Series 3, Episode 30: Neurotic Announcers
JACK John Cleese
JOE-JUMS Carol Cleveland
DICK Michael Palin
BAKER Richard Baker
Jack: (voice over) Good evening, I’m the announcer who’s just been given this job by the BBC and I’d just like to say how grateful I am to the BBC for providing me with work, particularly at this time of year, when things are a bit thin for us announcers… um… I don’t know whether I should tell you this, but, well, I have been going through a rather tough time recently. Things have been pretty awful at home. My wife, Josephine… ‘Joe-jums’ as I call
her … who is also an announcer…
Jack: …has not been able to announce since our youngest, Clifford, was born, and, well, (tearfully) I’ve just got no confidence left… I can’t get up in the morning… I feel. there’s nothing worth living for…(he starts to sob)
Dick: Hello, I’m another announcer, my name’s Dick. Joe-jums just rang me and said Jack was having a bad time with this announcement, so I’ve just come to give him a hand. How is
Joe-jums: Pretty bad, Dick.
Dick: Jack… it’s Dick… Do you want me to make the announcement?
Jack: No, no Dick. I must do it myself… (emotionally) it’s my last chance with the BBC, I can’t throw it away… I’ve got to do it… for Joe-jums… for the kids… I’ve got to go through with it…
Dick: Good man. Now remember your announcer’s training: deep breaths, and try not to think about what you’re saying…
Jack: Good evening. This (a trace of superhuman effort in his voice) is BBC 1…
Joe-jums: Good luck, Jack.
Dick: Keep going, old boy.
Jack: It’s … nine o’clock … and … time … for … the News … read by … Richard Baker…
(Cut to start of the ‘Nine O’Clock News’.)
Joe-jums: You’ve done it.
Dick: Congratulations, old man!
(Richard Baker is sitting at a desk. As Richard Baker speaks we hear no sounds apart from the sounds of celebration of the announcers- champagne corks popping, etc. At the beginning of the news Baker uses the gesture between sentences that we have seen Mr Orbiter use, plus other gestures. Behind him on the screen a collage of photos appear one after the offer: Richard Nixon, Tony Armstrong-Jones, the White House, Princess Margaret, parliament, naked breasts, a scrubbing brush, a man with a stone through his head, Margaret Thatcher, a lavatory, a Scotsman lying on his back with his knees drawn up, a corkscrew, Edward Heath, a pair of false teeth in a glass. Whilst these have been going on Baker has been making gestures starting with elbow-up gesture and getting progressively more obscure and intriguing. We don’t hear him at all, we hear all the announcers having a party and congratulating Jack.)
Joe-jums: Fantastic darling, you were brilliant. No, no, it was the best you ever did.
Jack: Thank God.
Joe-jums: It was absolutely super.
Dick: …have a drink. For God’s sake drink this…
Dick: The least I could do- super- I must come over.
Jack: I can’t tell you how much that means.
(Eventually the voices stop and for the first time we hear Richard Baker’s voice.)
Baker: … until the name Maudling is almost totally obscured. That is the ned of the micro-not wens. And now it’s time for the late night film.