Goon Show Script

The Collapse of the British Railway Sandwich System

Series 4, Episode 24

Script by Spike Milligan. Transcript by unknown. Corrections by thegoonshow.net


This episode is available on...

Vol. 23: The Collapse of the British Railway Sandwich System

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Bill (Wallace Greenslade):
Good evening, listeners.

Minnie:
Oh.

Bill:
Worker's Playtime tonight comes to you from a Head and Foot Mangling factory at Bill Gates. Among the artists are those three sons of fun, fresh from their triumphant Palladium failure, Sellers, Secombe and Milligan in...

Harry:
The Goon Show

ORCHESTRA:
Fanfare

Bill:
Thank you, Arturo Toscanini. The solo violin part was played by Vic Oliver on the drums. Maurice Winnick's 'Book of Party Games' is now on sale, priced two shillings at all good chemists.

Spike:
Listeners are probably wondering what all this has to do with the great saxophone shortage in Tibet. (pause) Well, we shall see.

Peter:
Yes, we shall see. As we present...

Harry:
The Collapse of the British Railway Sandwich System, or...

ORCHESTRA:
Rising chords

Spike:
I was Mrs. Dale's Chiropodist, by John Bunion, or...

Harry:
The Collapse of Mrs. Dales's Saxophone System on the Tibetan Sandwich Railway, or...

FX:
Small gong, pea whistle, accordeon, squeak, pop, tingle, raspberry.

Spike:
We shall see.

GRAMS:
Eastern music setting.

Peter:
(agonised) Our story opens in hell, the hell that drives many a normal person sane. The hell that we Londoners know as... Clapham Junction Tea Buffet. Ah ha ha. (fades)

Spike:
Into that den of vice strode a man. Ragged, tattered, torn. His appearance told us what he was. Middle-class Englishman.

Bill:
With a pounding heart he approaches the counter, and speaks.

Harry (Cockney):
Can I have some service, Miss?

Bill:
There was courage for you.

Harry (Cockney):
Miss, did you 'ear?

Peter (woman):
Just a minute. Can't you see I've only got one pair of fingers?

Harry (Cockney):
But I've got a train to catch.

FX:
Banging on counter.

Harry (Cockney):
(over banging) Hey, Miss. Miss, did you 'ear?

Peter (woman):
Do you want to buy a sausage roll?

Harry (Cockney:
No.

Peter (woman):
Well stop bangin' it on the counter.

Harry (Cockney):
I want to complain about this sandwich. It tastes like muck.

Peter (woman):
Muck? Let's see. Of course, it's a muck sandwich.

Harry (Cockney):
Well, I wanted a mustard and cress one.

Peter (woman):
Capitalist. I'll get you one. (surprise) Ohh! Oh, 'ere. Someone's pinched all the mustard and cress out of the sandwiches.

ORCHESTRA:
Suspenseful chords

Bill:
That was the first sign of the great mustard and cress shortage, which was to cause havoc to British Railways. In other stations there were similar disappearances.

Peter:
Investigations were commenced by your favourite midget, Captain Gladys Seacombe, sometimes called by the same name.

Harry:
Yes, Captain Seagoon. Magdalen (pr. "Maudlin") College, Oxford. Caius (pr. "Keys") College, Cambridge. Trinity College, Dublin. I know where they all are. To investigate the mustard and cress disappearances I called at several station buffets.

GRAMS:
Cups and saucers clatter, background murmurs

Ray:
(over) I was with him.

Harry:
The Man in Black. Together we approached the counter.

Peter (woman):
Yes, Constables?

Harry:
I'm no Constable, I'm Seagoon, plain clothes man.

Peter (woman):
What are you dressed like a policeman for?

Harry:
I'm in disguise.

Ray:
Me too.

Peter (woman):
Mm. I can see that, yes. You're well disguised. Now, what do you want?

Harry:
A mustard and cress sandwich.

Peter (woman):
You want bread with it?

Harry:
No. I don't like luxuries.

Peter (woman):
Oh. Well, you've 'ad it, I'm afraid, we ain't got no mustard and cress.

Harry:
How much will that be?

Peter (woman):
Well now, let's see. Mustard and cress sandwich with no bread. No bread with no mustard and no cress. One and six.

Harry:
One and six for nothing?

Peter (woman):
Yes.

Harry:
That's very cheap. Have you change of a hundred pound note?

Peter (woman):
Yes.

Harry:
Marry me!

Peter (woman):
Who to?

Harry:
Well, er...

Ray:
Goodbye

Harry:
Come back. Ellington, this waitress, I'm suspicious of her.

Ray:
Man, you're right. Her moustache has fallen off.

Harry:
Yes. It was false. She isn't a woman, she's er... she's um... er, what's the other sex?

Ray:
Man.

Harry:
Man, that's it. Man. You, madam. You're an imposter. You're not a woman.

Bluebottle:
You are right, Capitain, you are right. 'Tis I, Bluebottule. Arch criminal and master of the Teddy Tale Junior Disguise Outfit. Price two shillings at all good chemists.

Harry:
You devil incarnate! What's your part in the mustard and cress shortage?

Bluebottle:
I play the part of Bluebottle. Ah ha hai. I have destroyed every mustard and cress place in the world. Aha hai. Moves drama-tically up to the counter, strikes pose.

FX:
Clatter of dishes

Bluebottle:
Also strikes cheese dish.

Harry:
Bluebottle, I arrest you in the lim of the law, er, the... the nim of the lee. I arrest you in the num of the loo.

Bill:
M... may I help?

Harry:
Thank you.

Bill:
He arrests you in the lom of the knee.

Harry:
Thank you, John Snagge.

Peter (John Snagge):
Make sure you get it right.

Harry:
Now, Bluebottle... are you going to come quietly or do I have to use earplugs?

Bluebottle:
You shall not capture me. Hands up.

Harry:
Look out, Ellington! He's got a Flash Gordon cardboard ray gun. Price two shillings, obtainable at all good chemists.

Bluebottle:
You will not take me alive.

Harry:
I'm perfectly willing to agree to that arrangement.

Ray:
But... but boss, that's a real gun.

Harry:
Don't get frightened. Ha ha ha ha. Hide behind me.

Ray:
Where are you going?

Harry:
Behind you.

Ray:
Oh.

Bluebottle:
And now I destroy myself. Points gun to head. As done by Alan Ladd in The Red Beret. Bang-ged bang-ged. Shoots head. Bang-ged bang-ged. Shoots heart. Bang-ged bang-ged. Shoots left earhole. Bang-ged bang-ged bang-ged. Dies. And exits left to draw danger money.

Harry:
He's escaped us. We must report this. And England must be told that British Railways mustard and cress is no more. But first, let us hear Saxophones for Tibet by Max Geldray, priced two shillings from all chemists.

MUSIC:
Max Geldray plays...

Bill:
Crazy, man, crazy. (ahem) Sorry. Next day a stunned nation heard the dreadful truth.

Peter (Winston Churchill):
The old mustard and cress has had it, I fear. Down with Billy Cotton.

Bill:
But Captain Seagoon knew of one man who might save the situation. And so to this man's farm he did journey, because this man was a farmer.

Minnie:
Oh.

Bill:
He was very fond of animals. In fact he ate nothing else.

GRAMS:
Birds twittering - Kookaburras

Henry:
(over) Ah. Chick chick chick chicken. Nice chicken. Yes. Chicky chicky chick chick. (surprise) Ohh! (calls) Minnie?

Minnie:
(off, calls) What is it, Henry?

Henry:
Oh dear, dear. The rooster's ill, Minnie.

Minnie:
(off) Why?

Henry:
He's just laid an egg.

GRAMS:
Kookaburras

Henry:
Come down and see him, Minnie.

Minnie:
I can't do it, Henry. I'm mending my saxophone.

FX:
Knocking on door

Minnie:
I think there's someone at the door, Henry.

Henry:
Do you? I'll just see, Minnie.

FX:
Door opens

Harry:
Ah, good afternoon, I...

FX:
Door closes

Henry:
Ooh! Minnie?

Minnie:
Yes, Henry?

Henry:
You were right. There was somebody at the door.

FX:
Knocking on door

Minnie:
There it is...

FX:
Door opens

Henry:
Ooh, you've come back.

Harry:
Mr. Crun, will you stop opening and closing the door.

Henry:
What else can one do with a door?

Harry:
I don't wish to know that. Now, may I come in?

Henry:
As you're already lying on the couch, yes.

Harry:
Now to business.

Henry:
Mnk. Before you start, would you please mind taking your feet off the table. That's my place.

Harry:
Now to business, Mr. Crun. You're a farmer, yes?

Henry:
I grow anything.

Harry:
Yes, you've got green fingers.

Henry:
And green feet. I'm going mouldy all over, you know...

Harry:
Just the man the British Railways need. Now I...

ORCHESTRA:
Lone saxophone melody

Harry:
What was that?

Henry:
That's Miss Bannister.

Harry:
Oh. It sounded just like a saxophone.

Henry:
(calls) Minnie!

Minnie:
(off, calls) Yes.

Henry:
(calls) Don't play any more, please.

Minnie:
(off, calls) I must practise, Henry. After all, Ivy Benson can't live for ever.

Harry:
What do you mean she can't, she has. Aha hah ha. (ahem) Now, Crun, British Railways want you to grow them six thousand acres of mustard and cress in the Amazon.

Henry:
Oh. (calls) Minnie? I'm just going to the Amazon. Minnie? I shall bay... be away for...

Minnie:
I don't understand what you're talking about.

Henry:
Going to the Amazon.

Minnie:
(over) What's it all about?

Henry & Minnie:
(both pause)

Henry:
I know what...

Minnie:
(over) Leave your dinner in the oven.

Henry:
What did you say?

Minnie:
Merry Christmas.

Henry:
Goodnight.

ORCHESTRA:
Lone saxophone melody, then orchestra music link

Bill:
Meanwhile, in that distant land which Crun and Seagoon were bound for, the British Ambassador went about his duties.

Eccles:
Hello darlin'. Hello, my love. Nope, I'm sorry, Marilyn, I'm ah... I'm busy tonight. Aho. No, love, I'm goin' out with um... Jane Russell tonight, yep. Oh, sorry, sorry, ha hum. Can't help bein' handsome. Now then... no, I'm sorry, honey, I um... after that I'm goin' out with Betty Grable, yep. Yep.

Bloodnok:
(off, calls) Eccles.

Eccles:
Just a minute, Major Bloodnok. I'm on da phone to Marilyn Monroe. Carry on, darlin'. Now den, what were you sayin', darlin'?

Bloodnok:
Thud me grit club! We haven't got a phone.

Eccles:
I know we haven't.

Bloodnok:
Then what are you doing?

Eccles:
I'm havin' a good time. Ha ha hum. Ho ho hum. Aha ha ha ha ha hum. Aha ha ho. Aho.

Bloodnok:
You idiot.

Eccles:
Yeah?

Bloodnok:
In any case, Miss Monroe wouldn't be interested in you. She's married to Joe DiMaggio.

Eccles:
I know. I was heartbroken when I heard the news. You see... I wanted to marry Joe DiMaggio.

Bloodnok:
Ah, you... you poor fool.

Eccles:
Oh.

Bloodnok:
Joe DiMaggio is a man.

Eccles:
(surprised) Oh! Oh. Ah, well... well, that's different.

Bloodnok:
I hope so.

Eccles:
Aha ha ha. Aha hum.

Bloodnok:
Never mind all this rubbish.

Eccles:
Mm?

Bloodnok:
I say, any signs of the river steamer yet?

Eccles:
No. No.

Bloodnok:
Ohh. Thirty-five years out here in this grass hut. Thirty-five years and no milk or papers delivered from England. Eccles...

Eccles:
Yeah?

Bloodnok:
Do you think Gladstone's forgotten us? Ohhhh. Oh, brandy, brandy. Oh, I'm in a shocking state. I'm not in condition any more. Ohhh, poor old Bloodnok, Ohhh. (fades)

Eccles:
(aside) I think the Major is mad.

Bloodnok:
(aside) Little does he know that I am perfectly sane. And that it's Eccles, who is really mad.

Eccles:
Ahum. (aside) little does he know that he is sadly mistaken in his estimation of me, as I am perfectly sane. And he, poor fellow, is off his nut.

Bloodnok:
(aside) Little does he know, that if he calls me mad just once more, I shall put a bullet through his head.

Eccles:
That doesn't frighten me. Because (aside) little does he know that I unloaded his gun, because I know he's mad. And I knew he might shoot me. That is why even now, as he points his gun at me, I'm not flinching because I'm sane.

FX:
Pistol shot

Eccles:
(panics, loud) Okay, I'm mad, I'm mad! Pax! Pax!

Bloodnok:
Pax, non.

Ray:
(off, calls) Ahoy there!

Eccles:
Oh. Here, look. There's a man just come out o' that bush.

Bloodnok:
Gad, yes. He's dressed like a shepherd.

Eccles:
Must've been Shepherd's Bush.

Bloodnok:
Aha.

Ray:
(approaching) Hello there. Are you the British Ambassador?

Bloodnok:
I am, I am. Gad, you're the first white woman I've seen for thirty years.

Ray:
Mm. Mm. Well, there's an expedition due here in a few minutes, comin' to grow mustard and cress. In the meantime, gentlemen...

FX:
Shaking of tambourine

Ray:
Be seated.

MUSIC:
Ray Ellington sings "Rub a Dub Dub"

Bloodnok:
Well played, Ellington, well played. Fred Handel's Largo never sounded so good. Now pardon me while I retire and change into my Mr. Crun outfit. Price two shillings from all good chemists.

Spike:
Wait, here comes Captain Seagoon with the expedition.

Bloodnok:
Gad, yes, he's a sight for sore eyes. It's a pity I haven't got a pair handy.

Harry:
Ah, good day, Major Bloodnok.

Bloodnok:
Ah, pleased to meet you, Captain Seagoon. Welcome to... where are we?

Harry:
South America.

Bloodnok:
Welcome to what you said. And to you, by gad, you must have walked all the way.

Harry:
What makes you think so?

Bloodnok:
Well, you... you're like a midget.

Harry:
There's a very good reason for that.

Bloodnok:
What?

Harry:
I can't stand heights.

Bloodnok:
Spoken like a pygmy. And talking of pygmies, have you any brandy with you?

Harry:
Crates of it.

Bloodnok:
(excited) Welcome to South America, lad!

Harry:
You said that before.

Bloodnok:
I know, but this time I really mean it. Now let's get you settled.

Harry:
Yes. (calls) Ellington?

Ray:
(off, calls) Boss?

Harry:
We'll camp here for the night. But as a safety precaution we must light large bonfires all around the camp.

Ray:
What for?

Harry:
Lions.

Ray:
Man, if the lions want fires, let 'em light 'em themselves.

Harry:
Silly lad. The fires are to prevent the lions entering the perimeter.

Ray:
Okay, bonfire it is.

Harry:
That night we slept safely in the trees as the lions warmed themselves by our fires. Then at dawn, Eccles awoke.

Eccles:
(falling) Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh.

FX:
Body falls to ground

Eccles:
Forgot I was in a tree. Aho hum.

Bloodnok:
Get up, man. Stand on your own three feet.

Eccles:
Thank you.

Harry:
Are we ready to move off, Major?

Bloodnok:
Yes, we've got to head inland. The first danger will be crossing the dreaded River Carpa-tee. And that's very cold, you know.

Harry:
Yes. There's nothing worse than a cold carpa-tee!

Bloodnok:
Ahh. (sings) Chestnuts roasting by an open fire. (normal, calls) Pick up your luggage and sideways to the wind, forward!

GRAMS:
Native chanting

FX:
Many footsteps trudging throught the sand

Eccles:
(over) Hey, it's getting hot, Ellington.

Ray:
Are you tired already?

Eccles:
Yeah. I ain't very strong, you know.

Ray:
Okay. I'll take some of your load. Now, give me one of your pianos.

Eccles:
Okay. Thanks. (strain) Ooh. There, that's better. Thank you, Ellington.

Ray:
That's okay, I'm not too heavy for you, am I?

Eccles:
No. I'll put you down when I'm tired.

Ray:
Good man.

Bloodnok:
Keep up there, you lazy devils. I say, I'm not too heavy for you, am I Ellington?

Ray:
No.

Harry:
Major, I'm not too heavy for you, am I?

Bloodnok:
No.

Eccles:
I'm not too heavy for you, am I, Captain Seagoon?

Bill:
(pause) We pause here to give listeners at home and in the street a recap of the situation. If you remember, Eccles was supporting Ellington, Bloodnok and Seagoon on his head. Suddenly, Mr. Eccles has appeared on top of Mr. Seagoon. Thus leaving all of them suspended in mid-air.

Peter:
Listeners, write down on a piece of paper what you think will happen. Have you done that? Good. Now listen to what actually happened.

GRAMS:
Crash, bagpipe melody, whistle, galloping horses, skidding vehicle, glass breaking, Swan Lake waltz, steam train whistle, train passing, logs falling, Seig Heil chant, rocket whoosh, splash, Big Ben chiming then explosion

Peter:
Yes, you guessed it, they all fell down. Now read on.

Harry:
That night, for safety we all slept standing up. Some slept standing down, which is standing up sideways. Priced two shillings at all good chemists. Then as the sun came up, it started to get light.

Eccles:
Oohh.

Harry:
Before me lay a vast, stark, arid waste.

Bloodnok:
It was me. Seagoon, this is where we start planting.

Harry:
Right. Eccles?

Eccles:
Ah ha ha ha ha hum?

Harry:
Where did you leave the box of mustard and cress seeds?

Eccles:
Um... ohh, I remember. (pause) (out of breath) Ah ah ah, here we are.

Harry:
Where was it?

Eccles:
England.

Ray:
(approaching) Boss. Boss. There's a tribe of strange natives approachin'.

Bloodnok:
What?

Ray:
Yes.

Bloodnok:
Leave them to me. Savage natives, are they? I shall show them. Hand me the white flag. Now, where is my batwoman?

Harry:
You mean batman.

Bloodnok:
Those days are gone for ever, lad. Ah, here she comes. Miss Plunger.

Harry (woman):
Yes, Major Bloodnok, sir.

Bloodnok:
Ah. Miss Plunger, remember when we were sinking in the Atlantic, and there was no room in the lifeboats. I said 'women and children first'.

Harry (woman):
Yes.

Bloodnok:
Well, remember what you did?

Harry (woman):
Yes. Made you up as a woman.

Bloodnok:
Aha. Stand by to do the same again.

Harry:
Bloodnok, I think you're nervous.

Bloodnok:
What? Say that once more.

Harry:
You're a yellow-livered coward.

Bloodnok:
That's better.

Harry:
I knew you'd like it.

Bloodnok:
Anyone for tennis? Oh, what am I talking about. I don't...

Eccles:
Ooyoohh oohhahh hahum hahum. Here...

Bloodnok:
What?

Eccles:
Ellington's gone after dem natives with his gun.

Harry:
Splendid. Ellington's a dead shot.

Eccles:
He is now, somebody shot 'im.

Bloodnok:
What? I'll not stand here and see my men slaughtered. Eccles...

Eccles:
Yep?

Bloodnok:
What time's the next train out of here?

Harry:
No, Bloodnok, you must stay here and fight.

Bloodnok:
Oh, very well. Your example has made me stay.

Harry:
Splendid. Eccles?

Eccles:
Yep?

Harry:
What time's the next train out?

Bloodnok:
I heard that! Lit me smuthers with a smotherc nud! You...

Ray:
Hey, if you're runnin' away, I'm comin' too.

Bloodnok:
(deliberate) Ellington, are you turning yellow?

Ray:
Man, does it look like it?

Bloodnok:
(off) What? I've always been colour blind, what?

Harry:
Ellington you were shot, You're dead.

Ray:
Mm. Oh, I wondered why I didn't feel well.

Henry:
What about the mustard and cress plantations, I'm not waiting here all night, you know.

GRAMS:
Gunfire, ricochets

Bloodnok:
(over) Ohh! Those natives are attacking.

Harry:
Everyone into the wooden hut.

Bloodnok:
We haven't got a wooden hut.

Harry:
What? To work, men!

FX:
Hammering

Omnes:
(over, murmurs)

Harry:
Hup!

Bloodnok:
Hup!

FX:
Final thud

Harry:
Right. Everybody inside.

Omnes:
(murmurs)

Bloodnok:
(out of breath) Ah. Ah.

Harry:
(out of breath) Good work men. Now we'll...

FX:
Phone rings

Harry:
Hello?

Spike:
(on phone) Have you any rooms to let?

Harry:
No.

FX:
Phone receiver hung up

Harry:
Now then... Bloodnok? Get outside and fight.

Bloodnok:
Fight? Oh, my back and legs! Oh, my poor legs. Ellington, you go. (pause) Ellington!

Harry:
Where's Ellington?

Ray (woman):
(pause) I'm afraid Ellington's gone home, kind sir.

Harry:
Ellington, take all those women's clothes off at once.

Ray:
Curse, I'm exposed again. How did you know it was me with all my disguise on?

Harry:
You made one mistake.

Ray:
What was that?

Harry:
Blonde wig.

Ray:
Mm.

Harry:
It was a man's.

Bloodnok:
Duck, men, duck!

Eccles:
What?

Bloodnok:
There's a native at the window.

Eccles:
Ooh.

Bloodnok:
Get down, get down.

GRAMS:
Gunfire, machine-gun fire

Bloodnok:
Gad, that native was clever.

Harry:
Why?

Bloodnok:
He only had a spear.

Harry:
Men, there's only one chance for it. The river-boat. Keep your ears open for that hooter.

FX:
Phone rings

Harry:
(over) Ah. About time they installed it.

FX:
Phone receiver picked up

Harry:
Hello? Yes, we are in a tough spot. Pardon? No thanks, no, we'll... we'll see it through by ourselves. Yes. Yes, I know you could, but we'll make it alone this time. Thanks.

FX:
Phone receiver hung up

Harry:
Alan Ladd.

Bloodnok:
Alan Ladd? Yankees, eh? Ha ha. We didn't... don't need their blasted help...

FX:
Pistol shot, twice

Bloodnok:
Hello, Alan Ladd? We accept your offer, there's...

ORCHESTRA:
Long low saxophone note like boat horn

Bloodnok:
Ohh, never mind, Alan. the river steamer, we're saved.

ORCHESTRA:
Same note on saxophone

Harry:
Outside, everyone. Look at those natives run. And here comes the steamer round the bend.

ORCHESTRA:
Same saxophone note, into saxophone melody

Harry:
Oh no! It's Minnie Bannister!

Minnie:
(off, calls) Hello, buddy!

Henry:
Alan Ladd, we accept your offer, Alan. Yes, get us out of here.

ORCHESTRA:
Signature tune

Bill:
(over) That was The Goon Show, a recorded programme featuring Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Spike Milligan, with the Ray Ellington Quartet and Max Geldray. The Orchestra was conducted by Wally Stott. Script by Spike Milligan. Announcer:
Wallace Greenslade. The program produced by Peter Eton.

ORCHEATRA:
Signature tune continues, stopping 4 notes from the end

Bill:
Listeners will ask what happened to the great mustard and cress shortage.

Peter (woman):
Nothing. It still exists.

Harry:
If you doubt it, next time you go into a railway buffet, prise open a mustard and cress sandwich, and there you will find... nothing.

Bill:
Obtainable at all good chemists, priced two shillings. Now read on.

ORCHESTRA:
Drums, then final four notes of signature tune, then playout