Series 2, Episode 17: Bishop
DEVIOUS Michael Palin
BISHOP Terry Jones
FIRST VICAR Graham Chapman
SECOND VICAR John Cleese
THIRD VICAR Eric Idle
Devious: The bishop!
Animated crime-series-type titles, with suitable music:
‘C. OF E. FILMS’
‘IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE SUNDAY SCHOOLS BOARD’
‘STARRING THE REVEREND E. P. NESBITT’
‘INTRODUCING F. B. GRIMSBY URQHART-WRIGHT AS THE VOICE OF GOD’
‘SPECIAL EFFECTS BY THE MODERATOR OF THE CHURCH OF SCOTLAND’
‘DIRECTED BY PREBENDARY “CHOPPER” HARRIS’
(Exterior beautiful English church. Birds singing, a hymn bring sung. Suddenly, sound of a high-powered car roaring towards the church. Screech of tyres as a huge open-top American car screeches to a halt outside the church. The bishop leaps out. Behind him (as throughout the film) are his four henchmen… vicars with dark glasses. They wear clerical suits and dog collars. They leap out of their car and race up the drive towards the church. As they do so the hymn is heard to come to an end. Sound of people sitting down. Cut to interior of church. Vicar climbing up into pulpit. Cut back to exterior. The bishop and his vicars racing through the doors. Interior of church. Shot of vicar in pulpit.)
First Vicar: I take as my text for today…
(Cut to bishop and vicars at doorway.)
Bishop: The text, vic! Don’t say the text!
(Cut back to vicar.)
First Vicar: Leviticus 3-14. . .
(The pulpit explodes. Vicar disappears in smoke, flying up into the air. Cut to close-up of the bishop. Behind him there is smoke and people rushing about. Sound of people scrambling over pews in panic etc.)
Bishop: We was too late. The Reverend Grundy bit the ceiling.
(The end of the bishop’s crook suddenly starts flashing. He lifts the flashing end off and it stops. Using it like a telephone receiver, he speaks into the staff.)
Bishop: Hello?… What?… We’ll be right over!
(Still of another church exterior. Crash zoom in on door. Cut to interior. A baptism party round the front. An innocent vicar is just testing the water. Pan across to the parents – a couple of shifty crooks – and two godmothers, obviously all-in wrestlers in drag (cauliflower ears etc.). As
the vicar takes the baby it starts to tick loudly.)
First Vicar: And it is for this reason that the Christian Church lays upon you, the godparents, the obligation of seeing this child is brought up in the Christian faith. Therefore, I name this child…
(Cut to door of church. The bishop and vicars rush in.)
Bishop: Don’t say the kid’s name, vic!
(Cut back to vicar.)
First Vicar: Francesco Luigi…
(Explosion. Cut to close-up of bishop. Smoke and panic as before.)
Bishop: We was too late… The Rev. Neuk saw the light.
(Whip pan to interior of yet another church. A wedding. Bride and groom standing in front of a vicar. Cut to door of church. The bishop and vicars burst in.)
Bishop: The ring, vic Don’t touch the ring! Hey vic!
(Cut to vicar taking the ring out of the bible. The ring is attached to a piece of string. A sixteen-ton weight falls on top of them with a mighty crunch – the camera shakes as it hits the floor. Cut to two bell ringers. One pulls his rope, and the other rises off the floor, hanged by the neck. The bishop arrives, just too late. Cut to another vicar at graveside.)
Second Vicar: …dust to dust, ashes to ashes.
(He sprinkles dust on the grave. A huge prop cannon rises up out of the grave until its mighty barrel (twelve inches wide) is pointing right in the vicar’s face. He does not notice. Sound of car screeching to a halt. We pan away from grave to reveal the bishop leaping out of the car. Sound of an almighty blast from the cannon. The bishop gets back into the car immediately and turns it round.)
(Cut to a street. Outside a cigarette shop the four clerics lounge against
a wall. The bishop walks out rolling his own. Suddenly he stops. Close-up. He looks up as he hears a faint cry. Camera swings round and up – enormous zoom to high window in huge, drab city office block,
where a vicar is looking out.)
Third Vicar: Help … help… help… help… help… help…
(Cut back to the bishop breaking into a run, throwing his cigarette into the gutter. Peter Gunn music. Hand-held shots of the bishop and the four vicars running through crowded streets. He reaches the office block, rushes in. Interior: a stair well. Right at the bottom we see the bishop and the
vicars. Close-up hand-held shot of bishop running up stairs. Shadows running up the stair well. The bishop arrives on the top landing. Door of office. The bishop tries the door. It won’t open. One vicar goes rigid. The other three take hold of him and use him as a battering ram and go
straight through the balsa wood door first time.)
Bishop: OK, Devious, don’t move!
Devious: The bishop!
(‘The Bishop’ titles again.)