The Goon Characters

  • Neddie Seagoon, the central figure of all the shows. Cheerful, likeable, gullible, but his greed regularly leads him astray.
  • Hercules Grytpype-Thynne, a posh, educated voice based on that of English actor George Sanders, who often played the suave cad. Grytpype-Thynne is a crook and con man, and the basic plot of most shows revolves around the efforts of him and his henchman, Count Moriarty, to swindle Neddie Seagoon.

  • Major Dennis Bloodnok, a devout coward either retired or deserted from the British Army. He too is a thief who tries to steal from one and all. He is afflicted with extreme gastric distress, and his introductory theme is usually followed by a bizarre series of explosions and bubbling noises that represent his guts rumbling. He comments on these sounds himself with "Quick, nurse, the screens," or "Ooh, it's no wonder I can't go to parties anymore." Occasionally the sound effect won't play, and he'll comment, "I'm cured!"

  • Henry Crun, crumbling, fumbling, very old man. But he takes Elderly Gentlemen's Get Fit hormones and is the nearly lusty paramour of Minnie Bannister. Most shows contain at least one extended scene with just him and Minnie.

  • Bluebottle, a young boy scout who usually reads his own stage directions. He is the playmate of Eccles, and most shows contain an extended scene with just him and Eccles.

  • Willium "Mate" Cobblers, an elderly cockney who calls everybody "Mate." He most often appears as a constable, but really can pop up in almost any role.
  • Eccles, "the original goon," a voice combining Disney's Goofy character; Edgar Bergen's Mortimer Snerd; and Clifton Finnegan, the super-stupid regular customer at Duffy's Tavern. Jokes about his stupidity are a staple of the show, with Eccles himself cheerfully joining in. His character serves both grown-up parts and as the playmate of Bluebottle.

  • Miss Minnie Bannister, spinster, a sexy senior citizen who plays the saxophone and regularly breaks out in song or dance. She lives in sin with Henry Crun, but whenever Major Bloodnok comes on the scene it's made clear that they were lovers in the past. (Milligan got the quaver in her voice by pinching his neck and wobbling it about as he spoke her lines.)

  • Count Moriarty, French scrag and lackey to Grytpype-Thynne, who usually introduces him and attributes to him some outlandish title or record that he holds ("Has played the male lead in over 50 postcards"). Delightfully wretched in his poverty and degradation.

Sellers and Milligan, both of whom had lived in India, regularly lapse into Bengali accents as (interchangeably) Lalkaka, Banerjee, and Singiz Thingh.

All three of the primary actors regularly took on other roles as needed by the plot, with Sellers, of course, doing more than the others.


  • Wallace Greenslade, announcer. He opened and closed each show, did continuities within them, and often took brief speaking parts. When not doing the Goon Show, he was in fact a news announcer at BBC. The Goons took great delight in mocking his proper, trained accent -- and his noble girth.

  • Ray Ellington, drummer, singer whose quartet played one of the two musical interludes in each show. He also took speaking parts in many shows, most often as African Chief Ellinga or as Bloodnok's old Arab nemesis, the Red Bladder.

  • Max Geldray, jazz harmonica player from Holland. Backed by the house band, he plays the first musical interlude in each show and occasionally takes speaking parts in a thin, accented voice.

  • Wally Stott Orchestra, the house band. Stott made a great contribution to the show with cleverly written themes and comedic musical bits. He later became Angela Morley and moved to the United States, where Angela Morley had a long, brilliant career composing and arranging music for films and television. She died January 14, 2009; for a full biography see the Robert Farnon Society website.

  • Michael Bentine was the "fourth Goon" at the group's inception, but left after the first two of the show's ten series, before it changed and matured into the format that we remember today. His most memorable character was Osric Pureheart, mad inventor.

Return to U.S. Goon Show Archives home page