Derek Parkes: 'Current comedy trends would probably be too PC for Spike Milligan'
- Brian Donaldson
- 20 March 2018
To mark the centenary of Spike Milligan's birth, the Scottish Writers' Centre puts on a tribute to this revolutionary Goon
Anyone that's enjoyed a surreal-ish spot of Monty Python, Vic 'n' Bob and Mighty Boosh has plenty to thank Spike Milligan for. The dark comedy genius who would have been 100 on 16 April is the subject of a tribute night at Glasgow's CCA courtesy of the Scottish Writers' Centre. Led by the SWC's former director Derek Parkes, this 18+ event is being driven by the spirit of Spike.
'I'm hoping to tell Spike's life story through his writing, with a bit of additional input from myself and a few relative quotes from his fellow comedians,' states Parkes. 'If I can get my head around the technology, there may even be a video back-up. This is a totally new type of venture for me and I'm simultaneously dreading it and excited by it. Like Spike's life, it's not going to be a rollercoaster of humour: there's a lot of sadness and darkness in there.'
While his work in The Goon Show and solo projects such as his Q TV series brought him widespread acclaim, for later generations Milligan may well be remembered as the guy who called Prince Charles a 'grovelling bastard' while receiving a lifetime achievement prize at the 1994 British Comedy Awards (eight years before his death). For Parkes, this lack of concern about public protocols was a huge part of his appeal.
'With television, Spike ignored the standard sketch show formats of the time. He'd link the sketches or end a sketch just because he'd run out of jokes. I don't know what Spike would make of current trends in comedy, though. It would probably be too PC for him, and I don't think he would appreciate the satire movement. I guess he'd probably enjoy Milton Jones or John Finnemore, but at the end of the day it would simply come down to whether it made him laugh or not.'
Scottish Writers' Centre: Spike Milligan In His Own Words, CCA, Glasgow, Tuesday 24 April.