From the first series of Monty Python’s Flying Circus
Transcribed by Jonathan Partington
Eric Idle: Good evening and welcome to another edition of It’s the Arts. And we kick off this evening with Cinema.
Host (John Cleese): Good evening. One of the most prolific film directors of this age, or indeed of any age, is Sir Edward Ross, back in his native country for the first time for five years to open a season of his works at the National Film Theatre, and we are indeed fortunate to have him with us in this studio tonight.
Ross (Graham Chapman): Good evening.
Host: Edward… you don’t mind if I call you Edward?
Ross: No, not at all.
Host: Because it does worry some people - I don’t know why - but they are a little sensitive so I take the precaution of asking on these occasions.
Ross: No, that’s fine.
Host: So Edward’s all right. Splendid. I’m sorry to have brought it up.
Ross: No, no, please. Edward it is.
Host: Well thank you very much for being so helpful. And it’s more than my job’s worth to, er…
Ross: Yes, quite.
Host: Makes it rather difficult to establish a rapport - put the other person at his ease…
Host: Silly little point but it does seem to matter. Still, er, least said the better. Ted, when you first started you… I hope you don’t mind if I call you Ted, er, I mean as opposed to Edward?
Ross: No, no, everyone calls me Ted.
Host: Well of course it’s shorter, isn’t it.
Ross: Yes it is.
Host: And much less formal!
Ross: Yes, Ted, Edward or anything!
Host: Thank you. Um, incidentally, do call me Tom. I don’t want you bothering with this ‘Thomas’ nonsense! Ha ha ha ha! Now where were we? Ah yes. Eddie Baby, when you first started in the…
Ross: I’m sorry, I’m sorry, but I don’t like being called “Eddie Baby”.
Ross: I don’t like being called “Eddie Baby”.
Host: (pause) Did I call you “Eddie Baby”?
Ross: Yes, you did! Now if you could get on with the interview…
Host: I don’t think I did call you “Eddie Baby”.
Ross: You did!
Host: Did I call him “Eddie Baby”?
(Audience murmurs of ‘yes’ etc.)
Host: I didn’t really call you “Eddie Baby”, did I, sweetie?
Ross: Don’t call me “sweetie”!
Host: Can I call you “sugar plum”?
Host: “Angel drawers”?
Ross: No you may not! Get on with it!
Host: Can I call you “Frank”?
Ross: (suspiciously) Why “Frank”?
Host: It’s a nice name. Richard Nixon’s got a hedgehog called Frank.
Ross: What IS going on?
Host: Now Frank – Fran – Frannie – little Frannie-pooh…
Ross: No. I’m leaving. I’m off. I’m going. I’ve never… (exits)
Host (loudly): Tell us about your latest film, Sir Edward.
Ross (nearly offstage): What?
Host: Tell us about your latest film, Sir Edward, if you’d be so very kind.
Ross: None of this “Pussycat” nonsense?
Host: Promise. (Pats seat next to him.) Please, Sir Edward.
Ross: My latest film?
Host: Yes, Sir Edward.
Ross: Well the idea, funnily enough, is based on an idea I had when I first joined the industry in 1919. Of course, in those days I was only the tea boy and…
Host: Oh shut up!
Continued in It’s the Arts – Symphony