Thursday, 18 December 2008

There's A Lot Of It About

So, with today's lesson being to never promise something in the next blog which you then don't deliver because you ended up not doing the thing that you said you were going to do*, let us instead talk of some Spike Milligan stuff what I have seen (for they are many and varied and strange yet silly with a daft underside). I've selected a few little oddities that people might not know about because they already know about the stuff that they know and might not realise that they know nothing about the stuff for which they are unaware unless, of course, it turns out they do know it after all.**

Spike Milligan: A Series Of Unrelated Incidents At Current Market Value - This was a real indication of how different the BBC used to be. Shown in 1961, it's a strange little one-off programme in which Spike does his usual thing - except that back then, I can't imagine that a prime-time BBC audience was overly used to him doing his usual thing (half-finishing sketches, being very random, singing the end credits in a Spike fashion). It was recovered a few years back and shown as part of BBC4's Missing Believed Wiped season and I, for one, am glad they found it.

The Telegoons - Back in the early 60s, when telly was still trying to work itself out, the BBC wanted to try and find a way to translate the Goon Show from radio onto the screen. It was too surreal for a straightforward TV series and animation was too time-consuming - there was only one way left:- puppetry. The designs are pleasingly Spike-ish, Sellers, Milligan and Secombe all provide the voices and the adaptations of Goon Show eps are fairly faithful (if cut-down and a little simplified) but it somehow isn't as great as it should be (and, being both a fan of Spike and most forms of puppetry, it pains me to say it). Here's a brief clip:-

The Bed Sitting Room - Based on his own play, this 1969 film is very British, from its cast to its surreal and bleak sentiment. Following a nuclear attack, the surviving inhabitants of Britain find themselves slowly mutating into strange things. There's a whole slew of classic British comic actors including Arthur Lowe, Michael Hordern, Harry Secombe, Peter Cook and Dudley Moore to name but five. Spike himself turns up in it, naturally, wandering his Milligan-ish way through the film. Here's the first ten minutes - you can find the rest of it on That There Tube-y Place (as i believe it's called):-

* 2008 Contender for Most Tortured Sentence In A Blog

** 2008 Winner for Most Tortured, etc., etc...

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