Series 3, Episode 28: Farm Club
FIRST PRESENTER Eric Idle
SECOND PRESENTER John Cleese
MAURICE Michael Palin
FIRST EXPERT Graham Chapman
SECOND EXPERT Terry Jones
VOICE OVER Eric Idle
(Artistic-type set. There is a large screen on back. Stock two-chair set-up
as for interview.)
First Presenter: John Cobbley is the Musical and Artistic Director of Covent Garden. He is himself a talented musician, he is a world famous authority on nineteenth-century Russian music and he’s come into the studio tonight to talk about Tchaikowsky, which is a bit of a pity as this is ‘Farming Club’. On ‘Farming Club’ tonight we’ll be taking a look at the Ministry’s (pigs appear on the screen, Cobbley gets up, looks about him, wanders off, rather puzzled) latest preventative proposals to deal with a possible outbreak of foot and mouth, we’ll be talking later to the man who believes that milk yields can be increased dramatically, but first a Farming Club special, the life of Tchaikowsky.
(Cue Tchaikowsky’s first piano concerto. Stock film of a farmyard with superimposed roller caption.)
ROLLER CAPTION: ‘FARMING CLUB, IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE POTATO MARKETING BOARD, ALSO IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE BEETROOT, HAM, EGG AND TOMATO MARKETING BOARD, AND ALSO IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE LITTLE GREEN BITS OF CUCUMBER DICED WITH SHALLOTS, GARNISHED WITH CHIVES AND SERVED WITH A ROQUEFORT DRESSING MAKES AN EXCELLENT APPETIZER OR SIDE DISH WITH A STEAK OR A STEW MARKETING BOARD, PRESENTS: THE LIFE OF PETER ILYICH TCHAIKOWSKY, IN ASSOCIATION WITH THE PETER ILYICH TCHAIKOWSKY MARKETING BOARD’
(Cut back to the presenter.)
First Presenter: Tchaikowsky. Was he the tortured soul who poured out his immortal longings into dignified passages of stately music, or was he just an old poof who wrote tunes?
(pull back to show a second presenter in the other chair)
Tonight on ‘Farming Club’ we’re going to take an intimate look at Tchaikowsky
(a picture of Tchaikowsky on the screen)
and an intimate look at his friends.
(a picture of a naked sailor on a tiger-skin rug)
Incidentally, BBC Publications have prepared a special pamphlet to go with this programme called ‘Hello Pianist’,
(it comes up on the screen; on its cover there is a picture of a pig)
and it contains material that some people might find offensive but which is really smashing.
Second Presenter: Peter Ilyich Tchaikowsky was born in 1840 in a Ken Russell film iust outside St Petersburg. His father (Leo McKern), a free-lance bishop, was married to Vern Plachenka (Julie Christie) but secredy deeply in love with Margo Farenka (Shirley Abicair) and the strangely flatulent Madame Ranevsky (Norris McWhirter). Soon, however, the family (Eldridge Cleaver, Moira Lister and Stan the Bat) moved to the neighbouring industrial village of Omsk (Eddie Waring) where they soon found themselves, sadly, quite unable to cope (Anthony Barber). In i863, however, Tchaikowsky was sent to Moscow to study the piano and, when he’d finished that, the living room. Maurice takes up the story.
(Cut to a poofy presenter in really chintzy surroundings.)
Maurice: Well, guess what, the very next thing he did was to go to this extraordinary but extraordinary duckety-poos semi-Mondrian house in Robin Russia. Here Tommy Tchaikowsky wrote some of the most Sammy super symphonies you’ve ever Henry heard in the whole of your Lily life.
SUPERIMPOSED CAPTION: ‘A FAMOUS MUSIC CRITIC AND HAIRDRESSER’
Maurice: She was such a good composer that everybody, but everybody, wanted to know, and quite right too, because she wrote some lovely bits, such as Sally Sleeping Beauty, Poesy Pathetique, Adrian 1812 and lots of Conny concerti for Vera violin and Peter Piano Fanny Forte.
(Cut back to second presenter.)
Second Presenter: But what do we really know of this tortured ponce?
(Cut to space-programme-type set. Experts at a desk. An Apollo-type monograph behind them says ‘Tchaikowsky XII’. The centre motif is a picture of Tchaikowsky.)
First Expert: Well, if you can imagine the size of Nelson’s Column, which is roughly three times the size of a London bus, then Tchaikowsky was much smaller. His head was about the same size as that of an extremely large dog, that is to say, two very small dogs, or four very large hamsters, or one medium-size rabbit if you count the whole of the body and not just the head. Robin.
(He has a model of Tchaikowsky which comes apart.)
Second Expert: Thank you. Well here is a three-stage model of Tchaikowsky… here you see the legs, used for walking around, and which can be jettisoned at night …
(he takes the legs off)
And this is the main trunk,. the power house of the whole thing, incorporating of course the naughty bits, which were extremely naughty for his time, and the whole thing is subservient to
(takes it off)
this small command module, the, as it were, head of the whole, as it were, body. Robin.
(Cut to first expert.)
First Expert: Peter.
(Cut to first presenter.)
First Presenter: Simon.
(Cut to second presenter.)
Second Presenter: Maurice.
(Cut to Maurice.)
Maurice: Me. Well, poor pet, she was like a lost lamb in an abattoir. Eventually she Dickie died of Colin Cholera in St Patsy Petersburg, in Gettie great Percy pain.
(Cut to a piano in a pool of light.)
Voice Over: Here to play Tchaikowsky’s first piano concerto in B Flat Minor is the world-famous soloist Sviatoslav Richter. ‘During he performance he will escape from a sack, three padlocks and a pair of handcuffs.
(A chained figure in a sack rolls into shot and starts rolling about and playing the piano concena. After a minute ‘Rita’ enters and gestures to him. She is in fish-na tights, etc, – the full conjurer’s assistant. He wriggles free from the sack, playing the while. The music stops.)
CAPTION: ‘SVIATOSLAV RICHTER AND RITA’
(Film of an applauding audience in the Royal Albert Hall,)
SUPERIMPOSED CAPTION: ‘AND NOW’