This is Radio Four. And now, Limpet’s Hour.
[???] with water bubbles overdubbed
Hello, and in today’s Limpet’s Hour, we’ll be looking at the latest limpet fashions, and we’ll be hearing episode forty-five of ‘Limpet Passion’ – by an elderly limpet who likes health foods. First though, this winter’s fashions. June. (pause) Thank you, Sue. Well, the big news this winter is that shells are out. Instead, Dior has gone for the shell look. Susan Small has also chosen the more shell-like shells, including colourful accessories like wraparound shells, chunky shells and full-length flared culotte cut-wide above the knee in the French manner, but shells really. So there we have it – a load of molluscs. But now, episode forty-five of Limpet Passion, read by someone who once made a terrible mistake on a much more important programme.
[???], then down for
(over) He held her in his strong manly suckers. ‘Your eyes are like limpet pools,’ he breathed, ‘and your smile warms the cockles of my – cockles.’ Suddenly, he felt as if a huge explosion had knocked all the breath out of him and all at once he realised his true feelings for her. ‘Oh darling, limpet mine,’ he said. But, it was too late. She had gone off.
Oh. Well, Limpet’s Hour seems to have ended some fifty-eight minutes early today, so… in the meantime we present: The Burkiss Way.
Burkiss Way opening signature tune, continues to where the voice-over would normally start and then fades down
(audience laughter and then applause)
Well, we apologise for the loss of actors in this edition of the Burkiss Way. We’re doing our best to rectify the problem, erm in the meantime the programme will continue in sound effects only.
falling noise, object hitting floor
choir singing ‘Hallelujah!’ (from Hallelujah Chorus by Händel)
cash register bell, drawer closing
Ah erm, well, we’re pleased to say we can now return the actors to you. The BBC would like to apologise for the inconvenience of this little disruption, which had absolutely nothing to do with money. (slight pause) At all. (slight pause) Bit.
Burkiss Way opening signature tune
(over) Yes, and prompt fat BBC payments are the subject of this week’s Burkiss Way to Dynamic Living, because this week we look at the unknown. In just twenty-eight minutes, Jo Kendall, Chris Emmett, Nigel Rees and Fred Harris will teach you absolutely all there is to be known about the unknown – nothing. So, stay tuned now for Lesson 11 in our weird and uncanny series of correspondence courses, Journey Into The Unknown The Burkiss Way.
Hello. Well, as this programme is the last in the series, but eight, we’re (audience reaction) devoting it to a very special and highly complex subject, the supernatural.
And we’ll be answering for you such tantalising questions as ‘When shouldn’t you lay a ghost?’
When it’s under sixteen.
‘Can black magic be harmful to your health?’
Not so long as you steer clear of the soft centres.
‘And what does it mean when you wake up in the morning with two little red teeth marks on your neck?’
Mind your own business.
(nervous cough) We’ll also be finding out what it’s actually like to die – (spoken almost laughingly) unless we get some better jokes.
Since very early times, people have believed in the idea of reincarnation, or the transmigration of souls after death.
But how do you actually go about being reincarnated? Well, for a start, you’ll have to attend an interview.
knocking on door
Ah, hello. Take a seat please. Erm, you’re the candidate for reincarnation, are you?
Yes, that’s right, yes.
Now I must make sure you’re completely dead, first of all.
Oh, yes of course.
Right, well er, that’s that over. Now then, what did you want to be reincarnated as?
Er as a buffalo please.
A buffalo, right. Er you were a buffalo in your previous life, were you?
No, no I worked in a garage.
As a buffalo.
Near a buffalo?
Oh. Well, this is rather tricky. You see, we do generally like candidates to have some experience of their desired life.
Well, how do I get the experience?
Well, by being a buffalo of course.
You mean, I-I can’t be a buffalo until I’ve been one, already?
Oh you’re Jewish, are you? Oh. Well, I don’t think we could make you a Jewish buffalo, it’s quite unheard of; besides, they look awful in scull caps.
Er no, no I… I’m not Jewish.
No, no of course you’re not. Alright then, let’s have a look at your legs.
They’re quite hairy. Look.
Not enough, I’m afraid.
No, legs. You see, I knew you weren’t suited for it the moment you came in. And now, to cap it all, you’ve only got three legs! You’re quite unsuitable. Quite unsuitable, I’m afraid; I, I just can’t take the risk of making a garage mechanic a buffalo and having you galop off in the middle of a stampede, plunge under another buffalo and start draining its sump.
That’s out of the question. Anyway, look at it like this: In the order of things, buffaloes come pretty low down the list; you know, near toads, sloths, eels and the bachelors. You wouldn’t like it.
I-I would, I’d love to be a buffalo. Look, watch me, watch this:
Do-dont’t do that please, we’ve just had the carpet cleaned. Look, erm, I’ve got plenty of other vacancies, a deaf chartered accountant, a civil servant who picks his nose, a tramp with a hernia… erm. Don’t any of those appeal to you at all?
Look, if I’ve got to take something other than a buffalo, at least make sure it’s not a human. Anything rather than another human.
Oh well, let’s see then… Ah, you’re in luck, I’ve got just the thing. It’s a pike.
Oh I’ll take it.
Excellent. Off you go then, Magnus, good luck.
empty bucket clattering
(doing a Magnus Pyke impression) Ah! Good luck, yes! Now, that raises an interesting point, because luck, luck… (fades out)
vibraphone glissando, then Theme From A Summer Place
There will now be a short intermission.
[??, something dramatic], then down for
(over) Coming soon to this intermission: 20th Century Burkiss present: Horror Films for the Nervous. Pictures that you may find a wee bit on the uncomfortable side, but not all that much.
fades up momentarily
(over) Thrill to Jules Verne’s nerve-shattering ‘20,000 Bits of Seed Under the Sea’. [Crawl ?] with the unseen horrors of Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Loaf and the Pendulum’. Scream at the terrors of ‘I Married a Man from Outer Hackney’.
fades up momentarily
(over) Burkiss Horror Films for the Nervous provide a unique experience in slightly disagreeable motion pictures. Witness the bloodcurdling ‘Dracula, Ponce of Darkness’!
fades up momentarily
reverberating foot steps
No! No! Keep away!
Oh come here butch [bags ?], I want you, —
Oh no, —
—I want you.
Oh come on, come on! Co— uhhh! (slurping noises)
Good god, Charles, look that horrible red stained mouth.
The insatiable way he’s sucking.
(more sucking noises)
He’s pinched her strawberry lolly.
dramatic music resumes, then down for
(over) From the people who brought you ‘The Fall of the Trousers of Usher’, ‘Quatermass and the Puddle’ and that spine-tingling epic ‘The Curse of the Mummy’ …
Oh (bleep) it! You spilled sauce down your shirt.
dramatic music resumes, then down for
(over) Watch if you dare, the nerve-wracking ‘[Sweedy ?] Todd: The Demon Barber’.
scissors cutting hair
wooden objects falling to the floor and clattering
(over) Mmm, that’s some dandruff you’ve got there, Mr Smethwick.
dramatic music resumes, then down for
(over) Yes, the theatre management can accept no liability for any member of the audience who says ‘Dear me’, or ‘Well, I never’ during this performance. Burkiss Horror Films for the Nervous, coming soon to this intermission!
to dramatic finale & out
Hello, and welcome back to our course on the unknown. Well with us now we have a distinguished expert in life after death. He’s head of the Practical Séance Department at Cambridge University, Professor Leibniz Ectoplasm. Professor Ectoplasm, in your expert opinion, is life possible after death?
Er, give one knock for yes, two knocks for no.
So there we are: ‘Yes yes,’ says Professor Ectoplasm. Another man who certainly ought to know a thing or two about the subject, but unfortunately doesn’t, is Eric Pode of Croydon.
Er, Mr Croydon, what are you doing?
I’m waving to my wife.
This is the radio.
Oh sorry, they look very much alike, don’t they?
Mr Croydon, —
—I understand you come from a background of the black arts.
That’s right, yeah, my father was magical by profession.
How do you mean?
It was a miracle he ever got a job. Haaaaaahh…
And I believe your house was possessed by evil fiends.
Yes, Lewisham Borough Council. Haaaaahhh… I got all these off Ken Dodd, you know?
It’s alright, I shouldn’t think he’s missed them. Er Mr Croydon, I gather you have the power of levitation…
… and anything you touch immediately starts to rise.
Right, well I think that’s about as far as I wish to pursue that. Er Mr Croydon, thank you and get out.
A pleasure! — Well it would have been if I…
A large number of books have of course been written on the subject of the unknown, one of our women correspondents for example frequently curls up with ‘Weekly Anasimov’ – although sometimes she curls up with him and doesn’t. So let’s examine for a minute some of the latest publications on the market.
The Beatles – Paperback Writer, then fade out for
Er good evening, and tonight on ‘This Programme Is Way Above Your Level’, we talk to Erik von Kontrik, author of such bestselling books as ‘Spaceships of the Gods’, ‘Some More of Me Spaceships of the Gods’, and ‘It Shouldn’t Happen to Spaceships of the Gods’. Er now, Professor von Kontrik, er one of the most interesting things er about your series of books, in which you claim that mankind is descended from beings from outer space, is that they all seek to prove exactly the same thing, using exactly the same evidence. Now… why is this?
Er you sink zey’re all the same? Er, have you read zem all?
Well yes I have, th-that’s, that’s why I—
Er, so vat does it matter if they’re all the same if you read zem all? I mean to say zat’s all [??]…
Oh I see, I see. You are only in it for the money? Er does this mean that you don’t actually believe what you say, that man is descended from extraterrestrial life forms?
Erm, how can I not belive it? Ze evidence is incontrovertible.
Er and do you use that same evidence again in, in your new book coming out next week?
No, no no no, I use entirely new evidence, zat I have manufactured— er discovered, ha ha, [all ?] discovered over ze last year.
Er, to prove that man is descended from the… stars?
Er no, nein nein nein, to prove that man is descended from the ants.
Ants? Ants, you you mean that this displaces your theory that he came from the stars?
Oh nein nein. Nein, they’re just aimed at different sectors of ze market. This one, this one is directed at ant enthusiasts, you see.
But this is incredible—
Zats the point, it’s incredible. I’ve got a new kiddies’ book coming out, too: Zat is based on incontrovertible proof, zat mankind is descended from little fluffy white kittens, in pink pants. [Kittens, ja. ??] And also, a natty little number for lonely Hausfrau, proving that mankind is descended from Sacha Distel. Ah, a lovely chapter on primeval slime in zat one.
sci-fi UFO noises, ray gun whoosh, building creaking as it’s being pulled open (continues in background)
It’s a bit… er erm erm, what was that?
And er, and I've worked out zat ze ant book will get me a new yacht, the fluffy kittens book will buy me a couple of those razer nice Lagondas, —
Shh shh shh shh shh shh…
ray gun whoosh
Something’s going wrong. Erm er I—
Erik von Kontrik?
Er, er ja? Ja?
I am Ooolommmmmm-ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba of the race of your forefathers, from the Galaxy of Smegmon …on …on …
We come for our cut …cut …cut …
Cut? Er w-what cut?
Don’t try and mess me about, Professor.
They don’t call me Ooolommmmmm-ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba… for nothing, you know? …know? …know? …know?
further crumbling noises from the building (continues in background for the next cue)
My god! My god, this has got to be the most incredible sight the world has ever seen. An enormous alien monster has smashed its way into the building here, and it’s, it’s indescribable, it’s absolutely indescribable. Er it’s at moments like this that I really wish I worked in television, because… w-well well, because to.. to be.. to be honest, they..they pay a bit better and er… and it..and it [??] certainly seems to be a more glamorous life, er er… well I mean you walk into the bar at Television Centre, it’s a..it’s a whole different world, isn’t it? An- and just because you work in radio they treat you like some sort of.. country bumpkin. B-but I know that if I did work in television I’d still keep up with my old friends in radio you see, because I, I’d still respect radio, because I think it’s a very important and valid medium. I-it’s, it’s just that I would rather work in television, that’s all.
Leave my arm! Give it back! Ahhhhh!
[We will now ?? ?]
[Well ?], my only wish that you could see this, —
—Ooolommmmmm-ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba’ba has picked up Professor Kontrik now, —
(receding into the distance) [I want back! ?]
—and he’s taking him out to the gleaming white spaceship standing like a proud tower in the remains of Langham Place. And there aren’t any of those slobs from television getting a look in here! Naah, they’re probably all standing round in their (mockingly) smart little Television Centre bar, drinking gin and tonics, huahaha, (normal) while out here on radio we’re actually witnessing history in the making! Only you can’t actually see it.
large number of marching foot steps approaching (continues in background)
And wait a minute! Wait a minute. Something is happening. What a turnup! There’s a positive tidal wave of very determined-looking ants sweeping up Oxford Street. And they look as if they mean business alright. Oohhh, eat your heart out, Richard Baker, you’re not getting any o’ this! And, and, and here come the fluffy white kittens now!
kittens meowing, ants continue marching
Yes, they’re moving in with their business manage— Oh my god! I think the, the worst is yet to come! My god yes, the very worst, this is it!! Ahhh!! Oh this is the end!! Ahhh…
short burst of Sacha Distel – Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head
I’m sorry, we seem to have had a slight technical hitch there, what you’ve just heard was in fact just an imaginary interview and did not actually take place. In fact, we would like to emphasise that particularly imaginary were the remarks made by the imaginary interviewer which seemed to suggest that there might be any feelings of bitterness or resentment between radio and television staff. In fact, television staff only get paid very slightly more than radio staff er, though we admit that.. there is a slight difference and.. we in radio also have a perfectly good and worthwhile bar for having a nice drink and a bit of a chat in, and.. there’s nothing to complain about at all in that area, even if some of the lino is a bit scruffy at the edges, but [erm ?]… Erm… ahem..hrm… Now, we return you to the last few minutes of the Burkiss Way to Dynamic Living.
Well, I’m not all that worried about the money in radio, are you?
Well erm, I wouldn’t mind a dress allowance.
Don’t know. Thought you look quite nice in that barrel.
Yes… but the knothole at the front isn’t really big enough. In fact, I’d rather have a—
(clears her throat)
(quietly) I think we’re back.
What? O-oh. (nervous laugh) Ahem. And so we come to the end of our programme on the unknown, and we finish off with a more detailed look at one couple’s experience of the land of the dead in the Burkiss Way in Action:
[??], then down for
(over) Since the beginning of time, people everywhere have been fascinated by great romances. Lovers like Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor have brought pleasure to millions the world over, which explained why they look so exhausted. This is the story of Orpheus and Eurydice Sproat:
fades up again momentarily, turns into romantic sounding piano & strings section
(over) Orpheus Sproat had met his wife Eurydice one year in a little nightclub in Paris, which was a bit embarrassing as he told her he was on a business trip to Carlisle. Now, they were renting a council slum in East London, and for Orpheus, times were extremely hard.
clock ticking, water dripping
Er, the little hand’s on Mickey Mouse, and the other hand’s on Donald Duck… so what does that mean?
It means it’s time to stop playing with your toys and go to bed. Honestly Orpheus, when you gonna get a job?
You’re right. It is time I got some work. I kn..I know, Orpheus. Why didn’t I think of it before? Orpheus was a singer. A singer, don’t you understand?
Yes! I’ll get a job as a sewing machine.
starts up again
(over) But when that job fell through, Orpheus Sproat decided to sing after all. He took lessons from Tom Jones on how to make it really big (audience reaction), and before long got his first spot on television’s No. 1 talent show, New Embarrassments.
New Faces theme (Carl Wayne – You’re a Star)
Good evening and welcome to another edition of New Embarrassments, and our first act tonight is a very funny club comedian from Liverpool, let’s have a very big warm welcome for talented impressionist Jerry Milhope.
(doing a Frank Spencer impression) Hmm, Betty, umm…
Ha hahahahaha, ha ha. Jerry Milhope there of Liverpool. John Read-It-All-Off-A-Card, how would this boy go down in your nightclub?
Er, Marian looks good, and has a fine pair of jugglers. The jugglers look good and I think if there was…
Er, well, while John’s answering that lets move on to our next act, a singer from East London, ladies and gentlemen – Orpheus Sproat.
Ahem. (singing) Ohh, for the wings, —
Get on with it! Get off! [??] etc.
—for the wings of a dove…
machine gun fire
Orpheus theme music starts up again
(over) And it was at this point that Orpheus received the final crushing blow to his ambitions as a star – he won the show. The following day, he decided that there was only one way to raise money for himself and Eurydice – insure his life for a million pounds, and then kill himself.
Right, here I am, standing on top of this bridge, talking to myself, in a thoroughly unnatural fashion. Now, just tie this heavy anvil round my neck with this rope and then, throw it over. Uggh!
falling noise disappearing into the distance for quite a while, then a distant splash
Damn, must have made the rope too long. (audience reaction) I, I’ll just have to blow me brains out with this gun.
Missed. Now there’s only one thing for it, I shall have to blow myself up.
And later that day, in Orpheus’s bedroom…
Now, I’ve wired up the explosives, now all I have to do is… (strained) press this plunger!
Hang on th.., there’s somebody outside playing a sound effect of foot steps. I, I-I-I’ll better put this detonator underneath the bed.
banging/clanging noises as the detonator is being moved, door handle
Oh, oh mother! Mother.
(tearful) Orpheus! I don’t know how to tell you this!
It’s Eurydice, oooooohhhhh…
What are you trying to tell me?
Come on, out with it, don’t hold it back.
… she’s, she’s got a job in Crossroads!
I, Iii…, I can’t believe it.
Oh few people can. She’s [??], she signed on this morning, Orpheus. She’s, she’s gone to the land of the dead, from which no man returns alive! (sobs)
Then, I shall follow her, down into that place of lost souls and bring her back.
Oh no Orpheus, noo!
Orpheus theme music starts up again, then down for
(over) And fired with a burning passion for his loved one, Orpheus descended from the land of the living to ATV, where he crossed through the purgatory of Celebrity Squares, until he came across the treacherous nether regions of Meg Richardson.
TV set atmosphere with various voices talking across each other
So, this is Crossroads, the land of the dead. Can my darling Eurydice be found in this land of zombielike creatures?
Alright, alright alright, come on loves, come along, we got just ten minutes left before lunch, and that’s just about time to rehearse the next thirty-five shows. Er, Sandyyyy? It’s alright loves, alright. Right, Eurydicee – Eurydice where have you been? We’ve been waiting for hours.
(?? accent) Oh, I’m sorry I got held up in embalming.
Ohh, hurry up, hurry up.
Eu— Eurydice. Eurydice my love.
What’ya want, mister? I got a tray of tea and biscuits to delivery[??] now. I can’t stand around waiting talking to you, I’m always delivering tea and biscuits—
(simultaneously) —what have they done to you?
Oh no, I-I’ve got to go off with my tea and biscuits…
Ohh, oh Eurydice, can you ever forgive me for the wrongs I have done? I’ll get you out of this land of the dead if it’s the last thing I do.
And a day later, back in the land of the living:
(voice back to normal) Orpheus, I still don’t know how you persuaded the director to release me.
I had to do him a little… favour.
What sort of favour?
Well I don’t think we need to go into that. The main thing, the main thing is that you are free, my love. To think that I was going to commit suicide, I’d even got the detonator! Well – that’s all past now. Come, let’s celebrate your release, my darling. Let’s have an early night.
Ooh. Very well Orpheus.
Come into bed. Ohh!
detonator plunger being depressed, explosion
(?? accent again) What perishing twit left a ruddy detonator under the bed then?
(same accent) I’m sorry luv, I forgot all about it.
We’ll just have to go back to serving tea and biscuits…
(simultaneously) [I don’t know ??… ?]
Burkiss Way closing signature tune
Would you like to be explosive in bed, would you really like to set women alight, then apply now to the Burkiss Joan of Arc correspondence course, care of Jo Kendall, Chris Emmett, Nigel Rees and Fred Harris. You too could attract women like flies, providing you don’t mind women like flies. All you have to do is send off for these and other rare jokes to Andrew Marshall and David Renwick, or for additional jokes to John Lloyd and Douglas Adams. If you like to drop into our showrooms and browse around producer Simon Brett of Stepney, then feel free. Any more and it’ll cost you. See you next week folks, and happy dynamic loving!
to finish & out