Bluebottle (character)

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Bluebottle is a comedy character from the Goon Show, a 1950s British comedy radio show. The character was created and performed by Peter Sellers.

Bluebottle is an adenoidal squeaky-voiced boy scout from East Finchley (the same neighborhood of London where Peter Sellers grew up). He was noted for reading his own stage directions out loud, and was always greeted with a deliberate round of applause from the audience ("Enter Bluebottle wearing string and cardboard pyjamas. Waits for audience applause. Not a sausage.") As was common with Goon Show characters, Sellers' Bluebottle was paired with a Spike Milligan character, usually Eccles (the third Goon, Harry Secombe, usually stayed in his alter-ego of Neddie Seagoon throughout the show).

Bluebottle is also prone to humorous misnaming of characters, including himself. For example, he has referred to himself as "Bluebontle" and "Blatbottle" on occasion. Other characters are often misnamed as well, including "Count Morinanty" for Count Jim Moriarty, "Robin Chood" for Robin Hood and "Miss Balustrade" for Minnie Bannister. Neddie is always "My Captain", pronounced with four syllables [ma-cap-i-tain]. In The Yehti he reads his own name and pronounces the result "Blunbintle".

According to The Goon Show Companion, Bluebottle was originally known as Ernie Splutmuscle.[1] In the 3rd series episode "The Man Who Never Was", he was cast in a small role. Secombe strides across the ceiling of his club, hurling members to the floor. He bumps into Splutmuscle:

Four shows later, in the episode "The Greatest Mountain in the World", the script refers to "Peter (Bluebottle)".

Early in season 5, Bluebottle would enter with a direct appeal to the audience: "Bluebottle enters, waits for audience applause. Not a sausage." As the character became more popular, he would actually earn the applause that he sought, which he would acknowledge with a grateful, "Oh! Sausinges!" In later seasons, no request or response was needed - Bluebottle's entry into the show would generate a loud, sustained applause by itself.

Bluebottle was often killed during the course of an episode. This would be punctuated by a lamentation such as, "You rotten swine! You've deaded me!" After a while, the character began to anticipate this fate, noting at the appearance of a dangerous prop that "the dreaded deading" is approaching.

Origin[edit]

Bluebottle was based on Ruxton Hayward, a scoutmaster Sellers once met. In an interview with Michael Parkinson, Sellers described trying to keep a straight face while talking with a large red-bearded scout leader who nevertheless spoke in a falsetto voice and had an ingratiating manner. The identity of the individual was later revealed in The Goons,[2] one of several books featuring memoirs and scripts from The Goon Show.

Cultural references[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Goon Show Companion, Roger Wilmut and Jimmy Grafton. 1976, Robson Books Ltd, Bolsover. pp 91.
  2. ^ The Goons, edited by Norma Evans, Virgin Publishing 1997 ISBN 1-85227-679-7