Series 3, Episode 39: Pasolini’s ‘The Third Test Match’
PASOLINI John Cleese
FIRST CRICKETER Graham Chapman
SECOND CRICKETER Michael Palin
THIRD CRICKETER Eric Idle
Close up of grass on cricket pitch. In the background we hear birdsong. A cricket ball rolls into shot and a hand reaches down and picks it up. Shot of one end of cricket pitch; batsman, umpire, bowler and a fielder in the foreground.
CAPTION: Pasolini’s The Third Test Match
Close up on the bowler as he turns to look at his field. Cut to a skeleton on the boundary in tattered remains of cricket gear. Sounds of mocking laughter. Cut to the bowler in close up turning into the direction of the laughter. Shot of the batsman at his crease, but behind him the wicket keeper and first slip are monks in brown cowls. They are laughing at him.
Cut back to the bowler’s horrified eyes, then back to the cricketers/monks, then to his eyes again. Cut to same shot of the batsman only now the wicket keeper and first slip are cricketers again.
Cut back to the bowler, who starts to rub the ball on his trousers. Music comes in. Close up bowler’s face starting to sweat. Close up ball rubbing on trousers. Close up face sweating.
Cut to a girl spectator who smiles and moves her shoulders invitingly. Cut back to ball rubbing. Cut to his sweating face. Cut to girl; cut to face; cut to trousers; cut to girl; cut to trousers; cut to girl licking her lips.
Cut back to bowler as he starts his run in slow motion. Cut to batsman who is naked except for footwear, pads and cap. Close up of bowler running. He runs over a couple making love in the nude. Mounting music. Cut back to the bowler, as he releases ball.
Cut to the ball smashing into stumps, shot from three different angles. The music crescendos as the the bowler turns, and appeals to the umpire. Silence. Three quick, successively closer shots of the umpire.
The umpire turns into a cardinal who produces a cross and holds it up like a dismissal sign, laughing mockingly.
Cut to a vociferous group of cricketers in a TV studio. They are all in pads and white flannels. Above them is a sign saying `BACKCHAT’. They are on staggered rostra as in `Talk-back’. Facing them is Pier Paolo Pasolini.
First Cricketer: Aye, I mean there’s lots of people making love, but there’s no mention of Geoff Boycott’s average.
Pasolini: (Italian accent) Who is-a Geoff Boycott?
CAPTION: Pier Paolo Pasolini
Second Cricketer: And in t’film, we get Fred Titmus…
Pasolini: Si, Titmus, si, si …
Second Cricketer: …the symbol of man’s regeneration through radical Marxism… fair enough… but, but we never once get a chance to see him turn his off-breaks on that Brisbane sticky.
Third Character: Aye, and what were all that dancing through Ray Illingworth’s innings? Forty-seven not out and the bird comes up and feeds him some grapes!
General cricketorial condemnation. We pull back to show that it is on a television set in an ordinary sitting room.