Goon Show Script

The Great Bank of England Robbery

Vintage Goons Series, Episode 11

Recorded: 2nd March 1958


This episode is available on...
Goon Show Compendium 9

[CD Box Set from Amazon]

Vol. 26: Bank Statement No. 349

[CD from Amazon]



GREENSLADE: This is the BBC.

JIM SPRIGGS: Heeyim dadididee. Yimdahohyhyyyyooo. Ooh. It's the Goon Show! Oh dear.

OLD MAN (SELLERS): Stop! Seagoon, hold these rectified socks to your ears and listen to the well-spoken BBC announcer:

GREENSLADE: Hello, listeners. It’s the Goon Show!

SECOMBE (POSH): What a lovely talker. You talk lovely, Wal.

GREENSLADE: Thank you.

OLD MAN: And that is not all. Now we present Open Casebook.

ORCH: Dramatic music

AMERICAN NARRATOR (SELLERS): Those of you who can afford the newspapers will have seen the headlines. Those of you who can read will know what they meant. And if you knew what they meant--

FX: Gunshot

SECOMBE: Good luck. Every day sees new progress in the march of crime.

NARRATOR: Every 24 hours 873 robberies are committed, some of them by criminals. We now present the crime of the century:

SECOMBE: The Great Bank of England Robbery!

ORCH: Dramatic music

GRAMS: Fog horns

SEAGOON: My name is "Fingers" Seagoon. That’s because of my hands. You see, I've got fingers on them, hence the name of "Hands" Seagoon. Because of this deformity, I wear spectacles on my shins and vice-versa.

GRYTPYPE: Yes, Seagoon had been first mate on a small boat of mine smuggling sand from Leeds to the Sahara, but then things got too hot, especially during the summer, so he returned to Leeds and dropped anchor.

SEAGOON: Hardly had I dropped inchor when the phone rang.

FX: Phone rings

GRYTPYPE: Seagoon, answer the phone.

SEAGOON: Why?

GRYTPYPE: I want to speak to you on it!

SEAGOON: Oh!

FX: Phone ringing ends

SEAGOON: Hello?

GRYTPYPE: Is that you, Seagoon?

SEAGOON: Yes.

GRYTPYPE: This is Hercules Grytpype-Thynne.

SEAGOON: Ah, just the man. You owe me ten weeks wages.

GRYTPYPE: You’re fired as from eleven weeks back.

SEAGOON: Oh, so I'm out of work.

GRYTPYPE: What’s that?

SEAGOON: I said I’m out of work.

GRYTPYPE: Oh, what a bit of luck you came to me. It so happens that I’ve just performed a vacancy.

SEAGOON: I accept!

GRYTPYPE: Splundid. Now listen. I'm arranging a Charabanc trip to burgle the Bank of England. My men are ready. My plans are laid. Your instructions await you in a sealed leather samovar.

SEAGOON: The address?

GRYTPYPE: The street of a thousand dustbins in Chinatown.

SEAGOON: I'll just right that down on a Chinaman. Now, how do I get there?

GRYTPYPE: Catch a train to the nearest railway station and buy a first class ticket to an unknown destination.

SEAGOON: Right!

FX: Hungs up phone

ORCH: Travel-type link

NARRATOR: Within days Seagoon had arrived at the mysterious unknown destination.

GRAMS: Combined foghorns and footsteps

SEAGOON: Yes, by the dim light of an unlit candle, I finally found the street I sought, and entered the most notorious of all the waterfront dives, the house of certain pleasures.

GRAMS: 1922 Jack Payne record of "One Step" with phoney Oriental singing

GREENSLADE: Pushing through the beaded curtains, Seagoon came into the hellish atmosphere. All around were English folk lying on hard wooden benches, drinking tea and eating toast and marmalade - it was hell!

YAKAMOTO: Ooh. Plardon me, you are a stlanger alound here?

GREENSLADE: No, I’m just the announcer.

YAKAMOTO: Ooh.

SEAGOON: I’m the stranger. Is it - is it safe to speak here?

YAKAMOTO: Ooh no, not here. Follow a me a please.

FX: Footsteps on floorboards. Door opens and closes.

YAKAMOTO: Now, tell a please what do you want?

SEAGOON: Is it perfectly safe here?

YAKAMOTO: Ooh yes.

SEAGOON: You sure no-one can overhear us?

YAKAMOTO: [Whispering] No, no-one can hear. What do you want?

SEAGOON: Beans on toast and a small tea.

YAKAMOTO: Before I serve you that, you are over sixteen?

SEAGOON: Yes.

YAKAMOTO: Good, so is beans on toast.

SEAGOON: I had begun a night of moral degradation. I drank bottle after bottle of tea. My head reeled with the sensuous magic of the Chinese passion music.

GRAMS: Phoney Chinese singing with Ukulele accompaniment getting messy at the end.

GRYTPYPE: Good evening.

SEAGOON: Looking 'round, I saw beside me a tall, handsome, cross-eyed man, with a bald mustache, and wearing a mink vase.

GRYTPYPE: I've been watching you.

SEAGOON: Really?

GRYTPYPE: Yes. You're horrible, aren't you?

SEAGOON: What, what, what, what, what, what, what, what?! [Chicken noises]

GRYTPYPE: Who sent you here?

SEAGOON: You did.

GRYTPYPE: How do you know?

SEAGOON: I listened to your conversation on the phone when you were talking to me.

GRYTPYPE: You sinuous eavesdropper, you. I have a good mind to have you sponned for that. However, I forgive you.

SEAGOON: Now, what about this job?

GRYTPYPE: Well you’re going to rob the Bank of England.

SEAGOON: [Gasps!]

GRYTPYPE: Moriarty will contact you with further instructions in a cellar beneath the Bank.

SEAGOON: Splendid.

GRYTPYPE: Now then, here is the first part of the plan. You go to London tomorrow evening. At midnight precisely, Big ben will go "oom, oom, oom" twelve times.

SEAGOON: Why?

GRYTPYPE: It always does.

SEAGOON: Continue.

GRYTPYPE: I shall. As the last stroke fades away, an inconspicuous fish van with yellow mudguards, orange wheels and a French number plate will draw up at the back of the bank.

SEAGOON: Who will be inside?

GRYTPYPE: Nobody. Where it would be spotted right away - it's only a decoy, you understand.

SEAGOON: Gad, what a narrow escape.

GRYTPYPE: Exactly. Now while the, the attention of the police is attracted to this van -

SEAGOON: Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes?

GRYTPYPE: Please don't interrupt me, would you? At the bank will appear eight men in straw hats, alabaster feet, black faces, and carrying thirty Wurlitzer organs.

SEAGOON: Will they play them?

GRYTPYPE: Good heavens, no, man. Do you think we want to arouse suspicion?

SEAGOON: You've thought of everything! What part do I play?

GRYTPYPE: Second banjo. Meanwhile, unobserved, a tram will be lowered from a helicopter through the glass roof of the London School of Economics. Inside it will be Major Bloodnok and two accomplices.

SEAGOON: How shall I tell them apart?

GRYTPYPE: They'll all be wearing black masks on their wrists.

SEAGOON: Brilliant!

GRYTPYPE: I'm glad you appreciate the subtleties of the plan. One of them will admit you through a plastic coal hole.

GREENSLADE: Don’t worry, listeners, I don’t know what it’s all about, either.

SEAGOON: Great. And where will you be?

GRYTPYPE: I shall be at the corner of the Rue de Lapé.

SEAGOON: That’s in France.

GRYTPYPE: I know.

SEAGOON: What will you be doing there?

GRYTPYPE: Well, you see, I’ve seen it all happen before.

SEAGOON: Yes, but look here, I -

GRYTPYPE: Shh, no more now, no more now. Have you got everything clear in your mind?

SEAGOON: Yes.

GRYTPYPE: Very well, time for Mix Gooldron.

MAX GELDRAY & ORCHESTRA: "Once in Love with Amy"

GRAMS: Big Ben chimes once

BLOONOK: Aeough! Who left that thing lying there? Oh. Midnight and Seagoon hasn't turned up yet! Oh I don’t know. There’s nothing for it, I’ll have to start the robbery without him.

SEAGOON: Psst! Psst!

BLOONOK: Aeorgh! Who's that, what's that?

SEAGOON: It's me, Seagoon!

BLOONOK: Where the devil are you?

SEAGOON: I'm inside the pillar box!

BLOONOK: Bravo, so you were here all the time! Come on lad, let's be having you.

SEAGOON: I can't, it's locked!

BLOONOK: Good heavens! Then what time's the next collection?

SEAGOON: Ten minutes ago.

BLOONOK: Curses! You mean to tell me you let the postman open the thing and didn't get out?

SEAGOON: Well I couldn't see him, you see I'm in a brown paper parcel.

BLOONOK: But why didn't the postman collect the parcel?

SEAGOON: I made a fatal blunder. I'm insufficiently stamped.

BLOONOK: This is going to need a genius to solve.

ECCLES: Haallo! Hallo, Major. I got the answer.

BLOONOK: Obviously I was wrong.

ECCLES: Oh. I got a key.

BLOONOK: Bravo. Open it up then, get inside and give Secombe a shove-up.

ECCLES: Okay, okay!

FX: Key turning, metal door opening. Metal door closes

ECCLES: Ooo... The key is on the outside and... It's dark in here. Mr. Seagoon, where are you, Mr. Seagoon? Hello?

ECCLES (ECHOED): Hello?

ECCLES: Who's that? Who’s that?

ECCLES (ECHOED): Who's that?

ECCLES: I'm Eccles.

ECCLES (ECHOED): I'm Eccles.

ECCLES: You can't be, I'm Eccles.

ECCLES (ECHOED): You can't be, I'm Eccles.

ECCLES: I'm Eccles, I tell you!

ECCLES (ECHOED): I'm Eccles, I tell you!

ECCLES: You’re an impostor!

ECCLES (ECHOED): You’re an...

ECCLES: Take that!

FX: Sounds of fighting start

ECCLES (regular and echoes): (Grunting noises) &c

FX: Sounds of fighting stop

ECCLES: Ok, you win, you're Eccles.

ECCLES (ECHOED): Ok, you win, you're Eccles.

ECCLES: Oh, that's better. That taught him a lesson, folks. Now then I've got to find Mr. Seagoon.

ECCLES (ECHOED): Needing me anymore?

ECCLES: No!

ECCLES (ECHOED): OK, goodbye!

ECCLES: Goodbye! Mr. Seagoon? Hello? Where are you, Mr. Seagoon?

WOMAN (SELLERS): Hello sailor!

ECCLES: Hohyhahuo! Here, have you seen a brown paper parcel in here?

WOMAN: Cheeky thing! Ha ha!

ECCLES: Ha ha ha hooo!

SEAGOON: Eccles!

ECCLES: What?

SEAGOON: There you are.

ECCLES: Yeah, I’m here.

SEAGOON: I managed to get out of that parcel.

ECCLES: What strength!

SEAGOON: Ha ha! It’s nothing. Never mind, bend down, and I'll climb on your back and I'll reach the mouth of the letterbox like that.

ECCLES: OK. (Straining noises)

SEAGOON: (Somewhat distant) No, it's no good, I can't reach.

ECCLES: Well, you stay where you are, and I'll get on your shoulders.

SEAGOON: Right!

ECCLES: (More distant) Nope, no good, not high enough yet.

SEAGOON: Well, keep there, and I'll climb on your back.

ECCLES: Okay!

SEAGOON: (More distant) Nearly there

ECCLES: No good, I’ll have to get up on your shoulders. (distant voices of Secombe and Eccles)

GREENSLADE: Listeners, may I draw your attention to this problem. Seagoon gets on Eccles's back, and Eccles, half-way up a wall, stays where he is while Seagoon mounts on his back and so on. What's the distance between Seagoon and Eccles, and the ground? I'll tell you, it is...

SEAGOON & ECCLES: Wahhhhh! (Crash)

GREENSLADE: ...exactly.

ECCLES: Why don't you keep your big mouth shut?

BLOONOK: (Somewhat distant) Wait a minute, I'm throwing a length of rope through the aperture. (Grunt)

SEAGOON: Right! Got it!

BLOONOK: Yes, good. Now grab on and I'll pull you through. Take the strain

ECCLES, SEAGOON, BLOONOK: Heave!

FX: Sound like cork popping, crashing

BLOONOK: (Normal) You idiots, you! Now we're all in it!

ECCLES: Right in it, yeah.

SEAGOON: Shh! Listen!

FX: Footsteps

SEAGOON: It's the postman.

ECCLES & BLOONOK: Ooohoho!

Secombe: Now, calm yourselves. Listen, as soon as he opens that door everybody make a noise like a registered letter. He'll collect us, and put us in his sack. Then we can cut our way out. Clear? Good.

ECCLES: Blue cross, blue...

FX: Sound of postman singing lightly as he walks, opening pillar box, gathering letters, closing pillar box, and walking off

BLOONOK: Well it didn't work, did it?

SEAGOON: Of course it didn’t work! Some idiot was making a noise like an unstamped postcard. Oh you fool, Eccles.

ORCH: Violin: "Hearts and Roses"

GREENSLADE: Nine bitter months later.

BLOONOK: We've got to get out of here! We've eaten all the food parcels, and all the brandy's gone.

ECCLES: Yep, and I want to sell my collection of postcards!

BLOONOK: Look here, lads. Admit it; we've never had it so good.

SEAGOON: That's not the point, Major. We set out to do a job and...

BLOONOK: And?

SEAGOON: You're quite right, you know, we never have had it so good.

SEAGOON, ECCLES & BLOONOK: (All remark.)

BLOONOK: Of course. Look here, any more parcels of whisky or brandy left?

ECCLES: None.

BLOONOK: Curses.

ECCLES: There's only one parcel left from a fella called "Jack."

BLOONOK: What's in it?

ECCLES: A rubber dinghy!

SEAGOON: A rubber dinghy? We've saved ourselves! Now we can sail out of here.

BLOONOK: But we haven't got any water, man.

SEAGOON: Eccles, any parcels of water?

ECCLES: No.

SEAGOON: Then we'll have to dig for it.

BLOONOK: Splendid, Seagoon.

SEAGOON: Ah yes, they don't call me an idiot for nothing.

BLOONOK: You mean you pay them?

SEAGOON: Only by check. Quick! Hand me that pneumatic drill!

ECCLES: I ain't got a new one.

SEAGOON: Well hand me that old-matic drill.

ORCH: Corny chord, cymbal crash.

SEAGOON: Thank you!

FX: Sounds of drilling

GREENSLADE: For the benefit of listeners without radio sets, it should be explained that although they are unaware of the fact, Major Bloodnok and his confederates are drilling for water straight through the base of the pillar box, down to the bed of one of London's famous underground rivers. Will they find it?

FX: Splash

LITTLE JIM: He’s fallen in the water!

SEAGOON: Now, are we all a-dinghy? Good. We must keep a listening watch for police submarines. Eccles, switch on the ASDIC.

ECCLES: Righto, Fred.

SEAGOON: I'm not Fred.

ECCLES: Well, I ain't Dick.

BLOONOK: This is mutiny!

SEAGOON: Do as I say, Dick, switch on the ASDIC!

ECCLES: Okay, Dick.

GRAMS: ASDIC beeping.

SEAGOON: Listen, what is it? Good heavens, it’s Ray Elling-Baum!

RAY ELLINGTON QUARTET: "It’s Alright With Me"

GREENSLADE:: Changing course in order to avoid the music you've just heard, Bloodnok and his buccaneers soon found themselves on the upper reaches of the underground river – see chapter two – and directly beneath the Bank of England.

GRAMS: Water trickling.

SEAGOON: Shh, shh.

BLOONOK: All ashore now, that’s it, splendid, splendid.

SEAGOON: It's very dark, Major, shall I strike a match?

BLOONOK: Certainly not, I know the way perfectly well! Just follow me.

GRAMS: Splash

Bloodnok: Strike a match, will you? That’s better. Now we must proceed up this secret tunnel. It leads straight to the vaults, but remember, for the next fifty yards, not a sound. Right? Shh!

FX: Long silence with water still trickling.

GREENSLADE: Listeners, we admit that this lengthy period of complete silence cannot be regarded, properly speaking, as being in the category of entertainment. But as silence is necessary to the safety of these three men, we hope that you will bear with us for another few yards.

FX: More silence

GREENSLADE: Thank you.

ECCLES: Here, looks like the end of the tunnel!

BLOONOK: Is it a cul-de-sac?

ECCLES: I don't know, it's got a wall built right across the end of it.

BLOONOK: Curse.

SEAGOON: Don't worry; I've got Moriarty's instructions on me. He's made a two-sided, short playing gramophone record of the entire plan. Eccles, prepare the hand-wound phonograph.

ECCLES: Oh, we’re gonna have a dance?

SEAGOON: No, you fool! Put this Moriarty record on.

ECCLES: OK.

GRAMS – MORIARTY: Hello, hello, hello: modern rhythm-type record.

GRAMS: 1910s music with bird whistle.

BLOONOK: You fools; you’ve put on the wrong record.

ECCLES: Put on the wrong record.

SEAGOON: It must be on the other side.

BLOONOK: But it's an old cylindrical record.

SEAGOON: Then we must play it inside out.

BLOONOK: This is going to be very difficult.

SEAGOON: Not at all. I have here a reversible, unilateral, bamboo, high-fidelity, boot-pointed needle made especially for this purpose.

BLOONOK: What a bit of luck! Insert it into groove A.

SEAGOON: Hoo, right. There.

GRAMS – MORIARTY: This is Moriarty speaking on a record. Now listen mon amie, here are your instructions. Have you reached the end of the tunnel?

SEAGOON: Yes!

GRAMS – MORIARTY: Good! Now, I've got some notes written here, so strike a match.

SEAGOON: We haven't got any.

GRAMS – MORIARTY: Never mind, I'll nip out and get some. Taxi!

GRAMS: Taxi approaches. Door closes, taxi accelerates away

SEAGOON: Curse! We've come to the end of the record and he's gone! How can we get him back again?

BLOONOK: Play it backwards, of course!

SEAGOON: How do you play the inside of a cylindrical record backwards?

BLOONOK: Quite simple, you put it on in the opposite direction, going away from you, the other way.

SEAGOON: Of course, what a fool I am! Right, here we go, backwards.

GRAMS: Sound of record being played backwards

SEAGOON: The swine was speaking backwards! How can we get in touch with him now?

FX: Phone rings. Receiver being lifted up.

SEAGOON: Hello?

MORIARTY (ON PHONE): You fools!

SEAGOON: Moriarty, where are you?

MORIARTY (ON PHONE): In hospital, badly scratched. You were using a blunt needle!

SEAGOON: Well, what's the next move?

MORIARTY (ON PHONE): As soon as I ring off, follow me.

SEAGOON: Right!

FX: Receiver being put down.

BLOONOK: Oh, which way did he go?

SEAGOON: Gad, we must find a way out of this labyrinth. Tap the walls as we go along. Shh, there’s somebody on the other side of this wall.

BLOONOK: Hand me your stethoscope. Yes, just as I thought.

SEAGOON: What?

BLOONOK: It's definitely...

FX: Tap tap

SEAGOON: Are you positive it's...

FX: Tap tap

BLOONOK: Positive, it's quite clearly...

FX: Tap tap

BLOONOK: I knew them both in Africa until they split up and became...

FX: Tap

BLOONOK: ...and...

FX: Tap

BLOONOK: ...but of course they joined forces later, and are now...

FX: Tap tap

BLOONOK: ...again.

SEAGOON: I'm glad to hear it.

BLOONOK: Mind you, if you hear...

FX: Tap tap tap

SEAGOON: Yes?

BLOONOK: One of them is an impostor.

SEAGOON: Which one?

FX: Tap

SEAGOON: Oh! You may be right. But right or wrong, there's someone on the other side of this wall. Suppose it's the police?

BLOONOK: The police? Ho, ho! I know how to handle the police.

SEAGOON: How?

BLOONOK: Just you wait here.

FX: Sound of footsteps running away

SEAGOON: And to this day, I've never seen him again.

ECCLES: We’re trapped under the ground.

SEAGOON: I’ve got an idea. Bluebottle!

BLUEBOTTLE: I thought you’d never get to my part. Heelloo! Hello, Eccles!

ECCLES: Hello, Bottle!

BLUEBOTTLE: Hello, everybody! Oh, did you just think of that?

ECCLES: Yeah.

SEAGOON: Listen, we’ve got to tunnel upwards to get into the gold bullion vault. Now then, Bluebottle...

BLUEBOTTLE: Yeah?

SEAGOON: Place this dynamite in the ceiling.

BLUEBOTTLE: OK, alright then, captain. Takes stick of red dynamite, stuffs it in hole. Thinks: (sings) around the world in eighty days. Goes of mike singing song. (Sings) I sing along, I ~~~~ around the world...

SEAGOON: There’s he goes, brave lad. Look at his shoulder blades rippling under the skin like shredded string.

BLUEBOTTLE: KO, ready!

SEAGOON: Light the fuse!

GRAMS: Dynamite hissing...

BLUEBOTTLE: Now run for it!

GRAMS: Footsteps running away

SEAGOON & BLUEBOTTLE: (Out of breath.)

SEAGOON: Safe behind this wall.

BLUEBOTTLE: Yes. Where’s Eccles? Eccles!

GRAMS: Running footsteps approaching.

BLUEBOTTLE: Here he is!

ECCLES: (Out of breath.)

SEAGOON: Where have you been?

ECCLES: You left this behind.

GRAMS: Loud explosion.

BLUEBOTTLE: You rotten swine, Eccles! Oh! You destroyed every bone in my corsets!

SEAGOON: Never mind that. Look at these gold coins. We’ve blown a hole in the floor of the Bank of England! We’re rich, rich! Hahahahaha!

GRYTPYPE: Well done, Neddy! Just give me that sack of gold; I’ll smuggle it to a secret van on the corner. And when I blow my whistle, join me in the van. Just wait here.

GRAMS: Footsteps running away.

SEAGOON: Hahahaha. At last we’re rich! What a grand fellow he is. Just fancy, a toot on his whistle and we’ll all be away with our gold bullion.

BLUEBOTTLE: Yes, he’s nice, isn’t he?

ECCLES: He’s nice. Yeah.

BLUEBOTTLE: Hooray for gold bullron!

ECCLES: He’s gonna blow the whistle, that man. That money...

SEAGOON: Can you hear the whistle?

BLUEBOTTLE: No.

ECCLES: No.

SEAGOON: (Clears throat.) I’ve got a nasty felling about him.

GREENSLADE: Ladies and gentlemen, have you got a nasty felling about Grytpype-Thynne? Let us know. Goodnight!

ORCH: Plays "Ding, Dong, the Witch is Dead" jazz version

GREENSLADE: That was the Goon Show, a BBC recorded programme featuring Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Spike Milligan with the Ray Ellington Quartet and Max Geldray. The orchestra was conducted by Wally Stott, script by Spike Milligan, announcer Wallace Greenslade, the programme produced by Charles Chilton.

ORCH: Plays out