| A sensitive portrait of a brilliant but complex man
Many of us remember Spike Milligan as an eccentric, grandfather-like, universally loved old man; as the comic hero of our fathers' generation, the manic author of the Goon Show; and the precursor of more modern comedy such as Monty Python. We may also be aware that the dark side of his humour (his gravestone famously reads 'I told you I was ill!') had some basis in reality. This outstanding film manages, surprisingly for a man who spent much of his life on national television, to assemble a combination of private and public material that gives a thoughtful and revealing portrait of a sensitive but wild individual, a manic depressive, alternately a brilliant and an awful father, in a way that makes him appear very much a human being not just a performer. It's interesting both for what it tells us about Spike, but also for how we might choose to see a public figure from a certain perspective and ignore much which is hidden in plain sight. Overall, I found this an unexpectedly moving and revealing program; and although it's about more than just Spike's comedy, there are moments in the clips that will remind you of his talent and force you to laugh.