25 years on, the Goons are back
Thursday 11 September 1997
Spike Milligan, Sir Harry Secombe and Peter Sellers were last reunited in 1972 as part of the BBC's 50th anniversary celebrations. The trio got together for The Last Goon Show Of All, a live performance recorded for radio at the Camden Theatre in London.
Next month, Radio 2 is marking the occasion by broadcasting a new version of the Goon finale, which will include material cut from the original performance. Milligan's version of I Left My Heart In San Francisco, the publishers of which prevented its broadcast 25 years ago, will be heard for the first time.
The show will be preceded by a history of the programme entitled At Last The Go-On Show, featuring Milligan, Secombe, Eric Sykes and the late Michael Bentine. This will include some seldom-heard recordings and a feature on the first Goon show, Crazy People, made 46 years ago.
Yesterday at the project's launch, the two surviving Goons proved they had lost none of their touch. Milligan, close to his 80th birthday, looked frail but retained his mischievous twinkle. When told that his friend John Cleese was unable to make the event, he retorted: "John Cleese is a miserable bastard. He is never able to make it." And when presented with a framed tribute to the show, Sir Harry responded graciously: "Oh that'll fit in the loo nicely."
Speaking at the launch, Radio 2 controller James Moir said: "The Goon Show used to be the black sheep programme of the BBC. Now it is the golden fleece.
"It had a profound and lasting effect on me. As a schoolboy back in the Fifties I thought it quite simply the funniest thing I had ever heard. Forty years on it still bends me double with laughter."
Prince Charles, a well-known fan of Goonism, once said: "No matter how much `fashion' in humour changes, there will always be thousands of people whose minds are attuned to the kind of mental slapstick and imaginary cartoonery that typifies Goonery ... It has always been one of my profound regrets that I was not born 10 years earlier than 1948, since I would then have had the pure unbounded joy of listening avidly to the Goons each week."
At Last The Go-On Show and The Last Goon Show Of All will be broadcast as a double bill on BBC Radio 2 on 5 October. A special 25th anniversary edition video and audio cassette is also going on sale.
- 1 Reader dilemma: 'My boyfriend jokes about putting photos of us having sex on Facebook'
- 2 Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta clashes with President Obama on LGBT equality: ‘Gay rights is really a non-issue’
- 3 Ralkina Jones: 37-year-old black woman found dead in police custody
- 4 Kanye West praises Caitlyn Jenner on I Am Cait: 'You couldn't have been up against more'
- 5 Five-year-old boy forced classmate to simulate oral sex at primary school, claims mother
Mystery over deaths of 3,000 Napoleonic soldiers in mass grave has been solved
Global Peace Index: Ukraine tops list of countries with the worst relations with neighbours
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards, 71, still enjoys 'an early morning joint' for breakfast
Denmark bans kosher and halal slaughter as minister says ‘animal rights come before religion’
The 9 charts that show the 'left-wing' policies of Jeremy Corbyn the public actually agrees with
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
The last thing Labour needs is a leader like Jeremy Corbyn who people want to vote for
What the Labour party could look like under Jeremy Corbyn
I am the Jeremy Corbyn supporter that many will tell you doesn't exist
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
£18000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Insurance Bro...
£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Junior IT Support Technician ...
£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides actionabl...
Negotiable depending on experience, plus benefits: Guru Careers: We are seekin...