Series 3, Episode 34: Cycling Tour/Smolensk
PITHER Michael Palin
MILITARY MAN Eric Idle
DESK CLERK Terry Gilliam
CHINAMAN Graham Chapman
Pither (V.O.): After several days I succeeded in tracking down my friend Mr. Gulliver to the outskirts of Smolensk.
(Cut to military man in studio. He has a large map of Europe and Russia and a stick with which he raps at the places.)
Military Man: Smolensk. 200 miles west of Minsk. 200 north of Kursk. 1500 miles west of Omsk.
(Cut back to Pither.)
Pither: Thank you.
(They’ve stopped by a signpost that says:)
Smolensk Town Centre 1/2
Tavistock 1612 m.
Pither (V.O.): Anyway, as we were so far from home, and as Mr. Gulliver, still believing himself to be Trotsky, was very tired from haranguing the masses all the way from Monte Carlo.
(Cut to military man who thumps the map again.)
Military Man: Monte Carlo. 100 miles south of Turin. 100 west of Pisa. 500 miles east of Bilbao.
(Cut back to Pither.)
Pither: Thank you. I decided to check…
Pither (V.O.): I decided to check…
Pither: No, you go on.
Pither (V.O.): I decided to check him into a hotel while I visited the British Embassy to ask for help in returning to Cornwall.
(By the end of this speech, they are leaving the bicycle on the kerb and entering a door with the sign “Y.M.A.C.A.” over it, looking like a Y.M.C.A. sign. Over this…)
Pither (V.O.): And so we registered at the Smolensk Young Men’s Anti-Christian Association.
(Cut to military man.)
Military Man: Y.M.C.A. Corner of Anti-semitic street and Pogrom square.
Pither: (by now standing at the reception desk with Gulliver) Go away.
(To departing desk clerk) . No not you. A single room for my friend please.
Desk clerk: Yes, sir. Bugged or unbugged?
Gulliver: (as Trotsky) I think I’d feel happier with a bugged one.
Desk Clerk: One bugged with bath.
(As Gulliver starts to sign the register, Pither starts to leave. He says…)
Pither: Have a nice lie down. I’m just off to the Embassy.
(Desk clerk looks at book.)
Desk clerk: Trotsky! My lack of God, it’s Trotsky!
(A couple of people race in excitedly.)
Gulliver: Comrades. Socialism is not a national doctrine it…
(Mix through to sign: “British Consulate Smolensk” sign is on railings outside. Pither cycles up and parks his bike and goes in. Imperial music.)
(Mix through to interior… smoke and incense about. A picture of the queen is dimly visible on the back wall. A Chinaman approaches.)
Pither: Excuse me. Is this the British Consulate?
China Man: Yes yes… si si… That is correctment. Yes… Piccadilly Circus, mini-skirt… Joe Lyons.
Pither: I wish to see the Consul, please.
China Man: That’s right. Speakee speakee… me Blitish consul.
(He examines his diary.) Are you… Rear Admiral Dudley de Vere Compton Bart then?
China Man: No. He died. He have heart attack and fell out of window onto exploding bomb, and was run over in shooting accident. Nasty business. I his susscussor… how you say… succsussor.
China Man: Successor yes… I his successor, Mr. Atkinson.
Pither: Oh, I see.
Atkinson: You like have drinkee? Game bingo?
Pither: Well…. a
would be extremely pleasant.
(Atkinson snaps fingers. Another chink bows obsequiously.)
Atkinson: Mr. Robinson. Go and get Saki.
Robinson: Yes, Boss.
Atkinson: How is Tunbridge Wells? How I long to see once again walls of Shakespeare-style theatre in Stratford-on-Avon.
Pither: I’m a West Country man myself, Mr. Atkinson.
Atkinson: Ho yes! Arizona- Texas- Kit Carson Super Scout.
Pither: No- West of England… Cornwall.
China Man: (with difficulty) Coron… worll…
Atkinson: Coronworl… oh yes know Coronworl very well. Go to school there, Mother and Father live there, ah yes, have lots of friends there. Go for weekend parties and polo playing cards and bridge in evening. Oh yes belong to many clubs in Coronworld.
(Robinson reappears, with drink and plate of pastries. He puts them down.)
Atkinson: Ah, Mr. Rutherford, saki and bakewells tart.
(Hands glass of Saki to Pither.)
Atkinson: Well, old chap. Buttocks up!
Atkinson: Now then Mr… er…
Atkinson: Pither ah yes… fine old English name. My father he Pither, and mother she Pither… all flends Pither… Now we Blitish here in Smolensk velly intellested in playing clicket.
Atkinson: No… you not speak English velly wells. We like play
– not clicket – clicket…clicketty click…housey housey…Bingo.
Pither: Oh… Bingo…
Atkinson: Yes. Bingo.
Atkinson: (trying to get a grip on himself) Bingo.
Robinson: Bingo! Bingo!