China Story

by Spike Milligan and Eric Sykes

Series 5, Episode 17, Broadcast 18th January 1955

Greenslade: This is the BBC Home Service, and jolly good programmes they put on, too
Flowerdew: Oh isn't he a lovely talker?
Seagoon: [strained] Thank you, could you say some more, mister, please?
Greenslade: Why certainly, this is Wallace Greenslade saying "Winds light to variable"
Greenslade: [very theatrical] Oh Greenslade, how can they afford you?
Secombe: [himself] Because 12 shillings a week is nothing to the highly esteemed Goon Show!
Orchestra: Ethnic Percussion And Vocals, Primitive Culture Style
Seagoon: Thank you listeners, next dance please. Mr. Greenslade loosen that plastic sporran and make the announcement
Greenslade: Listeners and losteners, we present an ancient Chinese play translated from an old Greek soup recipe found engraved on the seat of a dustman's trousers in East Acton. The trousers can now be inspected in the Science Museum, internal combustion section. This play was especially writted for the wireless
Sellers: [very theatrical] Wireless! Curse! This means the end of the horned phonograph and the little doggie that looks in to it. Exits left
Fx: Gong Strikes
Milligan: [Chinese] Hello, you there. Oh boy, get this, we give you [and how] one hot story of old home town. Okay Wally, take it away. Overture and beginners for China Story, oh boy!
Seagoon: Strange people the Chinese, there are over 500 million of them.
Flowerdew: Well, they've only got themselves to blame!
Seagoon: Thank you registrar of births. My name is Neddy Seagoon and my charlady calls me "Ducks" - due to a certain disease I have! I'm well known in China and voted best dressed man of 1904 - in 1955
Grams: Harry Secombe Whining In High Pitch Voice, Followed By A Splash
Seagoon: It was Christmas night on the waterfront of the Shanghai. Still, it had to come some time. As I walked the crowded streets, people seemed to know I was British - was it my bearing, cut of my dentures or was it the 8 foot flood-lit union jack tied round my head? I'll never know
Grytpype: Yikes, Tally-Ho nutty! Have a noodle
Seagoon: The words came from a two-legged, grey-headed man going bald at the knees. He was bent backwards eating a bowl of unchopped-suey from a leopard skin bladder. With a wave of his foot he beckoned me over
Grytpype: He ignored my invitation, but then I said something that had him at my side - money!
Grams: Whoosh!
Seagoon: My name is Ned Seagoon
Grytpype: Have a noodle
Fx: Clunk
Seagoon: Thank you. You called me over
Grytpype: Yes
Seagoon: What do you want?
Grytpype: Well you have a kind face
Seagoon: You can't have it, it's a fixture
Grytpype: A fixture, ey? My you are lumbered
Seagoon: Have a care, sir, I'm not a man to be laughed at
Grytpype: I know, I've seen your act, the singing shaver isn't it?
Seagoon: I have my dark secrets
Ellington: Man, so do I!
Seagoon: Silence, Ellington, or I'll have the white-washed brushes at you
Grytpype: Well said, Neddy. Oh, Neddy, this gentleman here is Count Moriarty, French overland saxophone champion
Seagoon: [speaking French fluently]
Moriarty: So, the pen of your aunt is in the garden, ey? You're a stranger in town, are you, lad?
Seagoon: Stranger? I came here as a boy
Grytpype: I didn't think you came here as a girl. Oh, I don't know, though. You Chinese are damn clever people
Seagoon: I'll have you know I'm English!
Moriarty: English? But that ragged kilt and your toes sticking out at the end of your feet
Seagoon: In my position that's no shame
Moriarty: You're not...?
Seagoon: Yes! The British ambassador
Grytpype: Poor fellow, you must be starving, have a noodle
Fx: Clunk
Seagoon: Thank you
Grytpype: Waiter, two ice-rickshaws and a firkin of rice. So, you're the British ambassador
Seagoon: Yes [sings] There'll always be an England...
Grytpype: You silly twisted boy, you!
Moriarty: We wish to know that. now do we take it, Mr. Seagoon, that you are pressed for money?
Seagoon: Yes
Moriarty: Hmm, interesting, ey, Colonel Grytpype?
Grytpype: Yes. Come Neddy, have another noodle
Fx: Clunk
Seagoon: Thank you
Grytpype: Neddy, how would you like 50 million yen?
Seagoon: In cash
Moriarty: Crazy boy, Seagoon, you've heard of the fiendish Chinese Nationalist leader?
Seagoon: Not General Cash-My-Cheque?
Moriarty: Yes. Listen lad he's willing to pay that sum to anybody who can smuggle him a certain English Rosewood upright piano with brass candle-holders
Seagoon: Tell me more gentlemen
Grytpype: Well, Neddy, this is the plan
Adolphus Spriggs: Pardon me kind sir. Would you gentlemen be sitting here for the next few minutes
Grytpype: Yes
Adolphus Spriggs: [sings]I'm only a strolling vagabond...
Grytpype: Yes. Now Seagoon this is the idea we had.
Adolphus Spriggs: Gentlemon, you, you heard my melody...
Fx: Money box shaking
Adolphus Spriggs: ...and I think that this little wooden box with the slit in the top, speaks the words to you.
Grytpype: Neddy, the first thing you have to do...
Adolphus Spriggs: [clears throat] Gentlemen. I understand. You want an encore? Ohhhh Joyyyy [sings] A gypsy am I, go wandering by...
Fx: Gunshot
Adolphus Spriggs: urgghh!
Grytpype: Well done Moriarty. Just check the little wooden box would you? Now Seajoon. Think our offer over, and er, I'll get in touch with you on the phone to you tomorrow
Seagoon: 'Til tomorrow then...
Fx: Gong Strikes
Omnes: Chinese crowd gibberish
Seagoon: Back at the embassy I pondered over Grytpype Thynne's offer. Why on earth did General Cash-My-Cheque want a certain English upward Rosewood piano with brass candle-holders? Cunning people, the fiendish Chinese, you never know which whey they're going to go! I was just about to retire for the night when there was a tap at the window
Fx: Tapping at the window
Seagoon: Hello? Hello? Anybody out there in the dark?
Fx: A little wooden box with a slit in the top rattles!
Adolphus Spriggs: [sings] I'm only a poor little vagabond, so...
Fx: Gunshot
Seagoon:Got 'im!
Fx: Phone Rings, Picked Up
Operator: Call for you, you're through
Adolphus Spriggs: [singing down phone] ...goodnight pretty maiden...
Seagoon:Blast that man.
Fx: Rattling door handle, door opens
Delivery man: Sir. This record has just arrived, marked urgent
Seagoon:Quick put it on.
Fx: Scratchy gramophone starts playing
Adolphus Spriggs: [singing from gramophone] ...oh goodnight pretty maiden...
Fx: Record breaking/snapping
Seagoon:A pox on the man.
Fx: Phone Rings, Picked Up
Seagoon: Yes?
Grytpype: [other end of the phone] Neddy, Grytpype Thynne here. have you made a decision about the certain English upright?
Seagoon: Yes, I need the money, I'll do the job. But where do I get that certain English upright Rosewood piano with brass candle-holders?
Grytpype: Go to the tea-house of the August Goon
Seagoon: Just a minute, I'll take that down. "Go to the tea-house of the August Goon", right
Grytpype: Got that down?
Seagoon: Yes
Grytpype: Burn it at once
Seagoon: Right
Grytpype: Now set fire to the ashes
Seagoon: Yes, I've done that
Grytpype: Good, now memorise the remains
Seagoon: Right
Grytpype: Splendid. Now say after me, "I am an idiot"
Seagoon: I am an idiot
Grytpype: Right. Now, when you arrive there knock 6,000 times and ask for Ah-Pong
Seagoon: But how do I get there?
Grytpype: How do you get there? Where are you now?
Seagoon: I'm standing by the phone
Grytpype: Good, start asking your way from there
Seagoon: Thank you
Fx: Phone Put Back On Hook
Seagoon: I should be there in 3 minutes. Just in time for fiendish gentleman Mlax Gledlay to have a blowout

Max Geldray and Orchestra - Musical Interlude

Fx: Gong Strikes
Omnes: gibberish Chinese crowd noises
Seagoon: On arrival at the tea house, as instructed, I knocked 6,000 times
Grams: Steady Knocking Gradually Speeding Up Until Sounds Like A Machine Gun Firing
Fx: Door Opens
Throat: Yes?
Seagoon: Tea house of the August Gloon?
Throat: No
Fx: Door Slams
Seagoon: Curse, it's next door! It's always next door in China!
Grams: Steady Knocking Gradually Speeding Up Until Sounds Like A Machine Gun Firing
Fx: Door Opens
Ah-Pong: [Chinese] Somebody knock?
Seagoon: Yes, tea-house of August Goon?
Ah-Pong: Yes sir
Seagoon: You are Ah-Pong?
Ah-Pong: Yes, we are up until 11 o'clock
Seagoon: I've come about a certain English rosewood upright
Ah-Pong: Ah, you are Neleddy Sleegoon, yeah?
Seagoon: Yes, Blitish Ambassador
Ah-Pong: Ah glood, glood, glood! Follow me please
Seagoon: I was lead through a bead curtain and across a floor so cunningly laid that no matter where you stood it was always under your feet. In the far corner of the tea-room, I could see the sinister oriental saxophonist Fred Fu-Manchu playing strict tempo Chinesh ballroom music.
Fx: Strict tempo Chinesh ballroom music plays...
Seagoon: Finally I was lead to a military man reclining on a coolie
Bloodnok: Aaaah! So you're the man who's going to do the job
Seagoon: Yes
Bloodnok: So, about the certain English upright rosewood piano
Seagoon: Yes, where is it?
Bloodnok: Up river at the Kowgoon Missionary
Seagoon: Kowgoon? That's 600 miles away!
Bloodnok: Is it?
Grams: Footsteps Running Away Into The Distance, Silence, Footsteps Running Back Towards Microphone
Seagoon: Yes, it's exactly 600 miles
Bloodnok: That's too far to travel, therefore we shall take the fiendish Chinese river-steamer tonight
Fx: Gong Strikes
Seagoon: In the darkness we sat huddled on the fiendish Chinese river-steamer, the silence broken only by the sound of the silence being broken
Bloodnok: Ah, Seagoon! I've just been speaking to the fiendish Chinese Captain, he says we'll be in Kowgoon at 2300 hours
Seagoon: What time is that?
Bloodnok: I don't know, my watch only goes up to 12
Seagoon: Curse this fiendish Chinese triple-summertime
Fx: Kersplash
Chinese sailor on watch: Ahhhhh, Man overbloard
Seagoon: I see him, quick Bloodnok, hold my coat
Bloodnok: Brave man Seagoon, brave man, brave brave man. Now let me see. [sings to himself] la dee, la dah, dah dee... Blast! Not a penny in any of his pockets
Seagoon: I've got him. Haul me aboard
Fx: Struggling sounds, chinese mutterings in gibberish
Seagoon:Lay him down gently
Bloodnok: Poor fellow, he's soaking wet.
Seagoon:Strange, it hadn't been raining
Drowned Man: unnnhhhh
Bloodnok: He's coming one...
Drowned Man: unnnhhhh
Bloodnok: He's coming two...
Seagoon:Who are you poor wayfarer?
Aldolphus Spriggs: [clears throat] I'm only a poor little vagabond... Wohhuuup!
Fx: Kersplash
Bloodnok: Well hurled. Full spleed ahlead
Orchestra: Dramatic nautical link
Fx: Gong Strikes
Seagoon: By mid-day the following month we arrived at the fiendish Chinese river port of Kalgoon
Bloodnok: But to our bearded horror we discovered that missionary Crun had put the certain English upright rosewood piano up for auction
Seagoon: We had no option but to bid against 300 fiendish oriental John Chinamen
Omnes: gibberish Chinese crowd atmosphere
Fx: Gavel Hit 3 Times
Crun: Attention, fiendish Chinese bidders, the auction commences. First object to come under the hammer is this glass jar
Fx: Glass Jar Smashed By Hammer
Crun: The next object is this certain English rosewood upright. Now then, let us start the bidding at 1 pound
Seagoon: [Chinese] £1.10
Milligan: [Chinese] £2
Ellington:[Chinese] £3
Seagoon: £3.10
Sellers: [Chinese] £3.15
Seagoon: Thlee pounds flifteen and slixpence
Ellington: £4.10
Sellers: £4.10 and 10-pence
Seagoon: £5
Sellers: Flive pounds
Milligan: Flive pounds and flive
Crun: Any advance on flive pounds flive?
Greenslade: [Chinese] Flive pounds four and 4-pence
Milligan: Flip-flong
Sellers: Flip-flong ten
Seagoon: £10
Ellington: Blasee-a-blas-bing
Milligan: Bloo-bla-bing
Seagoon: Bing-bang-bloom
Sellers: Bing-bang-blom
Minnie Bannister: Ying-Tong
Seagoon: Ying-Tong-Iddle
Minnie Bannister: Ying-Tong-Iddle-I
Seagoon: Ying-Tong-Iddle-I-Po
Omnes: Wahh!
Crun: Any advance on Ying-Tong-Iddle-I-Po?
Greenslade: [himself] Ladies and gentlemen, the BBC have asked me to tell you the sentence Ying-Tong-Iddle-I-Po has no meaning at all and is not a form of currency. Therefore in bidding Ying-Tong-Iddle-I-Po for the piano it has proved that the bidders are fiendish Chinese,we return you now to the fiendish auction
Omnes: gibberish Chinese crowd atmosphere
Crun: Any advance on fiendish Ying-Tong-Iddle-I-Po?
Seagoon: £10
Crun: Mnnk! Sold for £10!
Fx: Gavel Struck Once
Moriarty: Well done, Neddy boy, well done!
Seagoon: Moriarty!
Moriarty: Yes
Seagoon: Grytpype Thynne! What are you doing here?
Moriarty: This is the reason: Before that piano can be dispatched to the secret Chinese NAAFI of Cash-My-Cheque, the keyboard must be reversed
Seagoon: Why?
Grytpype: Well you see, Neddy, fiendish Chinese pianists always play from right to left
Seagoon: What fiendish Chinese cunning!
Grytpype: Yes. Now, out you go and get me a packet of Coolies
Seagoon: Cork-tipped, of course
Grytpype: Of course
Seagoon: Right!
Grytpype: I say, Moriarty
Moriarty: Yes?
Grytpype: Do you think he suspects?
Moriarty: About the time-bomb in the piano to kill General Cash-My-Cheque? No
Grytpype: No. Have you wired it up to explode?
Moriarty: Yes it detonates when a certain note is played, listen
Orchestra: Piano Plays A Tune [Chopsticks] Minus Last Note Of Refrain
Moriarty: This is the note
Orchestra: Final Note Of Refrain Played
Grytpype: You have a copy of that music?
Moriarty: Of course
Grytpype: In Chinese?
Moriarty: Yes, scored from right to left and upwards
Grytpype: Brilliant, brilliant! Then tomorrow we send Seagoon and the piano to the fiendish Chinese NAAFI and that will be the last of our dreaded rival General Cash-My-Cheque. Meantime, what am I bid for this record of fiendish Gladys Ellington

Ray Ellington and his Quartet - "Lover come back to me"

Orchestra: A link of Epic proportions
Seagoon: August the third, moving inland through the bandit province of Yanghtsee towards the secret Chinese NAAFI, strapped to the back of a mule was the certain English etcetera etcetera with brass candle holders - I said etcetera etcetera because it saved me saying the full sentence which was a certain English rosewood upright piano with brass candle-holders. That's why I said etcetera etcetera, thought you might like to know
Bloodnok: Seagoon, stop the caravan, there is someone behind those fiendish Chinese bushes ahead
Seagoon: Hand me that loaded Chinaman
Bloodnok: Don't point him at me!
Seagoon: It's alright I've got a safety catch on. Who's that behind the bush? Com on who are you?
Adolphus Spriggs: [singing] I'm only a poor little vagabond...
Fx: Gunshot
Seagoon: Got 'im! Wait, there's someone else.
Seagoon: Ahoy there, come out from behind that bush!
Bluebottle: Wait a minute, don't shoot at me!
Seagoon: Come on out
Bluebottle: Enter Bluebottle. Thinks: Is the Bluebottle popularity slipping? No
Seagoon: Who are you, you little high-bred wreck
Bluebottle: I'm a member of General Cash-My-Cheque's secret NAAFI. Strikes dramatic pose as done in film "The Bridges of Tokorees", by Grace Kennings and William Holdings in a Japanese bath scene.Thinks: I wouldn't mind a bath night like that. Tee-hee!
Seagoon: Have you proof of your identity?
Bluebottle: Yes I have, my cap-i-tain, yes. Look: points to Chinese dragon tattooed at great expense on tail of shirt
Seagoon: What does that prove?
Bluebottle: It proves that I have a Chinese dragon tattooed on the tail of my shirt at great expense. Thinks: I've got a Chinese dragon tattooed on the tail of my...
Seagoon: Yes, yes, yes. But why have you got that boot full of Chinese porridge strapped to your head?
Bluebottle: I always have a bowl of Chinese porridge strapped on my head on a Monday
Seagoon: But today's Tuesday
Bluebottle: Is it? Oh, I feel a proper fool now! Tee-hee! Thank you Chinese sausages
Seagoon: Stop those radio award jokes, now how far are we from the secret Chinese NAAFI of Cash-My-Cheque?
Bluebottle: I will not tell you, you're not talking nicely to little Blunbottle
Seagoon: Fiendish China man Gladys Ellington, take charge of this man
Ellington: Right! Come on, come on you mushroom legs!
Bluebottle: Eeeeeh! take your hands off my little arms, you might rub off on me. Here, you're not Chinese
Ellington: How do you know?
Bluebottle: I can tell by your eyes
Ellington: Come on, come on now, how far we go until the secret Chinese NAAFI?
Bluebottle: I don't like this game. It's a rotten game. Let's play naughty Ainsley Scott being fired games
Seagoon: Tell us, or we play Bluebottle and taxidermists
Bluebottle: No, no! I'll tell you! It is across this river, it is behind the Great Wall of China. Ying-Tong-Iddle-I-Ping
Seagoon: Guards, forward!
Grams: Four Whooshes In A Row
Bluebottle: Right, here we are at the secret fiendish Chinese NAAFI. I will knock-id
Fx: Few Knocks On Door And Opens
Cash-My-Cheque: [Chinese] Oh boy, look, it's a Bluebottle and honourable piano. Look, bloys, honourable naughty piano has arrived
Omnes: [Chinese] Hip-Hip-Hullay! Hip-Hip-Hullay!
Seagoon: Together...
Fx: Heavy Object Being Dragged Over Screams
Greenslade: Ladies and gentlemen, while our heroes are getting the certain English piano up on the stage of the secret Chinese NAAFI I would like to draw your attention to page 52 of this week's Radio Times. It shows a 3 quarter rear view of a lady wearing a pair of corsets. We would like to point out that this is an advertisement and not a programme, though I must say it might be the basis of a jolly good show. I see now that the certain English piano is in position and a fiendish Chinese pianist is about to play
Omnes: gibberish Chinese crowd atmosphere
Seagoon: [Chinese] Silence, please silence! Honourable plianist will now play westlern style tlune
Orchestra: Piano Plays Same Tune As Before But Stops Before The Last Note
Grytpype: Curse it, Moriarty, he hasn't played the note!
Orchestra: Piano Plays Same Tune As Before But Stops Before The Last Note
Grytpype: Oh, he's missed it again!
Aldolphus Spriggs: Chinese gentlemen, don't fret! Your poor fiendish pianist can not play the piano so I will sing you another melody. Could I have an A please?
Orchestra: Piano Plays An A, The Final Note Of The Previous Tune
Grams: Giant Explosion, Glass Smashing And Objects Falling On Floor
Grytpype: Damn clever these Chinese!
Orchestra: Closing Theme Tune
Greenslade: That was the Goon Show, a 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 and Eric Sykes, announcer Wallace Greenslade, the programme produced by Peter Eton.
Bluebottle: I didn't get deaded this week! Tee-hee!
Orchestra: Outro

Transcription and HTML by Kurt Adkins []