The Goon Show

BBC Radio show broadcast between 1950 and 1960

The Goon Show was a British radio comedy programme, produced and broadcast by the BBC Home Service from 1951 to 1960. Occasional repeats were on the BBC Light Programme. The first series was broadcast from 28 May to 20 September 1951. It was titled Crazy People; later series had the title The Goon Show.

The Goon Show
Other namesCrazy People (series 1)
Running time30 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Home stationBBC Home Service
CreatorsSpike Milligan
Recording studioCamden Theatre, London
No. of episodes238 plus 12 specials
Audio formatMono
Other themes
Ending theme"Crazy Rhythm", played by Max Geldray and the Ray Ellington Quartet

The show's chief creator and main writer was Spike Milligan. The show was acted by Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Milligan. Michael Bentine was also a member until 1953.[1]

Each of the actors played several stock characters, a regular pattern in radio and theatrical comedy. By "stock characters" is meant characters whose idiosyncracies (peculiaririties) is well understood by the listening audience. This was also a feature of much music hall entertainment.[2]

The scripts mixed ludicrous plots with surreal humour, puns, catchphrases and an array of bizarre sound effects. Some of the later episodes had electronic effects devised by the fledgling BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Many of these ideas were reused by other shows for decades. Elements of the show satirised life in Britain, parodying aspects of show business, commerce, industry, art, politics, diplomacy, the police, the military, education, class structure, literature and films.[3]

The show was preceded by Ted Ray's Ray's a Laugh as the key comedy programme on BBC radio.

The Goon Show had an influence on the later BBC television series Monty Python. Both were absurdist comedies.

References change

  1. Farnes, Norma 1997. The Goons: the story. London: Virgin Publishing. ISBN 1-85227-679-7
  2. "Music hall" is Britspeak for vaudeville.
  3. Wilmut, Roger; Jimmy Grafton 1976. The Goon Show Companion - a history and goonography. London: Robson Books. ISBN 0-903895-64-1