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Spike Milligan
Goon But Not Forgotten
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

In praise of comic genius


By JUSTIN PARKINSON - From the Sussex Goons website

LES DREW and his mates stood by the shore, gazing out to sea with only one thing on their minds - setting fire to the English Channel.

The lunatic attempt to overcome the laws of science was not mere idiocy, but an act in praise of comic genius.

Les, from Worthing, is chairman of the Sussex branch of the Goon Show Preservation Society (GSPS).

The 32 members spend their weekends re-enacting classic sketches from the radio series, which ran from 1951 to 1960 and is the fore-runner of modern comedy.

Scriptwriter Spike Milligan has attended monthly meetings and Les has met the other cast members, Harry Secombe, Michael Bentine and of course Spike himself on several occasions.

Many of the scripts mention Sussex locations and Les, 47, and his friends, who meet once a month to re-enact scenes and listen to old shows, are determined to visit them all.

Earlier this year, they went to Norman's Bay, near Eastbourne, during a snow storm armed with a box of matches.

Les said: "It all came from an episode where one of the characters is told he can claim on a 40,000 insurance policy if the Channel catches fire.

"It is set in the middle of winter, so we decided to film our own version at that time of the year. People must think we are mad, but it's our own salute to the comic genius of Spike Milligan."

For good measure, the members sat in deckchairs and soaked up the February sun.

The society, of which Prince Charles is patron, has just visited Upper Dicker to re-enact another episode.

A story about Queen Anne's Rain (or reign) mentions the line: "The rain is coming down over Upper Dicker". The GSPS went to the village, but could not find any place signs, so made its own and stood by the road-side with it.

Les said: "Horse riders were coming past us and wondering what we were up to, but it's all great fun. "There's a more serious side though.

A lot of the work the Goons did inspired later comedy like Monty Python yet today they are hardly mentioned.

"We chose the title of preservation society rather than appreciation because our aim is to make sure the legacy isn't lost."

Spike Milligan, who lives near Rye, was stationed near Bexhill during the war and used the nearby place names as locations in his skits.

Now in his eighties, he has dubbed himself "the leper of light entertainment" after not being given a BBC series for more than 20 years.

When not committing acts of lunacy on windswept beaches, the GSPS is kept busy gathering a Goons archive.

Les said: "Spike is a great man to meet. He's really funny. Recently he and another legend, Eric Sykes, sent in a script to the BBC, but it was rejected.

"That's a terrible way to treat two great figures. It's all very well having an 80th birthday celebration for Spike, but he hasn't been given the acclaim he deserves in the last few years."

The Goons, who met in a London pub in the Forties after being demobbed, recorded around 150 episodes in which bizarre characters like Eccles, Little Jim and Bluebottle became household names.

They were known for their surreal humour and catchphrases like "He's fallen in the water" and "I don't like this game".

Its stars, of whom only Spike Milligan and Sir Harry Secombe survive, all went on to enjoy successful solo careers.

Les said: "They are a very important part of our heritage. In their day they were cutting edge and highly satirical.

They were forever being taken off the air because they were so rude about politicians. Comedians today couldn't do what they do if it hadn't been for Spike and the others."

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