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                  The scene is a very posh doctor’s waiting room. There are two patients waiting, Richard III and Quasimodo

                           RICHARD III            
Excuse me....

                           QUASIMODO 
I beg your pardon…?

                           RICHARD III            
Excuse me, sir, but I hope you don’t mind me asking...  Are you taking the piss?

                           QUASIMODO 
I beg your pardon...?

                           RICHARD III            
I wouldn’t have asked, except that I couldn’t help noticing that you’ve been walking round bending over, pretending to be hunchbacked, dragging your arms in a very satirical way. Well, as you may have noticed, I am hunchbacked in a modest sort of way, so I was just asking - ARE YOU TAKING THE PISS?

                           QUASIMODO
(PAUSE)  I beg your pardon…?

                           RICHARD III
You ARE taking the piss, aren’t you? You’re actually making fun of me! Not only are you going round with arms trailing the ground, bent over like a gargoyle, but you’re repeating the same inane question over and over again! Do you know who I am? I am Richard III, king of England, and I could have you thrown in the Tower!

                           QUASIMODO
…I beg your pardon?

                           RICHARD III
Oh, I could, you know! I’ve done it before! I had my own nephews thrown in the Tower. I had them murdered! And do you know why?

                           QUASIMODO
…I beg your ....

                           RICHARD III
(INTERRUPTING)  Yes, yes, never mind about that. I didn’t have my nephews murdered for the normal reason that one would like to have nephews murdered - because they are nasty little oiks who take all the presents you give them and never write thank you letters - I had them murdered because  - they went around imitating me ! Little bastards. I found them bent over, arms dangling, going: (DISTORTED  CHILD’S VOICE) Now is the winter of our discontent... a horse a horse my kingdom for a horse... (RESUMES NORMAL VOICE) I took as much as of it as I could stand, then off to the Tower with them ! Can you blame me? What’s the point of being King of England if you can’t eliminate people who annoy you?

                           QUASIMODO
I beg your pardon?

                           RICHARD III
You’re beginning to annoy me, as  a matter of fact. You don’t do a very good imitation of me - I’m not nearly as disabled as you pretend to be - but you try to imitate me and that’s quite enough for me.

                           QUASIMODO

I beg ............

                           RICHARD III
Oh, for God’s sake! Is that an affectation or do you have trouble with your hearing?

                           QUASIMODO
(SUDDENLY SPEAKING NORMALLY) No, I’m actually stone deaf. It’s the bells, you know.

                           RICHARD III
Bells ? What bells ?

                           QUASIMODO
I am a bell ringer. I ring the bells. I stand right by them. They have made me deaf. THE BELLS! THE BELLS! They have made me totally deaf!!

                           RICHARD III
Then how do you know what I am saying ?

                           QUASIMODO
I am an expert lip reader. I cannot hear a word you are saying, because I am now deaf, but I can read every word.

                           RICHARD III
Oh yes?

                            QUASIMODO
Yes.

                           RICHARD III
Really?

                           QUASIMODO
Really.

                           RICHARD III
Really really really really really really REALLY ?

                           QUASIMODO
Really really really really really really REALLY ?

                           RICHARD III
Prove it.

                           QUASIMODO
Prove it.

                           RICHARD III
No, you prove it.

                           QUASIMODO
No, you prove it.

                           RICHARD III
This is getting ridiculous! As the monarch of all England, I command you to prove to me that you can lip read! Otherwise I will have you sent to the Tower and filleted!

                           QUASIMODO
All right. Say something and I’ll tell you what you said.

                           RICHARD III
OK....
(IN VERY SHAKESPEAREAN STYLE)
Conscience is but a word that cowards use
Devised at first to keep the strong in awe.

                           QUASIMODO
Conscience is but a word that cowards use
Devised at first to keep the strong in awe.

                           RICHARD  III
Very good.... Hold on a moment! That doesn’t prove you can lip read! You might have been listening to me!

                           QUASIMODO
All right. Mouth something to me and see if I can pick it up.

                           RICHARD III
OK... Well? What was that? Did you get it?

                           QUASIMODO
Oh, sorry, were you mouthing something? I wasn’t watching. Do it again.

                           RICHARD III
(TOTAL SILENCE)

                           QUASIMODO
You filthy brute! You should be ashamed of yourself! How DARE you say that to me!

                           RICHARD III
I’m sorry, I ....

                           QUASIMODO
Just because I’m a hunchback, people think they can take the piss out of me! Every day of my life I’ve had the same!

                           RICHARD III
I’m sorry, I...

                           QUASIMODO
It’s no use just standing there saying, I’m sorry, I...

                           RICHARD III
I’m sorry, I…

                           QUASIMODO
You’re taking the piss, aren’t you? You bastard!

     BOOKED – R4

END - back to top
Miles on Air
Radio Television
Postcard from Abroad
The Archers
Beginnings and Endings
Franglais
Wife of Bath
Patpong Road
Memorable Verse
Barbed Wire Ballads
Dying Words
How to tell a Funny Story
A Handbag
Dead Slang
Letter from a Magpie
Choosing Baby's Name
Letter from a Cuckoo
Hunchback of Notre Dame meets Richard III
One-liners
Scar Head
Wonderland World Cup
Bunter in Hamlet
Wonderland World Cup
Bunter in Hamlet