The following transcript was made by Debby Stark (firstname.lastname@example.org [as of Oct, 1994]),
fixed adobe abode in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Corrections and particularly additions of new
material will be welcomed. Errors made in transcription are probably the fault of the transcriber
but may also be due to the quality of the tape.
note: some notes are found in . If word/phrase not understood it may be designated [?] or
surrounded by brackets with a "?".
Fear of Wages
First aired: March 6, 1956
Script by Spike Milligan and Larry Stephens.
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: [protests unintelligibly]
Greenslade: [impatiently] 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
Greenslade: "La saler la'feur[?]"
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.
Major: 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
Major: 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?
Major: Yes, yes, I, well, I've never shown it to you before because it was obviously the work of a
Seagoon: Well, I can--I can only hope it is!
Voice: Stop, stop, stop! A Japanese officer is attacking us with a white flag, hooray!
Seagoon: Gad! And it's a new Mark III armor piercing-type white flag.
Deep voice: Cor, blimey; I'm off.
Major: Ah, look, look, look, don't panic! I'll show that Jap a thing or two. Help me up with my
Seagoon: No, Major, please!
Major: 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.
Major: Yes, they're all the rage, you know.
JapGent: [in fake Japanese accent throughout] Please do not shoot!
Seagoon: Who are you?
Major: You remember me, Dennis Bloodnok...
Seagoon: Not you! Come forward, military Japanese gentleman, but keep your right leg
JapGent: Please, I am General Yakamoto, Commander of all Imperial Japanese troops in
JapGent: [Japanese mumble] Request, please: I've unexpectedly run short of ammunition.
Please, can we borrow two boxes until the end of the war?
Major: You haven't returned our lawn mower yet!
JapGent: I - yukabah - I am very sorry but have not finished mowing jungle.
Major: No! No more credit! Clear off!
JapGent: Then am forced to surrender.
Seagoon: Surrender? This means war!
JapGent: What? I'm sorry, have no alternative. To whom do we surrender honorable
Japanese military stores, please?
Major: Stores? You've got stores?
JapGent: Yes, I've got stores. 1,000 tons of nitroglycerin.
JapGent: And 2,000 cans of saki.
JapGent: Saki being potent Japanese rice wine.
Major: Saki being potent Japanese rice wine...?
JapGent: Yes, sir!
Major: Ohhhh! I am forced, forced to accept your 2,000-cans-of-saki surrender. Sack it under
me bed, will you?
JapGent: Which are your tents, please?
Major: 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.
JapGent: I don't trust you.
Major: I told you not to say it! Hand me my Royal Engineers saxophone, issue type. Quick,
march! [plays, fading away]
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; pomp and circumstance-type music
Seagoon: Dial on, brave telephone! Send those triumphant, electric-type pulses across the
sleeping continent to the automatic-type exchanges in London and list[en]...
FX: phone rings
Seagoon: Even now sounds the tintinnabulation of the phone bell that will arouse the
helmsmen of England to whom I carry victorious news!
Answer: Battersea [Dog Pound?], mate.
Seagoon: Curse, wrong number. I shall have 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.
Moriarty: Money! Money-money-money! Little money, money, money, money! Oh! Lovely
money! It's all the rage!
Thynne: Moriarty, shhh... pull that transparent blind down, you fool! Now, have you sewn
that ú10,000 into the lining of your socks?
Thynne: Then help me get this ú100 in fivers under my wig.
Moriarty: Right! [sounds of lifting] Down on your right [head?]... Back a bit... Ah... Right...
Thynne: Good man. Any more left?
Moriarty: Only this ú50,000 in loose silver.
Thynne: Oh. Now where can I hide that? I've got it! Moriarty? Say "Ahhhwww"
FX: shovelling, swallowing
Thynne: Now, Moriarty, keep your mouth shut, I don't want... [phone rings] Army Pay
Corp here, Chief Cashier speaking... Yes... What? Moriarty!
Moriarty: What? [Silver spills] I - I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I
Thynne: Yes, never mind about that. Moriarty, we're, we're in the [grit card?] now.
Remember the 3rd Armored Thunderboxes who vanished in Burma 10 years ago?
Moriarty: Yes, yes, yes, yes?
Thynne: Well, they're still alive.
Thynne: And that was their commander, Seagoon.
Moriarty: Oh-yyy-Oh! Type O! But we spent all their back pay!
Moriarty: ú40,000! It's a pristy court marshall, cashiered, shot at dawn, take aim, fire, bang
Thynne: Now, don't panic, don't panic, my malodorous Gaelic charlie, we'll have to think of
something else. Meanwhile, Max Geldry and his chromatic clinge... [fades]
Moriarty: Oh, the horrors of [inaudible]
Geldry plays orchestra music interlude "Side by Side"
Greenslade: Night in the jungle encampment of the 4th Armored Thunderboxes.
FX: jungle sounds
Major: [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. N. Stokes...
Seagoon: [distant] Major Bloodnok!
Major: 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 -
Major: Get behind that screen, Gladys! Judy, Judy, Judy, my wife, you know, yes
Seagoon: I see.
Major: It's all lies, we're good friends, of course, ohh.
Major: What, what?
Seagoon: Grave-type news. I've spoken to Whitehall.
Seagoon: and Pay Corps deny that we're alive!
Major: What! I've never had a day's death in my life! And what about our ten-year's 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!
Major: You mean... they're worthless?
Seagoon: They said no bank would cash them.
Major: 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
Goldburg: [in Irish or Scots accent?] Wills you be taking all that Japanese liquor and wine
Major: 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]
Thynne: You can't leave all that nitroglycerine behind, Seagoon.
Seagoon: Well, I'm going to. I'm going to leave it behind Bloodnok [laughs, clears throat]
Thynne: 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
Thynne: 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
Seagoon: But... it's so dangerous. Nitroglycerin in a lorry?
Thynne: Yes! [evil laughter
FX: evil musical notes; scene-change music
Greenslade: Dawn, and the 4th Armored Thunderboxes prepare for the long journey home.
Before departure, the surrender document is signed.
FX: military-type drums
Major: 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.
JapGent: 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.
Major: Hurry up, Seagoon, we're ready to leave.
Seagoon: Are the lorries warmed up?
Major: Yes, we've had them in the oven all night. How do you like yours?
Seagoon: Medium rare.
Major: Splendid, splendid! Then you'd better drive the medium rare lorry carrying the nitro.
Seagoon: [gulps] I, ah, I [laughs] I'd rather drive the lorry with the saki.
Major: Oh, but you're a teetotaler. No, I insist on driving with the saki.
Major: Well, it's a long, long story, er, I mean, I, well, ah, there's a little yellow idol to the north of
Seagoon: Yes, I know.
Seagoon: But I refuse to drive the nitro lorry.
Major: Why not?
Seagoon: Well, it's a long story. You see, there's a little yellow idol to the north of
Major: Shut up, Seagoon. And here's a record of me saying it. [recording of] "Shut up,
Eccles: Shut up, Seagoon."
Major: And shut up the Famous Eccles.
Eccles: Shut up the Famous Eccles.
Major: Shut up.
Eccles: Shut up.
Major: Get off this record at once!
Eccles: Okay. [running, then closer, live] Hallo!
Seagoon: Private Eccles! Just the man! You see that lorry that everybody's keeping clear
Eccles: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Seagoon: Good, good, goodgoodgood [etc.]
Seagoon: Well, drive it back to London. Gently.
Eccles: Okay! Okay! Good bye!
FX: lorry drives away; then terrific explosion
Eccles: [quietly] A good job I wasn't on it.
Seagoon: What? Then who was driving it?
Bluebottle: [terrific scream] You rotten swine, you... [applause] [nervous laughter] 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 and orchestra with "Love me or leave me"
Greenslade: That was Ray Ellington, the demon plaster, 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.
Major: Oh, just this one, it's thirsty work this drinking, you know.
JapGent: [aside] Little do English fool know that it are not saki he are drinking but
nitroglycerine that I substitute, ha-ha-ha in Japanese.
Major: Keep quiet, stop that [inaudible]
JapGent: Sorry, was just giving listeners story of plot.
Greenslade: Meanwhile, in England at Number 10 Fred Street.
Voices: 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?
Thynne: Yes, Fred, our little plan went for a bust. That's why I've arranged this meeting.
Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer: I say, are you positive that this missing regiment and is
even now on it's way back to England?
Thynne: Yes, Mister Chancellor of the Exchequer. And, according to our records, their
combined back pay and accrued interest amounts to ú33 million.
NCoftheE: Oh, dear dear dear, this will ruin my budget. That regiment must be stopped
before it reaches England.
Thynne: Yes, we'll declare war on them.
MCoftheE: What? England can't declare war on English troops.
Thynne: Why not? Everyone else does.
MCoftheE: No, no, no, no, we must get a foreign power to do it.
Thynne: Well, chose one.
MCoftheE: Well, Japan isn't doing anything at the moment.
Thynne: I'll inform Tokyo at once.
Voice: Hello, Tokyo!
Tokyo: [blather] Ing-tong itle-eye-po! Needle-nodle-noo!
Voice: Declare war on the 4th Armored 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.
JapGent: Yes, sir?
Tokyo: Declare war on 4th Armored Thunderboxes.
JapGent: I do. Very good. Fire!
FX: shout, gunfire
Seagoon: Bloodnok, stop the lorry! Those Japs are firing at us!
Major: 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.
Major: Well, there you are, it's done the trick, they've stopped firing.
JapGent: Yes, I've run out of ammunition.
Major: Well, there's no dice here, you've had enough on tic for a month already.
JapGent: Wait a minute. Please tell me how much we owe.
Major: Seagoon, play him back his account.
Seagoon: Right-O [plays something short on Japanese-sounding harp] and six pence
JapGent: Please, [inaudible] please, I promise I pay you back at rate of [plays something
short on Japanese-sounding harp] a week.
Major: Seagoon, how much is [plays something short on Japanese-sounding harp] in English
Seagoon: It's about [plays a bit of "When you are in love"(?) on a circus-sounding piano],
Major: It's not enough. Here, hold me trowsers. I'll...
Major: I'll get him out of that tree... [gun fire] 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.
Major: 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: Magnificent exposition of the plot, Bloodnok!
Major: Thank you!
Seagoon: And under enemy fire, too!
Major: Of course!
Seagoon: Have a knighthood.
Major: Oh, [charming?]
Seagoon: Right, then. Drive on, Sir Dennis.
FX: sounds of driving, gunfire, fighting; Seagoon: "You..." Major: "Careful, don't antagonize
them, Seagoon." Seagoon: "Take your hands off Bloodnok." Etc, all the way to Parliament,
where people are milling around, saying "rhubarb" constantly; Secombe: rhubarb, rhubarb,
rhubarb, cabinet meeting, rhubarb...
Thynne: Well, thank you for your cabinet meeting rhubarbs. Now, gentlemen, our plan to
stop the 4th Armored Thunderboxes has failed.
Thynne: We shall probably have to give them all their back pay.
Voice: I said it first.
Voices: Watch it.
CofE: Even if the Japanese declare World War III on them?
Thynne: Yes, but Seagoon has managed to getthe war on the back of the lorry and is
driving it here.
FX: general pandemonium
Thynne: Moriarty, Moriarty.
Thynne: I must get in touch with them. What is the number of that lorry?
Moriarty: Ah, GXK-639
Thynne: [dialing] G.. X.. K.. 6.. 3.. 9...
FX: at the war, a phone rings
Seagoon: Take the wheel, Bloodnok. Hallo, World War III speaking.
Thynne: Where are you speaking from?
Seagoon: We're just rolling up outside Number Ten [Thrif?] Street. [knocks on door] That's
us at the door now.
Thynne: Moriarty, answer it.
Moriarty: [opens door] So pristy measurements!
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] Sir-pristy [etc]
Thynne: 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
Thynne: And the thousand cans of saki?
Seagoon: [gulps] Ah, I'm afraid... Bloodnok drank it.
Thynne: Well, I'm sorry, Seagoon. No saki, no back pay.
Seagoon: What! Eccles? Get an empty bucket, quick! Now, grab Bloodnok's ankles.
Major: [makes being grabbed sounds] What's going on here--
Seagoon: Hold his head over the bucket. Now, shake him, come on.
Major: [makes being shaken sounds]
Seagoon: No saki, no pay...
Greenslade: Listeners will recall that Bloodnok has not been-drinking saki but nitroglycerine,
FX: terrific explosion and building pieces falling all about
Greenslade: And so ended World War III. Book now for World War IV.
Bluebottle: Mr. Greensling? 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... Gee, and that was a good game, that was, wasn't it? I like that game!
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 Stevens, announcer Wallace
Greenslade, the program produced by Pat Dickson.