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Wednesday, 27 February, 2002, 13:17 GMT
Milligan's comic legacy
Prince Charles was a big fan of Milligan
Prince Charles was a big fan of Milligan
The influence of Spike Milligan, who has died at the age of 83, on a generation of comic writers will live on for many years to come.

As part of the cutting edge comedy that was The Goon Show in the 1950s, he helped establish wacky and original writing that was later copied by the likes of Monty Python.

To this day, his famous one-line quotes and poems can still be remembered by fans and fellow comedians.

Perhaps his most famous retort was aimed at one of his biggest fans, Prince Charles.

The Goons were a huge influence on comedy writers
The Goons were a huge influence on comedy writers
On accepting a lifetime achievement honour at the British Comedy Awards in 1994, Milligan called the prince a "grovelling little bastard" after the royal had sent his congratulations in a letter.

In 1998 his nonsense verse On The Ning Nang Nong was voted the UK's favourite comic poems.

At the time he said: "I believe my poem has been voted the favourite poem of children and adults - and I want to thank you very much for doing it. And that's about it."

On The Ning Nang Nong

On the Ning Nang Nong Where the cows go Bong!
And the monkeys all say Boo!
There's a Nong Nang Ning
Where the trees go Ping
And the tea pots Jibber Jabber Joo.
On the Nong Ning Nang
All the mice go Clang!
And you just can't catch 'em when they do!
So it's Ning Nang Nong!
Cows go Bong!
Nong Nang Ning!
Trees go Ping!
Nong Ning Nang!
The mice go Clang!
What a noisy place to belong,
Is the Ning Nang Ning Nang Nong!

(Reproduced by permission of Spike Milligan Productions Ltd)

Milligan's one-liners and quotes have gone into comedy history, many of which are still repeated today:

"I thought I'd begin by reading a poem by Shakespeare, but then I thought, why should I? He never reads any of mine."

"My father had a profound influence on me, he was a lunatic."

Milligan used to joke about Secombe's singing
Milligan used to joke about Secombe's singing
"Money couldn't buy you friends, but you get a better class of enemy."

"I spent many years laughing at Harry Secombe's singing until somebody told me that it wasn't a joke."

"A sure cure for seasickness is to sit under a tree."

"Are you going to come quietly, or do I have to use earplugs?"

"Said Hamlet to Ophelia, 'I'll draw a sketch of thee; What kind of pencil shall I use? To be or not be?'"

"How long was I in the army? Five foot eleven."

"Well, we can't stand around here doing nothing, people will think we're workmen."

"When I look back, the fondest memory I have is not really of the Goons. It is of a girl called Julia with enormous breasts."

"I'd like to go there. But if Jeffrey Archer is there I want to go to Lewisham" - Milligan on whether he believed he would go to heaven.

"He sent me a fax. It said: 'I hope you go before me because I don't want you singing at my funeral'" - Sir Harry Secombe after receiving a message from Milligan.

Fans pay respects

His comic art




Picture gallery
Spike's life in pictures

See also:

12 Apr 01 | Entertainment
Sir Harry Secombe dies
30 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Honorary knighthood for Spike
12 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Goons memories go on
10 Oct 98 | Entertainment
Top poetry is complete nonsense
30 Dec 00 | New Year Honours 2000
Spike's comic genius hailed
01 Sep 99 | Entertainment
Spike Milligan voted the funniest
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