Friday Funny – Spike Milligan and ‘the grovelling little bastard”
I love Spike, always have…ever since I heard “Badjelly The Witch” on Sunday morning radio I fell for that quirky, imaginative sense of telling a story which alienates some and sucks in others. I read his Silly Verse and later owned and read, (and re-read) his war memoirs (which are as sad as they are funny). He was an artist, of sorts, his etchings bordering on the insane yet always gut-wrenchingly hilarious. Then there is The Goons and his movie and TV appearances (The Muppet Show, and his skit with Parky highlights).We share a birthday (although he is older than me) and depression, and the ability to make or lose friends by attempts at humor.
I am flabbergasted he never received a Knighthood like his contemporary Harry Secombe. Still, he would have likely turned it down, or as this clip shows, had it taken off him…you cannot script funny like this.
The Prince of Wales was a fan, and sent Milligan a congratulatory message on a live TV program honouring Spike in 1994. The comedian proceeded to call the prince a “little grovelling bastard”, causing a predictable stir. He later faxed the prince, saying “I suppose a knighthood is out of the question?” It was not; in reality he and the Prince were very close friends, and Milligan had already been made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1992 (honorary because of his Irish citizenship). He was made an (honorary) Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in 2000.