Goon mountaineering, pt. 94
‘The Greatest Mountain in the World’ was broadcast on 1 March 1954 as episode 23 of the fourth series. It is listed in the Radio Times here.
Greenslade: Once again welcome to 'Your Song Parade', half an hour of glorious musical boredom with songs that your mother loved and everyone else hated. Sellers (Irish): Thank you, Dennis Main, tonight I have included in my repertoire Schubert's violin sonata, guest soloist Billy 'Uke' Scott. And now request spot; my first request comes from Jack Blonger, a two-headed Mongolian criminal tram driver who is under treatment for the dreaded emulsion of the legs and the green lurgi. Cheer up Jack, I'm alright. And here is your song, and it's called... Sellers (singing, accompanied on piano): One alone, to be my own, alone my love, to find your caressing, songs divine, and you are mine, I wonder how my love... [FX: Explosion] Greenslade: We regret to announce the sudden death of the well-known BBC tenor Webster Smodpule. The programme and the death were recorded.
Not satisfied with having climbed Everest a month before Tensing and Hillary, the Goons are back mountaineering again. We join the action with Spike Milligan impersonating Sir Mortimer Wheeler, an actual famous archaeologist, addressing the Royal Geographical and Archaeological Society by making a reference to a joke about a monkey with diarrhoea: “He’s got one digging, one covering up, and one looking for fresh places.”
Sir Hairy Seagoon then proposes to climb the highest mountain in the world – until it’s pointed out that someone’s done that already. Instead, they decide, via an idea proposed by Ray Ellington, to build their own mountain in Hyde Park. (It’ll be handy for the buses and shops that way.)
Seagoon: Any objections? Milligan: Ohhh yes! If we build this mountain on England, England would sink under the weight. Seagoon: Sink? In that case, this mountain would be invaluable, people could climb up the side and save themselves from drowning. Milligan: Mercy, you're right. Hurry and build it, before we all drown!
Henry Crun, Seagoon and Eccles begin work on a mountain in Hyde Park. Crun devises a plan to speed up construction – start with a molehill, and make a mountain out of it.
Work begins, but soon the effort is thwarted as the project is denied planning permission so the Ministry of Works blows it up. Back to square one.
Seagoon calls in Major Bloodnok to advise on alternative options for building a mountain in another country. Several options are discussed, including turning Everest on its side.
Finally, they decide upon scaling Mount Fred, an underwater mountain. This comes with its own challenges, namely, are they allowed to climb it by simply swimming down to the peak? Seagoon decides they must go all the way down to the bottom to climb up again in order to do it properly.
Bloodnok: Men, to climb this under water giant we shall need the following: Alpine stocks, skis, rope, crampons, crevices, grappling irons and tents. Seagoon: Tents? But this climb is under water! Bloodnok: Thud me you're right! Include umbrellas, raincoats and Miss Myrtle Penelope Dimple. Seagoon: What's she for? Bloodnok: I like the woman. Seagoon: How are we going to carry all the heavy equipment? Bloodnok: Camels. Seagoon: Camels? Camels live under water? That's mad! Bloodnok: Of course it is, only mad camels could live under water.
The team descends to the bottom of the mountain by car, as it’s quicker. From there, start asking for directions.
Seagoon: Right, sir. I'll knock on this oyster. [FX: Knocking followed by footsteps approaching. Rusty door opening] Minnie Bannister: Yes? Seagoon: Oh. Is Pearl in? Minnie Bannister: No, no, no. Pearl isn't in, but I'm her mother. Seagoon: Of course, you must be Mother of Pearl!
Fearing that they are lost, Bluebottle is tasked with surfacing to see where they are by holding onto a mine. Bang.
Bluebottle: You rotten swine, you! Oh, you have deaded me again. Oh, I die in my prime. Farewell I say. Pushes button B. Gets money back, exits to NAAFI for tea.
Unfortunately, not only has the explosion deaded Bluebottle, but it has also destroyed Mount Fred. Eccles offers Seagoon a consolatory cigar of the new TNT brand, and eventually all the cast are deaded. Except for Eccles, who refuses to be deaded and insists he was only acting.
Bluebottle: Hurry up and be deaded and then you can go home for tea! Seagoon: Yeah, come on Eccles be deaded. Eccles: No, I'm not going to be deaded!
By this point in the Goons’ history, the standard characters and overall tone and structure that was used throughout the rest of the run of the show had pretty much settled into place. Neddie Seagoon was invariably the main character under various guises and noms de plume, but his general voice and characterisation had settled.
Eccles, Henry Crun, and Bluebottle are fully formed as characters. Grytpype and Moriarty have yet to form a regular partnership but have become more settled voices, and Major Bloodnok – having varied widely in competence and cowardice – has solidified as the greedy wimp we know and love.
‘The Greatest Mountain in the World’ also appeared in the Vintage Goons series and was broadcast on 29 September 1958, as per page 34 of that week’s Radio Times. The newer version omits the Webster Smodpule intro section, more’s the pity, but adds more gags everywhere else.
Crun: It’s gone! Neddie's mountain's blown to pieces. We'd better tell him, I suppose. Eccles: I think he knows. Crun: Why? Eccles: He was sleeping on top.
Title: The Greatest Mountain in the World
Series 4, Episode 23
Written by: Spike Milligan
Producer: Peter Eton
Vintage Goons version
Title: The Greatest Mountain in the World
Producer: Charles Chilton
Broadcast: 29 September 1958
Wallace Greenslade: It is now proven that the cast were all deaded. The London Palladium is now appearing in Argyle Street; Argyle Street is also appearing there. Philip Harben has not been properly deaded, neither has Kay Hammond. Now, read on.
(Kay Hammond was an actress, while Philip Harben was the UK’s first TV chef. As of the time of writing this blog post, they are both now deaded.)
Image sourced from Pixabay