On the Nature of Time

I couldn’t resist posting this little piece, taken from an episode of The Goon Show first broadcast in 1957. Spike Milligan wrote most of the scripts for this long-running and hugely popular radio show as well as playing several of the characters including, in this clip, the gormless Eccles heard in dialogue with Bluebottle, played by Peter Sellers.

The Goon Show shattered the conventions of radio comedy with its anarchic humour, nonsensical plots, and sheer silliness; it was a direct ancestor of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, a debt acknowledged by the Python team. However, the strain of producing weekly scripts for The Goon Show exacted a heavy toll on Spike Milligan who had numerous nervous breakdowns. Not surprisingly, given the rate at which they had to be written, the episodes are uneven in quality but at times Spike Milligan’s comic writing rose to extraordinary heights of genius. Such as this joyfully absurd sequence, which I think is totally brilliant.

Postscript. After The Goon Show came to an end in 1960, Eccles and Bluebottle moved on to other careers. Rumour has it they’ve both applied to be the next Chief Executive of STFC.


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One Response to “On the Nature of Time”

  1. Daniel Mortlock Says:

    Spike Milligan often talked explicitly about the strain of writing ‘The Goons’, and often implied that he’d have gladly accepted not having created something of such lasting quality if it could have meant being less depressed. Indeed, his perspectives on the matter can be judged from his statement that “When I look back, the fondest memory I have is not really of The Goons. It’s of a girl called Julia with enormous breasts.”

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