Spike Milligan KBE was a comedian, writer, musician, poet, playwright, soldier and actor of English and Irish parentage. His early life was spent in British India, where he was born, but the majority of his working life was spent in the United Kingdom.
He claimed his right to Irish citizenship after the British government declared him stateless following changes resulting from the British Nationality Act 1981. He was the co-creator, main writer and a principal cast member of The Goon Show, performing a range of roles including the popular Eccles, and Minnie Bannister characters.
Milligan wrote and edited many books, including Puckoon and his seven-volume autobiographical account of his time serving during the Second World War, beginning with Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall. He is also noted as a popular writer of comical verse; much of his poetry was written for children, including Silly Verse for Kids. After success with the ground-breaking British radio programme, The Goon Show, Milligan translated this success to television with Q5, a surreal sketch show which is credited as a major influence on the members of Monty Python's Flying Circus.