The Secret Escritoire


Series 6, episode 2

Recorded: ; First broadcast: 27 Sep 1955

Cast: Harry Secombe, Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers

Script by: Spike Milligan and Eric Sykes

Producer: Peter Eton

Original transcript - unknown Corrections by

Paul Webster - October 2016 - small changes
Removed "two" from "two tiroirs".
Sacrea Bleu to Sacrebleu



Greenslade: This is the BBC.

Seagoon: Mr. Groonslade, no advertising.

Greenslade: Hahaha! You should talk.

Seagoon: (Clears throat) Kindly stand to one side or to both sides! As I announce, as I announce the extraordinary talking-type wireless Goon Show!

GRAMS: Recording of a waltz

Sellers (Irish accent): Oh ho, there, dear patrons, oh ho ho. We offer for your delection, a tree and a half act dream entitled. "The Secret Escritoire". Oh ha ha...

Orchestra: Dramatic link

Greenslade: The same afternoon, three weeks later.

Grytpype-Thynne: Let's see, harris tweed, birdseye, ah, here's a lovely mohair twill.

Moriarty: Sapristi, yakhahahaoogh. What's the matter with you, Grytpype, every cupboard in this house is full of these yellow pattern books.

Grytpype-Thynne: My dear heavily pomaded frog-eating friend. Do you not realize that each of these patterns would make a complete suit for a man three inches tall? All we have to do is to find hundreds of such men and then we make a fortune!

Moriarty: But where in the world are we going to find men so small?

Grytpype-Thynne: Where?

Moriarty: Yes!

Grytpype-Thynne: I'll show you. Look in this matchbox.

FX: Box opening

Moriarty: Oh! Sapristi nyukoh! Who is this man?

Grytpype-Thynne: Maurice Ponk. Only last week he was six foot three.

Moriarty: Six foot trois?

Grytpype-Thynne: Mm.

Moriarty: How did you ever manage to get him so sm...

Grytpype-Thynne: Well, I know a fiend who is in possession of a serum that can shrink the human body. He gave me some, Dr. Fred Fu Manchu. Now Moriarty?

Moriarty: Oui?

Grytpype-Thynne: Who can we shrink for one of our suits?

Moriarty: I have a plan.

Grytpype-Thynne: Yes?

Moriarty: Or if you're French, le plan. (Draws gasping breath) Let's go out and find a Charlie!

Grytpype-Thynne: Yes?

Moriarty: We'll soon, we'll soon find one.

Grytpype-Thynne: (Fades out) Yes?

FX: Distant traffic noise.

Seagoon: My name is Neddie Seagoon. I was in London one day in a gay, laughing mood. You see, I'd just seen my mother-in-law safely under a steamroller and was about to tip the driver, when...

Moriarty: Read ze news! Read all about ze English type news-reading cor blimey stone a crow mate!

Seagoon: Here there, Cockney news lad!

Moriarty: Dear listeners, I am not a Cockney news lad, but a master of the English-type voices. Coming mate, cor ze blimey!

Seagoon: A paper, a paper, lad. And here's my copper coin of the realm.

GRAMS: Cash register chime

Moriarty: Thanks! Little does he know, this is the start of a great plan, to lure him where he'll be shrunk for a suit. Ze exit!

GRAMS: Whoosh

Seagoon: Wait! This paper is a day old! Ha, never mind dear listeners, that penny I gave him was last year's. (laughs) I've been passing old coins for some time now. Needle nardle noo, to name but a few!

Grytpype-Thynne: Well said, little Nurk!

Seagoon: Thank you, or if you're French, murky.

Grytpype-Thynne: Yes. Could I borrow your newspaper?

Seagoon: I'm sorry, I left it in my other coat. Fortunately, I'm wearing it.

Grytpype-Thynne: Oh. Could you read it to me?

Seagoon: I never read my other coat to strangers. However, I'll read you the paper of news.

Grytpype-Thynne: Good.

Seagoon: Now, uh, wear are my reading glasses? Ah yes, I left them in the escritoire. Escritoire means: A writing table with tiroirs and pigeonholes as distinct from a writing desk which usually has a sloping front, therefore, what you see before you on the pavement is my escritoire, or, if you're French, writing desk.

GRAMS: Cheering

Seagoon: Thank you, Seagoon fans. Now...

Greenslade: Dear listeners, you are no doubt puzzled at the picture of a full-sized escritoire in the middle of Piccadilly Circus. The truth is that by Royal Charter, Neddie Seagoon is a Freeman of Bolton and as such he is allowed to keep an unchained escritoire on Hampstead Heath or Piccadilly Circus. He chose the latter for reasons best known to himself. I thought you'd like to know. Me, I couldn't care less.

GRAMS: Raspberry fanfare

Seagoon: Thank you. Now, dear sir, I'll read you the headlines. Hah! Good heavens, just as I thought: "Man found dead in matchbox."

Grytpype-Thynne: Yes, and I know where he is. Quick, follow me inside the escritoire.

GRAMS: Whoosh, long whoosh , escritoire closes

Seagoon: Inside my escritoire, all was dark. I was lead to a clearing in the blotting paper. There, lit only by lights, was a matchbox. I tiptoed forward on my hands and k-nees. And there, inside the matchbox, lying face-downwards on his back, was a dead contortionist.

Grytpype-Thynne: Need-die, Need-die, you must go to the police, Or if you're French, la police.

Seagoon: Yes, or if you're French, oui.

GRAMS: Whoosh

FX: Door opens

Seagoon: Inspector?

Inspector: Oui?

Seagoon: I want to report a murder. Man dead in matchbox.

Inspector: Sacrebleu! (Speaks mock-French for a while) or if you're French, (blows raspberry).

FX: Door closes

Seagoon: I never saw him again. I wasn't sorry either. Now, so the police didn't believe me, eh? (Laughs) Very well. I would bring the evidence back to them. Taxi!

GRAMS: Car sound, squealing brakes

Cabbie: Where to, sir?

Seagoon: Piccadilly.

Cabbie: This is Piccadilly.

Seagoon: How much shall that be?

Cabbie: Five bob.

FX: Cash register chime

Cabbie: Thank you.

GRAMS: Car drives off

Seagoon: I returned to my escritoire to discover that it was gone!

Moriarty: Do not worry, my little friend.

Seagoon: I wasn't worrying your little friend. The man I addressed was a tall, perpendicular cretin reclining on a loaded pogo stick and carrying a stringless banjo for protection. Aloud: (Clears throat) Who are you?

Moriarty: My card.

Seagoon: The ace of spades!

Moriarty: Yes! I am a man of many parts.

Seagoon: They don't seem to be working very well.

Moriarty: Please Neddie, no ad-libbing. So, so your escritoire has been stolen! I can help you recover it.

Seagoon: It doesn't need recovering, it's brand-new. (laughs, clears throat)

Moriarty: What?

Seagoon: I don't like the look of you.

Moriarty: Name of a dog!

Seagoon: Fido.

Moriarty: Correct! Now, now follow me. Meantime, Max Geldray!

INTERVAL: Max Geldray plays "Someone to watch over me"


Greenslade: "The Secret Escritoire", part the two. If listeners will put up their binoculars and look towards Tilbury, they'll observe that Moriarty has lured Neddie to the docks.

GRAMS: Harbour sounds

Seagoons: Tell me, salty old seaman, you say my escritoire was put on board a ship by Grytpype?

Willum "Mate" Cobblers: Yes, mate, yes. They put it aboard the S. S. Clarence.

Seagoon: When did the ship set sail, mate?

Willum: Two days and eight nights ago, mate.

Seagoon: Good heavens, mate. By now it must be more than three hundred k-nots away.

Moriarty: Neddie, we must follow her.

Seagoon: Right, follow me.

Moriarty: No, I'll follow you.

Seagoon: Right, lead on.

Moriarty: After you!

GRAMS: Splash, then 5 large splashes

Greenslade: The first splash was Moriarty. The other five were Mr. Secombe. Now, if listeners will stand on Mount Blanc, and train their telescopes towards the straits of Jehore, they will see the S. S. Clarence. We take you over now to the passenger deck.

GRAMS: Orchestra, sounds of crowd fighting, yells, cries.

Bloodnok: Stop, stop, stop it, I say! Next dance please, next dance. Aah. Ohh augh.

Spike(Indian voice): Pardon me, sir.

Bloodnok: How dare you burst into my cabin on Ladies' Night? Untie these nice women. Oh, I -- I'm in condition tonight. I say, you two in the water, what do you want?

Seagoon: Hell-llp. Have you an escritoire on board?

Bloodnok: Two on B deck and one in the lounge. Stand aside and full speed ahead!

Seagoon: Wait! We have money!

GRAMS: Sound of squealing brakes

Bloodnok: Give us your hands, dear lads. Come along, you naughty... Where's me old photograph?

Seagoon: Augh. Mind the tenor's friend. Watch out for the baritones buddy. Ah. Thank you sir.

Moriarty: Murky, murky.

Bloodnok: Yes, now, I must first examine your documents. Allow me to see them. Umm, 47, 48, 49, 50 pounds, 50 p -- yes, these papers appear to be in order. Nyugh.

Seagoon: Major, are you responsible for berths on board this ship?

Bloodnok: Not all of them, dear boy, no. Yes, yes...

Seagoon: Well, we want a separate door with adjoining cabins.

Bloodnok: Ohh, well that will be fifty pounds exactly, Mr. Smith.

Seagoon: What luck, Mr. Jones. I've just got the right amount.

GRAMS: Cash register chime

Bloodnok: Thank you.

Seagoon: Now, where are you going to put us?

Bloodnok: Here! (Strains) Huh.

GRAMS: Two splashes

Seagoon: You scoundrel! We've just given you fifty pounds!

Bloodnok: You think I'm not grateful? Full speed ahead! Follow that sea, ahhh...

ORCHESTRA: Nautical Fanfare. Oriental music.

Seagoon: Moriarty and I struck out for a foreign shore, and soon waded ashore on a foreign land.

Grytpype-Thynne: Welcome ashore to Malaya.

Seagoon: Great goose sticks! Grytpype-Thynne, you devil! Where's my escritoire?

Grytpype-Thynne: Put on these bamboo boots and follow me.

FX: Sounds of footsteps speeding up and going off into the distance.

Greenslade: If listeners will now stand on the top of Tower Bridge and look Nor'-Nor'-East, they will see that at this very moment, Major Bloodnok has also arrived at Malaya and is passing through the Malayan customs.

Customs Officer (Secombe - Oriental accent): Please, what have you got in this eighty ton clase?

Bloodnok: Nothing, little Malayan customs officer, played very badly by Harry Secombe. You don't think I carry it around full, do you?

Customs Officer: Please open, or I clout earhole with stick!

Bloodnok: Oh, that's different. Very well.

FX: Sound of case being opened

Eccles: Hallo!

Customs Officer: Explain please, presence of idiot in case.

Bloodnok: You, idiot, what are you doing in my case?

Eccles: Case? You told me this was a first-class cabin.

Bloodnok: It's lies, all lies I tell you. I never took eighty pounds off him for letting him travel in this case believing it to be a first-class cabin thus hoping to defraud the steamship company of the eighty pounds I took off him. It's all lies! Arrest him!

Eccles: Wait. I'm as innocent as you are!

Bloodnok: There you are! Arrest him!

Customs officer: Please, tell why you come to Malaya.

Eccles: Yeah, I want to buy some rubber.

Bloodnok: Why?

Eccles: I made a mistake in my homework.

CO: Sorry, you must pay duty on this idiot.

Bloodnok: Pay duty on an idiot?

CO: Yes.

Bloodnok: Ugh!

Co: Twenty dollars alive or three dollars dead.

Bloodnok: Eccles, here's a pistol, do the decent thing.

Eccles: Ok. Goodbye.

GRAMS: Pistol shot

Eccles: Got him!

Bloodnok: Good shot, Eccles!

Seagoon: Stop, stop! Hah, that's the man who threw me off the S. S. Clarence!

Bloodnok: (Sputters) I don't recognize you!

Seagoon: Of course not. I've still got my Malayan customs set on.

Eccles: (Laughs)

Seagoon: Eccles!

Eccles: Yah?

Seagoon: Mr. Eccles, my old headmaster.

Eccles: I've got my old head on too.

Greenslade: Dear listeners, this will give you some idea of the drastic shortage of schoolteachers.

Eccles: And that speech will give you some idea of the drastic shortage of announcers.

Seagoon: Mr. Eccles!

Eccles: Yes, my good man?

Seagoon: Mr. Eccles...

Eccles: Ya?

Seagoon: You were on board the S. S. Clarence, weren't you?

Eccles: Uh-huh.

Seagoon: Did you see a roll-top desk on board?

Eccles: Nope! The only thing I saw was an escritoire.

Seagoon: An escritoire?

Eccles: Yah.

Seagoon: Is an escritoire a French word from the Latin meaning, "to scrite?"

Eccles: Uh-huh.

Seagoon: And does it mean, all in all, a writing table with tiroirs? and pigeonholes, as distinct from a writing desk which has a sloping front?

Eccles: Yah.

Seagoon: Huzzah! That's the very thing I'm looking for!

Eccles: What is?

Seagoon: An escritoire.

Eccles: What's an escritoire?

Seagoon: Needle nardle noo!

Eccles: Oh!

Bloodnork: Urgh.

Seagoon: In that escritoire is a man dead in a matchbox, and I want him as evidence to show to the police.

Bloodnok: Ah! Wrench me thudder and larrup me knid! If a murder is involved I can remain silent no longer. Your escritoire was sent to this address.

Seagoon: Quick! Follow that address!

GRAMS: Bouncy music

FX: Drawers opening and closing

Henry and Uncle Oscar: Various groans and mutters

Uncle Oscar: Have you seen my teeth, Minnie?

Minnie: Dear dear dear dear...

Henry: Dear dear...

Minnie: Oh dear dear...

Uncle Oscar: Have you seen my teeth, Minnie?

Minnie: Un -- uncle Oscar's lost his choppers.

Henry: Lost his choppers, Min?

Minnie: Yes, oh.

Uncle Oscar: I had them when I started.

Minnie: You spend too long in there every day.

FX: Sounds of locks

Minnie: Are you locking up, Henry?

Henry: Yes, I'm locking up.

Minnie: I'm worried, I'm worried about the bandits, you know.

Henry: Don't you worry, Min.

Minnie: Ahhh.

Henry: Every door is locked from the inside.

Minnie: Uh. I'm, I'm still very worried, Hen.

Henry: Why?

Minnie: I'm outside.

Henry: Oh.

Minnie: It's not my fault, I was potting the rubber tree and you told me...

Uncle Oscar: I can't find my teeth, you know, I um, I um, I had pudding on them last night.

FX: Door unlock

Henry: Now, come in, Min, and stay in.

Minnie: Oh, oh. You, you locked me out when my back was...

Uncle Oscar: My choppers have gone you know...

Minnie: Un, uncle Oscar...

Uncle Oscar: Perhaps they're in the pie crust...

Henry: Ellinga?

Minnie: He's long -- lost his teeth.

Henry: Ellinga, can you reach the top bolt? I can't...

Ellinga: Me reach, me got long arms.

Henry: Yes.

Ellinga: Strong arms.

Henry: Just put the bolt...

Ellinga: Me reach, very strong.

Henry: You're strong?

Ellinga: Mmm. Got bolt, strong, very strong indeed.

Uncle Oscar: (Overlapping) He's got teeth and everything...

(Various mutterings)

Greenslade: (Overlapping) Listeners, if you raise your ear trumpets, you will hear Mr. Ray Ellington and his quartet.

Ray Ellington and Quartet play "Play It, Boy"

Henry and Minnie: (Various mutters continue)

FX: Knocking on door

Minnie: Oh oww, oh ee!

FX: Knocking continues

Minnie: Oh, we'll all be murdered in our beds, what's that?

Seagoon: Pardon me, old steaming couple.

Minnie: Ooo...

Henry: What do you want, little ball of lard?

Seagoon: Have no fear, old colonial couple. All I seek is that escritoire.

Minnie: How did you get into our blung--bungalow?

Seagoon: Through the bead curtain.

Minnie: We haven't got any.

Seagoon: I carry my own.

Minnie: Oh.

Henry: We have not got the escritoire, sir.

Minnie: No.

Henry: Mr. Grytpype-Thynne took it through the beaded curtain.

Seagoon: You said you hadn't got any.

Henry: He carried his own.

Seagoon: Quick, men! Follow that Grytpype!

Minnie: Ooh.

GRAMS: Footsteps accompanied by fast march music

GRAMS: Splash

FX: Sound of chopping

Seagoon: For weeks we cut our way through the dense jungle that ran along the side of the arterial road. Gladys?

Gladys: Yes, darling?

Seagoon: Gladys, I have a feeling we're lost.

Gladys: Do not worry. Me come from old tracking family. Me come this way many times before.

Seagoon: Good, where does it lead to?

Gladys: Me don't know, me always get lost, cor blimey.

Bloodnok: (Distance) Nyah, oh oh... oh dear.

Seagoon: Shh, there's someone approaching.

Bloodnok: Oh. Seagoon, Seagoon!

Seagoon: Why are you following me?

Bloodnok: You're so attractive.

Seagoon: Thank heavens.

Bloodnok: Oh.

Seagoon: For a moment, I thought you were going to lie.

Bloodnok: Seagoon, I, I, I feel I must tell you, you're being led into a terrible plot. Grytpype-Thynne has a thousand suits ready for midgets. He intends to shrink you to the right size and make you his first customer!

Seagoon: Great yakabakakakoo!

Bloodnok: Yes, he could shrink you to three inches.

Seagoon: Half my present height!

Bloodnok: Yes! Look lad, for a thousand pounds I'll sell you this anti-shrink pill.

Seagoon: A thousand pounds? My life savings! Well, come into the office.

FX: Door opens

Miss Pills (Sellers - female voice): Morning, Mr. Seagoon.

Seagoon: Morning Miss Pills. Miss Pills, get a thousand pounds from the safe.

Miss Pills: Yes sir.

Seagoon: Bloodnok, I'm very grateful to you.

Miss Pills: Here you are, sir.

Seagoon: Thank you. There, Bloodnok, a thousand pounds in money.

Bloodnok: Ahh.

Miss Pills: Mr. Seagoon, when you will you be back?

Seagoon: I don't know. You see, I'm lost in the Malayan jungle. For heaven's sake, send help! Goodbye!

FX: Door closes

Seagoon: Right men, I must find that body in the matchbox as evidence. Reverse kneecaps and we'll head north. Follow me!

GRAMS: Splash

Greenslade: There are many lakes in Malaya.

Seagoon: I struck out for the far side of the mango-infested swamp.

Eccles: Grab my hand! I'll pull you out!

Seagoon: Eccles! How did you get across the swamp without getting wet?

Eccles: I jumped on that log.

Seagoon: That log! That's an alligator!

Eccles: Ooo. I wondered why my legs kept getting shorter.

Seagoon: Gad, we're in a pretty mess. What's going to happen next?

Bluebottle: Hands up in Malayan! Do not move or these cardboard guns will spit death! Enter Blungbotton, signals applause.

GRAMS: Cheering, applause

Bluebottle: Enough, enough, enough! I have drunk my fill.

Seagoon: Great hoary swimmers, it's a -- what is it?

Bluebottle: I am Jungjle Jim Blungbotton, Kinj of the junjgle. I have been hiding in the jungle for three weeks!

Seagoon: Why?

Bluebottle: I got a hole in my trousers!

Seagoon: Tell me, little stranger, why do you bar our way?

Bluebottom: I have been sended here to lead you to Grytpype-Thynne and Dr. Sin, the mad biological mysterarian.

Seagoon: Is that difficult?

Bluebottle: You try saying it!

Seagoon: Very well, lead on.

Bluebottle: Yes, but first we must cross the dreaded river Bagochips.

Ellingna: I warn you, river Bagochips very cold.

Seagoon: There's nothing worse than a cold bag-o-chips!

Greenslade: If listeners will now stand on their heads in a bowl of lukewarm porridge, they'll be able to hear the last part of "The Secret Escritoire". If you haven't got porridge, bread pudding is an excellent substitute. Good luck.


GRAMS: Tribal singing and yelling, small jungle drums

Seagoon: For days we travelled deep into the interior. There we met a tribe called the Darkaraters. They were of course the famous interior Darkaraters.

Bluebottle: Stop! We have arrived! This is the place and there is your escrintoire. I have done-ed my duty. Sinks exhausted to ground, does hands-clutching and unclutching act, as done by Cary Grant in "To Catch A Thief".

Seagoon: Good work, Bluebottle! Here's a match. Go find yourself a petrol dump. Now to locate the dead man in the matchbox.

Grytpype-Thynne: Neddie, drop that gun or I shall play this record.

GRAMS: Crooning record ("Cara Mia" - David Whitfield)

Seagoon: Stop, stop stop! You win!

Grytpype-Thynne: You see?

Seagoon: What do you want?

Grytpype-Thynne: Roll up your sleeve.

Seagoon: There.

Grytpype-Thynne: Just as I thought, an arm!

Seagon: Thoroughly, he took out a yi-tong-iddle-I-podermic needle and (extended sounds of groaning in pain)

Grytpype-Thynne: Have you finished?

Seagoon: Yes.

Grytpype-Thynne: Good, now I'll give you the injection.

Seagoon: (sounds of groaning in pain) Oo! I hurriedly swallowed my anti-shrink tablet.

Grytpype-Thynne: There. In a few moments you'll be the right size for the suit. Now in here, Neddie.

Seagoon: (Laughs) He thinks I'm going to shrink.

FX: Door closes

FX: Door opens

Seagoon: (High pitched voice) How do you like my new suit, fellas, eh?

ORCHESTRA: End tune under:

Greenslade: That was the Goon Show, a recorded BBC programme featuring Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe, and Spike Milligan, with the Ray Ellington Quartet and Max Geldray. The orchestra was conducted by Wally Stott, script by Spike Milligan and Eric Sykes, announcer Wallace Greenslade, programme produced by Peter Eton.

Greenslade: Harry Secombe is now appearing in "Flotsam's Midgets" on Bognor Pier.


NOTES: David Whitfield's "Cara Mia" was No. 1 in the UK music charts for ten weeks from July to September 1954.