RECORDED: 10 Nov 1958 [1]


Script by Spike Milligan



GREENSLADE: This is the BBC Home Service.

GRAMS: Pop of cork, bubbles, water pouring. Continue under.

MILLIGAN: Oh. Oh dear, the cork's come out.

SELLERS: Stop it before the BBC flows away.

SECOMBE: Don't panic-ponic! There's still three gallons of BBC left.

MILLIGAN: Thank a-heaven!

ORCHESTRA: Grand chord.

SECOMBE: (Laughs) Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! I ask you folks, what other show provides such original openings? Ha, ha, ha – or, if you disagree, such unoriginal openings. Ha ha ha. Ahem.

MILLIGAN: Okay, thank you Jim. You see...[2]

SEAGOON: (Keeping it going, you know – keeping it going. Well done!)

MILLIGAN: (Thank you Jim. Yes, thank you – yes. We need it folks, tonight is going to be tough.) You see… Ohh! (Nipped in the bud!) …we cover ourselves both ...

SEAGOON: (Ha ha ha ha. Aha ha.)

MILLIGAN: (You've been looking.)

SEAGOON: (Hello, hello!)

MILLIGAN: Now then, you see folks, we cover ourselves both ways… (this doesn't make much sense any more, but I'll carry on.) You see, we cover ourselves both ways but the wind gets in at the side.

GRAMS: Brief burst of howling wind.

MILLIGAN: Ohh, naughty wind! Ohh, (I still carry on.) Now… (It’s Sellers parts here.)

SEAGOON: (He changed the script this morning, folks.)

MILLIGAN: Now folks, a simple test of marital fidelity. Bend down, clutch the ankles and say after me – no water. (Sings) OHHIEE!

ORCHESTRA: (Sings in unison) OHHIEE!





ECCLES: Alablalalalalablalum!  


MILLIGAN: Oh, I knew they couldn't last the pace, folks!

SEAGOON: Good man, Milligoon. Here, here's a ticket to Eva Bartok.[3]

MILLIGAN: Oh, he ha ha ho, owwee!

SEAGOON: Now forward, silly old Sellers. Try this Elstree film-type military hat.[4]

SELLERS: Is this the hat of the book?

SEAGOON: The very one worn by John Mills and Richard Attenborough when they were ice cold in the sea of sand with the man upstairs in Alex. [5]

MILLIGAN: Oh Jim, we're going to do a fillum, Jim.

SELLERS: Yes! Lights, cameras, knees, teeth, corsets, ac-tion!

ORCHESTRA: Music hall intro.

GRAMS: Crowd screaming, terrified shrieks.


GRAMS: Screams suddenly stop.

SEAGOON: Hello folks! Calling folks, folks, folks, calling folks. We tell you the story of the best kept secret of the well-known World War Two.

SELLERS: The story of the film of the book of the tram…

ORCHESTRA: Timpani – hold under.

MILLIGAN: 'I Was Monty's Treble.' Or...[6]

SEAGOON: 'I Was a Teenage Werewolf's Father'.[7]


SELLERS: 'I Was Sir Winston Churchill', or ...

GELDRAY: 'I Cooked for Royalty' by Maurice Winnick.

ORCHESTRA: War-movie musical link.


SEAGOON: 1940.

SELLERS: 1941.


FX: Pistol shot


SEAGOON: 1941.

CRUN: 1941. Any advance on '41?

SEAGOON: There was no advance in '41. The war was a veritable stalemate.

WILLIUM: Was it, mate?

SEAGOON: Yes, mate. Here, swallow this statue of Eva Bartok.

WILLIUM: Oh, yum yum, mate! Oh.

SEAGOON: Yes indeed, 1941 – a fateful year for England and Elstree, you see the Germans had got wind ...


SEAGOON: Let me finish!

ECCLES: Oh, and ruin the gag?

SEAGOON: …had got wind of a new General.

GRAMS: Artillery barrage, chickens clucking.[8]

SELLERS: (over) Hear that thrilling sound? British artillery shelling German chickens. Monty had struck!

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic war-movie link. Falls to pieces at the end.

GERMAN GENERAL 1:[9] (Clears throat.) Ahem. Gerschpont heim der fueldiwscher spluker. The Englanders have broken through at El Alamein. Zis could mean curtains for us. It could also mean vindows and doors.

GERMAN GENERAL 2: Aye aye. Zis General Field Marshall Montgomery must be captured, kiptured, tortured and in that order.

GERMAN GENERAL 3: Oh. You ... you ... have a plan?

GERMAN GENERAL 2: Ja. I have a plan of the plinhof of the plons of the plan.

GERMAN GENERAL 3: But have you the ploons of the plins of the plons of the plons?

GERMAN GENERAL 2: Curse! I forgot those

GERMAN GENERAL 3: Then get on with the ploons.

GERMAN GENERAL 2: Klin! Prrrin! Montgomery is always flying backwards and forwards between England.

GENERAL SCHNERTZ:[10] (From the back of the room.) They have planes that fly backwards?

GERMAN GENERAL 2: Private Schnertz, I have bad news.

GENERAL SCHNERTZ: Private? I'm a General.

GERMAN GENERAL 2: Zat is ze bad news.

GERMAN GENERAL 1: Zat is ze old joke.

GERMAN GENERAL 2: And we all saw it coming! (Laughs) Aha ha!

GRAMS: Water pouring out of bath.

GERMAN GENERAL 3: Dere, dere, dere, die liebe Herren! Don't cry so much. We can't swim, you know. Ho ho

GERMAN GENERAL 2: But we are laying the eggs tonight.

GERMAN GENERAL 3: What? Without the red Lions on, too. [11]

GERMAN GENERAL 2:  Gentlemen, this is the plan of the plin-plon.

GERMAN GENERAL 3: Oh, you've got the plons of the plin of the ploon?

GERMAN GENERAL 2: Vrooden kaploon. Our fighter planes have been ordered to shoot down all planes carrying General Montgomery played by John Mills and Richard Attenborough

GERMAN GENERAL 3: Oh, supposing that one gets through played by Anthony Steel?

GERMAN GENERAL 2: Anthony Steele is a Monty? [12]


GERMAN GENERAL 2: Some casting director had blundered, mein Herrs

HERR ECCLES: It wasn't me, mein hairies.

GERMAN GENERAL 2: (Clears throat.) Ahem. Er, gentlemen, this man wearing a leather wig, is Germany's greatest fighter ace, Herr von Schlapper Eccles.

HERR ECCLES: Hello, fellas! Have a good war. Have a good war, fellas. BANG!

GERMAN GENERAL 1: (Thoughtful.) This... is our greatest fighter ace?


GERMAN GENERAL 1: (Grief stricken) It's going to be a long, hard war.

ECCLES: (Aside) Little do they know that I'm not Herr von Schlapper.

GREENSLADE: This then was the enigma.

ECCLES: Yeah..

GREENSLADE: Who was Eccles?

ECCLES: Who was Eccles?

GREENSLADE: The play continues.

ECCLES: The play continues.



SECOMBE: Knock knock in German.

SELLERS: Come in, in Chinese.

SECOMBE: Ta in Siberian.

SELLERS: Mishprocha in Yiddish.[13]

SECOMBE: Yiddashern in Etruscan.

GREENSLADE: Such, then, was the lingual virtuosity of the enemy.

GERMAN GENERAL 2: Meinen Herren, before we go any further, look at this.

FX: Rustling paper.

GERMAN GENERAL 1: Splatsen on der spensen geplukenhaus!  Zis is a new anti-British drinking song.

GERMAN GENERAL 2: Quick, we must all face England, and sing it.

ORCHESTRA: Music hall piano behind. Bring in drums and saxes like a pit orchestra.

CAST: (singing in cod German.) Sieg heil,

splonsun undersplun,

minger gropel splatfield,

underneath the Hatfield.

Boom, crash,

Croyden funf der schule,

splatsun win der Old Kent Road.

Cor blimey...[14]

GERMAN GENERAL 2: HALT! Krunser mit minger![15] Zis song is a fake! Take its beard off.

GERMAN GENERAL 1: Ahh! You are right! Underneath, dis song is clean-shaven.

ECCLES: Clean-shaven! What a perfect cue for sixteen-year-old Max Geldray of Dig McMahon.

GELRAY: Oh, I'm getting the breaks, boys.


MAX GELDRAY: There Will Never Be Another You” [16]


GRAMS: Applause. Massed screaming, huge gasps.

GREENSLADE: (over) Heavens! Ritual cavorting by the masses before the opiate spell of Madge Geldray!

SELLERS: I tell you, the harmonica is a sinful instrument. Give me Cavan O'Connor, the King of Sing.[17]

SPRIGGS: The King of Sing? You mean the Kong of Song, Jim.

SEAGOON: No no no! He means the King Kong of Sing Song.

SPRIGGS: Oh no, Jim, he means the King of England song of the ying tong long.

GREENSLADE: Gentlemen, prepare yourselves for part two. A coward's air-raid shelter in London.

ORCHESTRA: Bloodnok theme.

GRAMS: Footsteps running, shells raining down, exploding. Mix in donkey braying and bubbling stew underneath.

BLOODNOK: (over) Ohhh! Ohhh ohh! No wonder I can't go to parties any more.

FX: Phone rings, receiver picked up.

BLOODNOK: Oh, yes?

MILLIGAN: (on phone) Bloodnok, this is the insurance company. It's no good sir, we've got to increase the premium on your underwear.

FX: Phone receiver hung up.

BLOODNOK: Oh dear. Switch that air-raid off, will you?

SEAGOON: Pity, that air-raid was in the top ten.

BLOODNOK: Oh. So you like music, do you? Well, well. Do you happen to know Beethoven's Fifth motor car?

SEAGOON: How does it go?

BLOODNOK: (car impression) Brrrrrrrrrrrrum, powww![18]

SEAGOON: (overcome) It's... it's quite beautiful. Much better than Schubert's horse and cart.

BLOODNOK: Yes, yes. (Slight pause) Didn't get much of a laugh, but never mind. Well now, British High Command have decided to create a double for Monty's body

SEAGOON: And who will it be?

BLOODNOK: John Mills and Richard Attenborough.

SEAGOON: Why them?


BANNERJEE: Wait a minute, please. But supposing Monty's double is killed, and run over by a German armoured tram. Tell me about that, man.

SEAGOON: Then we create a Monty's treble.

BLOODNOK: And what if the treble is struck down by a plague of German knee zeppelins?

SEAGOON: Gentlemen, to solve the problem we must ask the Statistician Royal exactly how many Monty's doubles we need, so over to them.

ORCHESTRA: Scientific link.

FX: Metal objects dropped onto hard surface one by one.

CRUN: (over) Oh dear, dear. I think this bed's had it, Min.

BANNISTER: Ah. You're right. Henry, it's going home.

CRUN: Doesn't it live here anymore then, Min?

GRAMS: Ancient grandfather clock springs winding up and striking one. Add reverb and vary the speed.

CRUN: Was that you, Min?

BANNISTER: No! It was the bed striking one.


BANNISTER: Aww. (Smacking of lips) Oh dear, dear, dear.


BANNISTER: Goodnight, Henry.

CRUN: Goodnight, Min.

BANNISTER: There's somebody laughing outside the bedroom door.

CRUN: It's that lodger – we must get rid of him, Min.

BANNISTER: Did you take your male hormone pills?

CRUN: Yes, Min. They give me the strength to go to sleep, Min.

BANNISTER: Yes, I know.

FX: Rapid knocking on door.

BANNISTER: Ohh! Come in!

FX: Door opens.


FX: Coconut shells galloping. Sudden clink of cutlery.

SEAGOON: (Approaching) Over, forwards, sideways and upwards!

FX: Coconut shells stop.

CRUN: How dare you ride a naked horse into our bedchamber!

SEAGOON: Don't worry. This horse is a nudist.

BANNISTER: I don't care. Get some clothes on him.

SEAGOON: Never! I refuse to ride a clothes-horse! Hup!...

OMNES: (Applause and cheering.)

SEAGOON: (Stick it out folks, it won't be long now.)

BANNISTER: (The good ones are ahead.)

SEAGOON: Now Mr. Crun, have you got the statistics?

CRUN: Very badly, sir.

SEAGOON: Let me see.

CRUN: Ohh!

BANNISTER: Don't look, Henry! Don't look!

SEAGOON: Gad, so! We need forty thousand Monty's doubles, eh? We'll have to form regiments. We'll start with Ray Ellington, who always precedes the brandy. Good luck, lad, good luck!


RAY ELLINGTON – “Sunday” [19]


GRAMS: Dairy cows.

SELLERS: He's drawing a very strange audience these days.

GREENSLADE: Ta. Part four, the Germans become suspicious.

ORCHESTRA: German High Command link.

GERMAN GENERAL 3: Gentlemen, this is part four, and we have just become suspicious.

GERMAN GENERAL 2: I have just opened zis three-ounce tin of suspicion.

GERMAN GENERAL 1: (smacking of lips) Mmm, it tastes very suspicious.

GERMAN GENERAL 2: Mm. Then our suspicions are vell founded. Last night General Montgomery was seen talking to a voluptuous woman in za Edgware Road. And at ze same time he was seen talking to an exotic woman in Cairo. A second later he vas seen talking to a ravishing blonde in Barcelona. Gentlemen, WHO WERE ZESE MEN?

ECCLES: (Lecherous) Who were those women? Aha ha ha.

FX: Multiple slapsticks.

ECCLES: (over) Oww oww. Oww oww. Oww. Who do you think you're hitting?


ECCLES: You? You’re right the first time. (Aside) Little do they know they weren't hitting me, folks. They weren't hitting me.

GREENSLADE: This was the enigma. Who was Eccles?

GERMAN GENERAL 2: Ja, now listen – it is obvious that the enemy are using doubles. To find the original we must get the plans of an original General Fred Montgomery.

ORCHESTRA: Trombone flare link.

CHISHOLM: (sings) “I'm in love with an old trombone…”

ORCHESTRA: Trombone flare peters out. Finish on tatty chord. [20]

FLOWERDEW: Yes, it's very good, but entirely out of place, dear. Very good.

SEAGOON: But now to assume my part as an MI5 officer in MI5.

SPRIGGS: Yes Jim, secrecy is essential. Essen-tiaaal! We know that the Germans are sponsing on the splon ...

FX: Door knocker taps once, then twice, twice, once, once, twice.

SEAGOON: Three, two, one, and then two knocks? I wonder what it means.

BLUEBOTTLE: It means I want to come in, you twit. Ay. Message for you. I will read it. (Reads) From Mrs. Gladys Wrenge, 45 Sebastopol Terrace, Scunthorpe. “Sir, reference to room you 'ad 'ere during the pantomime season. Well, we know what it is, we know who done it, but for heaven’s sake tell us where it is!” [21]

SEAGOON: Right. Next joke, please. Now, what's in that teapot?


FX: clink of teapot lid

BLUEBOTTLE: He says he wants to see you.

FX: Teapot lid rattled, then taken off.

SEAGOON: Come on out.

MORIARTY: Owww. Just a minute, I'm just paying off the taxi.

WILLIUM: Four and six, sir.

MORIARTY: Thank you. Good luck. Ah. Hello, Neddie.

SEAGOON: Now sir, will you explain why you were hiding in a teapot?

MORIARTY: I don't like coffee.

SEAGOON: Let's try the second version of that gag, eh?

MORIARTY: We'd better.

SEAGOON: Now sir, will you explain why you were hiding in that teapot?

MORIARTY: I had a date with a tea-bag!

ORCHESTRA: Tatty chord in C.

SEAGOON: Two! Two for the price of one, folks, and guaranteed free from governments.

GRYTPYPE: Ned, let me explain this tangled pastiche. This cream-coloured wreck is none other than General de Gaulle-Stones ...[22]


GRYTPYPE: ...Moriarty, leader of the Free French Women.

SEAGOON: Any free samples?

GRYTPYPE: Down, boy, down! We are secret agents working undercover because of rain.

SEAGOON: Have you any means of identification?

GRYTPYPE: Yes. I have two small warts on my belly.

SEAGOON: I'm afraid I must ask to see them.

FX: Paper unfolding.

GRYTPYPE: There's no need to. Here is a full-scale drawing of them, showing Bushy Park and other environs, plus the dual carriageway leading south to my knees.

SEAGOON: Yes. Yes, these warts appear to be in order. Now then...

BLUEBOTTLE: (Off-mic, disgruntled) I shouldn't  have come. I get nothing, cutting my parts down. I could have stayed at home. I don't want to come ‘ere to this rotten show.

SEAGOON: So gentlemen, I want to explain what we're trying to do.

BLUEBOTTLE: I do not want to come 'ere at all. 

SEAGOON: Now in the first…

BLUEBOTTLE: Said I going to have a lot of say this week.

SEAGOON: As I was saying gentlemen…

BLUEBOTTLE: My mum was always groaning, I never had nothing to say.


BLUEBOTTLE: Alright, I have! I got nothing to say. You get all de actin' parts. I don't know why. I’ve seen that rotten show of yours at the Palladium. No wonder Val Parnell's resigned, I tell you. [23]


FX: Multiple slapsticks.

OMNES: (Shouts and cheers.)

BLUEBOTTLE: Eeoohhh! You twits! Look! You’ve torn the legs off my shirts.


BLUEBOTTLE: Well, my shirts are made from mum's old drawers.

SEAGOON: Sssh, fool! On the BBC the word 'drawers' is verboten.[24]

BLUEBOTTLE: Alright den, my shirts are made from mum's old verboten.

FX: Slapstick.

BLUEBOTTLE: (In pain) OHHH! Oh my crits!

MORIARTY: And now, Neddie, have you got the plans of the original Montgomery?

SEAGOON: I'm sorry, they're at the secret military laundry.

GRYTPYPE: Oh. Then have you any idea of his future movements?

SEAGOON: Yes, we have. We have a marble statue of them, but you need written permission to see it.

FX: Scribbling on slate

MORIARTY: Ah! There. There's a chit.

SEAGOON: Wait. This ink is still wet.

MORIARTY: Yes, er… er... um, it's been raining. Ha ha, ha.

SEAGOON: Ha ha ha. I see. (Reading) 'Please allow one Moriarty to see statue of Montgomery's future movements', signed General Healthisbad. Who's General Healthisbad?

GRYTPYPE: Mine is. It's been bad for years, Neddie.

SEAGOON: Oh. Gentlemen, I'm not satisfied with the standard of your jokes. They have a Teutonic ring. R-I-N-G, pronounced ...

GRAMS: Big Ben chimes once.

GRYTPYPE: Ah, Neddie, remember our blue German blood.

SEAGOON: (aside) As they spoke, I noticed that both their Birmingham Iron Crosses had been made in Germany.

GRYTPYPE: Yes. Hands up, Neddie! Up down, up down, up down, up! When we take prisoners, we like them fit, Neddie.

SEAGOON: So, you're German secret agents played by Lew and Leslie Grade!

GRYTPYPE: Call it mis-casting if you wish. Moriarty, destroy that statue of Monty's future movements. The war is ours!

GRAMS: Explosion.

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic Wehrmacht musical link. 

SEAGOON: Ha ha ha ha. Don't be disheartened, listeners. That statue of Montgomery's movements was in fact only a statue of John Mills and Richard Attenborough's future movements. We British aren't stupid, you know.

BLUEBOTTLE: Yes, you are, you're a lot o' twits. That's what you are. Look at my verbotens – all torn. I can't go out with birds like this, can I?

GREENSLADE: Ahem… That night, one thousand guns of the Eighth Army thundered out their challenge.

BLUEBOTTLE: Bang! Hee hee hee!

GREENSLADE: Ahem. All night the battle raged. The Germans counter-attacked singing rude songs and making certain unsavoury gestures….

GERMAN GENERAL 2: (sings  over – “Inky Pinky Parlez Vous”)

There was an old lady of D. D...  

GREENSLADE: Please! Please! (Thank you.) At Montgomery's double's HQ...

BLUEBOTTLE: (Reading along with Greenslade) At Montgomery's double's HQ...

GREENSLADE: (Bluebottle shadows his lines) His ever-ready staff slept at the Alert.

OMNES: (Regiment snoring.)

GRAMS: Rooster crows.

OMNES: (Pause. Smacking of lips, snoring resumes.)

GRAMS: Rooster crows.

OMNES: (Further pause. Snoring resumes.)

GRAMS: Rooster crows. Single pistol shot. Wind up speed of rooster crow to infinity.

BLOODNOK: (Over) Got him! I bet that's done him a power of good.

FX: Urgent knocking on door of air-raid shelter.

BLOODNOK: (panic) It's a lie! Miss Bartok and I are just good friends, I tell you. That's all we can be.

SEAGOON: It's enough, isn't it?


SEAGOON: Open up! Open up this four-ounce tin of Bloodnok!

BLOODNOK: Here's a tin-opener. Open it yourself.

FX: Single tap on musical saw for spring effect

SEAGOON: Thank you. Now, hurry! The battle started an hour ago.

BLOODNOK: Blast! We shall miss the first part. (Self-fade) I shall have to hurry.

SEAGOON: Never mind! There's a matinee on Thursday.

GRAMS: Coconut shells galloping, bring in bicycle wheel on dirt path and bicycle bell over – approaching.

ECCLES: (over) Oha, oha, oha!.

SEAGOON: (over galloping) It's a man galloping on a bicycle.

ECCLES: (over galloping) Whoah!

GRAMS: Galloping stops.

ECCLES: Out of my way, men! I'm on an urgent secret mission.


ECCLES: I'm deserting! Ahoa hoa! (Aside) It's not me deserting, folks, it's two of the Mills and Attenborough.

SELLERS: Who then was Eccles?

ECCLES: Who am I?

ORCHESTRA: Dramatic chord. Hold under. Continue with snare drum softly playing retreat.

GREENSLADE: (over) By dawn the Germans had been routed. Victory was ours, and the English army went mad with joy.

GRAMS: Palm court trio.

FX: Teacups rattling.

SEAGOON: (over) They say it's been in all the papers, you know.

SELLERS : We had awfully nice weather for it.

SEAGOON: Yes. Another fairy cake? There's more there.

SELLERS: Just love one.

FX: Door opens.

GRAMS: Music stops.

BLOODNOK: Stop this orgy, do you hear! I bring bad news, and the payoff. [25] That Battle of El Alamein we won was a fake. It was El Alamein's double, played by Eccles.

ECCLES: So dat's who I was. (Sings) Ohhhhowwohhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

GREENSLADE: And, on that note we end this week's show. I believe there's quite a good bus service from here, so goodnight.

GRAMS: Flock of sheep bleating.

GREENSLADE: Among the sheep in this recorded Goon Show were Wally Stott and his Orchestra, Max Geldray, The Ray Ellington Quartet, Harry Secombe, Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan, who writes it. Those who were fleeced were Wallace Greenslade, Announcer, and Producer John Browell, who often wishes he could ...

ORCHESTRA: 'Old Comrades' playout.


[1] I was Monty’s Double” M.E. Clifton James. Quite a few WWII stories were now entering the public domain due to the 10 year rule of secrecy being over.


[2] It is possible the next sequence was largely unscripted, but after 8 years, the trio were quite able to extemporise effectively so as to keep the dialogue alive, so I’ve retained the broadcast as it stands.

[3] Eva Bartok (born Éva Márta Szőke Ivanovics, 1927-1998) was a Hungarian actress, first married at the age of 15 to avoid Nazi deportation, then to a Hollywood producer to avoid the Hungarian Communist regime, then later to a succession of theatre personalities. Her early films caught the eye of Burt Lancaster who cast her in his film “The Crimson Pirate”. She fast became a movie Queen of the 50’s, admired for her beauty and sensuousness and renowned for her scandalous affairs off screen .


[4] Elstree was the British equivalent to Hollywood, built near Borehamwood from 1914 onwards by British Film companies for the development and shooting of British films. During the late 50’s some of the studios were owned by Lew Grade for the operation of his ATV television network.


[5] Three current film titles conflated - Ice Cold in Alex” (1957) starring John Mills, “Sea of Sand” and “The Man Upstairs” (1958) both with Richard Attenborough. The first two films are set in the North African desert during the El Alemain battle, while the latter is set in a seedy apartment block.


[6] The show is based on the film “I Was Monty’s Double” (1958) starring M.E. Clifton James, John Mills and Cecil Parker, directed by John Guillermin. This script must have been quite recently written as the film was released on October 21st, three weeks prior to this recording.


[7] Milligan’s take on the 1957 film “I Was a Teenage Werewolf” starring Michael Landon.


[8] This is a standard Milliganism. In an incident in Algeria during WWII, an enterprising soldier in his battalion bought dozens of eggs from an Arab farmer as they marched through a native village on their way to camp. With no means to carry them, the whole regiment was seconded to clutch one each.

“Puzzled wayfarers watched as British soldiers marched by, clutching eggs accompanied by mass clucking.”

(“Rommel? Gunner Who?” – 1974, p.22)

It remained in Spike’s mind as another of those wonderful examples of ‘things out of order with each other’, for after all, shelling eggs and shelling soldiers are almost the same thing.


[9] German Generals 1, 2 & 3 are played by Secombe, Sellers and Milligan in that order.


[10] Secombe.

[11] Milligan is referring to the Red Lion mark stamped on every English eggs by the Egg Marketing Board since its formation in 1956, in order to stabilise egg standards throughout Great Britain. In 1957 the board began a £12 million national campaign encouraging the consumption of eggs. It’s slogan was “Go to work on an egg.” This slightly absurd statement was referred to  occasionally by Milligan in his writings and his TV series.


[12] Anthony Steel, (1920-2001) - the solid, square-jawed, handsome hero of many 1950’s British films, never played General Montgomery. He did appear in a film set during the British retreat in North Africa – “The Black Tent” (1956).


[13] Mishprocha means “friends and family” in Yiddish.


[14] To the tune of “Wot Cher! – (Knocked ‘Em in the Old Kent Road)” by Albert Chevalier and Charles Ingle, written in 1891. The song was a classic London music-hall number and had enjoyed a minor revival in 1939 after it was sung by Shirley Temple in her film “A Little Princess”.


[15] It is possible this is a bawdy reference as it sends the band (and Sellers) up. Around WWI the term ‘minge’ meant “female society” derived from the Suffolk term ‘minge’ (the female pudenda.)  It was mostly used in the army. Spike put a lot of energy into subverting the BBC editorial guidelines, using remote words and phrases that would sound looney enough to escape the notice of the directors. Because the management of the BBC were very often public school educated, they were ignorant of the words, phrases and rhyming slang that was used in the lower stratas of society.

[16] A much recorded popular song from the 1942 movie “Iceland.” Chet Baker’s 1954 recording made it one of the standards of jazz repertoire, recorded by every great jazz performer of the 50’s. Ellington sings it  three shows later in “The Mountain Eaters” (5/9th.)


[17] Clarence Patrick O’Connor (1899-1997 – stage name Cavan O’Connor,) was probably the highest paid British artist after Gracie Fields during the war. His fine, lilting, Irish tenor voice was an extremely popular drawcard in music halls and variety shows during the 30’s, but his career took off in a big way when in 1935 the BBC offered him a weekly show entitled “The Vagabond Lover.” As a result he was booked by the Stoll Moss circuit as a star attraction, appearing in all the main British venues where he sung dressed in the style of a vagabond, in a slouch hat, corduroy trousers and open necked shirt, with a sports jacket slung over his right shoulder. His fame stretched from Britain to the US and the dominions, where he made his fortune singing such numbers as “I’ll Take you Home Again Kathleen”, “The World is Mine Tonight”, “Danny Boy” and “The Rose of Tralee”. Most of his repertoire was covered by Secombe.


[18] Sellers was becoming a big star in England. With his developing stardom, he also developed a passion for motorcars. By 1963 when he was 39 years old, it is believed that he had owned 83 vehicles, keeping some for only a few days. His taste ran to Aston Matins, Ferraris, Bentleys, Radford Minis and Rolls-Royces.

[19] A jazz standard written by Jule Styne and Chester Conn from 1926. Frank Sinatra had a hit with this number in 1954, as did Pat Boone in 1956.

[20] In series 9 Spike wrote George Chisholm into the scripts on five occasions. Firstly in “I Was Monty’s Treble” (2/9th), then “The Mountain Eaters”(5/9th), 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] This was a real letter referring to a real event. Milligan tells the story in the final volume of his memoirs; “…Joe Church, in digs in a bitter winter, the loo at the bottom of the garden – taken short in the wee hours, he pulled a large fern from its pot, crapped in it, then put the plant back. Two months later he got a telegram – “We know what it is – we know who did it, but for Christ’s sakes tell us where it is!”” (“Peace Work” Spike Milligan, Michael Joseph 1991,  p33.)


[22] Charles de Gaulle had just returned to government in June, declaring an end to the fourth Republic. Elections were held in France at the beginning of November. During WWII, de Gaulle had established a version of the government of France outside his native country calling it the “Free French,” as opposed to the Nazi endorsed French government which was called the Vichy French. As Noel Coward (a man with an inordinate sense of justice and a fierce loyalty to the crown) said much later, “There’s something Vichy about the French.”


[23] Although Val Parnell remained as a director of Moss Empires until 1960, he had resigned as managing director in 1958 to concentrate on his work for ATV (he also retained an interest in the Palladium).


[24] German for “prohibited.”


[25] Milligan whispers close to the microphone, “The engine’s running.”