On 27 March 1947 Spike wrote to BBC Television asking for work.
He said he had recently performed as a guitarist with the Bill Hall Trio at Alexandra Palace. He had now formed a guitar duo
with Reg O'List, who had just performed at the Windmill Theatre.
Spike wrote: "We present a very colourful act in rhumba costume and our numbers comprise sambas, beguines, rhumbas etc. We feature
the two guitars and the two voices."
Cecil Madden, BBC Television's Programme Organiser, replied on
31 March 1947 promising to let producers know about Milligan's act, but adding: "I ought to tell you we are not doing as much
straight variety at the moment as we were, since we are doing a certain amount of revue work and we have less hours on the
air owing to the electricity cuts."
On 19 March 1949 Spike attended a BBC audition which lasted nine
and a half minutes. He was described as a "tall, good-looking young man of medium colouring in grey suit". His performance
is noted as "patter, burlesque impressions, vocal finish etc".
The audition report noted: "Talent, good looks and a pleasant
singing voice make him a very good subject for TV but his material needs careful attention as he is inclined to overdo the
"crazy" parts. If the act is condensed and script vetted should prove suitable for Tele Variety."
The Goons first broadcast on the Home Service on 28 May 1951,
initially titled Crazy People. From 1952 it became The Goon Show and then in 1955 simply The Goons.
Spike Milligan - from the BBC archives