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Characters / The Goon Show

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Characters in The Goon Show and the tropes associated with them.note 

It's all rather confusing, really.

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    Neddie Seagoon 

Actor: Harry Secombe

True blue British idiot and hero always.

The closest the show has to a main character and the only major role regularly played by Secombe. A fat, bumbling patriot willing to burst into song at the slightest (or no) provocation, he is usually plays the role of either a government official or nobleman ripe to be ruthlessly exploited, or an impoverished cretin perfectly suited to act as a fall guy for whatever schemes are being cooked up this week. These plans usually fail since Seagoon is too stupid to fool even himself.


  • Catch Phrase: (while narrating) "And this is where the story really starts!" He would also frequently respond with "Whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat?" (occasionally going up into clucking sounds). At times, would address the audience through a megaphone: "Hello folks! Calling folks."
    • "I did not wish to know that."
    • "Ying tong iddle-i po" and "Needle-nardle-noo!"
  • Deadpan Snarker: Despite Seagoon's idiot tendencies, Milligan could never resist a chance for a gag and so Seagoon, like everyone else, was this from time to time.
    Seagoon: That olé of olés could only herald the coming of the highly esteemed Goon Show!
    [Grams: Panic stricken audience running out, door slams]
    Seagoon: Who unlocked the doors? Mr. Greenslade, emergency music!
    [Grams: The Archers theme tune and animal noises]
    Seagoon: Stop! [Music stops] I knew that would get them back in.
  • Dirty Coward: Although this was normally Bloodnok's role, Seagoon would be it from time to time, usually with a show of pretending to be braver than he actually was:
    Seagoon: I can see it all now, I'll fight till me ammunitions gone. I'll say to the other men; Lads, make your way back as best as you I'll stay on, I'll fight 'em barehanded until I'm overpowered, and then I'll swallow my secret code. They'll torture me, I won't speak... It'll mean the firing squad, ha ha, so what? They'll say, Any last requests? I say yes, damn you, I want evening dress... I'll take my time, and put it on with my full miniatures... blindfold, they'll say... ha ha ha, blind fold, ha ha, the rifles'll come up, the click of the cartridges rammed home, they're taking aim... ha ha ha... I'll be smiling, that...that carefree, daredevil smile, the officer will raise his sword... the volley will ring out, and I'll slump smiling to the floor — dead!
    Colonel Jim: Well, Seagoon?
    Seagoon: I DON'T WANT TO GOOOOO!
  • Fat Idiot: Since Neddie was a caricature of Secombe, this was inevitable.
    Grytpype-Thynne: I've heard of you; you're Neddie Seagoon, the famous size.
    Moriarty: (holding Neddie up with a pistol) Right; turn around.
    Seagoon: I'm not strong enough.
    Moriarty: Very well, we'll walk around you.
    Seagoon: (narrating) Dear listeners; even though I had my back turned to them, I could still see them in a 16-foot mirror that I rushed out and bought...
    Moriarty: This is going to be a long trip. Seagoon, how much ground can you cover in a day?
    Seagoon: I can cover ten square yards standing still.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: A case of friendly mockery from Milligan, as Secombe was an excellent singer with a professional musical career.note 
    • This becomes a small running gag of the episode entitled The Greenslade Story, broadcast just after Secombe had released a new record - John Snagge, a prominent BBC announcer, threatened to ban it on popular broadcast programme "Housewives' Choice".
  • Idiot Hero: Neddie Seagoon is the nominal hero of most episodes in which he appears, and he's definitely an idiot.
  • Motor Mouth: Milligan considered this one of Secombe's defining traits, and wrote Seagoon this way.
  • Patriotic Fervour: Often claiming things "For ENGLAAAAND!" (despit Secombe being Welsh).
  • Straight Man: Insofar as there was one, it tended to be Neddie — when it wasn't Wallace Greenslade instead.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Always. To take one example, in The Case of the Missing CD Plates, Moriarty runs him (and his bagpipes; It Makes Sense in Context) over with a steamroller but escapes prosecution due to the steamroller having Corps Diplomatique, or diplomatic immunity plates — Moriarty later drops a piano on his head — and then cons Seagoon into breaking into an evidence warehouse to screw a CD plate to the wreckage of the piano so he can get off that one as well.

    Hercules Grytpype-Thynne 

Actor: Peter Sellers

A plausible public school villain and cad.

A suave, sophisticated and occasionally too clever for his own good schemer perpetually thinking up get-rick-quick schemes and criminal enterprises. Usually parters-in-crime with Moriarty.


  • Armored Closet Gay / Straight Gay: Milligan later admitted, when the show was over, that he had written Grytpype-Thynne as a closeted homosexual; this clarifies certain lines of dialogue, such as:
    Eccles: If I close my eyes, I won't be able to see you!
    Grytpype-Thynne: ...Will you miss me?
  • Big Bad: Generally behind the evil scheme in any episode, unless there was a guest villain, in which case he and Moriarity were Demoted to Extra.
  • The Brigadier: In his first appearance on the show ("The Whistling Spy Enigma"). Very much Early Installment Weirdness.
  • Catch Phrase: With Moriarty: (singing) "April in Paris - we've found a Charlie!" Also "You silly, twisted boy" (referring to Neddie).
  • Deadpan Snarker: Probably the most sarcastic cast member.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Granted, the show isn't big on continuity, but in his earliest appearances Grytpype-Thynne was on the "good" side.
  • Get-Rich-Quick Scheme: Generally planning one whenever he appears.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Grytpype's voice was based on actor George Sanders. His lines in earler seasons, before the character had fully developed, where even credited to "Sanders".
  • Only Sane Man: Grytpype-Thynne was the only character who had some vague knowledge of how ridiculous the situations were and how crazy all of the others were. Of course, he tried to exploit this at every opportunity.

    Comte Jim Moriarty 

Actor: Spike Milligan

French scrag and lackey to Grytpype-Thynne.

A french aristocrat who may-or-may-not have escaped from a Sherlock Holmes novel, Moriarty is a co-schemer turned lacky of Grytpype-Thynne who was - originally - the more crimminal of the two. Interestingly, over the course of the show his condition deteriorates from a reasonably successful criminal mastermind to a gibbering lackey barely able to clamour for food, let alone money.


  • Catch Phrase: Various faux-foreign outbursts, usually along the lines of "Sapristi bompets!" Also a crooning "Owwwwww" from season 7 onwards.
    • "...and there's more where that came from."
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: Moriarty on several occasions.
    Grytpype-Thynne: (sipping soup) Tell me, Moriarty...what is this foul but economical recipe?
    Moriarty: It's a family secret!
    Grytpype-Thynne: Why?
    Moriarty: They died after the first mouthful. It was terrible! I had to do all the washing up myself!
    • And again...
    Moriarty: *humming to himself while alchemical bubbling goes on in background*
    Grytpype-Thynne: What is that excruciating brew you're sipping from that boot?
    Moriarty: Ohh, taste, taste!
    Grytpype-Thynne: *long, slurping sip* *pause* *spitting/splashing sound* Gad, what is it?
    Moriarty: Your laundry.
    • And again:
    Grytpype-Thynne: What's for breakfast this morning?
    Moriarty: This steaming debris fracoule. Here, taste it!
    [smacking of lips]
    Moriarty: A dish fit for a king, yes?
    Grytpype-Thynne: Only if he's abdicated.
    • And once more, in Who Is Pink Oboe:
    Valentine Dyall: By God, that smells good, Moriarty! What is it?
    Moriarty: Me!
  • The Dragon: Poor Moriarty goes from being a rough parody of his Sherlock Holmes Chessmaster counterpart to Thynne's groveling second-in-command.
  • Impoverished Patrician: It's implied this is due to Grytpype's scheming.
  • In-Series Nickname: Often introduced with one... but never the same one twice. In episodes where he has one, it usually accompanies a sound-effect gag. Such introductions also often include some dubious titles or accomplishments of his.
    Grytpype-Thynne: Do you see those pallid knees rising from the bathwater? They belong to the submerged, fear-ridden body of Count Jim "Bubbles" (FX: bubbling) Moriarty; World Bankruptcy Champion for the year ending 1956.
    Grytpype-Thynne: Allow me to introduce my friend here [...], Count Jim "Knees" (FX: knock on something hollow) Moriarty; Fruit Bottler Extraordinary to the House of Pronk, and ex-World Turkish Bath Champion.
    Grytpype-Thynne: [...] and this heap of rags is none other than Count Jim "Wakey-Wakey!" (FX: two loud slaps, Moriarty wakes up with a cry) Moriarty.


Actor: Spike Milligan

The Original Goon.

A good-natured village idiot willing to try to do anything - and make an incredible mess of it.



Actor: Peter Sellers

A cardboard cut-out liquorice and string hero.

An adolescent boy scout who somehow found his way into the production and hasn't yet grasped the concept of "stage directions".


    Major Denis Bloodnok, Ind. Arm. Rtd. 

Actor: Peter Sellers

Military idiot, coward, and bar.


  • Catch Phrase: "X my Ys and A my Bs!" as an Unusual Euphemism curse.
    • "Nurse! The screens!"
    • "I don't know who you are sir, or where you come from, but you've done me a power of good." (an Orphaned Punchline).
    • "It was hell in there."
    • He also made a wordless, exclamatory throat-clearing noise, which Milligan spelled in the published scripts as "Aeiough!" and sometimes "Bleiough!"
  • Dirty Coward: Major Bloodnok is this trope.
    • To wit, in The Stolen Battleship, after a case of exchanged identity:
    Bloodnok: Here! Give me that money order!
    Eccles: It's mine, I'm Major Bloodnok.
    Bloodnok: Nonsense! You give it to me, you thieving coward!
    Eccles: I'm not a thieving coward!
    Bloodnok: Then that proves it, you're not Major Bloodnok!
  • Gasshole: Downplayed for censorship reasons; see Getting Crap Past the Radar on the main page.
  • Great White Hunter: Sometimes.
  • I Can Explain: When interrupted with a woman. In one episode, he quickly introduces the woman he is with as his sister; when rebuffed, he reintroduces her as his mother.
  • Leitmotif: The only character who gets one. Lots of brass instruments, for reasons suggested above...
  • Masochist's Meal: He will sometimes ascribe his digestive agonies to having eaten these; the ingredients often include gunpowder.
  • Overranked Soldier: How self-proclaimed 'dirty coward' Major Denis Bloodnok ever obtained his rank is a mystery. More than one episode implies that blackmail had something to do with it.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Is very quick to deny, in great detail, acts which he wasn't actually being accused of.
    Seagoon: I've written my memoirs.
    Bloodnok: (shocked) What?! It's a lie, I tell you, it's a lie! I wasn't in that wardrobe! In any case, I was waiting for a bus, you see.
    • From "The Jet-Propelled Guided NAAFI"
    Moriarty: Be quiet or I'll tell them who sold those three cardboard tanks.
    Bloodnok: What?! It's all lies! Anyway, they never paid me.


    Henry Crun 

Actor: Peter Sellers

A thin ancient and inventor.


  • Bungling Inventor: In his earlier appearances. Hampered by a near-constant shortage of raw material leading to...
  • Catch Phrase: "You can't get the wood, you know...". Also, "a shortage of shortages."
    • Lampshaded in "The Siege of Fort Night;" where he says the catchphrase several times in rapid succession before Seagoon offers to get the wood for him, at which point he says it will be difficult because "I can't say 'you can't get the wood, you know...'"
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Miss Minnie Bannister.
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: He and Minnie have different odd jobs every episode.
  • Scatterbrained Senior: He often fell asleep in mid-sentence.
  • Verbal Tic: Mumbling approximately rendered as "Mnk — grnk — mnk — mnk — grmp."

    Miss Minnie Bannister 

Actor: Spike Milligan

Spinster of the Parish.


  • Catch Phrase: "We'll all be murdered in our beds!" and referring to everyone as "buddy".
  • Cool Old Lady: Parodied. In spite of being a frail old lady, "Modern Min" is a fan of modern, sinful dancing and music, which drives Henry wild. She also appears to have a crush on Major Bloodnok. This infuruates Henry, but there's nothing he can do about it because Sellers is playing Bloodnok at the time.
  • Dirty Old Woman: Hinted at:
    Crun: It's the war-whoops of the Nakataka Indians!
    Minnie: Are they the ones that commit atrocities?
    Crun: Yes, Min!
    Minnie: I'll go upstairs and get ready.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Henry.
  • Never Mess with Granny: She can drive off entire tribes of Natives with her saxophone. On one occasion she fought - and beat - a fully-grown gorilla! Granted, it turned out to be Eccles.

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