The Flea

by Spike Milligan and Larry Stephens

Greenslade: This is the BBC Light Programme. Ladies and gentlemen, The Goon Show.
Fx: Piano bar music
Seagoon: Gad! Didn't that music do something to you Wallace?
Greenslade: No, but I'd like to do something to that music.
Seagoon: What? You realise, of course, you're talking of Peter Sellers, The world's greatest outdoor pianist? Did you hear that build up I gave you, Mr Sellers?
Sellers: [snoring/brrrrr car-type noise]
Seagoon: I say... Don't tell me you're down to that, in motorcars?
Sellers: No , I've just ordered a new super strong reversal senna pod, twelve horse power convertable. I was only making that noise, until it arrived. Then it can do it for me. [brrrrrr car-type noise]
Seagoon: How jolly for you, Fred Sellers.
Sellers: [brrrrrr-up] Hup!
Seagoon: Now if you'll kindly stop sticking pins in that clay model of Lew Grade. We'll persue to the hern hern and the hern. This week the play is entitled...
Fx: Great build up fanfare
Seagoon: I've forgotten what it was, now... [giggles]
Greenslade: Allow me...
Milligan: [off] [over] Al-ow ow ow...
Greenslade: ...allow me, you silly little nit.
Milligan: [off] [garbled]
Secombe: [off] What? [hysterical laugh]
Greenslade: We present, we present, The Flea. [Sings] Ah, ha, ha, The Flea. Ah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, ha ha ha ha ha, The Flea.
Seagoon: [raspberry]
Fx:Sleazy Music
Greenslade: The year: sixteen sixty five. Sixteen sixty five? Good heavens, I must hurry, I'll miss my bus!
Fx: quill and parchment noises
Seagoon: [writing] [garbled] December, sixteen sixty five. Did rise, betides, finding much snow without, did put on my belly binder, and warm knees. Sported thereafter with Mrs Fitzsimmonds, and did hide me later, the Ward's coffee house, to break my thirst.
Fx: fanfare
Grams: Muted voices
Daisy: [camp] Oh, good morrow, master Pepys. Cappuchino?
Seagoon: No. Just coffee, Daisy.
Daisy: Black, or white?
Seagoon: White. With a dash of milk.
Daisy: Oh hoho! You tease!
Seagoon: Now, with whom can I make gossip, this chilly morn? I see nobody, though, and nobody sees me. What a coincident, egad, me spon, to be sure. Hern hern. Hi diddle dee. Needle nardle noo. Splin splan splon. Ying ton iddle-i-po. And remember, you've got to go owwwww!
Grytpype: How very interesting that was.
Seagoon: I'm sorry, I didn't see you standing in that coffee pot!
Grytpype: I know, we had the lid down.
Seagoon: We? Where's your friend?
Grytpype: He's up the spout.
Moriarty: Owwwwww. You got to go owwwww!
Seagoon: Ye gad. He's just been owwwwed.
Grytpype: Yes, it's all the rage! Now, erm, have these two seats been taken?
Seagoon: No, there still here! Hahahaha! Ahahaha. Ahaha. Ahahaha. Ahaha. Ha ahem.
Grytpype: A charlie!
Seagoon: What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? Bwark! What? What? What? Bwark! [chicken noises]
Grytpype: I was only...
Seagoon: Bwark!
Grytpype: ...nearly, saying that, the other day! This is my friend, Count Jim 'Thighs' Moriarty.
Moriarty: Oww.
Seagoon: A German diplomat is always welcome in England.
Moriarty: What? Sapristinockows! Hairy insult! You insult me, a Frenchman! We must fight a duel.
Fx: Bang bang
Moriarty: Honour is satisfied!
Seagoon: And so am I!
Moriarty: Tah dah.
Fx: Fanfare
Moriarty: Hoy!
Grytpype: Sir, you will excuse this, steaming Gaul. He is er, given to short temper, as he has no lodgings for the night.
Seagoon: Er, I can't see a French Count sleeping in the street!
Moriarty: Of course not! I've got up now! Owwwww owwww oww.
Grytpype: He's just been oww, again!
Seagoon: I should like to accomodate you for the night, but...
Moriarty: We accept!
Grytpype: I second that! Moriarty, go and pack the jamkins.
Moriarty: Owwwa'm gonna go an' go an' erm owwwwoooowwoowwo...
Fx: quill and parchment noises
Seagoon: [writing] Did return home, with the two gentlemen. Did not sport with Mrs Fitzsimmonds, owing to the cold weather, and the presence French Count and his manager, who occupied my second best bed.
Grytpype: You er, you heard that nice gentleman, Moriarty, put on your second best pyjamas.
Moriarty: Owwwwww...
Grytpype: There he goes again. He never thinks of anything else, these days. By the way, Moriarty, did you notice the brass name plate on our host's door?
Moriarty: Yes! I've got it here!
Grytpype: Hmm, you clever, you clever little vandal, you! You see what it says: Samuel Pepys, Secretary to the Navy. We couldn't have picked a better charlie, for our plan.
Moriarty: Hoiooioioiooooo! Owwwooowooow. Sapristi nadgers! If it works, we'll get rich beyond the dreams of Alwin! Oweeoww, the money, the moolah, the grisby, owwweee oww ow oww oww
Grytpype: He's going to have one of his turns again.
Seagoon: Is he?
Grytpype: Yes!
Seagoon: I better go then!
Moriarty: He's Gone!
Grytpype:Yes! Now, where's Francoise, the flea?
Moriarty: Francoise the flea, is inside my sock. He likes to travel on foot! Hoihoihoihoioooooo! Hoi!
Grytpype: Now, Moriarty, are you sure this flea is reliable?
Moriarty: Reliable? Mon rippers. This flea has bitten all the crown heads of Europe, and sometimes lower than that!
Grytpype: You mean, that this flea has royal blood?
Moriarty: Ouiiiii, ouiiiii.
Grytpype: In that case, he might be fussy. We shall have to blindfold him. He must never know, who he's biting. Let's have a look at him...
Moriarty: I'll just unchain him. Whola!
Grytpype: Mmm! Let's see him jump.
Moriarty: Er, Francoise, hup!
Fx: boing boing boing boing boing
Moriarty: [over] Steady, steady. Save your energy, boy. Save it! Steady, steady. Woooaa.
Grytpype: I see he favours the western role. Now, action Moriarty! Chain him to your nightshirt.
Moriarty: Right!
Fx: Chains
Moriarty: [over] Ahh, ah, ow!
Grytpype: Now, during the night, on a given signal, Francoise will bite you...
Moriarty: Ohowwww. I'm too young!
Grytpype: Moriarty, the reward will be great! You'll be able to retire Francoise, to stud, on a dog of his own. He'll be able to go..
Moriarty: Oooww, oww.
Grytpype: Thank you. Now, off you go to ninny byes, while I strum, Max Geldray.
Moriarty: [over Max] Oooww, Max that melody..

Max Geldray - Musical Interlude

Greenslade: Thank you. And now...
Fx: Door opening
Moriarty: Ooooiohohooo! My pectorals!
Seagoon: What oh-s, what oh-s, my many screaming guests.
Grytpype: Mr Peeps! The Count Jim 'Thighs' Moriarty has been bitten by one of your English fleas.
Moriarty:Yes, this means war!
Seagoon:A pfizzig on you!
Seagoon: There are no fleas in my house.
Grytpype: No? Moriarty, bend down and show the gentleman the bites.
Seagoon: Nonsense! This bedding is flea free. It's burnt twice a day!
Grytpype: Oh! Then what's this on the sheets?
Seagoon: Let me see... [reading] Siberian Railways.
Moriarty: Proof positive! No wonder there's fleas.
Grytpype: Master Pepys, I must warn you. Anything you take down, will be up-rooted, replanted in Trafalgar Square, and used in evidence, against you.
Fx: Punchline fanfare
Moriarty: Hoi!
Fx: Quill and parchment noises
Seagoon: [writing] Fifth of December. Did sport with Mrs Fitzsimmonds, and then, to the law courts.
Orchestra: Orchestra tuning up, followed by a gavel
Ellington: Silence! Silence in court. Silence. The court will now rise, for the Lord Chief Justice, Jim Spriggs.
Voices: [moans] Er, Rhubarb! Rhubarb rhubarb.
Jim Spriggs: Please, please sit please. The case is come to Jim 'Thighs' Moriarty. Minister without underpants, versus the British Crown, with underpants. Will the plaintiff open the case?
Greenslade: [french accent] My lord, we claim damages of forty thousand golden crowns, for a savage attack by an English flea, residing under the roof of Mr Samuel Pepys, Secretary to the Navy.
Jim Spriggs: Ahhh. Well acted! Now then, what is a Navy?
Seagoon: [shouting] A Navy my lord, is an army, entirely surrounded by water!
Jim Spriggs: Silence! Silence please! Or I'll have the court cleared.
Seagoon: [raspberry]
Jim Spriggs: Thank you very much. Now then, what makes you think the British Crown should pay for this... flea bite?
Grytpype: It was a British flea, my lord.
Seagoon: [shouting again] My lord! I object! I move that the flea's nationality be proven, before this case proceeds!
Jim Spriggs: Agreed! Call the flea!
Ellington: The flea!
Milligan: [off] The flea!
Sellers: [off] The flea!
Fx: Horse galloping toward us
Henry Crun: [over, as horse slows to a stop] Wooooa, wooa mate. Woooa-ooh-oh.
Jim Spriggs: Great Jupiter! Mate. Is that thing a flea?
Willium: No, it's an 'orse, mate.
Jim Spriggs: A horse?
Willium: Yes.
Jim Spriggs: Take his hat off.
Willium: Yeah.
Jim Spriggs: You're right, it is a horse. Where, where's the flea?
Willium: He's on the 'orse, mate. I thought he'd get here quicker that way, you see.
Jim Spriggs: I see. Now then, as he's not riding side saddle, I presume he's a male flea...?
Willium: Yeah, yes.
Jim Spriggs: Ah ha, will the flea, will the flea raise his right leg, and swear to tell the truth.
Fx: boing boing
Jim Spriggs: Thank you. Thank you, Thank you. Now Mr Pepys, will you please take the, the flea in the palm of your right hand, and see if you can identify him.
Seagoon: [still shouting] My lord! I can honestly say, I have never seen this flea before in my life! I claim, that he is a foreigner!
Voices: [moans] Rhubarb, rhubarb. Rhubarb, rhubarb. Rhubarb, rhubarb. Rhubarb, rhubarb.
Moriarty: Grytpype, suppose they discover Francoise is French.
Grytpype: Impossible! I destroyed his passport, I tell you.
Jim Spriggs: Silence! It is the opinion of this court, that the flea will re-, will remain in custody, while a description of him, is circulated to Interpol.
Greenslade: Dear listeners, I spring forward at this moment, to mention to those of you who have not been in jug on the continent, that Interpol is an international organisation of policemen. I do hope you find these little snippets of information helpful. If they are, then, my job has been well worthwhile.
Fx: Cymbal crash
Milligan: [off] Continue please...
Greenslade: [over] And now, The Flea, part two, in which Moriarty, and Grytpype find them, to a flea circus, with a plan.
Fx: Street pipe organ.
Minnie Bannister:Roll up roll up...
Henry Crun:...ehhh, roll up...
Minnie Bannister:...Roll up
Henry Crun:See the greatest Flea Circus on earth.
Minnie Bannister: Every one man fits, buddy.
Henry Crun:Come and see War and Peace done by a cast of fleas.
Minnie Bannister: Roll up
Henry Crun:Flea dialogue with human subtitles
Minnie Bannister: Roll up. Roll up you people.....
Grytpype: Did you hear that Moriarty? A Flea Circus
Moriarty: Yes. Let's go and buy one quickly.
Grytpype: Buy one? What do you think I've brought this dog along for?
Moriarty: Explain to me and the listeners...
Grytpype: We're going to look for a british flea with exactly the same markings as Francoise.
Moriarty: And the we change them over?
Grytpype: There goes the plot listeners
Moriarty: [smacks lips]
Grytpype: Come let's go Enrica
Fx: Drum roll
Henry Crun: Ladies and gentlemen, the hero of tonight's performance of War and Peace, is the wonder flea, star of knee, thigh, and chest, who has just returned from a highly sucessful tour of Mrs Fitzsimmonds. Here he is! Little Jim!
Fx: Dogs barking, boing boing boing boing boing boing
Grytpype: Moriarty, hand me those longiettes. What luck! Little Jim is the living image of Francoise, even to the scar on his chin.
Moriarty: What now?
Grytpype: After the performance, we take this shaggy dog backstage, no flea could resist a ride on a dog like this.
Moriarty: You're right...
Greenslade: [over] Er, excuse me, please. Excuse me, just a moment. Excuse me please. Ladies and gentlemen, at this stage, the BBC are concerned about the possibility, of this show causing listeners some, erm, irritation. I should like to state, therefore, that there are no real fleas taking part in this programme. The parts of all the fleas, are taken by small grasshoppers, painted black.
Secombe: 'ave you done?
Greenslade: Yes.
Secombe: Thank you.
Seagoon: December the sixth.
Fx: quill and parchment
Seagoon: [writing] Did sport with Mrs Fitzsimmonds...
Milligan: Owwww....
Seagoon: ... and, being suspicious of Grytpype Thynne, I did place two, stalwart guards, outside the accused fleas cell in Newgate Prison.
Grams: Footsteps and jangling keys
Fx: Boing, boing, boing
Bluebottle: Have you ever guarded a flea before Eccles?
Eccles: No. This is the first big job I had. Just a minute... [off] Hoi!
Fx: Boing
Eccles: That made him jump! Did you hear that? [garbled] Doi! That's him, when he go... Doi! Hego, hego, doing! Doing, he do that all the time. He does the lum...
Bluebottle: You're a naughty cruel thing, Eccles. You should not do that! You may have fleas of your own, one day.
Eccles: Oohhh, I'm, I'm sorry 'bottle.
Bluebottle: Lance Corporal 'Bottle, to you!
Eccles: Sorry, Lance Corporal 'Bottle to you.
Bluebottle: I should jollyd well think so too. Stand, stand to cardboard attention!
Eccles: Owwwowowow.
Bluebottle: Chin up! Chest in!
Eccles: But it hurts!
Bluebottle: Thinks: I will teach this naughtan man a lesson. Eccles?
Eccles: Yeah?
Bluebottle: Raise right leg!
Eccles: O.K.
Bluebottle: Now raise, left leg.
Eccles: Right.
Bluebottle: Ohhhh? How is it that you got three legs, Eccles?
Eccles: 'Cause the fourth one fell off. Oww, oow.
Bluebottle: and Eccles: [Laugh with each other]
Eccles: Wait a minute, wait a minute, what are you laughing at?
Bluebottle: I don't like to be left behind!
Eccles: Wow, wow.
Bluebottle: Well, we've given them enough Terrance Rattigan-type dialogue. It's time to exercise our flea-type prisoner. Private Eccles, open flea pit!
Fx: Creak of flea pit hinges
Eccles: [over] Oohh! Here, do you think it's safe to take his leg shackles off?
Bluebottle: Do not worry, Eccles. I will keep him covered with this flea powder.
Eccles: Oh dear, O.K. well, I'll, I'll run the flea round the yard on his lead.
Fx: Boing, boing, boing, boing, boing,
Eccles: [over] Oh oh! Steady! Wooa. Wooa, stop, please. Wooa, steady, steady now. Woa, woa. Woa, woa.
Bluebottle: Eeoeah! Eccles, don't let him come near me! I don't want to be bited. I'm an East Finchley-type boy, and, there are no fleas in East Finchley. Flealess Fincherly, they call it! Eeehehe! I don't like this game! I'm all itchy-coo!
Greenslade: Er, listeners, er, we should like to reassure you once again, that at no stage in this drama, do genuine fleas take part. Before commencing, all actors were searched by John Snagge. To allow you to relax, here is Ray Ellington, and his D.D.T. quartet.
Milligan: [over Ray] [garbled] Ho!

Ray Ellington - 'You do something to me'

Orchestra: Music (1812 overture)
Seagoon: Eighteen twelve? And in sixteen sixty five! Ahahaha! So much for humour. Well now.
Fx: quill and parchment
Seagoon: [writing] December the splon. Did sport with Mrs Fitzsimmonds. Haa-mm. Suddenly...
Fx: door opening
Bluebottle: Captain, Mr Pepys, sir. Hello, Mrs Fitzsimmonds. Captain, two men crept up on us, from behind, and overpowered us with a quarter of Pontefract cakes.
Seagoon: They nearly had you on the run!
Bluebottle: Yes! Then, thinking that I... that em... thinking that they had, made us unconcious, we the dredded Prontelfracts, they switched fleas and made off with our one! Hello, Mrs Fitzsimmonds!
Seagoon: So, Moriarty's flea, was a foreigner. We must stop it leaving the country, or the crown will loose the case. To the Millitary!
Bluebottle: To the Millingtree! Good bye Mrs Fitzsimmonds.
Fx: Bloodnok theme (quicker than normal)
Bloodnok: Ooooohooohoooo! Ohhohooo! Ohhh! Oh you caught me out then, lads, you did!
Fx: knock, knock, knock, knock, knock, knock, knock, knock, knock, knock,
Bloodnok: Ooohohhoo! Out the back, Mrs Fitzsimmonds, dear. Ohoho! [off] Come in!
Fx: door opening
Seagoon: Now, Major Bloodnok.
Bloodnok: Ohohoho! Oho!
Seagoon: Helllooo, Mrs Fitzsimmonds! Any signs of these men, with the fugitive flea?
Bloodnok: No, no no.
Seagoon: It's not good enough, Major.
Bloodnok: What?
Seagoon: Are your men reliable?
Bloodnok: Myuk!? My men reliable? My...? Captain Caruthers. Tell him.
Captain Caruthers: Ahhh, well, er, they are, er, eraahhh, men sir, arr, well, you see, er, well, aaaaahhhhhh, I- [giggles], I, I, I suppose they arrrrrhhhh, well um, you, ahhhhhhhhhhhahhhhhhhhhh.
Bloodnok: Well Seagoon. Does that answer your question?
Seagoon: I can't remember the question....
Captain Caruthers: Neither can I!
Seagoon: Thank you.
Bloodnok: Thank you.
Seagoon: Excuse me a moment, Major!
Fx: door opening.
Bloodnok: What?
Captain Caruthers: Yeahhhhh...
Fx: door closing, followed by quill and parchment
Seagoon: [writing] I retired to adjacent room, with a briefly sport with Mrs Fitzsimmonds.
Fx: door opening/closing
Captain Caruthers: [over and off] Oh not again!
Seagoon: Ahemm. Well now, Major Bloodnok. We suspect, that the er, foreign flea, might be an exact replica of the flea I've got in this horse box.
Bloodnok: Oooh! What cunning...
Ellington: [off] Er, excuse me Major, a company of my highlanders have caught two men trying to slip past on a banana skin.
Bloodnok: Bring them in, McGregor!
Seagoon: How did he get in a Scottish regiment?
Bloodnok: He lied about his age.
Ellington: Come on! Come on you two, there! Come on! Come on get in here angels. Come on.
Moriarty: and Grytpype: [moans of resentment]
Grytpype: Stop pushing us! Don't push.
Ellington: Come on!
Moriarty: Ahhh!
Grytpype: Steaming nit!
Ellington: Get up.
Moriarty: Take your filth hand of my filthy neck.
Ellington: Take one false step and I'll report you to Victor Sylvester!
Seagoon: That's him! I recognise him by his...
Moriarty: Ooowww!
Seagoon: Now. Where's that French flea?
Grytpype: Outside on a sheepdog.
Fx: Door opening, dogs barking
Seagoon: Ahhhh! Forty, long haired sheepdogs! Which one is he on?
Bloodnok: I'll soon find him. In a military way! Dogs, from the right, number!
Fx: Woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, woof, howwwwl!
Bloodnok: That's the one! That's the one! Search him!
Fx: Boing
Bloodnok: Ohh, ahhh, now, into the dustbin with him.
Fx: Clang
Bloodnok: Ha! Got him!
Moriarty: They've got the flea in there!
Bloodnok: Ahh, got him there!
Seagoon: Well, Grytpype, ahahahaha, this is the end of your nefarious career!
Moriarty: Ooowww!
Grytpype: Yes, and yours!
Seagoon: What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What? What do you mean?
Grytpype: Mr Pepys, we've found a diary. Let me read you a sample extract. [reading] December the third. Whilst the King was away, did sport madly, with Nell Gwynn.
Seagoon: [swallows] Oh come, chaps, you're joking! Hahaha-nelly! Let's forget everything, eh? L-l-l-l-l-l-lets go owwww, together! Ahahaha!
Moriarty: Yes. For one thousand pounds.
Seagoon: Oooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!
Grytpype: He's just been ooooooowwwwww'd.
Moriarty: One thousand pounds....
Fx: closing music
Seagoon: [over] Ooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwww!
Greenslade: That was the Goon Show, a BBC recorded programme, featuring Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe, and Spike Milligan. With the Ray Ellington Quartet, Max Geldray, and the orchestra conducted by Wally Stott. Script by Spike Milligan, and Larry Stephens. Announcer Wallace Greenslade. The program produced by Pat Dixon.

Original transcription by Christopher Thomas (

Corrections, additions and HTML by Kurt Adkins (