music 600wide

So you've never heard of G&S. Are you sure?

At New Rosemere, we have a long history of performing Gilbert and Sullivan musicals. For many of us, when we discuss the latest G&S show we’re performing, friends will respond with a blank expression and “Gilbert and Sullivan? I’ve never really heard of them.”

Maybe you think you’ve never heard G&S music… but are you sure about that?

Often considered the fathers of modern musical theatre, the cultural impact of G&S spans beyond the stage and they have a knack for cropping up in the most unlikely places. Let’s explore a few… you might be surprised to find you’ve stumbled across them before!


A minion strong chorus

Let’s start with one of the most recent references to G&S: The Minions! Minion mania has been spreading ever since the hit film, Despicable Me, hit our screens in 2010.  But did you know the Minions are G&S fans too? Here’s a snippet of Despicable Me 3 (2017), where they perform the Major General’s song from Pirates of Penzance:

Keeping it in the Family (Guy)

Seth MacFarlane, the creator (and voice) of the hit American TV show, Family Guy*, loves a nod to G&S. He frequently uses G&S-themed cut-aways, which see his characters taking a brief step away from the plot to randomly burst into song. Are you a fan of the show? If you are, the likelihood is, you’ve heard a lot more G&S than you think…

*Family Guy contains adult humour, so although there are many more references to G&S, we have included family-friendly clips only.

Brian and Peter sing a bit of Pirates of Penzance…

Much like the Minions, Peter Griffin struggles with his diction in the infamously difficult Major General’s song:

The “London Sillinannies” sing “If you marry me” from The Sorcerer…

Sticking with American TV…

It’s not just Family Guy churning out the G&S references; The Simpsons have been known to use the music in their episodes too!

Sideshow Bob treats Bart to a rendition of the HMS Pinafore score…

…and Sideshow Bob is, in fact, a huge fan! Here, he sings “Lord High Executioner” (from The Mikado)…

…and staying with The Mikado, the Simpsons family sing-along to “Three little maids” in the car…

A load of Muppets

The Muppet Show have shared a few of their own renditions with us too, showing that G&S really is fun for all the family.

Here, Rowlf patiently teaches Sam “Tit Willow” from The Mikado…

…and Gilda Radner makes a guest appearance on the show, running the audience through some complex G&S numbers (alongside a carrot!):

More childhood memories…

Do you remember when Yakko sang “I am the very model of a cartoon individual?”

…or when Batman gave a touching rendition of “Little Buttercup” from HMS Pinafore?

Out of this world

Why stick to Earth when you can take your music to outer space? Watch as Picard, Worf and Data from Star Trek sing “A British Tar” from HMS Pinafore!

Don’t just watch the adverts… listen to them!

There’s one thing you can say for G&S songs: they’re catchy. On top of that, as we’ve already explored, the tunes are familiar to many people (even if they can’t put their finger on where exactly they’ve heard that music before!). Maybe that’s what makes G&S music so popular with advertisers.

The Major General’s song is one of the most parodied tunes in musical theatre. Petplan also put this popular tune to new lyrics:

So, are you still sure you’ve never heard of G&S?

These are just a handful of references – there are thousands more! Have you come across any that we haven’t listed? Let us know in the comments!