Series 2, Episode 24: Agatha Christie/Railroad Timetables
JASMINA Carol Cleveland
JOHN Eric Idle
LADY PARTRIDGE Graham Chapman
INSPECTOR Terry Jones
TONY Michael Palin
(Cut to an upper-class drawing room. An elderly man
lies dead on the floor. Enter Jasmina and John.)
Jasmina: Anyway, John, you can catch the 11.30 from Hornchurch and be in Basingstoke by one o’clock, oh, and there’s a buffet car and… (sees corpse) oh! Daddy!
John: My hat! Sir Horace!
Jasmina: (not daring to look) Has he been…
John: Yes – after breakfast. But that doesn’t matter now… he’s dead.
Jasmina: Oh! Poor daddy…
John: Looks like I shan’t be catching the 11.30 now.
Jasmina: Oh no, John, you mustn’t miss your train.
John: How could I think of catching a train when I should be here helping you?
Jasmina: Oh, John, thank you… anyway you could always catch the 9.30 tomorrow – it goes via Caterham and Chipstead.
John: Or the 9.45’s even better.
Jasmina: Oh, but you’d have to change at Lambs Green.
John: Yes, but there’s only a seven-minute wait now.
Jasmina: Oh, yes, of course, I’d forgotten it was Friday. Oh, who could have done this.
(Enter Lady Partridge.)
Lady Partridge: Oh, do hurry Sir Horace, your train leaves in twenty-eight minutes, and if you miss the 10.15 you won’t catch the 3.45 which means … oh!
John: I’m afraid Sir Horace won’t be catching the 10.15, Lady Partridge.
Lady Partridge: Has he been… ?
Jasmina: Yes – after breakfast.
John: Lady Partridge, I’m afraid you can cancel his seat reservation.
Lady Partridge: Oh, and it was back to the engine – fourth coach along so that he could see the gradient signs outside Swanborough.
John: Not any more Lady Partridge… the line’s been closed.
Lady Partridge: Closed! Not Swanborough!
John: I’m afraid so.
(Enter Inspector Davis.)
Inspector: All fight, nobody move. I’m Inspector Davis of Scotland Yard.
John: My word, you were here quickly, inspector.
Inspector: Yeah, I got the 8.55 Pullman Express from King’s Cross and missed that bit around Hornchurch.
Lady Partridge: It’s a very good train.
All: Excellent, very good, delightful.
(Tony runs in through the french windows. He wears white flannels and boater and is jolly upper-class.)
Tony: Hello everyone.
Tony: Where’s daddy? (seeing him) Oh golly! Has he been… ?
John and Jasmina: Yes, after breakfast.
Tony: Then … he won’t be needing his reservation on the 10.15.
Tony: And I suppose as his eldest son it must go to me.
Inspector: Just a minute, Tony There’s a small matter of… murder.
Tony: Oh, but surely he simply shot himself and then hid the gun.
Lady Partridge: How could anyone shoot himself and then hide the gun without first cancelling his reservation.
Tony: Ha, ha! Well, I must dash or I’ll be late for the 10.15.
Inspector: I suggest yOu murdered your father for his seat reservation.
Tony: I may have had the motive, inspector, but I could not have done it, for I have only just arrived from Gillingham on the 8.13 and here’s my restaurant car ticket to prove it.
Jasmina: The 8. 13 from Gillingham doesn’t have a restaurant car.
John: It’s a standing buffet only.
Tony: Oh, er… did I say the 8.13, I meant the 7.58 stopping train.
Lady Partridge: But the 7.58 stopping train arrived at Swindon at 8.19 owing to annual point maintenance at Wisborough Junction.
John: So how did you make the connection with the 8.13 which left six minutes earlier?
Tony: Oh, er, simple! I caught the 7.16 Football Special arriving at Swindon at 8.09.
Jasmina: But the 7.16 Football Special only stops at Swindon on alternate Saturdays.
Lady Partridge: Yes, surely you mean the Holidaymaker Special.
Tony: Oh, yes! How daft of me. Of course I.came on the Holidaymaker Special calling at Bedford, Colmworth, Fen Dinon, Sutton, Wallington and Gillingham.
Inspector:‘ That’s Sundays only!
Tony: Damn. All fight, I confess I did it. I killed him for his reservation, but you won’t take me alive! I’m going to throw myself under the 10.12 from Reading.
John: Don’t be a fool, Tony, don’t do it, the 10.12 has the new narrow traction bogies, you wouldn’t stand a chance.
(Tableau. Loud chord and slow curtain.)