Episode 3 – Watership Alan
[Radio Norwich. Alan is sorting through some CD’s.]
Farmer: [On phone-in] …er, then we bring the cows in, get them milked by six am, so all the –
Alan: [Interrupting] You’re listening to ‘Today’s Farmer’.
[The farmer has stopped talking.]
Alan: Go on, you were talking about cow bringing-in.
Farmer: Yeah, we bring them in for milking, and then all that can –
Alan: [Interrupting] Pop the straightjackets on them?
Farmer: [Pause] What?
Alan: Thanks very much for being ‘This Morning’s Farmer’, Robert Moon. Robert, did you have your breakfast this morning?
Farmer: Well I reckon the way things are going, I –
Alan: Can you just answer yes, for the purposes of a joke?
Alan: In which case, you must be a full moon! [Pause] Hello?
Farmer: I’m still here.
Alan: Yeah I was making a pun on your name.
Farmer: Oh right.
Alan: [Shakes his head] Anyway, thanks very much for being ‘This Morning’s Farmer’.
[Alan plays an ‘Old MacDonald’ accordion jingle, followed by a cow moo.]
Alan: Sorry about that. Robert a bit slow on the uptake, there. I don’t know what he had for breakfast. Presumably an infected spinal column in a bap. Just making a quick joke there about how infected cattle feed can attack the central nervous system. It’s just coming up to 5:35am, Kommen Sie bitte, und listen to Kraftwerk.
[Title Music, ending with a short monologue from Alan, outside BBC television centre. He puts a piece of paper in a bin – “Put that in the bin”.]
[Back in Radio Norwich studio.]
Alan: Let’s get back to ‘Cock-a-doodle who’. [Plays jingle, a high-pitched “cock-a-doodle” followed by a lower, echoey “who”] And I asked ‘who’ invented the skip. Jack on line two.
Jack: Morning Alan.
Jack: Er, look. I just wanted to say your comment earlier about farmers was ignorant and offensive.
Alan: Who invented the skip?
Jack: I don’t care who invented the skip. I think it’s way out of order –
Alan: [Speaking over him] Who invented the skip?
Jack: – you speak like a man who has no knowledge of his subject –
Alan: Who invented the skip?
Jack: – that you’re talking about, right?
Alan: Who invented the skip?
Jack: I don’t know invented the bloody skip. Bobby Moore, I don’t bloody know, do I?
Alan: [Quietly] That’s wrong.
Jack: I’m just sick and tired of you slagging farmers off. Are you going to apologise to them all on your show, are you, eh? Are you going to apol –?
Alan: Come on, I mean, you must know some of the rotten rubbish you produce, I mean, tongue, for example. Who eats tongue, for goodness’ sake? Ever seen a tongue sticking out of a sesame seed cob?
Jack: Listen, you make these comments without any real knowledge about the pressures that we’re under. I just didn’t find it very funny, that’s all.
Alan: Well, I wouldn’t eat one of your tomatoes if it came up and said, “eat me”, which is not unlikely considering all the rubbish you stick in ‘em.
Jack: You ignorant shit.
[Alan cuts him off with a cockerel crow.]
Alan: Caroline, line four. Hello?
Caroline: Hello Alan.
Caroline: Hello, yeah. Have you got a brain or is your head just full of shit?
[Alan cuts Caroline off with a cow mooing.]
Alan: OK, Mike from Polgrave, are you there, sir?
Mike: Oh, you ignorant cu –
[Alan cuts Mike off with a fanfare. Cut to the car park of the Linton Travel Tavern, then inside to Alan’s hotel room. Alan is doing exercises, dressed in extremely small blue shorts and a thick sports cardigan.]
Alan: [Sings] Take a pinch of white man, wrap him up in black skin… what’s the next bit?
[Michael is sitting in an armchair, with a toolbox by his side. He holds a screwdriver and is cleaning an air vent.]
Michael: Add a dash of blue blood.
Alan: Add a dash of blue blood.
Michael: [Thickly accented] And a little biddy bit of a Red Indian boy.
Alan: And… something else in Geordie.
Michael: This hasn’t been cleaned out for years. Hey, there’s a little Japanese soldier in here still fighting the war!
Alan: Ha ha. You daft racist. Curly black and kinky, mixed with yellow chinky… can you still say that?
Michael: Oh, aye. You’re all right with that, like, because it’s a race of people, and it’s a food.
Alan: [Thoughtfully] Chinese. Yeah, you’re absolutely right, yeah.
[Alan’s bedroom phone rings.]
Alan: Partridge? Yes, I’ll hold. [He holds his hand over the receiver and talks to Michael] I’m possibly up for presenting a Hamilton’s Water Break video.
Alan: Yeah, you know, the Norfolk Broads?
Alan: I’ll tell you how I found out about this job. Bill Oddie was – sorry – hello, yes. Well, no, the last corporate job I did was for a company that makes toner for photocopiers. No, I was dressed as an exclamation mark. Well, no, I walked out after five minutes, it was demeaning. I had to flag a cab dressed up. Which helped, actually. Well I’d be delighted to do the job. Well now hang on, you can’t book me and ask me to pull out when Cliff Thorburn becomes available again. Well, now, look; you’ve got a choice. You can either book me now or wait for Cliff Thorburn. But if Cliff Thorburn goes AWOL you’re up slack alley. Now who’s it to be, me or Cliff Thorburn? [Crosses his fingers and looks to Michael] Thank you very much indeed. [Puts the phone down] Kiss my face!
Alan: I am going to present a corporate video for Hamilton’s Water Breaks.
[Alan starts miming something like tai chi, palms outstretched.]
Alan: Wai-aye – that sounds Geordie, doesn’t it? Wai-aye…
[Michael looks confused. Alan walks into the bathroom.]
Alan: You ever been to the Far East, Michael?
Michael: Well, only Manilla, Hong Kong and Bangkok, like.
Alan: [Interested] Bangkok?
Alan: Erm, so what did you see in Bangkok?
Michael: Oh I saw the Golden Temple, man. Beautiful, it was.
Alan: Yeah, what else?
Michael: Er, well there was the river market, like. All the little boats come up and they’ve got all the fresh produce on them, and –
Alan: [Walking out the bathroom and interrupting] Michael, Michael, Michael, Michael. Come on, tell me about the ladyboys.
Michael: Oh, you mean those transsexuals? Aye, I seen them, but, you know, they’re disgusting I kept away from them.
Alan: Oh God, yeah, yeah. Fascinating creatures, though. Looks like a lady, but really it’s a man. I don’t find them attractive, it’s just confusing. I don’t suppose you’ve got any army stories about them?
Michael: I did hear about this corporal, right?
[Alan lies down on the bed, listening to Michael’s story, fascinated.]
Michael: And he’s in the third battalion this lad, but he’s right mean, OK? And he goes out in Bangkok, right? And all the prostitutes is comin’ up and saying “How much?” and he’s going “Oh I’m not paying that”, right? And then this beautiful lassie comes up –
[While Michael tells his story, Lynn knocks on the door.]
Michael: – she’s gorgeous, man. And she’s half the price of the others. And they’re getting down to it –
[Lynn enters the room]
Michael: – he puts his hand up her skirt, gets a hold of the old meat and two veg, right? Thinks, hang on, I’ve paid my money, I’m going to have something, so he flips him over, and he fu-
[Michael has just noticed Lynn, standing in the corner of the room.]
Michael: And funnily enough, it lands on its wheels, and it starts first time and they just drive away.
Alan: Strangest story I’ve ever heard. [Gets up] Oh, hello. Lynn. Oh! I see what you were… ah, right, yes. Hello, Michael was just telling me an army story about a friend of his who slept with… a landrover. Lonely nights in the desert.
Michael: That’s all fixed, now, Mr. Partridge. I’ll be on my way.
Alan: Right, OK.
Michael: [To Lynn, on his way out] Morning.
Alan: Just check, that wasn’t the real ending to the story, was it?
Alan: You were just saying that because Lynn’s here?
Alan: Right, fine. [Closes the door behind Michael.]
Lynn: Just a few things, Alan.
Lynn: We’ve had a call from Norwich Radio. There’ve been more complaints from farmers about… what you said.
Alan: Right, how many?
Alan: Oh, your age. [Alan sits on the side of his bed] Well, Hamilton’s have –
Lynn: Alan, you’ve come free at the side.
Alan: [Adjusting himself] Oh, sorry, sorry. It was a genuine mistake. Anyway, I got the Hamilton’s job.
Lynn: Yes, I’ve been speaking to them. They’re coming over this afternoon.
Lynn: Did they say that you have to have your wife on the shoot?
Alan: [Getting up, irritated] Oh, Lynn, did you tell them that my wife has left me and she’s living with a narcissistic sports pimp? [He sighs, and sits back down.]
Lynn: You’ve… you’ve popped out again.
Alan: Oh. [Adjusts himself again, with a sigh] That wasn’t deliberate, I promise you. It’s not a cry for help. It’s just I’ve had these shorts since 1982. They did have an underpant lining, but it’s perished. They’ve taken a bit of a pounding over the years. In fact, can you get me some new ones, please?
[Lynn writes his request down on her notepad.]
Alan: I’m going to have to ring Carol and ask if she’ll do the corporate video. Lynn, Lynn, you speak to her, you speak to her, please. [Gives the phone to Lynn, who groans.]
Lynn: Hello. Yes, he is. [Hands the phone to Alan. The cord is pulled round her neck.] It’s a man.
Alan: Oh, that’s her boyfriend. Hello? Yeah, it’s Alan, your lover’s husband. The immersion heater? [Alan sits behind Lynn, making the telephone cord pull tighter on her neck] It’s underneath the stairs. You only really need to press that if you’re having a deep bath. Well, put it on an hour before, Bob’s your uncle, you’ve got a deep bath. Yeah, well if you would, please, yes. [To Lynn] He’s gone to get Carol. You speak to her, you speak to her.
[Alan hands the phone back to Lynn. The cord is now wrapped around both their necks, tying their heads uncomfortably close together.]
Lynn: Hello, Carol, how are you?
[Alan makes a ‘get to the point’ hand gesture]
Lynn: Oh, er, Carol, would you like to be in Alan’s corporate video? Right. [To Alan] She says no and she wants to speak to you.
Alan: Tell her I’m not here.
Lynn: He’s not here. [To Alan] She says she can hear your voice.
Alan: Erm, call her a fat cow then hang up.
Lynn: Fat cow!
[Lynn slams the phone down. In doing so, she pulls her and Alan’s heads down towards the bed.]
Alan: Well done, Lynn. Now, before we get up, I’m just going to warn you, I have popped out again. It’s in no way connected with our proximity, so just don’t turn round.
[Alan untangles himself from the phone and adjusts his crotch.]
Alan: Right, the boys are back in the barracks! [Singing] Take a pinch of white man…[Walks off]
[Cut to Alan and Lynn in the lift. Lynn has a sly smile on her face.]
Alan: What we need is a great big melting pot / big enough to take the world and all it’s got / keep it turning-
Lynn: I could pretend to be your wife.
[Her smile fades slowly. After a few seconds of silence, the lift doors open. Alan leaves the lift shaking his head at Lynn. At reception, Alan greets Susan. Lynn walks past and leaves.]
Susan: Hello, Alan!
Alan: Lynn’s a good worker, but, I suppose she’s a bit like Bert Reynolds. Very reliable, but she’s got a moustache. Bit like ladyboys. Look like a woman, but really it’s a man. I mean, I don’t find them attractive, just confusing.
[Sophie appears behind reception.]
Alan: Morning, Sophie. You’re not a man, are you?
Sophie: No. Would you settle this month’s bill, please?
Alan: [Taking the bill from her] Right. Eight pounds ‘Miscellaneous Services’. That sounds disconcertingly vague.
Sophie: [Smirking slightly] You used this pay channel [Writes something down on the bill in front of him]
Alan: Ah, right, yeah. It’s very confusing.
[Sophie turns away to hide her laughter.]
Alan: Sophie, I find the pay channels very confusing. Can I just explain? I was trying to access ‘Driving Miss Daisy’.
Sophie: [Turning back] Oh, right. And that’s why you only watched it for fifteen minutes?
Alan: Yes, because it was the wrong film. Have you seen it, is it good?
Sophie: What, ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ or ‘Bangkok Chick-boys?’
Alan: [Sternly] ‘Driving Miss Daisy’. Is it a good film?
Sophie: I don’t know, I haven’t seen it. Was ‘Bangkok Chick-boys’ good?
Alan: I don’t know, I didn’t see it. I couldn’t see it because I was in the bathroom.
Sophie: Oh, Ben. Mr. Partridge was just saying that he couldn’t see ‘Bangkok Chick-boys’ from his bathroom.
Ben: Well you can if you angle the mirror by the door. Do you want me to show you?
Alan: No! I only watched it for five minutes. The remote control’s confusing.
[Sophie smiles at Ben.]
Ben: Oh, what you will have done is, when it flashed up on your screen, ‘Do you want to watch Bangkok Chick-boys?’ you must have pressed the button that said ‘yes’.
Alan: Yeah, well, as I say, it’s very confusing.
Ben: Do you want me to come up and show you the button that says ‘no’?
Alan: Yes. I mean, yes, I want you to come up and show me the button that says ‘no’.
Ben: Oh, and I’ll show you that mirror thing.
Alan: No. [To Sophie] Look, do you want me to settle this bill?
Sophie: Er, no. I mean, yes! You’re right, it is confusing, isn’t it?
Alan: [Sternly] Yes.
[Cut to the bar, where Michael is serving. He turns round and notices Alan.]
Michael: Oh, hello Mr. Partridge. Drink?
Alan: No, no. Have you got any tonic water?
Alan: [Michael follows Alan’s directions.] With some ice… and… a segment of lemon… yeah, and could you top it up with some Gordon’s Gin.
Michael: Gin and tonic.
Alan: Yeah, that’s right. Yeah, fine.
[Alan is leafing through a brown folder. Lynn arrives]
Lynn: Hello Alan.
Alan: Oh, hello.
Lynn: The gentlemen from the corporate video are on their way.
Alan: Excellent. Well, I’ve done my homework. Would you like a drink?
Lynn: Oh, thank you. Well, I’ll have a Baileys.
Alan: One small Baileys, please. Lynn, I was thinking about getting a substitute wife, and I would really love you to [Lynn perks up] go down to Sol Dangerfield’s casting agency [Lynn’s face falls] and tell them to get me a forty year-old scorcher. And do use that word.
[Lynn leaves just as the two Hamilton’s men arrive.]
Steve: Er, are you Alan Partridge?
Steve: Hi! I’m Steve Bennet. I’m the director of the Hamilton’s Water Breaks video.
[Alan and Steve shake hands.]
Alan: Oh, right. We spoke on the phone?
Steve: Yeah. This is Hugh Morris, he’s the marketing director for Hamilton’s. He’s going to be coming along with us, sort of keeping an eye on us.
Alan: Make sure I don’t sink the boat and drown everyone like a big twit!
Hugh: [Uses a voice box] No, I’ll be down the pub, probably.
Hugh: I’ll be down the pub, getting the beers in!
[Hugh and Steve laugh.]
Alan: Why are you speaking like that?
Hugh: Oh, it’s a voice box.
Alan: That’s great fun! Do you get those at a toyshop?
Hugh: Alan, I haven’t got any vocal chords.
Alan: You sound like the girl in The Exorcist.
[Hugh and Steve laugh.]
Alan: I’ve got to say, I love the script, it’s superb.
[Hugh and Steve snigger.]
Alan: There’s a lovely phrase in it, which says, “Boating appeals to both friends and family alike”. Lovely phrase, very simple, very moving.
Steve: Alan, it’s a boat video. You know, we’re not making a James Bond movie.
Alan: Interesting, because you do sound like a baddie in a James Bond film. [Points at Hugh] Dr. No… vocal chords.
[Steve and Hugh look bemused for a second, and then laugh. Hugh sighs deeply into his voice box, making a strange guttural sound. Alan looks at him anxiously.]
Steve: No, Alan, we want to keep it simple. That’s why we hired you – you’re a local fella, you know, that means good communications with tradesmen, with landlords, with farmers – [Alan winces slightly] – and at the end of the day, the pubs are open, and we’ll be in there getting pissed, really!
Alan: Sounds good to me! Michael, do you want to pop that in the bin?
Alan: [Hands him the folder] Just some notes I made last night, for a laugh. I was drunk, you know. Yeah, I mean, I woke up this morning asleep on the sink, just like this – [leans on the bar, half-crouching, with his eyes closed]. I’d been asleep for eight hours like that. Got up, walked downstairs, straight downstairs. Had breakfast, didn’t even wash my hands. ‘Cause I’m a bloody bloke!
[Hugh and Steve cheer.]
Alan: Yeah. Anyway, there’s the bar, gentlemen. Choose your weapons.
Hugh and Steve: What?
Alan: I’m offering you a drink.
Steve: Oh, right.
Hugh: Now you’re talking my language!
Alan: I hope not.
Steve: Pint of lager.
Hugh: Pint of lager.
Alan: Two lagers. Three lagers.
Michael: Three pints of lager, righty-ho.
Steve: You’re having a lager and these two drinks here?
Alan: Yes, yes. These… are… they’re chasers.
Steve: I’ve never had one of those.
Hugh: [Incredulous] God.
Alan: You’ve never had a lager and gin and tonic and Baileys Irish Cream chaser?
Alan: You big girls’ bras!
Hugh: Has that got a name, that drink?
Alan: Yeah, they’re called, er, Ladyboys.
Steve: Right, because gin and tonic and Baileys are, like, a lady’s drink, and lager’s a boy’s drink?
Alan: That’s why I said that. [Grunts] Cheers.
[Alan takes a gulp from his three drinks.]
Alan: [In a slightly choked voice] Ooh, ladyboys. Do you want one?
Steve and Hugh: Yeah, yeah.
Alan: Great! Three, no, four ladyboys.
Michael: Four ladyboys, righty-ho.
Alan: How much is that?
Michael: That’ll be, er, thirty-three pounds.
[Alan looks pained.]
Alan: Well, here’s to a good corporate video, and lots of being men.
[The three men chick their glasses and drink their lagers. Hugh puts on his voice box while he swallows, making a loud gurgling noise. Alan looks at him uncomfortably.]
[The camera fades out, then fades back in to Alan, leaning on the bar with his eyes closed, as before, only this time he’s not pretending.]
Steve: Alan? [Prods him]
Alan: Oh! I’m confused. What time is it?
Hugh: Six o’clock.
Alan: How long have we been drinking?
Steve: Three quarters of an hour.
Alan: I think I’ll, erm, go to my room and, er, lean on the sink. And have a little bit of… sick.
[Alan wanders off.]
Michael: Mr. Partridge, that’s the kitchens!
Alan: Yeah, I’m going to… cook all the food.
Steve: Alan, this is a hotel.
Alan: Three star.
[Cut to Alan’s hotel room, where he is sitting on the bed, dialling the phone.]
Alan: Hello, Carol? It’s Alan. How are you? Me? I’m having a fantastic time, yeah. I’m having the best time since… sliced bread. How’s Mr. Planet of the Apes man? Oh. Is he still driving that Renault Megane? Yeah, can I just read you something from Top Gear magazine? No, it’s alright, I’ve got it here, I’ve got it here. [Opens the magazine on the bed and reads] “With a mere ninety break-horse-power available, progress is too leisurely to be called fast, but on the motorway in fifth gear the Megane’s slow pace really becomes a pain. Uphill runs become power-sappingly mundane, while overtaking National Express coaches can become a long, drawn-out affair.” Not my words, Carol. The words of Top Gear magazine. [Click] Hello?
[Alan puts the phone down. There is a knock on the door.]
Alan: Come in.
Ben: Hiya. I’ve come to show you how to use your telly.
Alan: Oh yes, yes. It’s very confusing.
Ben: Yeah. [Picks up the remote control and flicks through the channels] So that’s Sky Movies… Sports… CNN… Adult Channel. That’s your dirty movies.
Alan: Yeah. Not really my cup of tea.
Ben: Well I can disconnect it. Put a scrambler on it, just lock it out the system.
Alan: Er… that’ll probably be a lot of trouble, won’t it?
Ben: Not really. It’s just a switch.
Ben: Look, it’s up to you, yeah? You’re the boss. What you get up to in here, it’s your business.
Alan: [Defensively] I don’t get up to anything!
Ben: Do you want me to disconnect it?
Ben: OK. [Flicks a switch on the back of the TV] There, that’s disconnected.
[Cut to the small riverside harbour where the video is to be shot. Alan walks over and sits down at a table in a pub beer garden, where Steve and a couple of other men are sitting. He is carrying a pint of bitter.]
Alan: Alright, lads?
Men: Alright, Alan.
Alan: I got really drunk last night. I was sick everywhere. Were you sick?
Men: No, not really. No.
[A couple of attractive young women walk past. The men flirt crudely – “look at the legs on that! Hello! Alright?”]
Alan: Mmm. She was certainly first in the queue when God was handing out… chests, or, mammary glands. Ooh! I’d love to have it off with her. Urrgh! Sex.
[Cut to the corporate video – a shot of the harbour, with superimposed title ‘Hamilton’s Water Breaks’, then a swan in the river]
Alan (VO): For a British holiday with a difference on a boat, always choose Hamilton’s Waterways. With the melting of the polar ice caps, most of East Anglia will be underwater in the next thirty years. So make the most of the stunning fens before the floods come, causing a little concern for these local farmers I chatted to.
[Alan is now being followed by four menacing farmers. Alan is mouthing the words “stop now, stay there”. He looks anxious. The video then cuts to Alan and his agency ‘wife’, arm-in-arm, pretending to point at something. They then move stiffly away, Alan giving surreptitious directions.]
Alan (VO): This is my wife and I going off to the local marketplace, where we could buy anything from plimsolls to posters of famous Hollywood stars.
[Alan is now inside a holiday barge. The camera pulls out from a close-up of the toilet.]
Alan: This chemical toilet is a Saniflow 33. Now this little babe can cope with anything, and I mean anything. Earlier on I put in a pound of mashed-up Dundee cake. Let’s take a look [He opens the lid] Not a trace. Peace of mind I’m sure, especially if you have elderly relatives on board.
[Cut to a profile shot of Alan steering the barge down the river.]
Alan: [Sighs] Try pedestrianising this!
Steve: [Off-camera] OK, can you hold that pose, now, Alan?
[In the background, the menacing farmers, now five, come into view and follow the barge, shouting insults. Alan maintains his broad smile.]
Farmer: Partridge, you wanker!
Alan: [Once the farmers have left the shot] We’ll dub that out. Play some music over it.
[Cut to inside the barge kitchen. Alan and his ‘wife’ are having breakfast.]
Alan: How are your, er, how’s your friends?
Alan (VO): It might look a bit poky from the outside, but a Hamilton’s boat is deceptively large. My wife and I found it actually offers the kind of luxury and comfort you’d normally associate with a good quality static caravan.
Alan: You’re not having any bacon?
Wife: No, I’m vegetarian.
Alan: Yes… I know. Just a joke.
[Cut to by the harbour, where Alan is interviewing a young blonde woman.]
Alan: I’m joined by Alice, who’s not going to shrink me into a little bottle. She’s going to tell me about Hamilton’s Holiday Breaks. You regularly book, don’t you?
Alan: And do you do that with your boyfriend, or…?
Alice: No, I do it alone.
Alan: What, you book alone?
Alan: How old are you?
Alan: What do you do on a boat, alone?
Alice: Read a book, relax, look at the scenery.
Alan: [Turns to someone off-camera] No, she sounds weird. We can’t use that. Sorry, thank-you, love. Thank you. [Alice walks off] A bit odd.
Steve: [Off-camera] Cut!
[Fade to the car park at Norwich Radio, where Alan’s new car, a Rover 200, is parked. Inside, Alan is in the interview room, talking to Peter Baxendale Thomas. Title jingle plays.]
Radio Norwich: Up with the Partridge.
Alan: You’re joining me, Alan Partridge, and Peter Baxendale Thomas of the Norfolk Farmer’s Union. Now, yesterday I, sort of, trod in a rather large farmer’s pat when I made some comments about intensive farming. Where did I go wrong?
Peter: Well I think your comments were ill founded. They were deeply ignorant, they showed a complete lack of understanding of modern agricultural methods, and simply served to highlight the sort of intense stupidity that farmers encounter from armchair pundits who forget to think before they open their mouths. But with a full and frank apology that you’re about to give us this morning I’m sure you can dig yourself out of this rather ugly hole.
[Alan has looked increasingly irritated throughout Peter’s speech. He now forces a smile.]
Alan: Yeah. Erm, sorry. Er, do you have any requests, anybody you want to say hello to, or…?
Peter: Look, I’m just trying to say that when you make ignorant comments like you did the other day, you serve simply to alarm the public and inflame the farmers, which is exactly what you’ve done. Why don’t you just apologise and make it nice and simple –
[Alan interrupts Peter with a loud impression of a cow’s moo.]
Alan: Thought that’d fool you. You could talk the hind-legs off a donkey. But your donkeys are probably born without hind legs because of all the chemicals you put in their… chips.
Peter: Alan, I don’t have donkeys. And even if I did I wouldn’t feed them chips. This is exactly the sort of rubbish you came up with the other day when you talked about putting a spine in a bap.
Alan: I admit that was a mistake. I shouldn’t have said bap.
Peter: Well, good. Well, that’s a start.
Alan: Well, no, I should have said baguette. Because a spinal column would fit in a baguette.
Peter: Listen, you’ve upset half the farmers in this community. You seem to alienate everybody you come across, including, I gather, your wife, which is why you end up living like some bloody tramp in a lay-by.
Alan: It’s a travel tavern.
Peter: I don’t care what you call your sordid little grief-hole. It makes no difference to me. The fact is that an awful lot of my colleagues are –
Alan: [Interrupting] Are farmyard animals, yes.
Peter: You’re talking about my friends, here.
Alan: I’ve probably got more friends than you’ve got cows.
Peter: This is ridiculous.
Alan: How many cows have you got?
Peter: I’ve got a hundred cattle.
Alan: Yeah, I’ve got a hundred and four friends.
Peter: I don’t see what this is going to gain you. Why don’t you just issue a frank and full retraction of what you said, and you’ll get yourself out of a lot of silly bother.
Alan: Yeah, you are a big posh sod with plums in your mouth.
Peter: I don’t think it’s got anything to do with class –
Alan: And the plums have mutated and they’ve got beaks.
Alan: Yes, beaks.
Peter: Have you got any more of this, or do you want to stop at quacking plums?
Alan: No, no. You make pigs smoke.
Peter: I want to know where you think you earned the right to go swanning off on these ludicrous flights of –
Alan: Ah, swans. You feed beefburgers to swans.
Peter: Do I?
Alan: Yes, you do.
Peter: All right, well, perhaps you can tell me what’s wrong with feeding beefburgers to swans?
Peter: Well if you fill a swan’s stomach up with beefburgers it’s full of fat and it’ll float better. That’s why we do it.
Peter: No, you complete cretin. I’m just contributing to this total farce. What else are you going to accuse me of?
Alan: I’ll tell you what. You farmers, you don’t like outsiders, do you? You like to stick to your own.
Peter: What do you mean by that?
Alan: I’ve seen the big-eared boys on farms.
Peter: Oh, for goodness’ sake.
Alan: If you see a lovely field with a family having a picnic, and there’s a nice pond in it, you fill in the pond with concrete, you plough the family into the field, you blow up the tree, and use the leaves to make a dress for your wife who’s also your brother.
Peter: Look, have I got anything else to say here or shall I go?
Alan: Well, listen, I’ll tell you what the point is. You have big sheds, but nobody’s allowed in, and inside these big sheds are twenty-foot high chickens. Because of all the chemicals you put in them.
[While Alan talks, Peter shakes his head, gathers his stuff together, and goes to leave.]
Alan: And these chickens are scared. They don’t know why they’re so big. They go “oh why am I so massive?” And they’re looking down on all the other little chickens, and they think they’re in an aeroplane because all the other chickens are so small… do you deny that? [Peter has left] No. His silence, I think, speaks volumes.
[Lynn enters the room. Alan gestures furiously at her to take Peter’s seat. She does.]
Alan: And… and basically, do you agree that everything I’ve said thus far is completely correct?
[Alan mouthes “lower”, and gestures.]
Lynn: [In a deep voice] Yes.
Alan: And do you also run over badgers in your tractor, for fun?
Alan: Thank you, Peter Baxendale Thomas. This is T’Pau.
[Music plays, T’Pau’s ‘China In Your Hand’]
Lynn: [Normal voice again] How did it go?
Alan: Oh, you know. Up and down.
Lynn: More bad news, I’m afraid. The actress playing your wife can’t do the filming today.
Alan: Oh, for God’s – why not?
Lynn: She’s got a part in The Bill. She’s playing a shoplifter.
Alan: Oh, that’s quite good. Oh well, we’ll just have to think of something.
[Cut to Alan, on the deck of the holiday barge. Someone is holding a clapperboard up to the screen.]
Female voice: Scene thirteen, take two.
[The clapperboard is removed, to reveal what is presumably the back of Alan’s wife’s head, sitting opposite him on the deck.]
Alan: One of the benefits of global warming and international terrorism is that more and more people are holidaying in England. I’ll drink to that, cheers!
[Alan and ‘wife’ chink glasses]
Alan: [To Steve, off camera] How was that, OK?
Steve: No, it’s not working. You can tell.
[Alan’s ‘wife’ turns around. It is a middle-aged man in a black wig and dress. Cut to Alan on the barge again, only this time his ‘wife’ has been replaced by a rather obviously inanimate dummy, dressed in the same black wig and dress. The clapperboard is held up.]
Female voice: Scene thirteen, take three.
[Clapperboard is taken away]
Alan: [Holds his glass up to the ‘wife’ and smiles] One of the benefits of global warming and international terrorism is –
[The dummy wife has fallen forward]
Alan: You alright there, love?
[Alan gets up to push her back, and then sits back down]
Alan: Is that –
Steve: [Off camera] No, no, no.
Steve: Cut it.
Alan: No, right.
[Cut to Alan, standing on the bow of the barge, his dummy wife positioned awkwardly next to him, in a sitting position. In the background, the menacing farmers, now seven, surround an ominous large dark object, on a bridge over the river. The barge moves towards them slowly.]
Alan: [To his wife] Absolutely! [To camera] The Norfolk Broads offer the true peace and tranquillity of the English countryside. A million miles from the urban decay of the Manchester Ship Canal, and the pot-smoking, whore-ridden waterways of Amsterdam. Indeed, disused cotton-mills and legalised hardcore pornography are a million miles away from your thoughts as you negotiate the Norfolk Broads. In fact, the very fact that hardcore pornography is not on the agenda –
[Alan is stopped mid-sentence by a large Friesian cow dropped on his head from above. The camera now moves frenetically around, in a hand-held style. Everyone talks at once.]
Hugh: What’s going on? What’s going on?
Steve: It’s a cow. It’s a dead cow! Where the bloody hell did that come from?
Hugh: Where did the cow come from?
[The farmers on the bridge are now running away. Alan is groaning with pain, flat on his back on the deck of the barge, underneath the cow]
Steve: I know it’s not funny. I know it’s not funny.
Alan: [Slowly] Can you hear me? I’m trapped under a cow.
Steve: Alright, he’s OK. Look, get the cow of the boat please.
Hugh: Get that cow off the boat!
Alan: I’m not OK. I’m not OK. Help! I can feel an udder on my leg.
Steve: Call Cliff Thorburn now, please.
Alan: Cliff Thorburn is not, primarily, a presenter. He is a snooker – ex-snooker player – and is an unknown quantity.
Hugh: Yeah, but he’s not under a cow.
[Cut to a close-up of Alan’s head, speaking to camera]
Alan: So book a holiday with Hamilton’s. ‘Water-way’ to have a good time. Cheers!
[An arm holds up a pint of bitter to Alan’s mouth, and he sips it.]
Steve: [Off-camera] Cut! OK, stick him in the ambulance.
[The camera pulls back to reveal Alan, tied onto a stretcher, which has been held vertical by two paramedics. The arm belonged to a man dressed in a blazer identical to Alan’s. The paramedics carry Alan away.]
Steve: Lovely, great, well done.
Hugh: [Off-camera] Cheers, Alan!
Alan: Thank you.
Hugh: Well done.
[Cut to the car park of Linton Travel Tavern, at night. Inside, Alan, moving stiffly, is positioning a mirror outside the bathroom door. He moves inside the bathroom to check he can see the TV from the bath. He can. Cut to Alan taking off his jumper by the bed, to reveal a neck brace.]
[Alan sighs and lies down on his bed. He switches the TV on.]
TV: [Female voice] Hello, and welcome to The Learning Zone, Thursday night into Friday morning on BBC2.
[Alan looks bored. He leans over and picks up the phone.]
Alan: Hello, is that reception? Susan? Oh, hi. Can you make pornography come on my telly please? Oh, that’s very nice of you. Thank you.
[Alan puts the phone down. He then looks at his right hand, which is bandaged up. He groans.]
[Fade to black.]