I bet you're really sick of looking at Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Sorry about the silence, I've had my hands a bit full of writing and recording the new series of John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme, which is now DONE, and will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 starting next month.
(In the meantime, you can buy the first series, and pre-order the second, on CD here:
Monday, 12 August 2013
…but this is very bad manners, to disappear for the best part of six weeks, and then just hit you with adverts; so here's something else: a sketch from the new series which I really like, but which we can't use, because a good friend sorrowfully broke the news to me after the recording that it's got a lot in common with a bit of stand-up Ricky Gervais used to do. So, here it is, for your eyes (and no-one but the studio audience's ears) only, as a sort of DVD extra…
THE KING’S MEN
FX HORSE GALLOPS UP TO GATES.
KNIGHT (LAWRY) Watchman, ho! Raise the alarm! The Vikings are invading! Summon the King’s men, they must immediately ride out to battle!
WATCHMAN (JOHN) The King’s men?
WATCHMAN Oohh… they’re not in.
KNIGHT Not in? What do you mean, not in?
WATCHMAN They’re out.
KNIGHT What, all of them?
WATCHMAN Yep, all of them.
KNIGHT Well, where have they gone?
WATCHMAN They’re, um… Well, I’ll tell you what they’re doing. They’re trying to put an egg back together again.
KNIGHT …An egg?
WATCHMAN It got broke. Fell off a wall. Very nasty.
KNIGHT An egg?
KNIGHT And the King has sent… all his men?
WATCHMAN Yep. And all his horses.
KNIGHT His horses? Why?
WATCHMAN To get ‘em there faster, I spose. I can’t imagine it’s to help fix the egg.
KNIGHT It seems an awful lot of trouble to go to for an egg.
WATCHMAN True, sir, very true. But it’s a special egg. We’re all very fond of it.
KNIGHT Are you.
WATCHMAN Oh yeah. We even gave it a name.
KNIGHT Right. Well, in that case, send a messenger after them with all speed, while I rouse the townfolk!
WATCHMAN Aren’t you going to ask what name we gave it?
KNIGHT No! I’m trying to protect the kingdom from Vikings, I don’t what to know what you call the egg!
KNIGHT Humpty. Humpty the egg.
WATCHMAN Not finished yet. Humpty… Dumpty.
KNIGHT Oh, so the egg has a surname?
WATCHMAN It’s not a surname, really, so much as a nick-name. On account of his comical shape.
KNIGHT What shape?
WATCHMAN Egg-shaped, sir. Did I not mention he was an egg? I thought I had.
KNIGHT Right. So you’re telling me that the kingdom has been left at the mercy of the approaching Viking hordes because the king’s entire military strength, human and equine, have been dispatched to reassemble an egg-shaped egg, which has fallen off a wall?
WATCHMAN Could be, sir. Or, it could be that I’m not really the watchman at all, so much as a Viking advance guard instructed to stall you from raising the alarm by telling you whatever old nonsense comes into my head.
KNIGHT Zounds! Are you?
WATCHMAN …No, sir. Just messing about. It’s the egg one.