Anyone who has ever read books on Monty Python will no doubt have noticed that the Pythons themselves credit this particular series as being their inspiration. Its first 7 episodes screened several months before Monty Python's first series. The influence is apparent. Spike had the same surreal and mad atmosphere, often showing deconstructed skits (ie. one with no props, with an on-screen title saying "BBC economy sketch". However, it has to be said that Milligan has a more visual humour than Python, he would never have produced 'The Argument Clinic' or 'The Cheese Shop.' There was a lot of profanity, risque jokes and sending up of the Royal Family, which no doubt explains why most of the series was never repeated. The quality of the comedy also varied a lot, some skits were so abstract that they were probably closer to Luis Bunuel than Monty Python: a sketch would just stop in the middle and the characters would walk about the stage, bumping into each other like robots. The costumes are always strange, and the characters often wear large plastic noses a la Raymond Luxury-Yacht from Monty Python. The later series have some hilariously funny scenes eg. a traffic cop asks to see a flying carpet driver's licence and is given a banana, or a Dolly Parton look-alike whose breasts double as bagpipes. There's also a lot of Goon Show references (Spike's Minnie Bannister voice). If you're a fan of the strangest of British humour, this is definitely worth a look, but be warned it is quite hard to find. The BBC recently showed a few episodes, and there's a 'best of' compilation available called 'Spike Milligan in the Best of Q'
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