Goon Show Script

The Battle of Spion Kop

Series 9, Episode 9

First broadcast on December 29, 1958. Transcribed by Kurt Adkins, corrections by Peter Olausson.


This episode is available on...
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Greenslade:
This is the BBC Light Programme. Now here is a variation on that. This is The BBC Light Programme.

Cast:
[Murmurs of approval]

Sellers:
The old night school's paying off there, Wal.

Secombe:
Yer, chat on more on it there Wal lad! Give us a bit more of the posh chat der.

Greenslade:
I continue my recital of announcements. The BBC is open to the public on Thursdays and Wednesday afternoons, or, on Wednesday afternoons and Thursdays.

Milligan:
Thank you Jim. Now here folks is Chief Ellinga Yingtoo to say Thursday in Swahili.

Ray Ellington:
Mala toola yo, yarga toola marngo, tula mar gar... Oota mei chicka ofagula tolm... What?

Milligan:
You see how long the days are in Africa folks. Tonight... Forward Mr Seaside with your New Year's resolutions.

Seagoon:
Thank you. Hello folks, hello folks, it is me folks, folks, it is me! Next year folks, I hope to give up 1958 - permanently!

Elder Statesman:
Ungrateful beast, after 1958 all it's done for you, you discard it like an old boot, I won't hear it.

Seagoon:
Let me warn you hairy sir, of the many dangers and donjers of keeping on old years after it's worn out. Mrs Greenslade's husband will now tell you why.

Greenslade:
It was the year 1907 and here is the orchestra to play it.

Orchestra:
[New years-type musical link, singing in the middle; sound fx in music; finishes on a chord]

Seagoon:
Ohhh what a year that was... The South African war had broken out and was now in its second year...

Cast:
[Singing 'Happy Birthday']

Seagoon:
Knock knock knock on a door in Africa.

Bloodnok:
Knock knock on a door in Africa... Gad, that's the address of my door - come in!

Seagoon:
Effects door opens.

Bloodnok:
Ahhh 'effects Ahhh'.

Seagoon:
May I introduce myself?

Bloodnok:
Of course.

Seagoon (announcing):
Ladies and Gentlemen! The man in the blue corner is Neddie Seagoon.

Seagoon (normal):
Thank you. I'm 5th Lieutenant Seagoon reporting from Sandhurst SW9.

Bloodnok:
Oh, sit down on that chair in Africa SE16.

FX:
[Duck call]

Seagoon:
Thank you. I was told to hand this envelope to you with a hand...

Bloodnok:
Oh... Pronounced...

Grams:
[Bloodnok-type Ooooooooooooh!!!]

FX:
[Envelope opening]

Bloodnok:
Oh, these are your secret orders.

Seagoon:
What do they say?

Bloodnok:
Standddddd attttttt... Ease..!

Grams:
[Regiment standing at ease]

Seagoon (relieved):
Oh, that feels much better sir!

Bloodnok:
Yes, and it suits you what's more. Now to military matters, of milt. Captain Jampton?

Grams:
[Mad dash of coconut shells horses hooves very brief, very fast. approaching to foreground.]

Hugh Jampton:
Ahhh... Sorry I'm late sir, I... Was quelling a native with ah... Quells.

Bloodnok:
You'll get the military piano and bar for this, ah... Now explain the victorious positions of our defeated troops.

Hugh Jampton:
Ah... Intelligence ah... Has established that ah... The people attacking us ar.. Are... The enemy.

Bloodnok:
So - that is their fiendish game is it?

Seagoon:
Gentlemen, do the enemy realise that you have this information?

Bloodnok:
No no, we got 'em fooled, they think they're the enemy!

Seagoon:
...What a perfect disguise!

Hugh Jampton:
Ha ha ha, yes you see Lieutenant Seagoon we have a plan of a plin of a plon of a ploof. The South Africans are magnificent fighters, and it's our intention to persuade them to come over to our side.

Seagoon:
Then that would finish the war sir!

Hugh Jampton:
Oh no. Ha ha ha. Oh dearie no!

Seagoon:
Then how would you keep it going?

Hugh Jampton:
My dear sir; England is never short of enemies!

Bloodnok:
Of course not the waiting room's full of 'em. Now Seagoon, sit down, tell me what's the time back in England?

Seagoon:
Twenty to four sir.

Bloodnok:
Ah... It's nice to hear the old time again... Singhiz?

Singhiz Thingz:
Yes sir?

FX:
[Slapstick]

Bloodnok:
Get out of here now will you! You see, Seagoon, how bad things are! That banana for instance... It's only been eaten once, and look at it!

Seagoon:
But sir, back in England they told me all was well.

Bloodnok:
Back in England, all is well. It's here where the trouble lies.

Grams:
[Explosion]

Bloodnok (over above):
Oh - what the - eh - what?

Grams:
[Approach of old car back firing, grinding of gear, parping on bulb horn, car explodes, gusher of steam, falls to bits, yells.]

Eccles:
Well... I think I'll pull-up here.

Bloodnok:
I say you, you with the apparent teeth.

Eccles:
Oh, a soldier man... Hello soldier... Bang... Bang... Bang Bang... Bang - You're dead soldier!

Seagoon:
Let me talk to him. I speak Idiot fluently... [Does Eccles impression] Ow, hello Ecclesss!

Eccles:
Oh?... You're from the old country..! Oh hohohi [aside to audience] Somebody else from the Old Country eh? Well I wish they were back there!

Bloodnok:
Neddie, allow me to humour him with this mallet.

Seagoon:
No no no, leave it to me. [As Eccles] Tell us Mad Dan, wha' are you doing in Africa..?

Eccles:
'What are you doing in Africa' I translated. I'm here as an adviser to the British Army!

Seagoon:
[As Eccles] Splendid, what are you going to advise them?

Eccles:
Not to take me.

Bloodnok:
Oh, I respect your cowardice, it warms my heart and gives old Denis a real smart idea. Come over here and warm yourself by this Recruiting-Sergeant.

Sergeant (cockney):
'Ello 'ello 'ello my lad, you look a likely lad.

Eccles:
Hello, hello, hello my laddddd. Yourn loonk linke a ohn...

Sergeant:
Very gude, very gude... Now 'ere lad, 'ow would you like to 'ave a grandstand view of the opening night of the Battle of Spion Kop dere.

Bloodnok:
Here just a moment Sergeant... Spion Kop! He can have my place I tell you!

Sergeant:
Ho ho ho ho ho ho?

Bloodnok:
Yes, just by chance Sergeant I have a vacant uniform in the front rank, he'll see everything from there.

Sergeant:
Now then, you 'eard that very fair offer from the nice Major dere.

Eccles:
He's a nice Major...

Bloodnok:
Yes...

Eccles:
...He's a nice man. How much do you want for dat?

Bloodnok:
Well, it’s usually it's free, but just this once it will be seven shillings, so ah shall we say a pound?

Eccles:
A pound?

Bloodnok:
You said it.

Eccles:
Oh... I've only got a five-pound note.

Bloodnok:
Well, I'll take that and you can pay me the other four later.

FX:
[Till]

Bloodnok:
Oh, the old Military till.

Sergeant:
You're a very lucky lad there Eccles.... I'll have a regiment call for you at six tomorrow morning. Meantime here is the well known 'Conks' Geldray. A sittin' target!

Max Geldray:
Boy, in the war my conk holds its own.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Max Geldray and Orchestra:
[Musical Interlude: "This Can't Be Love"]



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Orchestra:
[Dramatic 'return to the story' link]

Grams:
[Horse artillery trotting up tile line. Distant tramp of soldiers plodding along rough road.]

Greenslade:
At dawn the British attack was mounted, not very well stuffed but beautifully mounted. Then suddenly through the stilled British front line, a lone voice is heard.

Moriarty (approaching):
Lucky charms... Get your lucky charms before the battle... Get your lucky charms boys. [Sings] Get your self a charm today, and save yourself from harm today.

Willium:
Here... 'ere mate, charm man? 'Ere.

Moriarty:
What is it merry drummer man?

Willium:
Them charms, are they any cop mate?

Moriarty:
Ah, they're... They're real cop mate - Nelson brought one for Waterloo.

Willium:
He... He weren't at Waterloo.

Moriarty:
Of course not, he was in my shop buying a charm. You see how lucky they are?

Willium:
How much is a good one then?

Moriarty:
Well certainly, what part don't you want to be wounded in?

Willium:
I don't want any of me parts wounded in.

Moriarty:
I know, you want the all parts comprehensive charm!

Willium:
Hurry up then - how much?

Moriarty:
Three shillings, it's a real bargain with barg...

Willium:
There snail eater - I pins it on me chest so me chest won't get killed.

FX:
[Pistol shot]

Willium:
Owwwwwwwwwwww mateeeeeeeee...

FX:
[Thud of body]

Moriarty:
Good shot Grytpype!

Grytpype:
Unpin the lucky charm and back on the tray with it. Off you go Morantilly.

Moriarty:
Yes sir - Charms, second hand lucky charms. [Fading] Only used once before...

Grytpype:
There he goes, a true son of France and Hyde Park. Who knows what mystic thoughts are whispering in the mossy glades of his krutty shins.

Secombe:
I say, do you mind taking your hat off, old chap? The battle's about to begin, and we can't see you know.

Grams:
["Fire!" - Battle starts - First the volleys of musketry, then distant cannons. The return fire of the enemy is even more distant. Fade down and under. Fade in Big Ben chiming. Fade.]

Elder Statesman:
Gentlemen of the house, the Battle of Spion Kop opened last night.

Cast:
Here Here! Long Live the Empire!

Elder Statesman:
Ahh, but I fear it got very bad notices in the Press.

MP:
You're not thinking of taking it off are you, Mr Prime Minister?

Elder Statesman:
Well, unless Robert Morley puts some money in I can see no other way...

MP:
But what about Binkie and his backers, they'll lose all their money.

Elder Statesman:
Patience sir, patience. We have here Lieutenant Seagoon...

MP:
Have we?

Elder Statesman:
...Who will proceed to give us the reasons for the disaster.

Seagoon:
Thank you, Honourable Members. The reason for it flopping was obvious... There isn't one decent song in the whole battle.

Sellers (as anot her stat):
But soldier fellow, the Battle of Spion Kop isn't a musical you!

Seagoon:
And that's where we went wrong. If the Americans had been running it they'd have had Rex Harrison, and the other wrecks.

Elder Statesman:
Do you know any good composers of battle songs and scores?

Seagoon:
Just by chance and careful planning, I have an Auntie in Grimsby who sits amongst the cabbages and plays an elastic water tank under supervision.

Elder Statesman:
I didn't know there were any of her kind left you know. Now off you go and tell your auntie the good news.

Grams:
[Running footsteps over...]

Secombe:
[Sings 'Land Of Hope And Glory', speeding up into the distance]

Orchestra:
[Dramatic chords]

FX:
[Hammering of a metal hammer on anvil]

Henry Crun (over hammering mutters):
Ohh, dear... There... Now that's got the spoons in fine-spoons fettle Min.

FX:
[Quick two spoons together á la buskers]

Henry Crun (sings):
'Na ahah, ahah, aliah, ah' Now Min, get inside the piano and select me a tuning A.

Grams:
[One sheep bleating]

Henry Crun:
Again Min.

Grams:
[One sheep bleating again]

Henry Crun:
Oh, they don't make pianos like that any more.

Minnie Bannister:
Isn't it time we had it shorn Henry?

Henry Crun:
No, not yet Min, the winters are not upon us, you know. Hand me my knuckle oils.

Minnie Bannister:
Now Crun rub it well into the knuckles... I’ve get it mixed with Indian brandyyy! Rub it in!

Henry Crun and Minnie Bannister:
[Cres of brandyyy.. Brandyyy]

Henry Crun:
Oh Min...

FX:
[Agonising knuckle cracking]

Henry Crun (muttering over):
It's no good Min, I've got flat-feet in the third knuckle you know Min. Ah well - Now to try for the Pajanynee variations for spoons arranged - Crun!

Grams:
[Disc of variations]

Henry Crun:
[Plays spoons and whistles]

Henry Crun:
Stop! Stop stop! This spoon is out of tune, Min. Have you been eating with it again?

Minnie Bannister:
No.

Henry Crun:
Then what's that your stirring the soup with?

Minnie Bannister:
A violin.

Henry Crun:
She's always got an answer the old cow. Now to compose the last tune for the battle of Spion Kop!

FX:
[Busker spoons in tempo]

Minnie Bannister and Henry Crun:
[Sing 'Dolly Grey', fade]

Grams:
[Fade up battle noises, explosions, etc. Large explosion.]

Bloodnok:
Aaaaaahhh! Aaaaaahhh! Ellinga... turn the volume of that battle down.

FX:
[Door bursts open]

Seagoon:
Major! The enemy are...

Bloodnok:
Aaaahh!

Grams:
[Whoosh]

Seagoon:
Good heavens, he's gone. Ah! Here are his boots. They're still warm - he can't be far.

Bloodnok:
Aaahhh, there ain't nobody here but us chickens I tell you.

Seagoon:
The voice came from a cowardly red-face on the top of a chicken wardrobe.

Bloodnok:
Oh, it's you Seagoon, you you coward.

Seagoon:
Why have you deserted your post?

Bloodnok:
It's got woodworm sir.

Seagoon:
Old jokes won't save you.

Bloodnok:
They've saved Monkhouse and Goodwin, well that's good enough for me.

Seagoon:
Major...

Bloodnok:
What?

Seagoon:
...There's still hope.

Bloodnok:
Oh! Where?

Seagoon:
Crun's vital battle songs have arrived.

Bloodnok:
It won't be easy sir, the enemy have just attacked in E-Flat and we had to retire to G-Minor.

Seagoon:
Never mind sir, these old songs are all written in six-sharps.

Bloodnok:
The most powerful brown key of them all. Get Ellinga and his Zulu bones to dash off a chorus towards the enemy.

Seagoon:
Fiiiiire!

Ray Ellington and his Quartet:
[Musical interlude: "Mr Success"]



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Orchestra:
[Dramatic chords]

Grams:
[Bugle calls at varying pitches, murmurs of troops taking up positions]

Seagoon:
At dawn under cover of daylight we took up our positions with our teeth blacked out.

Milligan:
Every man had his ammunition pouches bulging with offensive military songs and spoons at the ready.

Seagoon:
Right. We'll just have to sit and wait.

[Long pause]

Bluebottle:
Do you tink we're gonna win, Captain?

Seagoon:
Never was victory more certain little lad.

Bluebottle:
Oh... Then why have you got that taxi waiting for you at the end of the trench.

Seagoon:
Ha ha... Well here's half-a-crown little lad. I think we can forget all about it now.

Bluebottle:
No... I can't forget about it.

FX:
[Colossal clout]

Bluebottle:
Ahh! I’ve forgotten about it!

Seagoon:
Now explain to me why you're lying down two-inches below the level of the ground and speaking through a tombstone.

Bluebottle:
Well, I was doing an impression of a zebra crossing when... Squelch! A taxi ranned over me breaking both my boots above the wrist.

Seagoon:
What agony igony ogony oogany mahogany... Did it hurt you?

Bluebottle:
No because I'm making it all up. Ha hee...

Seagoon:
Taxi!

Grams:
[Taxi approaches at terrific speed; jelly thud sound]

Bluebottle:
Oooh! You've taxied me. Look, the Christmas strings coming off my legs.

Seagoon:
Swallow this first-aid book and custard. I'll have your legs relacquered free and exported to Poland.

Bluebottle:
You're a fair man, sir... Merryl Kribynss.

Eccles:
Ooh, Bottle. What you doing under that taxi?

Bluebottle:
It ran over me, Eccles.

Eccles:
You must be rich... I can only afford to be run over by buses.

Bluebottle:
Well my man when you're in the big money you know, you can do things like this.

Eccles:
You see, one day I'll have enough money to be run over by a Rolls-Royce with a chauffeur.

Bluebottle:
Well, pull me out then.

Eccles:
Right-o. Hold this.

Bluebottle:
What is it?

Eccles:
I don't know, but I got it cheap.

Seagoon:
Let me see what you got cheap?

Grams:
[Tiger growl]

Seagoon:
Good heavens! It's a genuine hand operated 1914 tiger!

Bloodnok:
Seagoon, put that tiger back in its stripes... We don't want any scandals during ladies night.

Abdul:
Pardon me, sir. All the men are ready with their music.

Bloodnok:
Good, let's have those spoons then lad.

Orchestra:
[Each man issued with two spoons. They make noise like buskers.]

Bloodnok:
Oooh... What a terrifying sound. It's a good job nobody heard it.

Seagoon:
Now men, to your military Crun music and take up your vocal positions with your voices facing outwards.

Bloodnok:
And don't sing men until you see the whites of their song sheets. Are you ready? Bugler, sound the elephant.

Grams:
[High pitched trumpeting by single elephant]

Bloodnok:
Ohhh!

Hugh Jampton:
Here they come now, sir.

Bloodnok:
Quick, me spoons and me music. I'll show 'em!

FX:
[Two spoons busking in tempo to...]

Bloodnok:
[Singing 'Goodbye Dolly I Must Leave You']

Bloodnok:
[Shouts] Come on you fools, there's more of this where that came from. [continues singing] 'Off we go and fight the foe.' [shouts] Sing up lads!

Cast:
[All join in singing and rattling spoons]

Grams:
[Shells start bursting in their midst. Starting slowly and increasing in intensity.]

Bloodnok:
[Continues to sing but gradually his morale is destroyed, he breaks off.]

Bloodnok:
Run for it lads... Oooh, these songs aren't bullet proof!

Grams:
[Whole army runs away yelling in terror. Speed up and fade.]

[Pause]

Grams:
[Arctic gale howling, occasional wolves]

Bloodnok:
That's far enough lads, where are we?

Seagoon:
The South Pole sir.

Bloodnok:
Well, no further, we don't want to back into them. Oh... Plant the Union Jack will you? The national flag of the Union of Jacks. I claim the South Pole in the name of Gladys Pills of 13 The Sebastibal Villas, Sutton.

Seagoon:
Who is she, sir?

Bloodnok:
I don't know, but obviously we're doing her a big favour.

Seagoon:
There's still a chance of victory. Look what I've got in the brown paper parceL

FX:
[Rustling of paper]

Bloodnok:
Good heavens white paper, what a glorious victory for England.

Seagoon:
Look under the stamp.

Bloodnok:
What? A fourteen-inch naval gun.

Eccles:
And guess what's in the barrel?

Bloodnok:
I've no idea.

Seagoon:
Major, inside the barrel are photographs of a British military dinner.

Bloodnok:
Really... Keep it going lads, keep it going.

Seagoon:
I intend to fire that photograph at the enemy canteen during their lunch break. When they see the size of British military dinners, they'll desert.

Bloodnok:
I know... Half our men deserted when they saw the size of 'em. However it's worth a try. Take aim... Fire!

Grams:
[Colossal explosion; followed by piles of bones falling on to the ground]

Bluebottle:
Ehhh... That's the last time I kip in a barrel, I tell you. Collapses, and is left out of show from now onwards. Goodnight everybody.

Grams:
[Cheers applause]

Bluebottle:
Oh... By popular request I come back again.

FX:
[Slapstick]

Bluebottle:
Aie!

Seagoon:
All we can do is to wait and see what effect that photograph of a military dinner has on the enemy. Meantime - a sound effect.

Grams:
[Wind up and wolves howling]

Greenslade:
Meantime in Parliament the British Government had written off the Battle of Spion Kop as a dead loss.

Ancient Statesman:
Gentlemen, urn, um... To save face and the honour of England, we're going to bring back that old favourite urn, ah... The Battle of Waterloo.

Cast:
[Ancient murmurs of approval]

Elder Statesman:
Gentlemen, we shall send out immediate notification to the original cast.

Orchestra:
[Marseillaise-type link]

Moriarty Bonaparte:
[Snoring]

FX:
[Door opening]

French Neddie:
Mon Emperor, wake-up!

Moriarty Bonaparte:
How dare you wake the Emperor Napoleon up in the middle of his retirement.

French Neddie:
Wonderful nouvelle wonderful news... By special request we have to do an encore of the Battle of Waterloo.

Moriarty Bonaparte:
What... But we lost it.

French Neddie:
This time we've got a British backer.

Moriarty Bonaparte:
Sapristi nabolas! Get my trousers oiled and unwrap a fresh Josephine... Ahh, there's going to be fun tonight in the camp!

FX:
[Thwack]

Grytpype:
Down Emperor down... Back to your grave. You know you're not allowed out after your death.

Moriarty Bonaparte:
Blast those silly rules.

Grytpype:
My card Neddie.

Seagoon:
This is a piece of string.

Grytpype:
Have you no imagination lad? I am Lord Ink.

Seagoon:
Not Pennan?

Grytpype:
Yes, Pennan Ink.

Orchestra:
[Chord in C]

Seagoon:
Don't worry folks, it's getting near the end now. All pay offs will be gratefully received.

Grytpype:
One coming up, Ned. Unfortunately my client Moriarty is appearing in 'The Death of Napoleon' at the local knackers yard... It looks like being a very long run,

Seagoon:
It looks like being a long run? 'What does?

Grytpype:
Ten miles.

FX:
[Pistol shot]

Bloodnok:
They're off!

Grams:
[Two pairs of running feet]

Seagoon (panting):
As we ran we discussed the contract for the Battle of Waterloo. Later at Preston Barracks Brighton, we auditioned for the part of the Duke of Wellington.

Grams:
[Fade in Sellers singing last part of 'Any Old Iron' mate]

Seagoon:
Thank you. Wait inside the piano one moment will you. What do you think?

Grytpype:
He's not the Lord Wellington type you know.

Seagoon:
Yes. [Calls out] I say we'll, we'll write and let you know.

Willium:
Let me know what?

Seagoon:
That you're no good for the part.

Willium:
Rite, then I won't take another job till I hear that, then.

Seagoon:
Next please.

Eccles (singing):
"I'll follow my secret heart till I find you..."

Seagoon:
One moment. [Aside] Where's my pistol?

Grytpype:
No Neddie no one moment...

Moriarty Bonaparte:
Grytpype... With Eccles playing the part of Wellington this time the French are bound to win the battle of Waterloo!

Grytpype:
Right... Eccles? Button the hat and sword. Now charge...

Grams:
[Great galloping of horses into distance with shots screams and more shots]

Seagoon (in tears):
No... We've... We've lost the Battle of Waterloo!

Moriarty:
Get your new history books... Get your new history books here... Read how the French won Waterloo folks.

FX:
[Phone rings]

Seagoon:
Hello?

Bloodnok:
Seagoon, look here, a right twit you made of yourself firing that photo of a dinner at the enemy. Do you know what they've fired back?

Seagoon:
What?

Bloodnok:
The photograph of an empty plate.

Seagoon:
Ha ha ha... An empty plate..! Well, there you are folks, the old anti-climax again!

Orchestra:
['Old Comrades March']

Orchestra:
[Outro]