The Wacky Queen

(Queen Victoria Film: the texture of the film reproduces as accurately as possible an animated Victorian photograph. Queen Victoria and Gladstone are walking on the lawn in front of Osborne.)

Compare: These historic pictures of Queen Victoria, taken in 1880 at Osborne show the Queen with Gladstone. This unique film provides a rare glimpse into the private world of a woman who ruled half the earth. The commentary, recorded on the earliest wax cylinders, is spoken by Alfred Lord Tennyson, the Poet Laureate.

Tennyson: (Michael Palin) Well hello, it's the wacky Queen again! (the Queen repeatedly nudges Gladstone in the ribs and chucks him under the chin) And who's the other fella? It's Willie Gladstone! And when these two way-out wacky characters get together there's fun a-plenty. (they come up to a gardener with a hosepipe) And, uh-oh! There's a hosepipe! This means trouble for somebody! (the Queen takes the hose and kicks the gardener; he falls over) Uh-oh, Charlie Gardener's fallen for that old trick. The Queen has put him in a heap of trouble! (the Queen turns the hose on Gladstone) Uh-oh that's one in the eye for Willie! (the Queen hands Gladstone the hose) Here, you have a go! (she goes back to the tap and turns off the water) Well, doggone it, where's the water? (Gladstone examines the end of the hose; the water flow returns, spraying him) Uh-oh, there it is, all over his face! (she lifts her skirts and runs as he chases her across the lawn; next we see the Queen painting a fence,' Gladstone approaches from the other side) Well, hello, what's Britain's wacky Queen up to now? Well, she's certainly not sitting on the fence. She's painting it. Surely nothing can go wrong here? Uh! oh, here's the PM coming back for more. (Gladstone walks into line with the end of the fence; the Queen drubs paint on him) And he certainly gets it (he takes the bucket from her and empties it over her head; she kicks him; he falls through the fence) Well, that's one way to get the housework done!

(Cut to the Queen and Gladstone having tea on the lawn. She pushes a custard pie into his face. As he retaliates the picture freezes; the camera pulls back to reveal that it is a photo on the mantelpiece of a working-class sitting room.)

Continue to the next sketch... Working-Class Playwright