Series 1, Episode 1: Italian Lesson
TEACHER Terry Jones
GIUSEPPE Michael Palin
MARIOLINI John Cleese
FRANCESCO Eric Idle
HELMUT Graham Chapman
(Cut to a night school Teacher looking down out of classroom window. He crosses to a long wall blackboard with line of pigs drawn on near end. He crosses one off, walks along blackboard to other end which has written on it ‘evening classes 7-8 p.m. ‘. He writes ‘Italian’ below this and turns to camera.)
Teacher: Ah – good evening everyone, and welcome to the second of our Italian language
classes, in which we’ll be helping you brush up your Italian. Last week we started at the beginning, and we learnt
the Italian for a ‘spoon’. Now, I wonder how many of you can remember what it was?
(Shout of ‘Si, Si, Si,’ from the class whom we see are all Italians.)
Teacher: Not all at once … sit down Mario. Giuseppe!
Giuseppe: II cucchiaio.
Teacher: Well done Giuseppe, or, as the Italians would say: ‘Molto bene,
Giuseppe: Grazie signor … grazie di tutta la sua gentilezza.
Teacher: Well, now, this week we’re going to learn some useful phrases to help us open
a conversation with an Italian. Now first of all try telling him where you come from. For example, I would
say: ‘Sono Inglese di Gerrard’s Cross’, I am an Englishman from Gerrard’s Cross. Shall we all try that together?
All: Sono Inglese di Gerrard’s Cross.
Teacher: Not too bad, now let’s try it with somebody else. Er… Mr… ?
Teacher: Ah, Mr Mariolini, and where are you from?
Mariolini: Napoli, signor.
Teacher: Ah … you’re an Italian.
Mariolini: Si, si signor!
Teacher: Well in that case you would say: ‘Sono Italiano di Napoli’.
Mariolini: Ah, capisco, mi!le grazie signor…
Francesco: Per favore, signor!
Francesco: Non conosgeve parliamente, signor devo me parlo sono Irallano di Napoil
quando il habitare de Milano.
Teacher: I’m sorry … I don’t understand!
Giuseppe: (pointing to Francesco) My friend say ‘Why must he say…’
(Hand goes up at back of room and a Lederhosen Teutonic figure stands up.)
Helmut: Bitte mein Herr. Was ist das Won für Mittelschmerz?
Teacher: Ah! Helmut – you want the German classes.
Helmut: Oh ja! Danke schön. (he starts to leave) Ah das deutsche
Klassenzimmer… Ach! (he leaves)
Giuseppe: My friend he say, ‘Why must I say I am Italian from Napoli when he lives in
Teacher: Ah, I… well, tell your friend … if he lives in Milan he must say ‘Sono Italiano di
Francesco: (agitatedly, leaping to his feet) Eeeeeee! Milano è tanto meglio di
Napoli. Milano è la citta la più bella di tutti … nel mondo…
Giuseppe: He say ‘Milan is better than Napoil’.
Teacher: Oh, he shouldn’t be saying that, we haven’t done comparatives yet.
(In the background everyone has stared talking in agitated Italian. At this point a genuine mandoline-playing
Italian secreted amongt the cast stnkes up: ‘Quando Caliente Del Sol…’ or similar. The class is out of
control by this time. The teacher helplessly tries to control them but eventually gives up and retreats to his
desk and sits down. There is a loud pig squeal and he leaps up.)