Series 3, Episode 33: Climbing Uxbridge Road
VOICE OVER Michael Palin
CHRIS Eric Idle
INTERVIEWER John Cleese
BERT Graham Chapman
VIKING Micahel Palin
(Cut to mountain climbers, with all the accoutrements: ropes, carabino’s helmets, pitons, hammers, etc. They are roped together, apparently climbing a mountain.)
Voice Over: Climbing. The world’s loneliest sport, where hardship and philosophy go hand in glove. And here, another British expedition, attempting to be the first man to successfully climb the north face of the Uxbridge Road.
(Pull out to reveal that they are climbing along a wide pavement; a shopper pushing a pram comes into shot) This four-man rope has been climbing tremendously. BBC cameras were there to film every inch.
(Cut to a BBC cameraman clinging to a lamppost, filming. He is wearing climbing gear too. Cut to papier mache model of the Uxbridge Road, with the route all neatly marked out in white, and various little pins for the camps.)
Chris: (voice over) The major assault on the Uxbridge Road has been going on for about three weeks, really ever since they established base camp here at the junction of Willesden Road, and from there they climbed steadily to establish camp two, outside Lewis’s, and it’s taken them another three days to establish camp three, here outside the post office.
(cut to a pup tent being firmly planted on the side of a large post-box; it has a little union jack on it.) Well they’ve spent a good night in there last night in preparation for the final assault today. The leader of the expedition is twenty-nine-year-old Bert Tagg – a local headmaster and mother of three:
(Cut to Bert crawling along the pavement. The interviewer is crouching down beside him.)
Interviewer: Bert. How’s it going?
Bert: Well, it’s a bit gripping is this, Chris.
(heavy breathing interspersed)) I’ve got to try and reach that bus stop in an hour or so and I’m doing it by…
(rearranging rope) damn … I’m doing it, er, by laying back on this gutter so I’m kind of guttering and laying back at the same time, and philosophizing.
Interviewer: Bert, some people say this is crazy.
Bert: Aye, well but they said Crippen was crazy didn’t they?
Interviewer: Crippen was crazy.
Bert: Oh, well there you are then.
(shouts) John, l’m sending you down this carabine on white,
(there is a white rope between Bert and John)
(Quick cut to Viking.)
Viking: Lemon curry?
(Cut back to the street.)
Bert: Now you see he’s putting a peg down there because I’m quite a way up now, and if I come unstuck here I go down quite a long way.
Interviewer: (leaving him) Such quiet courage is typical of the way these brave chaps shrug off danger. Like it or not, you’ve got to admire the skill that goes into it.
(By the miracle of stop action, they all fall off the road, back down the pavement. Passers-by, also in stop action, walk by normally, ignoring the fall.)