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Oh In Colour

Updated: Oct 19, 2021

For the first Goon Show episode of 1954 – and the 14th of the fourth series – the Goons went ‘Ten Thousand Fathoms Down in a Wardrobe’.

Broadcast on New Year’s Day at 9:30pm, it completed an evening of comedy that included an episode of Take It From Here and a one-off special programme about Colonel Chinstrap, the iconic character created by Jack Train for It’s That Man Again who more than once teamed up with Major Bloodnok.

At last we have the opportunity of hearing the true story of a much maligned man, an officer, a gentleman, and what is more – a soldier. This is the authentic history of a warrior who penetrated the darkest jungles of Whitehall and Wooloomooloo armed only with a sword and a corkscrew.

(The listing for The True Story of Humphrey Chinstrap (Col., Retd), from the Radio Times issue 1572, 25 December 1953)

Chinstrap: Anything happen during the night? Bloodnok: Well Humphrey, the fort was attacked by fifteen thousand tribesmen, but they were driven off by a frenzied shrieking figure waving a whiskey bottle. Chinstrap: Good heavens. Who was it? Bloodnok: You sir! Chinstrap: Are you sure, Dennis? Bloodnok: Am I sure?! Of course I'm sure. You weren't the only one in that night-shirt you know! Ohhh! It was hell in there!

(from ‘Shifting Sands’, Series 7 Episode 17, broadcast 24 January 1957)

What a shame that neither broadcast recording exists. Let's focus on some episodes that do exist.

On 27 September 1970, the first episode of Oh In Colour was broadcast on BBC 2 at 9:35pm. Written by Spike Milligan and John Antrobus, it ran for six episodes and featured among its cast Valentine Dyall, Ray Ellington, and John Bluthal.

The series appeared in between his sketch shows Q5 and Q6, and many of the sketches were similar in tone and style, running into each other or dispensing with traditional punchlines and payoffs.

EDIT: All six episodes were previously available (in black and white) on YouTube. Unfortunately the account has since been suspended. There are clips available still, though.

Episode one featured Ray Ellington, and is listed in the Radio Times. The rest of the episodes were broadcast as follows:

  • Episode two – 4 October 1970 (listing)

  • Episode three – 11 October 1970 (listing)

  • Episode four – 18 October 1970 (listing)

  • Episode five – 25 October 1970 (listing)

  • Episode six – 1 November 1970 (listing)

See the IMDB page for more cast information and tidbits of trivia.

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