The Tree Maniac

This really was a Lost Goon Show – lost, forgotten and never finished.

Announcer: Good evening, the BBC Home Service presents the Grunes (pause) Grunes? Grunes??? Yes, it’s quite definitely written here: G-R-U-N-E-S. Of course, they must mean Coons – yes, that’s it Coons (walks away repeating)

John Snagge (Peter): Mr Greenslade is currently being treated by Sir Charles Fees, the famous psychiatrist and used car salesman. What Greenslade meant to say was that this is the Grute Show. (pause) Grute? No, ladies and gentlemen they mean Grune – the Grune Show. (long silence)

Oboe: Gives hurried tuning A to Orchestra

Snagge: Bai Jove, I do believe they weren’t quite ready. Have another try: ladies and –

Orchestra: Coming in too soon with signature tune, pause

FX: Fork falls on floor

Ned Seagoon: That thrilling sound of an EPNS fork hitting the ground signals the start of a mysterious mystery.

Spike: (starter) On your marks – get set –

FX: Starter’s pistol, followed by mass of boots running away

Ned: Very well, I do it ‘on my own – ladies and gentlemen, The Landing Tree Maniac.

Orchestra: Brooding-mystery chords mixed with maniacal laughter and tree chopping

Dimbleby (Peter): The Queen places the Royal sapling in the Royal hole and with a silver shovel fills it in.

The Queen (Peter): I name this tree Copper Beech. God bless its nuts, and all who assail her.

FX: Feeble clapping

Announcer: Meantime – at Catford police station a Constable Oaf is at work beating a rubber bust off Cliff Richard.

FX: Truncheon on head

Constable (Spike – Cockney): Take that, you hippy swine.

FX: Truncheon wallop

Constable: Ernin’ orl that money.

FX: Wallop

Constable: Singing crappy tunes!

FX: Wallop

Constable: And me with my fine voice on only 18 quid a week.

FX: Wallop. Phone rings

Constable: Hello – Hello – better pick it up, but first –

FX: Wallop. Picks phone up

Constable: Catford Police Station.

Neddy: Hello, this is Neddy Seagoon, Welsh midget and Forester-in-waiting to the Queen!

Constable: Oh, you ever seen that swine Cliff Richard – he gets £2,000,000 a minute.

FX: Wallop

Neddy: Yes – I want to report –

Announcer: The BBC would like to point that what you are hearing is not typical of the police force. The Inspector has said he personally not jealous of Cliff Richard – it’s that bastard Elvis Presley –

Neddy: It’s true – the £18-a-week police were not interested, folks – so I would have to go to the £10 a week police, even 9 or 8! Nine and eight make £17, that would be only a pound cheaper, understand? (Gibbers on)

Announcer: Mr Seagoon is also being treated by Sir Charles Fees.

Neddy: So money is no object – I’ll just throw this shilling on the pavement to see if there’s any Scotsmen in the district.

FX: Shilling on pavement followed by approach of two sets of boots at speed. They halt

Thynne: (breathless) M’card!

Neddy: MacHard – ah – a real Scot! See, Thynne & Moriarty, financiers and 24-hour dry cleaners.

Constable: And me only £18 a week –

FX: Wallop

Neddy: Listen, constabule of old Catford, I wish to report a tree vandal –

Constable: Oh – is it a doggie?

Neddy: Is what a doggie?

Constable: (barks) Bow-wow-wow-woof-grrr-

Neddy: What’s that?

Constable: That’s a doggie!

Neddy: I thought you were a policeman.

Constable: I am, and it’s only £18 a week.

FX: Wallop

Neddy: Look, you know Herne’s Mighty Oak in Windsor Park?

Constable: Well, not personally.

Neddy: Well, it’s –

Constable: – and he’s always havin’ it off with good-lookin’ birds –

FX: Wallop (continues)

Moriarty: Owww!

Neddy: That sound came from a shivering wreck wearing a wedding-tackle-length vest, a topless bowler – and a reconditioned cricketer’s box – lying stretched on the pavement.

Thynne: My partner, Count Jim ‘Knackered’ Moriarty – a scion of Grade 3 Salmon, had played the lead in several French post-cards.

Neddy: Is he dead?

Thynne: That is a trade secret – but his strength is unbounded – with him we can crack this case open.

Neddy: So saying he cracked a case open –

FX: Case being smashed

Thynne: That’s just a beginning – you want Herne’s Mighty Oak traced?

Neddy: Yes yes yes yes yes yes!

Thynne: One yes would have done – you’re used to working with the deaf or the Irish? Moriarty, cover me with a song.

Moriarty: (sings) These teeth are the teeth of a woman in love. (Continues)

Thynne: Neddy – so far, our investigations have led us to this blank cheque – it would help our inquiries if you signed just here.

FX: Hurried signing

Thynne: What a beautiful hand –

Moriarty: Yes – but a terrible signature.

Thynne: Moriarty, open the Cyprus Sherry.

FX: Pop and pouring

Neddy: It – it looks like water!

Thynne: A toast to your forthcoming overdraft.

FX: Clinking glasses.

Neddy: It – it tastes like water!

Thynne: Water? There’s an old Latin adage: Parventum – ad hoc – nil desperandum – aqua frescha!

Neddy: Oh – I wish I’d met you earlier.

Thynne: So do we, Neddy – say so do we for me, Moriarty.

Moriarty: So do we!

FX: Terrible slap

Moriarty: Ow – mon tête!

Neddy: Why do you keep hitting him?

Thynne: Why? Because he’s there!

Announcer: Who would want to remove Herne’s Oak? The first clue came from a couple living in Neasden.

FX: Clock ticking – bed springs – snoring. Alarm clock rings

Crun & Bannister: (waking noises)

Crun: I’ll just look in the mirror … Oh. Is it open eyes for awake?

Bannister: Well that’s how I do it!

Crun: Ah!

Bannister: Ooooo! Are you awake, Henry?

Crun: What’s the time?

Bannister: I set the alarm for three.

Crun: Why? There’s only two of us.

Bannister: There must be six more somewhere –

FX: Bong of po

Crun: Oh –

Bannister: It’s very dark this morning. Look how dark it is out.

Crun: That’s the blinds, Min.

FX: Sound of doorknob and bolts being withdrawn

Crun: (off mike) Oh, Min. There’s something on the landing.

Bannister: It must be the cat.

Crun: No, a cat couldn’t do this. Someone’s left an oak tree on the landing. Cats can’t do oak trees.

Bannister: Let me see. Oh, there’s a label on it – ‘From the Tree Maniac’.

Crun: I don’t remember ordering a tree from a maniac.

Bannister: It must be a joke.

Crun: No, Min, it’s not a joke. It’s definitely a tree. Jokes don’t have leaves on.

Bannister: No, some jokes have whiskers on.

Both: Talk at cross purposes – fade

FX: Heavy snoring

Announcer: The snoring you hear is that of the duty fireman at Lewisham.

FX: Phone rings – snorer wakes up

Fireman (Spike): Hello, Lewisham fire brigade.

Crun: Hello – we have a tree on our landing.

Fireman: Thanks for telling me.

Crun: Don’t go – we want help.

Fireman: Well, is the tree on fire?

Crun: No.

Fireman: Well, we can’t come unless it’s on fire.

Crun: Min, he says he can’t come unless the tree is on fire.

Bannister: Oh, I’ll get a box of matches.

Crun: If you come now, we’ll have it going by the time you arrive.

Fireman: It’s very nice of you to put work my way.

(And here it ends)