Series 4, Episode 41: Documentary on Ants
ANNOUNCER Michael Palin
SURGEON Michael Palin
CHRIS QUINN Eric Idle
ANT EXPERT’S VOICE Terry Jones
MOTHER Terry Jones
(Chris quickly switches the TV on.)
Announcer: (waits for noises to stop) …and of the announcement. And now back to ‘University of the Air’, and our series for advanced medical students, ‘Elements of Surgical Homeopathic Practice’. Part 68 – ‘Ants’.
Chris: Ah! We’re in luck again, Marcus.
(A surgeon appears on television. He makes a few ant gestures.)
Surgeon: Hello formicidophiles! Before the blood and guts that you’re waiting to see, let’s have a look at the anatomy of the little ant.
(Cut to a drawing of an ant.)
Ant Expert’s Voice: The body of the ant is divided into three sections… (arrow indicates)
…The head, the thorax and the abdomen. They are enclosed in a hard amour-like covering called the exoskeleton, which provides some protection from other nasty little insects but unfortunately not from the dissector’s scalpel. (an animated hand with a knife slices bits off the ant) See, nothing to it, he’s not such a toughy. And his legs … they help him carry hundreds of times his own weight, but look at this … (a handpulls the legs off) you’re not so strong compared with me, four, five, six… Ha!
Chris: I didn’t know ants had six legs, Marcus!
Ant Expert: Well I can assure you they do, Mr Ellis.
Chris: Hey! You’ve got two legs missing! And that’s a false feeler Marcus! Blimey!
(He leaps up, switches the TV off and hurls it into the corner onto a pile of used TYs, and hurries out. The tiger is quiet now. Mother, bloody and torn, is emptying a tin of ‘Kit-E-Cobra’ into a box marked ‘Cobra’.)
Chris: I’m taking this ant back, mother – he’s got two legs missing.
Mother: Hey! Mrs McWong’s been on the phone! The polar bear’s been in her garden again.
Chris: Well I’ll get it on the way back from the store.
Mother: Well mind you do – his droppings are enormous. (Chris goes through the door, mother shouts after him) Oh, and by the way, while you’re out get us another couple of tellies would you, here’s 180 quid. (she tosses a wad out to him)
(Cut to the garden outside. There are TVs heaped in the garden path. Chris catches the wad of notes and leaves through the garden gate as a TV van is unloading half a dozen TVs onto a trolley, prior to wheeling them into the home.)