of the weary.

FX: Door opens.

SEAGOON: (Narration) The door was opened by a heavily strained wreck wearing the string remains of an ankle length vest, a second-hand trilby and both feet in one sock.

MORIARTY: And there’s MORE where that came from. I’m a true son of the… (Raves)

FX: Colossal slapstick.

MORIARTY: (Screams) Argharghargheouighoughi ahi, hough hoiugh… aww.

GRYTPYPE: Ned, this is the great French revolutionary shop-steward and rifle range target, Count Jim Les ‘Steamnuts’…

GRAMS: Burst of steam.

FX: Fast castanets over GRAMS.

MORIARTY: Oooohhhieeegh oohh awww.

GRYTPYPE:  …Moriarty. Men of the Royal Labour Exchange I have good news. I recently had talks with the Prime Minister and he has granted us a further extension of unemployment.

GRAMS: Massed cheering. Fade behind.

McGONAGALL: And as the Highlanders did shout hooray

                              Max ‘Conks’ Geldray

                              was seen for to play.

SEAGOON: Hooray! Time for the brandy!

GRAMS: Great rushing away of boots.


MAX GELDRAY – “Once in Love with Amy” [7]


GRAMS: Waves on rocky coast. Sea birds circling and squealing.

GREENSLADE: From a rocky ledge on Skilla Brae I announce part two. Why I am on a rocky ledge on Skilla Brae I just don’t know – I am but a humble announcer and these sea-birds are no respecters of persons.

GRAMS: Heavy snoring and distant bagpipes. Fade out.

SEAGOON: (Mouth noises) Three blissful months I spent in the Labour Exchange, and then one day…

FX: Phone rings.

MORIARTY: Owwww owww aighowww ooow… The phone! – the phone’s ringing.

GRYTPYPE: You fumed frog! I thought you told me that that phone was unemployed. Ned, you take it. It might be the fiend – work.

FX: Phone off hook.

SEAGOON: Don’t worry chaps, they’ll never know. (Jewish) Hello, Israeli [8] Embassy, Golder’s Green here…

SPRIGGS: (On phone) Hello? Hello, is that the Scottish Labour Exchange?

SEAGOON: Yes. OOOOOH, I gave it away – oh!!

SPRIGGS: Oh. Listen Jim. (Sings) Listen Jimmmmmmmmmmm!

SEAGOON: (Sings) I’m listening Jimmmmmmmm!

SPRIGGS: (Sings) Alll – riiiight Jimmm! (Speaks) Is that Seagoon, the famous bridge builder?

SEAGOON: Yes indeed. My fame has spread from the little basement I work in, to the old lady next door and back again.

SPRIGGS: OK Jim. Come to this address at once Jim. It means money… (Sings) Moneeeyy!

SEAGOON: (Raving) Money!



GRAMS: Huge whoosh.

GREENSLADE: From a strait-jacket at the bottom of the Thames, I announce a meeting of the Glasgow L.C.C.

GRAMS: Fade in Scottish reel. Heavy Scottish brogue. Dancers whoops, yells, musical accompaniment by a typical Scottish band. Occasional smashed glass, drunken yells.

HAIRY SCOT: Oh ha ha ha ha ha ha! Oh well, that’s enough the noo lads. What’s the date?

McMILLIGAN: The first of June.

HAIRY SCOT: Aye, well we must now declare Hogmanay officially over.

GREENSLADE: Hoots mon sir. The applicants for the new bridge is waiting the noo. Oched aye mon.

HAIRY SCOT: Who’s first?

ECCLES: Um, och aye mon. Hoots a mon aye. MacEccles.

HAIRY SCOT: You ever built bridges before?

ECCLES: Yea, yea yea yeah. I built the Yumalmlmlmlmlmlmla Bridge. I built that bridge in Glygnygnygnn, and I er… just finished the Forth Bridge.

HAIRY SCOT: When did you build that?

ECCLES: After the first three fell down. Ha ha ha ha ha hum! (Raves)

HAIRY SCOT: Well, if it’s as old as that gag I’m not surprised. Well, let’s hear the plan for the new bridge.

ECCLES: OK. I’ll sing it.

GRAMS: (Pre-recording) Two pianos, bass and drums – tatty version of “Music While You Work – (Second section of theme. )[9]

ECCLES: (Sings over) My idea, of a bridge on the River Tay,

                                        it would be made of nice string and wood and string.

                                        With all them nice glue

                                        and it would have all them nails in it…

ORCHESTRA: Widespread booing, roars of Scottish rage.

HAIRY SCOT: That’s alright lads… put the claymores away. Mister MacEccles, that bridge don’t sound very good to me.

ECCLES: Well, perhaps if I got a better singer to sing it.

HAIRY SCOT: No, it’s not your voice or your bridge, it’s – er… well it’s hard to explain without a mirror.

ECCLES: What! What? You’d better watch out, Scottish men or I’ll tell what happened at the ball at Killiemuir.[10]

HAIRY SCOT:  DON’T! Stop him lads!

ECCLES: I saw ‘em in the haystacks – yea! I saw ‘em in the ricks, ha ha ha! I couldn’t hear the music…

GRAMS: Whoosh and jelly splosh.

HAIRY SCOT: Got him, right in the credentials. Next…

SEAGOON: (megaphone) Hello hello hello Scottish folks divine. I will now sing and play my own bridge divine.

                    (Sings) I’ll build a bridge of power

                              across the River Tay

                              where the dawn comes up like thunder

                              out of China ‘cross the Bay.[11]

ORCHESTRA: Mutters of Scottish approval.

SEAGOON: (Sings) On the road to Bombay

                              where the cross eyed haggis play.

                              Down with the English.

                              Long live Bruce!

                              Hip hip hip hip hooray!

ORCHESTRA: Wild Scottish approval.         

GRAMS: Roars of approval under.

HAIRY SCOT: Seagoon – the job is yours…

MORIARTY: Stop, stop! Fermé yakkabakakka le pune!

GRYTPYPE: I second that. Let us have fair play. There is still one more bridge to be sung. My client the great French Financial disaster has this to say.

MORIARTY: (Sings) Sur le pont d’Avignon

                              L’on y danse, l’on y danse,

                              Sur le pont d’Avignon

                              L’on y onnnnnnnnnn-aye.

HAIRY SCOT: Aye, I must admit his bridge sounds longer.

SEAGOON: Well, I’ll sing an extra bit on mine.

                   (Sings)           Another twenty feet of walls

                              Is all I ask.

GRAMS: Recording of MORIARTY & SEAGOON singing various bridge-building songs. Fade into distance. Bring up night time sounds of crickets and distant barn owls.

GRYTPYPE: (Over) All through the steaming, porridge ridden night, the two bridge builders extolled their plans in song. My client with his powerful French Bridge against the mighty of Seagoon’s. (Running down.) Alas towards dawn my client weakened…

GRAMS: Tree starts to fall. Huge crash of timbers to the ground.

MORIARTY: (Over) Awwww de awwww! Argh, curse my weak ankles.

SEAGOON: Hard luck Moriarty.

GRYTPYPE: Congratulations and hatred Ned. All’s fair in love and war. Let us supply you with the steel for the bridge.

SEAGOON: Have you any samples?

FX: Load of odds and ends dropped onto floor.

GRAMS: Load of old scrap poured out.

MORIARTY: And there’s more where that came from Ned.

SEAGOON: This looks remarkably like Tower Bridge.

GRYTPYPE: You’ll get no rubbish from us Ned. Here – sign the exclusive contract on this bomb.

FX: Hurried writing.

GRAMS: Explosion.

GRYTPYPE: There. Nothing can revoke it. Moriarty, unchain a fresh Ray Ellington.

FX: Chains.

ELLINGTON: Man, this is the worst contract I ever had.


RAY ELLINGTON QUARTET -  “Is You Still My Baby Now”


GREENSLADE: That was Ray Ellington and his appliances. The applause was recorded by professional mourners. Now, strapped to the railway lines at Paddington I announce part two;[12] The Bridge over the River Tay – the blasting operation.

GRAMS: Explosions in rock face. Rock fall, shale plummeting down cliff, crashing into river. Loose boulders and rocks. Plunge hot irons into cold water.

BLOODNOK: Ooh, thank heavens that’s cleared it. (Calls) Alright lads, it’s clear – you can come out.

BANNISTER: Ohhhhhhhh. Owh. Ohhhhhhh!

BLOODNOK: What’s this black dress hanging in a tree? What is it Madame?

BANNISTER: Oh… I was collecting seagulls eggs up the cliff. There was an explosion… Henry went up in the air, and I went… Ooooooh.

FX: Heavy body falls to the ground.

BLOODNOK: Ooh, she’s fainted. Thank heavens the ground broke her fall. Let me open her handbag and let some of that heavy naughty money out.

FX: Coin sack dropped on table. Coins being counted.

BLOODNOK: (Sings) La dee… (Speaks) Yes, I’m counting it now. See how I count – eight, nine, ten – ten, nine…ten and ten-pence, ten and eleven-pence…

BANNISTER: Oooo, where am I?

BLOODNOK: In debt my dear.

SEAGOON: Major Bloodnok, why aren’t you on the job?

BLOODNOK: This poor female egg collector fainted from faint, and had been struck down in the prime of her eighty-ninth year.

BANNISTER: Where’s Henry?

SEAGOON: He’s been buried alive under a thousand tons of earth.

BANNISTER: Thank heaven he’s safe.

BLOODNOK: She doesn’t look very well. We must get her to a graveyard as soon as possible.

GREENSLADE: Pardon me sir  – it’s part four.

SEAGOON: We must hurry. Over to part four and MEEEE!

GRAMS: (Pre-recording) SEAGOON: Hello folks. It’s me, now back to him.

SEAGOON: Thank you me.

GRAMS: (Pre-recording) SEAGOON: Thank me you too.

McGONAGALL: Ooooooooooh.

SEAGOON: What’s this approaching wearing a transparent kilt?

McGONAGALL: This sir is a special kilt designed for patriotic Scottish nudists. Tell me, is that the new bridge over the Tay?

SEAGOON: Yes, made of solid leather and due to be opened by Captain Webb who will swim it.

McGONAGALL: With red draws of the smallest grist no doubt.

SEAGOON: Aye, aye.

McGONAGALL: May I introduce myself. I am WIlliam J. McGonagall, poet and  tragedian and twit. Allow me to pen a verse of appreciation. Let me get the feel of the tone. Ohhhhh…

ORCHESTRA: (imitation) Ohhhh…

McGONAGALL: Ohhh ohhh ohhh ohhhh ohhhh…

ORCHESTRA: (imitation) Ohhh ohhh ohhh ohhhh ohhhh…

McGONAGALL: Ooh, they’re with me tonight. There’s no doubt about it.

FX: Writing under.

McGONAGALL:     Oh beautiful new bridge over the silvery Tay,

                              Which has caused the Maharajah of Pogistan[13]

                                        to leave his home far away,

                              Incognito in his dress

                              As he will pass this way on his journey

                                        to Inverness.

SEAGOON: Oh jolly good. Now, I’ll just put the bandage round your eyes. (Calls) TAKE AIM…

McGONAGALL: Just a moment sir.

                              Underneath the bridge there will travel ships.

                              I say, what is that cooking…

                              (Sniffs twice) Oh, chips.[14]

GRAMS: Whoosh.

FX: Tubular bell hits ground.

SEAGOON: He’s dropped his sporran.

BANNERJEE & KOOKRUM:[15] (Distant singing)

SEAGOON: Hello, hello. What’s this approaching? Three ghee covered Hindus [16] with revolving knees and a touch of the Poona krutt.

BANNERJEE: Hello, hello man. I am Pandit Bannerjee and this is Doctor Fred Kookrum, and this here wearing the pole is the Waziri tribal chief from Kataani sir.[17]

KOOKRUM: Let me do the talking Bannerjee.

BANNERJEE & KOOKRUM: (Argument – extended)

KOOKRUM: Hello mister – my fine fellow. We are here shopping for Hindu Railways Incorporated. Pandit Nehru said,[18] “Get out there Bannerjee boy and get the European style bridge built.” That is what he said to me. (Extended)

SEAGOON: I see. Would you care to stay for dinner?

KOOKRUM: Oh my goodness we would, yes.

SEAGOON: Oh blast! Well, unfortunately our dinner is at the menders.

BANNERJEE: Oh dear, dear, dear, dear. It’s a terrible blow to us – a terrible blow. Never mind, I have here a red-hot ball curry and chicken vindaloo.

BLOODNOK: Curry? Never, no! no! – that terrible burning the morning after. No! I won’t have any more.

ELLINGTON: Aahhh.  Awwwghhh. Ah, Bloodnok. YOU! So we meet again mate.

GRAMS: Explosion. 

BLOODNOK: Oh! It’s the Red Bladder, my mortal enemy from Ferozapor. Put that sword down sir – I can explain everything.       

ELLINGTON: (Rage) Ahhhhhh! Munnamuttauww buttaiyow! You steal three wives from my harem in nineteen twenty-three. Me feel the pinch.

BLOODNOK: Don’t worry mullah – they’re all still in working order, I assure you. I’ll go and get them from my country home. (Calls) TAXI!

GRAMS: Taxi roars away.

GREENSLADE: On the morrow the first train was to pass over the bridge but that night plotters were at work. Tittley tai toe fertunnng!

GRAMS: Night noises. Distant owl, cricket chirruping. Distant church bell. Chimes.

BLUEBOTTLE: Pssssttttt. Pssssttttt. Pssssttttt. Pssssttttt.

ECCLES: What? What? (Extended) Who’s that? Who’s that behind that bush?

BLUEBOTTLE: Black-hawk, demon bridge destroyer.

ECCLES: You got the dynamite?

BLUEBOTTLE: Yeah, I have. This will cost you a pretty penny.

ECCLES: I ain’t got a pretty penny.

BLUEBOTTLE: Well two ugly ones will do then.

SEAGOON: Oi! You two spotty Herberts.

ECCLES: Owwhh. It’s Ned, and he’s got his hat on.

BLUEBOTTLE: Hands up Ned, man. Dat hat does not fright us.

SEAGOON: Blast. Give me that silly bit of twig.         

BLUEBOTTLE: You fool man. This twig contains a torch battery that releases a paralysing electric shock. SKRINGEEE! – it will go. Touch the end and see.

SEAGOON: There. Ha! Ha!

GRAMS: Electric current short circuiting from point to point.

SEAGOON: (Over) Aaaaaaargh! Yeoooow! Ooh – ahh – ooh! Turn it off! HELLLP! Ooo! Oooooo-ah!

BLUEBOTTLE: Ooh, it’s a good job it wasn’t switched on.

ECCLES: He’s passed out… and it suits him.

BLUEBOTTLE: Come on Mad Dan. While it’s dark we must saw down that bridge.


FX: Sawing.

BLUEBOTTLE: Oh! Phew – this girder is tough.

ELLINGTON: Man, dat’s my leg.

ECCLES: Oh! Who are you den?

ELLINGTON: I don’t know, but it’s too dark to see.

BLUEBOTTLE: ‘Ere, you ever been married to Rita Heyworth?[19]


BLUEBOTTLE: It’s alright Eccles – he’s one of us.

ELLINGTON: Me got eight hundred wives.

ECCLES: You better sit down.

BLUEBOTTLE: Come on. I set the dynamite to go off at dawn. (Giggles) He he he! I do feel mean Eccles.[20]

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic link.

GREENSLADE: Strapped down in a trough filled with sulphuric acid, I announce part six. The dénouement at dawn.

GRAMS: (Slightly speeded up.) Distant brass band playing tatty celebratory music. Cheers from crowd. Steam locomotive starting off – gathers speed. Huge explosion. Great crash of bridge into river. Lumber, rocks, rubble crashing into water. Long burst of steam. Gradually stops.

ECCLES: Well – dat’s dat!

ORCHESTRA: Series of tatty chords in various keys. Segue into “Old Comrades March” playout.

ORCHESTRA: “Crazy Rhythm” with Geldray on harmonica.



[1] The Tay Bridge disaster, occurring during a violent storm on the night of the 28th December 1879, was a well-known episode in Scottish history, and one of the very few instances of collapsing bridges in the proud history of  British bridge building. The incident had re-entered public discussion in the 1950’s due to the government’s determination to modernise the British road and rail systems. The firth of Tay still used a ferry service, and the spanning of the firth was therefore considered to be a work of high priority. In August 1958 test bores and a traffic census were commenced so as to locate the most suitable crossing points between Dundee and a point on the southern bank of the firth. Eventually construction would begin in 1963.
Milligan’s interest in the story – apart from it being current affairs, was probably due to his discovery of the awful poetry of the Scottish pest and  poet, William Topaz McGonagall (1825-1902.) Spike had revelled in McGonagall’s awful doggeral for quite some time, referring to them in the Goon Shows “The Pevensey Bay Disaster” (10/6th) and  The Mysterious Punch-Up-The-Conker” (19/7th,) but here he sets out to lampoon his poetry with verses that strive to invent metaphors and rhyming lines as naïvely clumsy as the original.

[2] This is one of the least busy Goon Shows for the orchestra. There is one link (towards the end, see p15) and this Scottish gag, apart from regular the Geldray and Ellington pieces and the play-out.


[3] Milligan. Spike seems to have imagined Wolfit as a ‘tragic actor.’


[4] Sauchiehall Street is one of the major streets in inner city Glasgow.


[5] The BBC had attempted to sack Geldray before this series began, but John Browell had intervened and kept him on by stretching the budget as best he could. Milligan responded to problem by writing him into the shows more and more and thus securing a “speaking fee” for Geldray over and above his usual artists fee.

[6] Lou Preager (1906-1978) a British band leader for more than 30 years, specialising in swing. AT the time of this broadcast, Preager was compèring a successful ITV programme called “Find a Singer.”

[7] Written by Frank Loesser, it first appeared in the Broadway musical “Where’s Charley?” in 1948. Though the show was filmed in 1952 by Warner Bros. it was never released, for unexplained reasons; neither did the cast of the New York show record the usual ‘original cast recording’ in the weeks following the opening due to a strike in the recording industry at the time, so eventually the show sunk without trace. The song however survived these vicissitudes of theatre fortune, and went onto become widely popular. This piece had been played by Geldray in the episodes “The Africa Ship Canal” (22/7th) and in “The Great Bank of England Robbery”(11/Vin)


[8] “Israeli’ excised from tape.

[9]Music While You Work” was a BBC daytime radio programme of continuous live music, broadcast twice daily during workdays in Great Britain. It ran from 1940 until 1967,  initially performing a significant task building morale during WWII, crucially alleviating the drudgery of repetitive workplace activities, necessary for Britain’s war effort. The programme ended with “Calling All Workers” composed by Eric Coates (1886-1957,) now one of Coates’ most famous tunes. Milligan uses the B section of the melody.

[10] One of the filthiest football/rugby songs in existence. No doubt generations of drunken Scots have added to it, because as well as describing the sex act in many various guises and positions, all in a Scottish setting, it is inordinately long, with verse after verse extemporising on how the inhabitants of a Scottish village passed the time at a party one Saturday night. The chorus however is:

                              Singing balls to your father,

                              your arse against the wall.

                              If you’ve never been fucked on a Saturday night

                              you’ve never been fucked at all.”

The verse Eccles alludes to is:

                              There was fucking in the haystacks

                              fucking in the ricks,

                              You couldn’t hear the music

                              for the rustling of the pricks.”


[11] Secombe is almost singing the tune of “On the Road to Mandalay” written in 1907 by Oley Speaks (1874-1948)  to the famous verses of Rudyard Kipling.

[12] Milligan was not paying attention. Greenslade announced part two earlier. This is part three. Greenslade announces part four on the following page.


[13] The BBC excised this word. ‘Pongistan’ appears in the printed script but Sellers clearly says “Pogistan.”.


[14] One of Topaz McGonagall’s poems concerning the Tay disaster says:


Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay!
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That ninety lives have been taken away
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

'Twas about seven o'clock at night,
And the wind it blew with all its might,
And the rain came pouring down,
And the dark clouds seem'd to frown,
And the Demon of the air seem'd to say-
"I'll blow down the Bridge of Tay."

When the train left Edinburgh
The passengers' hearts were light and felt no sorrow,
But Boreas blew a terrific gale,
Which made their hearts for to quail,
And many of the passengers with fear did say-
"I hope God will send us safe across the Bridge of Tay."

But when the train came near to Wormit Bay,
Boreas he did loud and angry bray,

And shook the central girders of the Bridge of Tay
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

So the train sped on with all its might,
And Bonnie Dundee soon hove in sight,
And the passengers' hearts felt light,
Thinking they would enjoy themselves on the New Year,
With their friends at home they lov'd most dear,
And wish them all a happy New Year.

So the train mov'd slowly along the Bridge of Tay,
Until it was about midway,
Then the central girders with a crash gave way,
And down went the train and passengers into the Tay!
The Storm Fiend did loudly bray,
Because ninety lives had been taken away,
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.
Because none of the passengers were sav'd to tell the tale
How the disaster happen'd on the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

It must have been an awful sight,
To witness in the dusky moonlight,
While the Storm Fiend did laugh, and angry did bray,
Along the Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay,
Oh! ill-fated Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay,
I must now conclude my lay
By telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,
That your central girders would not have given way,
At least many sensible men do say,
Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,
At least many sensible men confesses,
For the stronger we our houses do build,
The less chance we have of being killed.


[15] PS says Tookrum. Milligan clearly says Kookrum.


[16] ‘Three ghee covered Hindus’ was excised from the recording. Ghee is Indian clarified butter.


[17] The Wazir tribal area is now in the North West Frontier province of Pakistan. Ethnically Pashtuns, (sometimes referred to by Milligan as Pathans,) their homeland is in some of the highest mountain ranges of the Hindu Kush. It is not clear what Milligan means by Kataani.  No such place exists.


[18] This reference to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964, Pundit means  Master,) was excised from all subsequent broadcasts. It is likely that Milligan made up this piece of history so as to enable him to bring on the Hindu characters, Bannerjee and Kookrum. However, Spike could well have been remembering the news reports from a decade previously, when the long planned Howrah Bridge in Calcutta was finally completed.  At the time it was the third longest cantilever bridge in the world, just behind the Forth Bridge in Scotland.


[19] Rita Heyworth (aka Margarita Carmen Cansino 1918-1987) the American actress and dancer. Appearing in over 60 films during her life, her glamorous persona caused the press to dub her the “love goddess”. Her five marriages were the talk of the tabloids at the time. Her second marriage (to Prince Aly Khan) had been dissolved in 1953. Almost immediately  she married the actor/singer Dick Haymes, only to divorce him in1955 - she then married the Hollywood film producer James Hill in 1958. Understandably, the British public – for who divorce still held a shameful stigma, considered her life to be one long series of insincere marriages.


[20] As they go off mic, Eccles replies: “Do keep the engine running.”