FISH SLAPPING DANCE/ WORLD WAR ONE
An animated item ends with a sign saying 'And now, the Fish Slapping Dance.'
Cut to a quayside. John and Michael dressed in tropical gear and pith helmets. John stands still while Michael dances up and down before him to the jolly music of Edward German. Michael holds up two tiny fish and from time to time in the course of the dance he slaps John lightly across the cheeks with them. The music ends; Michael stops dancing. John produces a great fish and swipes Michael with it. Michael falls off the quay into the water.
Animation: underwater. We see an animated Michael sinking. He is swallowed by a fish with a swastika on its side.
Nazi Fish: Welcome aboard, Britisher pig. Quite a little surprise, ja? But perhaps you would be so kind as to tell us all you know about certain allied shipping routes, ja? Come on, talk!
The Nazi fish is swallowed by a fish with an RAF emblem.
British Fish: Hello, Fritz. Tables seem to have turned, old chap, let's see how you like a bit of your own medicine, eh? Come on, Fritz, now tell us - tell us about...
The British fish is swallowed by a Chinese fish.
Chinese Fish: Ah, gleetings, capitalist dog; very sorry but must inform you, you are now prisoner of People's Republic.
Second Voice: Am very sorry, comrade commando, but we have just picked up capitalist ship on ladar scanner.
The Chinese fish bites the underside of a large ship. Film of big liner sinking in storm. General panic and dramatic music.
Captain: (T.J.) (over tannoy) This is your captain speaking. There is no need for panic. Woman and children first. I repeat that, women and children first.
Cut to the ship's bridge. The captain and two or three officers are seen scrambling into ladies clothing or young children's short trousers and school satchels and caps. The ship pitches and rolls in the gale. The captain is still trying to speak into the PA.
Captain: Do not rush for the lifeboats - remember, women and children first.
A first officer is revealed in the corner of the bridge putting a head-dress on a Red Indian outfit.
First Officer: (J.C.) And Red Indians!
Captain: (putting his hand over the PA) What did you have to get dressed up like that for?
First Officer: It was the only thing left.
Captain: Oh. All right. (into the PA) Women, children and Red Indians...
Another officer comes in wearing astronauts gear.
Second Officer: (T.G.) And spacemen!
Captain: Here is a revised list. Women, children, Red Indians and spacemen, (hand over PA) what's that meant to be?
Cut to third officer who is putting finishing touches to a medieval outfit.
Third Officer: (E.I.) Well it's a sort of impression of what a kind of Renaissance courtier artist might have looked like at the court of one of the great families like the Medicis or the Borgias...
Fourth Officer: (G.C.) No it's not, it's more Flemish than Italian.
Fifth Officer: (M.P.) Yes - that's a Flemish merchant of the fifteenth or sixteenth centuries...
Third Officer: What! With these tassels?
Fourth Officer: Yes, yes. They had those fined doublets going tapering down into the full hose you know - exactly like that.
Captain: (into the PA) One moment, please. don't panic. (puts his hand over the PA) Now, what is it meant to be? I've got to tell them something. .. is it a Flemish merchant?
Third Officer: No, it is not a Flemish merchant. It's more a sort of idealized version of the complete Renaissance Man...
Captain: Oh, all right.
Fourth Officer: It's not...
Captain: All right! All right! (into the PA) this is your captain speaking... do not rush for the lifeboats ... women, children, Red Indians, spacemen (stock film of long shot of sinking vessel, the voice over fading) and a sort of idealized version of complete Renaissance Men first!
Caption: 'A FEW DAYS LATER'
Cut to a police chief's office in an anonymous South American police state. The chief of police at his desk. From outside we hear footsteps approaching the office and voices.
Third Officer's Voice: Flemish merchants did not wear hand-embroidered chevrons. They did not!
The door opens and two guards roughly push in the captain in drag, another officer half in drag, half in naval uniform, two officers hastily dressed as children, a complete Renaissance Man, a Red Indian and a spaceman. They stand there for a moment. Then one of the guards pushes his way forward and hands the police chief a piece of paper.
Police Chief: (J.C.) Yes, Gomez? (reads) Vee found zem valking on zee beach, my capitain. (the guard nods enthusiastically) Gomez, why can't you say this? (the guard mouths something) What? Oh, I see, we can't afford it. (to camera) You see the BBC has to pay an actor twenty guineas if he speaks and it makes a bit of a hole in the budget...
First Guard: (T.G.) Twenty-eight guineas, sir! Ooh, sorry.
Police Chief: You fool Gomez - that's twenty-eight guineas ...
Second Guard: (E.I.) What about me, sir?
Police Chief: Are you supposed to speak?
Second Guard: No, sir.
Police Chief: But you've just spoken!
Second Guard: Oh, sorry, sir.
Police Chief: You fool, that's, that's fifty-six guineas before we've even started; (a third guard suddenly rushes up to the window and flashes through it; scream and breaking glass) What did he do that for?
Second Guard: It's a stunt, sir, an extra twenty guineas.
Police Chief: (banging the desk) Look! We can't afford it! The BBC are short of money as it is.
...This sketch continues to 'The BBC is short of money'