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Hairdressers' Ascent Up Mount Everest

The cast:

Michael Palin
Eric Idle
Michael Palin
Graham Chapman
Eric Idle
Graham Chapman
Eric Idle
Michael Palin
Eric Idle

The sketch:

(Begins with a picture of the sun rising over two mountain peaks)

Announcer: Mount Everest. Forbidding, aloof, terrifying. The mountain with the biggest tits in the world.

(Gong crashes, a disgusted voice interrupts)

Voice Over: Start again!

A very silly loony leans into shot, on overlay (i.e. in front of the picture), and waves to the camera. He goes out of shot again.

Announcer: Mount Everest. Forbidding, aloof, terrifying. This year, this remote Himalayan mountain, this mystical temple, surrounded by the most difficult terrain in the world, repulsed yet another attempt to conquer it. (Picture changes to wind-swept, snowy tents and people) This time, by the International Hairdresser's Expedition. In such freezing, adverse conditions, man comes very close to breaking point. What was the real cause of the disharmony which destroyed their chances at success?

Cut to three head-and-shoulders shots. They look like typical mountaineers: frost in their beards, tanned, with snow glasses on their foreheads and authentic Everest headgear.

Hairdresser #1: Well, people keep taking your hairdryer on every turn.

Hairdresser #2: There's a lot of bitching in the tents.

Hairdresser #3: You couldn't get near the mirror.

(Cut to the announcer, a stuffy looking older man, delicately trimming millimeters off the leaves of cabbages growing in his country garden.)

Announcer: The leader of the expedition was Colonel Sir John Cheesy-Weezy Butler, veteran K2, Annapurna, and Vidal. His plan was to ignore the usual route around the south and to make straight for the top.

(next part shows a map of the mountain)

Colonel: We established Base Salon here, and climbed quite steadily up to Mario's, here. From here, using crampons and cutting ice steps as we went, we moved steadily up the face to the north ridge, establishing Camp Three, where we could get a hot meal, a manicure, and a shampoo and set.

Announcer: Could it work? Could this 18-year old hairdresser from Brixton succeed where others had failed? The situation was complicated by the imminent arrival of the monsoon storms. Patrice takes up the story.

(cut to Patrice in a salon, very effeminately brushing and blow- drying a customer's hair.)

Patrice: Well, we knew as well as anyone that the monsoons were due. But the thing was, Ricky and I had just had a blow dry and rinse, and we couldn't go out for a couple of days.

(Picture of mountaineers climbing down mountain)

Announcer: After a blazing row, the Germans and Italians had turned back, taking with them the last of the hairnets. On the third day, a blizzard blew up. Temperatures fell to minus 30 degrees centigrade. Inside the little tent, things were getting desperate.

(Ricky and another member of the expedition (John Cleese) are crowded inside a little tent, sporting beards, hairnets, and curlers. They sit beneath stationary hairdryers. Cleese is reading, Ricky is buffing his nails.)

Ricky: Well, things have gotten so bad that we've been forced to use the last of the heavy oxygen equipment just to keep the dryers going. (A woman hands him a cup of tea.) Oh, she's a treasure.

(wide shot of Everest)

Announcer: But a new factor had entered the race. A team of French chiropodists, working with brand new corn plasters and Dr. Scholl's Mountaineering Sandals, were close behind. The Glasgow Orpheus male voice choir were tackling the difficult north part. All together, fourteen expeditions were at the scene. This was it. Ricky had to make a decision.

(back to Patrice at his salon)

Patrice: Well, he decided to open a salon.

Announcer: It was a tremendous success.

(the following is accompanied by pictures of great mountaineering heroes upon whom are pasted elaborate Marie Antoinette style hairdos - cinema style adverts)

Advert Voice: Challenging Everest? Why not drop in at Ricky Pule's, only 2400 feet from this cinema. (A huge pink neon sign reading 'Ricky's' appears on the mountain.) Ricky and Maurice offer a variety of styles for the well-groomed climber. Why should Tensing and Sir Edmond Hillary be number one on top, when you're number one on top?

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