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Two honorary Goons

Updated: Oct 19, 2021

I was alerted by this tweet from the Goon Show Preservation Society (GSPS) of the passing earlier this year of two honorary Goons.

Marcel Stellman died on 2 May aged 96. According to his obituary in The Guardian, he would like to be remembered as “the Dreaded Marcel Stellman”, a title given to him by Spike Milligan while they were working on the release of ‘I’m Walking Backwards for Christmas’ in 1956. He also worked on ‘The Ying Tong Song’, released the same year.

Stellman, born in Belgium, was sent to an internment camp during the Second World War by the occupying Nazis and may well have ended up in Auschwitz or Dachau had the camp not been liberated in 1944. He relocated to Glasgow and began working for the BBC.

Among his many achievements, Stellman is undoubtedly best remembered (in the UK at least) as the man who brought the TV show Countdown to the UK. However, he was also a record producer for Decca for many years, working with bands including the Rolling Stones – here he is recalling his work with Mick Jagger & co.

He was also a successful lyricist and helped several overseas artists find success in the UK, as well as writing for Cilla Black, Petula Clark, The Shadows and Tony Bennett among others. It’s for his Goon recordings, however, that Stellman was made a lifetime honorary member of the GSPS.

In February this year, artist and illustrator Bill Titcombe died. Among his many amazing projects – all of which can be found in this Down The Tubes article – he drew the Telegoons comics, published in the 1960s alongside the TV series. These comics inspired among others Nigel Parkinson, currently one of the principal cartoonists for The Beano and The Dandy.

A quick Google search brings up a lot of examples of Titcombe’s work on the Telegoons, from, the Telegoons website, and Nigel Parkinson’s blog. You can also find his work on other cartoons based on TV shows, including Dad's Army, Tom & Jerry, and Porridge.

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