The Vocational Guidance Counsellor

(As the sketch open Voices can be heard singing Vocational guidance counsellor ... vocational guidance counsellor ... vocational guidance counsellor ... etc. Office set. Man sitting at desk. Mr Anchovy is standing waiting. The counsellor looks at his watch then starts the sketch.)

Counsellor: (John Cleese) Ah Mr Anchovy. Do sit down.

Anchovy: (Michael Palin) Thank you. Take the weight off the feet, eh?

Counsellor: Yes, yes.

Anchovy: Lovely weather for the time of year, I must say.

Counsellor: Enough of this gay banter. And now Mr Anchovy, you asked us to advise you which job in life you were best suited for.

Anchovy: That is correct, yes.

Counsellor: Well I now have the results here of the interviews and the aptitude tests that you took last week, and from them we've built up a pretty clear picture of the sort of person that you are. And I think I can say, without fear of contradiction, that the ideal job for you is chartered accountancy.

Anchovy: But I am a chartered accountant.

Counsellor: Jolly good. Well back to the office with you then.

Anchovy: No! No! No! You don't understand. I've been a chartered accountant for the last twenty years. I want a new job. Something exciting that will let me live.

Counsellor: Well chartered accountancy is rather exciting isn't it?

Anchovy: Exciting? No it's not. It's dull. Dull. Dull. My God it's dull, it's so desperately dull and tedious and stuffy and boring and des-per-ate-ly DULL.

Counsellor: Well, er, yes Mr Anchovy, but you see your report here says that you are an extremely dull person. You see, our experts describe you as an appallingly dull fellow, unimaginative, timid, lacking in initiative, spineless, easily dominated, no sense of humour, tedious company and irrepressibly drab and awful. And whereas in most professions these would be considerable drawbacks, in chartered accountancy they are a positive boon.

Anchovy: But don't you see, I came here to find a new job, a new life, a new meaning to my existence. Can't you help me?

Counsellor: Well, do you have any idea of what you want to do?

Anchovy: Yes, yes I have.

Counsellor: What?

Anchovy: (boldly) Lion taming.

Counsellor: Well yes. Yes. Of course, it's a bit of a jump isn't it? I mean, er, chartered accountancy to lion taming in one go. You don't think it might be better if you worked your way towards lion taming, say, via banking?

Anchovy: No, no, no, no. No. I don't want to wait. At nine o'clock tomorrow I want to be in there, taming.

Counsellor: Fine, fine. But do you, do you have any qualifications?

Anchovy: Yes, I've got a hat.

Counsellor: A hat?

Anchovy: Yes, a hat. A lion taming hat. A hat with 'lion tamer' on it. I got it at Harrods. And it lights up saying 'lion tamer' in great big neon letters, so that you can tame them after dark when they're less stroppy.

Counsellor: I see, I see.

Anchovy: And you can switch it off during the day time, and claim reasonable wear and tear as allowable professional expenses under paragraph 335C...

Counsellor: Yes, yes, yes, I do follow, Mr Anchovy, but you see the snag is... if I now call Mr Chipperfield and say to him, 'look here, I've got a forty-five-year-old chartered accountant with me who wants to become a lion tamer', his first question is not going to be 'does he have his own hat?' He's going to ask what sort of experience you've had with lions.

Anchovy: Well I... I've seen them at the zoo.

Counsellor: Good, good, good.

Anchovy: Lively brown furry things with short stumpy legs and great long noses. I don't know what all the fuss is about, I could tame one of those. They look pretty tame to start with.

Counsellor: And these, er, these lions, how high are they?

Anchovy: (indicating a height of one foot) Well they're about so high, you know. They don't frighten me at all.

Counsellor: Really. And do these lions eat ants?

Anchovy: Yes, that's right.

Counsellor: Er, well, Mr Anchovy, I'm afraid what you've got hold of there is an anteater.

Anchovy: A what?

Counsellor: An anteater. Not a lion. You see a lion is a huge savage beast, about five feet high, ten feet long, weighing about four hundred pounds, running forty miles per hour, with masses of sharp pointed teeth and nasty long razor-sharp claws that can rip your belly open before you can say 'Eric Robinson', and they look like this.

(The counsellor produces large picture of a lion and shows to Mr Anchovy who screams and passes out.)

Counsellor: Time enough I think for a piece of wood.


Voice Over: (Terry Jones) The larch.

(Cut back to office: Mr Anchovy sits up with a start.)

Counsellor: Now, shall I call Mr Chipperfield?

Anchovy: Er, no, no, no. I think your idea of making the transition to lion taming via easy stages, say via insurance...

Counsellor: Or banking.

Anchovy: Or banking, yes, yes, banking that's a man's life, isn't it? Banking, travel, excitement, adventure, thrills, decisions affecting people's lives.

Counsellor: Jolly good, well, er, shall I put you in touch with a bank?

Anchovy: Yes.

Counsellor: Fine.

Anchovy: No, no, no. Look, er, it's a big decision, I'd like a couple of weeks to think about it... er... you know, don't want to jump into it too quickly. Maybe three weeks. I could let you know definitely then, I just don't want to make this definite decision. I'm er... (continues muttering nervously to himself)

Counsellor: (turning to camera) Well this is just one of the all too many cases on our books of chartered accountancy. The only way that we can fight this terrible debilitating social disease, is by informing the general public of its consequences, by showing young people that it's just not worth it. So, so please... give generously... to this address:
The League for Fighting Chartered Accountancy,

55 Lincoln House, Basil Street,
London, SW3.

(Cut back to David Unction reading 'Physique' magazine. He puts it into brown paper bag.)

Unction: Oh, well that was fun wasn't it?

(Cut to helmeted Viking.)

Viking: No it wasn't, you fairy.

(Cut back to Unction.)

Unction: (sarcastically) Oh, hello sailor,

(Cut to Viking.)

Viking: Here, you wouldn't have got on one of our voyages - they were all dead butch.

(Cut to Unction.)

Unction: (camply) Oh that's not what I've heard.

Continue to the next sketch... First Man to Jump the Channel