Series 1, Episode 13: Historical Impersonations
VOICE OVER John Cleese
WIGGAN Michael Palin
RICHELIEU Michael Palin
CAESAR Eric Idle
GUMBY Michael Palin
MARCEL MARCEAU Graham Chapman
(Cut to historical impersonation sketch. Big zoom in to linkman. Glittery linkman set, showbizzy music and applause.)
Voice Over: Yes, it’s Historical Impersonations. When you in the present can make those in the past stars of the future. And here is your host for tonight – Wally Wiggin.(Caption on screen : ‘HISTORICAL IMPERSONATIONS’ Fade applause and music.)
Wiggin: Hello, good evening and welcome to Historical Impersonations. And we kick off tonight with Cardinal Richelieu and his impersonation of Petula Clark.
(Cut to Cardinal Richelieu, he mimes to the phrase from the record.)
Richelieu: ‘Don’t sleep in the subway darling and don’t stand in the pouring rain’.(Vast applause.)
Wiggin: Cardinal Richelieu – sixteen stone of pure man. And now your favourite Roman Emperor Julius Caesar as Eddie Waring.(Cut to Caesar, cloud effects behind.)
Caesar: (in Waring voice) Tota gallia divisa est in tres partes Wigan, Hunslett and Hull Kingston Rovers.(Cut back to Wiggin.)
Wiggin: Well done indeed, Julius Caesar, a smile, a conquest and a dagger up your strap. Our next challenger comes all the way from the Crimea. It’s the very lovely Florence Nightingale as Brian London.(Florence Nightingale stands them with a lamp, simpering femininet. A boxing bell goes, slight pause, then she is hit on the side of the cheek with a boxing glove, and falls straight on her back. Cut back to Wiggin)
Wiggin: And now for our most ambitious attempt tonight – all the way from Moscow in the USS of R – Ivan the Terrible as a sales assistant in Freeman, Hardy and Willis.
(In a shoe department. Three people are sitting in chain, only the middle one is a dummy. Ivan the Terrible comes in and splits the man in the middle in half with an immense two-handed sword: the model splits in two.)
Wiggin: And now W. G. Grace as a music box.
(Animation: Still picture of W. G. Grace. Slowly his head starts to revolve as a musical box plays Swiss-type music. Cut back to Wiggin.)
Wiggin: And now it’s France’s turn. One of their top statesmen, Napoleon as the R101 disaster.(Cut to a sky backgrouned Napoleon comes into frame horizontally, moving along a wire very slowly. In each hand he has a small propeller. A sign hangs below his belly saying R101. Marseillaise plays. As he passes out or shot there is an explosion.)
Wiggin: And now it’s request time.(Cut to Gumby.)
Gumby: I would like to see John the Baptist’s impersonation of Graham Hill.
(A head on a platter is pulled by a string across the floor. We hear brm, brm, brm, noises. The head of John the Baptist has a Graham Hill moustache, obviously stuck on. Women’s Institute applaud.)
Wiggin: And now a short intermission during which Marcel Marceau will impersonate a man walking against the wind.(Marcel Marceau walks against the wind.)
Wiggin: And now Marcel will mime a man being struck about the head by a sixteen-ton weight.
(Cut to him starting the mime. He doesn’t get very far as a sixteen-ton wright is dropped on his head. Cut to Wembley crowd cheering.)