Finally. The BBC has decided to take its crown jewels and give them the treatment they deserve. Following from the excellent series of collectors editions of `Round The Horne' and `Navy Lark', the show we have all been waiting for is, at last, being restored, given some interesting extras and released in a definitive, comprehensive edition. Ladies and Gentlemen, it's the highly esteemed Goon Show!
The BBC only holds recordings from the beginning of series 5 onwards. Some series 4 episodes exist (and are finally being released in a separate edition here: The Goon Show: Series 4, Pt. 1 (Golden Age of BBC Radio Comedy)). Series 1-3 are, sadly, totally lost to us. Hence, this definitive collection began with series five, and aims to release all extant recordings the BBC still hold from all subsequent series.
If you're looking here you don't need to be told how good the humour is, so I will just review the release itself. Volume 9 collects thirteen of the fourteen episodes of the Vintage Goons. Aired in 1958, these are re-recordings of scripts that were first aired 1953, and are now the only versions of these early shows available to us Goonistas. This series was broadcast between series 8 and 9. The episodes are across 7 discs, with some usual fascinating extras on the last disc. The remastering is worthy of especial praise. In the main these episodes sound much better than they have in any other release. I'm very impressed with the overall quality. This really will be the definitive collection when finished.
This release contains 7 CDs, with two episodes per disc and extras on the 7 disc. These are collected into two 4 CD jewel cases, encased in a flimsy cardboard outer. There are two booklets, one in each case, with essays, details for each episode and original Radio Times listings.
The Mummifies Priest The Greatest Mountain In The World The Giant Bombardon The Kippered Herring Gang The Vanishing Room The Ink Shortage The Mustard And Cress Shortage The Internal Mountain The Silent Bugler The Great Bank Of England Robbery The Dreaded Piano Clubber The Siege Of Fort Night The Albert Memorial
Episode 3 of this series, The Missing Ten Downing Street, is still being held to ransom by EMI, and is present merely as a PDF of the script on Disc 7. This is a shame, as the absence of these episodes is the only thing that has spoiled these releases.
Extras are various snippets of rehearsals and prerecording warm ups. .
This really is as good as it gets. 5 stars for the episodes, and 5 for the quality of the release.
This release has been over a year late due to the problems AudioGo have been facing. It is to be hoped that future releases will not be so delayed! Hopefully we will have the collection completed soon? The remaining series were all a lot shorter than series 1-8, and by my estimation there are about 25 episodes left to be released, or about 2 Compendiums worth. Here's hoping that there is some way of tying up the series with a compendium of the EMI episodes held hostage these 50 plus years? Their omission from the previous releases has been the only mar on an other wise excellent set. Come on EMI, there's money to be made out of these episodes, and your prospective market is not getting any younger! Their continued withholding of this material defies all commercial logic.
Having said all that, well done BBC, keep them coming! And any chance of a proper release for Men From The Ministry or I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again?