Under Two Floorboards-A Story Of The Legion
by Spike Milligan and Eric Sykes
Series 5, Episode 18, Broadcast 25 January 1955
Greenslade: This is the BBC Home Service
Peter: Is there no relief?
Greenslade: Listeners, this is smiling Wallace Greenslade speaking to you. Here's good news: from time to time in the next half hour I will be appearing -hope you like me, kids! If, however, you are determined to hear the rest of it, get well soon.
Seagoon: You over-paid word strangler, you! Ladies and gentlemen, he was about to apologize for the highly esteemed, Goon Show!
Orchestra: Elizabethan flute and harp duet link, calm and flowing
Greenslade: High Towers, with its great ivy-covered windows, relieved by mullioned walls. This was the ancestral home of Lady Seagoon. One butler, two cooks, three maids, six gardeners, eight horses, fourteen cows, seven pigs and...Ned Seagoon
Seagoon: Yes, I am the Honourable Neddie Seagoon, eldest son. We had all been to the university, I took law, while my brothers took medicine
Eccles: We were ill! (guffaw) (sings) I'm only a strolling vagabond...
Seagoon: Shut up Eccles!
Eccles: Well I wasn't in it last week!
Seagoon: (I know you weren't. Well, it was the year 1908. We'd just come from Balliol School, Cambridge. Oh, it was pleasant to be home, and I walked around the even lawn, pausing only to smooth down the places where my brother had buried a bone. Then I noticed my uncle Grytpype-Thynne. He was idly climbing out of a hammock which hung easily between my two brothers.
Grytpype: Ah, nephew Neddie! Looking forward to the ball tonight?
Seagoon: Oh yes, sir!
Seagoon: My mother will be wearing the Blue Shower Necklace, worth a King's ransom! Been in the family three hundred years!
Grytpype: She's kept remarkably well!
Seagoon: No, no, no, the Blue Shower!
Grytpype: ...Yes. Neddie, I've got a little present for you.
Seagoon: Oh thank you uncle, you're always giving me presents! First a christening mug and now this!
Grytpype: It's a book.
Seagoon: A book? Oh yes...I've seen one of these before. What's it called? 10/6 net? Yes, yes, I've read this, I've read the sequel too, 12/6 net.
Grytpype: (aside) I wonder if it would be wiser to draw pictures for him? (aloud) It's called "Beau Geste", Neddie
Seagoon: Lovely. I'll read it tomorrow.
Grytpype: No, you must read it all before the ball tonight. Oh, and here's a bookmark.
Seagoon: I say, that's rather novel. It's a single ticket to Marseille!
Grytpype: Well done! I say, you're quite sure your mother is wearing the Blue Shower tonight?
Seagoon: Of course!
Seagoon: Beau Geste, what a wonderful book. During the next five minutes I read it again and again. On the last page was a note from uncle. It read, "Pass it on to your brothers, I've given them both bookmarks". What a kind man uncle was! I passed it on.
Eccles: Ooh, look! Look what Neddie's given us!
Bluebottle: Eee-hee! Let's put some wheels on it, then we can pull it round. So enters Honourable Bluebottle, the third son. I like this rich game! Thinks: I'm a happy-go-lucky-lad! Signals butler to wipe my nose.
Seagoon: Dear brothers, that thing there is a book!
Bluebottle: Yes, go on, read it to little Bluebottle, Eccles. I like it when you read to me, you know that? Sits in listening pose so as not to miss dinner gong.
Eccles: Right! It's, um, let me see, it's called um...Booo...Gost...unm,... booo...
Eccles: ...boooo...gest-e.... Shall I draw a pussycat?
Bluebottle: No, go on, read it Eccles, it was just getting interesting!
Eccles: Yeah, well, um, it starts off...
Bluebottle: What does it say?
Eccles: (struggling over each syllable) Once...yau...yaupon...a-ee...ta...oiii...
Eccles: Time! That's it! I knew it was a 'W'.
Seagoon: Enjoying it?
Eccles: Yeah, it's a funny book, ha ha!
Bluebottle: Yeah, it's a funny book, hee-hee!
Eccles: It's a really funny book, ha-ha-ha!
Seagoon: Perhaps I read it wrongly! After all, both my brothers held university degrees! (Ahem) Do you mind if I listen while you read?
Eccles: Well, um, OK, yeah. Let's see now. "Then the big giant walked over the hill with a big club in each hand!"
Seagoon: Where's that?
Seagoon: There? It says, "The garden was bathed in the cold light of an august moon."
Eccles: Shall I draw a pussycat?
Seagoon: Look, I'll read it for you. (fast) "Once upon a time there were three brothers..." (speeds up to gibberish and fades out)
Orchestra: Mystic harp chords link
Grams: Stately background music, small crowd
Grytpype: Ah, nephew Neddie. Enjoying the ball?
Seagoon: Immensely, I've danced every dance!
Grytpype: Oh, who's the lucky girl?
Seagoon: I don't bother with them, I'm much better on my own!
Grytpype: Charming. By the way, did you read Beau Geste?
Seagoon: Oh yes, about the three brothers who, having come down from Balliol School, attended a ball where their mother's diamond was stolen, and rather than sneak on each other, joined the Foreign Legion!
Grytpype: Right lot of charlies weren't they...er...I mean noble lads.
Seagoon: (noble) You know, uncle, that's the sort of thing I'd do. Honouri Tempus and Gratis; up the school; last man in and ten runs to get. (sings) Boots, boots, boots, boots, tramping over Africa! There's no discharge in the Waaaaarr!!
Grytpype: You silly twisted boy, you! By the way have you got the ticket to Marseille...I mean the bookmark?
Ray Ellington: (shouting) Neddie!!!
Seagoon: Yes, mother?
Ray Ellington: Come into my room!
Fx: Door handle turned, door opened and slammed
Ray Ellington: OK, now which one of you three layabouts has it?
Milligan: (apologetically) He was alright at the audition!
Ray Ellington: The Blue Shower Necklace has been pinched!
Seagoon: Just like the book!
Eccles: Ooh, has that been pinched too?
Ray Ellington: If that necklace isn't back by tomorrow, I'll send for the po-lice!
Seagoon: At the mention of the police we all went white!
Ray Ellington: Get me a mirror.
Seagoon: Listen, mother...
Ray Ellington: I don't want to know. Come on, off you go to your rooms, you've got until tomorrow!
Grams: Three whooshes in quick succession, followed by three doors slammed in quick succession
Grytpype: To think that the Blue Shower'd cost me only 10/6 net...oh yes and 3 novel bookmarks! So far so good! (singing) I'm only a strolling vagabond... (talking) So good. Ah, here we are, little Neddie's room!
Fx: Three knocks on the door
Grytpype: Neddie? Oh Neddie, it's your rich uncle
Fx: Door handle turned and opens door
Grytpype: Ned...Oh splendid, lad, he's gone. And a farewell note to his mother, how charming!
Milligan: The devilish cunning of it all!
Grytpype: And that isn't all! Geldray? Play Neddie's journey to Marseille.
Max Geldray and Orchestra - 'Happy Days and Lonely Nights'
Grams: Triple speed 'Black Bear' march music and army marching. mix in battle with military bugle calls sped up (ADVANCE AND RETREAT) OVER SCREAMS.
Seagoon: Stoooooooppppp!! (GRAMS OUT) I haven't joined yet! It had been a pleasant journey in a first-class railway coach marked, "H-Verks(???), 40 dion and An Charlie". And now here I was in the Legion Recruiting Centre at Marseille. I was just reading the second wall, when the door opened.
Fx: door handle turned and door opens
Bloodnok: Ooohhhh! Moulin Rouge, Folies Bergère, and other naughty French words. So you want to join the Legion, eh?
Seagoon: I gazed at the Legion Officer, his skin was burned fiery red by the hot Algerian brandy. On his breast was a coloured ribbon from which dangled...a penny!
Bloodnok: We can't all have medals, you know! Now lad, a few questions. Name?
Seagoon: Ned Seagoon!
Bloodnok: (writing) N...ed S,E,A,G,O,O,O,double-O,N.
Seagoon: Oui, mon Capitaine!
Bloodnok: Oh, you're German!
Seagoon: No, no, no. I'm a true Britisher!
Bloodnok: Well that's a novelty! Do you, ah...speak French?
Seagoon: (fast) Oui, mon Capitaine. Je parle français comme un indigène! [trans. Yes, my Captain. I speak French like a native!]
Bloodnok: Well you'll just have to learn it the same as I did. Now for the jackpot question. Have you any money or valuables on you?
Seagoon: About £5.
Bloodnok: Oooh, there'll be joybells in the NAAFI tonight! Hand it over!
Seagoon: Well, I mean, look...er...
Bloodnok: It'll be returned to you on your demob! Off you go, first door on your left.
Seagoon: This door?
Bloodnok: That's the one!
Fx: Door handle turned and door opens
Grams: Sudden huge battle, shouts, yells, muskets, cannon, thunder of cavalry hooves, etc. military bugle calls sped up. down under:
Greenslade: Listeners may well like to know, how one can walk through a door in Marseille, and appear in the thick of a battle in Africa! We're not giving all our secrets away, by Jove we're not!
Grams: Battle up, continues for a few seconds.
Moriarty: Silence! (pron. "see-lence" ) (GRAMS STOP) Legion will fall in!
Grams: Army falls in, disgruntled voices.
Moriarty: Silence! Sacré-Bleu, Sapristi-Nyuckos! You there! You with the size 53 nut. Via nisi! Fier onf! Unf leuf unf leuf...
Fx: One man marching and shouting time as he goes
Fx: Sound of umbrella being sloped onto shoulder.
Seagoon: So this was the famous Legion. I drew myself to my full height and stared dead-ahead at his belt!
Moriarty: Tell mon petite brave, can you march?
Seagoon: Only with my feet!
Moriarty: Good! It's only twenty miles back to the fort! I hope, for your sake, you will be able to keep up with us!
Seagoon: Oui, mon Capitaine! (aside) Keep up with them, indeed! Ha-ha! Did he not know that I was a Britisher?
Moriarty: (in distance) Legion! By the left! Bon marche!
Grams: Triple speed 'Black Bear' march and fast marching as before. fades.
Orchestra: 'Englishman lost in desert theme' (as in "Lawrence of Arabia", one man ploughing through the sands of the desert alone and lost).
Seagoon: Alone in the African desert, without a compass or a guide! (out-of-breath) However, by carefully noting the position of the sun, I could tell it was still daytime! But this, this heat was hot! (series of out-of-breath gasps) I unbuttoned my overcoat! (gasp) Then, just as I was about to cry "waaaater!" I saw two people approaching...
Henry Crun: ...ahh, yes, yes, yes,...
Minnie Bannister: ...ohh, dear, dear...
Henry Crun: ...yes, yes, yes,...
Minnie Bannister: ...I told you Henry,...ah, nyucka-in,...I told you the tide was out, Henry...
Henry Crun: ...not going back home without having a paddle!...Minnie.
Minnie Bannister: Listen, Henry, the man will want another threepence for this deckchair, buddy!
Seagoon: Excuse me.
Minnie Bannister: I don't want a donkey ride!
Seagoon: I don't intend to give you one!
Henry Crun: Young man, can you tell us where the sea is?
Seagoon: I'm afraid not.
Henry Crun: And you call yourself a lifeguard?
Seagoon: I'm not a lifeguard, I'm a Legionnaire, and I've,...I've lost the fort.
Henry Crun: When did you have it last?
Minnie Bannister: Mnn?
Henry Crun: I asked him when he had it last, Minnie.
Minnie Bannister: I,...I thought he was a donkey man.
Henry Crun: No, no, no, Minnie,...(???), no.
Minnie Bannister: What?
Grytpype: No, no.
Minnie Bannister: You can't get the donkeys...
Grytpype: You can't get the donking...
Minnie Bannister: No. You can't get...
Minnie: and Crun: (Minnie and Henry take turns at saying "No you can't get the..." for quite some time)
Seagoon: I'm sorry to butt in, but I have to find the fort. I'm a Legionnaire, you know. The crack fighting force, let them all come. Ils ne passeront pas. [tr. They will not pass.] Ha-ha! (???) (sings La Marseillaise-the French national anthem-as he goes into the distance) Allons enfants de la Patrie. Le jour de gloire est arrivé...
Minnie Bannister: I wonder if that...that young man could help us.
Henry Crun: How, Min?
Minnie Bannister: To find Ned Seagoon!
Henry Crun: We don't have to ask anybody, Min. We've got his description, it's only a matter of keeping our eyes open.
Minnie Bannister: Yes, we've only got to find a soldier wearing the Blue Shower necklace!
Henry Crun: Oh, I never thought of that!
Minnie Bannister: And you call your...self a...a...de...det...detective?!
Henry Crun: Minnie, keep quiet, dear, or you'll break out in another rash!
Minnie: and Crun: (Minnie and Henry fade out, still talking)
Orchestra: same 'Lost In Desert' theme again
Greenslade: Ten days later, the weary figure of Ned Seagoon approached the fort.
Seagoon: (out of breath) It wasn't ten days, it was three and a half weeks!
Greenslade: At the risk of being volatile, I would like to inform the listeners that according to the Radio Times it was ten days! However, after Ned Seagoon's ordeal in the desert we can forgive his inaccuracy.
Seagoon: I should know, shouldn't I? I was here, wasn't I? It was three and a half weeks!
Moriarty: Ahhhh! A new recruit! Where have you been for the last ten days?
Greenslade: ...and the Radio Times only costs threepence!
Moriarty: Thankyou! Tell me now, Legionnaire, look at the state you're in! Covered in sand! Wherrrrrre have you been?
Seagoon: Iiiiiiin the desert!
Moriarty: Aaaaa likely story!
Grams: lone bugle sounds the 'alert'
Moriarty: Sacré Fred!! We're being attacked! Up on the wall, men! If you want me, I'll be under the bed!
Seagoon: Stop!! Sir, there's only one of them!
Moriarty: (off) Is he unarmed?
Moriarty: (on) Right men, fire!
Fx: many guns being fired of varied types (machine guns, pistols, rifles, etc.). lasts three seconds, ends suddenly.
Thick voice: Missed!
Moriarty: I say, keep still out there! These bullets cost money!
Seagoon: Perhaps he has a message for us. (calls) Avez vous un meshoise for us?
Eccles: Oui! (sings) I'm only a strolling vagabond...
Seagoon: Sir, sir, this idiot is my brother! Eccles! What are you doing dressed like an Arab?
Eccles: It's my Foreign Legion uniform!
Seagoon: It's not; it's the uniform of the Arabs!
Eccles: Ohh! When I joined the Foreign Legion, they gave me this, closed the gates, and said, 'Good luck!'
Seagoon: I ran to let my brother in. It was good to see him again! Eccles, you've got tall!
Eccles: Oooh, this isn't all me!
Seagoon: Isn't it?
Eccles: Nope, I'm sitting on mudder's shoulders!
Seagoon: Mother's shoulders?
Eccles: I couldn't get a camel!
Ray Ellington: Neddie! My eldest boy!
Seagoon: Mother! Mother, what are you doing here? This is a white-man's grave!
Ray Ellington: What's the matter with you, colour-blind?
Moriarty: Mother, may I 'ave ze honour of 'earing you play ze music?
Ray Ellington: But, with pleasure!
Ray Ellington - "The Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane"
Grams: Triple-speed black bear march as before. down under:
Seagoon: In the next few weeks we must have marched hundreds of miles a day. During these marches not a word of complaint passed my lips as I sat huddled in Eccles' pack!
Eccles: Oooh, you bin ridin' round in my pack?
Seagoon: You don't mind, do you?
Eccles: You'd better not let mudder know!
Eccles: I bin ridin' round in hers! (laughs)
Seagoon: Good old mater!
Eccles: Yeah. Ooh, by the way Neddie, I saw the Captain last week, and he told me to tell you that he wants to see you in his office right away!
Seagoon: What? Why didn't you tell me last week?
Eccles: Well, if I told you last week you'd have forgotten by now!
Seagoon: Yes. Thankyou Eccles! I'm only a week late! A week!
Fx: Three swift knocks on the door
Moriarty: Come in!
Seagoon: I'm terribly sorry, sir, really I am, but I know I'm late but it's my own fault. My brother told me last week and I forgot. I,...I am completely to blame. I should have reported to you last week when my brother informed me, but it slipped my memory, and the blame is entirely mine.
Moriarty: Come in!
Fx: Door handle turned and door opens
Seagoon: It's all Eccles's fault, sir!
Moriarty: Never mind that now. I have a visitor to see you.
Moriarty: First of all, how much is the Blue Shower necklace worth?
Seagoon: About er...a King's ransom! All depends on who the King is! (wild laugh)...ahem.
Moriarty: So, you are Neddie Seagoon, I have a visitor for you. Entrez! (pronounces the 'z')
Fx: Door handle turned and door opens
Grytpype: Ahh, nephew Neddie!
Seagoon: Uncle Grytpype!
Moriarty: Sacre Nom du See(???), Sapristi Yakabakakas! Then it is true, you are this charlie's uncle!
Grytpype: I'm afraid so. Now, Neddie, the necklace!
Seagoon: I haven't got it, uncle!
Grytpype: Search his neck!
Fx: Neddie's neck being searched,various grunts, groans, Neddie gurgling, etc.
Moriarty: Curse! Nothing except this string of glass beads and a full-length portrait of his mother!
Grytpype: Listen, Neddie, I took the Blue Shower necklace. At the ball I hung up my jacket to do the Mambo and when I returned, the pocket containing the necklace was gone!
Seagoon: What a dastardly trick! Who would want to rob you? Sir, I didn't take it, honestly I didn't!
Grams: Lone bugle call signals attack
Moriarty: Sapristi-Nyuckos! Man the walls! The Arabs are attacking!
Grams: Full battle noise with trumpets blaring at different speeds. Down under:
Seagoon: It was a terrible battle! The enemy hurled themselves upon us with swords, rifles, machine-guns, and worst of all, seven hundred rock-cakes!
Grams: Battle screams and bugle calling the retreat. Down under:
Seagoon: Then it came! The order to retreat! We didn't know it at the time, but this was one of the greatest retreats in the history of war! Back we went, as far as Morocco!
Grams: Battle up, then down...
Seagoon: To the African coast still fighting! The Mediterranean was littered with dhows and dead sampans as we gamely retreated! Twice we had to buy ammunition from the Arabs! Days turned into weeks!
Grams: Battle up.
Fx: Referee's whistle.
Grams: Battle stops. sounds of big crowd...
Customs Officer: (bored and slightly camp) Next please. Anything to declare? Watches, clocks, finery?
Ray Ellington: Nothing.
Customs Officer: Well, anything to declare?
Eccles: Um...oh...it's good to be alive!
Customs Officer: Yes. Pass along please. Next?
Arab 1: (furious Arabic)
Customs Official: Thankyou! Next?
Arab 2: (furious Arabic)
Customs Officer: Cor, there's thousands of them! Alright, go straight through...
Fx: Whistle blown.
Grams: Battle up again.
Seagoon: And still the battle raged! Down the Southend Road and up the Guildford Bypass!.
Orchestra: Harp plays mystic chords link
Greenslade: Meantime, in the ancestral home of Lady Seagoon, a lone figure lay in bed idly dangling the Blue Shower necklace.
Bluebottle: Eee-hee! I'm a happy-go-lucky rich boy! Thinks: Now that everybody is in the Foreign Legion I'm next in line for the title. Eee-hee-he! Stares at pimply reflection in the Blue Shower,...and at the same time, also thinks: Here in the countryside I'm safe. It's the others who will get the dreaded deading!
Grams: Battle drawing nearer.
Bluebottle: What is that noise that tickles little Bluebottle's ear-holes?
Fx: Door handle turned, door opens, grams get louder
Butler: Sir, it appears that your brothers have returned home, and furthermore...
Seagoon: (entering) Hello, Bluebottle, I'm glad to see...wait...you've got the Blue Shower. Stooooooop!!! (GRAMS stop immediately) Gentlemen, I'm sorry, but you'll have to cease the battle now!
Cast: Disappointed crowd moaning
Seagoon: I know you're upset, I'm...I'm...I'm sorry, but this is our home, you know! (laughs seriously) And what's more, we've found the necklace!!!
Bluebottle: But the necklace is mine! Nay-nay, nay-nay, nay...
Eccles: Hey, here you are, Bluebottle, in return here's a rock-cake!
Bluebottle: Oooh thankyou, Eccles! I like rock-cakes I do, I like them. Yes! Thinks: I've never seen a rock-cake with a pin in it before! Ah well, I've had a good long run this week. Stands to one side and pulls pin out.
Grams: Explosion. the sound of bits of metal and glass hitting the ground continues for twelve seconds.
Orchestra: Same pretty little Elizbethan flute and harp duet link.
Greenslade: High Towers, the home of Lady Seagoon.
Grams: Descending whining sound as in bomb falling from a plane, under:
Greenslade: One butler, two cooks, four maids, eight-hundred-and-forty-two Arab gardeners, six horses and...
Fx: Grams stop, heavy object falls on top of Wallace (thump noise)
Bluebottle: Oh I'm sorry, did I fall on you?
Greenslade: Yes, you small knobbly ham!
Bluebottle: Oh, you're smiling Wallace Greenslade ain't you?
Greenslade: That's right!
Bluebottle: Well, could I have a signed phottygraph of you? 'Cause I like you on the wireless!
Greenslade: So do I! Have a toffee!
Bluebottle: Thankyou! 'Cor, fancy you! You're bigger than I thought you was! ...'Cause I like you on the wireless!
Orchestra: Theme up, then down under...
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 Eric Sykes and Spike Milligan, announcer Wallace Greenslade, the programme produced by Peter Eton.
Original transcription by Steve (Chipper) Dale: firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated and corrected by Alastair Roxburgh: email@example.com
Further corrections, additions and HTML by Kurt Adkins: firstname.lastname@example.org