The Africa Ship Canal
by Spike Milligan and Larry Stephens
Greenslade: This is the BBC. We
commence with a flourishing chorus of 'The Gallant Hussar' by Fotheringay's
Grams: Speeded up banjo and vocal
followed by an explosion.
Greenslade: And here is the midget
composer, Harry 'Nuts' Secombe.
Secombe: Hallo folks! Hallo folks.
Now let me inform you Wallace, that no midget composer am I. Haaallo Folks! My
vocation is engineering, I graduated in tunnel building.
Greenslade: How terribly,
Secombe: Yes, yes, yes, yous, yes,
yus, my first big tunnel I built in 1931
Greenslade: Oh yes, I remember
now, six other convicts escaped with you.
Secombe: What, what what, what, what,
what, what, all lies I tell you, we were just dressed as convicts, it was
carnival night. That's how we slipped away unnoticed, all lies I tell you, all
lies! [Mutters off into the
Sellers: Yes, this is a story of how
an escaped convict became a great engineer and vice-a-versa.
Secombe: What, it's true
Sellers: I will, if you just stand
naked on the piano with your back to the audience, you will hear the story of
The Great Trans Africa Canal!
Orchestra: Fanfare type link.
Greenslade: Scene one, that well
known variety theatre, the House of Commons.
Milligan: [Unintelligible echoey Houses of Parliament type
Secombe: Hallo folks, on that fateful
day in Parliament, two sinister figures were present.
Grytpype: Hello folks! It was us. We
were camping in the lobby, an al fresco mode forced on us by the dreaded Rent
Act. I refer of course to the Rent Act of 1831, which introduced rent!
Moriarty: Hallo folks!
Grytpype: Shut up you la grip ridden
steaming french nit.
Moriarty: I only wanted to go
Grytpype: You fool! Anyone found
going Owww in the lobby can be charged with 'fellow da siege'
Grams: Donkey braying
Grytpype: Don't forget, when the
Honourable Minister's finished this speech, we put forward our plan.
Moriarty: The plan, ahhh the plan,
it will be I tell you!
Henry Crun: Yes Mister Minister
Minnie Bannister: Speak up.
Henry Crun: What, what?
Minnie Bannister: Speak up, speak
up, what about the suffragette...?
Henry Crun: With the closing of the
canal our ships have been forced to travel around the Cape
Politician: Ahhhhh, just a minute,
couldn't they travel overland?
Henry Crun: We've tried that, but it
ruins the bottoms of the ships! Has the Hon. Min. any suggestions?
Prime Minister: Me, no, no, you just
carry on! Just forget I'm here, I've got other things... I got things...
Orderly: 'Scuse me Mr.
Prime Minister: What my good
Orderly: There's a blonde suffragette
chained to the railings outside No. 10, Sir.
Prime Minister: I know, I chained
her there, hor hor! Oh dear, I'm no fool. What?
Seagoon: Haallo folks. Haallo
Prime Minister: What's dis? What
what what! What's da matter? What what what what what what!
Narrator: The voice came from a man
in the distiguished visitors gallery, who lowered himself into the chamber on a
rope attached to a distinguished visitor.
Seagoon: Haallo folks. I've just come
Churchill: Down the rope?
Seagoon: I always travel by rope,
it's cheaper! Haallo folks.
Henry Crun: Wait a minute.
Politician: Will the 'Hallo Folks'
intruder kindly explain why he's disguised as Frodman Delissups? And walks
around in this whaaaaaaaaaay!
Milligan: [an aside] I thought I'd get that in!
Seagoon: Yeeeees, my other suit's at
the cleaners. Hallo folks! Gentlemen, you realise of course...
Seagoon: ...that due to the canal
closing British aeroplanes are forced to fly around the Cape. [pause for laughs] It is my intention to cut a
canal across Africa so that they can fly over that.
Henry Crun: High over a canal? What
if they crash, They'll all drown!
Minnie Bannister: Yes.
Seagoon: Don't worry folks, hallo
folks! All aeroplanes will be fitted with the new wooden lifeboats.
Attlee: Yes, but even lifeboats can
Seagoon: They can't in this canal,
there's not going to be any water in it!
Attlee: Ooooooeeerrr, you're cleverer
than I am you know. Come to think of it anybody's cleverer than I am!
Seagoon: Thank you. Hon. Membs. you
will have guessed of course from my ragged clothes, that this canal is going to
cost you a lot of money.
Prime Minister: Ooooh!
Bevan: [Welsh accented] But you'll have to see the
Chancellor of the Exchequer about that, won't you?
Seagoon: But you're the Chancellor of
Bevan: [Welsh accented] Awwhhh am I? Lend us a coupla
quid will you boy?
gentlemeeeeeeen, no please, quiet please, gentlemen. This idea of a dry canal
for aeroplanes is brilliant. Brilliant I saaaaaaaay! I think Mr. Seagoon's
Frodman Delissups Mk.2 should receive some kind of support... and wear it at all
Seagoon: What, what, what, what,
what, what, what, what, what, what, what, what, what!
Churchill: Silence in the gallery.
What would be the cost of this scrins and scrans?
Seagoon: I wouldn't like to
Grytpype: Gentlemen, why spend all
this money, when for 14 shillings, the Moriarty horse drawn zeppelin service
will fly you round the Cape in 80 days...
Grytpype: ...thereby avoiding the
traffic at Oxford Circus! Anyway, this idiot knows nothing about canals!
Geldray: Honourable members!
Politician: I move that...I
mooooooovvvvve. I move that as it is customary in our beloved country England, a
man so totally unsuitable for the job, should be given the contract.
Milligan: [stage rear] Thank you, thank you.
Seagoon: Thank you folks, thank you,
I'll start work right away, hold my coat.
Grams: Pneumatic drills.
Moriarty: Curse Grytpype, he's got
Grytpype: But not for long, get my
lawyer, Max Geldray on the blower.
Orchestra: Music starts...
Grytpype: Shall we dance
Moriarty: Ahhhh, the leaping divine
of a modern melody...
Max Geldray - Musical Interlude
Greenslade: The well known Trans
Africa Aeroplane Canal, part derx.
Bloodnok: We move now to Congo jungle
and district Commissionaire.
Orchestra: Jungle drums.
Bloodnok: La da da de dum.... [sings along with the drumming] Ooohhhhooohh,
that saved paying for an orchestration anyway! Ooohhhhooohh, I've had a hard
day... I thought she'd never go! Ellington, take my boots off... And don't let
me catch you wearing them again! Ooooooohhhhh, goooo ging gong gueeeh
Fx: Rapid knocking on door.
Bloodnok: Ethel, bring that door in
here for me to open will you?
Fx: Door rattles and opens.
Seagoon: Oh thank you, hallo folks,
Bloodnok: Hello folks.
Seagoon: I'm Neddy Seagoon, you've
heard of me Neddy Seagoon? [sings
operatically] 'Falling in love...When you come home again to
Bloodnok: You'll get a punch up the
duster you will. Oh!
Seagoon: Major! I've come to inform
you that we are building a canal and I'm afraid it's going to cut right through
Bloodnok: What! Well if you think I'm
going to run downstairs and open the door everytime a ship wants to come through
Seagoon: You don't have to open the
door... You can leave the key under the mat!
Bloodnok: Over my dead body.
Seagoon: No, under the mat. Ha ha ha
ha ha, under the mat hahahahah, hu hum!
Bloodnok: Are you sure it was a
prison you escaped from?
Seagoon: Lies, lies, all lies, I'm
perfectly sane I tell you! It's a lie, never, all lies, lies I tell you!
Bloodnok: Look here. I tell you, I
won't have aeroplanes flying through my house. Now get out!
Fx: Door slams shut.
Seagoon: Very well. If that's the way
you feel about it, goodbye.
Fx: Door slams shut.
Bloodnok: Never darken my door
Fx: Door slams shut.
Seagoon: Since you insult me, I shall
Fx: Door slams shut.
Greenslade: Listeners with a
degree in higher mathematics will have counted 4 doors slamming, this was in
fact an aural illusion, what you did hear was not 4 doors being slammed, but 1
door being slammed 4 times... Or in your parlance 1 to the power of 4. You see
it is these little snippets of information that makes me feel that my job is
worthwhile, thank you.
Seagoon: 'Ave you done?
Seagoon: Thank you. So work began on
the Great Trans Africa Aeroplane Canal folks. But meanwhile, on the top of a
number 11 A3, two sinister figures sit steaming in a brown airing
Moriarty: Ahhh, I tell you Grytpype,
we've got to sabotage the canal with sabotage type sabotage.
Grytpype: Don't worry Count
Grytpype: The best laid plans of mice
and men gangath d'aglave.
Moriarty: Aye man. Aye. Ah wee
towering timorous beastie, oft gang a glave.
Grytpype: Do you like Burns?
Grytpype: Well hold this white hot
Aargggghhhhh, Aargggghhhhh! You fool!
Grytpype: This is no time for beauty
Marquee, hold this leather piano in the key of C.
Moriarty: Yeargghh, owwf, what's the
Grytpype: We are going to steal the
trans africa aeroplane canal!
Moriarty: Where are we going to hide
Grytpype: We are going to bury
Moriarty: It's dead?
Grytpype: As good as, Moriarty!
Becauuuuussseee! [sings together] 'We're
riding along on the crest of a wave' [speeds
Narrator: And so they headed for
Seagoon, who was watching the canal being dug by 40,000 British labourers
Fx: One hammer blow on brick.
Seagoon: I say there, foreman!
Willium: 'Allo Mate.
Seagoon: Why are you the only one
Willium: Weeell, all the men are on
Seagoon: What for?
Willium: We can't think of anything
yet. [pauses for laughs] ...but uh, we
will, we'll think of somefink.
Seagoon: What are they doing here
Willium: Errrr, they come along for
Union rep.: Yesss, you want a...
[trade union/officious type
Willium: That was the head striker,
that was, he says what they stricked for is £15 a week.
Seagoon: Alright then, I'll pay them
£15 a week.
Grams: Hooray! 'Land of Hope and
Seagoon: What's up?
Willium: They've gone on strike
Willium: They want more money, Mate!
...And here's their spokesman, Rage Nurglegoos to give the message on the old
bonjoes, now let's get wrap round the old brandy there.
Ray Ellington - Musical
Greenslade: Now the Trans Africa
Aeroplane Canal, part the derx.
Orchestra: Descending fanfare musical
Seagoon: To break the strike, I had
sent for two professional strike breakers, who even now were on their way from
England by electric rowing boat.
Grams: Waves breaking on the shore and
seagull crys. Oars in the rowlocks.
Bluebottle: Eccles? [pauses for applause] ...why did they throw you
out of being Prime Minister?
Eccles: Well, um, um, anybody
Bluebottle: Yes, me.
Eccles: Well den, ah um 'Bottle, you
remember that blonde suffragette chained to the railings outside No. 10
Bluebottle: Yes, yeah!
Eccles: Weeell, well I chained
myself to her, ha ha ha ha! Oh!
Bluebottle: Good, that was naughty
that was Eccles.
Eccles: Oh yeah, was that
Bluebottle: Yes it was.
Eccles: Welllll, owwowwwoowww.
Bluebottle: I never did that when I
was Prime Minister you know. Did you know what hurted my good man?
Eccles: What did my good
Bluebottle: Well den, when I found
the lady what was chained to the railings.
Eccles: Yup, yup, yup, yup.
Bluebottle: In a flash I whipped out
my boy scout knife.
Bluebottle: In a flash I removed a
stone from her hoof.
Orchestra: Punchline type
Seagoon: Alright you two, that's your
bit done, that's all! ...Now, welcome to Africa!
Bluebottle: Hello Captain.
Bluebottle: We have broughted from
England this modern Kelsop super canal digging machine.
Bluebottle: Yes. It's inside this
Seagoon: Inside the parcel, what a
Bluebottle: Yes it is a neat idea,
Fx: Rustling paper
Bluebottle: Save the brown paper
Eccles, I need a new suit.
Bluebottle: Now Captain, let us
demonstrate this machine. Do you know that that it can pick up four tons of
earth in three seconds?
Seagoon: Hallo folks.
Bluebottle: I will time it with my
Grams: Comical sounding machinery
operating. (bleeps, burbles etc).
Seagoon: That was a noisy
Bluebottle: Machine? That was my
watch. [pauses for applause] ...Captain,
this machine can do the work of two men.
Seagoon: Well let's see it.
Bluebottle: Alright, but you'll have
to help us, 'cos it takes three men to work it.
Seagoon: Right! Eccles and
Bluebottle, you three get it going.
Bluebottle: 'ere, mait a minute
Captain, Eccles and me only make two.
Seagoon: Nonsense. [sarn't major type shouting] Fall in, from the
Seagoon: Two and One equals...?
Seagoon: Right, off you go!
Bluebottle: [mumbling] No it isn't.
Eccles: [mumbling] I don't believe that!
Seagoon: ...and get cracking. Now,
the next problem is this fellow Bloodnok.
Seagoon: Grytpype, you!
Fx: Running footsteps, getting
Seagoon: What's this?
Grytpype: My legs, I thought they'd
never get here!
Moriarty: I'm sorry, Grytpype, it's
my fault, I let them out for a run in the park.
Grytpype: You sentimental steaming
latin you. Never let my legs out unchaperoned again, you hear. The world must
never know those thin measurements
Seagoon: Gentlemen,I see from the
next line, that you can help me with this Bloodnok problem.
Grytpype: Neddie? You see this piece
of knotted string leading from Moriarty's wrist, up into that cloud?
Seagoon: You mean...you mean,
there's...there's, something on the other end of it?
Grytpype: Yes Neddie, it's the
perfect device for removing Bloodnok's house. Id est, Count Moriarty's hand-sewn
Moriarty: Yes Neddie, we can lower
our sky hooks and lift Bloodnok's house out of the way in a second.
Grytpype: Now Neddie, go in and tell
Bloodnok that in 15 minutes his house becomes skyborne.
Fx: Door opens
Grytpype: [straining] Right up there?
Moriarty: [very faintly] Jawohl.
Moriarty: [very faintly] OK.
Grytpype: Attach skyhooks and haul
Grams: Collapsing building type
Moriarty: [very faintly] Ah Grytpype.
Grytpype: We've got him.
Bloodnok: Whoooaarggghhh, call a
Moriarty: Major Bloodnok,
Bloodnok: Cest-in-fence. I, I stept
out of the back of my house...
Bloodnok: ...walked down to the
bottom of the garden.
Bloodnok: Tres sur bent ...finally, I
turned around, and to my building society's horror, my house had vanished. There
was nothing there!
Moriarty: Nothing there! You must
have been seeing things.
Grytpype: Never mind that man of no
fixed abode. I've got great news. I've bribed the workmen to fill in the
Fx: Telephone bell rings.
Moriarty: Splendid, answer that
Grytpype: Hello? Yes?
Seagoon: Hello Grytpype? I'm speaking
from Bloodnok's house, and he's not here.
Grytpype: Oh Neddie, don't wait any
longer, you come out lad.
Fx: Telephone hung up.
Grytpype: Moriarty? Quick, put that
fire bucket over there.
Moriarty: Right, how's that.
Grytpype: A little bit more to the
right. That's it.
Fx: water splash.
Little Jim: He's fallen in the
Grytpype: Thank you Little Jim for
telling us where he is.
Little Jim: Der
Seagoon: Thank heaven for that water.
It broke my fall and my neck. But wait, the canal, where is it?
Grytpype: It's gone Neddie, and the
Moriarty Zeppelin Service is back in operation.
Seagoon: You devils of green
Grytpype: Now Neddie, we're still
good friends aren't we?
Cast: Because... [sings with saxophone and orchestra] We're arm
in arm together, just like we used to be...
Greenslade: The cast, with no
strong finish to the show, now go into a cowardly song and dance routine.
Hern: And so, as the Goon Show sinks
slowly in the popularity polls, and the audience move menacingly towards the
stage, we say goodnight from happy...
Fx: Arrow fires, whoosh!
Cast: [cries of distress]
Orchestra: End theme.
Secombe: There he goes...he's always
Greenslade: That was the Goon
Show, a BBC recorded programme featuring Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and Spike
Milligan. With the Ray Ellington Quartet, Max Geldray and the orchestra
conducted by Wally Stott. Script by Spike Milligan and Larry Stephens.
Announcer, Wallace Greenslade, the programme produced by Pat Dixon.
Orchestra: End theme continues...
Transcription and HTML by Kurt Adkins: email@example.com