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Greenslade’s debut, and The Invasion Quartet

Updated: Oct 12, 2021

The Goons went ‘Through the Sound Barrier in an Airing Cupboard’ for episode six of the fourth series. They took with them for the very first time their new announcer, Wallace Greenslade.


There’s no billing for Wal in the Radio Times, however, as you’ll see on page 42. BBC announcers were not allowed to be credited as performers due to an agreement with the actors’ union, Equity – something the Goons and the BBC got into trouble over in later years.

Sixty years ago this month, the Second World War comedy The Invasion Quartet was released in the UK, starring our very own Spike Milligan.



The film tells the story of a rag-tag quartet of soldiers who, despite being deemed unfit for service for various reasons, decide to invade France on their own and destroy a German long-range gun. Spike plays Godfrey Pringle, and is seen fleetingly in the above trailer. Keep an eye out for Eric Sykes as an orchestra conductor, too.


The film was billed as a parody of another war film released in 1961, The Guns of Navarone. Fans of ska music may recognise the title – the theme tune was covered by several bands including The Skatalites and The Specials.


The Invasion Quartet also has echoes of the true wartime story of Sergeant Peter King and Private Leslie Cuthbertson. Posted to the army’s Dental Corps, they grew frustrated and decided to take matters into their own hands.


The pair travelled to France themselves, unauthorised, and staged an attack on German forces – either directly attacking a troop train or attempting to blow up a railway line, depending on the account you read. Their story was made into a film in 2002, Two Men Went to War, which looks really fun – and could well have been a great Goon Show plot.



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