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The Meaning of Life Script

Part III: Fighting Each Other

The sketch:

ANNOUNCER: The Meaning of Life: Part Three: Fighting Each Other.
[boom]

SOLDIERS: Hh. Uhh. Look out.
[boom]
Uhh. Ahh.

BIGGS: Okay. Blackitt, Sturridge, and Walters, you take the buggers on the left flank. Hordern, Spadger, and I...
[pweeng]
...will go for the gunpost.

SPADGER: Right, sir.

BLACKITT: Oh, hang on a tick, sir.

SPADGER: Yeah.

BLACKITT: You'll never make it, sir. Let us come with you.

BIGGS: Do as you're told, man.

BLACKITT: Right-o, skipper.
[boom]
Oh, sir. Sir,... i-- if we-- we don't meet again, sir, I'd just like to say it's been a-- it's been a real privilege fighting alongside you, sir.

BIGGS: Yes, well,...

SPADGER: Yeah.

BIGGS: ...I think this is...
[boom]
...hardly the time or place for a good-bye speech, eh? Hah.

BLACKITT: No. No, me and the lads realize this, sir, but, well,...

BIGGS: Ehh.

BLACKITT: ...we may never meet again, sir, so,... I--

BIGGS: Yes, all-- all-- all right, Blackitt. Thanks a lot.

BLACKITT: No, eh, just a moment, sir.

SPADGER: Duck.

BLACKITT: You see,...
[boom]
...me and the lads, we've had a little whip-around, sir.
[boom]
We bought you something, sir.

SPADGER: Ahh.

BLACKITT: We bought you this, sir.
[clink clank clink]

SPADGER: Ah. Hhh.

BIGGS: Oh. Well, i-- I don't know what to say.
[boom]
It's a-- it's-- it's a lovely thought.
[boom]
Thank you. Uh, thank you all,...
[boom]

SPADGER: All right, sir.

BIGGS: ...but--

WALTERS: You're welcome.
[pweeeeeng]

BIGGS: But I-- I-- I-- I think we'd better get to cover now.
[boom]

BLACKITT: Hang on a tick, sir. We got something else for you as well, sir.

SPADGER: Aah.

BLACKITT: Uh.

SOLDIERS: Ah. Ah. Ehh...
[ding]

BLACKITT: Sorry it's another clock, sir,...
[boom]
...only there was a bit of a mix-up. Well, Walters thought he was buying the present, and Spadger and I had already got the other one.

BIGGS: Well, it's-- it's beautiful.
[zimm zimm zimm]
They're both beautiful.
[zimm zimm zimm]
[ding]

WALTERS: Aah!
[boom]

BIGGS: I-- I think we'd better get to cover now,...

BLACKITT: Oh, sir, and Corp--

BIGGS: ...and I'll thank you properly later on.

SPADGER: Uhh. Ehh.

BLACKITT: Corporal Sturridge got this for you as well, sir. He didn't know about the others, sir. It's Swiss.

BIGGS: Oh, well, now, that is thoughtful, Sturridge. Good man.
[boom]

BLACKITT: And there's a card, sir,... from all of us. Sorry about the blood, sir.
[boom]

BIGGS: Thank you all.

BLACKITT: Squad,...
[boom]
...three cheers for Captain Biggs. Hip hip--
[boom]

SOLDIERS: Hooray!

BLACKITT: Hip hip--

SOLDIERS: Hooray!

BLACKITT: Hip hip--
[boom]
Oooooh!

SOLDIERS: Hooray!

BIGGS: Blackitt! Blackitt!

BLACKITT: I-- I'll be all right, sir. Oh, there's just... one other thing, sir. Spadge, give him the cheque.

SPADGER: Oh, yeah. Uhh.

BIGGS: Oh, now, this is really going too far.

SPADGER: Oh. I don't seem to be able to find it, sir. Uhh, it'll be in-- be in Number Four Trench. I'll go and get it.

BIGGS: For Christ's sake, forget it, man!
[boom]

SPADGER: You shouldn't have said that, sir.
[boom]
You've hurt his feelings now.

BLACKITT: Don't mind me, Spadge. Toffs is all the same. One minute it's all 'please' and 'thank you', and the next, they'll kick you in the teeth!

STURRIDGE: Yeah.

BLACKITT: [cough]

WALTERS: Let's not give him the cake.

BIGGS: I don't want any cake.

SPADGER: Look. Blackitt cooked it specially for you, you bastard!

STURRIDGE: Yeah, he saved his rations for six weeks, sir.

BIGGS: Sorry. I didn't mean to be ungrateful.

SPADGER: Yeah.

BLACKITT: I'll be all right.
[boom]
Ahh!

SPADGER: Blackitt! Blackie! Look at him. He worked on that cake like no one else I've ever known.
[boom]
Some nights it was so cold, we could hardly move, but Blackie'd be out there slicing the lemons, mixing the sugar and the almonds.
[boom]
I mean, you try trying to get butter to melt at fifteen degrees below zero! There's love in that cake. This man's love... and this man's care... and this m--
[boom]
Aghh!

BIGGS: Oh, my Christ!

STURRIDGE: You bastard.

BIGGS: All right!
[boom]
We will eat the cake!
[music]
They're right. It's--
[pweeeeeng]
It's too good a cake not to eat! Get the... plates and knives, Walters.

WALTERS: Yes, sir. How many plates?

BIGGS: Six.

WALTERS: Fine.
[boom]
Aahh!

BIGGS: Uh.

WALTERS: Agh.

BIGGS: Oh. Better make it five.

STURRIDGE: Tablecloth, sir?

BIGGS: Yes, get the tablecloth.
[boom]

STURRIDGE: Aaghh! Uh.

BIGGS: No, no, no, no. I'll--
[boom]
I'll get the tablecloth and you'd better get the gate-leg table, Hordern.
[boom]

HORDERN: Ohh. Aahh! And the little mats, sir?

BIGGS: Yes!

HORDERN: Right-o.

BIGGS: All right, while you're at it, you'd better get a doily!

HORDERN: I'll bring two, sir, in case one gets scrumpled.

BIGGS: Okay! Eh.
[boom boom boom]

GENERAL: Well, of course, warfare isn't all fun. Right. Stop that! It's all very well to laugh at the Military, but, when one considers the meaning of life, it is a struggle between alternative viewpoints of life itself, and without the ability to defend one's own viewpoint against other perhaps more aggressive ideologies, then reasonableness and moderation could, quite simply, disappear. That is why we'll always need an army, and may God strike me down were it to be otherwise.
[zifff boom]

SERGEANT MAJOR: Don't stand there gawping like you've never seen the Hand of God before! Now, today, we're going to do marching up and down the square! That is, unless any of you got anything better to do. Well?! Anyone got anything they'd rather be doing than marching up and down the square?! Yes?! Atkinson. What would you... rather be doing, Atkinson?

ATKINSON: Well, to be quite honest, Sarge, I'd... rather be at home with the wife and kids.

SERGEANT MAJOR: Would you, now?!

ATKINSON: Yes, Sarge.

SERGEANT MAJOR: Right! Off you go! Now, everybody else happy with my little plan... of marching up and down the square a bit?

COLES: Sarge!

SERGEANT MAJOR: Yes?!

COLES: I've got a book I'd quite like to read.

SERGEANT MAJOR: Right! You go read your book, then! Now! Everybody else... quite content to join in... with my little scheme of marching up and down the square?!

WYCLIF: Sarge?

SERGEANT MAJOR: Yes, Wyclif?! What is it?!

WYCLIF: Well, I'm, uh, learning the piano.

SERGEANT MAJOR: Learning the piano?!

WYCLIF: Yes, Sarge.

SERGEANT MAJOR: And I suppose you want to go and practice, eh? Marching up and down the square not good enough for you, eh?!

WYCLIF: Well,--

SERGEANT MAJOR: Right! Off you go!

WYCLIF: Oh.

SERGEANT MAJOR: Now! What about the rest of you? Rather be at the pictures, I suppose.

SQUAD: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Ooh, yeah. Yeah. Right. Yeah. Right.

SERGEANT MAJOR: All right! Off you go!

SQUAD: Oh. Ooh. Great. That's great. What a day. I want to see the Merle Oberon picture. Eh hehheh.

SERGEANT MAJOR: Bloody army! I don't know what it's coming to. Right! Sergeant Major, marching up and down the square. Left, right, left. Left...

NARRATOR #1: Democracy and humanitarianism have always been trademarks of the British Army...

SERGEANT MAJOR: Rubbish!

NARRATOR #1: Shh! ...And have stamped its triumph throughout history, in the furthest-flung corners of the Empire,...
[mayhem]
...but, no matter where or when there was fighting to be done,...
[patriotic music]
...it has always been the calm leadership of the Officer class that has made the British Army what it is.
[whoosh]
[crash]
[music stops]

AINSWORTH: 'Scuse me.

PAKENHAM-WALSH: Morning, Ainsworth.

AINSWORTH: Morning, Pakenham.

PAKENHAM-WALSH: Sleep well?

AINSWORTH: Not bad. Bit to shreds, though. Must be a hole in the bloody mosquito net.

PAKENHAM-WALSH: Yes. Savage little blighters, aren't they?
[clink]

FIRST LIEUTENANT CHADWICK: Excuse me, sir.

AINSWORTH: Yes, Chadwick?

CHADWICK: I'm afraid Perkins got rather badly bitten during the night.

AINSWORTH: Well, so did we. Huh.

CHADWICK: Yes, but I do think doctor ought to see him.

AINSWORTH: Well, go and fetch him, then.

CHADWICK: Right you are, sir.

AINSWORTH: Suppose I'd better go along. Coming, Pakenham?

PAKENHAM-WALSH: Yes, I suppose so.

AINSWORTH: Careful!

PAKENHAM-WALSH: Come on, boy.
[mayhem]

AINSWORTH: Ah! Morning, Perkins.

PERKINS: Morning, sir.

AINSWORTH: What's, uh,-- what's all the trouble, then?

PERKINS: Bitten, sir. During the night.

AINSWORTH: Hmm. Whole leg gone, eh?

PERKINS: Yes.

AINSWORTH: How does it feel?

PERKINS: Stings a bit.

AINSWORTH: Mmm. Well, it would, wouldn't it? That's, uh,... quite a bite you've got there, you know.

PERKINS: Yes, a... real beauty, isn't it?

AINSWORTH: Any idea how it happened?

PERKINS: None whatsoever. Complete mystery to me. Woke up just now, one sock too many.

PAKENHAM-WALSH: You must have a hell of a hole in your net.

AINSWORTH: Hmm. Well, we've sent for the doctor.

PERKINS: Ohh, hardly worth it, isn't it?

AINSWORTH: Oh, yes. Better safe than sorry.

PAKENHAM-WALSH: Yes. Good Lord, look at this.

AINSWORTH: By jove, that's enormous!

PAKENHAM-WALSH: You don't think it'll come back, do you?

AINSWORTH: For more, you mean?

PAKENHAM-WALSH: Yes.

AINSWORTH: You're right. We'd better get this stitched.

PAKENHAM-WALSH: Right.

AINSWORTH: Ah, hello, doc.

DOCTOR LIVINGSTONE: Morning! I came as fast as I could. Is, uhh,-- is something up?

AINSWORTH: Yes. Uh, during the night, old Perkins got his leg bitten sort of... off. Mm?

DOCTOR LIVINGSTONE: Ahh. Been in the wars, have we?

PAKENHAM-WALSH: Mhm.

PERKINS: Yes.

DOCTOR LIVINGSTONE: Ehh. Any headache? Bowels all right? Mm. Well, let's have a look at this one leg of yours, then, eh? Yes. Yes. Yes, yes. Yes. Yes. Yes, yes. Yes, well, this is nothing to worry about.

PERKINS: Oh, good.

DOCTOR LIVINGSTONE: Yes, there's a lot of it about. Probably a virus. Uh, keep warm, plenty of rest, and if you're playing football or anything, try and favor the other leg.

PERKINS: Oh.

DOCTOR LIVINGSTONE: Mhm.

PERKINS: Right-o.

DOCTOR LIVINGSTONE: Be as right as rain in a couple of days.

PERKINS: Oh. Thanks for the reassurance, doc.

DOCTOR LIVINGSTONE: Not at all. That's what I'm here for. Any other problems I can reassure you about?

PERKINS: No, I'm fine.

DOCTOR LIVINGSTONE: Jolly good. Well, must be off. M-hmm.

PERKINS: So, it'll, ehh,-- it'll just grow back again, then, will it?

DOCTOR LIVINGSTONE: Uhh,... I think I'd better come clean with you about this. It's, um,-- it's not a virus, I'm afraid. You see, a virus is what we doctors call very, very small. So small, it could not possibly have made off with a whole leg. What we're looking for here is, I think,-- And this is no more than an educated guess. I'd like to make that clear. ...Is some multi-cellular life form with stripes, huge razor-sharp teeth, about eleven foot long, and of the genus Felis Horribilis: what we doctors, in fact, call a 'tiger'.

PERKINS, PAKENHAM-WALSH, and AINSWORTH: A tiger?!

EVERYONE: A tiger?!
[mayhem]

PAKENHAM-WALSH: A tiger... in Africa?

AINSWORTH: Hm?

PAKENHAM-WALSH: A tiger in Africa?!

AINSWORTH: W-- Ah, well, it, uh,-- it has probably escaped from a zoo. Mhm.

PAKENHAM-WALSH: Doesn't sound very likely to me.

AINSWORTH: Stumm. Stumm. Stumm.

SERGEANT: Sir!

AINSWORTH: Stumm.

SERGEANT: Sir! Sir! Sir! The attack's over, sir! The Zulus are retreating!

AINSWORTH: Oh, jolly good. Mhm.

SERGEANT: Quite a lot of casualties, though, sir.

AINSWORTH: M-hmm.

SERGEANT: 'C' Division wiped out.

AINSWORTH: Yes.

SERGEANT: Signals gone.

AINSWORTH: Yes.

SERGEANT: Thirty men killed in 'F' Section.

AINSWORTH: Yes. I see. Mm.

SERGEANT: I should think about a hundred-- hundred and fifty men altogether, sir.

AINSWORTH: Jolly good. [sniff]

SERGEANT: I haven't got the final figures, sir, but there's a lot of seriously...

AINSWORTH: Yes.

SERGEANT: ...wounded in the compound.

AINSWORTH: Yes. Well, the thing is, Sergeant, I've got a bit of a problem here. One of the officers has lost a leg.

SERGEANT: Oh, no, sir!

AINSWORTH: I'm afraid so. Probably a tiger.

SERGEANT: In Africa?

AINSWORTH: Stumm.

PAKENHAM-WALSH: [mumble]

AINSWORTH: Stumm. Stumm. Stumm. The M.O. says we can stitch it back on if we can find it immediately.

SERGEANT: Right, sir! I'll organise a party... right away, sir.

AINSWORTH: Well, it's hardly the time for that, is it Sergeant?

SERGEANT: Look. A-- a search party.

AINSWORTH: Oh! Oh! Ah! Ahh! Much better idea! Mhmm.

VICTIMS: [moaning]

SERGEANT: Oh, sorry about the mess, sir. We'll try and get it cleared up by the time you get back.

VICTIM #1: We showed 'em, didn't we, sir?

AINSWORTH: Yes.

SERGEANT: Here, we've got a search party. Leave that alone.

VICTIM #2: This is fun, sir, isn't it? All this killing, bloodshed-- Bloody good fun, sir, isn't it?

RANDOM: [cough]

AINSWORTH: Yes. Very good.

POTTER'S HEAD: Morning, sir!

RANDOM: Agh.

AINSWORTH: Nasty wound you've got there, Potter.

POTTER'S HEAD: Thank you very much, sir!

RANDOM: Aghh.

RANDOM: Aahh.

AINSWORTH: Come on, Private. We're making up a search party.

VICTIM #3: Better than staying at home, isn't this, sir? Eh? I mean, at home, if you kill someone, they arrest you. Here, they give you a gun and show you what to do, sir.

RANDOM: Ooh.

VICTIM #3: I mean, I killed fifteen of those buggers, sir. Now, at home, they'd hang me! Here, they'll give me a fucking medal, sir!
[jungle sounds]

AINSWORTH: Hah, mhm mhm mhm.

SERGEANT: Sorry, sir.

PAKENHAM-WALSH: Thank you, Sergeant Major.

CHADWICK: Mm hm.

AINSWORTH: Look! My God, it's huge!
[growl]
[bang bang bang...]
[rewwr]

REAR END: Uhh. Uh, don't shoot. Don't shoot. We're not a tiger. W-- Uhh, we were jus-- s-- st, um,--

AINSWORTH: Why are you dressed as a tiger?

REAR END: Hm? Oh, 'why'! 'Why'! 'Why'! Haahh, isn't it a lovely day today?

AINSWORTH: Answer the question.

REAR END: Oh, we were just, um,--

FRONT END: Well, uhh, actually, we're-- we're dressed like this because, uh,-- Oh. No, that's not it.

REAR END: Uh, we did it for a lark. Part of a spree. High spirits, you know. Simple as that. Hm.

FRONT END: Nothing more to it. Hah.

REAR END: Ha ha.

FRONT END: Well, actually, we're on a mission for British Intelligence. Th-- th-- there's a pro-Tsarist Ashanti Chief, uh,--

REAR END: No, no. No. No, no.

FRONT END: Uh, no. No, no, no. No. No. No.

REAR END: No. No, no, no, no. No. No, we're doing it for an advertisement.

FRONT END: Ah, that's it.

REAR END: Mhm.

FRONT END: Uhh, forget about the Russians.

REAR END: Mhm.

FRONT END: Uh, we're-- we're doing an advert for 'Tiger' brand coffee.

REAR END: 'Tiger' brand coffee is a real treat. Even tigers prefer a cup of it to real meat. Mm.

AINSWORTH: Now look.

REAR END: All right. All right. We are dressed as a tiger because he had an auntie who did it in eighteen-thirty-nine, and this is the fiftieth anniversary.

FRONT END: No. We're doing it for a bet.

REAR END: God told us to do it.

FRONT END: To tell the truth, we are completely mad.

REAR END: [grimacing]

FRONT END: We are-- we are inmates of a Bengali psychiatric institution and we escaped by making this skin out of old, used cereal packets.

REAR END: Mhm.

PERKINS: It doesn't matter!

AINSWORTH: What?

PERKINS: It doesn't matter why they're dressed as a tiger. Have they got my leg?

AINSWORTH: Good thinking! Well, have you?

REAR END: Actually,...

AINSWORTH: Yes?

REAR END: ...it's because we were thinking of training as taxidermists and we want to get the feel of it from the animal's point of view.

AINSWORTH: Be quiet. Now look. We're just asking you if you've got this man's leg.

FRONT END: A wooden leg?

AINSWORTH: No, no. A proper leg! Look. He was fast asleep, and someone or something came in and removed it.

FRONT END: Without waking him up?

AINSWORTH: Yes.

FRONT END: I don't believe you.

REAR END: We found the tiger skin in a bicycle shop in Cairo. The owner wanted it taken down to Dar Es Salaam--

AINSWORTH: Shut up! Now look. Have you or have you not got his leg?

REAR END: Yes.

FRONT END: No.

REAR END: No.

FRONT END: No, no, no.

REAR END: No. No, no, no.

FRONT END: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.

REAR END: No, no, no. No. No. No. No.

AINSWORTH: Why did you say 'yes'?

FRONT END: I didn't.

AINSWORTH: I'm not talking to you.

REAR END: Uum. Uum. Hmmhh.

AINSWORTH: Right! Search the thicket.

FRONT END: Oh, come on. I mean, do we look like the sort of chaps who'd creep into a camp at night, steal into someone's tent, anaesthetise them, tissue-type them, amputate a leg, and run away with it?

AINSWORTH: Search the thicket.

FRONT END: Oh, 'leg'! You're looking for a leg! Actually, I think there is one in there somewhere. Uhh, somebody must have abandoned it here, knowing you were coming after it, and we stumbled across it, actually, and wondered what it was, and they'll be miles away by now,...
[thock]
...and I expect we'll have to take all of the blame.

REAR END: Hmhm. As usual.

ZULU ANNOUNCER: Hello. Good evening, and welcome to 'The Middle of the Film'.

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