Research Diary

Reflections on the process of researching The Legacy of The Goon Show


The Goons on stage: Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe, Spike Milligan. Original source unknown
The Goons on stage: Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe, Spike Milligan. Original source unknown. Photo: YouTube, 2015

In putting together a research paper for my Professional and Academic Development assignment, I have gone through several stages, reflecting on and developing ideas. I will show these reflections and main developments below, from my initial ideas, right through to the finished project.

2 February 2016

In choosing a subject for my Professional and Academic Development project, I looked for a subject I am passionate about: something I would enjoy researching.

I chose The History of Radio Comedy. There is a lot of material to cover. I can attempt to show how radio comedy has developed from the earliest shows in the 1920s right through to today and show how current shows are influened by their predecessors.

3 February 2016

I started to put together a chronological list of important radio comedy shows (with the help of The British Comedy Guide) and other possible research sources.

24 February 2016

The Goons: Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, Michael Bentine, Harry Secombe.
The Goons: Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, Michael Bentine, Harry Secombe. © BBC (BBC, 1951)

I have decided that my subject is too broad to cover in any depth in a 10 minute presentation and research paper. With this in mind, I have changed the subject to The Goon Show. This was the initial reason for choosing to research Radio Comedy, however, had I stuck with my original subject, I would have used The Goon Show as the centre piece. It makes sense to focus solely on this.

1 March 2016

I have decided to further focus my research on The Legacy of The Goon Show, showing how the show has not only influenced generations of writers and performers that followed but how the show still flourishes today.

8 March 2016

Goon Again: Jon Glover, Andy Secombe, Jeffrey Holland and Christopher Timothy
Goon Again: Jon Glover, Andy Secombe, Jeffrey Holland and Christopher Timothy. © BBC (BBC, 2001)

To collect some primary research, I have found the contact details of various people connected with The Goon Show, including Dirk Maggs, producer of Goon Again (a BBC reenactment of The Goon Show from 2001) and Andy Secombe (who took the role played by his father Harry Secombe in Goon Again). I have asked if they would be prepared to be interviewed on the subject, either by phone, Skype or email. I am still trying to find the contact details of Spike Milligan's manager Norma Farnes.

16 March 2016

While there is much secondary research information online and in books, I to find out why people are still listening to The Goon Show, I put together a Goon Show survey and shared it on Facebook, Twitter and with friends around the world. I got several replies with gave me more information from current and long term fans of the show.

7 - 9 April 2016 2016

Probably the most important person to contact is sound restorer Ted Kendall. He is responsible for restoring the sound of every episode of The Goon Show that is available today, for release and broadcast by the BBC. I finally found his contact details and emailed him a list of relevant questions which he graciously answered soon after. You can find his answers in the Ted Kendall interview.

Putting the website together

I decided to present my research in the form of a blog.
This would be a perfect way to present my written research along with photographs, audio and video clips in a way that would be information but also entertaining. It would also allow me to keep track and present my researchg as it grew and evolved. As you can see above, the final subject was refined from an initially wide subject area.

I have some knowledge of web design, I have created a website from the music I create ( but I initially decided to use a Wordpress template to build the site. This has the advantage of having many blog features already integrated.

I purchased the URL and added it to my existing web hosting service. I thought this would come in useful for not only this assignment, but also future assignments. I tried customising the Wordpress template but soon became frustrated: it was slow and bulky and I was unable to build the blog I wanted. I decided to start from scratch and build the whole site myself. This meant writing every piece of code but would result in a blog that looked exactly how I wanted it.

The Goons as seen by Spike Milligan: Eccles, Bluebottle, Bloodnok
The Goons as seen by Spike Milligan:
Eccles, Bluebottle, Bloodnok (Milligan, n.d.)

I created a header (at the top of every page) using two of Spike Milligan's drawing of Goon Show characters in a style that suited the subject matter, as well as a repeating background image and wrote a CSS3 style sheet to change the colours, shape, fonts and style of the whole website. This includes a menu linking to every page on the website, a reference section on relevant pages and a brief summary of the subject and why I am researching it and presenting it in this way.

I broke up long sections of text with relevant images and video to create something more pleasing to take in and read.

error 404
Art designed by Brin Coleman for the error 404 page of this website.

As this is an academic piece of writing, I also collected references from each page and collated them onto on reference page.

For academic purposes, the link to this website was printed on paper. In case anyone trying to access the site accidentally typed the wrong thing, I added a error 404 page with a similar style and a link to The Legacy of The Goon Show.

Once the website was complete, I added it to Cloudflare network delivery service. This makes the site faster and more reliable.

Next: References »»


BBC, 1951. The Goon Show. Available at

BBC, 2001. Goon Again. Available at

British Comedy Guide, 2016. List of Comedies By Year. Available at

Milligan, n.d. Goons. Available at

YouTube, 2015. The Goon Show - Rommel's Treasure. Available at