THE IDIOT IN SOCIETY

 

Pan over a pretty rural village, until we see a village idiot in smock and straw hat, red cheeks, straw in mouth, sitting on a wall, making funny noises and rolling his eyes.

 

Voice Over: (E.I.) Arthur Figgis is an idiot. A village idiot. Tonight we look at the idiot in society.

 

Cut to close-up of Figgis talking to camera. Very big close-up losing the top and bottom of his head.

 

Figgis: (J.C.) (educated voice) Well I feel very keenly that the idiot is a part of the old village system, and as such has a vital role to play in a modern rural society, because you see ... (suddenly switches to rural accent) ooh ar ooh ar before the crops go gey are in the medley crun and the birds slides nightly on the oor ar ... (vicar passes and gives him sixpence) Ooh ar thankee, Vicar ... (educated voice) There is this very real need in society for someone whom almost anyone can look down on and ridicule. And this is the role that ... ooh ar naggy gamly rangle tandie oogly noogle Goblie oog ... (passing lady gives him sixpence) Thank you, Mrs Thompson... this is the role that I and members of my family have fulfilled in this village for the past four hundred years... Good morning, Mr Jenkins, ICI have increased their half-yearly dividend, I see.

 

We see Mr Jenkins pass, he is also an idiot, identically dressed.

 

Mr Jenkins: (M.P.) Yes, splendid.

 

Figgis: That's Mr Jenkins - he's another idiot. And so you see the idiot does provide a vital psycho-social service for this community. Oh, excuse me, a coach party has just arrived. I shall have to fall off the wall, I'm afraid.

 

He falls backwards off the wall. Cut to Figgis in idiot's costume coming out of a suburban home. He walks on to the lawn on which are several pieces of gym equipment. He runs head-on into horse (speeded up) and falls over, concussed.

 

Voice Over: Arthur takes idioting seriously. He is up at six o'clock every morning working on special training equipment designed to keep him silly. And of course he takes great pride in his appearance.

 

Figgis, dressed in nice clean smock, jumps into a pond. He immediately scrambles up, pulls out a mirror and pats mud on his face critically, as if making-up.

 

Voice Over: Like the doctor, the blacksmith, the carpenter, Mr Figgis is an important figure in this village and - like them - he uses the local bank.

 

Village square. A bank. Figgis is walking towards it. People giggling and pointing. He goes into a silly routine. Figgis enters the bank. Cut to bank manager standing outside bank.

 

Caption: 'M. BRANDO - BANK MANAGER'

 

Bank Manager: (G.C.) Yes, we have quite a number of idiots banking here.

 

Voice Over: What kind of money is there in idioting?

  

Bank Manager: Well nowadays a really blithering idiot can make anything up to ten thousand pounds a year - if he's the head of some big industrial combine. But of course, the more old-fashioned idiot still refuses to take money.

 

We see Figgis handing over a cheque to cashier; cashier pushes across a pile of moss, pebbles, bits of wood and acorns.

 

Manager: (voice over) He takes bits of string, wood, dead budgerigars, sparrows, anything, but it does make the cashier's job very difficult; but of course they're fools to themselves because the rate of interest over ten years on a piece of moss or a dead vole is almost negligible.

 

A clerk appears at door of bank.

 

Clerk: (T.J.) Mr Brando.

 

Bank Manager: Yes?

 

Clerk: Hollywood on the phone.

 

Bank Manager: I'll take it in the office.

  

Cut to a woodland glade.

 

Voice Over: But Mr Figgis is no ordinary idiot. He is a lecturer in idiocy at the University of East Anglia. Here he is taking a class of third-year students.

 

Half a dozen loonies led by Figgis come dancing through the glade singing tunelessly. They are wearing long University scarves.

 

Voice Over: After three years of study these apprentice idiots receive a diploma of idiocy, a handful of mud and a kick on the head.

 

A vice-chancellor stands in a University setting with some young idiots in front of him. They wear idiot gear with BA hoods. One walks forward to him, he gets a diploma, a faceful of mud and stoops to receive his kick on the head. Cut to happy parents smiling proudly.

 

Voice Over: But some of the older idiots resent the graduate idiot.

 

Old Idiot: (E.I.) I'm a completely self-taught idiot. I mean, ooh arh, nob arhh, nob arhh .... nobody does that anymore. Anybody who did that round here would be laughed off the street. No, nowadays people want something wittier.

 

Wife empties breakfast over him. Cut to idiot falling repeatedly off a wall.

 

Voice Over: Kevin O'Nassis works largely with walls.

 

Kevin: (J.C.) (voice over) You've got to know what you're doing. I mean, some people think I'm mad. The villagers say I'm mad, the tourists say I'm mad, well I am mad, but I'm naturally mad. I don't use any chemicals.

 

Voice Over: But what of the idiot's private life? How about his relationship with women?

 

We cut to Figgis in bed. Pull back to reveal he shares it with two very young, thin, nude girls.  

 

Figgis: Well I may be an idiot but I'm no fool.

 

Voice Over: But the village idiot's dirty smock and wall-falling are a far cry from the modern world of the urban idiot. (stock film of city gents in their own clothes pouring out of trains) What kinds of backgrounds do these city idiots come from?

 

Vox pops film of city gents. Subtitles explain their exaggerated accents.

 

First City Idiot: (J.C.) Eton, Sandhurst and the Guards, ha, ha, ha, ha.

 

Second City Idiot: (M.P.) I can't remember but I've got it written down some where.

 

Third City Idiot: (G.C.) Daddy's a banker. He needed a wastepaper basket.

 

Fourth City Idiot: (T.J.) Father was Home Secretary and mother won the Derby.

 

Cut to a commentator with mike in close-up. Pull back in his speech, to discover he is standing in front of the main gate at Lords cricket ground.

 

Interviewer: (G.C.) The headquarters of these urban idiots is here in St John's Wood. Inside they can enjoy the company of other idiots and watch special performances of ritual idioting.

 

Cut to quick wide-shot of cricket match being played at Lords. Cut to five terribly old idiots watching.

 

First Idiot: (M.P.) Well left.

 

Second Idiot: (G.C.) Well played.

 

Third Idiot: (E.I.) Well well.

 

Fourth Idiot: (J.C.) Well bred.

 

Fifth Idiot: (T.J.) (dies) Ah!

This sketch carries on to the Test Match sketch

  

   
 

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