Spike Milligan

Born 16 April 1918. Died 27 February 2002.
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Sir George Martin & Michael Palin listen to Irene Handl and Peter Sellers

Sir George Martin speaks to Michael Palin about his comedy recordings, particularly working with Peter Sellers, Irene Handl and Spike Milligan and how that influenced his latter work with The Beatles.

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Biography

Spike Milligan KBE (born Terence Alan Milligan; 16 April 1918 – 27 February 2002) was a comedian, writer, musician, poet, playwright, soldier and actor of Irish parentage dual English/Irish nationality. His early life was spent in British India, where he was born, but the majority of his working life was spent in the United Kingdom.

He claimed his right to Irish citizenship (as a child of an Irish citizen) after the British government declared him stateless. He was the co-creator, main writer and a principal cast member of The Goon Show, performing a range of roles including the popular Eccles, and Minnie Bannister characters.

Milligan wrote and edited many books, including Puckoon and his seven-volume autobiographical account of his time serving during the Second World War, beginning with Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall. He is also noted as a popular writer of comical verse; much of his poetry was written for children, including Silly Verse for Kids (1959). After success with the groundbreaking British radio programme, The Goon Show, Milligan translated this success to television with Q5, a surreal sketch show which is credited as a major influence on the members of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

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