Goon Show Script

The Space Age

Series 8, Episode 6

First broadcast 4th November 1957. Script by Spike Milligan and Larry Stephens, produced by Roy Speer. Transcribed on Goon Show Depository Transcription Forum.


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Wal:
This is the BBC Light Programme.

Seagoon:
What beautiful words, Wal. Why don’t we set it to music?

Wal:
It'll be a jolly good idea.

Seagoon:
Of course! Just stand under this tree and listen.

Wal:
Mmm-hmm.

FX:
Cymbal clash

Orchestra:
Corny 12/8 introduction

Wal:
Just a minute.

Seagoon:
Whoah.

Orchestra stops.

Wal:
Just a minute please.

Seagoon:
What?

Wal:
Just a minute, Mister Secombe.

Seagoon:
What? What?

Wal:
That music was written by Edward Elgar, Sir.

Seagoon:
Edward Elgar, he got in quick, didn’t he? You’d better watch these composers, same thing happened before. I wrote Handel’s Largo, and when I got it to the publishers, he’d already written it. You know what he called it? Handel’s Largo, same as me.

Wal:
Is your name Handel’s Largo?

Seagoon:
What, what, what, what, what? You’ll get a belt on that big shiny ear'ole of yours.

Peter:
Never mind, there, Hershel, never mind.

Seagoon:
Good heavens, it’s Peter Sellers, who has just broken his own record of keeping a car for more than a month.

Peter:
Well, you may laugh, Hershel. The trouble is, no-body's yet invented a Hi-Fi car, that takes films in colour with a built in tape recorder. But the day will comes, markee. (Does car impressions).

Seagoon:
Stop those car impressions.

Peter:
I can’t. This is a chauffeur-driven impression. Stop here, Jim. (Impression of car stopping)

Seagoon:
How can you afford such expensive impressions?

Peter:
Because I do a brilliant impression of a large bank account.

Seagoon:
Splendid! You’re just the type to do the impressions in our most recent leather Goon Show, entitled The Space Age!

Orchestra:
Spacey Music

FX:
Bring in Morse code over music, music fades

Hern announcer (Peter):
(Over Morse) When news of the new Russian satellite was released on the Sunday, the high-ranking British astronomers were unfortunately away for the weekend. However, the moment they were informed of the phenomena, they immediately continued their weekend holiday.

Wal:
But in Hailsham, a small English village just across the Channel from France, an Englishman staunch and true was at work.

Seagoon:
Ah, that’s my cue, thank you Wal. (Clears throat) Now where’s my tin speaking trumpet? (Through megaphone) Hello folks, hello folks! Calling folks! This is Gunner Neddie Seagoon, speaking to you, from a hayloft in a barn at Poole Farm. I am carrying out a vital scientific experiment, folks. I am discovering how long a World War One army deserter can survive in a hayloft on horse fodder, raw carrots, grass,
cardboard, string, rope, old actors(?)

FX:
Knocking

Seagoon:
What? Who’s that? (Louder) Halt, who goes there! Shoot, and I’ll fire!

FX:
Door opens

Grytpype-Thynne:
Ah, good morning, ragged military gentleman.

Moriarty:
Owww.

Seagoon:
Good heavens! It’s the military police!

Grytpype:
Yes, Neddie.

Seagoon:
It’s all a mistake, I tell you, I didn’t know the 56th heavy regiment was sailing for North Africa, I, I overslept, that’s all. I, I’m not afraid of the Germans! (Shouts) Come out and fight! Down with the Kaiser! (normal) There, you see, I’m a patriot (Sings) Rule Britannia, There’ll always be an England. Hrmm.

Grytpype:
They all say that, you know.

Seagoon:
What, what, what, what, what, what?

Grytpype:
There, there, Neddie, little Neddie, we are bearers of grand tidings.

Seagoon:
Huzzah, of course. The King’s pardon.

Grytpype:
(Laughing) Oh, well, not quite, Neddie. You’re still in the books as being a World War One deserter, but have no fear, laddie.

Seagoon:
Well how’s the war going? Have we captured Berlin yet?

Grytpype:
The war, Berlin yes. Yes it fell to us, but we lost it again.

Seagoon:
To whom?

Grytpype:
A man called Adenauer I think it was.

Seagoon:
Good heavens. 1957 and walled War One still on. (accidentally mispronounces World)

Moriarty:
(ad-libs) Will war whim still on?

Seagoon:
World War One, you try and say it.

Seagoon and Moriarty mispronounce World War One in a variety of ways.

Moriarty:
Why don’t we settle for World War One. Yes, at this very moment the Germans are attacking the Bank of England.

Seagoon:
Strange. I haven’t heard any gunfire.

Grytpype:
(whispers) Moriarty, quick, your World War One impressions.

Moriarty:
Bang bang, ratatata boom, bang, (continues under)

Wal:
We would like to assure nervous listeners that the shellfire they hear is not genuine. It is being done orally by an unscrupulous military policeman, who takes protection money from deserters like Neddie, who are not aware that the war is over. And if you’ll pardon me, I’ll slip away before they notice my Boer War helmet!

Moriarty:
Bang bang boom, ratatata bang, boom. BANG!

Seagoon:
Good heavens, that last one was close.

Grytpype:
Yes.

Seagoon:
Look, lads. I’ve had enough of this. I’ve been paying you for thirty-eight years to keep my secret. I’ve only got three shillings left.

Grytpype and Moriarty:
Oww!

Grytpype:
Oh, I see, Just one moment, please.

Grytpype and Moriarty:
(Fast incomprehensible discussion. The words Charlie and Money can be heard)

(Long pause)

Moriarty:
Oh yes! Um, Neddie, we’ve got a little invention here we call "The Deserter’s Friend"!

Seagoon:
What is it?! A woman?!

Grytpype:
No Neddie. With this gadget you can hide in space.

Seagoon:
Space? But I’m taking up too much already. (off mike says something)

Grytpype:
Lad, we have perfected a method of getting a man off the ground under his own power. He needs no other means of propulsion.

Seagoon:
What, what, what, what, what, (turns into chicken noises) Has it been successful?

Grytpype:
Successful? (Laughing) Do you hear that, Count? (Both laugh) Why, even last night, the dear Count here, went up on the heath, and unaided, elevated himself into space to the height of twenty feet.

Seagoon:
Gad! What’s this invention called?

Grytpype:
A ladder. Of course I may think of a better name for it later, but...

Seagoon:
No, no, no, ladder’s a good name for it. , I must tell Folks, just a minute, my trumpet. (Through trumpet) Calling folks! Hello folks! With this invention, folks I can go on being a deserter forever! The military police will never find me up there, folks! (normal) How much?

Grytpype:
Well, to anyone else, Neddie, ten shillings. But to you, 38 pounds.

Seagoon:
Oh, I couldn’t take advantage; I’ll pay what everyone else does. Ten shillings. How would you like it?

Grytpype:
In thirty-eight one-pound notes.

Seagoon:
Right. See, I’ve got forty pounds here; I’ll just peel them off. Forty, thirty-nine, thirty-eight. There. Thirty-eight pounds.

Grytpype:
Thank you, Ned. Now pick a card, don’t let me see it, what is it?

Seagoon:
The forty-three of diamonds.

Grytpype:
You lose; pay pontoons only, twenty-eight pounds, Neddie.

FX:
Till.

Grytpype:
I thank you.

Moriarty:
Now Neddie, here, Neddie, are full scale plans of a ladder.

Seagoon:
These plans are made of paper!

Grytpype:
Yes, Ned. If chased by military police, place plans against a wall, climb up, and then fold the plans up after you.

Seagoon:
Brilliant! But I’d better not take any chances,

Grytpype:
Of course, of course

Seagoon:
I think I’ll make a wooden one.

Grytpype:
Splendid. And here to cover the sound of your carpentry is Max Geldray to play his old Dutch muffled teeth!

Max Geldray:
Musical interlude.

Wal:
that was Max Geldray who played "Standing inside a pair of Trousers". You will remember that Neddie has built himself a ladder. Part Two, we find him hiding at the top.

GRAMS:
General traffic noises, continues under

Seagoon:
Hello folks, calling folks. I’m in a deserter’s paradise, folks, balanced on top of a secret twenty-foot ladder, in the middle of Piccadilly circus.

Wal:
And damned silly you look, too, Mister Seagoon.

Seagoon:
Shh! Quiet, Wal. Do you want people to see me?

Wal:
It matters not if they do. The crux being that, World War One from which you hide, was terminated in 1918.

Seagoon:
Ohh, ohhh, ohhh! Thirty-eight years I’ve been a coward for nothing! Wait! That means they owe me thirty-eight years coward deserters back pay! I’d better get down to Whitehall.

Orchestra:
Bloodnok theme.

Bloodnok:
Ohhohhhohh, oh dear, oh dear. Oh dear, dear, that Chinese ginger, there ought to be a law against it you know. Ah, well! It’s time the delightful Madame La Tool was here. Get me handkerchief, and me electric tango boots on. Now, turn the gas stove down low. Must
have a romantic atmosphere, you know. Singhiz, play a military tango on the phonograph.

GRAMS:
Record hissing then slow mellow tango. Speeding up towards end.

Bloodnok:
(Sings ‘aeough’ &c with the record.) Oh, those tuneful twenties.

FX:
Knocking.

Bloodnok:
That’s her now. I’ll just put the light out.

FX:
Gunshot.

Bloodnok:
Owww! Got it right in the filaments, now.

FX:
Door opens.

Bloodnok:
Ahh, Millie, ahh Millie, to me arms, darling, and let us waltz.

Orchestra:
Old-fashioned waltz music.

Bloodnok:
(singing) Let’s waltz the whole night through,
The Darjeeling one-step with you,
It’s cooler than Poona,
And I’d rather sooner,
Do it in Darjeeling with you,
Out in the old bazaar,
I’ll give a loud Huzzah!
Let’s live our moment,
In Bombay cantonment,
The Darjeeling one-step with you, with you,
The Darjeeling one-step with you!

Bloodnok:
I kiss your hand Madame, oww, owwgarawowowww.

Seagoon:
And that’s as far as it goes.

Bloddnok:
What!?

Seagoon:
I’m promised to another.

Bloodnok:
I don’t know who you are sir, or where you’ve come from, but you’ve done me a power of good, I’ll tell you.

Seagoon:
Well, I’m Gunner Ned Seagoon.

Bloodnok:
What are you doing on top of that ladder, sir? World War One is over.

Seagoon:
I know, I’m practising for the next one.

Bloodnok:
But how can you, they haven’t written the music for it yet.

Seagoon:
Of course they have sir, it goes like this!

GRAMS:
Explosion

Bloodnok:
What’s it called?

Seagoon:
World War Two.

Bloodnok:
Wait a moment, I, where’s me old photographs, wait a minute. Aren’t you Gunner Ned Seagoon of the Deserters bound Hailsham.

Seagoon:
Yes.

Bloodnok:
Then what are you doing deserting your own coward’s post.

Seagoon:
We thought(???) the Kaiser’s surrendered.

Bloodnok:
Nonsense sir. Singhiz, do some impressions.

Singhiz:
Bang bang bang ratatat boom bang

Bloodnok:
There. You heard that with your own ears. German World War One rifle fire, interpreted into English by Havaldar Singhiz-Things.

Seagoon:
I’d better get back on duty as a coward then.

FX:
Door opens.

Messenger:
Owwowwow, Major, ahh, the ahh Russians have forced a ahh satellite into the ow ionosphere.

Bloodnok:
The filthy swines. And me with only one change of underwear.

Wal:
May I explain, Major.

Bloodnok:
What, what, what?

Wal:
I said, may I explain.

Bloodnok:
Well get on with it, then.

Wal:
Well, this is a satellite moon circling the Earth.

Bloodnok:
The Russians have done that?

Messenger:
Aah, yes, sir.

Bloodnok:
Then what are the Americans doing?

Messenger:
They’re nut.

Bloodnok:
Then the great Space Race has begun. Men, on your marks, get set!

FX:
Starting pistol.

Wal:
And so England joined in the attempt to conquer space. The question was, how could we get ahead of Russia? Soon, the great all-leather laboratory at Neasden was working full-blast on a project.

FX:
Various clangs, plenty of time between them. continues under:


Crun:
Now Min, Min, get this, get this rocket strapped up your back, and stand in the fireplace.

Minnie:
All right, Henry.

Crun:
And remember modern Min, keep your elbows well in till you’re clear of the chimney.

Minnie:
Oh, dear. What about the heat from the rocket, Henry.

Crun:
Well, hold the lid of this biscuit tin behind you, to protect your nether limbs. Now modern Min...

Minnie:
Bowwww!

Crun:
Owww! When you’re well clear of the Earth, get extra power!, by strapping on these leather duck wings.

Minnie:
How do I operate them, Henry?

Crun:
Don’t worry, modern Min. As soon as you’re up, this instruction manual on leather wings will be rocketed up to you. Now let us check your outer space nourishments pack.

Minnie:
All right, Henry. Let me see, one all-leather bag...

Crun:
Ahh, two and thruppence...

Minnie:
Packet of Indian teeeea! Net weight quarter pouuund...

Crun:
Eight pence, farthing...

Minnie:
And a small brown loaf. Now, what are, what are the old...

Crun:
Now your medical survival kit.

Minnie:
Oh, the survival, yes.

Crun:
One ...

Minnie:
fishtooo!

Crun:
One outer space lemon and horsehair poultice.

Minnie:
Booow!

Crun:
One stratosphere packet of ling senapods, and Alistair’s horse oils, one bottle of Indian brandyyyy!

Minnie:
Nyoooooo!

Crun:
Now Min, think yourself lucky to have modern science at your disposal!

Minnie:
Oh, are you going to dispose of me then?

Crun:
Not yet...

FX:
Knocking

Minnie:
Oh, we’ll all be murdered in our beds!

Crun:
Wait a minute (calls) Coming, coming! Min, don’t go up till I come.

Minnie:
(Idiot noises under Crun above)

FX:
Door opens

Seagoon:
Oh, hide me sir! The military police are after me!

Crun:
I can’t think what they see in you, sir. Where are you?

Seagoon:
On top of this ladder.

Crun:
Oh, you’re in the airforce, then! Come in.

FX:
Door shuts

Crun:
Now sir, you are just in time to see Britain’s –

FX:
Match striking

Crun:
First woman into space!

GRAMS:
Rocket taking off.

Minnie:
(Over rocket) Ohhhhhh!

Seagoon:
Good heavens! She’s gone up the chimney!

Crun:
Yes! Now to pick up her signals on this wireless set.

FX:
Radio-type noises, continues under

Crun:
Calling Min, calling modern Min.

Minnie:
(Sings ‘crazy modern rhythm music’)

Crun:
Ah-hah! England now has a successful Min Bannister circling the Earth! Min, can you tell us your exact position?

Minnie:
I’m stuck half-way up the chimney!

Crun:
Ohh, Min! This has put England years behind. We must defeat the chimney barrier.

Seagoon:
Don’t worry. I have an invention here which can get her well clear of the chimney, and into space! Yes! It’s called a twenty-foot ladder, because of its length.

Crun:
Quick, stick it up the chimney then ....

Both:
(Strains)

Crun:
Now up you go. Can you reach her?

Seagoon:
(from a distance) Not quite. The ladder’s not long enough.

Crun:
(calls) Don’t worry (sotto) Just put this giant handy interballistic rocket to the bottom of the ladder, light the fuse, so...

FX:
Match striking

GRAMS:
Rocket blasting off

(short pause) (cry from Neddie)

Minnie:
Ohh, ohhhh!

Crun:
What’s the matter, Min?

Minnie:
A man just went past me on a ladder!

Crun:
Min, this is a great day for army deserters.

Minnie:
Why?

Crun:
The first one has just been launched into space! Let’s send up Ray Ellington! Come along... come on ...

Ray Ellington:
Musical Interlude.

Orchestra:
Return-to-story chords., followed by end of a piece of music.

Omnes:
Clapping, Shouts of approvals from keen NCO’s

Wal:
The scene is the opera house Aldershot. A critical first-night audience are judging the military police solo ballet contest.

Military MC (Harry):
Thank you, thank you, and now for a encore, Lance-Corporal Ninger will dance the solo Pas de Deux from the Constable Ballet Coppelia.

Messenger:
(running on) Sir, sir Stop the contest! Stop the contest, I say!

Omnes:
Cries of disapproval

Military idiot:
Please, this is a, this is a great day for the military police. As you know men, since the last war thirty-three million, that is one third of the male population of England, have been deserters. Well, we have found one of them!

GRAMS:
Massive cheering

Another military idiot:
Well, where’s, ah, where’s this deserter, then there? Where’s this old deserter, there?

Military idiot:
Well, I’ll tell you, there. We’ve got him trapped. He’s circling the Earth 500 mile up. So, step forward the tallest man in the regiment.

F.X.:
Boots, stepping two steps forward.

Military idiot:
Brave man, what’s your name?

Eccles:
Lance-Corporal Ecc, Lance-Corporal Eccles.

Military idiot:
You’re not the tallest man in the regiment.

Eccles:
Well, the feller that pushed me forward seem to think so.

Military idiot:
All right, pick a partner and I’ll arrange transport.

Eccles:
All right. Oh yeah, ok. (lip smacking noises) Ok now... Nope, not him, not him ... no, not you, you’ve had it... not him, no, no... not him, no, no Ahh ha ha! Yeou.

Bluebottle:
You would pick me, you big steaming nit, you, Eccles!

Eccles:
Oh, Bottle, Bottle!

Bluebottle:
Don’t you Bottle me! I’m on my way to do my Mum’s shopping, I am! (to self) Half a cake of small brown, tin of salmon, quarter black shag. (normal) I don’t want to play this military police game. What’s the matter with you, man?

Eccles:
Owwowohohh!

Bluebottle:
It’s all right you saying that! (to self) Half pound sago, quarter rice, one tin condensed milk. (normal) My Mum says with all these politicians about, I’m not to play in the park!

Ray:
Right, come on you two! Fall in! Now, march behind each other. By the right, quick march! Left, left, left right left... (goes off into distance)

Bluebottle:
We’d better follow him, hadn’t we, Eccles?

Orchestra:
Old Comrades March (possibly)
Wal:
Ladies and gentlemen, we have just heard that the actual screams of terror being emitted by the satellite deserter Seagoon are being picked up by a Mister Willium Mate, who will report the signals are coming through on his gas stove.

Mate:
Yes, mate. Well I gets up this morning to boil a loaf of bread, suddenly there’s this screaming coming from the hot plate, you see. So I shouts down the little holes in the gas ring, I shouts out. I says – ah – I says, "Do you mind not making so much row down there? There’s people in the house up here who are trying to kip!" And he said – well you ask him, go-on.

Wal:
(Clears throat) Hello, calling satellite Seagoon!

Seagoon:
Heelp! (GRAMS:
Wind) Get me down, it’s dangerous up here! The heat barrier has destroyed my underpants! Heaven knows what’ll go next!

Wal:
Don’t – ~~~ Seagoon, don’t worry, I beg of you. A rocket is on it’s way to bring you down, hold on!

Seagoon:
Well tell them to hurry. There’s a dog up here nipping at me heels! Heeeelp!

Orchestra:
Dramatic link


Wal:
(with muffled orders in background) At dawn, as you can hear, a great military police space rocket was prepared. The red cap was screwed on, and inside, final orders were given.

Captain (Harry):
(pompous) Now men, cigarettes out. As you chaps know, we are about to make the first arrest of a deserter in outer space. Now sergeant, five seconds from now, we’ll synchronize instruments. Five, four, three, two, one!

Orchestra:
A collection of instruments warming up.

Captain (Secombe):
Splendid! Right, now men, you all know your stations.

Eccles:
Clapham Junction.

Captain:
Shut up, Eccles.

Eccles:
Shut up... (dribbles off)

Omnes:
A short round of ‘Shut up, Eccles’

Captain:
Now then, shut up Eccles, now then, switch on the heat generators!

GRAMS:
Generator starts

Captain:
Raise engine temperature!

Lackey:
(off) Engine temperature raised, sir.

GRAMS:
Generator gets louder

Captain:
Right, combine maximum heat power!

Lackey:
(off) Heat power at maximum!

GRAMS:
Generator louder again.

Captain:
Right, Bluebottle, feel those pipes!

Bluebottle:
Oww! That’s hot!

Captain:
That’s hot enough. Fire!

Eccles:
Fire, where? Oh, the rocket. Fire the rocket!

GRAMS:
Rocket takes off

Captain:
All right chaps, we’re 500 miles up, now, and well clear of the Earth. Remove liberty bodices and replace dentures.

FX:
Slurping noises of dentures being inserted?

Ray:
Captain, captain look! There’s a face at the window.

Captain:
What? Draw the curtains. I wonder who it is. What height are we at?

Ray:
492 miles.

Captain:
Hmm, can’t be Seagoon, he’s only 4 foot 9.

Bluebottle:
Wait a minute captain, he’s standing on a ladder, and he’s got no clothes on!

Captain:
So, improperly dressed, eh?

Bluebottle:
No, he’s not dressed at all! He’s N-U-D-E!

Captain:
That’s him, Nudey Seagoon!

Eccles:
Nude? Give me them binoculars. Ohhh.

FX:
Knocking

Bloodnok:
I say. I tell you it is Seagoon. He’s knocking to come in, there’s manners for you.

Captain:
Don’t let him in Major!

Bloodnok:
Why not?

Harry:
I can’t play two parts at once.

Bloodnok:
Well, get out.

FX:
Door opens. Wind. Door closes.

Bloodnok:
That’s got rid of him. Now, let deserter Seagoon in.

FX:
As above

Seagoon:
Ahh, thank you Major. (megaphone) Hello folks, calling folks. It’s me, folks, Neddie. I’m saved!

GRAMS:
Ovation, cheering

Grytpype:
Stop! Deserter Seagoon, you’re under military arrest.

Seagoon:
I’m not frightened any more, World War One is over.

Moriarty:
Ah, yes, but since then, we’ve had World War Two!

Seagoon:
Ahh, (hysterical rubbish), ohh, I must hide!

Grytpype:
Yes, Neddie. Now for a few shillings a week we know a nice little spot where you can hide...

Seagoon:
Yes, but you’ll tell me when it’s over, won’t you

(Seagoon, Grytpype and Moriarty gabble rubbish, then fade)

Wal:
You see, it’s all in the mind, you know.

Orchestra:
Playout music, down for:


Wal:
That was the Goon Show, a BBC recorded program featuring Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Spike Milligan, with the Ray Ellington Quartet, Max Geldray, and the orchestra conducted by Wally Stott. Script by Spike Milligan and Larry Stephens. Announcer, Wallace Greenslade, the program produced by Roy Spears.

Orchestra:
Playout music.


NOTES

Konrad Adenauer (1876-1967) was West Germany's first chancellor and a key figure in rebuilding the country after World War Two.

"Doing your nut" was a common expression for being outraged or upset.

When Crun declares "We must defeat the chimney barrier" it is a reference to defeating the sound barrier for aircraft which was a topical problem at the time.

When Seagoon comments "There's a dog up here nipping at me heels!" it is a topical reference to the dog Laika, the first living creature to orbit the Earth, launched on a one-way trip on board Sputnik 2 in November 1957.