Tributes to The Goon Show & Spike Milligan

Many comedies are said to be ground breaking, but what makes The Goon Show and the humour of Spike Milligan so special in British Comedy?

It has been said of Spike Milligan that "...if there is a definition of genius - one of the best ones is that whatever province you're in you leave it different. He left comedy different and it was never the same after him..." Below are other famous people who have paid tribute to Spike Milligan and The Goon Show.

Eddie Izzard

Comedian and actor

"They took things to such surreal places - rockets going to the moon, which turned out to be made of sandwiches, or whatever it was. That's why the Goon Show is timeless, like Alice in Wonderland..."

John Lennon


"The Goon Show was long before and more revolutionary than "look back in anger" (it appealed to "eggheads" and "the people"). Hipper than the hippest and madder than "Mad," a conspiracy against reality..."

Michael Palin

Actor, writer, television presenter and comedian

"The importance of the Goons was that it was my own generation's programme and taste. My parents didn't know what was going on when they heard Henry and Minnie Crun, Eccles and all these strange voices..."

Stephen Fry

Actor, comedian, author, and broadcaster

"That was quite a breakthrough - it doesn't seem it to us because we're so used to making fun of the officer types - I've done it myself and it is pretty easy - but it wasn't then..."

Terry Gilliam

Actor, animator, director, producer and screenwriter

"Never had I heard anything so absurd, so giddyingly wonderful, wild, and silly in all of my life. There was nothing in America to compare with it. If Britain could produce nonsense as pure and anarchic as that, then that was the place for me..."

Nicholas Parsons

Actor, radio and TV presenter

"He took comedy into the world of fantasy. It was surreal, different and amazing and he created a whole new attitude towards humour..."