The Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town was a serial written by Spike Milligan and Ronnie Barker that ran every week on The Two Ronnies sketch show in 1976 on BBC One. It featured a Jack the Ripper style madman stalking the streets of 1898 Victorian London, who killed or stunned his victims by blowing them a raspberry.
The title was preceded by the words “Chopper Films Presents”, a parody of Hammer Films, and the writing of the serial was credited to “Spike Milligan and a gentleman”. The ‘Gentleman’ listed as the co-writer was Gerald Wiley, the pseudonym used by Ronnie Barker when writing sketches for the show. The opening titles of the first episode list the stars as ‘Vincent Prance’ and ‘Peter Cushion’.
The story originated in an episode of anthology comedy show Six Dates with Barker, broadcast on 15 January 1971, with Alan Curtis playing the role of The Phantom.
The voice providing the raspberry of the title is attributed to David Jason who starred with Barker in Open All Hours although some sources claim the noise effect was supplied by Milligan himself.
One episode featured Ronnie Corbett as the diminutive yet domineering Queen Victoria and Barker as her browbeaten son “Edward, Prince of Wales” (in reality the future King Edward VII was known to his family as “Bertie”), which was a parody of the recent TV series starring Timothy West. The serial also played with assorted Ripper theories involving members of the monarchy as well as other Ripper tropes.
The serial has been praised for its accurate recreation of Hammer Horror imagery and its absurdist humour. Although a collected version of the story does exist, it has never been released for home viewing.
In 2008, Barker’s original handwritten script for the serial came up for auction with an estimated value of £3000 but was withdrawn from sale before the auction took place.
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