Series 3, Episode 38: No Time to Lose
R.S.M. Terry Jones
CAPTAIN John Cleese
CONSULTANT Eric Idle
MAN Michael Palin
(Sketch continues from ‘Kamikaze Scotsman‘ Cut back to castle guardroom.)
Captain: Right, sergeant major- there’s no time to lose.
(The sergeant is sitting on MacDonald. He strikes him on head.)
RSM: Beg pardon, sir?
Captain: No time to lose.
RSM: No what, sir?
Captain: No time … no time to lose.
RSM: Oh, I see, sir.
(making gestures) No time… to… lose!!
Captain: Yes, that’s right, yes.
RSM: Yes, no time to lose, sir!
RSM: Isn’t that funny, sir… I’ve never come across that phrase before- ‘no time to lose’. Forty-two years I’ve been in the regular army and I’ve never heard that phrase.
Captain: Well, it’s in perfectly common parlance.
RSM: In what, sir?
Captain: Oh never mind… right… no time to lose.
RSM: Eventually, yes, sir.
RSM: Like you say, sir. We’ll be able to make time, eventually without to lose, sir, no.
Captain: Look, I don’t think you’ve quite got the hang of this phrase, sergeant major.
(The same frontage of smart London salon as before. Only this time the big sign reads ‘No Time To Lose Advice Centre’. The same bowler-hatted man goes in. The same interior, same desk. A consultant sits behind it, and motions for the man to sit down.)
Consultant: Morning, no time to lose …
(he picks up a card which reads ‘no time to lose’; he keeps flashing it every so often) Now then, how were you thinking of using the phrase?
(He pulls down a blind behind him on the right which also reads ‘no time to lose’ in large letters. He lets it go and it rolls up again fast.)
Man: Well, I was thinking of using it… er… like.., well… good morning dear, what is in no time to lose?
Consultant: Er yes … well … you’ve not quite got the hang of that, have you.
(He gets out a two-foot-square cube with ‘no time to lose’ in the same lettering as it always is, and puts it on the desk. He points to this in a manic way with a forefinger. He has the words ‘no time to lose’ on the back of his hand.)
Consultant: (sings) No time to lose, no time to lose, no time to lose, no time to lose.
(to stop the manic fit he reaches inside desk, pours a drink from a bottle on which is written ‘no time to lose) Now, you want to use this phrase in everyday conversation, is that right?
Man: Yes, that’s right.
Consultant: Yes… good…
(He stands up, makes a strange noise, and flings the back of his jacket up over his head revealing ‘no time to lose’ written on the inside of the back lining of his jacleet, upside down so that it is the right way up when it is revealed.)
Man: You see my wife and I have never had a great deal to say to each other…
(tragic, heart-rending music creeps in under the dialogue) In the old days we used to find things to say, like ‘pass the sugar’… or, ‘that’s my flannel’, but in the last ten or fifteen years there just hasn’t seemed to be anything to say, and anyway I saw your phrase advertised in the paper and I thought, that’s the kind of thing I’d like to say to her…
(The consultant pushes down a handle and a large screen comes up in front of him. On it is written ‘no time to lose’. He bursts through the paper.)
Consultant: Yes, well, what we normally suggest for a beginner such as yourself, is that you put your alarm clock back ten minutes in the morning, so you can wake up, look at the clock and use the phrase immediately.
(he holds up the card briefly) Shall we try it?
Consultant: All right- I’ll be the alarm clock. When I go off, look at me and use the phrase, OK?
(ticks then imitates ringing)
Man: No! Time to lose!
Consultant: No… No time to lose.
Man: No time to lose?
Consultant: No time to lose.
Man: No time to lose.
Consultant: No- to lose… like Toulouse in France. No time Toulouse.
Man: No time too lose…
Consultant: No time Toulouse.
Man: No time Toulouse…
Consultant: Not- no time to loser
Man: No- no time to lose!
(ANIMATION: Toulouse-Lautrec in a wild-west gunfight.)
Voice Over: No-time Toulouse. The story of the wild and lawless days of the post-Impressionists.
(Cut back to the guardroom at Edinburgh Castle. MacDonald is edging towards the window.)
Captain: Anyway, no time to lose, sergeant major.
RSM: Look out, sir! MacDonald!
(They both rush to window and grab MacDonald’s legs as he disappears through it.)
RSM: We’ll have to hurry, sir.
(they haul him back into the room to reveal he is carrying a saw with which he starts trying to saw off his head) No, put that down MacDonald.
(he snatches the saw and throws it away) He’s reached the sixth plane already, sir.
Captain: Right, here are the plans sergeant major, good luck.
RSM: Thank you, sir.
(MacDonald is by now trying to strangle himself with his bare hands.)
Captain: And good luck to you, MacDonald.
(MacDonald breaks off from strangling himself, to offer a snappy salute.)
MacDonald: Thank you, sir.
(He immediately snaps back into trying to strangle himself.)
RSM: Right you are, MacDonald. No time to lose.
Captain: Very good, sergeant major.
(Quick cut to the consultant in the office.)
Consultant: Yes, excellent…
(Cut back to the gates of Edinburgh Castle. Dawn. Music. As the voice starts the gates open and a lorry emerges.)
Voice Over: So it was that on a cold January morning, RSM Urdoch and Sapper MacDonald, one of the most highly trained Kamikaze experts the Scottish Highlands have ever wimessed, left on a mission which was to… oh I can’t go on with this drivel.
(By this time we have cut to a close up of the cab to show RSM Urdoch at the wheel, with MacDonald beside him. MacDonald has a revolver and is apparently having an unsuccessful game of Russian roulette.)
RSM: All right, MacDonald, no time to lose.
(Suddenly MacDonald hurls himself out of the lorry.)
(The RSM slams the brakes on. Skidding noises. Cut to shot of the lorry skidding to a halt. The RSM leaps out, picks up MacDonald who is lying on the floor hitting himself, and loads him into the back of the lorry. He gets back into the lorry and they start off again. They haven’t gone more than a few yards before we see MacDonald leap out of the back of the lorry, race round to the front and throw himself down in front of the lorry. The lorry runs right over him. He picks himself up after it has gone, races up to the front and tries it again… and again… and again… and again… and again… Cut to the captain, standing in front of a huge map. He points with a stick.)
Captain: Well, that’s the mission – now here’s the method. RSM Urdoch will lull the enemy into a false sense of security by giving them large quantifies of money, a good home, and a steady job. Then, when they’re upstairs with the wife, Sapper MacDonald will hurl himself at the secret documents, destroying them and himself. Well, that’s the plan, the time is now 19.42 hours. I want you to get to bed, have a good night’s rest and be up on parade early in the morning. Thank you for listening and thank you for a lovely supper.
(Pull out to reveal that he is in a very small sitting room, alone apart from his wife who sits knitting by the fire not listening to a word he’s saying.)