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The Telegoons (part 1)

Updated: Oct 13, 2021

On this day in 1964, the final episode of the second (and final) series of the Telegoons was broadcast on BBC One at 5pm. It was an adaptation of ‘The Terrible Revenge of Fred Fu Manchu’ (radio series 6, episode 12).

The listing for the show is available here. The BBC’s Genome project archiving the Radio Times only includes issues up to the end of 1959, but the text and details are replicated for the main networks right up until 2009.

The whole episode is available on YouTube. A warning – Milligan’s Chinese accent is definitely offensive…

The Telegoons was an attempt to bring the original Goon Show scripts to life on television. Maurice Wiltshire (a co-writer of several of the radio episodes) reworked the scripts and Sellers, Secombe and Milligan rerecorded their voices.

The characters were portrayed by rubber puppets. Having watched several episodes now, I can safely say these puppets are CREEPY.

Ned Seagoon and (I think) Count Moriarty

The other thing I note about these is that, while the Goon humour is intact, it sometimes suffers from a lack of energy. Part of this is the lack of an audience, but another I think is the awkwardness of the puppets. It’s only my view, of course, but I think this would have been much better suited to a cartoon series than live-action puppets.

I’ve got another blog planned later on covering the Telegoons in a bit more detail. In other words: “There’s more where that came from!”

Picture sourced from the Goon Show Preservation Society’s wonderful (if old) Telegoons website.

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