The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town
The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town was a serial written by Spike Milligan and later adapted by Ronnie Barker for The Two Ronnies sketch show in 1976 on BBC One. It featured a Jack the Ripper style madman stalking the streets of Victorian London, who killed or stunned his victims by blowing them a raspberry.
The title was preceded by the words "Chopper Films Presents", a parody of Hammer Films, and the writing of the serial was credited to "Spike Milligan and a gentleman". The 'Gentleman' listed as the co-writer was Gerald Wiley, the pseudonym used by Ronnie Barker as a comedy writer. The story was originally conceived as a TV special for Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe & Spike Milligan, to be produced by Peter Eton, their old Goon Show producer. Plans for the project were cancelled due to Peter Sellers' Hollywood commitments. The Phantom finally saw the light of day in an episode of Six Dates with Barker, broadcast on 15 January 1971, with Alan Curtis playing the role of The Phantom. Despite some sources claiming that the voice providing the raspberry of the title was provided by Milligan, it was actually Barker's co-star from "Open All Hours", David Jason who was responsible for the sound effects. Jason confirmed this in his 2013 autobiography. One episode featured Ronnie Corbett as the diminutive yet domineering Queen Victoria and Barker as her browbeaten son "Edward, Prince of Wales" (in reality the future King Edward VII was known to his family as "Bertie"), which was a parody of the recent TV series starring Timothy West.
On August 7th 2015 it was announced that a stage version was being produced by The Ministry of Entertainment. This was adapted by Lee Moone and included original material from Moone, along with the addition of comedy songs. The format was as a live radio show complete with sound effects. Each evening there was a Celebrity cast as The Phantom who could be heard 'off stage' until the final reveal in the closing scenes in Act 2. The Celebrities in order were John Culshaw, John Challis & Danny Baker. The Director was Dirk Maggs who directed many Radio comedy shows for the BBC, including three series of the Marx Brothers radio show FLYWHEEL, SHYSTER & FLYWEEL, which won a Gold Medal at the New York Festival. Dirk has the distinction of being the last BBC Light Entertainment Producer to direct Spike Milligan in a radio audience show at the BBC's Paris Studio. The stage version of 'The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town', premiered at the St James Theatre in London on October 30 - November 1st 2015 with a special show for the Princes Trust.
- IMDb.com entry on The Phantom Raspberry Blower episode of Six dates with Barker
- BBC 2's I Love 1971 reference to David Jason providing the voice of The Phantom.
- A section of David Jason's autobiography, published in the Daily Mail, in which he discusses his time as the 'voice' of the Phantom Raspberry Blower.
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