The Hairdressers Ascent up Mount Everest

(Begins with a picture of the sun rising over two mountain peaks)

Announcer (Michael Palin): Mount Everest. Forbidding, aloof, terrifying. The mountain with the biggest tits in the world.

(Gong crashes, a disgusted voice interrupts)

Voice Over (Eric Idle): Start again!

(A hideous clown in green plaid shirt, 14-inch wide blue polka-dotted bow tie, red curly wig, false teeth and an ugly mask steps in front of the picture of the mountain for a second and waves.)

Announcer: Mount Everest. Forbidding, aloof, terrifying. This year, this remote Himalayan mountain, this mystical temple, surrounded by the most difficult terrain in the world, repulsed yet another attempt to conquer it. (Picture changes to wind-swept, snowy tents and people) This time, by the International Hairdresser's Expedition. In such freezing, adverse conditions, man comes very close to breaking point. What was the real cause of the disharmony which destroyed their chances at success?

(Hairdresser #1 is a snowy, bundled up climber with a very gay voice. Hairdressers #2 and #3 are even more gay and windswept.)

Hairdresser #1: Well, people keep taking your hairdryer on every turn.

Hairdresser #2: There's a lot of bitching in the tents.

Hairdresser #3: You couldn't get near the mirror.

(Cut to the announcer, a stuffy looking older man, delicately trimming millimeters off the leaves of cabbages growing in his country garden.)

Announcer: The leader of the expedition was Colonel Sir John Teasy-Weasy Butler, veteran K2, Annapurna, and Vidal. His plan was to ignore the usual route around the South Col and to make straight for the top.

(next part shows a map of the mountain)

Cheesy-Weezy: We established Base Salon here, and climbed quite steadily up to Mario's, here. From here, using crampons and cutting ice steps as we went, we moved steadily up the Lohtse face to the north ridge, establishing Camp Three, where we could get a hot meal, a manicure, and a shampoo and set.

Announcer: Could it work? Could this 18-year old hairdresser from Brixton succeed where others had failed? The situation was complicated by the imminent arrival of the monsoon storms. Patrice takes up the story.

(cut to Patrice (Eric Idle) in a salon, very effeminately brushing and blow- drying a customer's hair.)

Patrice: Well, we knew as well as anyone that the monsoons were due. But the thing was, Ricky and I had just had a blow dry and rinse, and we couldn't go out for a couple of days.

(Picture of mountaineers climbing down mountain)

Announcer: After a blazing row, the Germans and Italians had turned back, taking with them the last of the hairnets. On the third day, a blizzard blew up. Temperatures fell to minus 30 degrees centigrade. Inside the little tent, things were getting desperate.

(Ricky (Michael Palin) and John Cleese are crowded inside a little tent, sporting beards, hairnets, and curlers. They sit beneath stationary hairdryers. Cleese is reading, Ricky is buffing his nails.)

Ricky: Well, things have gotten so bad that we've been forced to use the last of the heavy oxygen equipment just to keep the dryers going. (A woman hands him a cup of tea.) Oh, she's a treasure.

Cleese: Shhh!

(another mountain climbing scene)

Announcer: But a new factor had entered the race. A team of French chiropodists, working with brand new corn plasters and Dr. Scholl's Mountaineering Sandals, were covering ground fast. The Glasgow Orpheus male voice choir were tackling the difficult north part. All together, fourteen expeditions were at the scene. This was it. Ricky had to make a decision.

(back to Patrice at his salon)

Patrice: Well, we decided to open a salon.

Announcer: It was a tremendous success.

(the following is accompanied by pictures of great mountaineering heros upon whom are pasted elaborate Marie Antoinette style hairdos)

Announcer: Challenging Everest? Why not drop in at Ricky Pule's, only 24,000 feet from this cinema. (A huge pink neon sign reading 'Ricky's' appears on the mountain.) Ricky and Maurice offer a variety of styles for the well-groomed climber. Why should Tenzing and Sir Edmond Hillary be number one on top, when you're number one on top?

Continue to the next sketch... Fire Brigade / Our Eamonn