China Story

First broadcast on January 18, 1955

Script by Spike Milligan
Produced by Peter Eton
Announced by Wallace Greenslade
Orchestra conducted by Wally Stott


Wallace: This is the BBC Home Service, and jolly good programmes they put on, too
Peter: (very camp) Oh isn't he a lovely talker?
Harry: (strained) Thank you, could you say some more, mister, please?
Wallace: Why certainly, this is Wallace Greenslade saying "Winds light to variable"
Peter: (very theatrical) Oh Greenslade, how can they afford you?
Harry: (himself) Because 12 shillings a week is nothing to the highly esteemed Goon Show!
ORCHESTRA: VERY SIMPLE PERCUSSION AND VOCALS, PRIMITIVE CULTURE STYLE
Harry: Thank you listeners, next dance please. Mr. Greenslade loosen that plastic sporran and make the introduction
Wallace: 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
Peter: (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
Peter: (Chinese) Hello, you there. Oh boy, get this, we give you (and how) one hot story of old home town
Neddy: Strange people, the Chinese, there are over 500 million of them. My name is Neddy Seagoon and my chow-lady 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
Neddy: 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
Neddy: The words came from a two-legged, grey-headed man going bald at the knees. He was bent backwards eating a bowl of un-chopped-suey from a leopard skin bladder. With a wave of his foot he beckoned me over
Grytpype: He ignored my invitation, but then I aid something that had him at my side - money!
GRAMS: WHOOSH!
Neddy: My name is Ned Seagoon
Grytpype: Have a noodle
FX: CLUNK
Neddy: Thank you. You called me over
Grytpype: Yes
Neddy: What do you want?
Grytpype: Well you have a kind face
Neddy: You can't have it, it's a fixture
Grytpype: A fixture, ey? My you are lumbered
Neddy: 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?
Neddy: I have my dark secrets
Ray: Man, so do I!
Neddy: 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
Neddy: speaks French fluently
Moriarty: So, the pen of your aunt is in the garden, ey? You're a stranger in town, are you, lad?
Neddy: 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
Neddy: 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
Neddy: In my position that's no shame
Moriarty: You're not -
Neddy: Yes! The British ambassador
Grytpype: Poor fellow, you must be starving, have a noodle
FX: CLUNK
Neddy: Thank you
Grytpype: Waiter, two ice-rickshaws and a fur-skin of rice. So, you're the British ambassador
Neddy: Yes
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?
Neddy: Yes
Moriarty: Hmm, interesting, ey, Grytpype?
Grytpype: Yes. Come Neddy, have another noodle
FX: CLUNK
Neddy: Thank you
Grytpype: Neddy, how would you like 50 million yen?
Neddy: In cash
Moriarty: Crazy boy, Seagoon, you've heard of the fiendish Chinese leader?
Neddy: 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
Neddy: Tell me more gentlemen
Grytpype: Well, Neddy, this is the plan
FX: GONG STRIKES
Everybody: Chinese crowd gibberish
Neddy: Back at the embassy I pondered over Grytpype Thynnes' 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 -
FX: PHONE RINGS, PICKED UP
Neddy: Yes?
Grytpype: (other end of the phone) Neddy, Grytpype Thynne here. have you made a decision about the certain English upright?
Neddy: 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 autumn Goon
Neddy: Just a minute, I'll take that down. "Go to the tea-house of the Autumn Goon", right
Grytpype: Got that down?
Neddy: Yes
Grytpype: Burn it at once
Neddy: Right
Grytpype: Now set fire to the ashes
Neddy: Yes, I've done that
Grytpype: Good, now memorise the remains
Neddy: Right
Grytpype: Splendid. Now say after me, "I am an idiot"
Neddy: I am an idiot
Grytpype: Right. Now, when you arrive there knock 6,000 times and ask for Ah-Pong
Neddy: But how do I get there?
Grytpype: How do you get there? Where are you now?
Neddy: I'm standing by the phone
Grytpype: Good, start asking your way from there
Neddy: Thank you
FX: PHONE PUT BACK ON HOOK
Neddy: I should be there in 3 minutes
ORCHESTRA: MAX GELDRAY AND THE ORCHESTRA
FX: GONG STRIKES
Everyone: gibberish Chinese crowd noises
Neddy: 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?
Neddy: Tea house of the Autumn Goon?
Throat: No
FX: DOOR SLAMS
Neddy: 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
Peter: (Chinese) Somebody knock?
Neddy: Yes, tea-house of Autumn Goon?
Peter: Yes sir
Neddy: You are Ah-Pong?
Peter: Yes, we are up until 11 o'clock
Neddy: I've come about a certain English rosewood upright
Peter: Ah, you are Neddy Sleegoon, yeah?
Neddy: Yes, Blitish Ambassador
Peter: Ah good, good, good! Follow me please
Neddy: I was lead through a bead curtain and across the floor, so cunningly laid that no matter where you stood it was always under your feet. Finally I was lead to a military man declining on a cooling
Bloodnok: Aaaah! So you're the man who's going to do the job
Neddy: Yes
Bloodnok: So, about the certain English upright rosewood piano
Neddy: Yes, where is it?
Bloodnok: Upriver at the Kargoon Missionary
Neddy: Kargoon? That's 600 miles away!
Bloodnok: Is it?
GRAMS: FOOTSTEPS RUNNING AWAY INTO THE DISTANCE, SILENCE, FOOTSTEPS RUNNING BACK TOWARDS MICROPHONE
Neddy: 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
Neddy: 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 Kalgoon at 2300 hours
Neddy: What time is that?
Bloodnok: I don't know, my watch only goes up to 12
Neddy: Curse this fiendish Chinese triple-summertime
FX: GONG STRIKES
Neddy: 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
Neddy: We had no option but to bid against 300 fiendish oriental John China men
Everyone: gibberish Chinese crowd atmosphere
FX: JUDGE'S HAMMER HIT 3 TIMES
Henry: Attention, fiendish Chinese bidders, the auction commences. First object to come under the hammer is this glass jar
FX: GLASS JAR SMASHED BY HAMMER
Henry: The next object is this certain English rosewood upright. Now then, let us start the bidding at 1 pound
Harry: (Chinese) 1.10
Spike: (Chinese) 2
Ray: (Chinese) 3
Harry: 3.10
Peter: (Chinese) 3.15
Harry: Thlee pounds flifteen and slixpence
Ray: 4.10
Peter: 4.10 and 10-pence
Harry: 5
Peter: Flive pounds
Spike: Flive pounds and flive
Henry: Any advance on flive pounds flive?
Wallace: (Chinese) Flive pounds four and 4-pence
Spike: Flip-flong
Peter: Flip-flong ten
Harry: 10
Ray: Blasee-a-blas-bing
Spike: Bloo-bla-bing
Harry: Bing-bang-bloom
Peter: Bing-bang-blom
Minnie: Ying-Tong
Harry: Ying-Tong-Iddle
Minnie: Ying-Tong-Iddle-I
Harry: Ying-Tong-Iddle-I-Po
Everyone: Good!
Henry: Any advance on Ying-Tong-Iddle-I-Po?
Wallace: (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 and we return you now to the fiendish auction
Everyone: gibberish Chinese crowd atmosphere
Henry: Any advance on fiendish Ying-Tong-Iddle-I-Po?
Neddy: 10
Henry: Mnnk! Sold for 10!
FX: JUDGE'S HAMMER STRUCK ONCE
Moriarty: Well done, Neddy boy, well done!
Neddy: Moriarty!
Moriarty: Yes
Neddy: Grytpype Thynne! What are you doing here?
Moriarty: This is the reason: Before that piano can be dispatched to the secret Chinese NAAFI Cash-My-Cheque, the keyboard must be reversed
Neddy: Why?
Grytpype: Well you see, Neddy, fiendish Chinese pianists always play from right to left
Neddy: What fiendish Chinese cunning!
Grytpype: Yes. Now, out you go and get me a packet of Coolies
Neddy: Cork-tipped, of course
Grytpype: Of course
Neddy: 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 detonated 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
MUSIC: RAY ELLINGTON AND HIS QUARTET
Neddy: 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 upright rosewood 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
Neddy: Hand me that loaded China man
Bloodnok: Don't point him at me!
Neddy: It's alright I've got a safety catch on. Ahoy there, come out from behind that bush!
Bluebottle: Wait a minute, don't shoot at me!
Neddy: Come on out
Bluebottle: Enter Bluebottle. Is the Bluebottle popularity slipping? No
Neddy: 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 Totorees", by Grace Kennings and William Holdings in a Japanese bath scene.Thinks: I wouldn't mind a bath night like that. Tee-hee!
Neddy: 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
Neddy: 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 to the tail of my -
Neddy: 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
Neddy: But today's Tuesday
Bluebottle: Is it? Oh, I feel a proper fool! Tee-hee! Than you Chinese sausages
Neddy: Stop those radio award jokes, now how far are we from the secret Chinese NAAFI of General Cash-My-Cheque?
Bluebottle: I will not tell you, you're not talking nicely to little Bluebottle
Neddy: Fiendish China man gunner Ellington, take charge of this man
Ray: Right! Come on, come on you mushroom legs!
Bluebottle: Eeeeeh! take your hands off my little arm, you might rub off on me. Here, you're not Chinese
Ray: How do you know?
Bluebottle: I can tell by your eyes
Ray: Come on, come on now, how far do we go until the secret Chinese NAAFI?
Bluebottle: I don't like this game
Neddy: 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
Neddy: Guards, forward!
GRAMS: FOUR WHOOSHES IN A ROW
Bluebottle: Right, here we are at the secret fiendish Chinese NAAFI. I will knock-ed
FX: FEW KNOCKS ON DOOR AND OPENS
Peter: (Chinese) Oh boy, look, it's a Bluebottle and honourable piano. Look, bloys, honourable naughty piano has arrived
Everybody: (Chinese) Hip-Hip-Hullay! Hip-Hip-Hullay!
Neddy: Together -
FX: HEAVY OBJECT BEING DRAGGED OVER SCREAMS
Wallace: Ladies and gentlemen, while our heroes are getting the 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
Everybody: gibberish Chinese crowd atmosphere
Harry: (Chinese) Silence, please silence! Honourable pianist will now play western style tune
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!
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
Wallace: 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: FINISH THEME TUNE AND PLAY THEM OUT