Series 1, Episode 2: Working Class Playwright
MUM Terry Jones
DAD Graham Chapman
KEN Eric Idle
MAN Michael Palin
VOICE OVER John Cleese
(Opening Scene : A sitting room straight out of. H. Lawrence. Mum, wiping her hands on her apron is
ushering in a young man in a suit. They are a Northern couple.)
Mum: Oh dad… look who’s come to see us… it’s our Ken.
Dad: (without looking up) Aye, and about bloody time if you ask me.
Ken: Aren’t you pleased to see me, father?
Mum: (squeezing his arm reassuringly) Of course he’s pleased to see you,
Dad: All right, woman, all right I’ve got a tongue in my head – I’ll do ‘talkin’. (looks at Ken distastefully) Aye … I like yer fancy suit. Is that what they’re wearing up in Yorkshire now?
Ken: It’s just an ordinary suit, father… it’s all I’ve got apart from the overalls.
(Dad turns away with an expression of scornful disgust.)
Mum: How are you liking it down the mine, Ken?
Ken: Oh it’s not too bad, mum… we’re using some new tungsten carbide drills for the preliminary coal-face scouring operations.
Mum: Oh that sounds nice, dear…
Dad: Tungsten carbide drills! What the bloody hell’s tungsten carbide drills?
Ken: It’s something they use in coal-mining, father.
Dad: (mimicking) ‘It’s something they use in coal-mining, father’. You’re all bloody fancy talk since you left London.
Ken: Oh not that again.
Mum: He’s had a hard day dear… his new play opens at the National Theatre tomorrow.
Ken: Oh that’s good.
Dad: Good! good? What do you know about it? What do you know about getting up at five o’clock in t’morning to fly to Paris… back at the Old Vic for drinks at twelve, sweating the day through press interviews, television interviews and getting back here at ten to wrestle with the problem of a homosexual nymphomaniac drug-addict involved in the ritual murder of a well known Scottish footbailer· That’s a full working day, lad, and don’t you forget it!
Mum: Oh, don’t shout at the boy, father.
Dad: Aye, ‘ampstead wasn’t good enough for you, was it? … you had to go poncing off to Barnsley, you and yer coal-mining friends. (spits)
Ken: Coal-mining is a wonderful thing father, but it’s something you’ll never understand. Just look at you!
Mum: Oh Ken! Be careful! You know what he’s like after a few novels.
Dad: Oh come on lad! Come on, out wi’ it! What’s wrong wi’ me?… yet tit!
Ken: I’ll tell you what’s wrong with you. Your head’s addled with novels and poems, you come home every evening reeking of Chateau La Tour…
Mum: Oh don’t, don’t.
Ken: And look what you’ve done to mother! She’s worn out with meeting film stars, attending premieres and giving gala luncheons…
Dad: There’s nowt wrong wi’ gala luncheons, lad! I’ve had more gala luncheons than you’ve had hot dinners!
Mum: Oh please!
Dad: Aaaaaaagh! (clutches hands and sinks to knees)
Mum: Oh no!
Ken: What is it?
Mum: Oh, it’s his writer’s cramp!
Ken: You never told me about this…
Mum: No, we didn’t like to, Kenny.
Dad: I’m all right! I’m all right, woman. Just get him out of here.
Mum: Oh Ken! You’d better go …
Ken: All right. I’m going.
Dad: After all we’ve done for him…
Ken: (at the door) One day you’ll realize there’s more to life than culture. There’s dirt, and smoke, and good honest sweat!
Dad: Get out! Get out! Get OUT! You … LABOURER!
(Ken goes. Shocked silence. Dad goes to table and takes the cover off the typewriter.)
Dad: Hey, you know, mother, I think there’s a play there …. get t’agent
Mum: Aye I think you’re right, Frank, it could express, it could express a vital theme of
(In the room beneath a man is standing on a chair banging on the ceiling with a broom.)
Man: Oh shut up! (bang bang) Shut up! (they stop talking upstairs) OIl, that’s better. (he climbs down and looks at the camera) And now for something completely different … a man with three buttocks…
Mum and Dad: (from upstairs) We’ve done that!
(The man looks up slightly disconcerted.)
Man: Oh all right. All right! A man with nine legs.
Voice Off: He ran away.
Man: Oh… Bloody Hell! Er … a Scotsman on a horse!
(Cut to film of a Scotsman (John Cleese) riding up on a home. He looks around, puzzled. Cut to stock film of Women’s Institute audience applauding. Cut to the man with two noses (Graham Chapmam); he puts a handkerchief to his elbow and we hear the sound of a nose being blown.
Cut to Women’s Institute audience applauding. Cut to cartoon of a flying sheep.)
Voice Over: Harold! Come back, Harold! Harold! Come back, Harold! Oh, blastl
(The sheep is shot down by a cannon. Cut to film of an audience of Indian ladies not applauding.)