The Fear of Wages
Script by Spike Milligan and Larry Stephens.
6th March, 1956
Greenslade: This is the BBC. Enter a short idiot.
Secombe: Good evening, folks. I commence by walking backward for Christmas.
Secombe: It's all the rage! [laughter] Next, an excerpt from East Lynn: "Dead, dead, and never calls me mother".
Eccles: But you were his father.
Secombe: Shut up famous Eccles
Eccles: Shut Up
Secombe: Shut up
Eccles: Shut Up
Secombe: Shut up
Eccles: Shut Up
Secombe: Shut up
Eccles: Shut Up
Greenslade: Mr. Secombe, Mr. Secombe,
Eccles: Mr. Secombe.
Greenslade: Please remove that false bald woman's wig.
Secombe: And leave myself naked in the mating season? Ha-ha! Never!
Greenslade: Very well. I sentence you to the highly esteemed Goon Show
Fx: sick trumpet blare
Secombe: They can go home today--Presenting Wallace Greenslade and his daring announcement entitled:
Greenslade: Les Salaires de Peur
Secombe: Meaning: "The Wages of Fear Are in England."
Sellers: The fear of wages! Ohhhh!
Fx: musical crescendo
Greenslade: Part 1. The Missing Regiment.
Sellers: Burma, sixth of March, 1956.
Seagoon: These Japs can't hold out much longer.
Bloodnok: Oh, I don't know, this is the 14th year we've been fighting 'em.
Seagoon: Don't worry, Major, they can't stand much more of your drunken singing and bottle throwing.
Bloodnok: I'm only doing my duty, sir! And they'd better surrender soon, we've had no food or pay since that silly telegram.
Seagoon: Telegram? What...? Give it here. [opens note] Ah, "British 14th, Burma. Japan has surrendered, end of World War II. Book now for World War III." Dated: August, 1945?
Bloodnok: Yes, yes, I, well, I've never shown it to you before because it was obviously the work of a practical joker.
Seagoon: Well, I can--I can only hope it is!
Singhiz Thingz: Stop, stop, stop! A Japanese officer is attacking us with a white flag, hooray!
Seagoon: Gad! And it's a new Mark III armour piercing-type white flag.
Throat: Cor, blimey; I'm orf.
Bloodnok: Ah, look, look, look, don't panic! I'll show that Jap a thing or two. Help me off with my jodhpurs now.
Seagoon: No, Major, please!
Bloodnok: Out of my way! Just look at that!
Seagoon: Dear Listener: from the waist onwards, Bloodnok was tattooed with a pair of false legs. Facing the wrong way.
Bloodnok: Yes, they're all the rage, you know.
General Yakamoto: [in fake Japanese accent throughout] Please do not shoot!
Seagoon: Who are you?
Bloodnok: You remember me, Dennis Bloodnok...
Seagoon: Not you! Come forward, military Japanese gentleman, but keep your right leg raised.
General Yakamoto: Please, I am General Yakamoto, Commander of all Imperial Japanese troops in that tree.
General Yakamoto: [Japanese mumble] Request, please: I've unexpectedly run short of ammunition. Please, can we borrow two boxes until the end of the war?
Bloodnok: You haven't returned our lawn mower yet!
General Yakamoto: I - yukabah - I am velly solly but have not finished mowing jungle.
Bloodnok: No! No more credit! Clear off!
General Yakamoto: Then am forced to surrender.
Seagoon: Surrender? This means war!
General Yakamoto: What? I'm sorry, have no alternative. To whom do we surrender honorable Japanese military stores, please?
Bloodnok: Stores? You've got stores?
General Yakamoto: Yes, I've got stores. 1,000 tons of nitroglycerin.
General Yakamoto: And 2,000 cans of saki.
General Yakamoto: Saki being potent Japanese rice wine.
Bloodnok: Saki being potent Japanese rice wine...?
General Yakamoto: Yes, sir!
Bloodnok: Ohhhh! I am forced, forced to accept your 2,000-cans-of-saki surrender. Sack it under me bed, will you?
General Yakamoto: Please, which are your tents, please?
Bloodnok: The white one with the red cross on it and the, ah, three dummy nurses outside. Go on, don't say you don't trust me.
General Yakamoto: I don't trust you.
Bloodnok: Swine I told you not to say it! Hand me my Royal Engineers saxophone, issue type. Quick, march!
Grams: Saxophone rendition accompanies marching footsteps...
Seagoon: Gad, what a day this has been! A triumph for British arms! Now I must inform the War Office that after 14 years of fighting, the Japanese army in that tree has finally surrendered!
Fx: coins falling into callbox;
Orchestra: Muted land of Hope and Glory over...
Seagoon: Dial on, brave telephone! Send those triumphant, electric-type impulses aforth the sleeping continents to the automatic-type exchanges in London and list[en]...
Fx: phone rings over...
Seagoon: Even now sounds the tintinnabulation of the phone bell that will arouse the helmsmen of England to whom I carry victorious news!
Willium: Battersea Dogs Home, mate.
Seagoon: Curse, wrong number. I shall hurry through to the Fear of Wages part...
Greenslade: Do you mind? Do you mind? I'll make this announcement.
Seagoon: Thank you, Wall.
Greenslade: "The Fear of Wages", part II. The same day, four hours later.
Orchestra: Dramatic Link
Moriarty: ...and power. Money! Money-money-money! Little money, money, money, money! Ohohohooh! Lovely money! It's all the rage!
Grytpype: Moriarty, shhh... pull that transparent blind down, you fool! Now, have you sewn that £10,000 into the lining of your socks?
Grytpype: Then help me get this £100 in fivers under my wig.
Moriarty: Right! [struggling to lift] Down on your right hand... Back a bit... Ah... Right... Ah, there.
Grytpype: Good man. Any more left?
Moriarty: Only this £50,000 in loose silver.
Grytpype: Oh. Now where can I hide that? I've got it! Moriarty? Say "Ahhhwww"
Fx: shovelling, swallowing
Grytpype: Now, Moriarty, keep your mouth shut, I don't want...
Grams: Phone rings
Grytpype: Army Pay Corp here, Chief Cashier speaking... Yes... What? Moriarty!
Fx: Coins falling
Moriarty: I - I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I...
Grytpype: Yes, never mind about that. Moriarty, we're, we're in the gripcart now. Remember the 3rd Armoured Thunderboxes who vanished in Burma 10 years ago?
Moriarty: Yes, yes, yes, yes?
Grytpype: Well, they're still alive.
Grytpype: And that was their commander, Seagoon.
Moriarty: Oh-yyy-Oh! Type O! But we spent all their back pay!
Moriarty: £40,000! It's a sapristi court marshall, cashiered, shot at dawn, take aim, fire, bang [hums Last Post]
Grytpype: Now, don't panic, don't panic, my malodorous Gallic charlie, we'll have to think of something else. Meanwhile, Max Geldry and his chromatic clinge...
Moriarty: Oh, the horrors of...
Max Geldray and Orchestra - "Side by Side"
Orchestra: Dramatic link
Fx: jungle sounds over...
Greenslade: Night in the jungle encampment of the 4th Armoured Thunderboxes.
Bloodnok: [writing] Dear Sirs: I am a keen art student over the age of 21. Please forward me your selection of continental art studies in the plain wrapper, care of C. M. Stokes...
Seagoon: [distant] Major Bloodnok!
Bloodnok: What? Oh, don't come in for a minute, don't come in. Abdul, quick, put screens round my bed. Ohhh. Come in, Seagoon.
Seagoon: Thank you. Major. I was just walking backwards for Christmas and I thought--Oh, ah [clears throat], ha-ha, I beg your pardon, madam, I...
Bloodnok: Get behind that screen, Gladys! Judy, Judy, Judy, my wife, you know, yes
Seagoon: I see.
Bloodnok: It's all lies, we're good friends, of course, ohh.
Bloodnok: What, what?
Seagoon: Grave-type news. I've spoken to Whitehall.
Seagoon: and Pay Corps deny that we're alive!
Bloodnok: What! I've never had a day's death in my life! And what about our ten-years back pay? Did you tell them we've been fighting all this time?
Seagoon: I did. But they said these Japs we are fighting must be forgeries!
Bloodnok: You mean... they're worthless?
Seagoon: They said no bank would cash them.
Bloodnok: Well, there's only one way to get our back pay: we must return to England with the entire Japanese army in that tree there.
Seagoon: Gad, yes. Sergeant Goldburg?
Goldburg: Yes, sir! What is it, sir?
Seagoon: Uproot that tree and replant it in the back of the lorry, and try not to shake any Japs down.
Goldburg: [in Irish accent] Wills you be taking all that Japanese liquor and wine with youse??
Bloodnok: The saki, oh, yes, of course, yes, and don't forget those screens around my bed, it's all the rage, you know, I must have the old screens... Oh, the old screens...
Seagoon: You know, Bloodnok, I think we'd better leave all that nitroglycerin behind
Fx: phone rings
Grytpype: You can't leave all that nitroglycerine behind Seagoon.
Seagoon: Wasn't going to. I'm going to leave it behind Bloodnok [laughs, clears throat]
Grytpype: Naughty Neddy, no ad libbing now. Now listen, Nerk--and this, dear listeners, is where we sew the seeds of Neddy's demise. [clears throat] Neddy? Stand at... ease!
Fx: sound of troops standing ah ease
Grytpype: Now, Neddy: there's no question of you leaving that naughty unexploded nitroglycerin behind. If you want your back pay, all Japanese stores must be surrendered to the War Office.
Seagoon: But... it's so dangerous. Nitroglycerin in a lorry?
Grytpype: Yes! [evil laughter]
Fx: evil musical notes; scene-change music
Greenslade: Dawn, and the 4th Armoured Thunderboxes prepare for the long journey home. Before departure, the surrender document is signed.
Fx: military-type drums
Bloodnok: Now, General Yakamoto will sign here... we'll, ah, fill in the amount later...
Seagoon: [to audience] I watched enthralled as slowly we hauled down the Imperial Japanese credit note and ran up the victorious bouncing British checque.
General Yakamoto: Ah! Honorable signature on surrender document.
Seagoon: Signed with a cross, eh? You [illiterate?] swine, you. Pass me the ink pad. There, there's my thumbprint. Now we've both signed, mate. Now, get back in your tree.
Bloodnok: Hurry up, Seagoon, we're ready to leave.
Seagoon: Are the lorries warmed up?
Bloodnok: Yes I've had 'em in the oven all night. How do you like yours?
Seagoon: Medium rare.
Bloodnok: Splendid splendid. Then you better drive the medium rare lorry carrying the nitro
Seagoon: Gulp. I'd rather drive the lorry with the saki.
Bloodnok: No, but you're a tea-totaller. No, I insist on driving with the saki.
Bloodnok: Well it's a long, long story, you know... I mean I... Well umm... umm... There's a little yellow idol to the north of Katmandhu...
Seagoon: Yes, yes, I know.
Seagoon: But I refuse to drive the nitro lorry
Bloodnok: Why not?
Seagoon: Well, it's a long story. You see mmm... There's a little yellow idol to the north of Katmandhu...
Bloodnok: Shut up Seagoon. And here's a record of me saying it.
Grams: Crackly record
Bloodnok: [crackly record sounding] Shut up Seagoon
Eccles: [crackly record sounding] Shut up Seagoon
Bloodnok: [crackly record sounding] Shut up the famous Eccles
Eccles: [crackly record sounding] Shut up the famous Eccles
Bloodnok: [crackly record sounding] Shut up
Eccles: [crackly record sounding] Shut up
Bloodnok: [crackly record sounding] Get off this record at once
Eccles: [crackly record sounding] Okay
Grams: Running footsteps
Seagoon: Private Eccles. Just the man. You see the lorry that everybody's keeping clear of?
Eccles: Yeah, yar yar yar yar.
Abdul: Good good good good good good good good good good
Seagoon: Well drive it back to London... Gently
Eccles: Okay, okay, good-bye
Fx: lorry drives away; then terrific explosion
Eccles: A good job I wasn't on it.
Seagoon: What? Then who was driving it?
Bluebottle: You rotten swine, you... Hehehehehe I was kipping in the bed of that lorry, like a happy boy traveler, when Blun-gee! I was blown backwards out of my boots.
Seagoon: Little blackened, hairless, singed goon.
Seagoon: What were you doing in that lorry?
Bluebottle: Well, it's a long story, Captain, you see, there's a little cardboard idol sitting north of East Finchly and the smoke was...
Seagoon: Shh, here's Ray Ellington
Bluebottle: Oh, imagine
Ray Ellington - "Pink Champagne"
Greenslade: That was Ray Ellington, the demon plasterer, but then you'll have guessed. And now, "The Fear of Wages" part the Strand. Five weeks of travel for the lorries well on their way.
Fx: lorry sounds
Seagoon: Bloodnok, Bloodnok, you must stop drinking that saki. Without it, no back pay.
Bloodnok: Oh go on, just this one, it's thirsty work this drinking, you know.
General Yakamoto: [aside] Little do English fool know that it are not saki he are drinking but nitroglycerine that I substitute, ha-ha-ha in Japanese.
Bloodnok: Keep quiet up that tree there...
General Yakamoto: Sorry, was just giving listeners story of plot.
Greenslade: Meanwhile, in England at Number 10 Fred Street.
Omnes: people mulling about as in Parliament saying "rhubarb"
Secombe: Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb, custard rhubarb.
Moriarty: Grytpype, you say the nitro exploded when they were in the lorry?
Grytpype: Yes, Fred, our little plan went for a burton. That's why I've arranged this meeting.
Chancellor of the Exchequer: I say, are you positive that this missing regiment and is even now on it's way back to England?
Grytpype: Yes, Mister Chancellor of the Exchequer. And, according to our records, their combined back pay and accrued interest amounts to £33 million.
Chancellor of the Exchequer: Oh, dear dear dear, this will ruin my budget.
Clement Attlee: You've already ruined it yourself
Chancellor of the Exchequer: Stop it you simple peopleThat regiment must be stopped before it reaches Engaland.
Grytpype: Yes, we'll declare war on them.
Chancellor of the Exchequer: What? England can't declare war on English troops.
Grytpype: Why not? Everyone else does.
Chancellor of the Exchequer: No, no, no, no, we must get a foreign power to do it.
Grytpype: Well, chose one.
Chancellor of the Exchequer: Well, Japan isn't doing anything at the moment.
Grytpype: I'll inform Tokyo at once.
Chancellor of the Exchequer: Right.
Grytpype: Hello, Tokyo!
Tokyo: [blather] Ing-tong itle-eye-po! Needle-nardle-noo!
Grytpype: Declare war on the 4th Armoured Thunderboxes, now in Burma.
Tokyo: I don't want--hello, Commander of the Imperial Japanese forces in that tree on back of lorry in Burma.
General Yakamoto: Yes, sir?
Tokyo: Declare war on 4th Armoured Thunderboxes.
General Yakamoto: I do. Very good. Fire!
Fx: shout, gunfire
Seagoon: Bloodnok, stop the lorry! Those Japs are firing at us!
Bloodnok: The traitorous devils. Help me off with me jodhpurs
Seagoon: No, Major, please! Not Leo the lion, please not that again! They know that tattooed leg trick now.
Bloodnok: Well, there you are, it's done the trick, they've stopped firing.
General Yakamoto: Yes, I've run out of ammunition.
Bloodnok: Well, there's no dice here, you've had enough on tic for a month already.
General Yakamoto: Wait a minute. Please tell me how much we owe.
Bloodnok: Seagoon, play him back his account.
Seagoon: Right-O [plays something short on Japanese-sounding harp] and six pence ha'penny.
General Yakamoto: Please, velly please, I promise I pay you back at rate of [plays something short on Japanese-sounding harp] a week.
Bloodnok: Seagoon, how much is [plays something short on Japanese-sounding harp] in English money?
Seagoon: It's about [plays a bit of fairground roundabout music on a circus-sounding piano], sir.
Bloodnok: It's not enough. Here, hold me trowsers. I'll...
Bloodnok: I'll get him out of that tree... [gun fire] The treacherous devils. They've, they've found more ammunition! They must have had a Red Cross parcel from home.
Seagoon: Quick! Quick, onto the driving cab, it's bullet proof.
Bloodnok: Splendid! We can drive on and continue engaging the enemy in that tree in the back of the lorry all at the save time.
Seagoon: A magnificent exposition of the plot, Bloodnok!
Bloodnok: Thank you!
Seagoon: And under enemy fire, too!
Bloodnok: Of course!
Seagoon: Have a knighthood.
Bloodnok: Oh, ta mate
Seagoon: Right, then. Drive on, Sir Dennis.
Bloodnok: Beepo beep oh
Fx: sounds of driving, gunfire, fighting;
Bloodnok: Careful, don't antagonize them, Seagoon.
Seagoon: Take that.
Fx: Etc, all the way to Parliament, where people are milling around, saying "rhubarb" constantly;
Secombe: rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb, cabinet meeting, rhubarb...
Grytpype: Well, thank you for your cabinet meeting rhubarbs. Now, gentlemen, our plan to stop the 4th Armoured Thunderboxes has failed.
Grytpype: We shall probably have to give them all their back pay.
Milligan: I said it first.
Chancellor of the Exchequer: Even if the Japanese declare World War III on them?
Grytpype: Yes, but Seagoon has managed to get the war on the back of the lorry and is driving it here.
Chancellor of the Exchequer: Horrors!
Fx: general pandemonium
Grytpype: Moriarty, Moriarty.
Grytpype: I must get in touch with them. What is the number of that lorry?
Moriarty: Ah, GXK-639
Grytpype: [dialing] G.. X.. K.. 6.. 3.. 9...
Fx: at the war, a phone rings
Seagoon: Take the wheel Bloodnok. Hallo, World War III speaking.
Grytpype: Where are you speaking from?
Seagoon: We're just rolling up outside Number Ten Thriff Street. [knocks on door] That's us at the door now.
Grytpype: Moriarty, answer it.
Moriarty: [opens door] Sapristy glasshouse
Seagoon: Seagoon's the name.
Moriarty: Seagoon! OOOHHH, it can't be! You're lying charlatan!
Seagoon: Rubbish, I'm a truthful charlatan. Now, where's our back pay?
Moriarty: Back pay? [makes worried sounds] Sapristi [etc]
Grytpype: Moriarty, stop shaving your head. Welcome, Col. Seagoon, welcome. Now, before you get your back pay, there is a little matter of handing over the enemy stores.
Seagoon: There's the lorry, the captured Japanese force is up that tree, but the nitroglycerine exploded.
Grytpype: And the thousand cans of saki?
Seagoon: [gulps] Ah, I'm afraid... Bloodnok drank it.
Grytpype: Well, I'm sorry, Seagoon. No saki, no back pay.
Seagoon: What! Eccles? Get an empty bucket, quick! Now, grab Bloodnok's ankles.
Bloodnok: [makes being grabbed sounds] What's going on here--
Seagoon: Hold his head over the bucket. Now, shake him, come on.
Bloodnok: [makes being shaken sounds]
Seagoon: No saki, no pay...
Greenslade: Listeners will recall that Bloodnok has not been-drinking saki but nitroglycerine, therefore
Fx: terrific explosion and building pieces falling all about
Greenslade: And so ended World War III. Book now for World War IV.
Bluebottle: Mr. Greenslinge? Would you mind telling the nice people that I had not been deaded this week?
Greenslade: Certainly. Ladies and Gentlemen [Bluebottle mimics him quietly from here], it is both a privilege and a pleasure to announce that--shut up, Bluebottle!
Bluebottle: Shut up, Bluebottle!
Greenslade: Shut up!
Bluebottle: Shut up!
Greenslade: A privilege and a pleasure [Bluebottle reads along again in background] to announce that the lad, Bluebottle, was not deaded this week.
Bluebottle: this week... Here, and that was a good game, that was, wasn't it? I like that game! Hee-hee-hee!
Orchestra: End music
Greenslade: That was the Goon Show, a BBC recorded program featuring Peter Sellers, Harry Seacombe, and Spike Milligan, with the Ray Ellington and Max Geldray. The Orchestra was conducted by Wally Stott, script by Spike Milligan and Larry Stephens, announcer Wallace Greenslade, the program produced by Pat Dixon.
Original transcription by Debby Stark: (email@example.com [as of Oct, 1994])
Corrections, additions and HTML by Kurt Adkins: firstname.lastname@example.org