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I Told You I Was Ill: The Life and Legacy of Spike Milligan (2005)



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Credited cast:
Declan Bree ...
Himself - Mayor of Sligo
Lynsey de Paul ...
Norma Farnes ...
Silé Harrower ...
Desmond Milligan ...
Jane Milligan ...
Laura Milligan ...
Herself (as Laura Tierney)
Sean Milligan ...
Himself (archive footage)
Shelagh Milligan ...
Himself (archive footage)


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"We don't have a plan, so nothing can go wrong" See more »







Release Date:

17 December 2005 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Life and Legacy of Spike Milligan  »

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Did You Know?


At the Adelaide World Premiere, the audience was asked to wear "Spike" masks back-to-front on their heads. A photo from the rear of the auditorium showed an audience full of grimacing Spike Milligans. See more »

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Might well be a worthy attempt from his family but you're much better reading his books and laughing at his work than watching this collection of clips
18 January 2006 | by See all my reviews

After Spike's death, there were all sorts of "true" stories coming out in the papers and after a period of mourning and affection, the tabloids started sniffing around. In an effort to try and let the world see the real Spike Milligan, his family (represented here by Jane Milligan) agreed to open the family archive and support the making of this documentary, which relies heavily on contributions from his family and friends as well as clips from other shows that Spike did in the past.

At the start the personal narration from Jane Milligan made me think that this was going to be a great little film that provides plenty of nuggets that we had never seen or heard before. At times this is true and there are nice contributions from several family members but not all that they say is that interesting – at times they just tell us what we have heard a hundred times already – many of them from Spike's own mouth. Speaking of which, the film actually relies heavily on the man himself and heavily uses clips from one or two shows he recorded where he is quite open and honest about himself. They build on this with the family comments but it is hard to get away from the fact that the film is mainly just pulling two or three separate programmes together, cutting bits out of them and using the family to string them together. Although I was interested it didn't work as a film and I felt it suffered from the lack of one clear approach.

Fans of Spike will maybe appreciate the chance to see home movie footage and hear from his offspring and siblings but even the casual viewer will wonder why more was not given. Overall this is an OK film that is interesting but not wholly successful. The mix of material is strange and mostly it feels like the film has been pulled together from other shows and interviews that many of us will have already seen. Worth seeing for Milligan fans though, just don't expect it to have more than a handful of moments of real interest.

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