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Sunday 13 May 2012

Mandy’s Highly Steamed Goon Show

Commenting on the Royal Family is not always a straightforward business for the tabloid press: while anything the Queen and Prince Philip get up to is generally A Very Good Thing, and Wills’n’Kate are elevated to significant sleb status, the Prince of Wales presents a problem. Charles is, for the likes of the Mail, not One Of Their Kind Of People, so is fair game for criticism.

Did you say my f***ing pundits are appalling, c***?!?

So Paul Dacre’s obedient but appalling Glenda, Amanda Platell, has been sent over the top in an attempt to rubbish the Charles and Camilla show on BBC Scotland last week, where the heir to the throne made a respectable and good humoured stab at being a TV weather presenter. The video of that event went viral, and Charles’ reputation was done no harm at all as a result.

This has resulted in a disapproving rebuke by Mandy: “I forecast trouble for Charles the royal Goon” she sneers, telling readers that “our future King” was “like an extra from the Goon Show”. That’s a remarkable show of ignorance, even for a Dacre pundit. Has she ever listened to a Goon Show episode? Reading off an autocue and having a humorous aside or two doesn’t really compare.

And in any case, Charles knows a little about the Goons, having been a personal friend of Spike Milligan, and now the patron of the Goon Show Preservation Society. So he knows about the anarchic moment where Minnie Bannister (Milligan) tells Henry Crun (Peter Sellers) that there is somebody knocking at the door, but Henry can’t hear her for all the knocking.

Or how about the two-hander between Bluebottle (Sellers) and Eccles (Milligan) which revolves around Eccles having the time written down on a piece of paper? Surreal humour at its best, although possibly way over the head of anyone at the Daily Mail. Mandy would rather sneeringly tell the Prince of Wales that he should “Leave the weather reports to the autocuties”.

That would be Met Office presenters that know rather more about meteorology than La Platell, but back to the Goon Show, and the excellent Ying Tong Song, an unexpected novelty hit as late as the mid 1970s. It features a solo raspberry part from Milligan (rather as you’d get a solo from any brass instrument (ho ho ho)). Oh, the shame of Amanda Platell having to listen to it, I tell you.

Let’s be clear about this: Mail hacks, including Mandy, wouldn’t know a Goon Show participant or excerpt if it hit them in the face. This kind of humour is totally alien to Dacre and his humourless, moralistic minions, and the only reason La Platell has brought it up is to snark at Charles because her legendarily foul mouthed editor has decreed that she should.

It’s just another piece of Mail knocking copy to order. No change there, then.

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