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Robin Hood

Updated: Oct 13, 2021

Episode seven of the third series was a Christmas pantomime, ‘Robin Hood’. It was broadcast on Boxing Day 1952, and the Radio Times listing is here.

Note the appearance of Wuffo the Wonder Dog, obviously warming up for his subsequent appearance at the Queen’s coronation. He stars alongside “Peter Sellers as the front legs of Richard Coeur de Lion’s horse”, “Harry Secombe as the back legs”, and “Spike Milligan as Sherwood Forest”.

Spike Milligan in method acting mode in preparation for the Goons' panto

We’ll explore some other Christmas panto episodes in December, as this seems more appropriate timing-wise.

What’s notable about this one is, according to Roger Wilmut, it is the only script written by Jimmy Grafton. Milligan was in hospital and Larry Stephens was also ill, leaving the Goons scriptless and writerless. Not only that, but it was supposed to be a 45-minute special, as opposed to the normal 30-minute shows.

As Wilmut writes in his notes to the third series:

“This show, which has a straight-through plot [unusual for the Goons at the time], is credited on the front of the script to ‘Thomas Alcock & William Bull (from the original Alcock and Bull story)’. It was in fact mostly written by Jimmy Grafton (working for 36 hours continuously!), Milligan being in hospital and Larry Stephens unwell.”

The efforts were obviously appreciated – Milligan and Eric Sykes reused some of Grafton’s material for ‘Ye Bandit of Sherwood Forest’ (Series 5 Episode 14).

This was the first appearance of Dick Emery, and also featured Carole Carr (presumably as Maid Marion), providing a rare female voice. Carr went on to star alongside the Goons in the 1953 film Down Among the Z Men.

Image of Spike Milligan - sorry, Sherwood Forest - sourced from Wikipedia.

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