Research Conclusions

Some findings from researching The Legacy of The Goon Show

"It's just funny!"

The Goon Show: Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe
The Goon Show: Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe. © BBC

One of the main questions I wanted to answer with this paper was why people are still listening to and enthusiastic about The Goon Show 56 years after it originally finished broadcasting. Many people said simple this "It's just funny". In my interview with him, Goon Show sound restorer Ted Kendall said "Because it is funny! Any analysis pales beside this simple fact" (Kendall, 2016). But to have survived for so long, it must be deeper than that. beyond The Fringe's Jonathan Miller says that Spike "...was a major monument in British culture and had a tremendous sense of conceptual humor..[whose] work had the same importance as Alice in Wonderland and The Pickwick Papers" (Miller, 1997), while Eric Sykes, co-writer of several Goon Show scripts, said "At a cursory glance, The Goon Show was merely quick-fire delivery of extremely funny lines mouthed by eccentric characters, but this was only the froth. In The Goon Show, Spike was unknowingly portraying every facet of the British psyche." (Sykes, 1997).


Prince Charles' Bluebottle Impression

As discussed in my presentation, the show had famous fans and influenced many writers and performers, from Monty Python to South Park, that have, in turn, gone on to influence other writers and performers.


Major Bloodnok's Stomach sound effect created by Dick Mills

There were many sound effects created by what was to become the BBC radiophonic Workshop, such as the infamous Fred the Oyster sound effect from The Sinking of Westminster Pier show, 15 February 1955,

or the sound of Major Bloodnok's stomach as created by Dick Mills (see right).

The Goons - The Ying Tong Song

There were silly jokes and catchphrases

Morning! from the Spon Plague, 1958.

There were even hit songs! (see right)

Spike Milligan statue in Finchley
Spike Milligan statue in Finchley. Photo: Brin Coleman, 2015.

The Goon show broadcast from 1951 to 1960 but as I have discussed, it's influence still lives on in comedy and writing today.

Next: Reflections and Research Diary »»

References

Kendall, Ted, 2016. Ted Kendall interview. Available at http://brincoleman.co.uk/goon/archive/tedkendall/

Miller, Jonathan, 1997. Dangerous Minds. Available at http://dangerousminds.net/comments/peter_sellers_spike_milligan_john_cleese_goon_show_tv_special

Sykes, Eric, 1997. Dangerous Minds. Available at http://dangerousminds.net/comments/peter_sellers_spike_milligan_john_cleese_goon_show_tv_special