Series 4, Episode 44: Mr. Neutron is Missing
COMMANDER Michael Palin
CAPTAIN CARPENTER Eric Idle
MRS. SMAILES Eric Idle
MR. NEUTRON Graham Chapman
LUMBERJACK Graham Chapman
The sketch:Commander: Mr. Neutron! Oh my God! OK – Surround the entire city! Send in four waves of armed paratroopers with full ground-to-air missile support! Alert all air bases! Destroy all roads! We’ll bomb the town fiat if we have to!
Carpenter: Sir! Sir! He’s not in Washington, sir.
Commander: OK! Hold everything! Hold everything! Hold it! Lay off! Lay off… Where is he?
Carpenter: We don’t know, sir … all we know is he checked out of his hotel and took a bus to the airport.
Commander: All right! I want a full-scale Red Alert throughout the world! Surround everyone with everything we’ve got! Mobilize every fighting unit and every weapon we can lay our hands on! I want… I want three full-scale global nuclear alerts with every army, navy and air force unit on eternal standby!
Carpenter: Right, sir!
Commander: And introduce conscription!
Carpenter: Yes, sir!
(He slams the intercorn button down and sits there. Silence again. His eyes look from side to side then slowly he goes back to smelling himself.)
Voice Over: So the world was in the grip of FEAR! A huge and terrifying crisis generated by one man! (zoom into Neutron in his front garden, weeding; behind him the group of GPO people are sitting opening another box fifty yards further down from the first one; a line of she recently opened boxes stretches up the road) …easily the most dangerous man the world has ever seen, honestly. Though still biding his time, he could strike at any moment. Could he be stopped in time?
(A lady stops and chats to him.)
Mrs Smailes: You’ve got a bit of work to do there, then.
Mr Neutron: Yes, it is a problem.
Mrs Smailes: Mrs Ottershaw never used to bother… then of course she was very old… she was 206! Well, must be going… if you need any help I’ll send Frank round. He could do with a bit of exercise, ha! ha! ha! ha!… Fat old bastard…
(She walks off. Neutron goes back to his weeding. Cut back to the supreme commander’s office. He is sniffing himself again., only this time he has his whole shirt front pulled up and he is trying to smell under his shirt. The intercom goes. He quickly tucks his shin in and depresses the switch.)
Carpenter: Captain Carpenter here, sir. We’ve been on red alert now for three days, sir, and still no sign of Mr Neutron.
Commander: Have we bombed anywhere? Have we shown ’em we got teeth?
Carpenter: Oh yes, sir. We’ve bombed a lot of places fiat, sir.
Commander: Good. Good. We don’t want anyone to think we’re chicken.
Carpenter: Oh no! They don’t think that, sir. Everyone’s really scared of us, sir.
Commander: Of us?
Carpenter: Yes, sir.
Commander: (pleased) Of our power?
Carpenter: Oh yes, sir! They’re really scared when they see those big planes come over.
Commander: Wow! I bet they are. I bet they are. I bet they’re really scared.
Carpenter: Oh they are, sir.
Commander: Do we have any figures on how scared they are?
Carpenter: No … no figures, sir. But they sure were scared.
Commander: Ah! But it’s not working?
Carpenter: No, sir.
Commander: OK. We’ll try another tactic. We’ll try and out-smart this Neutron guy. Yes, there’s one man who could nail him.
Carpenter: One guy? That won’t frighten anyone, sir.
Commander: He’s the most brilliant man I ever met. We were in the CIA together. He’s retired now. He breeds rabbits up in the Yukon… ‘
Carpenter: What’s his name, sir?
Commander: His name is Teddy Salad.
Carpenter: Salad as in… ?
Commander: Lettuces, cucumber, radishes. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Carpenter: Where do I find him, sir?
Commander: The Yukon. Oh, and Carpenter …
Carpenter: Yes, sir?
Commander: Make sure you get a decent disguise.
(Cut to the Yukon. Carpenter is trekking along. He is in ballet tights and heavy make-up with a big knapsack with ‘Nothing to do with FEEBLE’ on the back. He comes across a log cabin in the middle of nowhere. He presses the doorbell. A rather sweet little chime. The door is opened by a huge lumbjack.)
Carpenter: Oh, hello. My name’s Carpenter. I’m from the US Government.
Lumberjack: Are you from the army?
Carpenter: Er… no… I’m… er… I’m… I’m from the ballet. The US Government Ballet.
(The lumberjack’s eyes light up.)
Lumberjack: The ballet! The ballet’s coming here?
Carpenter: Well maybe…
Lumberjack: Oh, that’s great! We love the ballet. Last year some of us from Yellow River got a party to go see the ballet in Montreal. (Dimly we can see behind the lumberjack a bevy of beautiful boys of all nations.)
Carpenter: Look, I was wondering…
Lumberjack: Oh, we had a marvellous time. It was Margot Fonteyn dancing ‘Les Sylphides’… oh, it was so beautiful…
Carpenter: Do you know…
Lumberjack: Do you know how old she is?
Lumberjack: Margot Fonteyn.
Lumberjack: She’s 206!
Carpenter: Look, I hear there’s a US ballet organizer round these parts by the name of Teddy Salad.
Lumberjack: You mean the special agent?
Lumberjack: He’s an ex-CIA man. He’s not a ballet dancer.
(Laughter from the boys in the hut.)
Carpenter: Well, I just want to see him on some ballet business…
Lumberjack: Well, you could try the store…
Carpenter: Oh, thank you. (he turns to go)
Lumberjack: Hey! Can you get us Lionel Blair’s autograph?
(Carpenter walks away.)
Voice Over: While precious time was being lost in Canada, the seconds were ticking away for the free world…
(Jarring chord Cut to Neutron’s house. He is hanging flowery print wallpaper in his sitting room. Helping him is the quite enormously vast Frank Smailes who stands rather helplessly looking up at Neutron who is on a plank between two ladders.)
Voice Over: Already Neutron – who, you will remember, is infinitely the most dangerous man in the world, he really is – was gathering allies together.
Mr Neutron: Try having an omelette for your evening meal… perhaps with yogurt and grapefruit.
Mr Smailes: Oh, I’ve tried that … I once got down to fifty-six stone. But I couldn’t stay like that. I used to take potatoes wherever I went. I used to go to the cinema with three hundredweight of King Edwards, I’d eat ’em all before I got out of the toilet. I had to go on to bread.
Mr Neutron: What about salad?
Mr Smailes: Teddy Salad?
Mr Neutron: No, no, no – salad – as in lettuces, radishes, cucumber…