Monty Python and Anarcho-syndicalism

From the script of Monty Python and the Holy Grail:

Series 2, Episode 7

Cut to a commentator with mike in close-up. Pull back in his speech, to discover he is standing in front of the main gate at Lords cricket ground

Interviewer (GRAHAM) The headquarters of these urban idiots is here in St John's Wood. Inside they enjoy the company of other idiots and watch special performances of ritual idioting.

Cut to quick wide-shot of cricket match being played at Lords. Cut to five terribly old idiots watching.

First Idiot (MICHAEL) Well left.

Second Idiot (GRAHAM) Well played.

Third Idiot (ERIC) Well well.

Fourth Idiot (JOHN) Well bred.

Fifth Idiot (TERRY J) (dies) Ah!

Another very quick wide-shot of Lords. There is nothing at all happening and we can't distinguish anyone. Cut to three TV commentators in modern box, with sliding window open. They are surrounded by bottles.

Jim (JOHN) Good afternoon and welcome to Lords on the second day of the first test. So far today we've had five hours batting from England and already they're nought for nought. Cowdrey is not out nought. Naughton is not in. Knott is in and is nought for not out. Naughton of Northants got a nasty knock on the nut in the nets last night but it's nothing of note. Next in is Nat Newton of Notts. Not Nutting - Nutting's at nine, er, Nutting knocked neatie nighty knock knock... (another commentator nudges him) ...anyway England have played extremely well for nothing, not a sausage, in reply to Iceland's first innings total of 722 for 2 declared, scored yesterday disappointingly fast in only twenty-one overs with lots of wild slodging and boundaries and all sorts of rubbishy things. But the main thing is that England have made an absolutely outstanding start so far, Peter?

Peter (GRAHAM) Splendid. Just listen to those thighs. And now it's the North East's turn with the Samba. Brian.

Brian (ERIC) (he has an enormous nose) Rather. (opens book) I'm reminded of the story of Gubby Allen in '32...

Jim Oh, shut up or we'll close the bar. And now Bo Wildeburg is running up to bowl to Cowdrey, he runs up, he bowls to Cowdrey...

Cut to fast bowler. He bowls the ball but the batsman makes no move whatsoever. The ball passes the off stump.

Jim ...and no shot at all. Extremely well not played there.

Peter Yes, beautifully not done anything about.

Brian A superb shot of no kind whatsoever. I well remember Plum Warner leaving a similar ball alone in 1732.

Jim Oh shut up, long nose.

Peter falls off his chair.

And now it's Bo Wildeburg running in again to bowl to Cowdrey, he runs in. (bowler bowls as before; ball goes by as before) He bowls to Cowdrey - and no shot at all, a superb display of inertia there... And that's the end of the over, and drinks.

Peter Gin and tonic please.

Jim No, no the players are having drinks. And now, what's happening? I think Cowdrey's being taken off.

Two men in white coats, à la furniture removers, so maybe they're bown coats, are carrying the batsman off. Two men pass them with a green Chesterfield sofa making for the wicket.

Yes, Cowdrey is being carried off. Well I never. Now who's in next, it should be number three, Natt Newton of Notts... get your hand off my thigh, West... no I don't think it is... I think it's er, it's the sofa... no it's the Chesterfield! The green Chesterfield is coming in at number three to take guard now.

Brian I well remember a similar divan being brought on at Headingly in 9 BC against the darkies.

Jim Oh, shut up, elephant snout. And now the green Chesterfield had taken guard and Iceland are putting on their spin dryer to bowl.

Furniture fielding. The whole pitch is laid out with bits of furniture in correct positions. Three chairs in the slips; easy chair keeping wicket; bidet at mid; TV set at cover; bookcase at mid off; roll-up writing desk at square; radiator at mid wicket etc. The spin dryer moves forward and bowls a real ball with its snozzle to a table, which is at the batting end with cricket pads on. It his the table on the pad. Appeal.

Jim The spin dryer moves back to his mark, it runs out to the wicket, bowls to the table... a little short but it's coming in a bit there and it's hit him on the pad... and the table is out, leg before wicket. That is England nought for one.

Series 3, Episode 13

Dickie (ERIC) Before we hear the joint winner, let's see the one that came sixth. Let us see Pier Paolo Pasolini's latest film.

Close up of grass on cricket pitch. In the background we hear the buzzing of insects. A cricket ball rolls into shot and a hand reaches down and picks it up. Pull out to reveal he is a bowler, behind him a couple of fielders. He is shot from low down.


Close up on the bowler as he turns to look at his field. Cut to a skeleton on the boundary in tattered remnants of cricket gear. Noise of flies buzzing becomes louder. Sounds of mocking laughter. Cut to the bowler in close up turning in the direction of the laughter. Shot of the batsman at his crease, but behind him the wicket keeper and first slip are monks in brown cowls. They are laughing at him. Cut back to the bowler's horrified eyes, he looks again. Cut to the same shot of the batsman only now the wicket keeper and first slip are cricketers again. Wind, buzzing. Cut back to the bowler, who starts to rub the ball on his trousers. Music comes in. Close up bowler's face starting to sweat. Close up ball rubbing on trousers. Close up face sweating. Cut to a girl in the pavilion licking her lips. Cut back to ball rubbing. Cut to his sweating face. Cut to girl. Cut back to bowler as he starts his run. Close up of bowler running. He runs over a couple making love in the nude. Mounting music. Cut back to the bowler, as he releases ball. Cut to the ball smashing into stumps. The music reaches crescendo. Silence. In slow motion the bowler turns, arms outstretched to the umpire. The umpire turns into a cardinal who produces a cross and holds it up like a dismissal sign.

Cut to a vociferous group of cricketers in a TV studio. They are all in pads and white flannels. They are on staggered rostra as in `Talk-back'. Facing them is Pier Paolo Pasolini.

First Cricketer (GRAHAM) There's lots of people making love, but no mention of Geoff Boycott's average.

Pasolini (JOHN) (Italian accent) Who is-a Geoff Boycott?


Second Cricketer (MICHAEL) And in t'film, we get Fred Titmus ...

Pasolini Si, Titmus, si, si ...


Second Cricketer ... the symbol of man's regeneration through radical Marxism ... fair enough ... but we never once get a chance to see him turn his off-breaks on that Brisbane sticky.

Third Cricketer (ERIC) Aye, and what were all that dancing through Ray Illingworth's innings? Forty-seven not out and the bird comes up and feeds him some grapes!

General cricketorial condemnation.

Series 4, Episode 6

Cut to animated professor.

Voice (MICHAEL) No, what they had come across was a tribe lost to man since time immemorial... the legendary Batsmen of the Kalahari... (cut to a shot of natives playing cricket)

Voice Over (TERRY J) Primitive customs still survive here as if the march of time has passed them by. But for all the mumbo-jumbo and superstition, the Batsmen of the Kalahari are formidable fighters, as we can see on this rare footage of them in action against Warwickshire.

Cut to a big county ground pavilion in mid-shot. We zoom in on the commentator on a balcony.

Commentator (MICHAEL) Warwickshire had dismissed the Kalahari Batsmen for 140, and then it was their turn to face this extraordinary Kalahari attack. Pratt was the first to go, but Pratt and Pratt put on a second wicket stand of nought, which was broken by Odinga in his most hostile mood.

A compilation of the day's play. Natives in normal cricket gear. Pratt at crease as per usual cricket coverage. Cut to a low shot of the bowler thundering up towards the wicket. Cut away to the batsmen preparing to take the shot. Cut back to the bowler. As he reaches the crease he produced a spear and raises it to shoulder height and hurls it. Cut to batsman who is hit full in the stomach. His bat dislodges the bails. There is a `howzat' frm all the native fielders. He makes an annoyed gesture as if he were Colin Cowdrey caught clean bowled, and sinks to the ground.


Voice Over (GRAHAM) That's B. Pratt, hit wicket - 0. But Pratt and Z. Pratt dug in and took the score to a half... (cut to the new batting partnership; B. Pratt's body is still on the ground) before Z. Pratt ran away. (Z. Pratt reaching the pavilion, running with a hail of spears and arrows coming after him) But out came M.J.K. Pratt... (cut to M.J.K. Pratt coming out pulling on gloves etc.) to play a real captain's innings. (he reaches the crease and takes guard, the bowler bowls) He'd taken his own score up to nought when he mistimed a shot of Bowanga and was lbw. (a huge spear stick right through the lower part of his leg; a big appeal and he turns and limps manfully off)

Voice Over Typical of Umbonga's hostile opening spell was his dismissal of V.E. Pratt, who offered no resistance to this delivery... (cut to native bowler bowling a machete; it hits the ground and does a leg spin up, slicing off the batsman's head as he waves his bat) ...and he was caught behind.

The batsman's severed head lands in the wicket keeper's gloves. He throws it in the air with a flourish


Presenter (MICHAEL) But by lunch the situation had changed dramatically.


Cut back to the presenter. Behind him the `World's Most Awful Family' sign is crossed out and replaced by `Sport'.

Presenter And so with the tension colossal as we come up to the last ball... that's all from us.