Goon Show Script

The Spon Plague

Series 8, Episode 23

First broadcast on March 3, 1958. Script by John Antrobus and Spike Milligan. Produced by Chalres Chiltern. Original transcription by Unknown, updated Paul Webster


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Goon Show Compendium 8

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Vol. 11: He's Fallen in the Water!

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WALLACE:
This is the BBC Light Service. It might not sound much but (tearfully) it’s home to me. (Sings) We’ve been together nah fer forty years and it ain’t been a day ...

F.X.:
PISTOL SHOT

HARRY:
Got him, folks. It was the kindest way out. We had the vet’s permission. Now, folks, by permission of one of the Lord Chamberlain’s secretaries, we present -

ORCHESTRA:
TIMPANI ROLL (COME IN ON WORD ‘SECRETARY’)

SPIKE:
‘The Great Spon Plague.’

ORCHESTRA:
DRAMATIC CHORDS (NEW ONES, PLEASE)

PETER:
My name is Doctor Hairy MacSquirter, Squirter MacSquirters of the Clan MacThud and Jim Thudder of Leeds - our history goes back over half a decade. I have got nothing to do with tonight’s show, so I’ll bid ye all a guid night.

ORCHESTRA:
CHORD IN C. TATTY À LA PIT ORCHESTRA

WALLACE:
The scene opens in a granny-hurling factory in Tooting.

F.X.:
STONE CHISEL SCULPTING ON GRANITE. THEN HAMMERING IRON FROM THE FORGE

THYNNE:
(over the F.X.) Ah my masterpiece! Don’t move, Moriarty, keep that pose. Ah how Michaelangelo would have envied me.

MORIARTY:
What are you making?

THYNNE:
A pill, Moriarty.

MORIARTY:
What - Sapristi - you mean you made me pose in the nude as a model for a pill?

THYNNE:
I wasn’t using all of you, just a certain area you know. Just round off the pill with sandpaper.

F.X.:
SHARP RUBBING WITH SANDPAPER OVER ABOVE SPEECH

THYNNE:
There - swallow it.

MORIARTY:
(gulps) Ah, what delicious sandpaper. Banana - the flavour of the month folks. Owwwwwwwwww, more!

THYNNE:
Listen, pay attention, I have invented this pill to make us rich.

MORIARTY:
You mustn’t be too ambitious, Grytpype, we already own three pieces of brown paper and a conker.

THYNNE:
Don’t let that dazzle you. We must go on! Remember, ‘There comes a tide in the time of every man’s affairs’. You know who said that, Moriarty?

MORIARTY:
You did, I just heard you. Ah, yes - Shakespeare.

THYNNE:
Ignorant swine, it was Henry the Fifth, a great writer. You know the old Apollo Theatre?

MORIARTY:
Yes.

THYNNE:
Well, he wrote that.

MORIARTY:
What a beautiful tune.

THYNNE:
Now, I must get into this mass of chains.

F.X.:
CHAINS

THYNNE:
(without waiting for F.X.) Now stand on your head in this bucket of lukewarm boiling water would you.

MORIARTY:
Ow ...

F.X.:
HEAD IN BUCKET OF WATER

THYNNE:
Now, I pour this bottle of rancid yak butter over your knees, so. Next, hold this copy of the Feathered World under your nose, and fit this cricket ball under your chin. There. Next, I haul you up to the ceiling.

F.X.:
QUICK WINCHING WHEN HE SAYS ‘HAUL UP’

MORIARTY:
(slightly alarmed) What are you going to do now Grytpype?

THYNNE:
Just talk to you. Can you hear me talking?

MORIARTY:
Only in words.

THYNNE:
Splendid, my little thin-legged steamer. I shall use just words then.

MORIARTY:
It’s a miracle, I tell you.

THYNNE:
This pill is the only known and unknown cure for the Spon Plague.

MORIARTY:
Spon? Is it catching?

THYNNE:
I don’t know, no one’s ever had it.

MORIARTY:
You mean that yar yar yar boo the tar marg al lung tal mor pol tol nonl doll roll coll yar la backa ta la tickkiety takck a tooo?

THYNNE:
(excited) You have it in a nutshell!

MORIARTY:
But how do you know people are going to start catching the Spon Plague Grytpype?

THYNNE:
Leave that to me ... I have certain arglers on the Splott mickledoooodle and the Blim blam bloo.

WALLACE:
And on that beautifully enunciated rubbish we move to ...

NED:
Me, folks, Neddie!

GRAMS:
OVATION

NED:
Ta. You get all free draws for Christmas. Now for a quick bath.

GRAMS:
SPLASH

NED:
Now, where’s that instruction manual, Ah here it is ‘Bath Night for Beginners’? Ahhh. Take soap in right hand and apply to all parts ... (Fade)

PETER:
(newsreel) This was the great National Health Surgeon, Ned Seagoon, who has just invented dirty necks ...

NED:
La ta ta ta teeeeee ... Flutt!

FLUTT:
Yeeeeees sir?

NED:
Ah, Jimmmm, stand in the sink and take a letter. First, what have I got in my diary this week?

FLUTT:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

NED:
Cancel them. I can’t see them till Sunday. Well, I’d better be getting down to the surgery.

GRAMS:
GETTING OUT OF BATH (TO GO WITH ABOVE DIALOGUE)

F.X.:
DOOR OPENS AND CLOSES

GRAMS:
SCREAMS

F.X.:
DOOR OPENS IN A HURRY

NED:
Ha ha - I forgot my clothes!

ORCHESTRA:
SHORT LINK, VERY WEIRD NOTES ALL OVER THE PLACE. UNFINISHED CADENCES, MELODY PASSES FROM INSTRUMENT TO INSTRUMENT WITH A KEY CHANGE AT THE SAME TIME

WALLACE:
The scene - Dr Seagoon’s National Health waiting-room.

GRAMS:
AGONIZED GROANS, SCREAMS. PEOPLE FALLING TO THE FLOOR. OCCASIONAL SNORING

F.X.:
DOOR OPENS

NED:
Ah, good morning, patients. Sorry to be so late, but I had to stop for a three month’s holiday in Paris.

NURSE:
Shall I send the first patient in?

NED:
Yes, darling. Remember, the rich ones first, National Healths last.

NURSE:
You first -- drop ‘em.

MATE:
Ta, nurse.

NED:
Now, what’s the trouble with you?

MATE:
I got the Shoo Shoo.

GRAMS:
CROWS

MATE:
I got a touch of the birds mate. Get away you - shoo, birdies.

NED:
Well, I see - getting the bird is a common complaint.

MATE:
Yerst, I saw you last week at Coventry. ‘Ere, you do all right for fruit, don’t you.

NED:
It’s all lies, folks, I’m a great success. I was paid off last week.

MATE:
Well, how can I cure these birds, mate?

NED:
Soon have you well matey, just wear these bird-cages hanging on your legs. And take this bird-lime three times a second.

MATE:
Oh, lovely

NED:
Who’s next?

RAY?:
The Ray Ellington Quartet.

NED:
What’s wrong with him?

RAY?:
Cop This!

ORCH:
RAY ELLINGTON QUARTET - MUSIC - 2'15"

WALLACE:
What a terrible illness that must be. And now I have pleasure in announcing a knock at the door.

F.X.:
A KNOCK

NED:
I have pleasure in saying ‘Come in’.

F.X.:
DOOR OPENS

THYNNE:
Ah, dear Doctor Ned. I bring you a man stricken with a dread disease. He is Count Jim ‘Kidney Wiper’ -

F.X.:
SWANEE WHISTLE

THYNNE:
- Moriarty.

MORIARTY:
Owwww, save me, Doctor ...

NED:
Right, just lie on this back HERE. Now, just run a stethoscope over his pockets. Gad, this man is suffering from poverty. Take this bottle of pound notes and inject them into his wallet three times a day.

MORIARTY:
Owwwwwwwwww ... Lovely medicine.

THYNNE:
Dear dear Surgeon, you have overlooked one terrifying aspect of the dear Count’s condition. This man has the Spon Plague.

NED:
I’ve never heard of it.

THYNNE:
That’s because the Count is the first man to have caught it.

NED:
Are you sure?

THYNNE:
He has all the symptoms - namely, bare knees.

NED:
Is it catching?

THYNNE:
Yes - stand back! Oh - I'm too late - you’ve got it.

NED:
What what what what what?

THYNNE:
You’ve got the bare knees.

NED:
No I haven’t.

THYNNE:
Roll your trousers up.

F.X.:
WOODEN VENETIAN BLIND PULLED UP

THYNNE:
There - bare knees.

NED:
Ahhhhhhh - I’ve got the Spon!

GRAMS:
ABSOLUTE RUNNING AT HIGH SPEED IN ALL DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES SCREAMING ‘HELPPPP’. ALL DONE AT TOP SPEED. REPEAT TOP SPEED AND ON GRAMS - THAT IS, RECORDED RECORDS, PRE-RECORDED

WALLACE:
Even as Seagoon is stricken with Spon, the British Medical Council are quick to seek a cure.

GRAMS:
DUCK QUACKING

PETER:
(Wolfit) Aaah, and so, gentlemen, I must conclude by drawing your attention to the fact that the use of leeches is not only useless but harmful.

OMNES:
Paaah, ha, rubbish - man’s unbalanced. He’ll lose his stethoscope licence.

PETER:
(Wolfit) Lose my stethoscope licence eh!

PETER:
(confident idiot of middle age) Hur, hur. Gentlemen, I maintain that I have used leeches for years, and not one of them has ever been ill.

HARRY:
Bravo, there’s proof.

PETER:
I might add that neither have I received any complaints from the patients’ next of kin.

GRAMS:
OLD MEN’S APPLAUSE

F.X.:
DOOR BURSTS OPEN

NED:
Stop stip stup stap stop. Gentlemen, grave news! A new malignant plague is upon us.

PETER:
Oh, gooooood. Business is looking up.

NED:
Who’s business is looking up?

PETER:
Bird-watchers. Ha he he - jolly good

NED:
It’s the plague, I tell you, the fearful and fearsome plague.

SPIKE:
Splendid, we haven’t had a good plague for years.

PETER:
Yes, you get out of touch.

NED:
Gentlemen, every patient that I examined this morning at a nominal fee of twenty guineas has the Spon Plague. Even I have it at a nominal fee of two and six. The symptoms are bare knees - roll your trouser legs up.

GRAMS:
SEVERAL WOODEN VENETIAN BLINDS BEING PULLED UP SHARPLY WITH A CLATTER

PETER:
Oh, dearrrr. We got it.

NED:
We've all got it. There’s only one cure. Try and run away from your knees!

GRAMS:
GREAT PROTESTING QUACKING BY DRAKES AND DUCKS. BOOTS RUNNING INTO DISTANCE

ORCHESTRA:
DRAMATIC CHORDS

WALLACE:
The Spon Plague spread like wild-fire. Everywhere were going down with it. Several people went up with it, and one gentleman was known to have gone sideways with it. The country was in a turmoil as one Minister remarked -

PETER:
They’ve never had it so good.

WALLACE:
Meantime, in a new satellite town slum -

GRAMS:
RAIN POURING DOWN ONTO FLOOR, MUSICAL SOUND OF RAIN, DROPS PLOPPING INTO SMALL POOLS OF WATER

CRUN:
Oooh, dear ... dearrrr dearrrr ... oh dearrrr - Min? Min? Modern Min? Min Modern Min?

MINNIE:
What is it, cocky?

:
[script reading mistake coming]

CRUN:
What have you put on the roof?

MINNIE:
Can you say that line again becasue I can't answer the next one!

CRUN:
Oh .. yes

MINNIE:
What is it, cocky?

CRUN:
Where have you put the roof?

MINNIE:
I sent it to the menders, it was leaking, cocky.

CRUN:
Oh, dearrrr modern Min. It’s freezing cold in here, Min.

MINNIE:
Well, sit nearer to Africa, it’s warmer there you know.

CRUN:
Oh yes! Nothing like an Africa to keep you nice and warm, Mm.

WALLACE:
Yes, folks - do away with dirty coal - keep yourselves warm with Africa. Africa is now on sale to anyone who wants to make it a second India.

CRUN:
D'yer hear that, Min?

MINNIE:
They'll knock Africa down and build flats there cocky - you mark what I say.

CRUN:
I wish Disraeli was back Min.

MINNIE:
He will be, Henery, he’s just gone down to the shops.

F.X.:
KNOCK ON DOOR

MINNIE:
Ah, that’s him. I wonder if he brought the ???? Come in!

F.X.:
DOOR OPENS

MINNIE & CRUN:
Morning, morning.... repeated

MINNIE:
Wait a minute - its evening.

MINNIE & CRUN:
Evening, evening ...

CRUN:
Come in, Doctor Ned.

MINNIE:
How’s the Spon Plague?

CRUN:
Oh, Doctor, is there no cure?

NED:
None.

F.X.:
DOOR OPENS

THYNNE:
News, Ned. I’ve found the cure - this bottle of pills. Ten shillings, please.

F.X.:
TILL

THYNNE:
Ta, Ned, and a sailor’s farewell.

GRAMS:
QUEEN MARY’S HOOTER SPEEDS UP INTO DISTANCE

NED:
And so saying, he went through the door and disappeared into the night.

THYNNE:
Did I? Well, I might have been told a bit sooner than this.

NED:
And so saying, he went through..

THYNNE:
Yes, they know...

NED:
And so saying, I read the instructions on the pills. Take three paces south, stretch our the right arm, roll down the trouser legs.

F.X.:
WOODEN VENETIAN BLINDS ROLLING DOWN

NED:
Eureka! Huzza, folks, my bare knees have gone! Taxi!

GRAMS:
EXPLOSION

MATE:
Yerst, mate?

NED:
The Ministry of Health and Dirt, please.

MATE:
Right.

GRAMS:
BLOODNOK THEME. BUBBLING CAULDRON. EXPLOSIONS

BLOODNOK:
Gad, There must be a cure for this I tell you. I can’t go in the street, I -

GRAMS:
EXPLOSION

BLOODNOK:
Ooooh, a taxi.

NED:
Yes, it’s the new type.

BLOODNOK:
Come in.

NED:
I am in.

BLOODNOK:
Oh, he am in.

NED:
Bloodnok, I’ve come here on business.

BLOODNOK:
It’s the quickest way. I always travel on business. Sit down.

F.X.:
DUCK CALL

BLOODNOK:
Eeehohhhhh ... Every chair a whoopee cushion. Now, here’s my brochure. And an interesting health picture of Sabrina.

NED:
Thank you, and here is a picture of her clothes.

BLOODNOK:
Good heavens, who’s that man inside ‘em?

ECCLES:
It’s me.

BLOODNOK:
Get out, you fool. Now, Ned. Ohhh, oh dear, do you know that’s quite upset me.

NED:
Bloodnok, here’s a statue waiting to be unveiled.

F.X.:
HEAVY TEARING

BLOODNOK:
Oooh, it’s a statue of you saying -

GRAMS:
HARRY (PRE-RECORDED) SAYING ‘I’VE DISCOVERED A CURE FOR SPON PLAGUE’

BLOODNOK:
Thank you. And here is a wood carving of me saying

GRAMS:
BUBBLING CAULDRON. EXPLOSION

BLOODNOK:
Oooh, there must be a cure for it I tell you.

NED:
Yes, and that cure is these anti-Spon pills.

BLOODNOK:
Splendid. Now, sir, you’ll find my static water tank in the attic.

NED:
I’m not interested in your water tank.

BLOODNOK:
So, that’s your attitude. Well, sir, I’m not interested in your water tank.

NED:
What? You’re insulting the plumbing I love. Just for that, take that!

MAX:
(very loud) Ploogieeeee!

BLOODNOK:
It’s Max Geldray! Run for it.

GRAMS:
THUNDERING FEET INTO THE DISTANCE WITH SMALL EXPLOSIONS, AND SCREAMS BY BLOODNOK

MAX & ORCHESTRA:
MUSIC - 2'01"

WALLACE:
Max Geldray is now appearing at the St James’s Theatre London. Mr Geldray will shortly be demolished to make way for offices. I have great pleasure now in announcing the chord of C.

ORCHESTRA:
CHORD IN C (NICE AND BIG)

GRAMS:
GREAT SHOVELLING OF MONEY. COINS EVERYWHERE - ROLLING ALONG THE GROUND

THYNNE:
Hear that sound, folks? Money - M-O-N-E-Y, pronounced -

GRAMS:
GRYTPYPE-THYNNE (PRE-RECORDED), SLIGHTLY FASTER, SAYING ‘MONEYYYYY’

MORIARTY:
Ahhh Grytpype, the anti-Spon pills are selling like wild-fire. Ah hahahahahahah.

F.X.:
KNOCK ON DOOR. DOOR OPENS

THYNNE:
Yes?

WALLACE:
Meantime, in a Government Laboratory.

THYNNE:
Thank you.

F.X.:
DOOR CLOSES

MORIARTY:
Thank-you.

GRAMS:
FADE IN BUBBLING CAULDRON

MORIARTY:
Listen Grytpype, I can hear the best brains that low wages can buy.

BLUEBOTTLE:
Don’t take any notice of dem, Eccles. Now, my man, to our works. Remember, we’re boy scientists working for our country.

ECCLES:
Dab dab dob dob.

BLUEBOTTLE:
Picks up Union Jack, cleans boots.

ECCLES:
Here, Bottle, I got a rise yesterday.

BLUEBOTTLE:
How much?

ECCLES:
Three inches.

BLUEBOTTLE:
Oh, what did you getted dat for, brainy man?

ECCLES:
I wrote a tune.

BLUEBOTTLE:
Oh, would you play it for me, den.

ECCLES:
OK.

GRAMS:
HAMMERING OF NAILS IN WOOD

ECCLES:
Hoi!

BLUEBOTTLE:
Coo, I wish I was musical.

ECCLES:
Come on, den, come on folks lets all join in the chorus.

GRAMS:
GREAT MASS OF HAMMERING NAILS IN WOOD AT DIFFERENT TEMPOS

WALLACE:
(over) What a grand sight to see the studio audience hammering nails into each other.

F.X.:
SPOT EFFECT CARRIES ON HAMMERING WITH THE ABOVE

BLUEBOTTLE:
‘Ray for tunes! Now to the anti-Spon experiment. Roll up your trousers for the injection.

F.X.:
WOODEN BLIND ROLLED UP

ECCLES:
There.

BLUEBOTTLE:
Here, you’re cured - you ain’t got bare knees.

ECCLES:
No, I always wear long underpants.

BLUEBOTTLE:
Oh, den we got the answer to Spon.

ORCHESTRA:
DRAMATIC CHORDS

NED:
Yes, folks, the Ministry of Health acted immediately. Within thirty years everyone had been immunized with long woollen underpants.

MORIARTY:
Owwww Grytpype, we’re ruined. R-U-I-N-E-D, pronounced -

GRAMS:
MORIARTY (PRE-RECORDED) SAYING ‘RUINEDDDDDDDD’

THYNNE:
(furious) Foiled by long woollen things, but I’ll get even, mark’ee. Taxi!

GRAMS:
EXPLOSION

SPRIGGS:
Where to, Jim, where to, Jimmmm? Thank-you Jim fans thank-you Jim fans - you all get a free taxi.

THYNNE:
Drive me up the wall.

SPRIGGS:
Wo, wo wo wo wo wo wo wo.

THYNNE:
Thank you. How much?

SPRIGGS:
That’s four and six, pronounced -

GRAMS:
SPRIGGS (PRE-RECORDED) SAYING ‘TENNNNN BOB’

THYNNE:
Right, take it out of this.

F.X.:
PISTOL SHOT

SPRIGGS:
Thank you, Jim. But I don't like shooting Jim.

THYNNE:
Moriarty, where’s Neddie?

MORIARTY:
In Scotland.

THYNNE:
Right, let’s go and see him.

GRAMS:
WHOOSH. BAGPIPES IN DISTANCE

NED:
Hello, Grytpype, how nice to see you lads.

THYNNE:
Bad news, Neddie, bad news. Roll up your kilt.

F.X.:
WHISTLE UP

MORIARTY:
Oww owww.

THYNNE:
Not too high, Ned ... Gad, he’s got it, Moriarty!

NED:
Got what? What what?

THYNNE:
You’ve got the Quodge.

NED:
The Quodge? What’s the symptoms?

THYNNE:
It’s bare knees covered with long underpants.

NED:
I’ve got ‘em, I’ve got the Quodge!

GRAMS:
HARRY (PRE-RECORDED) SCREAMING ‘HELLPPPP' RUNNING BOOTS

ORCHESTRA:
DRAMATIC CHORDS

PETER (SCOTTISH):
The Quodge spread through Scotland like wild-fire. The hospitals were full of Quodge victims. It was a terrible sight ter see those knees covered with long underpants. So that the disease didna spread, a great wall was built by the English ter keep the Quodge north of the border. Contractor Jim Hadrian.

GRAMS:
WIND HOWLING ON MOOR. DISTANT BAGPIPES. HORSE APPROACHES

SENTRY:
Halt - who gaes theere, the noo?

LALKAKA:
Please do not shoot. We are two Indian gentlemen Western-style. We are here to investigate the Quodge on behalf of the Indian Government.

SENTRY:
Advance and be recognized.

BANAJEE:
I don’t see the point, sir. You have never seen us before, therefore it is in the extreme of possibilities that you will not recognize us now.

LALKAKA:
I must concur with Mr Banajee. I can recognize him and he in turn can recognize me.

BANAJEE:
There is much truth in what you say, Mr Lalkaka.

LALKAKA:
Indeed, man, yes. Every morning I am arising from my charpoy and I'm looking in the mirror, I am seeing myself and I say ‘Hello, there, there you are again, my fine fellow.’

SENTRY:
You’ll both get a bullet up yer back if you’re no away.

LALKAKA:
Please, European soldier, let’s explain we are selling ties.

F.X.:
SHOTS. SCREAMS

GRAMS:
LALKAKA & BANAJEE (PRE-RECORDED) SCREAMING IN HINDU. RUNNING FEET SPEEDED UP, LIKE WET FISH BEING SLAPPED

THYNNE:
Well done, sentry, it’s patriotism like that that’s made Egypt what it is today.

SENTRY:
Oh is it, and what is it today?

MORIARTY:
It’s Thursday.

SENTRY:
Oh, it’s ma day off.

GRAMS:
WHOOSH

THYNNE:
Right, open the gates, Moriarty, and let the stricken masses through.

F.X.:
GREAT BOLT SLIDES BACK QUICKLY

GRAMS:
GREAT YELLING MASSES, BAGPIPES, ALL PLAYING AT SPEED

THYNNE:
This way, Scottish people don’t panic I have here on this stall a cure for the Quodge.

ORCHESTRA:
A RARARARARARARARAR RARRRR.

F.X.:
TILL RINGING UP OVER AND OVER AGAIN

THYNNE:
Thank you ta -- ta one for the gentleman over there ... (Fades behind -)

NED:
Ha, ha, the swine didn’t recognize me I got a bottle of this anti-quodge mixture -- what’s it say?

GRAMS:
PETER (PRE-RECORDED) SAYING IN IDIOT VOICE ‘TO CURE THE QUODGE, SWALLOW THE PILLS’

NED:
Gad, a talking bottle ... (Gulps)

GRAMS:
PETER (PRE-RECORDED) SAYING IN IDIOT VOICE ‘YES, NOW REMOVE LONG UNDERPANTS’

F.X.:
RIPPING

NED:
Gad, cured! Not a trace of long underpants left - but wait - bare knees! That means - that means I’ve got the Spon again!

THYNNE:
I have the cure here.

F.X.:
TILL

NED:
Swallow pill, pull on underpants - cured! Wait a minute - long underpants? Thats the Quodge!

WALLACE:
Dinner is served, gentlemen.

NED:
Oh, down to the old canteen then. Goodnight, folks.

WALLACE:
You can come out now, it’s all over. Pronounced -

GRAMS:
WALLACE (PRE-RECORDED) SAYING ‘OVERRRRRRRR’

ORCHESTRA:
OLD COMRADES MARCH

WALLACE:
That was the Goon Show. A BBC recorded programme featuring Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe, Spike Milligan and George Chisholm with the Ray Ellington Quartet, Max Geldray and the orchestra conducted by Wally Stott. Script by John Antrobus and Spike Milligan. Announcer Wallace Greenslade. The programme produced by Charles Chiltern.