Series 1, Episode 4: ‘And did those feet’/Art Gallery
SINGER Eric Idle
JANET John Cleese
MARGE Graham Chapman
CRITIC Michael Palin
WIFE Katya Wyeth
(Opening Scene : Singer in spangly jacket sitting on high stool with guitar.)
Singer: (singing to the tune of Jerusalem) And did those teeth in ancient time…
(CAPTION: ‘LIVE FROM THE CARDIFF ROOMS, LIBYA’)
Singer: … walk upon England’s mountains green. (he stops playing) Good evening and welcome ladies and gendemen. At this time we’d like to up the tempo a little, change the mood. We’ve got a number requested by Pip, Pauline, Nigel, Tarquin, and old Spotty – Tarquin’s mother – a little number specially written for the pubescence of ex-King Zog of Albania, and it’s entitled ‘Art Gallery’. Hope you like it.
Interior of art gallery. Two figures enter. They are both middle-aged working
mothers. Each holds the hand of an unseen infant who is beneath the range of the camera.)
Janet: ‘Allo, Marge!
Marge: Oh hello, Janet, how are you love?
Janet: Fancy seeing you! How’s little Ralph?
Marge: Oh, don’t ask me! He’s been nothing but trouble all morning. Stop it Ralph!
(she slaps at unseen infant) Stop it!
Janet: Same as my Kevin.
Janet: Nothing but trouble … leave it alone! He’s just been in the Florentine Room and smeared tomato ketchup all over Raphael’s Baby Jesus. (shouting off sharply) Put that Baroque masterpiece down!
Marge: Well, we’ve just come from the Courtauld and Ralph smashed every exhibit but one in the Danish Contemporary Sculpture Exhibition.
Janet: Just like my Kevin. Show him an exhibition of early eighteenth-century Dresden Pottery and he goes berserk. No, I said no, and I meant no! (smacks unseen infant again) This morning we were viewing the early Flemish Masters of the Renaissance and Mannerist Schools, when he gets out his black aerosol and squirts Vermeer’s Lady At A Window!
Marge: Still it’s not as bad as spitting is it?
Janet: (firmly) No, well Kevin knows (slaps the infant) that if he spits at a painting I’ll never take him to all exhibition again.
Marge: Ralph used to spit – he could hit a Van Gogh at thirty yards. But he knows now it’s wrong – don’t you Ralph? (she looks down) Ralph! Stop it Stop it Stop chewing that Turner! You are … (she disappears from shot) You are a naughty, naughty, vicious little boy. (smack; she comes back into shot holding a copy of Turner’s Fighting Temeraire in a lovely gilt frame but all tattered) Oh, look at that! The Fighting Temeraire – ruined! What shall I do?
Janet: (taking control) Now don’t do a thing with it love, just put it in the bin over there.
Janet: Yes take my word for it, Marge. Kevin’s eaten most of the early nineteenth-century British landscape artists, and I’ve learnt not to worry. As a matter of fact, I feel a bit peckish myself. (she breaks a bit off the Turner) Yes…
(Marge also tastes a bit.)
Marge: I never used to like Turner.
Janet: (swallowing) No … I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like.
(Cut to a book-lined study. At a desk in front of the shelves sits an art critic with a mouthful of Utrillo. SUPERIMPOSED CAPTION: ‘AN ART CRITIC’)
Critic: (taking out stringy bits as he speaks) Mmmm… (munches) Well I think Utrillo’s brushwork is fantastic… (stifles burp) But he doesn’t always agree with me …
(belches) Not after a Rubens, anyway … all those cherries … ooohh … (suddenly looks down) Ur’gh! I’ve got Vermeer all down my shirt…
Wife: (bringing in a water jug and glass on a tray and laying it on his desk) Watteau, dear?
Critic: What a terrible joke.
Wife: But it’s my only line.
Critic: (rising vehemently) All right! All right! But you didn’t have to say it! You could have kept quiet for a change.
Critic: Oh, that’s typical. Talk talk talk. Natter natter natter!
(Cut back to singer.)
Singer: (singing) Bring me my arrows of desire … Bring me my spear oh clouds unfold … Bring me my chariot of fire.
(A sexy girl (Katya ) enters and starts fondling him.)