Series 2, Episode 26: Man Who Collects Birdwatcher’s Eggs
WAITER Graham Chapman
VOICE OVER Eric Idle
HERBERT Terry Jones
(Mix to a lyrical shot of wild flower’s in beautiful English countryside. Gentle pastoral music. The camera begins to pan away from the flowers, moving slowly across this idyllic scene. Mix in the sound of lovers – the indistinct deep voice, followed by a playful giggle from the girl. At first very distant, but as We continue to pan it increases in volume, until we come to rest on the source of the noise – a tape recorder in front of a bush. After a short paase, the camera tracks round behind this bush where are a couple sitting reading a book each. Pan away from them across afield. In the middle of the pan we come across a smooth, moustachioed little Italian head waiter, in tails etc. We do not stop on him.)
Waiter: (bowing to camera) I hope you’re enjoying the show.
(On pans the camera to the end of the field where we pick up a man in a long mac crawling on all fours through the undergrowth. We follow him as he occasionaly dodges behind a bush or a tree. He is stealthily tracking something. After a few moments he comes up behind a birdwatcher (in deerstalker and tweeds) who lies at the top of a small rise, with his binoculars trained. With infinite caution the man in the long mac slides up behind the birdwatcher, then he stretches out a hand and opens the flap of the birdwatcher’s knapsack. He pulls out a small white paper bag. Holding his breath, he feels inside the bag and produces a small pie, then a tomato and finally two hard-boiled eggs. He pockets the hard-boiled eggs, puts the rest back and creeps away.)
Voice Over: Herbert Mental collects birdwatchers’ eggs. At his home in Surrey he has a collection of over four hundred of them.
(Cut to Mantle in a study lined with shelves full of hard-boiled eggs. They all have little labels on the front of them. He goes up and selects one from a long line of identical hard-boiled eggs.)
Herbert: ‘Ere now. This is a very interesting one. This is from a Mr P. F. Bradshaw. He is usually found in Surrey hedgerows, but I found this one in the gents at St Pancras, uneaten.
(he provides the next question himself in bad ventriloquist style)
Mr Mental, why did you start collecting birdwatchers’ eggs?
Oh, well, I did it to get on ‘Man Alive’.
That’s right, yes. But then that got all serious, so I carried on in the hope of a quick appearance as an eccentric on the regional section of ‘Nationwide’.
Mr Mental, I believe a couple of years ago you started to collect butterfly hunters.
Oh, that’s right. Here’s a couple of them over here.
(he moves to his left; on the wall behind him are the splayed-out figures of two butterfly hunters, with pins through their backs and their names on cards underneath)
Nice little chaps. But the hobby I enjoyed most was racing pigeon fanciers.
(An open field. A large hamper, with an attendant in a brown coat standing behind it. The attendant opens the hamper and three pigeon fanciers, (in very fast motion) leap out and run off across the field, wheeling in a carve as birds do. Cut to a series of speeded-up close ups of baskets being opened and pigeon fanciers leaping out. After four or five of these fast close ups cut to long shot of the mass of pigeon fanciers wheeling across the field like a flock of pigeons. Cut to film of Trafalgar Square. The pigeon fanciers are now running around in the square, wheeling in groups. Cut to Gilliam picture. of Trafalgar Square. The chicken man from the opening credits flies past towing a banner which says ‘This Space Available, tel 498 5116’. The head of a huge hedgehog – Spiny Norman – appears abave St Martin ‘s-in-the-Fields.)
Spiny Norman: Dinsdale! Dinsdale!