Flying Lessons

Mr Chigger (Terry Jones): Excuse me, I saw your advertisement for flying lessons and I'd like to make an application.

Secretary (Carol Cleveland): Appointment?

Mr Chigger: Yes, yes.

Secretary: Certainly. Would you come this way, please?

(She gets up, clutching a file and trips off in a typical efficient secretary's walk. Mr Chigger follows. Cut to a river. She goes straight in without looking to right or left, as if she does this routine as a matter of course. Mr Chigger follows. Halfway across the river they pass a couple of business executives hurrying in the opposite direction.)

Secretary: Morning, Mr Jones, Mr Barnes.

(Cut to a forest. They come past towards camera, passing a tea trolley on the way with a tea lady and a couple of men around it.)

Secretary: Morning Mrs Wills.

Mrs Wills: Morning, luv.

(Arty shot. Skyline of a short sharp hill, as in Bergman's 'Seventh Seal'. They come in frame right and up and over, passing two men and exchanging 'Good mornings'. Cut to seashore. Tripping along, they pass another executive.)

Executive: Take this to Marketing, would you.

(They disappear into a cave. We hear footsteps and a heavy door opening.)

Secretary's Voice: Just follow me.

Mr Chigger's Voice: Oh thank you.

(Cut to a shopping street. Camera pans in close-up across road surface.)

Secretary's Voice: Oh, be careful.

Mr Chigger's Voice: Yes, nearly tripped.

Secretary's Voice: Be there soon.

Mr Chigger's Voice: Good. It's a long way, isn't it?

Secretary's Voice: Oh, get hold of that - watch it.

Voice: Morning.

Secretary's Voice: Morning. Upstairs. Be careful, it's very steep. Almost there.

(Camera reaches a GPO tent in middle of road.)

Voice: Morning.

Secretary: Morning. (they emerge from the tent) Will you come this way, please. (cut to interior office, another identical secretary at the desk) In here, please.

Mr Chigger: Thank you. (he enters and first secretary trips off he approaches the second secretary) Hello, I saw your advertisement for flying lessons and I'd like to make an appointment.

Second Secretary: Well, Mr Anemone's on the phone at the moment, but I'm sure he won't mind if you go on in. Through here.

Mr Chigger: Thank you.

(He goes through door. Mr Anemone is suspended by a wire about nine feet off the ground. He is on the telephone.)

Mr Anemone: Ah, won't be a moment. Make yourself at home. (into phone) No, no, well look, you can ask Mr Maudling but I'm sure he'll never agree. Not for fifty shillings ... no... no. Bye-bye Gordon. Bye-bye. Oh dear. Bye-bye. (he throws receiver at telephone but misses) Missed. Now Mr er...

Mr Chigger: Chigger.

Mr Anemone: Mr Chigger. So, you want to learn to fly?

Mr Chigger: Yes.

Mr Anemone: Right, well, up on the table, arms out, fingers together, knees bent...

Mr Chigger: No, no, no.

Mr Anemone: (very loudly) Up on the table! (Mr Chigger gets on the table) Arms out, fingers together, knees bent, now, head well forward. Now, flap your arms. Go on, flap, faster... faster... faster... faster, faster, faster, faster - now jump! (Mr Chigger jumps and lands on the floor) Rotten. Rotten. You're no bloody use at all. You're an utter bloody wash-out. You make me sick, you weed!

Mr Chigger: Now look here...

Mr Anemone: All right, all right. I'll give you one more chance, get on the table...

Mr Chigger: Look, I came here to learn how to fly an aeroplane.

Mr Anemone: A what?

Mr Chigger: I came here to learn how to fly an aeroplane.

Mr Anemone: (sarcasticaly) Oh, 'an aeroplane'. Oh, I say, we are grand, aren't we? (imitation posh accent) 'Oh, oh, no more buttered scones for me, mater. I'm off to play the grand piano'. 'Pardon me while I fly my aeroplane.' Now get on the table!

Mr Chigger: Look. No one in the history of the world has ever been able to fly like that.

Mr Anemone: Oh, I suppose mater told you that while you were out riding. Well, if people can't fly what am I doing up here?

Mr Chigger: You're on a wire.

Mr Anemone: Oh, a wire. I'm on a wire, am I?

Mr Chigger: Of course you're on a bloody wire.

Mr Anemone: I am not on a wire. I am flying.

Mr Chigger: You're on a wire.

Mr Anemone: I am flying.

Mr Chigger: You're on a wire.

Mr Anemone: I'll show you whether I'm on a wire or not. Give me the 'oop.

Mr Chigger: What?

Mr Anemone: Oh, I don't suppose we know what an 'oop is. I suppose pater thought they were a bit common, except on the bleedin' croquet lawn.

Mr Chigger: Oh, a hoop.

Mr Anemone: 'Oh an hoop.' (taking hoop) Thank you, your bleeding Highness. Now. Look. (he waves hoop over head and feet)

Mr Chigger: Go on, right the way along.

Mr Anemone: All right, all right, all right. (he moves hoop all the way along himself allowing the wire to pass through obvious gap in hoop's circumference). Now, where's the bleeding wire, then?

Mr Chigger: That hoop's got a hole in.

Mr Anemone: Oh Eton and Madgalene. The hoop has an hole in. Of course it's got a hole in, it wouldn't be a hoop otherwise, would it, mush!

Mr Chigger: No, there's a gap in the middle, there.

Mr Anemone: Oh, a gahp. A gahp in one's hhhhhoop. Pardon me, but I'm off to play the grand piano.

Mr Chigger: Look, I can see you're on a wire - look, there it is.

Mr Anemone: Look, I told you, you bastard, I'm not on a wire.

Mr Chigger: You are. There is.

Mr Anemone: There isn't.

Mr Chigger: Is.

Mr Anemone: Isn't!

Mr Chigger: Is!

Mr Anemone: Isn't!

Mr Chigger: Is!

Mr Anemone: Isn't!

Mr Chigger: Is!

Mr Anemone: Isn't!!

Mr Chigger: Is!!!

Voice Over: Anyway, this rather pointless bickering went on for some time until...

Caption on screen: 'TWO YEARS LATER' Interior cockpit of airliner. (Mr Chigger and a second pilot sitting at controls.)

Mr Chigger: Gosh, I am glad I'm a fully qualified arline pilot.

(Cut to BALPA spokesman sitting at a desk. He is in Captain's uniform and has a name plate in front of him on the desk saying 'BALPA Spokesman)

BALPA Man: The British Airline Pilots Association would like to point out that it takes a chap six years to become a fully qualified airline pilot, and not two.

(Caption on screen: 'FOUR YEARS LATER THAN THE LAST CAPTION' Interior cockpit. For three seconds. Then cut back to BALPA spokesman.)

BALPA Man: Thank you. I didn't want to seem a bit of an old fusspot just now you know, but it's just as easy to get these things right as they are easily found in the BALPA handbook. Oh, one other thing, in the Sherlock Holmes last week Tommy Cooper told a joke about a charter flight, omitting to point out that one must be a member of any organization that charters a plane for at least six months beforehand, before being able to take advantage of it. Did rather spoil the joke for me, I'm afraid. (phone ring) Yes, ah yes - yes. (puts phone down) My wife just reminded me that on a recent 'High Chapparal' Kathy Kirby was singing glibly about 'Fly me to the Stars' when of course there are no scheduled flights of this kind, or even chartered, available to the general public at the present moment, although of course, when they are BALPA will be in the vanguard. Or the Trident. Little joke for the chaps up at BALPA House. And one other small point. Why is it that these new lurex dancing tights go baggy at the knees after only a couple of evenings fun? Bring back the old canvas ones I say. It is incredible, isn't it, that in these days when man can walk on the moon and work out the most complicated hire purchase agreements, I still get these terrible headaches. Well . .. I seem to have wandered a bit, but still, no harm done. Jolly good luck.

(Back in the cockpit of the airliner. The two pilots sit there. Atmospheric noise of a big airliner in flight. Suddenly there is a banging on the door at the back of the cockpit.)

Zanie: (off-screen) Are you going to be in there all day? (the two pilots exchange a puzzled look, then shrug and go back to flying; suddenly another series of bangs on door) Other people want to go you know! (they exchange another look; pause; a heavier bang on the door) The door's jammed, if you ask me. (a crash as he attempts to force it; another crash and the door flies open; Mr Zanie enters) Ah. (suddenly realizing where he is) Oh my God. Oh, I'm terribly sorry. I thought this was the bally toilet.

Second Pilot: This is the control cabin.

Zanie: Oh I know that. I'm a flying man, you know... oh yes... Bally stupid mistake...

(A pause. Zanie remains sanding at the back of cockpit. The pilots go on as if he is not there.)

Second Pilot: Cloud's heavy ... What's the reading?

Mr Chigger: 4.8... Steady.

Zanie: If they had all those dials in the toilet... there wouldn't be room for anything else, would there. (another nervous laugh; not the slightest reaction from the pilots)

Mr Chigger: (into intercorn) Hello, Geneva this is Roger Five-O ... What is your cloud reading? Hello, Geneva...

Zanie: I wouldn't fancy flying one of those sitting on the toilet... I mean it'd take the glamour out of being a pilot, wouldn't it, ha ha, flying around the world sitting on a toilet.

Radio Voice: Geneva here. 4.9 ... Heavy... Over.

Mr Chigger: Serious?

Second Pilot: No, not if it keeps at that level, no.

Zanie: Mind you, if you did fly it from the toilet it would leave a lot more space up here, wouldn't it. (finally he realizes his attempt at small talk is not working) Well, I'd better get back to the cabin, then. Sorry about the silly intrusion. Bally stupid. (he pushes lever down on the door which opens directly out of the plane) Door's jammed. (he gives it a shoulder charge and flies straight out of the plane) Aaaaaaaaaarrrggghhhhhh!

(Plane noise overhead Continue scream. Outside of a gent's lavatory, there is a big pile of straw. Pause, then Zanie drops onto the straw. He looks up at gent's sign.)

Zanie: Bally piece of luck...

(He brushes himself down and goes into gents. Cut back to cockpit. A hostess enters from the passenger cabin.)

Second Pilot: Oh hello. Everything all right at the back?

Hostess: Yes, they're as quiet as dormice.

Second Pilot: Dormice?

(Door opens and a man in a neat suit enters. From beneath his jacket he produces a revolver with silencer attachment. He points it at the pilots.)

Continue to the next sketch... Hijacked Plane (to Luton)