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Spike Milligan
Bill Hall Trio
More Pictures of Spike
Drawings of Spike Milligan
Drawings by Spike
The Life and Times of Spike Milligan
Duirt me leat go raibh me breoite
Spike Tudor-Pole
Everything Goes Back To Spike
OK Again, After Spike Of Success
For One Week Only
The Ugliest House In The World
Comedian, Campaigner and Philosopher
Pythons' Tribute To Goon Legend Spike
Did You Hear The One About...
Comic Genius
Spike: An Intimate Memoir
Me and My Dad, Spike
Fry's Milligan memories
Parsons Toasts A 'Comic Icon'
The Prince And The Comic
Stars Pay Tribute...
Gospel According To St Matthew
Sonnet XXX
Here's That Rainy Day
Guide Me
A Truly Remarkable Interview
Simply Spike
Slan Leat, Lance Corporal Milligan
Goon But Not Forgotten
Goon But Not Forgotten...Take 2
In Memoriam
Ever The Old Flatterer!
Crystal Palace Bulletin Board Messages
Danny Bakers Message Board
Spike Milligan Messages
Rename The Thames...
Medics Win Spike Milligan Trophy
His Part In Our Lives
Compassionate Comic Genius
Australian Reviews - Three Books On Spike Milligan
The Spoof
London Statue
Woy Woy Peninsula
Draining The Mirror
Spike Milligans Great Grandfather?
The Ex Nanny
The War
On The Stage
It's Behind You! Mother Goose
Mukkinese Battle Horn
Down Among The Z Men
Watch Your Stern
Invasion Quartet 1961
What A Whopper 1961
Postman's Knock
The Bed Sitting Room
The Magic Christian
The Three Musketeers
Ghost In The Noonday Sun
Great McGonagall
Beau Geste
Digby - The Biggest Dog In The World
Scene 17
Misc Spike Stuff
On Music
78 Not Out
Bill Hall Trio
The Goon Show
Goon Images
The Telegoons
Under The Influence...
The World Of Beachcomber
Curry And Chips
An Apple A Day
The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine
Cure For The Common Cold
On The Muppet Show
An Evening With Spike Milligan
Multimedia And Downloads
My Brief Encounter With A Genius
Spike and Milligan
Poke A Penguin
Contact Us & Related Links
Spikefest UK 2004
Buy Limited Edition Prints
And Finally

Life Before The Goons



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

Cecil Madden