Series 3, Episode 30: Merchant Bank
CITY GENT John Cleese
MR. FORD Terry Jones
(Cut to a city gent in his office. A sign on his desk says a ‘Charman Knebter’. He is waiting to answer his phone. It rings; he answers.)
City Gent: Hello? Ah, Mr Victim, I’m glad to say that I’ve got the go-ahead to lend you the money you require. Yes, of course we will want as security the deeds of your house, of your aunt’s house, of your second cousin’s house, of your wife’s parents’ house, and of your grannie’s bungalow, and we will in addition need a controlling interest in your new company, unrestricted access to your private bank account, the deposit in our vaults of your three children as hostages and a full legal indemnity against any acts of embezzlement carried out against you by any members of our staff during the normal course of their duties… no, I’m afraid we couldn’t accept your dog instead of your youngest child, we would like to suggest a brand new scheme of ours under which 51% of both your dog and your wife pass to us in the event of your suffering a serious accident. Fine. No, not at all, nice to do business with you.
(puts the phone down, speaks on intercom)
Miss Godfrey, could you send in Mr Ford please. (to himself)
Now where’s that dictionary. ah yes – here we are, inner life… inner life …
(a knock on the door)
Come in. (Mr Ford enters, he is collecting for charity with a tin) Ah, Mr Ford isn’t it?
Mr Ford: That’s right.
City Gent: How do you do. I’m a merchant banker.
Mr Ford: How do you do Mr…
City Gent: Er… I forget my name for the moment but I am a merchant banker.
Mr Ford: Oh. I wondered whether you’d like to contribute to the orphan’s home. (he rattles the tin)
City Gent: Well 1 don’t want to show my hand too early, but actually here at Slater Nazi we are quite keen to get into orphans, you know, developing market and all that… what sort of sum did you have in mind?
Mr Ford: Well… er… you’re a rich man.
City Gent: Yes, 1 am. Yes. Yes, very very rich. Quite phenomenally wealthy. Yes, I do own the most startling quantifies of cash. Yes, quite right… you’re rather a smart young lad aren’t you. We could do with somebody like you to feed the pantomime horse. Very smart.
Mr Ford: Thank you, sir.
City Gent: Now, you were saying. I’m very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very rich.
Mr Ford: So er, how about a pound?
City Gent: A pound. Yes, I see. Now this loan would be secured by the…
Mr Ford: It’s not a loan, sir.
City Gent: What?
Mr Ford: It’s not a loan.
City Gent: Ah.
Mr Ford: You get one of these, sir. (he gives him a flag)
City Gent: It’s a bit small for a share certificate isn’t it? Look, I think I’d better run this over to our legal department. If you could possibly pop back on Friday.
Mr Ford: Well do you have to do that, couldn’t you just give me the pound?
City Gent: Yes, but you see I don’t know what it’s for.
Mr Ford: It’s for the orphans.
City Gent: Yes?
Mr Ford: It’s a gift.
City Gent: A what?
Mr Ford: A gift?
City Gent: Oh a gift!
Mr Ford: Yes.
City Gent: A tax dodge.
Mr Ford: No, no, no, no.
City Gent: No? Well, I’m awfully sorry I don’t understand. Can you just explain exactly what you want.
Mr Ford: Well, I want you to give me a pound, and then I go away and give it to the orphans.
City Gent: Yes?
Mr Ford: Well, that’s it.
City Gent: No, no, no, I don’t follow this at all, I mean, I don’t want to seem stupid but it looks to me as though I’m a pound down on the whole deal.
Mr Ford: Well, yes you are.
City Gent: I am! Well, what is my incentive to give you the pound?
Mr Ford: Well the incentive is – to make the orphans happy.
City Gent: (genuinely puzzled) Happy?… You quite sure you’ve got this right?
Mr Ford: Yes, lots of people give me money.
City Gent: What, just like that?
Mr Ford: Yes.
City Gent: Must be sick. I don’t suppose you could give me a list of their names and addresses could you?
Mr Ford: No, I just go up to them in the street and ask.
City Gent: Good lord! That’s the most exciting new idea I’ve heard in years! It’s so simple it’s brilliant! Well, if that idea of yours isn’t worth a pound I’d like to know what is.
(he takes the tin from Ford)
Mr Ford: Oh, thank you, sir.
City Gent: The only trouble is, you gave me the idea before I’d given you the pound. And that’s not good business.
Mr Ford: Isn’t it?
City Gent: No, I’m afraid it isn’t. So, um, off you go.
(he pulls a lever opening a trap door under Ford’s feet and Ford falls through with a yelp)
Nice to do business with you.