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Silly Noises / Sherry-drinking Vicar

The cast:

VICAR
Michael Palin
KIRKHAM
Graham Chapman

The sketch:

(Black screen and a collection of really silly noises. Then fade up on a country church. Cut to interior, a vestry. A sign reads 'No Papists'. The door opens and the vicar enters as if from the end of a service. He takes off his cassock and is hanging it up. At one side of the set is a sculpture on a plinth. It is the vicar's head, but with an enormously long nose. Mr. Kirkham has followed the vicar in. He is an earnest, quiet, self-effacing soul, with a tortured conscience.)

Vicar: Come in.

Kirkham: I wondered if I could have a word with you for a moment.

Vicar: By all means ... by all means, sir. Do sit down. (they look round for a chair) Ah,. sit on the desk here.

Kirkham: Thank you.

Vicar: Now then, a glass of sherry?

Kirkham: No... no thank you...

Vicar: (getting a bottle from the cupboard) Are you sure? I'm going to have some.

Kirkham: Well, if you're having some, yes then, perhaps, vicar.

Vicar: (slightly taken aback) Oh... well there's only just enough for me.

Kirkham: Well in that case I won't, don't worry.

Vicar: You see, if I split what's left, there'd be hardly any left for me at all.

Kirkham: Well, I'm not a great sherry drinker.

Vicar: Good! So, I can have it all ... now then what's the problem?

Kirkham: Well, just recently I've begun to worry about...

(The vicar has been looking through his desk. He produces a bottle of sherry in triumph.)

Vicar: Ah! I've found another bottle! You can have some now if you want to.

Kirkham: Well... yes, perhaps a little...

Vicar: Oh you don't have to. I can drink the whole bottle.

Kirkham: Well in that case, no...

Vicar: Good! That's another bottle for me. Do go on.

(The vicar opens the bottle and pours himself a glass. As soon as he has drunk it he replenishes it again.)

Kirkham: I've begun to worry recently that...

(There is a knock on the door.)

Vicar: Come in!

(A smooth man, Mr. Husband, enters carrying a smart little briefcase.)

Vicar: Ah, Mr. Husband ... this is Mr. Kirkham, one of my parishioners, this is Mr. Husband of the British Sherry Corporation...

Kirkham: Look, look, perhaps I'd better come back later...

Vicar: No, no ... no do stay here. Have a sherry... you won't be long will you, Husband?

Husband: Oh no, vicar... it's just a question of signing a few forms.

(The vicar pours Husband a sherry)

Vicar: There we are... there we are, Mr. Husband. Now, how about you, Mr. Kirkham?

Kirkham: Well only if there's enough.

Vicar: Oh well, there's not much now.

Kirkham: Oh, in that case... no... I won't bother.

Vicar: (pouring himself one) Good. Right... now, then, what is the problem, Husband?

Husband: Well, vicar, I've made enquiries with our shippers and the most sherry they can ship in any one load is 2,000 gallons.

Vicar: And how many glasses is that?

Husband: That's roughly 540,000 glasses, Vicar.

Vicar: That's excellent, Husband, excellent.

Husband: Yes... it means you can still keep your main sherry supply on the roof, but you can have an emergency supply underneath the vestry of 5,000 gallons.

Vicar: Yes... and I could have dry sherry on the roof and Amontillado in the underground tank!

Husband: Absolutely.

(The vicar signs a form that Husband hands to him.)

Vicar: Excellent work, Husband, excellent work.

Husband: Not at all, vicar, you're one of our best customers... you and the United States. Well goodbye. (he leaves)

Vicar: Terrific. Now then, Mr. Kirkham (pouring himself another sherry) I am so sorry... do go on.

Kirkham: Well, it's just that recently I've begun to worry about...

Vicar: Well, look...

Kirkham: I sometimes ask myself- does the Bible intend...

(A group of Spanish singers in full national costume and guitars bursts into the Vestry, noisily singing a song praising Amontillado. A man in an extravagant Spanish costume rushes in. His hat has a sign on it saying: 'Sherry, the drink of champion'. Two girls come in bearing maracas and Carmen Miranda style hats. Mr. Kirkham looks fed up. The Spaniards finish their song, noisily.)

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