A MAN WITH A TAPE RECORDER UP HIS NOSE/ KILIMANJARO EXPEDITION
Cut to exterior Ada's Snack Bar (a small cafe). Hand-held camera moves round the back to where an Announcer is seated at desk with an old-fashioned BBC microphone. He is talking into a telephone. He puts it down and says to camera:
Announcer (J.C.): And now for something completely different - a man with a tape recorder up his nose.
A man in evening dress (M.P.), on a small stage, with potted plants, etc. He ostentatiously inserts a finger up one nostril. We hear the Marseillaise. He removes the finger; the music stops. He inserts the finger up the other nostril: we hear rewinding noises. Once again he inserts a finger up the first nostril: again we hear the Marseillaise. He bows. Stock film of Women's Institute applauding. He inserts a finger up his nostril again, and we hear:
Voice Over (M.P.): And now for something completely different. The office of Sir George Head, OBE.
Large study with maps and photographs on the wall and a large desk at which sits Sir George Head.
Sir George (J.C.): Next please.
Arthur walks into the room and up to the desk.
Sir George: (looking up) One at a time please.
Arthur (E.I.): There is only me, sir.
Sir George: (putting a hand over one eye) So there is. Take a . . .
Sir George: Seat! Take a seat. So! (looking over to Arthur's right) You want to join my mountaineering expedition do you? (keeps looking off to right)
Arthur: (rather uncertain) Me, sir?
Sir George: Yes.
Arthur: Yes, I'd very much like to, sir.
Sir George: Jolly good, jolly good. (he ticks the sheet and then looks straight at Arthur) And how about you?
Arthur: There is only me, sir.
Sir George: (putting hand over eye and looking both at Arthur and to Arthur's right) Well bang goes his application then. (he tears up form) Now let me fill you in. I'm leading this expedition and we're going to climb both peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Arthur: I thought there was only one peak, sir.
Sir George: (getting up, putting one hand over one eye again and going to large map of Africa on wall and peering at it at point-blank range) Well, that'll save a bit of time. Well done. Now the object of this expedition is to see if we can find any traces of last year's expedition.
Arthur: Last year's expedition?
Sir George: Yes, my brother was leading that, they were going to build a bridge between the two peaks, (looks at map with one hand over eye) My idea I'm afraid. Now, I ought to tell you that I have practically everyone I need for this expedition ... so what special qualifications do you have?
Arthur: Well, sir...
Sir George: Yes, you first.
Arthur: There is only me, sir.
Sir George: (to Arthur's right) I wasn't talking to you. (to Arthur) Carry on.
Arthur: Well I'm a fully qualified mountaineer.
Sir George: Mountaineer? Mountaineer (looks it up in the dictionary) where the devil are they, mound, mount... mountain... a mountaineer: 'two men skilled in climbing mountains'. Jolly good, well you're in. Congratulations, both of you. Well, er, what are your names?
Arthur: Arthur Wilson.
Sir George: Arthur Wilson, right well look, I'll call you (to Arthur) Arthur Wilson one, and you (to Arthur's right) Arthur Wilson two, just to avoid confusion.
Arthur: Are you actually leading this expedition sir?
Sir George: Yes, we are leading this expedition to Africa.
Arthur: And what routes will you both be taking?
Sir George: Good questions... shall I? Well we'll be leaving on January 22nd and taking the following routes. (goes over to large map, clearly labelled Surrey) The A23s through Purleys down on the main roads near Purbrights avoiding Leatherheads and then taking the A231s entering Rottingdeans from the North. From Rottingdeans we go through Africa to Nairobis. We take the South road out of Nairobis for about twelve miles and then ask.
Arthur: Does anyone speak Swahili, sir?
Sir George: Oh, yes I think most of them do down there.
Arthur: Does anyone in our party speak Swahili sir?
Sir George: Oh, well Matron's got a smattering.
Arthur: Apart from the two Matrons ...
Sir George: Good God, I'd forgotten about her.
Arthur: Apart from them, who else is coming on the expedition, sir?
Sir George: Well we've got the Arthur Brown twins, two botanists called Machin, the William Johnston brothers ...
Arthur: Two of them?
Sir George: No, four of them, a pair of identical twins ... and a couple of the Ken Spinoza quads - the other two pulled out. And of course you two.
Arthur: And none of these are mountaineers?
Sir George: Well you two are, and we've got a brace of guides called Jimmy Blenkinsop... because Kilimanjaro is a pretty tricky climb you know, most of it's up until you reach the very very top, and then it tends to slope away rather sharply. But Jimmy's put his heads together and worked out a way up. (opens door) Jimmy? (Jimmy walks in wearing full climbing gear) I don't believe you've met. Jimmy Blenkinsop - Arthur Wilson, Arthur Wilson -Jimmy Blenkinsop... Arthur Wilson two -James Blenkinsop one, James Blenkinsop one - Arthur Wilson two. Carry on Jimmies.
Jimmy (G.C.): (to Arthur, reassuring him) Don't worry about the er ... (puts hand over eye) We'll get him up somehow.
Jimmy proceeds to walk round the room clambering over every single piece of available furniture. He doesn't stop talking. Causing a complete wreckage, he clambers over the desk, onto a bookcase and round the room knocking furniture over, meanwhile he is saying.
Jimmy: Now the approach to Kilimanjaro is quite simply over the foothills, and then we go on after that to ... ohh... to set a base camp, somewhere in the region of the bottom of the glacier when...
Jimmy staggers out headlong through the door. There are loud crashing noises
Sir George: He'll be leading the first assault.
Arthur: Well I'm afraid I shan't be coming on your expedition sir, as I've absolutely no confidence in anyone involved in it.
Arthur: gets up and walks out slamming the door.
Sir George: Oh dear. (pause - look over at other?) Arthur, Well how about you?
Arthur: (sitting in chair at other angle of desk) Well I'm game, sir.
Cut back to two Sir Georges, double image, split screen.
Sir Georges: So are we.