Psychiatrists

A sketch from A Bit of Fry & Laurie

Doctor's surgery cum office. Hugh and Stephen are on chairs. Each has a notebook on their lap.

Stephen I think it might be helpful to start off with your telling me something about your state of mind at the moment. Would you say you were generally happy, depressed, confident, unsure ... what word comes into your mind, would you say? Take your time. Hugh stares at Stephen for a moment, deeply interested.

Hugh This is fascinating. Quite fascinating. Your problem seems to centre around the delusion that you are a psychiatrist and that everyone you speak to is some kind of patient of yours. This is a rare, but not unheard of syndrome.

Stephen Mm-hm. Perhaps it would help if we talked a little about your mother at this point.

Hugh Extraordinary. Very interesting. Why "Mother"? Was your mother affectionate when you were small?

Stephen Affection! Affection. Now perhaps we're getting somewhere. You felt a lack of affection. I wonder if you happen to know whether you were breast-fed or not?

Hugh Ah! Ah-ha! Breasts. Already we've focused in on breasts. What are your feeling about breasts, I wonder? Do they frighten you? This is not uncommon.

Stephen (Writing) "Breasts and fear" ... intriguing. And where do you think your father fits into all this?

Hugh Father ... father. Mm. So let's imagine a line, shall we, with fear at one end and breasts at the other. I want you to tell me where you think your father fits on this line.

Stephen Lines, interesting, lines. Why "lines" I wonder? Lines are very male, aren't they? Very forceful. They thrust, they penetrate, don't they? They urge onwards.

Hugh At last the layers are beginning to unpeel. Urging, penetrating, maleness, breasts. How often would you say you masturbated? Pause.

Stephen Yes. I really do think if you don't mind we had better get back to me asking the questions. I think it is important, if you're to be helped, to remember who is the doctor here and who the patient. I will ask the questions.

Hugh And I'll pretend to be the patient, all right. That way I can tell from the questions you ask me, what it is that is truly disturbing you. All right. Good.

Stephen Now, come on I'm going to be quite firm. You are the patient.

Hugh (Humouringly) Yes ... that's right.

Stephen I want to hear you say "I am the patient."

Hugh What was that?

Stephen "I am the patient."

Hugh (Writing this down) Good! That's a breakthrough. Now that you know that, let's proceed.

Stephen (Exasperated) You are the patient!

Hugh (Shrugging) I am, you are - perhaps we're all patients.

Stephen (Really quite angry) I am not a patient!

Hugh Please remain calm, Mr Windrush.

Stephen Doctor Windrush.

Hugh (Lifting telephone) Yes. You know. I only have to lift a telephone and you will be restrained.

Telephone V/O Yes, hello.

Stephen & Hugh It's all right Rebecca, I'm in a session.

Stephen Look, I'm sorry, I really cannot help you unless you stop playing this ridiculous game.

Hugh Extraordinary. I really don't think I have ever detected a more deeply embedded illusion.

Stephen It's not an illusion!!

Hugh I'm trying to be as understanding as I can, Mr Windrush.

Stephen You came asking for help. I am prepared to offer that help, but really Mr Johanssen ...

Hugh Tony. I've told you, call me Tony.

Stephen Really Mr Johanssen, that help can only be forthcoming if you are honest ... not only with me, but with yourself. Now please ... no more tricks, no more games. I am a very busy man. I have another patient coming in any minute now. So let's be reasonable. Hey? What do you say?

Hugh Your last doctor tried a course of lentizol, I believe? Did you find that helped at all?

Stephen All right. Let's begin very simply, shall we? If you are, as you say, a doctor ... A sort of egg-timer type device goes off on the desk, it rings.

Hugh I'm sorry, Mr Windrush. That's the full hour. Shall we say, same time next week?

Stephen Yes, I think I can fit you in then. This time bring some photographs of your patients, if you have any. I think that might be useful.

Hugh I might try a little hypnosis I think.

Stephen Perhaps you would be kind enough to confirm that appointment with Rebecca on your way out. They both stay where they are.

Hugh Mm.

Stephen Mm. The door opens. In comes Kay.

Kay Oh, you're both here. I think I'm seeing you first, Mr Windrush. Would you mind waiting outside Mr Johanssen, you're a little early. Rebecca - two cups of tea please.

Hugh Extraordinary.

Stephen So deep-seated.

Hugh Simply fascinating.

Stephen Do sit, Mrs Meddlicott. Make yourself as comfortable as you can.

Vox Pop

Stephen You see what worries me about education is this. Where are the future Ned Sherrins? Mm? Who are the young Sherrins of tomorrow? Are they being trained up? No. I shudder for the sake of our children.

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