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“Spike” Milligan was born in Ahmednagar, India, on 16 April 1918 to an Irish-born officer in the British Army and his wife.

Though he lived most of his life in England and served in the British Army, he was declared stateless in 1960, and took Irish citizenship.

He suffered from bipolar disorder for most of his life, having at least ten mental breakdowns. He was a strident campaigner on environmental matters, particularly arguing against unnecessary noise. He served in the Royal Artillery in World War II in North Africa and also Italy, where he was hospitalized for shell shock.

During most of the 1930s and early 1940s he performed as a jazz trumpeter but even then he did comedy sketches. After his hospitalisation he played guitar with a jazz/comedy group called The Bill Hall Trio, at first in concert parties for the troops and, after the war, for a short time on stage. While he was with the Central Pool of Artists (a group, in his own words, “of bomb-happy squaddies”) he began to write parodies of their mainstream plays, that displayed many of the key elements of what would become The Goon Show with Peter Sellers and Michael Bentine.

Spike Milligan in his younger days
He was the primary author of The Goon Show scripts (though many were written jointly with Eric Sykes) as well as a star performer, and is considered the father of modern British comedy, having inspired countless writers and performers with his work on The Goon Show and his own Q series, including Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Writing a show a week affected his health greatly and caused him to have a series of nervous breakdowns. On one occasion, Peter Sellers had to lock his door against a knife-wielding Milligan; on another, Sellers and Harry Secombe broke into Milligan’s dressing room, fearing he was suicidal. Eventually lithium was found to be the most effective treatment.

Milligan also wrote nonsense verse for children, the best of which is comparable with that of Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear, and (while depressed) serious poetry. He also wrote a very successful series of war memoirs, including Adolf Hitler: My Part in his Downfall (1971) and Rommel? Gunner Who? A Confrontation in the Desert (1976)
The Prince of Wales was a noted fan, and Milligan caused a stir by calling him a “little grovelling bastard” on television in 1994. He later faxed the prince, saying “I suppose a knighthood is out of the question?”. A knighthood (honorary because of his Irish citizenship) was finally awarded in 2000.

In a BBC poll in August 1999, Spike Milligan was voted the “funniest person of the last 1000 years”.

He died from liver disease, at the age of 83, on February 27, 2002, at his home in Rye, East Sussex.

I for one sadly miss him and I hope he would approve of this small tribute.


spike, toastedghost, miligan, poetry, surreal, poems


  • JenniferB
    JenniferBabout 6 years ago

    Fantastic! These tributes of yours are a wonderful switch in genre and a brilliant idea, I need to find a new direction for myself soon… I heat pinning myself down like a voodoo doll, lol… oh… about that cyber I owe you… for some reason that streak of genius in you scares the shit out of me and intimidates me… I have a feeling you’d pin me to a wall and throw darts at me! LOL… so can I skip on that promise for now? pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaassssssssss…

  • Thanks Jen. Just paying tribute to a man who has influenced me greatly.
    Damn, I told you not to mention the darts…

    – ToastedGhost

  • Jen Cannella
    Jen Cannellaabout 6 years ago

    Wow, this is craziness at it’s best…fantastic work TG!

  • Cheers glad you approve

    – ToastedGhost

  • pryere
    pryereabout 6 years ago

    Great biog and tribute to the great man. I have always been a fan it seems, having been raised aroud his humour, wit and uniqueness. I trust were your biog stops, you were also going to mention his many books. One of my favourites being, Hitler, My Part In His Downfall.
    In a former life, I was a chauffer for the BBC, I had the pleasure of driving him from his house in Barnet, I think, to TV centre and back, for a week. What a result! It was a long time ago, I remember him being grumpy and sleeping all the journeys in and being hilarious on his way home.
    RIP Spike Milligan
    Did you know that his epitaph reads, I told you I was ill?

  • Thanks, yes I would have liked to have mentioned his books and films, ran out of space.
    Wow I would have love to have been his chauffer, what an honour.
    His attitude reminds me of seeing the girls change shift in Amsterdam at about 4.30 in the morning (when I was 17 lol). The swaggered in whilst the evening shift staggered out.
    I am slightly Bi-polar so I know too well the feeling.
    And yes i did know it was on his epitaph

    – ToastedGhost

  • PJ Ryan
    PJ Ryanabout 6 years ago

    brilliant work – i imagine he’s caught onto this tribute somehow somewhere and is completely chuffed xx

  • Joseph Darmenia
    Joseph Darmeniaabout 6 years ago

    Very funny after you notice the rest of the finger. Well done.

  • Paul  Carlyle
    Paul Carlyleabout 6 years ago

    Nice one toastie…. I love spike too.

  • articulation
    articulationabout 6 years ago


  • Lee Kerr
    Lee Kerrabout 6 years ago

    I’ll never forget the first poem of Spike’s that I read;

    I must go down to the sea again,
    to the lonley sea and the sky.
    I left my shoes and sock there;
    I wonder if they’re dry?

  • MuscularTeeth
    MuscularTeethabout 6 years ago

    oh my GOD YO)U ROCK !
    if you were really talented, you’d know Muscuar Teeth is an actual line from the goon show:
    Moriarty: “He has such muscular teeth”
    Gryttype-thynne “yes he’s had offers you know !”

    i love spike milligan, and the goon show and everyhign..

  • MuscularTeeth
    MuscularTeethabout 6 years ago

    “displayed many of the key elements of what would become The Goon Show with Peter Sellers and Michael Bentine.”

    Peter Sellers, SPike Milligan, and Harry Secombe was the third guy !
    michael bentine – wasnt he the producer or something?

    and how cool was ray elington?

  • Even though he was dead Harry Secombe still got to sing at Spikes funeral.

    Crazy isnt whilst others kids at school were doing things behind the bike sheds I would recite Spike. Is it any wondered I was so well loved and hated at the same time!

    Michael bentine was an earlier Goon but left to produce his own series “Michael Bentine’s Potty Time” I used to love it. Not PC though now.

    – ToastedGhost

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