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Spike Milligan

"Money can't buy friends, but it can

get you a better class of enemy."

Spike Milligan Puzzle

Unjumble Spike's oeuvres
Spike Milligan Quiz

Radio, films, TV, books, poems - he conquered them all - but how much attention were you paying?

Read Haikus on Spike. Check out, what is a Spaiku
Related Links

The Goons@BBC7
BBC Obituary of Spike Milligan
Interview with Spike Milligan
Spike at The World Socialist Website

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites

Voted the funniest comedian of the last millennium in a BBC Online vote, Spike Milligan is perhaps best known for his creation, together with Michael Bentine of the Goon Show.

Spike was born in India. Although his father was Irish and his mother English, his attempts to take British nationality were thwarted because he had to swear an oath of allegiance to the crown. This he declined to do since he felt it ridiculous to be taking the oath with a batch of foreigners. So, he took an Irish passport instead.

His autobiography, "Hitler, My Part in His Downfall" was the result of service in the Artillery in WW2, and was a best seller, years after the event.

It was with friends who had suffered similar army experiences - Peter Sellers, Michael Bentine and Harry Secombe - that the concept of the Goons was developed. Sold to the BBC, the series started in 1951 and ran through until 1960, with the "Very Last Goon Show of All" in 1972. Spike entirely took over the script writing fairly soon in the first series, but this caused him enormous strain and brought on attacks of manic depression, a disease that he suffered from all his life.

The TV sketch show, Series Q, followed on from the Goon Show. His sketches often had no finish or punch-line, ending with the cast heading towards the camera intoning, "What are we going to do now?" or simply merging into another completely unrelated skit.

He was not the easiest of people to get along with and famously described one of his greatest fans, the Prince of Wales, as a "Grovelling little bastard" at the British Comedy Awards. However, his apology must have worked since he was knighted in 2001. In the BBC series Room 101, he memorably consigned Portsmouth to oblivion, perhaps as a result of his wartime experiences. He was a master of repartee, on being told at a party, "You're Spike Milligan", he replied, "I know who I am, now go home and find out who you are".
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