S01E06 Lesson 6 – Win Awards the Burkiss Way

The Burkiss Way to Dynamic Living, the FREE OFFER Correspondence Course. Just fill in your name here (I am over 3 years old) and you will receive – absolutely FREE! – a Gullibility Award and Lesson 6: Win Awards the Burkiss Way, and – in 15 minutes – you could hear instruction from Denise Coffey, Nigel Rees, Chris Emmett and Fred Harris, from a 15-minute script by Andrew Marshall, John Mason, David Renwick, and a 15-minute production by Simon Brett.

First broadcast on 1 October 1976

Editor’s note: The state of the Harold Macmillan sketch immediately below is a bit mysterious. On the one hand it does sound like a Burkiss Way sketch – Macmillan’s voice[1] in particular resembles the character from the ‘Winning a cabinet minister’ sketch one episode later – but on the other hand some recordings have this sketch at the front of the episode[2], some at the back and others not at all[3]. Also with those recordings that do include it, the quality of the Macmillan sketch is noticeably worse as compared to the rest of the episode. So it might be possible that this was in fact a Burkiss Way sketch that was cut from the official broadcast, but somehow survived anyway, but its exact provenance is certainly a bit doubtful at the moment.

Harold Macmillan: Good evening. My name… iii..is Harold Macmillan. Thank you, for allowing me to have intimacy with you in your home. (pause) To many of you, the name Macmillan, iiii… iiis, is associated, with the phrase ‘You’ve never had it.’ ,… so good. (pause)

Man: (whispering) You’ve never had it so good.

Harold Macmillan: Never had it so good. Not so very long ago, I was your prime minister. Don’t we all long for the days, when we all talked fondly, o..o..of..of..of Supermac. What have we now? Gannex Mac.

Man: (not quite whispering) Get on with it!

Harold Macmillan: Er, get on with it. (pause) And, and! And as for Thatcher, I’m not too sure about him. (pause) What we need today, ii..is a man of wisdom, aa…a..and experience, perhaps a man with a drooping moustache… and white wings of hair over his ears. Ee..er, but I’m quibbling.

Man: Oh, get a hanky! (pause)

Harold Macmillan: What we need, ii..ii..is a man, with the courage, with the courage, to say to his old college—

Man: (whispering) Colleagues!

Harold Macmillan: Colleagues… I– I don’t agree with what you say, but my god, you’re fired. What we want, ii..iiis a man, with that great quality, which Pitt, Peel, Walpole, a..a..a..a..and Wellington have in common: They’re all dead.

Man: They’re all dedicated to their ideals!

Harold Macmillan: Dedicated to their ideal. Surely, somewhere, there is a man, a..an..an an..an..an elder statesman, waiting in the wings, waiting, waiting to be recalled. I– I heard it said the other day, ‘Can anybody recall Harold Macmillan?’ Err.. the great, er the great British public, whatever that is, need somebody to..to..to to inspire, and..and lead them, a man with stature, and..and… and what is now called charisma. But meanwhile, a very happy Charisma to you all.

Announcer: And that’s the end of ‘Today in Parliament’.

Note: Regular episode starts here.

Continuity Announcer: It’s eleven twenty-five, and now, an opportunity to learn the Burkiss Way to Dynamic Living. But first, some testimonials from satisfied customers.

F/X: clock ticking

Customer #1: Whenever I took women out, it always turned into a disaster. I think it was acne that put them off. Then, Professor Burkiss advised me to stop taking them to ’ackney. The effect was shattering. Thanks to the Burkiss Way.

Customer #2: I was skinny and weedy. Every time I went onto the beach, an effeminate creature would kick sandwiches in me face. But after thirteen weeks of the Burkiss Way, I felt like a new man. So now, Professor Burkiss has arranged for a new man to come and kick sandwiches in me face. So the award for the weediest man in the world will shortly stand proudly on my mantelpiece, just as soon as someone gives me a hand lifting it up there, thanks to the Burkiss Way.

Music: Burkiss Way opening signature tune

Burkiss Way announcer: Yes, you too could win awards like this pathetic little worm, if you study the Burkiss Way. Tonight, with the help of Denise Coffey, Chris Emmett, Fred Harris and Nigel Rees, we will show you how you can be loaded with show business accolades. Simply dye yourself silver, and climb into the lorry with them. Stay tuned now for programme six in our series, Win Awards The Burkiss Way.

Music: out

Male Presenter: Good evening, er. If you’re unattractive, stupid, and have no musical aptitude, acting ability, or any talent whatsoever, you could still be one of the winners here tonight in our very own Burkiss Entertainment Awards show.

Female Presenter: All you have to do is star in your own television series and be a brilliant runaway sensation, within the next three minutes.

Russell Harty (Eric Pode of Croydon-like voice): But I am unattractive, stupid, and have no musical aptitude, acting ability, or any talent whatsoever.

Female Presenter: That’s alright, you could be another Russell Harty.

Russell Harty: I am Russell Harty.

Male Presenter: Ahh, yes, well then you need this:

F/X: gun shot

Russell Harty: Thanks very much, mate.

Male Presenter: ‘That’s all from me, and Richard Whitmore, now over to Barbara Edwards for the weather.’

Female Presenter: ‘Now back to Frank Bough in the grandstand studio.’

Male Presenter: ‘Thank you Bob, Dyllis.’

Female Presenter: And finally: ‘Now let’s go over to the foyer of the Albert Hall, where the guests are just beginning to arrive.’

Male Presenter: And the winner is:

F/X: paper rustling

Female Presenter: It’s exciting, [this ?]. Er, the winner is: ‘Now let’s go over to the foyer of the Albert Hall, where the guests are just beginning to arrive!!’

Commentator: Hello, and welcome to the foyer of the Albert Hall, where the guests are just beginning to arrive! A huge crowd has gathered here, thoroughly excited of the pomp and glamour of the occasion. And in fact, even as I speak, a limousine is just drawing up outside—

F/X: car arriving in the background

Commentator: —and I think, it’s, I think, yes, yes, it’s John Gielgud’s hamster.

The Hamster: Squeak, squeak.

Crowd: (cheering)

Commentator: And we’re very honoured that he should join us here tonight. Ahh, ah! And through the door now, comes Jack Nicholson’s tortoise.

F/X: another car in the background

Commentator: And this galaxy of stars is arriving thick and fast now. There’s Marlon Brando’s gold fish, which of course also doubles as his dialogue coach, and… I think, yes, still coming through the door now is Jack Nicholson’s tortoise, and, who’s this drawing up in a huge Cadillac? Yes, it’s Elizabeth Taylor’s canary!

Crowd: (boos)

Commentator: Oh no, no, no, sorry, sorry, false alarm there, it was only Frank Sinatra. What a pity. And who is this behind him? Who’s this behind him? Yes, it looks like, it..it is, it is, no, no, it isn’t, it is, it is, it is in fact Richard Burton’s newt! Richard Burton’s newt has arrived!! And he doesn’t look to steady on his feet. No… But now, now, now we… (audience reaction) we’ve just heard that the Royal party will be slightly delayed. It’s stopped in Hyde Park to bury a bone, and sniff at some interesting patches. So, while we’re waiting for Prince Charles, let’s go inside, let’s go inside, where the awards ceremony is about to begin.

Announcer: And here’s our host for the evening, Michael Cesspool.

Michael Cesspool: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. And on this most serious, of serious occasions, this most momentous and dignified of events, this most.. illustrious and noble of gatherings… And now let’s begin, with our first auspicious award. The award for the best door handle of 1976. And here to present the award, is Blue Peter’s John Noakes, who is himself made entirely out of door handles and plastic detergent bottles.

John Noakes: Thank you. And, and the nominations are… James Onedin’s cabin door handle, in The Onedin Line.

F/X: wooden door opening and creaking, door handle

John Noakes: Ronnie Barker’s door handle in Porridge.

F/X: metal cell door closing shut

John Noakes: Frank Spencer’s door handle in Some Mothers Do ’Ave ’Em.

F/X: door handle, some collection of objects crashing onto the floor

John Noakes: And finally, Meg Richardson’s door handle in Crossroads.

F/X: door handle

John Noakes: And the winner is…

F/X: paper rustling

John Noakes: The winner is Meg Richardson’s door handle in Crossroads!

Crowd: (cheering)

Michael Cesspool: Well, we’ll be back with more awards in a minute, but there now follows a short intermission.

Music: Theme from A Summer Place

F/X: door bell

Music: fades over into Bach’s Air on the G String

F/X: lighting a match

Voice-over: For that special moment. Set fire to your chamber orchestra…

F/X: fire burning

Voice-over: … with Whizzo matches. Only 2 p a packet. Whizzo.

F/X: bell

Music: out

Michael Cesspool: Hello, and welcome back to the Albert Hall, where we’re about to begin the awards for the Best Religious Light Entertainment Show of Nineteen Seventy-Six.

Female Presenter: And the nominations for the best Best Religious Light Entertainment Show are as follows: Pope Pius At Large; The Two Rabbis; and Cor Blimey, Vicar! Now let’s see some clips from those shows, first ‘Pope Pius At Large’.

Pope Pius (Irish? accent): (reciting/half chanting, as if it was some kind of prayer) There were these two Irish comedians, walking down the streete. One of them saw the sign which saide: Three fellows are wanted. And he turned to the other ande saide: What a pity there isn’t another one of us. We’d been able to apply for them.

Female Presenter: And now, The Two Rabbis.

Music: flutes + violin

Rabbi 1: Good evening already. It’s nice to be with you again, isn’t it Rabbi?

Rabbi 2: Yes, it is, and er, in a packed programme tonight, we’ll have a rabbi who crossed Topol with a gay violinist, and got a fiddler on the poof.

Michael Cesspool: And the final nomination: ITV’s top rated comedy show, Cor Blimey, Vicar!, starring Reg Varney, Arthur Mullard and Nina Baden-Semper.

F/X: door handle

Wife: Hello dear, have you had a hard day in the church?

Vicar: Knickers!

Michael Cesspool: And that concludes the list of nominations.

Female Presenter: And the winner of the comedy award is…

F/X: paper rustling

Female Presenter: Er, erm, just read it, Meg Richardson of Crossroads!!

Crowd: (very slight applause)

Michael Cesspool: So there we are. It only now remains to announce that Cindy Redhead’s bra has won the award for the best supporting role, and Miss Cindy Redhead herself has been voted the most promising actress. A few more promises like the ones she’s already made, she could be really big.

Female Presenter: And so, finally, we come to the award for the best Burkiss Way in Action film of Nineteen Seventy-Six. And the winner is: The Burkiss Way of Cutting People’s Heads Off. Let’s see now, what it did for Citizen Jean-Pierre Jugular, chief executioner in the french revolution.

F/X: noisy crowd atmosphere

F/X: guillotine blade falling down

Crowd: (cheering)

F/X: guillotine blade falling down

Crowd: (cheering)

Citizen Jugular (French accent): Ha ha ha, let that be a lesson, to the accursed aristocracie. Now then, let’s cut off his ’ead as well.

F/X: guillotine blade falling down

Crowd: (cheering)

Citizen Jugular: A ha ha, haa ha, another blow struck for revolutions.

Armand (French accent): Pssst, psst. Psssssst.

Citizen Jugular: Armand? What are you doing be’ind that pillar?

Armand: Citizen Jugular, you must come with me.

Citizen Jugular: Wha..?

Armand: Our spies have received word… tha ’e is ’ere in Paris today.

Citizen Jugular: ’e? You mean, the dreaded…

Armand: Oui.

Citizen Jugular: The dreaded Eric Pode, of Croydon?

Armand: Ah, no..no..no..non, non, the Scarlet Pimpernel, monsieur. It means he has come to rescue the Comtesse of Arrogant from execution in five minutes time.

Citizen Jugular: Aaaaha. But, how do we find ’im? Remember, ’e ’as a thousand faces.

Armand: Oh, that should make him very easy to spot then.

Citizen Jugular: Non, non! Fool! I mean, ’e, I mean ’e is a master of disguise.[4] (audience reaction) But, mais, but, I think I have a plan to smear the elusive Pimpernel. Give me that basket of fruit. Quick. Into the Comtesse’s cell.

F/X: crowd atmosphere stops, cell being unlocked

Comtesse d’Arrogant: Why? Citizen Jugular?

Citizen Jugular: Oho!

Comtesse d’Arrogant: I’m glad you’ve called. I wanted a word with you, er but in private.

Citizen Jugular: Oh, very well. Come on, Armand, we’d better [go leave?].

Comtesse d’Arrogant: Oh no, n..no, no. I think it would be better if you stayed while I told you. You see, it’s about my execution.

Citizen Jugular: Er, what about it?

Comtesse d’Arrogant: I.. I’m afraid I can’t make it.

Citizen Jugular: You won’t wriggle out of it that easily, Madame.

Comtesse d’Arrogant: I see, you’re too clever for me.

Citizen Jugular: Ha ha ha.

Comtesse d’Arrogant: Well, it is no matter, the Scarlet Pimpernel will snatch me from Madame Guillotine.

Citizen Jugular: A ha ha ha, o ho ho ho, …

Armand: Ha ha ha.

Citizen Jugular: … wrong. As soon as he shows ’imself out there, ’e will find, not you, vous, toi, in the [cart ?], but me, —

Comtesse d’Arrogant: Ohh!

Citizen Jugular: —moi, disguised as the Comtesse of Arrogant.

Citizen Jugular & Armand: (laughing)

Comtesse d’Arrogant: Ohh!

Armand: Eh, but er, but what about the beard, monsieur?

Citizen Jugular: Ahh, I can wear a false one, okay? It is a simple matter to make myself look like a woman. Armand, ’and me two oranges from that basket.

Armand: La?

Citizen Jugular: Comtesse? Comtesse, remove your dress. A ha, ha ha…

Comtesse d’Arrogant: What are you staring at?

Citizen Jugular: Armand, make that two melons, would you? Now then, let us go.

F/X: cell door opening and closing, then foot steps (continuing in background)

Citizen Jugular: The elusive Pimpernel must show up any seconde. That beggar there, with no arms and no legs. There could be more to ’im than meets the eye.

Armand: I think not, monsieur.

Citizen Jugular: Ha, we are not beaten yet, Armand. He may yet appear. Take me up the steps.

F/X: foot steps climbing stairs

F/X: crowd atmosphere starts again

Citizen Jugular: Curse the man.

Armand: Damn!

Citizen Jugular: Thank you. So I was wrong. ’e has not turned up at all. Alright, executioner, that will be all. As you see, I am not the real comtesse.

Executioner: Oh, come, come my lad, you expect me to fall for that, do you? Get your head on the block.

Citizen Jugular: What, er?! Oh let me go, you fool! I am your superior, Citizen Jugular, —

Executioner: Ah…

Citizen Jugular: —the chief executioner.

Executioner: And who do you think I am, monsieur?


Citizen Jugular: Mon dieu! What a fool I have been! Then it is you, you must be—

Executioner: That is right, Meg Richardson of Crossroads.

F/X: atmosphere fades out

Music: Burkiss Way closing signature tune

Burkiss Way Announcer: (over) And now, here finally, are the awards for BBC radio. Best Cast of the Burkiss Way Nineteen Seventy-Six: Denise Coffey, Chris Emmett, Meg Richardson, Fred Harris, and Nigel Rees. The Best Script was by Andrew Marshall, John Mason, and David Renwick, with additional material by Meg Richardson. And the Best Producer was Simon Brett—

Female Presenter: (whispering something)

Burkiss Way Announcer: (over) I’m sorry, Meg Richardson. Goodbye.



  1. Chris Emmett’s I think, isn’t it?

  2. As apparently does Steve Arnold’s episode guide, which in turn was based on an older series log by Tony Lang and which now forms the basis for the sketch listing at the top of each transcript – note the ‘Today in Parliament’ entry at the start of this episode, which already appears like this in the original guide.

  3. Such as the BBC’s official CD re-release of Series 1 as far as I can tell.

  4. Pronouncing it as ‘disgwees’, hence the audience reaction.