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Kamikaze Scotsmen

The cast:

Michael Palin
Michael Palin
Michael Palin
Eric Idle
Terry Jones
John Cleese
Michael Palin
Carol Cleveland

The sketch:

(We see Edinburgh Castle at dusk. The lone piper is silhouetted against the crimson-streaked sky.)

Jeremy: (voice over) The lone piper on the battlements of Edinburgh 'Castle...

(There are a few bars of bagpipe music. Suddenly there is a scream and he disappears. Cut to interior of stone-walled guardroom inside Edinburgh Castle. Ten kilted Scottish guardsmen with bagpipes in a line. A sergeant major at the door taps one on the shoulder.)

RSM: Next!

(The next goes outside. We hear pipes start, the sergeant smiles. Cut to castle battlements. The piper plays and then jumps off We hear the scream as before. Another piper emerges and goes through the same routine.)

Voice Over: (Scottish accent) Here on top of Edinburgh Castle, in conditions of extreme secrecy, men are being trained for the British Army's first Kamikaze Regiment, the Queen's Own McKamikaze Highlanders. (there is a scream and a piper jumps off, another one emerges and starts to play) So successful has been the training of the Kamikaze Regiment that the numbers have dwindled from 30,000 to just over a dozen in three weeks. What makes these young Scotsmen so keen to kill themselves?

(Close ups of soldiers.)

Scots Soldier: The money's good!

Second Soldier: And the water skiing! (he falls down with a scream)

(Cut to interior of the guardroom in Edinburgh Castle. As before, but with only six men left plus the sergeant major. Bagpipes and a scream. The sergeant major dispatches another man. A captain enters. Bagpipes again.)

RSM: Ten-shun,

Captain: All right, sergeant major. At ease. Now, how many chaps have you got left,?

RSM: Six, sir,

Captain: Six? (there is a scream)

RSM: Five, sir. (to another highlander carrying bagpipes) Good luck, Johnson. (Johnson leaves)

Captain: Jolly good show, sergeant major. (we hear bagpipes starting up outside) Well, I've come to tell you that we've got a job for your five lads.

(There is a scream.)

RSM: Four, sir.

Captain: For your four lads.

RSM: (whispering to another man) Good luck, Taggart.

Taggart: Thank you, sarge. (he goes)

Captain: (looking rather uncertainly at the man leaving) Now this mission's going to be dangerous, (bagpipes start) and it's going to be tough, and we're going to need every lad of yours to pull his weight. (the usual scream in the background) Now, which ... er ... which four are they?

RSM: These three here, sir. OK. Off you go, Smith.

Smith: (with manic eagerness) Right! (he charges out through door before captain can stop him)

Captain: (with mounting concern) ... er ... sergeant major!

RSM: Yes, sir? (bagpipes start outside)

Captain: You don't think it might be a good idea... er... to stop the training program for a little bit?

RSM: They got to be trained, sir. It's a dangerous job.

Captain: Yes ... I know... but... er ... (the usual scream)

RSM: All right MacPherson, you're next, off you go.

Captain: You see what is worrying me, sergeant major, is... MacPherson I'll make it a gud'un, sir! (he dashes off)

RSM: Good luck, MacPherson.

Captain: Er... MacPherson... (the bagpipes start up) only this mission really is very dangerous. We're going to need both the chaps that you've got left (scream)

RSM: Both of who, sir?

Captain: Sergeant major, what's this man's name?

RSM: This one sir? This one is MacDonald, sir.

Captain: No, no, no, no. (the captain stops MacDonald who is straining quite hard to get away) Hang on to MacDonald, sergeant major, hang on to him.

RSM: I don't know whether I can, sir... (MacDonald's eyes are staring in a strange way) he's in a state of Itsubishi Kyoko McSayonara.

Captain: What's that?

(They am both struggling to restrain MacDonald.)

RSM: It's the fifth state that a Scotsman can achieve, sir. He's got to finish himself off by lunchtime or he thinks he's let down the Emperor, sir.

Captain: Well, can't we get him out of it?

RSM: Oh, I dunno how to, sir. Our Kamikaze instructor, Mr. Yashimoto, was so good he never left Tokyo airport.

Captain: Well, there must be someone else who can advise us?

(Exterior of smart London health-salon-type frontage. A big sign reads 'Kamikaze Advice Centre '. A bowler-hatred man enters. A receptionist sits behind a posh desk.)

Man: (very businesslike) Good morning, Kamikaze, please.

Receptionist: (indicating door) Yes, would you go through, please?

Man: Thank you.

(The man walks over to the door, opens it, walks through and disappears from sight. There is nothing but sky and clouds through the door. Scream. Cut back to castle guardroom... Sketch continues with 'No Time To Lose')

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