Spike Milligan

Spike Milligan

Date of birth: 16-04-1918
Date of death: 22-02-2002

Terence Alan 'Spike' Milligan was born on April 16, 1918, in Ahmed Nagar, India - the son of an army Captain.

The family came back to England in 1933 when his father retired from the army, and Spike later studied at Lewisham Polytechnic, while playing the trumpet in local jazz bands.

He was conscripted at the outbreak of the Second World War, serving in the Royal Artillery in Italy and North Africa, where he met Harry Secombe. After the war, Secombe introduced Milligan to Peter Sellers and Michael Bentine and comedy history was made.

They performed as a quartet in the Grafton Arms pub in London's Victoria, which led to the radio show The Crazy People, which was renamed The Goon Show after the success of its first series led the BBC to drop its objection to the name.

The consistently groundbreaking show, the most influential in British radio comedy, ran for nine years from 1951.

After the team dissolved - save for the 1963 TV puppet show The Telegoons and a 1972 one-off reunion - Milligan continued to work in radio, creating the Omar Khayyam Show, before moving to television.

His most enduring small screen project was the freeform BBC2 show Q - which lurched uncomfortably from pure genius to offensive, poor-quality sketches- ran for six series from 1969 to 1982.

Less successful ventures included LWT's Curry and Chips - in which he controversially played a Pakistani.

Milligan has found more acclaim as a humorous novellist with semi-autobiograpical works such as Adolph Hitler: My Part In His Downfall, spoofs like Treasure Island: According to Spike Milligan and comic novels, most notably Puckoon.

Sadly, Spike's comic genius is seemingly driven from his the clinical depression he has suffered since 1956.

He has been married three times and has six children

Read More

Going, going, Goon...

Rare Spike Milligan artwork up for auction

Two nudes painted by Spike Milligan are coming up for auction later this summer.

The pieces are being sold by artist Charles Newington, who was friends with the comedian in the last ten years of his life.

He said  Spike showed the potential to be a ‘great surrealist painter’ and would have loved liked to have made a career as an artist.

‘But his genius for comic writing and the absurd took over,’ Newington said, adding that as surrealism is ‘not admired much in the UK, he made the right decision.’

The two pieces –  Time To Go Home Dear right, and Bendy Doll, left,  – were  given to Newington  by Milligan’s widow Shelagh after his death. 

‘Needs must to sell them,’ Newington said on a blog on the website of Grand Auctions, which is handling the sale. An artist’s life is always impecunious, but I know Spike would have said, "Go for it".’

Newington helped Milligan – who would have turned 100 this year –  stage his only exhibition of his artwork at the Agency Club in Central London in 1995. ‘Both these two pieces  were shown in that exhibition.

He added that he struck up a friendship with Milligan because:‘He liked the company of artists and, on the whole, disliked the company of comedians, who would always be in danger of treading on his jokes. We got on because we never mentioned the Goons, or anything comical.

It's estimated that Time To Go Home could fetch £300 to £500 and between £200 to £300 for Bendy Doll when the go under the hammer at Grand Auctions in Folkestone on July 9.

Read More

Published: 22 May 2018


Spike Milligan, Harry Secombe and Bob Monkhouse are…

Skip to page



We do not currently hold contact details for Spike Milligan's agent. If you are a comic or agent wanting your details to appear on Chortle, click here.

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.