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Walk-on part in sketch / Bank Robber (Lingerie Shop)

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The cast:

John Cleese
Eric Idle
Michael Palin
Terry Jones


(Lingerie shop set. Assistant standing waiting behind counter. At the side the robber also stands waiting. They hum to themselves and waste time, looking at wristwatches, this takes about fifteen seconds. Cut to a letter on BBC stationery. The camera pulls back to show a grotty little man reading the letter and sitting at a breakfast table in a small kitchen. His wif is busying herself in wifelike activities.)

Man: Ooh. Ooh.

Wife: Oh, what is it dear?

Man: It's from the BBC. They want to know if I want to he in a sketch on telly.

Wife: Oooh. That's nice.

Man: What? It's acting innit?

Wife: Yes.

Man: Well I'm a plumber. I can't act.

Wife: Oh, you never know till you try. Look at Mrs Brando's son next door. He was mending the fridge when they came and asked him to be the Wild One. What do they want you to do?

Man: Well, they just want me to stand at a counter, and when the sketch starts I go out.

Wife: Oh, that sounds nice. It's what they call a walk-on.

Man: Walk-on? That's a walk-off, that's what this is.

(Cut to lingen'e shop; assistant and robber still hanging around waiting. A few seconds of this. Floor manager walks on.)

Robber: (quietly) Well, where is he, George?

Floor Manager: I don't know, he should have been here hours ago.

Robber: He bloody should have been.

(Cut back to grotty kitchen).

Wife: Well what else does it say?

Man: It just says 'We would like you to be in a sketch. You are standing at a counter. When the sketch starts you go off. Yours faithfully, Lord Hill.'

Wife: Oh well, you'd better be off then.

Man: Yeah, well, what about the cat?

Wife: Oh I'll look after the cat. Goodness me, Mrs Newman's eldest never worried about the cat when he went off to do 'The Sweet Bird of Youth'.

Man: All right then, all right. Bye. Bye dear.

Wife: Bye bye, and mind you don't get seduced.

(Man leaves, wife stands for a moment, then…)

Wife: Oh, it'll make a change from plumbing. Dad! Franks got a television part.

(She turns on the TV set. On the TV comes the picture of the assistant and tile robber and floor manager waiting in the lingerie shop. After a second or two a man is brought in and introduced to floor manager, who positions him and cues him. The man walks out.)

Wife: You missed him.

(Cut back to shop, the robber walks in and points gun at the assistant.)

Robber: Good morning, I am a bank robber. Er, please don't panic, just hand over all your money.

Assistant: (politely) This is a lingerie shop, sir.

Robber: Fine, fine, fine. (slightly nonplussed) Adopt, adapt and improve. Motto of the round table. Well, um … what have you got?

Assistant: (still politely) Er, we've got corsets, stockings, suspender belts, tights, bras, slips, petticoats, knickers, socks and garters, sir.

Robber: Fine, fine, fine, fine. No large piles of money in sales?

Assistant: No, sir.

Robber: No deposit accounts?

Assistant: No sir.

Robber: No piles of cash in easy to carry bags?

Assistant: None at all sir.

Robber: No luncheon vouchers?

Assistant: No, sir.

Robber: Fine, fine. Well, um… adopt, adapt and improve. Just a pair of knickers then please.


Cut to effeminate announcer sitting at continuity desk. Any resemblance to Mel Oxley should be accidental. His name is David Unction.


Well that was a bit of fun wasn't it. Ha, ha, ha. And a special good evening to you. Not just an ordinary good evening like you get from all the other announcers, but a special good evening from me (holds up card saying 'David Unction') to you. Well, what have we got next? This is fun isn't it. Look, I'm sorry if I'm interrupting anything that any of you may be doing at home, but I want you to think of me as an old queen. Friend, ha, ha, ha. Well, let's see what we've got next. In a few moments 'It's A Tree' and in the chair as usual is Arthur Tree, and starring in the show will be a host of star guests as his star guests. And then at 9.30 we've got another rollocking half hour of laughter-packed squalor with 'Yes it's the Sewage Farm Attendants'. And this week Dan falls into a vat of human dung with hilarious consequences. Ha, ha, ha. But now it's the glittering world of show business with Arthur Tree…




Stock film. Quick cuts. Plane arriving at night. Showbiz lights. Film premières. Audience applauding. Cut to studio: a tree sitting in a middle chair in David Frost type interview set. Zoom in on tree. It has a mouth which moves.


Hello. Hello people, and welcome to 'It's a Tree'. We have some really exiting guests for you this evening. A fabulous spruce, back from a tour of Holland, three gum trees making their first appearance in this country, scots pine and the conifers, and Elm Tree Bole - there you go, can't be bad - an exiting new American plank, a rainforest and a bucket of sawdust giving their views on teenage violence, and an unusual guest for this programme, a piece of laminated plastic.

Shot of piece of laminated plastic with mouth.


Hi there!


But first, will you please, please welcome - a block of wood.

Shot of large block four feet cube, with a mouth, on the chair next to Tree.
Shot of a forest with the sound of applause over.


Well, er, thanks Tree. I've got to pay the rent.

They both laugh. Shot of forest laughing.


Ha, ha, ha, ha, super. Well, what have you been doing, Block?


Well I've just been starring in several major multi-million dollar international films, and, during breaks on the set, I've been designing a Cathedral, doing wonderful unpublicized work for charity, er, finishing my history of the world, of course, pulling the birds, er, photographing royalty on the loo, averting World War Three - can't be bad - and, er learning to read.


The full Renaissance bit, really…super, super. Well I've got to stop you there Block I'm afraid, because we've got someone who's been doing cabaret in the New Forest. From America, will you welcome please a Chippendale writing desk.

ANIMATION: a Chippendale desk.


Thank you Mr Tree. And I'd like to do a few impressions of some of my favourite Englishmen. First off. Long John Silver. (suitable animation) Arrrgh, Jim boy. Arrrrgh. And now Edward Heath. Hello sailor. Now a short scene from a play by Harold Splinter. (a huge hammer smashes it)

Animated compère:


Wasn't that just great, ladies and gentlemen, wait a minute we've got something else I just know you're going to love. (fanfares) Yes sir, coming right up - the Vocational Guidance Counsellor Sketch. (more fanfares)

Continues with Vocational Guidance Counsellor (chartered accountant)