Series 2, Episode 21: Shakespeare/Michelangelo/Ratcatcher
SHAKESPEARE Eric Idle
BEETHOVEN John Cleese
MICHELANGELO Terry Jones
MOZART Michael Palin
COLIN MOZART Michael Palin
MRS. BEETHOVEN Graham Chapman
(Shakespeare washing up at a sink present day)
Shakespeare: You wanna bet? Incidentally, its da-da-da-dum, da-da-da-dum.
(Cut to Beethoven.)
Beethoven: You’re right. Oh, incidentally, why not call him Hamlet?
(Cut back to Shakespeare)
Shakespeare: Hamlet I like much better than David. (he shouts through, open window next to sink)Michelangelo- You can use David. I won’t sue.
(Cut to Michelangelo’s studio. Michelangelo is in middle of feeding and looking after at least six screaming little babies. His statue of David is in the foreground.)
Michelangelo: Thanks, but I’ve had a better idea.
Camera pans down to show engraved on plinth beneath statue the words Michelangelo’s fifth symphony’.)
Wife: (off-screen) Michelangelo!
Michelangelo: Yes, dear!
Wife: I’ve had another son.
Michelangelo: Oh, my life.
(Cut to Mozart. He is scrubbing the floor. Caption: ‘W. A. MOZART’)
Mozart: (Jewish accent) Composer? Huh! I wouldn’t wish it on my son. He’s a sensitive boy, already. I’d rather he was a sewage attendant or a ratcatcher.
(Cut to street with old-fashioned shops. Exterior. Camera tracks in to a shopfront with a large sign outside: ‘Rodent Exterminating Boutique – Colin “Chopper” Mozart (Son Of Composer) Ratcatcher To The Nobility And Ordinary People, Too – Ici On Parle Portugaise’. At the door of shop stands Colin Mozart. A kid runs up to him bearing a long cleft stick, Mozart takes the note from the cleavage and reads it.)
Colin Mozart: Aha! Rats at 42a Kartoffelnstrasse. Hey Mitzi! I gotta go to Potato Street.
Mitzi: (off-screen) Put your galoshes on.
(Mozart leaps on to a bike carrying two shrimp-nets, and rides off. Superimposed caption: ‘MUNICH I82I’)
Colin Mozart: (shouting) Depressed by rats? Do mice get you down? Then why not visit Colin Mozart’s Rodent Extermination Boutique. Rats extirpated, mice punished, voles torn apart by Colin Mozart, Munich’s leading furry animal liquidator.
(Colin Mozart cycles up to Beethaven’s house. Outside is a noticeboard saying
MR AND MRS LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827) ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTE
Caption on screen: ‘613.4 SECONDS LATER’ Beethoven’s front door is opened by Mrs Beethoven.)
Mrs Beethoven: Yes?
Colin Mozart: Colin Mozart.
Mrs Beethoven: Oh, thank goodness you’ve come. We’re having a terrible time with them bleeding rats. I think they live in his stupid piano already.
(They go into the house. We hear the first two ban of Beethoven’s Fifth counterpointed by loud squealing.)
Beethoven’s Voice: Get out the bloody piano you stupid furry bucktoothed gits! Get out! Gott in Himmel. Get your stinking tail out of my face.
(Mrs Beethoven opens the door and we see fir the first time a strange sight. Rats are flying across the room (thrown from out of vision), others scuttle across floor (pulled by strings) others up wall. One sits on Beethoven’s head. The squealing is deafening. Beethoven plays on relentlessly.. Mozart and Mrs Beethoven run into room and start trying to catch the rats with the shrimp-nets. Caption: ‘13.4 MINUTES LATER’. Colin Mozart is sitting on the piano. He rakes the rat-infested room with machine-gunfire.)
Beethoven: Shut up!
(The picture starts to wobble and mixes back to the two pepperpots.)
Second Pepperpot: So anyway, Beethoven was rather glad when he went deaf.
(Mix to Beethoven pushing the keys of the keyboard which is all that remains of his piano. He listens vainly. The mynah bird opens and shuts its beak. In the corner an old horn gramophone plays. We hear Jimmy Durante singing the end of ‘I’m the guy that found the lost chord’.)