Series 3, Episode 34: Cycling Tour/Bingo Mad Chinese
PITHER Michael Palin
MILITARY MAN Eric Idle
DESK CLERK Terry Gilliam
CHINAMAN Graham Chapman
LIVINGSTONE John Cleese
GRIP Eric Idle
BAG John Cleese
WALLET Graham Chapman
TAXI Carol Cleveland
GENERAL John Cleese
SENIOR GENERAL Graham Chapman
OFFICER John Cleese
MESSENGER Graham Chapman
MOTHER Eric Idle
COMPÈRE Eric Idle
(Hammering on door.)
Chinese V.O.s: 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. Lobinson! Contloll self!
3 Chinese: (under breath) Bingo…
(turns to Pither) So solly. Boys get velly excited.
China Man: (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…
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
(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.)
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…
(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 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.
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 salesman.
Bag: No they’re not!
Wallet: Cool it. I’m an ice-cream salesman and I am senior to both of you.
Bag: You’re an ice-cream salesman? I thought you were a veterinarian.
Wallet: I got promoted. Let’s go.
(A girl enters dressed as a New York cabbie.)
Bag: Drive us to Moscow.
Taxi: I have no cab.
Wallet: Why not?
Taxi: I’m in the secret police.
(they all snap into the salute)
(Cut to shot of train wheels in the night. The siren sounds. Superimposed names zoom into camera, as in a musical: Petrograd, Ottograd, Lewgrad, LeslieFad, Etceteragrad, Dukhovskoknabilebskohatsk, Moscva. Cut to the stage of a big Russian hall. A banner across the top of the stage reads ‘Russian 42nd International Clambake’. At the back of the stage sits Pither with his bicycle. At one side of the stage, at an impressive table on a dais, are some very important Russian persons including generals. One of the generals addresses the audience.)
General: … Dostoievye useye tovarich trotsky borodina…
SUBTITLE: THIS IS THE MAN WHO BROUGHT OUR BELOVED TROTSKY BACK TO US’
General: Belutanks dretsky mihai ovna isky Mr Reg Pither.
SUBTITLE: ‘FIRST MAY I PRESENT MR PITHER FROM THE WEST OF ENGLAND’
(Pandemonium lasting for about ten seconds.)
General: Shi musks di seensand dravenka oblomov Engleska Solzhenitzhin.
SUBTITLE: ‘FORGIVE ME IF I CONTINUE IN ENGLISH IN ORDER TO SAVE TIME’
General: And now, Comrades, the greatest moment of a great day, the moment when I ask you to welcome the return of one of Russia’s greatest heroes, creator of the Red Army, Lenin’s greatest friend, Lev Davidovich Trotsky!
(Gulliver appears looking as much like Trotsky as possible. He wears a uniform and has a beard and glasses. Pandemonium breaks out. He eventua1ly quietens them by raking 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 the new light of Permanent Revolution.
(his movements are becoming a little camp anti 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 1926, but
(sings) I’m just an old-fashioned girl with an old-fashioned mind.
(a certain amount of confusion is spreadiing among the audience and particularly the generals on the podium) Comrades, I don’t want to destroy in order to build, I don’t want a state founded on hate and division. (sings again) I want an old-fashioned house with an old-fashioned fence, and an old-fashioned millionaire.
(From now on Gulliver continues exactly as Eartha Kitt. He has acquired a fur stole which he manipulates slinkily. The confusion is complete on the stage.)
Pither: (voice over) Our friend Mr Gulliver was clearly undergoing another change of personality.
(A senior general appears beside Pither with two guards.)
General: (to Pither) So, you have duped us. You shall pay for this. Guards, seize him.
(The guards seize the startled Pither and drag him away. The senior general strides back across the stage avoiding Gulliver, towards the general who addressed the audience.)
General: Shall I seize him too?
Senior General: No, I think we’ll have to keep him, he’s going down well.
General: He’s more fun than he used to be.
Senior General: He’s loosened up a lot. This is an old Lenin number.
(Cut to Pither sitting in a cell.)
Pither: (voice over) April 226th. Thrown into Russian cell. Severely damaged my Mars bar. Shall I ever see Bude Bus Station again?
(two Russian guards throw the cell door open) Oh excuse me…
(they grab him and march him out of the cell)
(Cut to exterior of a door leading out into the 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.)
Pither: (voice over) What a pleasant exercise yard. How friendly they were all being.
Pither: Oh, no thank you I don’t smoke.
(Pither facing a line of uniformed men with guns, obviously a firing squad.)
Pither: (voice over) After a few moments I perceived a line of gentlemen with rifles. They were looking in my direction…
(cut to Pither against the wall looking behind him) I looked around but could not see the target.
Pither: (very cheerful) No thank you, no.
Officer: (stepping clear) Slowotny!
(the firing squad snaps to attention) Grydenka…
(they raise their rifles) Verschnitzen.
(Drum roll. The firing squad takes aim. A messenger runs frantically up.)
Messenger: Nyet! Nyet! Nyet!
(he hands the officer a paper)
Officer: A telegram?
(examines it) From the Kremlin! The Central Committee!
(reads) It says … ‘Carry on with the execution’. Verschnitzen…
(the squad raise their rifles)
Pither: (voice over) Now I was really for it.
(Cut to shot of the officer with his hand raised. The same as before, only without Pither in shot. Drum rolls again. He brings his sword down. Volley of shots from the firing squad. The officer is looking in Pither’s direction, Long pause.)
Officer: (to soldiers) 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 into his cell by the guards, and the door slammed.)
Pither: (voice over) What a stroke of luck. My Crunchie was totally intact. I settled down to a quick intermeal snack…
(But he is bundled out again. Pause. Shots. He is bundled in. The officer appears at door.)
Officer: Next time, definitely!
(to aide) Now then, how many have been injured? Oh God…
Pither: (voice over) As I lay down to the sound of the Russian gentlemen practising their shooting, I realized I was in a bit of a pickle. My heart sank as I realized that I should never see the Okehampton by-pass again…
(Mix to Pither’s sleeping face, waking up, shaking himself in disbelief at finding himelf in a beautiful garden, with the sun shining and the birds singing. He is in a deckchair, and his mother, having poured him a jug of iced fruit juice, is gently nudging Pither to wake him.)
Mother: Come on, dear, wake up, dear.
Mother: Come on, dear.
Pither: So, it was all a dream.
Mother: No dear, this is the dream, you’re still in the cell.
(Mix to Pither waking up in the cell. The officer enters carrying a rifle.)
Officer: OK, we’re going to have another try. I think we’ve got it now. My boys. have been looking down the wrong bit, you see.
Pither: Oh no, look, you’ve got to look down the bit there.
Officer: I thought you had to look down that bit.
Pither: No, no, you’ve got to look down that bit, or you won’t hit anything.
Officer: All right,. we’ll give it a whirl. Guards, seize him.
(they take him out)
Officer: (as he leaves) Listen. You’ve got to look down this bit.
(As they leave, we can see on the wall of the cell a poster, saying. ‘Saturday Night at the Moscow Praesidium, starring Eartha Kite, with Burgess and Maclean. ‘A Song a Dance and a Piece of Treachery”. Marshal Bulganin and “Charlie “, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, Leningrad has never laughed so much.’
Mix through to stock film of the Kremlin. Dubbed over laughter and applause. A cheerful band sing. Mix through to a stage where someone dressed as Marshal Bulganin, is standing with a little real ventriloquist’s dummy. He gets up, takes his bow and walks off as the curtain swings down. Lots of applause and atmosphere. Terrible Russian compere comes on smiling and applauding.)
Compere: Osledi. Osledi.
(He tells a quick joke in Russian and roars with laughter. Laughter from the audience. He holds up his hands and then becomes very sincere, saying obviously deeply moving, wonderful things about the next guest, whom he finally introduces.)
Compere: Eartha Kitt!
(Gulliver comes on-stage in the full Eartha Kitt rig – white fur stole, slit skirt and jewellery. He mimes to the voice of Edward Heath.)
Heath’s Voice: Trade Union leaders – I would say this – we’ve done our part. Now, on behalf of the community, we have a right to expect you, the Trade Union leaders, to do yours.
(Unrest in the audience as they recognize him. They start shouting ‘sing “Old-Fashioned Girl”‘ and throwing vegetables. Slow motion shot of a tomato hitting Gulliver. He is seen to be holding a turnip.)
Gulliver: That turnip’s certainly not safe.
(looking round and seeing where he is) Oh no! Mr Pither! Mr Pither!
(He runs off-stage, pursued by the guards. Cut to the stage-door of the hall. A sign on the door says ‘Next week Clodagh Rogers’. Gulliver runs out, and then through the streets, hotly pursued by soldiers and secret service men, firing after him.)
Gulliver: (calling) Mr Pither! Mr Pither!
(He is seen running through a dockyard. Finally he stops by a high stone wall.)
Gulliver: Mr Pither!
Pither’s Voice: Here!
(Gulliver looks round and then rapidly climbs up and over the wall. He drops down to find Pither standing on the other side.)
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 there as before. The squad runs towards them with fixed bayonets.)
CAPTION: ‘SCENE MISSING’
(Cut to a Cornish country lane. A road sign says ‘Tavistock 12 miles’. Pither stands beneath with Gulliver and his bicycle.)
Pither: Phew, what an amazing escape. Well goodbye, Reginald.
Gulliver: Goodbye, Mr Pither, and good luck with, the tour!
(They shake hands. Gulliver strides off. Pither mounts his bike and rides off into the sunset. Music swells. Roll credits. Cut to afield with hedgerow behind. The first animated monster peeks over the hedge.)
First Monster: Hey, I think he’s finally gone!
(Second monster appears.)
Second Monster: Ooh yes!
(They hop over the fence into the field.)
First Monster: Ready, Maurice?
Second Monster: Right-ho, Keyin. Let’s go.
First Monster: All right, maestro, hit it!
(We hear Clodagh Rogers singing Jack in a Box’. The two monsters jump up and down enthusiastically if not gracefully. Fade out.)