Series 1, Episode 11: Interesting People
COMPÈRE Michael Palin
BAYAN Terry Jones
WALTERS Eric Idle
DOVE John Cleese
MANIAC Terry Jones
BUZZARD John Cleese
Compère: Hello, good evening, and welcome to yet another edition of ‘Interesting People’. And my first interesting person tonight is the highly interesting Mr Howard Stools from Kendal in Westmorland.
(He puts a matchbox on desk in front of him. He presses a button on the desk and we hear applause. Releases button; applause stops abruptly. He opens the box a little and speaks into it.)
Compère: Good evening Mr Stools.
Voice: (from inside box) Hello, David.
Compère: Mr Stools, what makes you particularly interesting?
Voice: Well, I’m only half an inch long.
Compère: Well that’s extremely interesting, thank you for coming along on the show tonight Mr Stools.
Mr Stools: I thought you’d think that was interesting David, in fact…
Compère: (shuts matchbox; applause) Mr Alan Stools from Kendal in Westmorland .. · half an inch long. (applause) Our next guest tonight has come all the way from Egypt, he’s just flown into London today, he’s Mr All Bayan, he’s with us in the studio tonight and he’s stark raving mad.
(Applause. Cut to Ali Bayan who looks at camera in a very mad way. Applause.)
Compère: Mr All Bayan, stark raving mad. Now it’s time for our music spot and we turn the spotlight tonight on the Rachel Toovey Bicycle Choir, (applause) with their fantastic arrangement of ‘Men of Harlech’ for bicycle bells only.
(Cut to six men in oilskins and sou ‘westers. They sing ‘Men of Harlech ‘, and at the end of each line mournfully ring bells. Applause at end.)
Compère: The Rachel Toovey Bicycle Choir. Really interesting. Remember, if you’re interesting and want to appear on this programme, write your name and address and your telephone number and send it to this address: (reads caption) The BBC, c/o E. F. Lutt, x8 Rupee Buildings, West 12. (applause) Thank you, thank you. Now here’s an interesting person. Apart from being a full-time stapling machine, he can also give a cat influenza.
(Cut to a smart dressed man who coughs into a cat basket. We hear a miaow and a feline sneeze. Cut back to Compère.)
Compère: Well, you can’t get much more interesting than that, or can you? With me now is Mr Thomas Walters of West Hartlepool who is totally invisible. Good evening, Mr Walters.
(turns to empty chair)
Walters: (off-screen) Over here, Hughie.
Compère turns to find a boringly dressed man sitting by him.
Compère: Mr Walters, are you sure you’re invisible?
Walters: Oh yes, most certainly.
Compère: Well, Mr Walters, what’s it like being invisible?
Walters: (slowly and boringly) Well, for a start, at the office where I work I can be sitting at my desk all day and the others totally ignore me. At home, even though we are in the same room, my wife does not speak to me for hours, people pass me by in the street without a glance in my direction, and I can walk into a room without…
Compère: Well, whilst we’ve got interesting people, we met Mr Oliver Cavendish who…
Walters: (droning on) … Even now you yourself, you do hardly notice me…
Compère: Mr Oliver Cavendish of Leicester, who claims to be able to recite the entire Bible in one second, whilst being struck on the head with a large axe. Ha, ha, wow. We’ve since discovered that he was a fraud, yes a fraud, he did not in fact recite the entire Bible he merely recited the first two words, ‘In the…’ before his death.
(Cut to film montage of sporting clips.)
Compère: (voice over) Now it’s time for ‘Interesting Sport’, and this week it’s all-in cricket, live from the Municipal Baths, Croydon.
(Boxing ring; two fully kitted out cricketers, who as the bell goes, approach each other and start hitting each other with cricket bats. Applause.)
Compère: With me now is Mr Ken Dove, twice voted the most interesting man in Dotking. Ken, I believe you’re interested in shouting.
Dove: (shouting) Yes, I’m interested in shouting all right, by jove you certainly hit the nail on the head with that particular observation of yours then.
Compère: What does your wife think of this?
Wife: (voice off, full-blooded) I agree with him.
Dove: Shut up!
Walters: … At parties for instance people never come up to me, I just sit there and
(Man holding cat enters.)
Compère: That is Tiddles, I believe?
Man: Yes, this is, this is Tiddles.
Compère: Yes, and what does she do?
Man: She flies across the studio and lands in a bucket of water.
Compère: By herself?
Man: No, I fling her,
Compère: Well that’s extremely interesting, Ladies and gentlemen – Mr Don Savage and Tiddles.
(Man whirls the at round and round. He lets go of the cat, it fiies across studio. A hollow splash and a miaow. Quick shot of a real cat sitting in a bucket.)
Dove: (shouting) I’m more interesting than a wet pussycat.
Walters: … for hour after hour… (we see only his empty chair)
Compère: Yes, great, well now for the first time on television ‘Interesting People’ brings you a man who claims he can send bricks to sleep by hypnosis. Mr Keith Maniac from Guatemala.
(Maniac is sitting by campère. He wears a top hat and an opera cloak.)
Maniac: Good evening.
Compère: Keith, you claim you can send bricks to sleep.
Maniac: Yes, that is correct, I can…
Compère: Entirely by hypnosis.
Maniac: Yes … I use no artificial means, whatsoever. (leans and picks matchbox off desk to light pipe, opens it and strikes match)
Voice: (from matchbox) Aaagh!
Dove: You’ve injured Mr Stools!
Maniac: (picks up other box and lights pipe) I simply stare at the brick and it goes to sleep.
Compère: Well, we have a brick here, Keith. (indicates brick on desk) Perhaps you can send it to sleep for us…
Maniac: Oh … Ah, well, I am afraid that is already asleep.
Compère: How do you know?
Maniac: Well, it’s not moving ….
Compère: Oh, I see – have we got a moving brick? Yes, we’ve got a moving brick, Keith, it’s coming over now.
(We see a man in a white coat preparing to throw brick. He throws it gently. It lands on the desk in front of Keith. Keith stares at it as it falls.)
Maniac: There we are, fast asleep.
Compère: Very good, very good indeed.
Maniac: All done with the eyes.
Compère: Yes, Mr Keith Maniac from Guatemala.
Dove: (distressed – to matchbox) Mr Stools – speak to me, Howard.
(Quick cut back to all-in cricket.)
Compère: Mr Keith Maniac of Guatemala… and now four tired undertakers.
(Cut to film of four undertakers struggling up a hill carrying a coffin. One staggers and drops. The others lower the coffin, pick him up, and place him inside. Raising the coffin again they stagger off up the hill. Another undertaker collapses; the remaining two place him in the coffin. Exhaustedly they pick up the coffin, but have only gone two or three paces when one of them collapses. The remaining one drags him into the coffin, pushing him in with some difficulty, and forces the lid shut. He debates with himself for a moment on how to pick up the coffin, then disgustedly throws away his hat and climbs into the coffin, shutting the lid behind him. The coffin moves off by itself.)
Voice Over: We interrupt this very quickly to take you back to the Jimmy Buzzard interview, where we understand something exciting’s just happened.
(Cut back to the interview studio; Jimmy Buzzard is sitting on the floor.)
Buzzard: I’ve fallen off my chair, Brian.
(Cut to a graveyard. The coffin, still moving of its own volition, enters the graveyard. A vicar walks up and motions gravediggers (who we cannot see) to get out of the grave. Out of the grave climb two gravediggers… then two more… then two more… yet another two… two miners … two uniformed men… a police dog with handler… and finally an Australian surfboarder. The coffin makes its way into the grave. Then a wonderful piece of animation by the amazing animator Terry Gilliam, wonderboy. Consisting of a very fast collage of extremely sexy stills of half-dressed and naked girls.)