Series 3, Episode 27: Icelandic Saga
FIRST VOICE OVER John Cleese
VIKING Michael Palin
ANNOUNCER John Cleese
SECOND VOICE OVER Eric Idle
THIRD VOICE OVER Terry Jones
FOURTH VOICE OVER Michael Palin
MAYOR Michael Palin
VOICE Michael Palin
CAPTION: ‘NJORL’S SAGA — PART II’
(Pan across a bleak landscape.)
1st Voice Over: This little-known Icelandic saga, written by an unknown hand in the late thirteenth century, has remained undiscovered until today. Now it comes to your screens for the first time. Fresh from the leaves of Iceland’s history. The terrible ‘Njorl’s Saga’.
(Cut to Viking.)
Viking: It’s not that terrible.
(Cut to landscape. The announcer appears in the comer of the shot.)
Announcer: No, I meant terribly violent.
(Cut to Viking.)
Viking: Oh yeah, yeah.
(A Viking hut. A Viking comes out and has great difficulty mounting his horse.)
2nd Voice Over: Erik Njofi, son of Frothgar, leaves his home to seek Hangar the EIder at the home of Thorvald Nlodvisson, the son of Gudleif, half brother of Thorgier, the priest of Ljosa water, who took to wife Thurunn, the mother of Thorkel Braggart, the slayer of Cudround the powerful, who knew Howal, son of Geernon, son of Erik from Valdalesc, son of Arval Gristlebeard, son of Harken, who killed Bjortguaard in Sochnadale in Norway over Cudreed, daughter of Thorkel Long, the son of Kettle-Trout, the half son of Harviyoun Half-troll, father of Ingbare the Brave, who with Isenbert of Gottenberg the daughter of Hangbard the Fierce … (fades and continues under:)
3rd Voice Over: I must apologize for an error in the saga. Evidently Thorgier, the Prieit of Ljosa water who took to wife Thurunn, the mother of Thorkel Braggart, the slayer of Gudmund the powerful, who knew Howal, son of Geernon, son of Erik from Vadalesc … (fades under next speech)
(The Viking has still failed to mount his horse. Both he and the horse look a bit exasperated.)
1st Voice Over: Well I’m afraid we’re having a little trouble getting this very exciting Icelandic saga started. If any of you at home have any ideas about how to get this exciting saga started again here’s the address to write to:
4th Voice Over: Help the Exciting Icelandic Saga, 18b MacNorten Buildings, Oban.
HELP THE EXCITING ICELANDIC SAGA
C/O MATCH OF THE DAY
26 WESTBROOK AVENUE
(Cut to an office: the announcer at a desk. At another desk a secretary, applies a deodorant spray to her bust.)
Announcer: (to camera) Hello, well I was the third voice you heard just now. I’m sorry about that terrible mess.
(Cut to the Viking at wheel of car.)
Viking: (MIChAEl) Well it wasn’t all that terrible.
(Cut back to the office.)
Announcer: No, no, I meant terrible in the sense of unfortunate.
(Cut to the Viking.)
(Cut back to the office.)
Announcer: Anyway, our plea for assistance has been answered by the North Malden Icelandic Saga Society who’ve given us some very useful information about the saga and so we carD’ on now with ‘Njorl’s Saga’ with our thanks going, once again, to the North Maiden Icelandic Saga Society.
(Cut to the Viking standing by his home. He is asleep.)
2nd Voice Over: Erik Njorl, son of Frothgar rode off into the desolate plain. (the Viking manages to mount the horse; he rides off) Day and night he rode, looking neither to right nor left. Stopping neither for food nor rest. (shots of Erik riding through a bleak landscape) Twelve days and nights he rode. Through rain and storm. Through wind and snow beyond the enchanted waterfall, (Erik rides past a Watefall) through the elfin glades until he reached his goal. (shot of a modern road sign.’ ‘North Malden -please drive carefully) He had found the rich and pleasant land beyond the mountains, (shots of Erik riding gently through a modern suburban shopping street) the land where golden streams sang their way through fresh green meadows. Where there were haas and palaces, an excellent swimming pool and one of the most attractive bonus incentive schemes for industrial development in the city. Only fifteen miles from excellent Thames-side docking facilities and within easy reach of the proposed M25. Here it was that Erik Njorl, son of Frothgar, met the mayor. Mr Arthur Huddinut, a local solicitor.
(Erik rides up to the town hall and is met by the mayor.)
Mayor: Welcome to North Malden. (to camera) Yes, everyone is welcome to North Malden, none more so than the businessmen and investors who shape our society of the future. Here at North Malden…
(His voice fades under the following.)
1st Voice Over: And we apologize to viewers of ‘Njorl’s Saga’ who may be confused by some of the references to North Malden. After a frank exchange of views we have agreed to carry on showing this version supplied to us by the North Malden Icelandic Saga Society on the undertaking that future scenes will adhere more closely to the spirit of twelfth-century Iceland.
(Film leader countdown (5, 4, 3. · .) then shot of Erik riding away into bleak landscape.)
2nd Voice Over: With moist eyes, Erik leaves this happy land to return to the harsh uneconomic realities of life in the land of Ljosa waters. On his way Efik rested a while in the land of Bjornsstrand – the land of dark forces, where Gildor was King. (Erik comes to a river in a wood; he drinks) These were the dukes of the land of Bjornsstrand. (sudden shot of six armoured knights standing in a row) Proud warriors who bore on their chests the letters of their dread name.
(The knights move their shields to reveal on their breastplates the letters M.A.L.D.E.N. Shots of Erik battling with the knights. A telephone rings and the following conversation is heard.)
Announcer:‘s Voice Hello? Is that the North Malden Icelandic Society?
Voice: Yes, that’s right.
Announcer: About this saga.
Voice: Oh yes, the Icelandic saga.
Voice: Good, isn’t it.
Announcer: Well er, I don’t know, but you promised us that you would stick to the spirit of the original text.
Voice: Yes, that’s right.
Announcer: Well I mean a lot of these things that are happening, well they just don’t quite ring true.
(One of the knights is carrying a sign: Malden, Gateway to Industry ‘.)
Voice: Well, it’s a new interpretation really.
(Another carries a sign, ‘ICI thanks Malden ‘.)
Announcer: Well we don’t want a new…
FLASH FRAME CAPTION: ‘INVEST IN MALDEN’
Announcer: … I mean we wanted the proper thing… I mean just look what’s happening now.
(More signs: ‘Invest in Malden ‘, Malden – 45% Interest Free Loans ‘.)
Voice: Banners were a very important part of Icelandic lore, Mr Mills.
Announcer: No, no, I’m sorry I, I can’t accept that, it’s gone too far, I’m very sorry but we’ll have to terminate the agreement. You’re just trying to cash in on the BBC’s exciting Icelandic saga.
(The knights are carrying more and more advertising banners and signs.)
Voice: That’s business, Mr Mills.
Announcer: Well, that’s as maybe but it’s not the way the BBC works.
Voice: Well I’m sorry you feel that way but er, you know, if you ever want to come to Malden…
FLASH CAPTION: ‘INVEST IN MALDEN’
(Film leader countdown…5, 4, 3…)