The BBC after the bomb. The BBC's War Book contains meticulous plans for the organisation's operations after a nuclear attack on the UK. Ordered to be destroyed after the end of the Soviet Union, a rebellious BBC official quietly transferred it to the corporation's archives. Filled with the sort of mordantly amusing detail common to such documents - the BBC would be run by Radio 4, 'informal clothing' only being required, and an abandoned plan to entertain the nation with Round the Horne and Goon Show repeats - the plans help flesh out the way British bureaucracy faced up to an unknowable future that, at the time, seemed sometimes to be very close indeed. Previously.
Here is, um, something. Something silly, from the Goons. Here it is again. And here it is from the Muppets. And here it is in a bookstore at a signing by one of the Goons. More nonsense. And more. (← my favorite) And yet more. Okay, just one more. [more inside]
Spike Milligan, Medical Reformer: another delight from Letters of Note.
The Goon Show was a highly popular and immensely influential radio show on the BBC in the 1950s featuring Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Spike Milligan. They would sometimes do live readings of episodes, here's a video recording of The Whistling Spy Enigma (parts 1, 2, 3) and a much later recording of Tales of Men's Shirts (parts 1, 2, 3). The first features Ray Ellington, musical director of the Goon Show, and the second John Cleese, who, like his fellow Pythons, was a huge fan of The Goon Show growing up. In the 50s BBC turned The Goon Show into a TV show with puppets, called Telegoons. A number of shows exist online: The Lurgi Strikes Britain (1, 2), The Nadger Plague (1, 2), Captain Seagoon RN (1, 2), Tales of Montmartre (1, 2), The First Albert Memorial to the Moon (1, 2), The Hastings Flyer (1, 2), The Affair of the Lone Banana (1, 2), The Africa Ship Canal (1, 2), The Booted Gorilla (1, 2), The Ascent of Mount Everest (1, 2), The Dreaded Batter Pudding Hurler of Bexhill on Sea (1, 2), Fort Knight (1, 2), The Terrible Revenge of Fred Fu Manchu (1, 2), The Lost Colony (1, 2) and, finally, back where we first began, the Telegoons version of The Whistling Spy Enigma (1, 2).