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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Spike Milligan's laundry offer

Published 23/08/2010 | 13:18

Spike Milligan wrote to Richard Lester about wanting a film role
Spike Milligan wrote to Richard Lester about wanting a film role

Spike Milligan offered to do the laundry and supply his "own beard and wig" in exchange for a film role in an eccentric letter to director Richard Lester.

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The comic, who rose to fame on The Goon Show and changed the face of British comedy with his absurd humour, told Lester he was bored with television and writing and "no matter how small I would like a part, preferably the lead".

Milligan, who died in 2002, reminded the filmmaker he had been a "straight actor" and added: "Have own beard and wig, on site laundry done and secret masses said for Polish Catholics."

Milligan's letter from 1980 is part of a collection of photographs, scripts and correspondence donated by Lester to the British Film Institute's (BFI) archive.

It includes the early drafts for films called The Beatles and Beatles Two which became better known as A Hard Day's Night and Help respectively, and letters from stars including Audrey Hepburn, Raquel Welch and Charlton Heston.

Lester, who was born in America, moved to England in 1956 when he worked with Milligan and fellow Goon Peter Sellers on an ITV television series A Show Called Fred.

He said: "I have a long association with the BFI going back over 40 years. The organisation has always been very helpful to me in different ways. It is a pleasure for me to be able to offer them the detritus of my working life."

After working with The Beatles, Lester went on to make Robin And Marian starring Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn, The Three Musketeers with Oliver Reed and Superman III.

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