'FACE THE PRESS'/ NEW COOKER SKETCH

  

A man in evening dress, sitting in a cage at the zoo.

 

Announcer: (J.C.) And now for something completely different.

 

Pan to show 'It's' man in next cage.

 

It's Man: (M.P.) It's...

 

Animated titles.

 

Cut to studio: interviewer in chair.

Superimposed Caption: 'FACE THE PRESS'

 

Interviewer: (E.I.) Hello. Tonight on 'Face the Press' we're going to examine two different views of contemporary things. On my left is the Minister for Home Affairs (cut to minister completely in drag and a moustache) who is wearing a striking organza dress in pink tulle, with matching pearls and a diamante collar necklace. (soft fashion-parade music starts to play in background) The shoes are in brushed pigskin with gold clasps, by Maxwell of Bond Street. The hair is by Roger, and the whole ensemble is crowned by a spectacular display of Christmas orchids. And on my right - putting the case against the Government - is a small patch of brown liquid ... (cut to patch of liquid on seat of chair) which could be creosote or some extract used in industrial varnishing. (cut back to interviewer) Good evening. Minister, may I put the first question to you? In your plan, 'A Better Britain For Us', you claimed that you would build 88,000 million, billion houses a year in the Greater London area alone. In fact, you've built only three in the last fifteen years. Are you a bit disappointed with this result?

 

Minister: (G.C.) No, no. I'd like to answer this question if I may in two ways. Firstly in my normal voice and then in a kind of silly high-pitched whine... You see housing is a problem really...

 

Cut back to the interviewer. The minister is heard droning on in the background. The soft fashion-parade music starts again.

 

Interviewer: Well, while the minister is answering this question I'd just like to point out the minister's dress has been made entirely by hand from over three hundred pieces of Arabian shot silk (at this point we can hear the minister's high-pitched whine beneath the fashion music) especially created for the minister by Vargar's of Paris. The low slim-line has been cut off-the-shoulder to heighten the effect of the minister's fine bone structure. Well I think the minister is coming to the end of his answer now so let's go back over and join the discussion. Thank you very much minister. Today saw the appointment of a new head of...

 

Minister: Don't I say any more?

 

Interviewer: No fear! Today saw the appointment of a new head of Allied Bomber Command - Air Chief Marshal Sir Vincent 'Kill the Japs' Forster. He's in our Birmingham studio...

 

Cut to close-up on what appears to be a monitor with Sir Vincent on it in outrageous drag, heavy lipstick, big bust etc. - Draped on a chaise-longue. A small black boy is fanning him. 

 

Sir Vincent: (J.C.) Hello Sailors! Listen, guess what. The Minister of Aviation has made me head of the RAF Ola Pola.

 

As he talks we zoom out quickly from the set to reveal it is not a monitor in the studio but a TV set in a G-plan type sitting room. A housewife (Mrs Pinnet) sits watching, wearing an apron and a scarf and with her hair in curlers. The doorbell sounds. She switches the TV off and answers the door which opens straight into the living room. There in the street stands a truly, amazing figure of fun. A man in a bowler hat with an axe sticking out of it, big red joke nose, illuminated bow tie that revolves, joke broad shoulders, clown's check jacket, long johns with sock suspenders, heavy army boots and leading a goat with a hat. Close-up.

 

Man: Hello. Mrs Rogers?

 

Mrs. Pinnet: (T.J.) No. Ooh I must be in the wrong house,

 

She shuts the door on him and we follow her as she crosses the room. She climbs out of the window. Back yard of terraced house. She scrambles over a quite high dividing wall into next door and starts to scramble into next-door window.

Interior of a more cluttered working-class sitting-room. There is a TV in there with Sir Vincent still camping it up.

 

Sir Vincent: So from now on we're going to do things my way. For a start David Hockney is going to design the bombs. And I've seen the plans...

 

The doorbell rings.

 

Mrs. Pinnet: That must be the new gas cooker.

 

She switches the TV off. Immediate thunderous epic music.

Superimposed Caption: (in stone lettering, as for Ben Hur) 'NEW COOKER SKETCH'

 

Both caption and music switch off suddenly as she opens the door. Outside the door are two gas men with a new cooker.

 

First Gas Man: (M.P.) Morning. Mrs G. Crump?

 

Mrs. Pinnet: No - Mrs G. Pinnet.

 

First Gas Man: This is 46 Egernon Crescent?

 

Mrs. Pinnet: No - Road. Egernon Road.

 

First Gas Man: (looks at a bit of paper) Road, yes, says here. Yeah. Right, could I speak to Mrs G. Crump please?

 

Mrs. Pinnet: Oh there's nobody here of that name. It's Mrs G. Pinnet. 46 Egernon Road.

 

First Gas Man: Well it says 'Crump' here. Don't it, Harry?

 

Second Gas Man: (G.C.) Yeah - it's on the invoice.

 

First Gas Man: Yeah, definitely Crump.

 

Mrs. Pinnet: Well there must have been a mistake, because the address is right, and that's definitely the cooker I ordered - a blue and white CookEasi.

 

First Gas Man: Well you can't have this. This is Crump.

 

Mrs. Pinnet: Oh dear, what are we going to do?

 

First Gas Man: Well I don't know. What we can do for you is take it back to the Depot, get a transfer slip from Crump to Pinnet, and put it on a special delivery.  

 

Second Gas Man: Yeah - that's best. We'll special it for you, we'll get it down there today and you'll get it back in ten weeks.

 

Mrs. Pinnet: Ten weeks! Blimey, can't you just leave this one?

 

First Gas Man: What this? What leave it here? (they seem thunderstruck)

 

Mrs. Pinnet: Yes.

 

First Gas Man: Well I dunno. I suppose we could.

 

Second Gas Man: Oh, but she'd have to fill out a temporary despatch note.

 

First Gas Man: Yeah we could leave it on a temporary despatch note.

 

Mrs. Pinnet: Well that's sorted out then. What a mess, isn't it.

 

First Gas Man: I know, it's ridiculous really, but there you are. Glad we could be of such a help. Right, would you sign it down there please, Mrs Crump?

 

Mrs. Pinnet: Pinnet.

 

First Gas Man: Pinnet. Listen, just for the books make it a bit easier, could you sign it Crump-Pinnet.

 

Mrs. Pinnet: Right. (she signs)

 

First Gas Man: Right. Thank you very much, dear. The cooker's yours. Right. Thank you very much, dear. Right. (they push it just inside the door and move off) Sorry about the bother... but there you are ... you know ... cheerio!

 

Second Gas Man: Cheerio, Mrs Crump!

 

Mrs. Pinnet: Heh, excuse me! Cooey! Er, can you put it in the kitchen?

 

First Gas Man: (coming back) You what?

 

Mrs. Pinnet: Well I can't cook on it unless it's connected up.

 

First Gas Man: Oh we didn't realize you had an installation invoice.

 

Second Gas Man: An MI.

 

First Gas Man: No, we can't touch it without an MI, you see.

 

Second Gas Man: Or an R16.

 

Third Gas Man: (J.C.) (who is suddenly revealed behind the two of them) If it's a special.

 

Second Gas Man: Nah - it's not special ... the special's back at the Depot.

 

First Gas Man: No, the special's the same as installation invoice.

 

Third Gas Man: So it's an R16.

 

Mrs. Pinnet: What's an installation invoice?

 

First Gas Man: A pink form from Reading.

 

Mrs. Pinnet: Oh - we wondered what that was. Now these are the forms. 

 

She produces a large wad of papers, sorts through and products a pink form which she hands to them

 

First Gas Man: That's the one, love. Yeah, this should be all I need. Hang on. This is for Pinnet. Mrs G. Pinnet.

 

Mrs. Pinnet: That's right. I'm Mrs G. Pinnet.

 

First Gas Man: Well we've got Crump-Pinnet on the invoice.

 

Mrs. Pinnet: Well shall I sign it Crump-Pinnet then?

 

First Gas Man: No, no, no - not an MI - no.

 

Second Gas Man: No - that's from Area Service at Reading.

 

Fourth Gas Man: (E.I.) (suddenly revealed) No, Cheltenham isn't it?

 

Second Gas Man: No, not this side of the street.

 

Mrs. Pinnet: Look I just want it connected up.

 

Much doubtfulness.

 

Third Gas Man: What about London Office?

 

First Gas Man: Well they haven't got the machinery.

 

Second Gas Man: Not now.

 

Fifth Gas Man: (T.G.) (suddenly revealed) What! The Hounslow Depot?

 

Fourth Gas Man: No - they're still on standard pressure.

 

Sixth Gas Man: (David Ballantyne) (suddenly revealed) Same with Twickenham.

 

Mrs. Pinnet: But surely they can connect up a gas cooker?

 

First Gas Man: Oh yeah, we could connect it up, love, but not unless it's an emergency.

 

Mrs. Pinnet: But this is an emergency.

 

First Gas Man: No it's not. An emergency is 290... 'where there is actual or apparent loss of combustible gaseous substances'.

 

Second Gas Man: Yeah, it's like a leak.

 

Seventh Gas Man is revealed.

 

Seventh Gas Man: (John Hughman) Yeah, or a 478.

 

Third Gas Man: No - that's valve adjustment.

 

Mrs. Pinnet: But there can't be a leak unless you've connected it up.

 

First Gas Man: No, quite. We'd have to turn it on.

 

Mrs. Pinnet: Well can't you turn it on and connect it up?

 

First Gas Man: No. But what we can do, and this is between you and me, I shouldn't really be telling you this, we'll turn your gas on, make a hole in your pipe, you ring Hounslow emergency, they'll be around here in a couple of days.

 

Mrs. Pinnet: What, a house full of gas! I'll be dead by then

 

First Gas Man: Oh well, in that case you'd have the South East Area Manager round here like a shot.

 

Mrs. Pinnet: Really?

 

First Gas Man: Ah yes. 'One or more persons overcome by fumes', you'd have Head Office, Holborn, round here.

 

Mrs. Pinnet: Really?

 

First Gas Man: Yes. That's murder you see.

 

Second Gas Man: Or suicide.

 

Fifth Gas Man: No. That's S42.

 

Second Gas Man: Oh.

 

Eighth Gas Man is revealed.

 

Eighth Gas Man: (Stanley Mason) Still? I thought it was Hainault.

 

Fifth Gas Man: No - Central area and Southall Marketing Division, they're both on the S42 now.

 

Mrs. Pinnet: And they'd be able to connect it up?

 

First Gas Man: Oh - they'd do the lot for you, love.

 

Mrs. Pinnet: And they'd come round this afternoon?

 

First Gas Man: ... Well what is it now... 11:30... murder... they'll be round here by two.

 

Mrs. Pinnet: Oh well that's wonderful.

 

First Gas Man: Oh well, right love, if you'd like to lie down here.

 

Mrs. Pinnet: All right. (she does so)

 

First Gas Man: Okay Harry.

 

Second Gas Man: Okay. Gas on.

 

First Gas Man: (holding a gas pipe to her mouth) Right, deep breaths love. Ring Head Office would you Norman...

 

Fourth Gas Man: Shall I go through maintenance?

 

Fifth Gas Man: No, you'd better go through Deptford maintenance.

 

Sixth Gas Man: Peckham's on a 207 .... .

 

Voices: ... that's Lewisham. What about Tottenham? No that would be a 5.4.. what about Lewisham? It's central isn't it? Or Ruislip...

 

The camera pans along line of gas men all turning to each other and muttering incomprehensible technicalities, the line stretches across to front door.

 

  

 

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