Sullivan, Gilbert and


Gilbert and Sullivan were notorious Victorian grave robbers who sold corpses to eminent surgeons in order to finance their productions of light operas at the Savoy theatre in London.

By 1881, they had written 14 extremely successful operas, including The Pirates of Penzance about the exploits of the towns speedway team , HMS Pinafore about a fisheries protection vessel whose crew dressed in floral aprons when on patrol and The Yeomen of the Gourd about a troop of Chelsea Pensioners who protected the Queen’s collection of exotic fruit.

However, their 1884 collaboration, Mama Miakado, met with almost universal hostility and the discovery of the original libretto under a tombstone in Highgate Cemetery also led to the exposure of their other crimes as well. At their subsequent trial, Gilbert turned Queen’s evidence and was made a peer, while Sullivan was deported to Australia, where he changed his name to Gibb, fathered four sons and inflicted further untold misery on the world.