"Spike Milligan: The Unseen Archive"
Welsh indie Yeti Television announces its commission from Sky Arts, for "Spike Milligan: The Unseen Archive" (1x90’), a feature length film that provides a new and intimate insight into the life and career of Spike Milligan. The title will air on Sky Arts in December, with a preview screening and Q&A taking place at the Southbank’s NFT1 on Saturday 3rd December.
The film is an intimate and in-depth look at the newly discovered personal archive of Spike Milligan’s work, which Spike’s family shared with a select group of the legendary comedian’s fans and friends in the summer of 2022. Sian Price, Creative Director at Yeti says: “It has been a privilege to secure unprecedented access to the Milligan family archive – and for them to trust Yeti in piecing it together. The result is an eye-opening, sensitive, yet revealing new portrait of the many sides to Spike Milligan. A man who not just revolutionised British comedy but was also a playwright, poet, musician, soldier, product of Empire and father. It has been a pleasure to work with Sky Arts and the Milligan family on this unique film.”
The archive includes film reels of previously lost sketches from the ground-breaking Q5 series, as well as "The Gladys Half-Hour", a long-forgotten 1958 comedy special many believed wiped, and unheard compositions recorded by Spike for his friend (and The Beatles’ producer) George Martin.
Sebastian Barfield is producer director on the film, which sees comedian Al Murray unearth a collection of photographs that reveal the lifelong impact of the Second World War on Spike’s life and career. Material discovered also includes a hilarious unproduced script revealing how Spike fought to get back on TV in the early 1990s.
Additional contributors include comedian Eddie Izzard, actress and friend of Spike Joanna Lumley, and broadcaster, Editor of Private Eye and co-writer of Spike Ian Hislop as well as Spike’s friend and co-writer John Antrobus and writers David Quantick and Sarfraz Manzoor.
Phil Edgar-Jones, Director, Sky Arts, commented: “Spike’s work has been pivotal in shaping British comedy and now we have the opportunity to showcase these brilliant, unearthed works on Sky Arts. Through letters, home videos and those who knew him well, we’ve gained a new insight into who this comedy legend was. We’re thrilled to be working alongside Yeti Television to bring this previously untold story to life.”