The Man Who Never Was
by Spike Milligan and Larry Stephens
Series 8, Episode 21, Broadcast 17th Feb 1958
Greenslade: This is the BBC Light Programme.
Sellers: Here in all it's stark reality, is the true story of, 'The Man Who Never Was'.
Greenslade: April the first, nineteen forty four. For the Allies, the first hope of victory, was almost in sight. North Africa has been won, with the aid of Lance Bombardier Milligan, Gunner Secombe, and, Burma was holding out with leading aircraftsman, Peter Sellers.
Milligan: Yes, the next move was the invasion of Europe. La-um-a-um-a-um. Would they attack through the soft underbelly? Would it be Yugoslavia? Greece? Sicilly? [garbled] Yes?
Seagoon: An invasion force was made ready. For weeks we waited for the right weather. Nerves were tense.
Sellers: Captain, the men are getting jumpy, hanging around, you know. Any idea what the weather's going to be like tomorrow?
Milligan: Yes, it's gonna be perfect at last. No wind, warm, and a full moon.
Sellers: Well that settles it, tommorrow, we'll go and see Robert Atkins at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park. Oh.
Voices: La-um-a-um. [etc]
Greenslade: [over] Yes... Yes indeed. There was confidence for you.
Seagoon: [off] Yes, by jove.
Greenslade: But the main problem...
Seagoon: [off] Ah ha!?
Greenslade: ...how to distract the Germans from knowing our intention to land in Sicily. Let's go back to that fateful night, on June the third of October, nineteen fifty three.
Secombe: [off] You go back.
Sellers: [off] Let's go back there, yes.
Milligan: [off] Right, let's go back, yes.
Secombe: 'Ave you done? 'Ave you done?
Sellers: [off] No, let's go back there.
Milligan: [off] Ye-as.
Seagoon: It was that very night... It was that very night, that I, Captain Seagoon, was sitting in the lounge at the House of Lords Yacht Club, at Southend.
Milligan: [off] Don't forget Baby, folks, a good film.
Seagoon: Suddenly, the footman came along, and tapped me on the shoulder with his foot...
Footman: Pardon me, sir, Colonel Gore would be pleased to see you out on the balcony, sir.
Seagoon: Oh, so he's out there is he?
Footman: Er, no, he's in here, that's why he'd be pleased to see you out there.
Seagoon: Well, I, I think I'll go out for a breath of fresh air.
Footman: Thank you sir, that'll save us opening the window. Oh, and um, pardon me, sir, your, your taxi's outside.
Seagoon: I know.
Footman: Please sir, would you move it on a bit further, please.
Greenslade: Grabbing his flying jacket as it flew by him, Captain Seagoon strode swiftly up the wall, across the crowded celing, hurling members to the floor below with cries of...
Seagoon: Fools! You shouldn't be up here! And you!
Bluebottle: Nooo, don't throw me down! I'm always up here! Haaay! Hello everybody!
Seagoon: Are you a member?
Bluebottle: Nooo, I'm a Bluebottle.
Seagoon: What's that you're reading?
Bluebottle: A flypaper.
Greenslade: Seagoon flung the interloper aside with a muttered oath.
Bluebottle: I say!
Seagoon: [over, and slightly garbled] I promise to say the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Greenslade: Donning his, explodable shirt, he ran casually down to the sea.
Little Jim: He's fallen in da waa-ta. Ah!
Seagoon: On the beach, barely visible in the moonlight, I saw, a body!
Spriggs: Hello Jim, Hello Jeem! It's my body, Jeem. I always bring it with me, Jeem. Always bring it with meeeeeee
Seagoon: But but, but, but but, but, but buk-a-buk-a-buk-a-buk-a-buk-a-bwark, buk buk buk... What's that on the beach?
Spriggs: Oh that's sand, Jim.
Spriggs: Saaaaand, Jiiiiim Ooooh. Hmm. Sand, Jim.
Seagoon: Who does it belong to?
Spriggs: Oh, it's never been claimed, Jim.
Seagoon: Then I, Neddy Seagoon, on behalf of the free nations of the world, claim it for England!
Fx: Bad recording of 'Land of Hope and Glory'
Australian: You know, you ought to give him the OBE for this one, I think it's really a good idea. [garbled] There's no doubt about...
Seagoon: Even as they mailed...
Australian: [off] ...get my saxophone out...
Seagoon: Even as they mailed my OBE to me, and this is where the story really starts...
Eccles: [off] Owwww!
Seagoon: ...there, in the sand, was a pair of uncooked, German Army boots.
Greenslade: Like any quick thinking Englishman, Seagoon rapidly tried them on.
Seagoon: Curses! They're too tight. Then, dear listeners, I saw why. In ooch, in ooch beet. In each boot, was a pair of human feet!
Lalkaka: Pardon me, pardon me sir, pardon me. Pardon er er... Pardo... Do you understand, they are my feet. My own little Hindu pows. Is that not right Mr Banerjee?
Banajee: That is right Mr Lalkaka, I can vouchee, for the authee, authenticity, of the man's statement.
Seagoon: Well, I didn't know...
Lalkaka: Big fat, bing gally baboo...
Banajee: [garbled] Ing tally cattie longlee.
Lalkaka: Misi galentry fastilies.
Banajee: Mutton sandy heedgotnone.
Lalkaka: What will he do, or he will die?
Banajee: Then his wife and children, cry.
Lalkaka: They'll make a bonfire of him.
Banajee: They will throw him in the sea.
Lalkaka: Oh, that will be the end of him.
Banajee: Ooohh. Tha..
Lalkaka: That the end of that? Will that do?
Austrialian: Don't like what they say, an' [garbled]...
Seagoon: Dear listeners, as they spoke, I inserted a skeleton saxophone under the welt, and there, glistening in the light of my satellite moon, lay a roll of microfilm! There was only one thing to do, take it to the Chief of Military Intelligence!
Fx: Bloodnok's fanfare, leading into a swarm of flies
Bloodnok: [over flies] Ooooh! Gah! Oooof! Gettaway, getta... Oohhh! Get out. Those flies! Get those horse flies out of here.
Fx: horse clip-clopping away, followed by a chicken noise
Bloodnok: One of those is an imposter! Ohhh! They're not mine! Now, Sergeant Splinge?
Splinge: Yes sir.
Bloodnok: March in that suspected Germain spy, will you darling?
Splinge: Righty-are-dardy. [off] Brigadier! [military shouting]
Fx: Marching footsteps
Splinge: [over] Leah, leah, lea rye lea, leah, leah, leah rye leah, hie, hie, hie hie hie. Hie hie, come on ahww! Left, leah, left rye leah. Party! Shun.
Fx: Marching record comically slows to a stop
Bloodnok: Gad! What discipline! And docipline!
Splinge: One hundered leg spy all present, sir.
Bloodnok: Seekoo henk. Now, who is this suspected German spy?
Splinge: He's a suspected German spy, sir. He caught loitering of the coast of Britian, there.
Bloodnok: What's your excuse?
Herr Comesitdown: I vas vaiting for a number one three four submarine.
Bloodnok: At this time of night? A likely story. They stop running at eleven, and start walking, you know. Sergeant, what's this German's name?
Splinge: Er, Herr Comesebrown.
Bloodnok: Well, tell her to wait a moment, will you?
Splinge: Right, sir.
Herr Comesitdown: Permission to speak, Herry Major.
Bloodnok: Permission granted, hairy prisoner.
Herr Comesitdown: I, would like...
Bloodnok: Silong, volkeshere berebackter. Kabloong un kablootsiempire grung dang.
Herr Comesitdown: Does your vife know zis?
Bloodnok: Shut up! Achtung, kaflooden da bloowicz. Admit it, you're a spy!
Herr Comesitdown: I'm not a shpy, I'm a shepard!
Bloodnok: Ahhhhh, Shepard Spy! Ahhh, you can't fool us, you naughty German. We British are never caught napping.
Herr Comesitdown: No, you're always caught vide avake!
Bloodnok: What? That's a damned insult! But he's perfectly correct, you know. Now, are you married?
Herr Comesitdown: Ya, two years.
Bloodnok: Any children?
Herr Comesitdown: Nein.
Bloodnok: Nine in two years? You blaggard, you! H-hand me that shotgun.
Herr Comesitdown: Nich, nich, ve are just good friends.
Bloodnok: What? Sergeant, march this scoundrel backwards for Christmas, with a gas stove, over his head.
Splinge: Right-o. Naughty prisoner, shun! Naughty prisoner, quick march! [going off] Left, left, left right left, left, left, keep up there, left, left, left right left, left, left, left right left, left, left, left right left right, keep it up, left, left...
Bloodnok: Ooohh! What a brilliant fellow that Sergeant is.
Herr Comesitdown: Then vhy has he left me behind?
Bloodnok: What a stupid idiot that Sergeant is! Leaving a spy at liberty.
Herr Comesitdown: Please believe me, I'm not a shpy, I come here seeking political asylum.
Bloodnok: Well, take a bus to the House of Commons, that's the finest political asylum in the world! Ooohh! They're all there you know, aaaooooowalalalalaaaaaaaaaaaaaayeeaaahhhhhaaa! Ooh! Lovely to be back in England. Including, Max Geldray, the well known, long playing record!!
Max Geldray and Orchestra - 'Making Whoopee'
Greenslade: I don't know how he gets away with it. And now, we have great pleasure in returning you to the Goon Show. This is where the story really starts. Now showing at your local radio, disguised as the Was Who Never Man, part the ping, thankyou.
Fx: Door opening
Gladys: Arrhhh, errrr. Major Bloodnok, sir.
Bloodnok: What is it Gladys?
Gladys: Someone's coming up the stairs, sir.
Bloodnok: What? Quick! Burn this on the fire!
Gladys: Right! What is it?
Bloodnok: A piece of coal!
Fx: door opens
Seagoon: Major Bloodnok?
Bloodnok: You can't be! You look too rich! Good heavens! What's that you've got in your hand?
Seagoon: Microfilm sir!
Seagoon: Found in some German boots, washed ashore at Southend-on-sea, at Brighton.
Bloodnok: Boots? So that explains why that German spy was barefooted. This is an important find! Pull up a chair and sit down.
Seagoon: I'd rather stand.
Bloodnok: Very well, stand on the chair.
Seagoon: Thank you.
Bloodnok: I shall just put this microfilm under this powerful magnifying glass, it'll keep it flat while I put my glasses on, you see. Now, there. Ahh! Ooo! Some, kind of, secret plan! I-I-I know, we shall have it photographed, keep one copy, and send the other back to Germany, might be a reward, you never know.
Seagoon: Send them back to the enemy?
Bloodnok: Ahh, but with a difference! I'm going to post them without any stamps on!
Seagoon: Gad, Major, you strike a cruel blow at German philately.
Bloodnok: Haha, yes.
Seagoon: Wait a minute...
Seagoon: Supposing these are the, invasion of England plans...
Bloodnok: Don't worry lad, if the Germans every invade England, we war office chiefs, have Plan X ready.
Seagoon: Plan X? Who's that?
Bloodnok: Fast plane to Dublin, then submarine to South America.
Seagoon: Major, you're not going to run away from the enemy?
Bloodnok: Well, there's no point in running away from anyone else, is there? Hoho! Haaahooo!
Seagoon: Ohhhohoh! Be it on your own head, as you wish Major, but, we all know what happened to Colonel Bentine.
Bloodnok: Errrr, what?
Seagoon: Yes, ha ha, he sat right where you're sitting, now.
Seagoon: In that very spot. Hahahahaha!
Bloodnok: [over] Huh-yeh? Huh!
Seagoon: He was frightened of the enemy. Hah! He had a thousand pounds of gold in his kit bag, booked a fast plane to Dublin, haha, and in a submarine laid on, to take him to South America. Hoohoho! Poor fool. He thought he'd got away with it. Huhuhuh! You know what happened to him?
Seagoon: He got away with it! [crying] Ahhahahahhhhahahahah!
Bloodnok: Oooh, dear!
Seagoon: [cries some more]
Greenslade: All through the night, and this is where the story really starts, Seagoon and Bloodnok, pored over the plans, sometimes they'd pored on the floor, sometimes they poured in the glass, but mostly, they pored over the plans.
Sellers: Yes, gentlemen, ahhem, I have er, er, every reason to believe, that, these gin soaked plans of, a secret German weapon, are really, the brandy soaked plans of a secret German weapon.
Seagoon: Gad! Is there no end to their fiendish ingenuity?
Sellers: I, fear not.
Seagoon: Dear listeners, Bloodnok, realising the significance of the discovery, lept to his feat, and shouted for a messenger, with a voice like thunder.
Bloodnok: Send in a messenger with a voice like thunder!
Throat: Right, mate!
Bloodnok: Seagoon, take the microfilm at once, to the Wool-wich Arsenal, and get the experts there, to build this secret German weapon.
Seagoon: I'll do my best, gentlemen.
Milligan: But we can't afford failures!
Seagoon: Dispite an insult, I left the building with my head held high, and my feet held higher.
Bloodnok: In that position, we threw him out. Here is a recording of it.
Fx: Seagoon shouting things inaudibly fast, ending in 'Ahhhhh'
Bloodnok: You filthy swine! You see, it wasn't easy.
Seagoon: Soon, I was at the gates of Woolwich Arsenal, when I was challenged by a sentry.
Fx: Bang bang
Willium: Haaaalt! Ooo goes there?
Willium: Cor, thank gawd for that, mate. Advanced, and be shot at, mate.
Seagoon: I was mate.
Willium: Ere, I recognise you...
Seagoon: Do you?
Willium: You're the bloke I was shooting at just now.
Seagoon: What makes you so sure?
Willium: All them little holes in your nut.
Seagoon: Silly man! They're old bullet holes!
Willium: I know, I was using old bullets!
Seagoon: Fool of fools, you might've killed me!
Willium: Ohhh, matey!
Seagoon: [over] No. Yes, now then, matey... Where's the oroffice-ire in charge?
Willium: Er, Ray Ellington 'is Quiltet, mate.
Seagoon: Gad! Four for the price of one!
Seagoon: [over] Hahahahaha!
Ray Ellington and his Quartet
Greenslade: And so the Woolwich Arsenal, set about building a full scale model of this secret German weapon. And soon the yard rang to the sound of British workmen, at top pressure.
Workman: Ummm da deee
Workman: Daa daa daa teee doh
Workman: therinktent lady livinere, laa laa
Workman: la laaa-aa doh [whistling]
Fx: hooter, thump thump, people running away
Seagoon: They were away a bit smartish, weren't they? Don't these workmen know there's a war on?
Bloodnok: I haven't had the heart to tell them, you know. Be madness, if they knew, they'd rush off and join the army, anything rather than work, you know, they're, naughty.
Seagoon: Yes, yes. Ahem, I'll-I-I-I-I'll tell you why I called this meeting, you know.
Seagoon: It is essential that we fool the Germans in thinking, that we haven't got the plans of their secret weapon. Isn't that so, Captain Frankfurter? He's a good old sausage...
Frankfurter: Ahh-eerrrrr, yes, ah, ahhhhhahhahh, er, perfectly correct, sir, yes, I-eerr-aahhhh, I suppose it is, yes, ahhhhh, atahhhhh, perfectly right, yes, I, I-I-I-I-I jus-yeh-I suppose, er, I-I-I-I...
Seagoon: If you're not sure, say so!
Frankfurter: Ahhhh! Ahhh-ahh-ah-ah-a, I'm terribly sorry, I-er-er-er, I jus-errrr, I-I-I-I-I mean that I-I-I-I-I-I-I-I-ahhh-ahh-ahh-aahhh, aaaahhhh-ahhh-ahhhhh...
Seagoon: Well done Bloodnok!
Bloodnok: I hated to see him suffer.
Milligan: Gentlemen, I think we're wasting time! I have here, a man who claims, that he has the perfect plan to hoodwink the Germans, with regard, to, the, secret weapon. Ahhhh.
Seagoon: Oh. How do you do sir?
Henry Crun: Ahhhh...
Minnie Bannister: [off] How do you do what?
Henry Crun: Errrr... Ohhhhhh. Errrr.
Minnie Bannister: He's going to say, how do you do.
Seagoon: Well tell him not to bother.
Minnie Bannister: He, he said, not, not to bother.
Henry Crun: [over] Oohhhh...
Minnie Bannister: Man says doo-oo-oon bother.
Henry Crun: What?
Minnie Bannister: Don't bother to say, how do you do, Henry.
Henry Crun: How do you do, Min?
Minnie Bannister: Morning.
Seagoon: [over] Sir, please...
Henry Crun: Morning.
Minnie Bannister: Morning.
Henry Crun: Morning.
Minnie Bannister: [over] Morning...
Henry Crun: Morning...
Seagoon: Please, would you care to give us a brief resume of your plan?
Henry Crun: Ehhh...
Minnie Bannister: [over] Ooohhhh...
Henry Crun: Wellll-ehhhh.
Minnie Bannister: Ahhh! Wellll...
Henry Crun: Well.
Minnie Bannister: Mr Crun-ge, got the whole idea from a Sunday newspaper.
Henry Crun: Yes.
Seagoon: Certainly get some ideas from them, can't you?
Minnie Bannister: Ohhh! You naughty Seajune!
Henry Crun: Naughty, naughty.
Minnie Bannister: Naughty, naughty, naughty-naughty-nutty-nutty-nutty-nutty-nutty-nutty-natty-noo!
Minnie Bannister: Ahhh, morning!
Henry Crun: Heee, heee-in-den morning
Minnie Bannister: Deeeeee! Deee-he-heh-heh-heh-he!
Henry Crun: Deeee-morning
Milligan: [uncontrolable laughter]
Minnie Bannister: Oh dear. I'll have you know, Mr Sealoon, that we don't spend our Sunday mornings reading those sinful Sunday newspapers.
Henry Crun: Noooo, we just sleep on, 'till teatime.
Minnie Bannister: Then, we read the Sunday newspapers. Ooooohhh. I hate those naughty-type, em-revivals of em, r-rock an' roll. What's he doing? What's he doing?
Henry Crun: Wha? Careful, careful.
Minnie Bannister: Yeahhhebeneturull... Ah-ah-ah-ah.
Henry Crun: Careful.
Minnie Bannister: What I, line fourteen.
Henry Crun: What? I wondered where we were.
Minnie Bannister: Ahhhh.
Henry Crun: [over] Stop that naughty...
Minnie Bannister: Arhhhh!
Henry Crun: [over] ...whatever you were...
Seagoon: Please, explain this plan! My life!
Lew Cash: Now, look er, listen, erm, er, I'm his agent, let me talk for him. I'll talk for him. He's a bit shtum, this so can't talk a bit. Now look, I'll tell you what we do, we put a copy of German microfilm in the pocket of a man dressed up as a German Naval officer, float him ashore form a submarine, on to the enemy coast, and then, for an encore.
Seagoon: We don't need an encore, I have my own piano. Come on Ebenezer you'll get the OBE for this.
Lew Cash: What have I done wrong? I'm living the good life, 'ain't I, now?
Seagoon: Yes, yes...
Lew Cash: What are you talking about?
Seagoon: Yes, but...
Lew Cash: Waaahhhhh!
Seagoon: [over] Who would be idiot enough to be dressed up... Who would be idiot enough... Who would be idiot enough! To be dressed up as a German Admiral, and thrown overboard from a submarine?
Lew Cash: Don't worry! Look, I've got an idiot in this box, who's been specially drowned for the job. Lou, be a good boy and take the lid off.
Fx: Wooden box being prized apart type noise, and something lumpy falling out
Sellers: There you are gentlemen, meet the man who never was.
Eccles: 'Ello, folks!
Sellers: Gentlemen, direct from his aqua-tank drowing act at the rotunda, Faversham. Field Marshal Montgoonery!
Seagoon: [over] Wait a minute! Wait a minute, this man is damp.
Sellers: 'Cause he's damp. We damped him down for the night! He's the only Field Marshal with a privates baton in his knapsack.
Seagoon: But can we spare a Field Marshall?
Sellers: This Field Marshall don't count!
Seagoon: Really? No! He don't read or write neither! 'S why he's working at the Romford Empire all this week, all your life...
Seagoon: But we can't float him ashore, he's not dead!
Eccles: Want a bet?
Seagoon: Shut up Eccles!
Eccles: What? Shut up! Shut up Eccles!
Bloodnok: Shut up!
Eccles: Shut up Eccle! Shut up! Shut up! Don't you say shut up to me!
Seagoon: Look here...
Eccles: Shut up!
Seagoon: ...Leslie, Leslie, come here. Come here.
Sellers: Wha? Nononon, listen, listen...
Seagoon: This man is, good boy, you're a good boy. This man is completely ess, tee, yoo, pee, eye, dee.
Eccles: Ooooowaaoooo! I heard that! Ooooo, you think that I'm ess, tee, yoo, pee, eye, dee, eh?
Seagoon: Candidly? Yes I do.
Eccles: Well-ooooo. Erm. It's a good job for you I can't spell. I got a song in the morning...
Fx: slap slap slap
Eccles: [over] Ooow! Oooww! Oooowwwww!
Bloodnok: Shut up. Shut up you. You hear me? Ooohhhh. Get out!
Fx: [over] more slaps
Eccles: [over] Ooowoow! Ooowow! Ooo. Oooo. Ooooooooo! I've broken my leg!
Bloodnok: Good heavens! How did you do that?
Eccles: I got a big a big hammer and I went BANG.
Eccles: What about yours? Bang!
Bloodnok: Ooooow-ah-ah! You naughty man!
Seagoon: Dear listeners, with Bloodnok on his way to the Old Bailey, we had cheering news from the Woolwich Arsenal.
Bluebottle: Captain, they gotted ready the secret German weapon, what they have built from the microfilm, plan.
Seagoon: Great news, little cardboard grenadier!
Bluebottle: Hello everybody!
Seagoon: Here's an orange.
Bluebottle: Oh, thank you.
Seagoon: Well, I must be on my way. Chilvers?
Chilvers: Yes sir.
Seagoon: Lay out my road.
Seagoon: And see that the pavements are clean.
Chilvers: Very good sir.
Bluebottle: Can I come with you to the testing this weapon, Captain?
Seagoon: I'm sorry, it's too dangerous Bluebottle...
Seagoon: We can't afford to risk the life of a young idiot, like you.
Bluebottle: Is that why they're sending an old idiot, like you?
Seagoon: Exactly. You stay here, and guard the pavement.
Bluebottle: Oh, let me come with you, Captain. I want a chance to prove I'm a man!
Seagoon: Report to the M.O. Taxi!
Bluebottle: Oh! Thank you!
Voices: [various mutterings and rhubarbs]
Secombe: [off] Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb.
Seagoon: It was an exciting moment, as I stood amongst the high ranking officers. In the centre of the testing area, stood the sinister outline, of the mysterious German secret weapon.
Milligan: Yes, umk, 'ello gentlemen, before we remove the cover from the V three, I, I'd like to say that we're not quite sure what it's potential is, ummhhh, what it's potential is. Ahemmmm. It might-might-might well be, might well be that the wost, that this is the most devastating weapon, we've ever tested in the Woolwich Arsenal.
Sellers: Yes, now, we've taken great care to er, construct an exact, er, replica of the plan found in the uncooked Germany boot.
Seagoon: Hear, hear. Hear, hear. Good show.
Sellers: Oh dear, Charlie's here. Now then, the er, the rather ominous part, the only operating mechanism on this weapon, is a small metal handle.
Sellers: And before we turn it gentlemen, we must er, take, precaution. Sergeant?
Secombe: Yessir? Gentmen, will you, please take up position, behind the forty inch, anti-gamma ray, lead-lined wall.
Secombe: Alright, sir!
Sellers: Right, Sergeant, gentlemen, I shall be turning the handle, five seconds from now. Er, five, four, three, two, one. Turn.
Fx: Barrel organ type music
Seagoon: [over] Gad! What fiendish ingenuity. A barrel organ!
Bloodnok: Don't waste it! Eccles! Up on the top and start scratching. Secombe, the tin mug, and off we go!
Fx: Coin dropped in a tin mug
Secombe: Thank you.
Milligan: [over, off] And they know it's [garbled]
Fx: bang [for no apparent reason]
Greenslade: That was the Goon Show, a BBC recorded programme, featuring Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe, Spike Milligan, with the Ray Ellington Quartet, and Max Geldray. The orchestra was conducted by Wally Stott. Script by Spike Milligan and Larry Stevens. First written and recorded in March nineteen fifty six. Announcer Wallace Greenslade. Production by Charles Chilton.
Milligan: [over] [various garbled comments for no apparent reason]
Original transcription by Christopher Thomas (email@example.com)
Corrections, additions and HTML by Kurt Adkins (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Additional corrections by Mark Bridgland