24 June 2006 | mundsen
just before spike got his q
This Spike Milligan vehicle was adapted from a long-running column in a British paper, the Daily Express. Though it's vintage Milligan in every way, it's also very true to the style and spirit of JB Morton's original columns. (These, in turn, are very akin to the Cruiskeen Lawn columns published by Flan O'Brien in the Irish Times).
Both Morton and Milligan are, of course, precursors of the Pythons. (Honestly. People go on about the Pythons as if they had invented the wheel. They're brilliant geniuses, but they're strictly on a continuum of eccentric British comedy going back to the King Alfred and the cakes.) Spike appeared in a smoking-jacket as Dr. Strabismus (whom god preserve), linking the sketches.
The nice thing about Britain is that everyone expects to be underpaid, and they all actually LIKE their work. Consequently, you can frequently round up an all-star cast (most of whom turn up for the fun of working with each other). Look at that lineup: no make-weights there.
I think this was one of the first shows to feature bogus commercials (viz "the goodies). Products included all-purpose liquid Snibbo, and Threadgold's Thoroughgrip Garterettes.
My favourite memories are of Patricia Hayes as the landlady of the "Casa Mcgurgle", a particularly seedy private hotel. Unfortunately, memories are just about all that remain: as I understand it, the BBC wiped most of this.
But a lot of audio survives and has been released on tape.