RECORDED: 17 Nov 1957


GREENSLADE: This is the BBC.

CAST: (Approaching rapidly from a distance) Nyxhryhryhrhyrhxheyrhryrhxyrhynm!

SECOMBE: The Goon Show folks. Yes folks!

MILLIGAN: Yes folks!

SECOMBE: Yes folks!


GREENSLADE: And now for an encore Mr. Webster Smoggule will sing that lovely Mongolian saxophone solo for cor anglais and cor blimey, ĎI Lost my teeth in a Monastery Gardení by Hurlston.


SPRIGGS: (Megaphone) Oh let me like a soldier fall Öah hum, pardon me,

Oh let me like a soldier fall

Upon the field of the battleÖ

FX: Pistol shot.


GREENSLADE: We would like to announce that this was Smogguleís farewell appearance. But now to this weekís great feature, a story of a mighty cannon designed to win the Crimean War. Here then is the saga of Ė

SELLERS: ĎThe Giant Bombardoní, orÖ


SELLERS: ĎThe Giant Bombardoní, orÖ


SELLERS: The story of this great bombardon commences in the year 1853, the year of the Crimean War.

SEAGOON: It is midnight in the winter H.Q. of Major Bloodnok V.C., British Army, Balaclava. The enemy are only a stoneís throw away.

GRAMS: Pane of glass smashing.

BLOODNOK: Curse them! Theyíve thrown another stone. Lord Cardigan, plug that hole up.

CARDIGAN: (Valentine Dyall) This is the third winter in four months in this devilish place. Three fiscal years fighting those ruskies. They must be in the red. It looks bad.

BLOODNOK: Yes, it might even lead to war. Pass me the Marlon, lad. Pass me the brandy will you.

GRAMS: Horses hooves approaching rapidly.

BLOODNOK: Hark! I hear horses hooves.

CARDIGAN: Itís somebody galloping down the road.

BLOODNOK: Who is it?

CARDIGAN: Itís a man with coconut shells strapped to his feet.

BLOODNOK: Economical devil. Let me see. Why, he looks like a messenger from the front Ė and he looks like one from the back as well.

FX: Knocking on door.

BLOODNOK: Let him in by letting him in.

FX: Door opens.

GRAMS: Howling wind.

FX: Door closes.

SEAGOON: Oh! Bad news. Ohohohohhhh!

BLOODNOK: Who are you?

SEAGOON: Lieutenant Seagoon of the third Athleteís Foot.

BLOODNOK: I am Bloodnok of the second Royal Knees. Seagoon? Wait a minuteÖ Seagoon! I didnít recognise you.

CARDIGAN: You know him Sir?

BLOODNOK: No. Thatís why I didnít recognise him.

SEAGOON: Oh groan, groan, groan, groan. Ahhhgggh! Groan, oh groan.

BLOODNOK: Heís wounded, with groans. Quick, the brandy!


GRAMS: Liquid pouring from bottle.

CARDIGAN: Now, steady now. Drink this.

GRAMS: Stops.

BLOODNOK: (Swallowing.) Thank you. I never could stand the sight of blood you know.

SEAGOON: Iím alright sir. Itís only a flesh wound.

BLOODNOK: Oh, it looked like a bullet wound to me.

SEAGOON: The Russians sirÖ


SEAGOON: Öthe Russians, theyíve attacked heavily and after a five day battle against superhuman odds I fear the third Dismounted Foot and Mouth Fusiliers retreated.

CARDIGAN: Retreated! A British regiment retreated? How much?

SEAGOON: (Overcome) AÖa quarter of an inch.

CARDIGAN: Retreated a whole quarter of an inch?


CARDIGAN: But what made them panic like this?!

SEAGOON: They lost their Colonel sir. HeísÖ heís dead.

BLOODNOK: Colonel Splun dead?!


BLOODNOK: Oh! How did that happen?

SEAGOON: He was killed.

BLOODNOK: Killed? Do you think thatís what caused his death?

SEAGOON: Iím not a doctor sir.

BLOODNOK: What a coincidence.

CARDIGAN: How did he die?


SEAGOON: Well sir, the battle started at dawn ten days ago. The ruskies attacked Colonel Splunís troops but they held grimly.

CARDIGAN: Stout fellow!

SEAGOON: Then the Cossacks charged Colonel Splunís troops but he drove them back at nightfall.

CARDIGAN: Stout fellow!

SEAGOON: Well heís very thin really. Then the Russian artillery bombarded his troops for two days but they budged not an inch. So it went on for ten days. (My life, ten days it went on for!) Colonel Splunís lads held firm and finally scattered the attackers with cold steel. It was then I learned that Colonel Splun was dead.

CARDIGAN: What a hero.

SEAGOON: (Crying) Yes.

CARDIGAN: Tell us lad, how did he die?

SEAGOON: He Ö he was hiding in the NAAFI when a tea urn fell on his nut.

BLOODNOK: A soldierís death. I hope he died with his boots on.

BLOODNOK: He had holes in his socks.

SEAGOON: I donít wish to know that.

BLOODNOK: Things look bad though, you know. Those ruskies, they seem to have endless supplies of arms, and legs. Only this morning they bought three hundred new cannons.

SEAGOON: Are you sure?

BLOODNOK: Sure? Hereís the receipt.

CARDIGAN: Youíre right. This war will last as long as ruskies are safe behind the walls of Sebastopol.

BLOODNOK: What we need is a giant artillery mortar that will breach the walls.

CARDIGAN: Lieutenant Seagoon, hereís ten shillings and a pair of tartan socks. Take the next boat back to England and commission the building of a giant leather mortar Ė a bombardon!
SEAGOON: I did as I was told. Three weeks at sea saw us nearing England. The last night aboard we had a concert on deck.

SPRIGGS: (With piano accompaniment) Oh let me like a soldier fall

Upon the field of the battle.

Iíll gird on my song.

And fight for my country.

FX: Pistol shot.


GRAMS: Hearty cheering.

SERGEANT: The next Ladies and Gentlemen, we have Private Max Geldray. And here he is in ĎThe Secrets of a French Washing Machineí. Thank you.


GREENSLADE: I suppose the BBC knows what itís doing. In London Lieutenant Seagoon was given voice in a House of Commons special session.

GRAMS: Political rhubarbs.

SEAGOON: And further more there is discontent among the troops.

GRAMS: Political rhubarbs.

DISRAELI: Ah, Lieutenant Seagoon. You say there is discontent among the troops?

SEAGOON: Yes, there is discontent among the troops.

DISRAELI: Why do you say there is discontent among the troops?
SEAGOON: Because there is discontent among the troops.

DISRAELI: I see. You say there is discontent among the troops because there is discontent among the troops?
SEAGOON: Yes. I said there is discontent among the troops because there is discontent among the troops.

DISRAELI: Yes, well it all sounds reasonable to me. Thank you.

SEAGOON: Thank you. Now gentlemen, the most pressing need in the Crimea is the heavy artillery mortar for siege purposes. You see, the Russian held city of Sebastopol has walls twenty feet thick.

GRAMS: Political rhubarbs.

DISRAELI: Ah, Lieutenant Seagoon, you say the walls of Sebastopol are twenty feet thick?


DISRAELI: Why did you say that?

SEAGOON: Because the walls of Sebastopol are twenty feet thick.

DISRAELI: You say the walls are twenty feet thick because they are twenty feet thick?

SEAGOON: Yes, I said they are twenty feet thick because they are twenty feet thick!

DISRAELI: Well, you appear confident. Thank you.

SEAGOON: Good luck! To continue; I would like to sayÖ

DISRAELI: Ah, Lieutenant? A passing thought Ė have you ever measured the walls of Sebastopol?

SEAGOON: (In a fury) MnnnnnnghÖ (Suddenly calm.) No.

DISRAELI: Then it is possible that the walls are not twenty feet thick?

SEAGOON: It is possible, yes.

DISRAELI: They might be only ten feet six inches thick?

SEAGOON: It is possible the walls of Sebastopol are only ten feet six inches thick.

DISRAELI: You say that it is possible that the walls of Sebastopol are only ten feet six inches thick.


DISRAELI: Why do you say that?
SEAGOON: Because you said it!

DISRAELI: I said it?

DISRAELI: Lieutenant, are you blaming me for the walls of Sebastopol being only ten feet six inches thick?

(Argument &c)

SEAGOON: Iím not blaming you at all. Youíre a raving idiot man.

DISRAELI: Then who are you blaming for the walls of Sebastopol being only ten feet six inches thick?

SEAGOON: Iím not blaming anybody for the walls of Sebastopol being only ten feet six inches thick.

DISRAELI: But somebody must be responsible for the walls being ten feet six inches thick!

SEAGOON: Nobodyís responsible for the walls of Sebastopol being only ten feet six inches thick.

(Argument &c)

GRAMS: Bring in sound of political infighting.

LORD PHULES: Gentlemen please, please. After all, Lieutenant Seagoon did not say the walls were only ten foot six inches. He said they were twenty feet thick.

DISRAELI: Twenty feet?! Then whatís happened to the other nine feet six inches?

SEAGOON: Nothingís happened to the other nine feet six inches.

DISRAELI: Thank heavens theyíre safe! Lieutenant Seagoon, I apologise.

SEAGOON: I accept your apology. Now then, I was going to say Ö

DISRAELI: Er, Lieutenant Seagoon?

SEAGOON: My life!

DISRAELI: You say you accept my apology?


DISRAELI: Why did you say that?

SEAGOON: (Raving) Haahhahahahahahahaaaaaaaaa!!!!!

GRAMS: Massive pub brawl, breaking glass, mix in series of explosions, messerschmidts dive bombing, train pulling out of station, whistles, car horns.

SEAGOON: At midnight the debate finished, and I decided to spend the night at my aunt and uncleís, a dear old couple who, being holders of government gilt edged securities, lived in a tree in Hyde Park.

FX: Sound of crockery, running water, plates being scraped. Continue under.

GRAMS: Occasional trumpeting of elephant over.

CRUN: (Singing) Iíve got rhythm in my soul

Nukka tukka tikkie.

Iíve got rhythm in my soul.

Tuckle tuckle tuckle.

Iíve got fish in my socks,

And shoes in my nose.

GRAMS: Extra loud elephantine trumpet.

CRUN: Oh! Youíll have your herbs in a minute.

GRAMS: More trumpeting.

BANNISTER: (Off) Henry!

CRUN: What, modern Min?

BANNISTER: What are you doing there, Henry?

CRUN: Iím singing hot rhythm songs Min.

BANNISTER: Oooooh! Naughty Henry.

CRUN: Iím rocking round the clock Min.

BANNISTER: Ooo! Youíll never get away with that. Whatís all that other type noise down there?

CRUN: Iím washing the dinner plates Min.

FX: Scraping of crockery. (Continues under)

BANNISTER: But we havenít had dinner yet, Henry.

CRUN: Ah, but Iím washing them now so that we wonít have to wash them after.

GRAMS: Extra loud burst of elephantine trumpeting.

BANNISTER: Ooooooh! Was that you Henry?

CRUN: No. That was the elephant Min.

BANNISTER: Whatís the elephant doing in the kitchen?

CRUN: Helping, Min.

BANNISTER: Is he drying up?

CRUN: No. He feels quite moist Min. Heís cooking the din Min.

FX: Rapid footsteps on staircase. Door opens.

BANNISTER: (On mic) Oh, I told you not to let him cook the dinner. You know thatís the gorillaís job. Shoo! Get out of it you naughty elephant. Shoo!

GRAMS: Enraged trumpet.

CRUN: You know that elephant was helping me build my giant bombardon in the cellar.

BANNISTER: I donít know what we want a giant bombardon for.

FX: Crash of crockery.

CRUN: Well, if you sleep in the barrel of it Min, it gets rid of rheumatism of the knees you know. My uncle slept in a cannon once.

BANNISTER: What did it get rid of?

CRUN: It got rid of my uncle Min.

FX: Rapid crockery scraping.

BANNISTER: Ooooh! Thereís a plun on my plin!

CRUN: You realise weíre lucky modern Min. No-one else in this street has got a bombardon.

FX: Door knocking


CRUN: Iíll answer it Min. I know the way to the door.

FX: Door latch.

CRUN: Ahhhhhggghhhahhoooiiiee!

SEAGOON: Hello Uncle Crun.

CRUN: Ooooh! Itís shiny, short and dreadful Neddie. Min!

BANNISTER: Ah, back from the China wars.

CRUN: Come in. Let me take that wet wig off.

SEAGOON: Thank you. Ah, home and beauty.

BANNISTER: Come on in darling. Come on and relax. Put your feet up.

FX: Body crashes to floor. Crockery falls etc.

CRUN: You shouldnít have done that from the standing position.

SEAGOON: You old joker you.

BANNISTER & CRUN: (Rhythm laughter.)

CRUN: You know Min, I met Lieutenant Seagoon by accident.

SEAGOON: He ran over me in a steam roller.

CAST: (Laugh &c)
SEAGOON: Yes. Happy days! Happy, happy days. By the way, whatís that thing in the cellar?

CRUN: What? Didnít you know Iím building a giant leather bombardon?

SEAGOON: Dear listeners, what luck! The very thing Iíve come to England for.

CRUN: You see Min. I told you it would come in handy.

SEAGOON: Ooooh! Er, I havenít introduced you to Colonel Ray Ellington here.

ELLINGTON: Ah, how do you do?


GRAMS: Construction noises

GREENSLADE: Under government contract genius Henry Crun set about completing his bombardon. Finally the day of completion arrived.

CRUN: Ah, Seagoon. Just put this office on will you?

FX: Door opens and closes.

SEAGOON: Thank you. Itís a bit tight under the arm pits.

CRUN: Now, I have here a miniature of the bombardon. Itís loaded, and to show you its angle of projection Iím going to fire a shot at the target on that door.

SEAGOON: Splenders.

CRUN: Ah, splenders, just light the fuse would you.

GRAMS: Hiss of burning cordite

FX: Door opens.

BLUEBOTTLE: Good morning.

GRAMS: Terrible explosion.

BLUEBOTTLE: Ohohohhhaweee! You rotten swines you. Iím shotted! My Captain you have shotted me. Ohheeeee! Falls to ground. Clutches heart area in agony. Loses knees.

BANNISTER: Donít be silly, little Ďbottle. It was only a rubber bullet.

BLUEBOTTLE: Itís still agony though.


BLUEBOTTLE: It went down my throat.

BANNISTER: Oh dear. Youíve swallowed a bullet? Quick, Iíll pick you up.

SEAGOON: Yes, but donít point him at anybody.

BLUEBOTTLE: I have a rubber bullet within! I die. Iím killéd do you hear. You have deaded me!
SEAGOON: Iíll fix it. Pass me that mallet. Thank you. Now Bluebottle, take your hat off.



GRAMS: Pop. Whoosh. Splat.

BLUEBOTTLE: Ooh! Oo! Youíve banged it up! My Captain has savéd me. Hurray!

GRAMS: Truck reversing in low gear.

SEAGOON: Ah, hereís the lorry with the iron for the cannon balls.

WILLIUM: Ah, pardon me mate. Where do you want all this scrap iron on the Ďany-old-iron any-old-ironí on the Ďere lorry mate, dumping?

SEAGOON: Throw the lot in this deep smelting pit.

WILLIUM: Well give me an Ďand then.

SEAGOON: Right. Iíll make the straining noises.

WILLIUM & SEAGOON: (Strains supreme, including that old favourite ĎWatch out for the tenors friend thereí.)

GRAMS: Sudden burst of steam. Enormous crash of falling load.

SEAGOON: Gad. That was heavy.

WILLIUM: It ought to be. That was the lorry.

SEAGOON: You fool. Why didnít you tell me that was a lorry?

WILLIUM: Well, I didnít have me glasses on. My mate borrowed them.

SEAGOON: Well youíd better get them back off him hadnít you!

WILLIUM: I canít. He was in the lorry. (Sings) In the lo-rrrrry!

SEAGOON: Of course. (Sings) I suppose he had to steer. To stee-eeeeer!

SPRIGGS: Pardon me Jim. Are you taking the mickey out of me Ji-iiiim? Oh Jim, the barrels of gunpowder have arri-iiiived!

SEAGOON: Where are they?

SPRIGGS: They were a bit damp so Eccles is drying the gunpowder out by the fire.

SEAGOON: Thatís the last thing he should do.

SPRIGGS: It will be.

GRAMS: Rolling series of Vesuvian explosions. Pause. Boots running, coming from distance.

ECCLES: ĎEre! That gunpowder exploded.

SEAGOON: Eccles! Still alive?

SEAGOON: It must be a miracle. Go back and try again.

ECCLES: Oh, no. Not again. I canít go round having fun all the time you know. Whereís my legs gone?

SEAGOON: The trouble is, where to get another vast quantity of gunpowder. Iíd pay anything for it.

GRAMS: Whoosh

GRYTPYPE: We were in Siberia queueing for Sputniks and we happened to hear your chance remarks, sir.

SEAGOON: I havenít had the pleasure.

GRYTPYPE: Allow me to erÖ.etcetera, etcetera. Iím Grytpype Thynne and this is the hairy Count JimÖ.

MORIARTY: Xch awwwooww!

GRYTPYPE: Öíexplosionsí Moriarty.

SEAGOON: Explosions? You deal in gunpowder then.

GRYTPYPE: I far more deadly explosive.


GRYTPYPE: Liquorish powder.

SEAGOON: This is new to me. I demand a demonstration.

GRYTPYPE: Moriarty!

GRAMS: Explosion, strength 9


SEAGOON: Proof enough.

GRYTPYPE: Yes. Just sign this contract and certificate of slavery, would you?
SEAGOON: Iíll sign with my banjo.

GRAMS: (Recording) Chromatic banjo lick, speeded up.

GRYTPYPE: And Iíll blot it with this piano.

GRAMS: (Recording) Speedy octaves in G.

SEAGOON: Hup! Have the liquorish powder delivered on board the HMS Venus.


GREENSLADE: Crun, true to his word, had the giant bombardon completed well behind schedule.

FX: Rapid hammering on planks.

SEAGOON: In separate brown paper parcels it was stored in the hold of the HMS Venus.

GRYTPYPE: (Aside) Likewise the powerful crates of liquorish powder, post free. Little does he know that one crate contains Count Jim Moriarty who will spy for the Russians.

SEAGOON: Finished?
GRYTPYPE: Yes thank you.

SEAGOON: Captain MacSporran, are you ready to sail?

MacSPORRAN: (Dyall) Aye aye sir.

SEAGOON: Then off you go Captain.


OMNES: Seamenís ejaculations.

GRAMS: Creaking timbers and ropes. Ocean swell.

SEAGOON: Three days out to the Crimea. How many knots are we making?

BLUEBOTTLE: Twenty knots an hour.

SEAGOON: We appear to be going slow for twenty knots.

BLUEBOTTLE: Well, theyíre only granny-knots.

GRAMS: Body falling heavily into water.

LITTLE JIM: Heís fallen in the water!

SEAGOON: Yes, little Jim. Naughty Uncle Harry did that. We donít want idiots on this ship.

GRAMS: Body falling heavily into water.

SEAGOON: (Distant) Naughty little Jim! Help! Somebody drop me a line.

GRYTPYPE: Certainly. Whatís your address? Ha ha ha ha ha! No dear listeners, Iíd better save him. He might have the last line in the show. Here. Catch this concrete life belt. HuhÖ

FX: Single woodbloc


MILLIGAN: Dramatic chords. Freeze water.


GRAMS: Distant wind howling.

GREENSLADE: It was three months journey to the Crimea, but by December the forty-third Crunís giant leather bombardon was dug in and sighted on the walls of Russian held Sebastopol. Major Bloodnok had also been sighted by a certain Captain Fitzgerald.

BLOODNOK: Itís lies! So this is the bombardon, eh? What a terrible looking monster.

ECCLES: No. Iím Eccles. Thatís the bombardon.

BLOODNOK: Youíve spoilt everything.

ECCLES: Iíve spoilt everything?

BLOODNOK: Yes, you see I just loaded you.

SEAGOON: Bloodnok sir! Telephone message from Commander Ryan, Infantry H.Q. We must fire at dawn. Itís a matter of life and click.

BLOODNOK: You mean life and death?

SEAGOON: No, life and click. He hung up.


BLOODNOK: Stop those naughty Ďaudience-winningí jokes. Remember we fire at dawn tonight. Further chords please.


GRAMS: Distant rifle fire. Distant bugle. Vary speed at end.

SERGEANT MAJOR: Reveille! Come on. Wakey, wakey! Out of bed. Hands off your socks! Come on there!

BLOODNOK: Gad! Itís snowing.

CARDIGAN: No. It happens I have dandruff. Incidentally the giant leather bombardonís ready for action sir.

SEAGOON: Right. Put a case of liquorish powder down the barrel.

CARDIGAN: Three nonet! (sic!)

SEAGOON: Right. Men, take up position.

OMNES: Military rhubarbs.

SEAGOON: Point it towards the large portion of Sebastopol wall. Ready? FIRE!

GRAMS: Howitzer. Sound of shell whistling overhead.

GREENSLADE: We now go over to Sebastopol wall to hear the arrival of the missile.

GRAMS: Incoming shell. Explosion.

MORIARTY: Awwawawawwwwow! Owww!


MORIARTY: Owww mate!

GRYTPYPE: Moriarty, prepare for the payoff line then run.

MORIARTY: Right. Weíve been fired!


GREENSLADE: Well, there it is. Makes you mad, doesnít it!


GREENSLADE: That was the Goon Show, a BBC recorded programme featuring Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Spike Milligan with Valentine Dyall, the Ray Ellington Quartet, Max Geldray and the orchestra conducted by Wally Stott. Script by Spike Milligan. Announcer, Wallace Greenslade. The programme produced by Roy Speer.