Monday, 12 August 2013

Hello, remember me?

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:


…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…


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?

KNIGHT                       Yes!

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               Yep.

KNIGHT                       Why?

WATCHMAN               It got broke. Fell off a wall. Very nasty.

KNIGHT                       An egg?

WATCHMAN               Yep.

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!

WATCHMAN               Humpty.

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.