Series 3, Episode 34: Cycling Tour; Clodagh Rogers
PITHER Michael Palin
NURSE Graham Chapman
SECOND DOCTOR John Cleese
M. BRUN John Cleese
MME. BRUN Eric Idle
GENEVIEVE Graham Chapman
(Fade up on country road. Pither is cycling along with Gulliver on the back of the bicycle. Gulliver has his head bandaged and his arm in a sling. Occasionally strains of ‘Jack in a box’ by Clodagh Rogers float towards us as Gulliver moves rhythmically.)
Pither (V.O.): What a strange turn this cycling tour has taken. Mr Gulliver appears to have lost his memory and far from being interested in safer food is now convinced that he is Clodagh Rogers the young girl singer. I am taking him for medical attention.
(Cut to Pither and Gulliver cycling into hospital. Sign: “North Cornwall District Hospital”.)
(Cut to nurse receptionist at counter with glass window which lifts up and down. Above window small notice: “Casualty Admissions”. Pither appears)
Pither: Good afternoon… is this the Casualty Department?
Nurse: Yes, that’s right.
(Noise of splintering wood and crash out of view. Pither and nurse look up. Cut away to three benches under large 4 ft sign “Casualty”. The front bench has collapsed in the middle and half a dozen or so patients sitting on it have slid into a heap in the middle. Some with scalded hands, bandages etc. some with bloody heads. A negro nurse is on her way to assist. Cut back to Pither
Nurse: What can I do for you?
(The window comes down on her fingers, she winces sharply in pain. She pushes it up again).
Pither: Well, I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and…
Nurse: Could I have your name please?
Pither: My name is Pither.
Pither: No… P I T H E R… as in Brotherhood, but with PI instead of the BRO and no HOOD.
Nurse: I see…
Pither: I had already visited Taunton…
(Terrific crash. Cut to trolley on its side, and a bandaged patient under a mound of hospital instruments and a nurse standing looking down)
Pither: …and was cycling north in…
Nurse: Where were you injured?
Pither: Just where the A397 Ilfracombe road meets the…
Nurse: No- on your body…
Pither: Ah no… it’s not I who was injured, it’s my friend.
(Nurse scowls, crumples up paper… and throws it away. The piece of paper hits a smallish cabinet of glass which topples forward.)
Nurse: Tut… Name?
Nurse: (long sufferingly) Your
Pither: Clodagh Rogers…
Nurse: Clodagh Rogers!
Pither: Well…since about 4:30…
Nurse: …well I think you ought to tell Doctor Wu… Doctor!
(Cut to doctor on top of step ladder, unloading whisky from a crate balanced on top of ladders into a medicine cupboard already stacked with whisky bottles. Doctor whips round knocking off the crate of whisky.)
Doctor: What? Damn!
(Cut to patient in a wheelchair being pushed. The wheelchair completely collapses and the nurse is left holding the handles. Quick cut to nurse as window comes down on her fingers again.)
(Doctor comes across to pither, limping slightly, in some pain.)
Doctor: Now, what’s the trouble?
Pither: I am on a cycling tour of…
Nurse: (nursing her fingers) He thinks he’s had an accident.
Pither: Yes, I have friend who, as a result of his injuries, has become Clodagh Rogers.
Doctor: Don’t be silly, man; people don’t just become Clodagh Rogers.
Pither: So you may think, but what happened in this case was…
(There is a terrifying crash)
(Cut to doors, which are flying open, knocking over a nurse with a tray of surgical instruments. Gulliver comes in…)
Gulliver: (rushing up to Pither) No time to lose – we must make for Moscow tonight.
(Grabs Pither and pulls him out.)
(The window comes down on the doctor’s fingers.)
(Gulliver and Pither rush out of doors of Casualty Dept. They slam the door. Casualty sign drops on the heads of the people on the third bench.)
(Cut to camp fire at midnight in a forest clearing. By the light of the fire, Pither is writing up his diary.)
Pither (V.O.): Sept 4th. Well I never. We are now in the Alpes Maritimes region of Southern France. Clodagh seems more intent on reaching Moscow than on rehearsing her new BBC1 series with Buddy Rich and the Younger Generation.
(Gulliver enters the scene. His head is still bandaged but he has a goatee beard.)
Gulliver: We cannot stay here. We must leave immediately. There is a ship at Marseilles.
Pither: I did enjoy your song for Europe, Clodagh.
Gulliver: I have seen an agent in the town. My life is in danger.
Pither: Danger, Clodagh?
Gulliver: Stalin has always hated me.
Pither: No one hates you, Clodagh.
Gulliver: I will not let myself fall into the hands of these scum.
Pither: I suggest you have a little lie down, my dear. There is a busy day of concerts and promotional visits tomorrow.
Gulliver: I, one of the founders of the greatest nation on earth. I! Who Lenin called his greatest friend.
(From the darkness we hear French voices.)
M. Brun: Taissez-vous. Taissez-vous.
Pither: Oh dear.
Gulliver: I! who have fought and suffered that our people should live.
(Pair of middle class froggies in their prix-unis pyjamas appear.)
M. Brun: Taissez-vous. Qu’est-ce que le bruit? C’est impossible.
Pither: Er… my name is Pither.
M. Brun: Oh… you are English?
Pither: Er yes. I’m on a cycling tour of North Cornwall, taking in Bude.
Gulliver: I will not be defeated. I will return to my land and continue the fight against this new tyranny.
Pither: This is Clodagh Rogers, the Irish-born girl singer.
Mme. Brun: Mais oui
(sings) Jack-in-a-box, I know whenever love knocks…
(M. Brun joins in) Eh!! Genevieve, Gerard. C’est Clodagh Rogers la chanteuse Anglaise.
(Happy shouts from off as two small froggies in their teens appear in pyjamas with autograph books and run up to Gulliver. Gen. offers her book to Gulliver.)
Gulliver: They will never silence me. They will nev…
Gen.: Excusez-moi Mam’selle Clodagh. Ecrivez vous votre nom dans mon livre des celebrites.
(Gulliver takes book.) S’il vous plait. La, au-dessous de Denis Compton.
(Gulliver, having signed, hands the book back.) Merci… oh! Maman. Ce n’est pas la belle Clodagh.
Mme. Brun: Quoi?
Gen.: C’est Trotsky le revolutionaire.