JOHN Cleese hit the comedy nail on the head when talking about the influence of the Goon Show.

He summed it up so well when he said: “We all loved The Goon Show in the Monty Python Team: it ignited some energy in us.

“It was more a spirit that was passed on, rather than any particular technique. The point is that once somebody has crossed a barrier and done something that has never been done before, it is terribly easy for everybody else to cross it”.

And that is what groundbreaking moments do. They create waves, shock waves and creative waves which allow others to follow in their wake and taste the same kind of freedom which takes in this instance comedy in new directions.

The influence of Goons spread to Monty Python, influenced the humour of The Beatles and gave ‘surreal comedians’ like Eddie Izzard who cited it as a major influence.

This comedy equivalent of an atomic bomb is coming to the stage for the first time thanks to the Apollo Theatre Company with arrangement with Norma Farnes and Spike Milligan Productions.

The aim was to do The Goon Show in 2018 as it would have been Spike’s 100th birthday.

Spike died in 2002 aged 83-years-old.

On September 19, The Goon Show will take to the stage of the Brewhouse Theatre as the cast perform three scripts complete with live music and sound effects.

One of those involved in the show, Julian Howard McDowell who is the producer and plays the role of Peter Sellers.

He said: “My father worked for Forces Broadcasting and was in Nicosia during the Suez Crisis.

“Everyone out there waited with baited breath for The Goon shows to be flown out for the servicemen to listen to. So you could say I was brought up on them from a very early age.

“I have been a great fan of Peter Sellers for many years.

“These were his early days and even thought his career was taking off he probably felt comfortable amongst friends.”

Julian spoke with warmth and delight about a surreal radio show which delivered humour which was funny because it was funny.

he talked about gems such as Bluebottle asking Eccles what time is it? which comes from The Mysterious Punch-Up-The-Conker.

The opening lines are Bluebottle:What time is it Eccles?

Eccles: Err, just a minute. I’ve got it written down on a piece of paper. A nice man wrote the time down for me this morning.

Bluebottle: Ooooh, then why do you carry it around with you Eccles?

Eccles:Well, um, if a anybody asks me the time, I can show it to dem”.

Julian also appeared in the 50th Anniversary Tour of Round the Horne. Recalling this he said: “When we were doing Round the Horne we had fans who knew every word of the script but we also had grandparents bringing their grandchildren who were hearing it for the very first time.

“We also saw people with their eyes closed, which is not good for an actor, but they were remembering and listening to what was happening like it was on the radio.

“You have to remember what came before The Goons.

“There was ITMA (It’s that man again) and music hall or variety shows.

“But this (The Goons) was very different. It was off the wall and ground breaking. Just as what Spike Milligan did with his Q Series.

“This was fantastic new comedy ideas where sketches would stop half way through and the cast would look at the camera and saying what are we going to do now, what are we going to do now.”

Julian never met Spike Milligan but he did have the opportunity when meeting with Norma Farnes (Spike’s assistant and manager) he found himself standing in Spike’s office.

He said: “I went up to meet Norma and there I was standing in his office. There was his desk, chair, pictures on the wall with him with Prince Charles. I was like a kid in a sweet shop, just soaking it all up. I could imagine him sitting there with his type writer writing letters.”

Tickets for The Goon Show cost full price from £17.

These can be bought online at or by calling the box office on 01823 283244.