Series 1, Episode 10: Bank Robber
ROBBER John Cleese
ASSISTANT Eric Idle
MAN Michael Palin
WIFE Terry Jones
(Lingerie shop set. Assistant standing waiting behind counter. At the side the robber also stands waiting. They hum to themselves and waste time, looking at wristwatches, this takes about fifteen seconds. Cut to a letter on BBC stationery. The camera pulls back to show a grotty little man reading the letter and sitting at a breakfast table in a small kitchen. His wife is busying herself in wifelike activities.)
Man: Ooh. Ooh.
Wife: Oh, what is it dear?
Man: It’s from the BBC. They want to know if I want to be in a sketch on telly.
Wife: Oooh. That’s nice.
Man: What? It’s acting innit?
Man: Well I’m a plumber. I can’t act.
Wife: Oh, you never know till you try. Look at Mrs Brando’s son next door. He was mending the fridge when they came and asked him to be the Wild One. What do they want you to do?
Man: Well, they just want me to stand at a counter, and when the sketch starts I go out.
Wife: Oh, that sounds nice. It’s what they call a walk-on.
Man: Walk-on? That’s a walk-off, that’s what this is.
(Cut to lingen’e shop; assistant and robber still hanging around waiting. A few seconds of this. Floor manager walks on.)
Robber: (quietly) Well, where is he, George?
Floor Manager: I don’t know, he should have been here hours ago.
Robber: He bloody should have been.
(Cut back to grotty kitchen).
Wife: Well what else does it say?
Man: It just says ‘We would like you to be in a sketch. You are standing at a counter. When the sketch starts you go off. Yours faithfully, Lord Hill.’
Wife: Oh well, you’d better be off then.
Man: Yeah, well, what about the cat?
Wife: Oh I’ll look after the cat. Goodness me, Mrs Newman’s eldest never worried about the cat when he went off to do ‘The Sweet Bird of Youth’.
Man: All right then, all right. Bye. Bye dear.
Wife: Bye bye, and mind you don’t get seduced.
(Man leaves, wife stands for a moment, then…)
Wife: Oh, it’ll make a change from plumbing. Dad! Franks got a television part.
(She turns on the TV set. On the TV comes the picture of the assistant and tile robber and floor manager waiting in the lingerie shop. After a second or two a man is brought in and introduced to floor manager, who positions him and cues him. The man walks out.)
Wife: You missed him.
(Cut back to shop, the robber walks in and points gun at the assistant.)
Robber: Good morning, I am a bank robber. Er, please don’t panic, just hand over all your money.
Assistant: (politely) This is a lingerie shop, sir.
Robber: Fine, fine, fine. (slightly nonplussed) Adopt, adapt and improve. Motto of the round table. Well, um … what have you got?
Assistant: (still politely) Er, we’ve got corsets, stockings, suspender belts, tights, bras, slips, petticoats, knickers, socks and garters, sir.
Robber: Fine, fine, fine, fine. No large piles of money in sales?
Assistant: No, sir.
Robber: No deposit accounts?
Assistant: No sir.
Robber: No piles of cash in easy to carry bags?
Assistant: None at all sir.
Robber: No luncheon vouchers?
Assistant: No, sir.
Robber: Fine, fine. Well, um… adopt, adapt and improve. Just a pair of knickers then please.