Preview – Spike Milligan: Assorted Q

Spike Milligan

As part of BBC Four’s surrealism night, here is a welcome repeat of sketches from one of Britain’s most famous surreal comics.

Spike Milligan’s Q series (aka Q5, Q6, Q7 etc.) helped to display The Goon Show creator’s incredibly bizarre ideas. However, the series very rarely gets repeated today. There is a good reason for this: much of the show was horribly politically incorrect.

While Milligan was a surreal genius, a lot of what he did has aged very badly indeed. It’s hard to imagine anyone on TV today doing jokes about Pakistani Daleks or getting a letter from a blacked-up policeman and saying that it is blackmail – followed-up by holding up a sign saying “Groan” and everyone groaning along in unison. It is perhaps for this reason that DVD releases of Q took so long, not being released until late last year.

Fortunately this selection of sketches does try to highlight Milligan at his surreal best.

Spike Milligan: Assorted Q is on BBC Four at 22.50.