Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Fawlty Turrets - The Lakelander's Cut...

The scene : - A small hotel near Tunbridge Wells, Kent. A frustrated Basil O’Blene (Scrobs...) is peering at a computer screen with increasing anguish and frustration.

Basil O’Blene: - "Polly, I thought I asked you to sort this blasted contraption out"

Polly: - “I’m sorry Mr O’Blene; I’ve just got too much to do here, what with Manuel having one of his turns, and Chef doing a stupid thing with the eggs again...”!

Basil O’Blene: - "Well, it’s just not good enough Polly – Manuel is a waste of space anyway, but I’ve always thought you could sort him out – one way or another”!

Polly: - “I know he’s useless Mr O’Blene, but at least he tries to help; he is from Barcelona you know...”!

(Sybil enters the reception area of the hotel; she is looking very sexy and wiggling her bits about as usual...) (Pru moment...)

Sybil : - “Basil, I thought I told you to sort out that computer of yours! It’s there in the office, making squawking sounds, and smells of something unpleasant! Sort it out will you - NOW”!

Basil O’Blene: - "Yes I know ‘Dearest’, it has a mind of its own! It is a COMPUTER Dearest, a machine which makes life easier! (hits forehead with palm of hand in exasperation. Aside and softly) Something you’ll never understand”!

Sybil : - “I heard that Basil! I don’t care what you do, just make it do what we paid all that money for, and get us some customers!”

Basil O’Blene: - "Yes Dearest Heart... (aside) ‘witch of the wind’...”! (rolls eyes).

Sybil : - “I heard that too Basil; if you spent more time talking to our guests, and less time fiddling around with that silly machine, we’d all be much better off"!

Basil O’Blene: - "Bye bye Dearest; presumably you’re off out somewhere? The golf course maybe? The Coven"?

Sybil : - “You’re not funny Basil; I’m actually going to meet the ladies of the new crochet circle, they have a small party arranged for people with real skills, not playing with things they don’t understand...! And while I’m gone, just call ‘Lakes Computers’ and they’ll have someone there who knows what they’re talking about.”

Basil O’Blene: - "But I’ve already called Mr O’Reilly, Sybil, and he told me that he deals in Apples all the time, he’s also much cheaper...”

Sybil : - “He deals in Apples because he is a greengrocer Basil; now do as I tell you and get it fixed!”

Basil O’Blene: - (ignoring her, then looking up) "Still here Sybil? I thought you had to get stitched up somewhere”! (starts to laugh inanely at his own joke. Sybil gives him a pitying look and wiggles out of the front door). (Another Pru moment...)

Major : - “Evening O’Blene, anything happening this evening”?

Basil O’Blene: - "Evening Major, not much to report I’m afraid; typhoid outbreak in Tunbridge Wells kills three hundred, outbreak of rats in Westminster! Earthquake in Hawkshead! I can’t get the computer to work, so I’m afraid that the drinks are limited tonight; the brewery didn’t get the order!”

Major : - “I knew a commuter once, he used to go to London every day to work in an office! Rum way of life don’t you know”!

Basil O’Blene: - "No, this is a COMPUTER Major, an electric machine which does things for you, it's supposed to help you and let you get on with life”!

Major : - “Oh, I don’t think he did anything like that, he worked for a bank”! (wanders into the bar).

Manuel : - ”Meeza O’Blene, Polly she say tha’ yo’ compuher no work! I fix”?

Basil O’Blene: - “Manuel, I’m more likely to get it mended by a dyslexic one-eyed terrapin than by your efforts! Just get out to the kitchen and start with the tables, and clean the silver tureen while you’re at it”!

Manuel : - ”Turin...Turin, but I come fro’ Barcelona...”! (looks worried).

Basil O’Blene: - “I said TUREEN Manuel, TUREEN! God - didn’t they teach you anything in that dungheap of a place you were dragged up from?”

Manuel : - ”Que?”

Basil O’Blene: - “The tureen is the large silver bowl we serve soup from Manuel! It is in the dining room! Just go and get the polish”!

Manuel : - ”Que? Polish, bu’ Meeza O’Blene, I say I come from Barcelona...no Polish...”! (wanders off looking hopelessly lost).

(the phone rings, Polly answers it)

Polly : - “Mr O’Blene; Mrs O’Blene is calling to ask if you’ve rung ‘Lakes Computers’ yet”? (Yet another Pru moment...)

Basil O’Blene: - “Polly, I only have one pair of hands, and Manuel is going to get both of them round his neck any minute now! And no, I haven’t rung ‘Lakes Computers’ yet so tell her that I’m trying to run a hotel, not fool around with one of her chums that she’s met at her golf club”!

(Noise of Sybil’s screech from receiver, “I heard that Basil”!)

Polly : - “Mr O’Blene, the number’s here, on this post-it note, with some – er - pencil flowers wound round the name and a few – er – crosses in the corner...” (stares at note with vaguely distant expression...)

Basil O’Blene: - “Well don’t just stand there Polly, call ‘The Lakelander’! Tut; ‘Lakes Computers’! What sort of name for a firm is that! Why not ‘Windermere Wiring’, or – oh – ‘Kendal mend-all’! Pah! (slowly shakes his head with a pitying smirk, tuts and rolls his eyes).

(Polly dials the number).

Polly : - “Yes, is that ‘Lakes computers’? It is? Oh good!.....what?.....how did you know we were going to call.....you know everything because Syb.....you know her from the golf.....how many times.....Thursdays.....and Fridays....oh.....and Mondays!!! Look – er – Mr Lakelander.....oh, it’s ‘Lakes’ is it.....er, we have a problem with our.....oh, you know all about that you say.....riiiiight....”

Basil O’Blene: - (exasperated and crashing his fingers all over the keyboard) “Polly what’s going on? (peers at her) Polly, you’re all flushed – are you alright"?

Polly : - “I’m fine Mr O’Blene.....just fine.....I – er - think I need to go outside and perhaps, oh, smoke a cigarette, maybe dream quietly for a few minutes......” (she pulls herself together and leans over Basil, breathing heavily).

Basil O’Blene: - “So what do we do then Polly? Has the ‘Coniston Cableman’ explained how to find the Holy Grail?” (stares back at screen with wild expression).

Polly : - (softly and calmly) “You just press that key there (presses key), then do this, (clicks mouse) now this (presses two keys), now watch...”!

(the computer hums into life, and immediately begins to work perfectly)

Basil O’Blene: - “Well, I’ll go to the foot of our stairs...”! (stares in wonderment at all the messages bubbling up on the screen; the printer hums, clicks and starts working, and the speakers send out the crescendo from ‘Zadok the Priest' at full blast)

Polly : - “He is just fantastic”! (stares at screen then Basil)

Basil O’Blene: - “Polly, I’ve just decided that I’m going to give you the biggest hug you’ve ever had! (alarm all over Polly’s face).

(Basil grasps as much of Polly as he can with two hands just as Sybil walks in the door)

Sybil : - “So, as soon as my back’s turned Basil, I come back and find the Major drunk in the bar because he’s had two pints of Creme de Menthe and Dubonnet, Manuel is lying unconscious with a soup ladle embedded in his right ear, and here you are groping a lady member of the staff and just about to have your wicked way across the computer....(slowly stops ranting and stares at computer, which is humming away, and working perfectly.)

Polly : - “It was ‘Lakes Computers’ Mrs O’Blene, he pressed all the right buttons...”

Sybil : - “Yes. I thought he would Polly. He does know which buttons to press doesn’t he..." (gazes into middle distance, and touches her pearl necklace slowly They both stare at faraway objects in the room for a few seconds, while Basil looks with increasing horror at the screen He suddenly jumps up and escapes into the hotel lobby)

Sybil : - (turning back to the screen) “We’re fine now Polly, all our messages are flooding in and so are the new reservations for next...” (sees something which makes her frown, then fume, then explode). “Basil, BASIL! What are these pictures on the screen. Basil, who exactly is Ivana Havitova, asking what massage you ordered.....and....ohhhh yes?.... what’s this on-line poker money you’ve won, and – Basil....what’s this, ‘Teenage Tales of the unexpected – explicit”!

(sound of front door banging shut. Grinding sound of Austin 1100 failing to start, with Basil screaming yelling and cursing it from inside...)

Sybil : -(running after him, brandishing a crochet hook) “BASIL, you just come back here this instance! Basil, COME BACK HERE! BASIL! BASIL! BASIL! BASIL! BASIL.....”!


rvi said...

Excellent Scrobs. You sure you didn't miss your real vocation?

Scrobs... said...

You're very kind Reevers, thankyou...

It is the only way I can thank Lakes for averting a real life problem, and purely because he actually knows what to do, unlike politicians etc, who are either mad or stupid or thick.

BTW, Basilism rules - see Elecs...

Electro-Kevin said...

It does rule. In fact Mrs E-K is very much like Sybil. Sorry to disappoint.

An excellent play btw. Worthy of a thirteenth Fawlty Towers episode.

Philipa said...


So much better than the Archers.

Scrobs... said...

You're very kind Elecs!

I'm sure Mrs Elecs wouldn't secretly mind being a Pru Moment either...

But then, I try and keep this a family post, not one where teeth and hair pile up in the corner after a huge row about some old git trying to be funny and taking her name in vain...


Scrobs... said...

Pips! A lady after my own heart!

Mrs S is an ardent Archers listener, and has earphones especially glued to her ears at 2.00pm every day...

On Sundays when the seven hour version is playing, I'm banished to the allotment or the shed!

Hope you didn't mind being a Pru moment BTW; we do need to keep the standards high here!

Philipa said...

I'm honoured to be a Pru, Scrobs.

I have to say I used to listen to the Archers, in the 1980's. When Kylie was in Neighbours.

Scrobs... said...

And that was when the name 'Scroblene' was invented Pips!

And as you said just over three years ago, 'little spitfire with a great arse' somehow works here as well!