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Monty Python Scripts

Gestures to Indicate Pauses in a Televised Talk

The cast:

Michael Palin
Eric Idle

The sketch:


(Mr. Orbiter-5 is sitting in a swivel chair facing camera in a TV presentation set. Behind him is a set with enormous lettering which says 'Is the Queen sane?' Zoom in on Mr. Orbleer-5. He starts talking immediately)

Mr. Orbiter: Good evening. Well tonight, we are going to talk about... well that is... I am going to talk about... well actually I am talking about it now... well I'm not talking about it now, but I am talking... I know I'm pausing occasionally, and not talking during the pauses, but the pauses are pan of the whole process of talking... when one talks one has to pause... er ... like then! I paused ... but I was still talking ... and again there! No the real point of what I'm saying is that when I appear not to be talking don't go nipping out to the kitchen, putting the kettle on ... buttering scones... or getting crumbs and bits of food out of those round brown straw mats that the teapot goes on... because in all probability I'm still talking and what you heard was a pause ... er ... like there again. Look! To make it absolutely easier, so there's no problem at all, what I'll do, I'll give you some kind of sign, like this (makes a gesture) while I'm still talking, and only pausing in between words... and when I've finished altogether I'll do this. (he sits upright and filch his arms) All right?


Mr. Orbiter: No, no! No sorry - just demonstrating... haven't finished. Haven't started yet. (the caption is removed; he sits and tries to gather his thoughts then suddenly, remembers) Oh dear. (does the gesture hastily) Nearly forgot the gesture. Hope none of you are nipping out into the kitchen, getting bits of food out of those round brown mats which the teapot... Good evening (gesture) Tonight I want to talk about...

(Cut to the BBC world symbol.)

Adrian: (voice over) We interrupt this program to annoy you and make things generally irritating for you.

(Cut back to Mr. Orbiter-5.)

Mr. Orbiter: ... with a large piece of wet paper. (gesture) Turn the paper over - turn the paper over keeping your eye on the camel, and paste down the edge of the sailor's uniform, until the word 'Maudling' is almost totally obscured. (gesture) Well, that's one way of doing it. (gesture)

(Cut to the BBC world symbol again and hold throughout the following dialogue.)

Adrian: (voice over) Good evening, we interrupt this program again, a, to irritate you and, b, to provide work for one of our announcers.

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