Christening

A sketch from A Bit of Fry & Laurie

Mother (Deborah Norton) and father (Hugh) standing at font with baby. Stephen is the vicar. Hugh is very much the modern thrusting executive.

Stephen I baptise thee Rupert Jeremy James -

Hugh No, hold on a minute.

Stephen What is it?

Hugh You're right darling, Nicholas is better. Nicholas Thomas Geoffrey.

Stephen Nicholas Thomas Geoffrey.

Deborah You can't have Nicholas Thomas: that's a very ugly rhyme.

Hugh You're right. What was the other one we liked?

Deborah Timothy Nicholas Peter.

Hugh No, Nicholas Timothy Peter.

Stephen (Dipping finger in water) OK. Nicholas Timothy Peter?

Deborah Yes.

Hugh It's a shame to lose Jeremy though, isn't it?

Deborah I still like Duncan.

Hugh Duncan Jeremy Nicholas or Nicholas Jeremy Duncan?

Stephen Look. I have got a wedding in ten minutes.

Hugh You're being paid aren't you?

Stephen (Puzzled) No ...

Hugh Nick's idea was Peregrine.

Deborah Oh darling, you can't call a baby Peregrine.

Stephen So, Peregrine Jeremy Duncan ...

Deborah I know it sounds silly but I've always loved Dick.

Stephen Erm ...

Hugh Now Dirk's due for a revival.

Deborah Duncan Dirk Dick.

Hugh Rather fetching.

Stephen Duncan Dirk Dick, I baptise thee in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, Amen. We receive this child into the congregation of Christ's flock and so sign him with the sign of the cross (Signs with finger on forehead) and in token that hereafter he shall not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified and manfully to fight under his banner against sin, the world and the devil, and to continue Christ's faithful soldier and servant unto his life's end. Amen.

Hugh No it's still not right ... I don't know ... hold on, what about Tweeble?

Deborah Oh darling ...

Hugh Well it's our nickname for the little blighter anyway, so why not?

Deborah Tweeble Timothy James, I like it.

Hugh Yeah, Tweeble Timothy James.

Stephen I'm sorry, it's Duncan Dirk Dick, I've just done it.

Hugh Well, undo it.

Stephen Undo it?

Hugh Yes.

Stephen This is a Holy Sacrament of the Church, not a bleeding hotel reservation, you can't just undo it.

Hugh You're beginning to annoy me, buster. Look at this card. (Holds up white card) What does it say?

Stephen "Christening service".

Hugh Yes. Service, notice - not rudeness. It doesn't say "Christening rudeness".

Stephen I wasn't being rude.

Hugh Just bear in mind that there are plenty of other religions you know. Some of them, I may say, offering much greater range and value.

Deborah Not to mention carpets. Look at this.

Hugh So come on. Hand him over.

Stephen What?

Hugh Hand him over. We'll take a look at the Mosque on Arlington Road, if it's all the same to you.

Stephen But I haven't finished the service!

Hugh The rudeness, you mean? Well you should have thought of that before.

Stephen Look, you can't just walk out half way through. Think of the child!

Hugh Screw the child. Haven't you heard the news?

Stephen Well I've heard some news, but I doubt if it's the same news that you're ...

Hugh There's a revolution going on. Enterprise, initiative. Those who can't trim their fat go to the wall.

Stephen What wall?

Hugh What wa ... ? You just don't know what I'm talking about do you? I'm talking about the way you're running this flea-bitten, one-horse operation. Take this building. All this equity tied up for what? A couple of weddings a week. Pathetic. God, I'd like to get my hands on this place. I could really do something. Shopping arcade, four luxury flats, brasserie downstairs. It's a criminal waste.

Stephen (Getting annoyed, puts baby in font to use both hands to speak - no one notices) Look, matey, this is a church, not a dealing room. I am not interested in your creepy theories about enterprise and initiative. This place is founded on ideas a bit more permanent than the Dow Jones Index.

Hugh Yeah?

Stephen Yeah. Something a tadge classier than "buy long, sell short and get into gilts".

Hugh Uhuh?

Stephen The Church will be here long after your little brat has grown up, ripped a few people off and died unloved in his Spanish retirement villa.

Deborah Portuguese, actually. And there's no need to be so beastly.

Stephen Well I'm sorry, but people like you really piss me off.

Hugh You've got a big mouth, mister. So what's your pitch, your scam, your angle?

Stephen Well look at you. You fight and deal and cheat all your life to get enough money to spend a few years wobbling your fat old bodies round a beach or a golf course, but what provision have you made for after your retirement?

Hugh After my retirement?

Stephen I'm talking about heaven.

Hugh Heaven? Isn't that where the Gilroys went, darling?

Deborah Devon.

Hugh Oh yeah.

Stephen After a hard life, don't you think you ought to treat yourself to a little long-tern security? I'm talking about lifestyle, status, comfort, and peace-of-mind.

Deborah (Nudging Hugh) Don't trust him, Pudding.

Hugh Give me space, give me space.

Stephen She's right, think about it, Pudding. Think about it. Talk to your independent spiritual adviser.

Hugh Hmm. He may have something.

Stephen And if you won't treat yourself, have a thought for Duncan Dirk Dick. Give him a chance to get in on the ground floor.

Hugh Darling, and no disrespect to you, Vicar, but what I'm thinking is this. How about a mixed portfolio, whereby we spread him through Judaism, Islam, Hindu and so on, maintaining a firm base in the Church of England?

Deborah It does sound safer.

Hugh Exactly.

Stephen Alright. So. Duncan Dirk Dick, I baptise thee in ...

Deborah Well then it ought to be something like Duncan Isaac Sanji.

Hugh Duncan Abraham Sanji would be nice.

Deborah Oh how about Duncan Abraham Naresh?

Stephen Right. Do it yourselves. There's the water, there's the hymn book. I'm off for a slash.

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