Cast of The Goon Show

Spike Milligan

  • Full name: Terence Alan Milligan
  • Born: 16th April 1918
  • Died: 27th February 2002

He wrote most of the Goon Shows, (at times with help from others like Larry Stephens and Eric Skyes).

Spike was born and raised in India where his father was serving with the Army. His family returned to England in 1934. Spike worked as a factory hand and a scrubber in a laundry, as well as playing the trumpet, before being conscripted at the outbreak of World War Two.

He served in the Royal Artillery in North Africa and Italy, where he was hospitalized with shell shock. After this, he played guitar with a jazz group called The Bill Hall Trio in concert parties for the troops. After being demobbed he continued performing and began writing comedy with the assistance of Jimmy Grafton.

As well as writing and acting in the Goon Show, Spike has appeared in several films, stage shows and TV series. He has written a large number of books including poetry, fiction and autobiographies. Notable works include the 'Q' television series, the book 'Puckoon', his war memoirs and the stage show 'Oblomov'.

His groundbreaking achievements in the Goon Show and subsequent work mean that he is considered by many as the grandfather of modern British comedy. He later received a knighthood and CBE.

Spike suffered from Manic Depression for most of his adult life and was hospitalised a number of times during and after the Goon years. The shell shock he suffered during the war and pressure of writing The Goon Show are given as a contributing causes of the condition.

Despite it's success, Milligan rarely looked back at The Goon Show with much affection. It is fair to say that it was a painful time in his life, both professionally and personally. Because of this he maintained a rather vocal resentment of the BBC for the rest of his career.

Spike was the last of The Goons to pass on aged 83. He died of liver failure and was buried at St. Thomas's Church in Winchelsea, East Sussex, England. His gravestone bears the Gaelic inscription "Duirt me leat go raibh me breoite", which translates as "I told you I was ill".

Milligan was married three times and had four children. (Laura, Seán and Síle with his first wife June Marlow, one daughter named Jane with his second wife Patricia Milligan and no children with his third wife Shelagh Sinclair).