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Neddie Seagoon was an affable but gullible idiot. Often chronically poor and/or part of the government (such as "The Strolling Prime Minister of No Fixed Address" or some other civil servant), Seagoon frequently falls prey to the schemes of Hercules Grytpype-Thynne (Sellers) and Count Jim Moriarty (Milligan), and needs the help of Bluebottle (Sellers), Eccles (Milligan), and sometimes even Major Bloodnok (Sellers) to rescue himself.
Neddie's appearance was based on Secombe's own likeness, exaggerated for comic effect. Thus, he was often described as very short, round and immensely fat. In "The Greenslade Story", John Snagge describes him as "a little ball of fat", while in "The Mummified Priest" Bloodnok identifies him as Seagoon on the grounds "Who else could walk under a piano stool?" He also suffers from duck's disease (short legs). He shares Secombe's tenor voice, as used to identify him in "The Mystery of the Fake Neddie Seagoons". He was also generally Welsh; in "Tales of Men's Shirts" and "The Last of the Smoking Seagoons" he is referred to as Ned of Wales, and in "The Pam's Paper Insurance Policy", Greenslade introduces him with the line "a bundle of Welsh rags suddenly becomes animate."
His fatness is a particular subject of gags. In "Dishonoured" and "Dishonoured – Again", he gives his body mass as either 17 or 18 stone (in metric, 108–114 kg or about 238–252 lbs.) and his head mass at 20 stone (127 kg or 280 lbs.), totalling either 235 or 241 kg (518 or 531 lbs.), depending upon episode. Once, upon visiting Henry Crun's house in "Tales of Men's Shirts", Crun remarks "Did you know they've sent a rocket to photograph the other side of you?" In the episode "Nineteen Eighty Five" (a parody of Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell) he says, "Over the weeks that they tortured me my weight dropped by ten stone, I went down to a mere twenty stone." In "Robin Hood", Prince John (Dennis Price) and The Sheriff of Nottingham (Valentine Dyall) discuss their adversary:
|“||Sheriff: Your Majesty, is it this Robin Hood vagabond that upsets you?
Prince John: Oh, don’t mention that man's name again, don't mention that man's name to me again!
He also appears to have been Major Bloodnok's batman at some point of time. In "The Pam's Paper Insurance Policy", we learn that he once loaned Bloodnok 100 pounds, which Bloodnok was willing to forget all about.
Neddie was usually the one who greeted the audience at the beginning of the show, referring to them as "folks" or "Dear Listeners", and introducing that week's story. He would often step out of the frame of the story, explaining elements of the plot to the audience or narrating some of the plot, and would usually converse with Wallace Greenslade (The Goon Show's announcer); for instance:
|“||Seagoon: Greenslade, tell the listeners what we have in store for them toni...
Greenslade: (Interjecting) Rubbish.
The Seagoon character would sometimes have a different name depending on the setting of the plot; for instance:
- Caractacus Seagoon, as the ancient Welsh tribal chieftain, in "The Histories of Pliny the Elder",
- Winston Seagoon (a parody of Winston Smith) in "Nineteen Eighty Five"
- Hairy Seagoon in "The Phantom Head Shaver (of Brighton)", in which he becomes the phantom's second victim.
- Professor Ned Quatermess in "The Scarlet Capsule" (a parody of the Quatermass sci-fi TV series Quatermass and the Pit)
- Samuel Pepys in "The Flea", set in the London of 1665 (Bloodnok briefly refers to him as "Sea Goon", using it as a descriptive term referring to Pepys' state as secretary to the Navy.)
- Neddie Toulouse-Lautrec in "Tales of Montmartre"
- Ned Scratchit in "A Christmas Carol", a parody of Dickens' Christmas story, and
- Robin Hood in "Ye Bandit of Sherwood Forest”.
Seagoon had several catch-phrases, seemingly random gibberish that became his trademarks, such as "Ying tong yiddle I po!” (followed by a shout of “GOOD!” by someone else) and "Needle-nardle-noo". He would also express intense surprise by repeating the word "What?!" rapidly and in rising pitch, as "Whatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhatwhat?" (in "The Moon Show", Grytpype replies to this by saying, "Only ten whats [watts as in the unit of power used to rate electric lamps]; you're not very bright, are you?"), and would do likewise with the word "Yes?" as "Yesyesyesyesyesyes?", generally motivating Grytpype-Thynne to request "Please. Don't do that." Seagoon also occasionally spouts patriotical nonsense, at which Grytpype says, "You silly twisted boy, you.” Often, at the end of a bout of the “Whatwhatwhats”, Seagoon would segue into making the sound of a clucking chicken.
- "Neddie Seagoon (Character)". IMDB. 2010. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
- Milligan, Spike. (1973) The Goon Show Scripts. London: Sphere