Ian Hislop discusses 'fascinating' comedy pioneer Spike Milligan as new production comes to Aylesbury

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SPIKE’s run in Aylesbury begins this evening

Long-time Have I Got News For You captain and Private Eye editor Ian Hislop has hailed the comedy pioneer Spike Milligan.

His new drama production, SPIKE, comes to Aylesbury Waterside Theatre this evening (25 October) and details the life of the groundbreaking comedian.

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Running from today until Saturday (29 October), the comedy covers Spike’s famous battles with the BBC.

Robert Wilfort as Spike, (Pamela Raith Photography)Robert Wilfort as Spike, (Pamela Raith Photography)
Robert Wilfort as Spike, (Pamela Raith Photography)

Hislop co-wrote the show with Nick Newman a satirical cartoonist and comedy scriptwriter.

Bucks-based, Welsh actor, Robert Wilfort, has been cast in the title role, he is best known for playing Jason West in mega BBC hit Gavin and Stacey.

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Ian said: “We didn’t want an audience coming out thinking, ‘the really important thing about this person is that they were miserable and unhappy. And now so am I’! We wanted them thinking, ‘the important thing about this person is that he produced all this!’ and it made a huge number of people very happy. And still does. There are two very grim incidents in the play involving Spike having breakdowns, both of which he immediately turned into comedy. That in itself is fascinating.”

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NIck Newman and Ian HislopNIck Newman and Ian Hislop
NIck Newman and Ian Hislop

Along with his co-writer, the Have I Got News For You satirist covers the rise Spike and his fellow Goon, Peter Sellers.

Detailing how their Goon Show radio broadcast turned the pair into overnight celebrities.

Ian added: “I went back and listened to it and was gobsmacked. I’d become so used to the older Spike, and the older Harry Secombe and Peter Sellers, that I’d forgotten that when they first came along, they’d just been demobbed, they were really young men, and they blew the place away.

"And the people in charge at the BBC couldn’t bear it. They had no idea what this group were doing, and they wanted to shut them down, basically.”

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Also in the cast taking over Aylesbury today is comedienne and podcaster Margaret Cabourn-Smith whose small screen credits include the highly-popular Motherland and Miranda.

Theatre veterans, James Mack, Ellie Morris, and Robert Mountford are also included in the main cast.

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