Mary Recruitment Office

(Pull back to show that 'Mary' is part of a sign saying: 'Mary Recruitment Office'. Pull out to reveal that it is a sign over a shop as for 'army recruiting office. An R.S.M. with waxed moustache and snappy straight-against-the-firehead peaked cap comes out of the shop. He hangs a clearly printed sign on a nail on the door. It reads: 'Sketch just starting - actor wanted'.)

Voice Over (John Cleese): Sketch just starting, actor wanted.

(The R.S.M. looks up and down the road, glances up at the sign above his shop without noticing it. He goes inside again. A man walks up, reads the sign and enters. He is Mr Man.)

Mr Man (Eric Idle): Good morning.

R.S.M. (Graham Chapman): Morning, sir.

Mr Man: I'd like to join the army please.

R.S.M.: I see. Short service or long service commission, sir?

Mr Man: As long as possible please.

R.S.M.: Right well I'll just take a few particulars and then...

(Suddenly he looks as though a dim memory has penetrated his skull. He breaks off, looking thoughtful, walks towards the door and exits. He comes out of shop, looks up at word 'Mary', tuts and changes the letters round to read 'Army'. He suddenly looks round and we see a queue of nuns.)

R.S.M.: Shove off! (he goes back inside) Then there'll be a few forms to sign, and of course we'll need references and then a full medical examination by the ...

Mr Man: Yes. Yes, yes I see. (diffidently) I was just wondering whether it would be possible for me to join... the women's army?

R.S.M.: The Women's Royal Army Corps, sir?

Mr Man: Yes. I was just thinking, you know, if it was possible for me to have my choice ... I'd prefer to be in the Women's Royal Amy Corps.

R.S.M.: Well, I'm afraid that the people that recruit here normally go straight into the Scots Guards.

Mr Man: Which is all... men... I suppose?

R.S.M.: Yes it is.

Mr Man: Yes. Are there any regiments which are more effeminate than others?

R.S.M.: Well, no sir. I mean, apart from the Marines, they're all dead butch.

Mr Man: You see, what I really wanted was a regiment where I could be really quiet and have more time to myself to work with fabrics, and creating new concepts in interior design.

R.S.M.: Working with fabrics and experimenting with interior design!

Mr Man: Yes.

R.S.M.: Oh well you want the Durham Light Infantry then, sir.

Mr Man: Oh.

R.S.M.: Oh yes. That's the only regiment that's really doing something new with interior design, with colour, texture, line and that.

Mr Man: I see.

R.S.M.: Oh yes, I mean their use of colour with fabrics is fantastic. I saw their pattern book the other day - beautiful, beautiful. Savage tans, great slabs of black set against aggressive orange. It really makes you want to shout out, this is good! This is real!

Mr Man: Really?

R.S.M.: Oh yes. I mean the Inniskillin Fusiliers and the Anglian Regiment are all right if you're interested in the art nouveau William Morris revival bit, but if you really want a regiment of the line that is really saying something about interior decor, then you've got to go for the Durham Light Infantry.

Mr Man:. Oh, I've had enough of this. I'm handing in my notice.

R.S.M.: What do you mean?

Mr Man: Well I mean, when I applied for this job I thought I'd get a few decent lines but you end up doing the whole thing. I mean my last five speeches have been 'really, really - I see - I see' and 'really'. I wouldn't give those lines to a dog.

R.S.M.: All right, all right, all right, sonny. I'll tell you what. We'll do something different. I'll be a bus conductor, and you can be a really funny passenger on a bus.

Continue to the next sketch... The Bus Conductor Sketch