Series 3, Episode 36: Silly Noises/Sherry-Drinking Vicar
VICAR Michael Palin
KIRKHAM Graham Chapman
(Black screen and a collection of really silly noises. Then fade up on a country church. Cut to interior, a vestry. A sign reads ‘No Papists’. The door opens and the vicar enters as if from the end of a service. He takes off his cassock and is hanging it up. At one side af the set is a sculpture on a plinth. It is the vicar’s head, but with an enormously long nose. Mr Kirkham has fbllowed the vicar in. He is an earnest, quiet, self-effacing soul, with a tortured consscience.)
Vicar: Come in.
Kirkham: I wondered if I could have a word with you for a moment.
Vicar: By all means … by all means, sir. Do sit down.
(they look round for a chair) Ah, sit on the desk here.
Kirkham: Thank you.
Vicar: Now then, a glass of sherry?
Kirkham: No… no thank you…
Vicar: (getting a bottle from the cupboard) Are you sure? I’m going to have some.
Kirkham: Well, if you’re having some, yes then, perhaps, vicar.
Vicar: (slightly taken aback) Oh… well there’s only just enough for me.
Kirkham: Well in that case I won’t, don’t worry.
Vicar: You see, if I split what’s left, there’d be hardly any left for me at all.
Kirkham: Well, I’m not a great sherry drinker.
Vicar: Good! So, I can have it all … now then what’s the problem?
Kirkham: Well, just recently I’ve begun to worry about…
(The vicar has been looking through his desk. He produces a bottle of sherry in triumph.)
Vicar: Ah! I’ve found another bottle! You can have some now if you want to.
Kirkham: Well… yes, perhaps a little…
Vicar: Oh you don’t have to. I can drink the whole bottle.
Kirkham: Well in that case, no…
Vicar: Good! That’s another bottle for me. Do go on.
(The vicar opens the bottle and pours himself a glass. As soon as he has drunk it he replenishes it again.)
Kirkham:‘ I’ve begun to worry recently that…
(There is a knock on the door.)
Vicar: Come in!
(A smooth man, Mr Husband, enters carrying a smart little briefcase.)
Vicar: Ah, Mr Husband… this is Mr Kirkham, one of my parishioners, this is Mr Husband of the British Sherry Corporation…
Kirkham: Look, look, perhaps I’d better come back later…
Vicar: No, no… no do stay here. Have a sherry… you won’t be long will you, Husband?
Husband: Oh no, vicar… it’s just a question of signing a few forms.
(The vicar pours Husband a sherry)
Vicar: There we are… there we are, Mr Husband. Now, how about you, Mr Kirkham?
Kirkham: Well only if there’s enough.
Vicar: Oh well, there’s not much now.
Kirkham: Oh, in that case… no… I won’t bother.
Vicar: (pouring himself one) Good. Right… now, then, what is the problem, Husband?
Husband: Well, vicar, I’ve made enquiries with our shippers and the most sherry they can ship in any one load is 2,000 gallons.
Vicar: And how many glasses is that?
Husband: That’s roughly 540,000 glasses, Vicar.
Vicar: That’s excellent, Husband, excellent.
Husband: Yes… it means you can still keep your main sherry supply on the roof, but you can have an emergency supply underneath the vestry of 5,000 gallons.
Vicar: Yes… and I could have dry sherry on the roof and Amontillado in the underground tank!
(The vicar signs a form that Husband hands to him.)
Vicar: Excellent work, Husband, excellent work.
Husband: Not at all, vicar, you’re one of our best customers… you and the United States. Well goodbye.
Vicar: Terrific. Now then, Mr Kirkham
(pouring himself anothter sherry) I am so sorry… do go on.
Kirkham: Well, it’s just that recently I’ve begun to worry about…
Vicar: Well, look…
Kirkham: I sometimes ask myself- does the Bible intend…
(A group of Spanish singers in full national costutor and guitars bursts into tht Vestry, noisily singing a song praising Amontillado. A man in an extravagant Spanish costume rushes in. His hat has a sign on it saying: ‘Sherry, the drink of champiom’. Two girls come in bearing maracas and Carmen Miranda style hats. Mr Kirkham looks fed up. The Spaniards finish their song, noisily.)