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Fri 16th (7:30pm, Radio 4 Extra)
The Goon Show
Highly surreal radio adventures that helped take British comedy into a new age. Starring Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers and Harry Secombe
- Crazy People
- 1951 - 1960 (BBC Home Service)
- 247 (11 series)
- Harry Secombe, Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, Michael Bentine
- Spike Milligan, Larry Stephens, Eric Sykes
- British Broadcasting Corporation
The Goon Show, originally under the title of Crazy People focused on the bizarre experiments of Prof Osric Pureheart, played by Michael Bentine working alongside Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe.
After two series, Bentine left the show. As a result, a new title character was created - Neddie Seagoon. Episodes tended to involve Neddie trying to achieve some kind of greatness, often with the help of the idiotic but happy Eccles and the young Bluebottle. However, always willing to stop them and make as much money as possible were the impoverished Hercules Grytpype-Thynne and his French assistant Count Jim Moriarty. Also featuring alongside were the disgraced and flatulent Major Dennis Bloodnok, and elderly couple Henry Crun and Minnie Bannister.
Our Review: The Goon Show was notable for its highly surreal scripts, involving everything from jet-propelled guided NAAFIs, to going over Niagara Falls in an atomic dustbin.
A vitally important series in the history of British comedy, The Goon Show was, amongst many other things, a major influence upon the creators of Monty Python's Flying Circus.
The series also helped to develop the use of sound effects in radio shows. Notable examples include, 'the sound of Neddie and Eccles driving a wall at speed', and 'knocking on a door 6,000 times'.
Due to the 1950s cultural references, some of the humour in these recordings is outdated now, and it does feature some jokes which might be considered racist by today's standards.
However, the impact of this show on modernising British comedy should not be forgotten. It is still very popular, not just with comedians, but even with royalty: Prince Charles is said to be a huge fan of The Goon Show.