The Goon Show Starts Today – Possibly The Best Radio Comedy Ever

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On this day in film and tv.

Yes, it’s true, Prince Charles loves this show and does all the silly voices too. But don’t let that put you off. This is excellent stuff and without it – and the later Q – there never would have been Monty Python. It all started today:

I recall that the BBC overseas stuff always used to broadcast a repeat just after the Queen’s Speech:

The Goon Show was a British radio comedy programme, originally produced and broadcast by the BBC Home Service from 1951 to 1960, with occasional repeats on the BBC Light Programme. The first series, broadcast from 28 May to 20 September 1951, was titled Crazy People; subsequent series had the title The Goon Show, a title inspired, according to Spike Milligan, by a Popeye character.[1] The show’s chief creator and main writer was Spike Milligan. The scripts mixed ludicrous plots with surreal humour, puns, catchphrases and an array of bizarre sound effects.

The effects are more than just the shows themselves. A few weeks back a Dominic Lawson aside in his column referred to one of the jokes from Tales of Old Dartmoor. I checked with him to make sure I’d got the source right:

The Best Of The Goon Shows Vol 1

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Quentin Vole
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Quentin Vole

I agree that without the Goons there could have been no Python. Without the Daily Express’s Beachcomber there would have been no Goons (and certainly no Q). And let’s not forget I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again and At Last the 1948 Show (the real source of the ‘Four Yorkshiremen’, nicked for the Python film/show).

Jonathan Harston
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Jonathan Harston

As a child in the 1980s I carefully photocopied the album sleeves from the record library to make inlays for my cassette recordings. 🙂