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The Man Who Finishes Other People's Sentences

The cast:

MRS. LONG NAME
Michael Palin
TV VOICE
Michael Palin
MR. VERNON
Eric Idle

The sketch:

(sketch continues from 'Appeal on Behalf of Extremely Rich People'.)

Mrs. Long Name: All right, I'll go.

TV Voice: There now follows a Party Political Broadcast on behalf of the Liberal Par...

(She turns it off. The TV set just folds up as if empty and collapses on to the floor. Dust rises. She goes into the hallway to the front door (singing 'Anything Goes' by the other Cole Porter to herself) and opens it. A man with a briefcase stands there.)

Mr. Vernon: Hello, madam... (comes in)

Mrs. Long Name: Ah hello... you must have come about...

Mr. Vernon: Finishing the sentences, yes.

Mrs. Long Name: Oh... well... perhaps you'd like to...

Mr. Vernon: Come through this way... certainly... (they go through into the sitting room) Oh, nice place you've got here.

Mrs. Long Name: Yes ... well ... er... we...

Mr. Vernon: Like it?

Mrs. Long Name: Yes ... yes we certainly...

Mr. Vernon: Do... Good! Now then... when did you first start...

Mrs. Long Name: ... finding it difficult to...

Mr. Vernon: Finish sentences... yes.

Mrs. Long Name: Well it's not me, it's my...

Mr. Vernon: Husband?

Mrs. Long Name: Yes. He...

Mr. Vernon: Never lets you finish what you've started.

Mrs. Long Name: Quite. I'm beginning to feel...

Mr. Vernon: That you'll never finish a sentence again as long as you live.

Mrs. Long Name: Exact...

Mr. Vernon: ly. It must be awful.

Mrs. Long Name: It's driving me...

Mr. Vernon: To drink?

Mrs. Long Name: No, rou...

Mr. Vernon: nd the be...

Mrs. Long Name: en.,.

Mr. Vernon: d...

Mrs. Long Name: Yes...

Mr. Vernon: May I..,

Mrs. Long Name: Take a seat...

Mr. Vernon: Thank you. (he sits) You see, our method is to reassure the patient by recreating normal... er...

Mrs. Long Name: Conditions?

Mr. Vernon: Yes. Then we try to get them in a position where they suddenly find that they're completing other people's sentences...

Mrs. Long Name: (with self-wonder) Themselves!

Mr. Vernon: Spot on Mrs...

Mrs. Long Name: (hesitantly) Smith?

Mr. Vernon: Good! Well, try not to overdo it to...

Mrs. Long Name: (with growing confidence) Begin with... ?

Mr. Vernon: Good. Just keep it to one or two...

Mrs. Long Name: (faster) Words ....

Mr. Vernon: To start off with, otherwise you may find that you're...

Mrs. Long Name: Taking on too long a sentence and getting completely ... er...

Mr. Vernon: Stuck. Good. Yes. Well that's about it...

Mrs. Long Name: (completely confident now) for now, so...

Mr. Vernon: Thanks very much for calling.

Mrs. Long Name: Not at all.

Mr. Vernon: And, er...

Mrs. Long Name: Just like to say

Mr. Vernon: Thank you very much for coming along.

Mrs. Long Name: Not at all

Mr. Vernon: And good...

Mrs. Long Name: Bye, Mr...

Mr. Vernon: Vernon.

(Mrs. Long Name leaves. Mr. Vernon shuts the door. A girl's voice comes from sitting room.)

Girl's Voice: Carl?

Mr. Vernon: Yes, dear?

Girl's Voice: I've just had another baby.

Mr. Vernon: Oh, no! How many's that now?

Girl's Voice: Twelve since lunch... Oh! There's another one!

(Cut to exterior of Mrs. Long Name's house. She comes out and sets off purposefully up the road, passing four pepperpot nannies digging up the road. They are wearing the usual slippers, paisley dresses and knotted handkerchief. One wears a halmet. One works a pneumatic drill. She is stripped to the waist wearing a big pink bra. Behind, heroic shots of Mrs. Long Name walking out of town, through suburbs, into neat country, then into wilder country. She finally stops in close up, and looks up with inspiration in her eyes.)

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