You ask the questions: Spike Milligan
(Such as: Has your relationship with Prince Charles soured since you called him a `grovelling bastard'?)
Wednesday 16 June 1999
Milligan met Harry Secombe while he was recovering from shell shock, and together with Peter Sellers and Michael Bentine, created The Goon Show, a ground-breaking and influential radio series that ran from 1951 to 1960.
He then went on to write the surreal TV sketch-show Q, that ran for five series between 1969 and 1980.
Milligan has also written novels, poetry and a book on surviving depression, and was awarded the CBE in 1992.
He now lives in Rye, East Sussex. He has four children from three marriages.
What is your favourite limerick of all time?
Richard Joyce (by e-mail)
`There was a young girl from Bombay,
Who was trapped in a tiller one day,
She was trapped in a tiller,
By a sex-crazed gorilla,
Bombay is a bloody long way.'
That's one of mine... or any by Lear.
What makes you happy?
Sam Marsden, Bristol
Swing bands and blondes with big boobs.
Was your brilliant absurdist TV series, Q, shelved because the BBC's lack of imagination made it difficult for them to accept a programme that failed to be safely pigeonholed in a bland viewer friendly category, and that they only (mis)understood it in terms of a politically correct agenda?
Hermant Solanki, Handsworth, Birmingham.
I've no idea why they shelved it. It was very funny. It was a bit heart- breaking, you know.
Has your relationship with Prince Charles soured since you called him a "grovelling little bastard"?
Catharine Brown (by e-mail)
No - it's still very good.
At the front of one of your books you say, "Why is a mouse when it spins? Because the higher the fewer". But what does it mean?
Tim Noble, Heworth, York
Because it is.
Your novel The Looney is littered with words like `spade' and `Paki'. Would you call yourself a racist?
James Pringle, Coulsdon
Has your sense of humour changed - if so, how?
Adrian Webber, Cirencester,
No. It's always been abstract. I'm Irish - we think sideways.
Who are the greatest comedians in history?
Ian Hickton, Stoke-on-Trent.
Groucho Marks, WC Fields and Monsieur Hulot, a Frenchman who was the funniest man in the world.
What do you think of contemporary comedians, such as Hale & Pace, Harry Enfield et al?
Jake Tyber, Stoke Newington
Harry Enfield - he's a very funny man - and I think Eddie Izzard's very funny. Hale and Pace are bloody terrible, they really are.
What are your thoughts on electro-convulsive therapy?
Sandra Little, Birmingham
I've had it and it didn't hurt. I don't know what it did.
Why are you called Spike?
Davina James, Fulham
I was dubbed "Spike" in the army. There's no reason, psychological or physical.
I read the published correspondence between you and Robert Graves with tremendous interest. How did you most admire him? As a poet, a novelist, a mythologist-philosopher-theologist, a critic or simply as a person?
Andrew Holdcroft (by e-mail)
Most of those.
On Parkinson, you once said we had to safeguard our children and the planet. Are these still your main worries?
Avril Taylor, Hull
What do you consider to be the crowning achievement of your career?
Ian Hickton, Stoke-on-Trent.
The Goon Show. I didn't know I was changing the face of world humour, but I was.
You carry an Irish passport. Do you see yourself as Irish?
John O'Byrne, Dublin
I never see myself as Irish, but I am. My father and mother were both Irish and had Irish passports. I had a British passport, but when I went to get it renewed, and said my father was born in Ireland before 1900, they said I couldn't have a British passport - some bloody law.
So I said, fuck you. I went to the Irish Embassy and I said: "My name's Spike Milligan, can I have a passport?" And they said, "Oh yes! We're short of people."
What words of advice can you offer to the younger generation?
Sarah Jones, Hammersmith
Run for it!
TVJamie's Sugar Rush reveal's campaigning chef's new foe
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 2 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 3 Bob Geldof offers to take four refugee families into his home 'immediately' as he condemns humanitarian crisis as a ‘f**king disgrace'
- 4 Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
- 5 Bryan Cranston speaks candidly about wealth
Anne Hathaway is already being stung by Hollywood ageism, aged 32
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series
The Lobster trailer: Colin Farrell has 45 days to find a lover or he'll be turned into an animal
Spanish town saved by botched restoration of century-old Christian 'Ecce Homo' fresco of Jesus
'Beasts of No Nation': Netflix releases trailer of first feature film, starring Idris Elba
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be