34 min read





From Episode 10 of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”

Transcribed by Jonathan Partington


Written and performed by

Scene: (The green, lush Devon countryside. Theme music. There are trees in the background perhaps and the camera is tracking along the hedgerow along a road. We see a head whizzing along, sometimes just above the hedgerow and sometimes bobbing down out of sight…. occasionally for long periods.)


(Mr. Pither, the cyclist, bobs up and down a few more times, then disappears from sight. There is a crash and clang of a bicycle in collision, mixed with the scream of a frightened hen, and stifled shout of alarm. We are still in long shot and see nothing. The music stops abruptly on the crash.)

Pither (Voice Over): August 18th. Fell off near Bovey Tracey. The pump caught in my trouser leg, and my sandwiches were badly crushed.

(Cut to interior of a transport cafe. A rather surly proprietor with fag in mouth is operating an Espresso coffee machine. Pither, a fussy bespectacled little man, in sweater, trousers, is leaning over the counter, talking chattily)

Pither: The pump caught in my trouser leg, and my sandwiches were badly crushed.

Prop: 35p. (He goes back to working the machine)

Pither: These sandwiches, however, were an excellent substitute.

(Enormous lorry driver comes up to counter)

Driver: Give us ten woods, Barney.

Pither: Hello!

(Lorry driver looks at him without interest, goes off with his cigarettes)

Pither: It’s funny how one can go through life, as I have, disliking bananas and being indifferent to cheese, and then be able to eat, and enjoy, a banana and cheese sandwich like that.

Prop: 35p please. (A juke box starts up in the background)

Pither: Ah! I have only a 50. Do you have change?

Prop: (with heavy sarcasm) Well I’ll have a look, but I may have to ring the bank.

Pither: I’m most awfully sorry.

(Prop gives him change)

Prop: 15p.

Pither: Oh, that was lucky. Well, all the very best. (Pither proffers his hand. Prop. ignores it) Thank you for the excellent banana and cheese sandwich.

(He exits busily. Prop. looks after him, shakes his head, and absent-mindedly opens a sandwich and flicks ash in, and closes it up again.)

(Cut to hedgerows. Theme music. Pither’s head bobbing up and down. At the same point in the music…. it disappears and there is a crash mingled with grunting of pig.)

Pither (V.O): August 23rd. Fell off near Budleigh Salterton.

(Cut to a woman gardening. Behind her we see Pither’s head peering over the hedge.)

Pither: …and the pump caught in my trouser leg.

(She carries on digging, trying to ignore him)

Pither: And that’s why they were damaged…(no reaction)
…the eggs…you remember…the hard-boiled eggs I was telling you about…(he comes round to the gate and leans familiarly over the gate)
…they were in a Tupperware container, reputedly self-sealing, which fell open on contact with the tarmacadam surface of the road.
(He looks for a reaction. She goes on digging very butch)…the B409…(he looks again for a glimmer of interest)
…the Dawlish road…(again no reaction) That shouldn’t really happen to a self-sealing container, should it?

(Lady gardener goes back into house. Pither waits for a few moments)

Pither: (shouting) What do you keep your hard-boiled eggs in? (No reaction)
I think in future I shall lash them to the handlebars with adhesive tape. That should obviate a recurrence of the same problem…well I can’t stop here all day…must get on…I’m on a cycling tour of Cornwall.

(Cut to hedgerows again. Pither’s head bowling along. Theme music. He dips out of sight. Crash and a cow moos.)

Pither (V.O): Aug. 26th. Fell off near Ottery St. Mary. The pump caught in my trouser leg. Decide to wear short trousers from now on.

(Cut to another hedgerow. Pither’s head bowling along. Short burst of music. Crash.)

Pither (V.O): Fell off near Tiverton. Perhaps a shorter pump is the answer.

(Cut to a tiny village high street, deserted save for an old lady. Pither cycles into shot, carefully parks his bike by the kerb. He is in shorts, but still has his bicycle clips on. He takes them off and approaches the old lady.)

Pither: Excuse me, madam, can you tell me of a good bicycle shop in this village, where I could find either some means of adapting my present pump, or, failing that, purchase a replacement?

Old lady: There’s only one shop here.

(She points with a shaking finger. Camera pans very slightly to one side to reveal a shop with a huge four foot high sign:)




(The camera shows the shop only for a couple of seconds and pans back to the old lady and Pither.)

Pither: What a stroke of luck. Now perhaps cycling will become less precarious.

(Cut to int. of doctor’s surgery. A knock on the door)

Doctor: Yes?

Nurse: (sticking her head around the door) There’s a Mr. Pither to see you, Doctor. His bicycle pump got caught in his sock.

Doctor: Alright, nurse, send him in.

(Nurse exits, Pither enters in shorts and sweater)

Doctor: Morning.

Pither: A very good morning to you too, Doctor

Doctor: I gather you had an accident?

Pither: Yes, my pump got…

Doctor: …caught in your sock.

Pither: Yes, and my fruit cake was damaged on one side.

Doctor: Well…

Pither: It’s got grit all over it.

Doctor: Well now, are you in pain? (reaching round for his stethoscope and coming around desk)

Pither: Oh heavens no.

Doctor: Well where were you hurt?

Pither: I escaped without injury fortunately.


Doctor: Well what is the trouble?

Pither: Could you tell me the way to Iddesley?

Doctor: I’m a doctor, you know.

Pither: Oh yes. Under normal circumstances I would have asked a policeman or a minister of the Church, but finding no one available, I thought it better to consult a man with some qualifications, rather than rely on the possibly confused testimony of a passer-by.

Doctor: Oh alright. (He scribbles something on a piece of paper and hands it to Pither) Take this to a chemist.

Pither: Thank you.

(Ching of door. Chemist comes out holding the paper and points up the street. Pither thanks him and mounts his bike.)

(Cut to the hedgerows again. Pither’s head. Theme music…reaches the point where Pither normally falls off…his head disappears, the music cuts off…no crash…suddenly Pither’s head reappears further on and the music starts up again)

Pither (V.O): Sept 2nd. Did not fall off outside Iddesley.

(Cut to a small market town. Line of cars. Pither’s head just above the roofs of cars. Theme music. He suddenly disappears, the music stops and there is a crash.)

Pither (V.O): Fell off in Tavistock.

(Cut to a discreet corner of a Watney’s pub. Carpet and soft music. A middle-aged businessman and a sexy secretary who obviously want to be alone are sitting huddled over a table. On the other side of the table is Pither, with half pint in front of him.)

Pither: My leg got caught in my trousers and that’s how the bottle broke.

Girl: Tell her today, you could ring her.

Man: I can’t. I can’t.

Pither: I said you’d never guess.

Man: 16 years we’ve been together. I can’t just ring her up.

Girl: If you can’t do it now, you never will.

Pither: Do you like Tizer?

Man: (to Pither) What? No. No.

Girl: Do you want me or not? It’s your decision, James.

Pither: I suppose it is still available in this area?

Girl: Do you want me or not, James?

Man: What?

Pither: Tizer.

Girl: Yes or no.

Pither: Is it still available in this area?

Man: (to Pither) I don’t know.

Girl: In that case it’s goodbye for ever, James.

Man: No! I mean yes!

Pither: Oh it is?

Man: (to Pither) No.

Girl: You never could make up your mind.

Man: I can…. I have….

Girl: (taking off ring) Goodbye James. (She runs out sobbing.)

Man: No wait, Lucille!

Pither: And does your lovely daughter like Tizer?

Man: Lucille!

Pither: I wouldn’t mind buying her a bottle of Tizer…. if it’s available in this area, that is.

Man: (turning on Pither) Would you like me to show you the door?

Pither: Well that’s extremely thoughtful of you, but I saw it on the way in.

Man: You stupid, interfering little rat.

Pither: Oh! The very words of the garage mechanic in Bude!

(The man picks Pither up by the scruff of the neck and the seat of his pants. He carries him bodily towards the door.)

Pither: I had just fallen off…and my cheese tartlet had become embedded in the…

Man: Damn your cheese tartlet! And damn you, sir!

Pither: …dynamo hub… which was not at that time functioning…

(He is thrown out.)

(Cut to ext. of pub. Pither picks himself up. Sees girl outside sobbing.)

Pither: Just had a chat with your dad.

(Girl bursts into further tears. Whistling cheerfully, Pither gets on his bicycle and, happier than he has been for a long time, he cycles off down the road and round a corner. Sounds of car tyre screech and crash of Pither going straight into a car.)

(Cut to interior of car speeding along highway. Pither is sitting in the back seat with his bicycle. The driver, Mr Gulliver, is a bespectacled young man. He talks with a professional precision.)

Pither: Yes…my rubber instep caught on the rear mud-guard stanchion and…

Gulliver: Really? And what happened to your corned beef rolls?

Pither: They were squashed out of all recog… here just a minute. How did you know about the corned beef rolls?

Gulliver: I saw them - or what remained of them - on the road. I noticed also that the lemon curd tart had sustained some superficial damage.

Pither: The curd had become…

Gulliver: Detached from the pastry base.

Pither: (with some surprise) Yes…. that’s absolutely right!

Gulliver: Otherwise the contents of the sandwich box were relatively unharmed, though I detected small particles of bitumen in the chocolate cup cakes.

Pither: But they were wrapped in foil!

Gulliver: Not the hard chocolate top, I’m afraid.

Pither: Oh dear, that’s the bit I liked.

Gulliver: The ginger biscuit, the crisps and the sausage roll were unharmed.

Pither: How do you know so much about cycling?

Gulliver: I’m making a special study of accidents involving food.

Pither: Really?

Gulliver: Do you know that in our laboratories we have produced a cheese sandwich that can withstand an impact of 4,000 lbs per square inch?

Pither: Good heavens!

Gulliver: Amazing, isn’t it? We have also developed a tomato which ejects itself when an accident is imminent.

Pither: Even if it’s inside am egg and tomato roll?

Gulliver: Anywhere! Even if it’s in your stomach, and it senses an accident it will come up your throat and out of the window. Do you realise what this means?

Pither: Safer food?

Gulliver: Exactly! No longer will food be damaged, crushed or squashed by the ignorance and stupidity of the driver! (Becoming slightly messianic) Whole picnics will be built to survive the most enormous forces! Snacks will be stronger than ever! An ordinary pot of salad cream, treated in our laboratories, has been subjected to the force of a 9,000 lb steam hammer every day for the last 6 years. And has it broken?

Pither: Er….

Gulliver: Yes, of course it has! But there are other things that haven’t!….the safety straps for sardines for instance.

(A tomato leaps up out of the glove compartment and hovers, then it ejects itself out of the car window)

Pither: That tomato just ejected itself.

Gulliver: Really?

Pither: Yes.

Gulliver: (embracing Pither) It works! It works!

(Crash and cut to black.)

(Fade up on country road. Pither is cycling along with Gulliver on the back of the bicycle. Gulliver has his head bandaged and his arm in a sling. Occasionally strains of ‘Jack in a box’ by Clodagh Rogers float towards us as Gulliver moves rhythmically.)

Pither (V.O): What a strange turn this cycling tour has taken. Mr Gulliver appears to have lost his memory and far from being interested in safer food is now convinced that he is Clodagh Rogers the young girl singer. I am taking him for medical attention.

(Cut to Pither and Gulliver cycling into hospital. Sign: “North Cornwall District Hospital”.)

(Cut to nurse receptionist at counter with glass window which lifts up and down. Above window small notice: “Casualty Admissions”. Pither appears)

Pither: Good afternoon… is this the Casualty Department?

Nurse: Yes, that’s right.

(Noise of splintering wood and crash out of view. Pither and nurse look up. Cut away to three benches under large 4 ft sign “Casualty”. The front bench has collapsed in the middle and half a dozen or so patients sitting on it have slid into a heap in the middle. Some with scalded hands, bandages etc. some with bloody heads. A black nurse is on her way to assist. Cut back to Pither and nurse.)

Nurse: What can I do for you?

(The window comes down on her fingers, she winces sharply in pain. She pushes it up again)

Pither: Well, I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and…

Nurse: Could I have your name please?

Pither: My name is Pither.

Nurse: Hm?

Pither: No… P I T H E R … as in Brotherhood, but with PI instead of the BRO and no HOOD.

Nurse: I see…

Pither: I had already visited Taunton…

(Terrific crash. Cut to trolley on its side, and a bandaged patient under a mound of hospital instruments and a nurse standing looking down)

Nurse: Sh!

Pither: …and was cycling north in…

Nurse: Where were you injured?

Pither: Just where the A397 Ilfracombe road meets the…

Nurse: No - on your body…

Pither: Ah no… it’s not I who was injured, it’s my friend.

(Nurse scowls, crumples up paper… and throws it away. The piece of paper hits a smallish cabinet of glass which topples forward.)

Nurse: Tut… Name?

Pither: Pither.

Nurse: (long sufferingly) Your friend’s name.

Pither: Clodagh Rogers…

Nurse: Clodagh Rogers!

Pither: Well…since about 4:30….

Nurse: …well I think you ought to tell Doctor Wu… Doctor!

(Cut to doctor on top of step ladder, unloading whisky from a crate balanced on top of ladders into a medicine cupboard already stacked with whisky bottles. Doctor whips round knocking off the crate of whisky.)

Doctor: What? Damn!

(Cut to patient in a wheelchair being pushed. The wheelchair completely collapses and the nurse is left holding the handles. Quick cut to nurse as window comes down on her fingers again.)

Nurse: Aaaaaagh!

(Doctor comes across to pither, limping slightly, in some pain.)

Doctor: Now, what’s the trouble?

Pither: I am on a cycling tour of…

Nurse: (nursing her fingers) He thinks he’s had an accident.

Pither: Yes, I have friend who, as a result of his injuries, has become Clodagh Rogers.

Doctor: Don’t be silly, man; people don’t just become Clodagh Rogers.

Pither: So you may think, but what happened in this case was…

(There is a terrifying crash)

(Cut to doors, which are flying open, knocking over a nurse with a tray of surgical instruments. Gulliver comes in…)

Gulliver: (rushing up to Pither) No time to lose - we must make for Moscow tonight. (Grabs Pither and pulls him out.)

(The window comes down on the doctor’s fingers.)

Doctor: Aaaaagh!

(Gulliver and Pither rush out of doors of Casualty Dept. They slam the door. Casualty sign drops on the heads of the people on the third bench.)

(Cut to camp fire at midnight in a forest clearing. By the light of the fire, Pither is writing up his diary.)

Pither (V.O): Sept 4th. Well I never. We are now in the Alpes Maritimes region of Southern France. Clodagh seems more intent on reaching Moscow than on rehearsing her new BBC1 series with Buddy Rich and the Younger Generation.

(Gulliver enters the scene. His head is still bandaged but he has a goatee beard.)

Pither: Hallo!

Gulliver: We cannot stay here. We must leave immediately. There is a ship at Marseilles.

Pither: I did enjoy your song for Europe, Clodagh.

Gulliver: I have seen an agent in the town. My life is in danger.

Pither: Danger, Clodagh?

Gulliver: Stalin has always hated me.

Pither: No one hates you, Clodagh.

Gulliver: I will not let myself fall into the hands of these scum.

Pither: I suggest you have a little lie down, my dear. There is a busy day of concerts and promotional visits tomorrow.

Gulliver: I. One of the founders of the greatest nation on earth. I! Who Lenin called his greatest friend.

(From the darkness we hear French voices.)

M. Brun: Taissez-vous. Taissez-vous.

Pither: Oh dear.

Gulliver: I! who have fought and suffered that our people should live.

(Pair of middle class froggies in their prix-unis pyjamas appear.)

M. Brun: Taissez-vous. Qu’est-ce que le bruit? C’est impossible.

Pither: Er… my name is Pither.

M. Brun: Oh… you are English?

Pither: Er yes. I’m on a cycling tour of North Cornwall, taking in Bude.

Gulliver: I will not be defeated. I will return to my land and continue the fight against this new tyranny.

Pither: This is Clodagh Rogers, the Irish-born girl singer.

Mme. Brun: Mais oui (sings) Jack-in-a-box, I know whenever love knocks (M. Brun joins in) Eh!! Genevieve, Gerard. C’est Clodagh Rogers la chanteuse Anglaise.

(Happy shouts from off as two small froggies in their teens appear in pyjamas with autograph books and run up to Gulliver. Gen. offers her book to Gulliver.)

Gulliver: They will never silence me. They will nev…

Gen.: Excusez-moi Mam’selle Clodagh. Ecrivez vous votre nom dans mon livre des celebrites. (Gulliver takes book.) S’il vous plait. La, au-dessous de Denis Compton. (Gulliver, having signed, hands the book back.) Merci… oh! Maman. Ce n’est pas la belle Clodagh.

Mme. B.: Quoi?

Gen.: C’est Trotsky le revolutionaire.

M. B.: Trotsky!

Mme. B.: Trotsky ne chante pas.

M. B.: Un peu.

Mme. B.: Mais pas professionalement. Tu penses de Lenin.

M. B.: Lenin!! Quel chanteur: ‘If I ruled the world’.

(Cut to stock shot of famous Lenin-addressing-the-crowd scene doctored so that we can dub the words ‘Every day would be the first day of spring’ onto it.)

(Cut back to clearing as before.)

Gulliver: Lenin. My friend. I come. (He dashes off into the forest possessed.)

Pither: (aux Bruns) Oh excuse me, she’s not very well you know, pressure of work, laryngitis… (He gets on his bike and pedals off hurriedly after Gulliver into the forest.)

M. Brun: (still reminiscing) Et Kerensky avec le ‘Little White Bull’.

Mme. Brun: Formidable.

(Cut to a few quick shots of Gulliver dashing through the trees and then of Pither making much slower progress due to his bike.)

(Cut to a shot possibly of two frogs in a signal box, but probably a mundane setting and it’s not worth wasting too much time on, of Gulliver passing within sight of the two aforesaid frogs, F1 and F2.)

F1: (seeing Gulliver) Maurice! Regardez! C’est la chanteuse Anglaise Clodagh Rogers.

F2: Ah mais oui! (sings) Jacques dans la boite (he switches on a nearby horn gramophone and the song is heard throughout the forest)

(Cut to Russian street. Pither cycles along with Gulliver, looking like Trotsky, on the back.)

Pither (V.O): After several days I succeeded in tracking down my friend Mr. Gulliver to the outskirts of Smolensk.

(Cut to military man in studio. He has a large map of Europe and Russia and a stick with which he raps at the places.)

Military Man: Smolensk. 200 miles west of Minsk. 200 north of Kursk. 1500 miles west of Omsk.

(Cut back to Pither.)

Pither: Thank you.

(They’ve stopped by a signpost that says:
Smolensk Town Centre 1/2
Tavistock 1612 m.)

Pither (V.O): Anyway, as we were so far from home, and as Mr. Gulliver, still believing himself to be Trotsky, was very tired from haranguing the masses all the way from Monte Carlo,

(Cut to military man who thumps the map again.)

Military Man: Monte Carlo. 100 miles south of Turin. 100 west of Pisa. 500 miles east of Bilbao.

(Cut back to Pither.)

Pither: Thank you. I decided to check…

Pither (V.O): I decided to check…

Pither: No, you go on.

Pither (V.O): I decided to check him into a hotel while I visited the British Embassy to ask for help in returning to Cornwall.

(By the end of this speech, they are leaving the bicycle on the kerb and entering a door with the sign “Y.M.A.C.A.” over it, looking like a Y.M.C.A. sign. Over this…)

Pither (V.O): And so we registered at the Smolensk Young Men’s Anti-Christian Association.

(Cut to military man.)

Military Man: Y.M.C.A. Corner of Anti-semitic street and Pogrom square.

Pither: (by now standing at the reception desk with Gulliver) Go away. (To departing desk clerk) No not you. A single room for my friend please.

Desk Clerk: Yes, sir. Bugged or unbugged?

Gulliver: (as Trotsky) I think I’d feel happier with a bugged one.

Desk Clerk: One bugged with bath.

(As Gulliver starts to sign the register, Pither starts to leave. He says…)

Pither: Have a nice lie down. I’m just off to the Embassy. (He goes.)

(Desk clerk looks at book.)

Desk Clerk: Trotsky! My lack of God, it’s Trotsky!

(A couple of people race in excitedly.)

Gulliver: Comrades. Socialism is not a national doctrine it… (Fade.)

(Mix through to sign: “British Consulate Smolensk” sign is on railings outside. Pither cycles up and parks his bike and goes in. Imperial music.)

(Mix through to interior… smoke and incense about. A picture of the queen is dimly visible on the back wall. A Chinaman approaches.)

Pither: Excuse me. Is this the British Consulate?

Chinaman: Yes yes… si si… That is correctment. Yes… Piccadilly Circus, mini-skirt… Joe Lyons.

Pither: I wish to see the Consul, please.

Chinaman: That’s right. Speakee speakee… me Blitish consul.

Pither: Oh! (He examines his diary.) Are you… Rear Admiral Dudley de Vere Compton Bart then?

Chinaman: No. He died. He have heart attack and fell out of window onto exploding bomb, and was run over in shooting accident. Nasty business. I his susscussor… how you say… succsussor.

Pither: Successor.

Chinaman: Successor yes… I his successor, Mr. Atkinson.

Pither: Oh, I see.

Atkinson: You like have drinkee? Game bingo?

Pither: Well…. a drink would be extremely pleasant.

(Atkinson snaps fingers. Another chink bows obsequiously.)

Atkinson: Mr. Robinson. Go and get Saki.

Robinson: Yes, Boss. (goes)

Atkinson: How is Tunbridge Wells? How I long to see once again walls of Shakespeare-style theatre in Stratford-on-Avon.

Pither: I’m a West Country man myself, Mr. Atkinson.

Atkinson: Ho yes! Arizona – Texas – Kit Carson Super Scout.

Pither: No - West of England… Cornwall.

Chinaman: (with difficulty) Coron… worll…

Pither: Cornwall.

Atkinson: Coronworl… oh yes know Coronworl very well. Go to school there, Mother and Father live there, ah yes, have lots of friends there. Go for weekend parties and polo playing cards and bridge in evening. Oh yes belong to many clubs in Coronworld.

(Robinson reappears, with drink and plate of pastries. He puts them down.)

Atkinson: Ah, Mr. Rutherford, saki and bakewells tart.

(Hands glass of Saki to Pither.)

Atkinson: Well, old chap. Buttocks up!

Pither: Rather. (They drink.)

Atkinson: Now then Mr… er…

Pither: Pither.

Atkinson: Pither ah yes… fine old English name. My father he Pither, and mother she Pither… all flends Pither… Now we Blitish here in Smolensk velly intellested in playing clicket.

Pither: Cricket?

Atkinson: No…you not speak English velly wells. We like play clicket -not clicket - clicket…clicketty click…housey housey…Bingo.

Pither: Oh… Bingo…

Atkinson: Yes. Bingo.

Robinson: Bingo.

Atkinson: (trying to get a grip on himself) Bingo.

Robinson: Bingo! Bingo!

(Hammering on door.)

**Chinese (V.O.)**: Bingo Bingo Bingo! _(etc)

(Three Chinese throw themselves out of a cupboard and throw themselves at Pither’s feet, imploringly.)

3 Chinese: Bingo! Bingo! Bingo!

Atkinson: Contloll. Contloll selves!

Robinson: (beating floor with fist) Bingo.

Atkinson: Mr. Richardson! Contloll self!

3 Chinese: (under breath) Bingo….

Atkinson: Hsai! (turns to Pither) So solly. Boys get velly excited.

Robinson: (quietly) Bingo.

Chinaman: (close into Robinson’s face) Shut face. (smiles at Pither) Perhaps you help us join Bingo Club back in jolly old Blighty.

Pither: Well it’s not quite my line…

Atkinson: You put in good word, me and flends join really smart Bingo club in Coronwold…

Pither: Well…

Atkinson: We all velly quiet…sit at back…only shout “Housey! Housey!”

(Obviously trying to control himself but it is too late.)

Robinson: Housey! Housey!

3 Chinese: (still on floor) Housey! Housey!

Atkinson: (with supreme effort of will) Contloll selves!!

(Hammering on doors and Chinese V.O.s sound of Chinese hordes from outside.)

Chinese (V.O.): Housey housey! Housey housey!

(Atkinson runs onto balcony. Shot of stock film of Chinese hordes.)

Chinese hordes: Housey housey! Housey housey!

Atkinson: Ni akawati nihi, keo t’sin feh t’sung, nihi watai bingo cards!

(There is a sudden silence from the invisible hordes below, except for slightly shocked muttering. Atkinson turns, and goes back inside. Cut back to interior. Atkinson stalks in looking grim.)

Robinson: Nihi watai bingo cards?

Atkinson: Nihi watai!

Robinson: Ah so… (he bows and falls back obediently.)

(Atkinson turns to Pither.)

Atkinson: Now then, Pither Mr, which do you think better, Hackney Star Bingo or St. Albans Top Rank Suite?

Pither: Well, Mr Atkinson, I was hoping that you could help me and my friend to get back to England as…

Robinson: (terribly quietly) Hackney Star Bingo. (Atkinson strikes Robinson hard.)

Pither: I’m actually cycling to…

(One of the other Chinese falls to the floor.)

Chinaman on floor: Star Bingo! (He cowers as Atkinson turns on him and strikes him.)

Atkinson: Controll selves!

2 other Chinamen: (with awed reverence) Top Rank Bingo…

Atkinson: Shut faces!

All: Bingo… Top Rank… ahhhh!

(As the word Bingo starts to swell again from all those present and from the hordes outside, Atkinson rushes around trying to silence them.)

Pither: Well I think I’ll be off…

Atkinson: Please not go yet… (he has grabbed Robinson by the throat.)

Robinson: (breathlessly) Wimbledon Granada Bingo.

Atkinson: Shut face. Please Mr. Bingo don’t bingo yet… I mean bingo… BINGO!

(Pither escapes as all available Simian lungs cry out.)

All: Bingo etc. etc.

Chinese hordes: Bingo!

(Chinese are climbing over the balcony. Cut to stock film of Chinese hordes rioting.)

Hordes: Bingo! Bingo! Bingo!

(Cut to worried Director reading script: ‘I’m sorry, News, I’d like to do it, but…‘)

(Cut to Y.W.A.C.A. Lobby. Pither walks up to desk.)

Pither: Is Mr Trotsky in his room please?

Desk Clerk: No. He has gone to Moscow.

(Cut to military man.)

Military Man: Moscow. 1500 miles due East of…

Desk Clerk: Shut up!

Pither: Moscow!

(Pither is suddenly surrounded by four secret policemen dressed in heavy trenchcoats and pork pie hats.)

Grip: Come with us please.

Pither: Who’re you?

Bag: Well we’re not secret police anyway.

Wallet: That’s for sure.

Grip: If anything we are ordinary Soviet systems with no particular interest in politics.

Bag: None at all. Come with us.

Pither: Where are you taking me?

(Secret police all move to confer.)

Wallet: What do we tell him?

Grip: Don’t tell him any secrets.

Bag: Agreed.

Grip: Tell him anything except that we are taking him to Moscow to be present as an Honoured Guest when Trotsky is reunited with the Central Committee.

Wallet: We’re taking you to a Clam Bake.

Pither: Oh a Clam Bake. I’ve never been to one of them.

Grip: Right, let’s go.

Bag: Who’s giving the orders round here?

Grip: I am. I’m senior to you.

Bag: No, you’re not. You’re a greengrocer, I’m an insurance salesman.

Grip: Greengrocers are senior to insurance salesmen.

Wallet: Cool it. Ice cream salesmen are senior to both of you.

Bag: You’re an ice cream salesman? I thought you were a window-dresser.

Wallet: I got promoted. Let’s go.

Bag: Taxi!

(Man enters dressed as a New York cabbie.)

Taxi: Yes.

Bag: Drive us to Moscow.

Taxi: I haven’t got a cab.

Wallet: Why not?

Taxi: I’m in the Secret Police.

(They all snap into salute.)

(cut to stock film of train wheels in the night. The siren sounds.)



(C.U. Hammer and sickle flag. Pull out to reveal the stage of a big Russian hall. A banner reads “U.S.S.R. 42nd annual clambake”. At one side of the stage sits an impressive table on a dais. At the table are very important Russian persons. At a bank of mikes in centre stage a general is orating. Pither sits on one side of the stage with his bike propped up against his chair.)

General: …Dostoievye unsye tovarich Trotsky borodins (Applause)
Subtitle: Here is the man who brought our beloved Trotsky back to us.

General: Beluntanks dretsky mihai ovna isky Reg Pither.
Subtitle: The friend of the Revolution - Reg Pither.

(Cut to stock shot of wildly cheering Russians. Cut back to general who beckons for silence.)

General: Shi muska di svetsana dravenka upstomivia Engleska Vantyat.
Subtitle: And now, in order to save time, I will continue in English.

General: And now, Comrades, let us welcome the return of the greatest leader of our revolution… Lev Davidovich Trotsky!

(Gulliver appears looking as much like Trotsky as possible. Pandemonium breaks out. He raises his hands for silence.)

Gulliver: Comrades. Bolsheviks. Friends of the Revolution. I have returned. (Renewed cheering.) The bloodstained shadow of Stalinist repression is past. I bring you new light of permanent revolution (his movements are starting to become a little camp and slinky). Comrades, I may once have been ousted from power, I may have been expelled from the party in 1927, I may have been deported in 1929 but (sings)
I’m just an old-fashioned girl,
With an old-fashioned mind.

(Shot of Pither looking amazed, and confusion among the generals.)

Gulliver: Comrades, I don’t want to destroy in order to build, I don’t want a state founded on hate and division (sings)
I want an old-fashioned house
With an old-fashioned fence,
And an old-fashioned millionaire.

(Gulliver is now totally Eartha Kitt. Cut to Pither.)

Pither: (thinking) Poor Mr. Gulliver was clearly undergoing another change ofpersonality.

(Senior general appears beside Pither with two guards.)

General: So! You have duped us. You shall pay for this. (To guards) Seize him.

(The guards seize the startled Pither and drag him away. The senior general strides back across the stage.)

General 2: (to boss general) Shall I seize him, sir? (indicates Gulliver)

Boss G.: Wait, I think he’s going down well.

(Cut to audience really enjoying it.)

General 2: He’s more fun than he used to be.

Boss G.: (tapping fingers) This is an old Lenin number, you know.

(Interior of Empty Prison Cell. Pither is in cell writing diary. Sign behind: ‘Condemned cell’.)

Pither (V.O): April 26th. Thrown into Russian cell. Severely damaged my Mars bar. Shall I ever see Bude Bus station again? Shall I ever… (Two guards enter) Oh excuse me… (Guards grab him and lead him out of cell.)

(Cut to exterior film of door leading out into prison yard. The door is thrown open and Pither is marched over and stood against a blank wall. There are lots of small holes in the wall, if Roger has time to drill them (!))

Pither (V.O): What a pleasant exercise yard. How friendly they were all being.

Officer: Cigarette?

Pither: No thank you I don’t smoke.

(Cut to shot from behind Pither, including his back to see him facing a line of uniformed men with guns, obviously a firing squad. At that moment a regular slow measured drum beat starts, like the cliche.)

Pither (V.O): After a few minutes I perceived a line of gentlemen with rifles. They were looking in my direction…

(Cut to Pither against the wall, looking behind him.)

Pither (V.O): I looked around but could not see the target.

Officer: Blindfold?

Pither: (very cheerful) No thank you.

Officer: (stepping clear) Slowotny.

(Firing squad snaps to attention.)

Officer: Gridenwa. (Clicking of bolts.)

(Cut to shot of firing squad and the officer, his front is to the camera.)

Officer: Verschnitzen.

(They raise their rifles pointing in the direction of Pither, who is in shot. The drum starts to roll. Officer raises his arm. We hear running footsteps approaching, and shouting Russian. Officer waits. A Russian soldier runs in waving a telegram. he runs up and hands it to the officer.)

Officer: (opens it and reads) It’s from the Kremlin, the Central Committee! It says “Carry on with the execution”.

Officer: Verschnitzen! (They raise their rifles.)

Pither (V.O): Now I was really for it.

(Cut to shot of officer with his hand raised, the same shot as before, only without Pither in shot. Drum rolls again. He brings his sword down, (we need a sword); volley of shots from the firing squad. Officer is looking in Pither’s direction. Long pause.)

Officer: (turning to squad) How could you miss?

Soldier: He moved.

Officer: Shut up! Go and practise. (To Pither) I’m so sorry. Do you mind waiting in your cell?

(Pither is flung back in his cell by guards. The door is slammed.)

Pither (V.O): What a stroke of luck. My Crunchie was totally intact. I settled down to a quick intermeal snack…

(Fade down. Fade up.)

(Pither has just finished his Crunchie.)

Officer: (outside door) Aha! Gut!

(The guards race in and take him out. The door left open. We hear shouted instructions. Drum roll then stop. Then a volley of shots. Pause. Sound of feet coming back. Pither is thrown into the cell, followed by the officer.)

Officer: Next time. Definitely! (To guard as he leaves) Now then, how many of them are injured? Oh God…

(Close on Pither. Outside we hear odd shots and muffled curses from officer.)

Pither (V.O): As I lay dwon to the sound of the Russian gentlemen practising their shooting, I realised I was in a bit of a pickle. My heart sank as I realised I should never see the Okehampton by-pass again… (he lies down)

(…we close on his sleeping face then we ripple and mix through to film of his sleeping face, waking up, shaking himself in disbelief at finding himself in a beautiful garden, with the sun shining, the birds singing, he is in a deck chair, and his mother having poured him a jug of iced fruit juice, is gently nudging Pither to wake him.)

Mother: Wake up dear, wake up.

Pither: Mother!

Mother: Come on dear.

Pither: So, it was all a dream.

Mother: No, no dear, this is the dream, you’re still in the cell.

(Quick ripple to him waking up in cell.)

Pither: What a disappointment.

(The guards race in and take him out. The door left open. We hear shouted instructions. Drum roll then stop. Then a volley of shots. Pause. (Music?) Pither is thrown back into the cell followed by the officer.)

Officer: Next time. Definitely! (To guard as he leaves) Now then, how many of them are injured? Oh god…

(Close up on Pither.)

(Officer enters.)

Officer: O.K. We’re going to have another try. I think we’ve got it now. My boys have all been looking down the wrong bit, see.

Pither: No, no, they want to look down this bit.

Officer: Oh I thought it was that bit.

Pither: No no this bit, otherwise you won’t hit anything.

Officer: Alright, we’ll give it a whirl. Seize him guards.

(They take him out.)

Officers (V.O.): Here, come here. You’ve got to look down this bit.

(We zoom into and mix through the poster on the wall, and the large name of Eartha Kitt.)

(Mix through to stock film of the Kremlin. We dub over laughter and applause. Cheerful band sting. Mix through to stage where someone dressed as Marshall Bulganin is standing with a little real ventriloquist’s dummy. He gets up and takes his bow, walks off as the curtain swings down. Lots of applause and atmosphere. Terrible Russian compere comes on from the wings smiling and applauding.)

Compere: Osledi Osledi.

(He tells quick joke in Russian, and roars with laughter, laughter from audience.)

(Holds up his hands, and then becomes very sincere, saying obviously deeply moving, wonderful things about the next guest. He finally introduces…)

Compere: Eartha Kitt!

(He backs off. The opening bars of “Let’s do it” on (RCA Ints. 10 30 Eartha Kitt, C’est si bon”) are played. Gulliver dressed as Eartha Kitt slinks onto the stage, the music stops. He speaks like…)

Heath: We in the Conservative party believe strongly in the virtues of allowing the People of Britain to get on with the business of running their affairs, of running their own lives, indeed of standing on their own two feet without constant interference from the Government.

(Slight consternation from the audience.)

Voices say: “Niet Eartha Kitt” “Es Edward Heath” “Who?” “Der Premier Poofski dos Britannia” etc. “Ah, Edward Heath, capitalist pig”.

Gulliver: (as Heath) We shall not shirk our responsibilities, nor desert our principles.

(Cut to audience.)

Russian: It’s Clodagh Rogers.

Other Russian: No, it’s Edward Heath.

Another Russian: Sing “Old fashioned girl”.

Gulliver: …We shall remain united, in our determination…

Russians are shouting: Sing Old Fashioned girl. Old Fashioned girl. Old Fashioned girl.

(The first fruit starts being thrown. It spatters around Heath.)

Gulliver: Furthermore I cannot reiterate too often our determination to take responsibility for our own actions.

(He dashes off, comes back with large shield, with his arm through, he holds it in front of him and on it there is a large picture of the face and shoulders of Reginald Maudling (deceased).)

Gulliver: …I’m very fond of Tchaikowsky.

(The fruit is now so thick, that it is impossible for him to continue. At this moment a piece of fruit thrown from the audience hits him in the head (possibly an arty shot in slow motion). The word ‘Tchaikowsky’ echoes around as we hold a close shot of him, indicating that he is reverting to being really Gulliver again. He looks at a piece of fruit in his hand that has landed on him.)

Gulliver: (in original voice as used in car) Well that turnip’s certainly not safe. (He looks up and becomes more aware of his surroundings.) Good heavens. What’s going on? Mr Pither, Mr Pither!?

(At this point it is becoming precarious on stage – some Russians are coming across the footlights and the shouting is very angry – so he turns tail and runs off the stage)

(Cut to outside stage door.)

(Gulliver comes running out of the stage door past a big poster saying ‘Next week Clodagh Rogers with the Goodies’, and runs down street closely pursued by angry Russians.)

(There now follows a chase sequence which should be as dramatic as possible. Lots of close shots of Gulliver looking frightened as he runs for his life shouting ‘Pither’. Close shots of Russians pursuing thin lipped and avenging, some secret police, no longer comic, driving after Gulliver. Latterly they fire at him. Gulliver, exhausted, finally turns into a cul-de-sac and stops, realising that there is no escape. He shouts desperately one last time ‘Pither’, ‘Mr Pither’. From over the wall of the cul-de-sac comes an answering shout.)

Pither: Yes.

(Gulliver hears it, reacts and in the nick of time leaps onto a car and up and over the wall as his pursuers turn into the street. Low angle shot from other side of wall of Gulliver dropping over it. He lands.)

Pither: Gulliver.

Gulliver: Pither! What a stroke of luck.

Pither: Well yes and no. (He indicates with his head.)

(Cut to show that both of them are standing in front of a firing squad. The officer is heard as before.)

Officer: Squad! Fix bayonets!

(With a terrifying clank the bayonets are fixed. Gulliver and Pither cower, terror on their faces.)

Officer: Squad! Charge!

(The squad charge towards Pither and Gulliver screaming horribly. When they are about two feet from them (!)…)

(Cut to Black.)


(Cut to Cornish country lane. A road sign says ‘Tavistock 12 miles’. Pither stands beneath with Gulliver and his bicycle.)

Pither: Phew, what an amazing escape.

Gulliver: Quite agree.

Pither: Well goodbye, Reginald.

Gulliver: Goodbye… George.

(They shake hands, Gulliver strides off. Pither mounts his bike and rides off into the sunset. Music swells.)