Wednesday, 6 May 2009


MR. PRALINE: Any Voter
CHANCELLOR: Alistair Darling

(A perfectly ordinary Ministry. A tall voter in a dark green rain-jacket, holding red embellished bank statements and with rictus grinning corpse in tow, enters. This is Mr. Praline.)

Mr. Praline : 'Ello. I wish to register a complaint.

(The Chancellor has his back to the voter and does not respond.)

Mr. Praline : 'Ello miss?

Chancellor: (turning around, very angry) What do you mean, “miss”, just ‘cause my name’s Darling?

Mr. Praline : I'm sorry, I said Chancellor, I have a cold.

(The Chancellor nods, understanding.)

Mr. Praline : I wish to make a complaint!

Chancellor : (hurriedly) Sorry, we're closin' for lunch, workin’ time directive, health and safety ruling, TV interview...!

Mr. Praline : Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this Prime Minister, what I got not half an hour ago from this very boutique.

Chancellor : Oh yes, the, ah, the Caledonian Red... What's, ah... W-what's wrong with it?

Mr. Praline : I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. It's dead, that's what's wrong with it.

Chancellor : No, no, 'e's, ah... he's resting.

Mr. Praline : Look, matey, I know a dead Prime Minister when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.

Chancellor : No no, h-he's not dead, he's, he's restin'!

Mr. Praline : Restin'?

Chancellor : Y-yeah, restin.' Remarkable man, the Caledonian Red, isn't it, eh? Beautiful smile!

Mr. Praline : The smile don't enter into it. Ee's stone dead!

Chancellor : Nononono, no, no! 'E's resting!

Mr. Praline : All right then, if he's resting, I'll wake him up!

(shouting at the grimacing corpse)

'Ello, Gordy! Mister Gordy Browneeeeee! I've got a lovely fresh tax wheeze for you if you wake up, Mr. Gordy Browneeeeee...

(Chancellor hits the table)

Chancellor : There, he moved!

Mr. Praline : No, he didn't, that was you hitting the table!

Chancellor : I never!!

Mr. Praline : Yes, you did!

Chancellor : I never, never....

(He pulls the Gordy over the desk and screams into its ear.)


(He bangs Gordy’s grinning head against the desk, horribly hard.)


(He does it again, harder.)


(He tosses him up in the air and watches him plummet to the floor. Longish pause.)

Now that's what I call a dead Prime Minister.

Chancellor : No, no.... No, he's stunned.

Mr. Praline : STUNNED?

Chancellor : Yeah! You stunned him, just as he was wakin' up! Caledonian Reds stun easily, Major.

Mr. Praline : Look Tosh, I've had just about enough of this. That PM is definitely deceased, and when I got ‘im not half an hour ago, you assured me that ‘is total lack of movement was due to ‘im being tired and shagged out after a long PMQs.

Chancellor : Well, he's... he's, ah... probably pining for the lochs.

(Praline looks angrily back and forth, stuttering.)

Mr. Praline : PININ' for the LOCHS? What kind of talk is that? Look, why did he fall flat on his back the moment ‘e got home?

Chancellor : The Caledonian Red prefers thinkin' on its back! Remarkable thing isn't ’e, guv, eh? Lovely whistle and flute, luvverly smile!

Mr. Praline : (coldly) Look, I took the liberty of examining a video of that PM when I got home, and I discovered the only reason that he had been standing in the first place was that he had been NAILED there and the smile STAPLED and GAFFER-TAPED in place.


Chancellor : Well, of course ‘e was nailed there and the stapled smile, you don’t want to see him angry! If I hadn't nailed the PM down, ‘e would have muscled up to them Tories, bent 'em apart with ‘is bitten fingernails, and…………..VOOM!

Mr. Praline : "VOOM?"

(Praline puts the red-lined statements down and grabs the lifeless PM by the arms.)

Mr. Praline : Look matey, this PM wouldn't "voom" if you put four thousand volts up ‘is jacksy with a size 13 army boot! ‘E's bleedin' demised!

Chancellor : ‘E's not! E-‘E's pining!

Mr. Praline : ‘E's not pinin,' ‘e's passed on! This PM is no more! ‘E has ceased to be! ‘E's expired and gone to meet ‘is maker! This is a late PM! It's a stiff! Bereft of life, ‘is policies in pieces! If you hadn't nailed him to the desk he would be pushing up the thistles for over ten years! ‘is metabolical processes are of interest only to historians! ‘E's hopped the twig! ‘E's shuffled off this mortal coil! ‘E's run down the economy and screwed the earnings invisible! He’s in the great manse in the sky! This.... is an ……….EX-PM!


Chancellor : Well, I'd better replace ‘im, then.

(He disappears behind the desk.)

Mr. Praline : (turning to camera) If you want to get anything done in this country you've got to vote 'til you're Blue in the Government.

(The Chancellor returns.)

Chancellor : Sorry guv, we're fresh out of PMs and no likely candidates.

Mr. Praline : I see. I see, I get the picture.

Chancellor : (quietly) I-I've got a slug.


Mr. Praline : (sweet as sugar) Could be a suitable replacement. Does it talk?

Chancellor : Not really, no.

Mr. Praline : Well, it's SCARCELY A BLOODY REPLACEMENT then, IS IT? It would be if it could bleedin’ talk.

Chancellor : Listen, I'll tell you what, tell you what, if you go to my brother’s assembly in Cardiff, he'll replace your PM for you.

Mr. Praline : Cardiff, eh?

Chancellor : Yeah.

Mr. Praline : All right.

(He leaves.)


(The customer enters a very similar Ministry, with a sign on the front reading "Similar Ministry" The owner, who looks similar to the other Minister, is putting on large false ginger eyebrows in order to better distinguish himself from his brother. Which he isn't. Praline looks about and finds it to be very similar indeed. And when he finds his same dead PM inside, that just about clinches it.)

Mr. Praline : Uh, excuse me, this is Cardiff, is it?

Chancellor: (with the fake white eyebrows) No, it's Edinburgh.

Mr. Praline : (looking at the camera) That's Network Rail for you.

(Mr Praline goes to the train station. He addresses a man standing behind a desk marked "Complaints.")

Mr. Praline : I wish to make a complaint.

Attendant : I don't have to do this, you know!

Mr. Praline : I beg your pardon...?

Attendant : I'm a qualified brain surgeon! I only do this 'cause they messed up the admissions contracts and the CRB check!

Mr. Praline : Excuse me, this is irrelevant, isn't it?

Attendant : Oh yeah, well, most sensible sketches woulda stopped at the slug line.

Mr. Praline : Well, I wish to complain! I got on the Cardiff train and found myself deposited here in Edinburgh.

Attendant : No, this is Cardiff.

Mr. Praline : (to the camera) The Minister's brother was lying!

Attendant : Well, you can't blame Network Rail for that.

Mr. Praline : If this is Cardiff, I shall return to the Ministry!

(Zoom in on the bewildered attendant. Mr. Praline returns to the Ministry.)

Mr. Praline : I understand that this IS Cardiff.

Chancellor : (still with the fake eyebrows) Yeah?

Mr. Praline : But you told me it was Edinburgh!

Chancellor : (a bit meekly) It was a pun.

Mr. Praline : A pun??

Chancellor : No, no ... not a pun ... What's the other thing where it reads the same backwards as forwards?

(longish pause)

Mr. Praline : A palindrome...?

Chancellor : Yeah, yeah.

Mr. Praline : It's not a palindrome! The palindrome of "Cardiff" would be "Ffidrac!" It don't work!!

Chancellor : Well, what do you want?

Mr. Praline : No, I'm sorry! I'm not prepared to pursue my line of inquiry any longer as I think this is getting too silly!

Chancellor : Silly, sir?

Mr. Praline : And take off those eyebrows!

Chancellor : (taking off eyebrows) Silly, sir?

Mr. Praline : Yes, silly! Well it would be if it wasn’t so serious. I've come in here with a perfectly legitimate complaint and you have done everything in your power to turn my afternoon into a comedy of errors and divert attention! This, therefore, is silly!

(He slams the bank statements down on the counter and lands a hefty boot at the rictus grinning corpse, to illustrate the point.)

Chancellor : Y-yeah. Silly. (gets ashamed, looks at his feet)

Mr. Praline : Well.

(Excruciatingly long pause.)

Chancellor : (quietly) D'you.... d'you want to come back to my place?


Mr. Praline : No! Mandelson’s already asked..