Remembering Lines

A sketch from A Bit of Fry & Laurie

Hugh and Stephen are on set.

Hugh We'd like to do a sketch for you now entitled, quite simply, "Jack Nimnock Goes Shopping In the Heart of Norwich".

Stephen That's right. They each go to one side of the the set and start to walk towards each other. As they pass they recognise one another. Jack! Jack Nimnock! How are you?

Hugh Neville! I'm fine, fine. How are you?

Stephen Oh mustn't grumble. So what are you up to now?

Hugh Oh this and that.

Stephen Right. Right. So tell me, how's Mary? Hugh looks blank. Stephen speaks sotto voce. Mary and I are divorced.

Hugh Mary and I are divorced.

Stephen Divorced? I'm sorry to hear that, Jack. When did this happen? Hugh again looks blank. When did this happen?

Hugh A couple of days ago.

Stephen (Sotto voce) Years.

Hugh Pardon?

Stephen (Sotto voce) You were divorced a couple of years ago.

Hugh A couple of years ago. Not days, Neville, as I initially suggested, but years.

Stephen Well this is terrible news, Jack, terrible. Whose idea was it, if you don't mind me asking? Hugh looks blank again.

Hugh What?

Stephen The divorce. Was it your idea or Mary's? (Sotto voce) Mine.

Hugh Mine.

Stephen Yours?

Hugh Yours?

Stephen Mine.

Hugh Mine.

Stephen So it was your idea?

Hugh So it was your idea?

Stephen I see. How did Mary take it? Hugh looks blank yet again. Stephen starts to look annoyed. (Semi sotto voce) Not too badly at first.

Hugh Not too badly at first.

Stephen (Semi sotto voce) But I think she's pretty low at the moment.

Hugh But at the moment I think she's pretty low.

Stephen And how about you?

Hugh Erm ... don't tell me.

Stephen You had a nervous breakdown.

Hugh Oh yes, I had a nervous breakdown and went into shock and when I recovered I found I'd completely lost my voice.

Stephen Memory!

Hugh Memory, I'd completely lost my memory - Pause.

Stephen (Under) And now I can't remember a thing ...

Hugh (Under) I know, I know, that was a pause. (Out loud) And now I can't remember a thing about that period of my life.

Stephen That's terrible, so had Mary been cheating on you then?

Hugh Well ...

Stephen (Whispering) I've forgotten.

Hugh (Whispering) So have I.

Stephen No, you've forgotten.

Hugh Oh I see. I've forgotten. She might have been but I just can't ... um ... persuade?

Stephen (Hissing) No, remember!

Hugh November. I'm a ...

Stephen (Walking off) Git.

Hugh I'm a git. I'm a git, that's right - Embarrassed at Stephen's disappearance. - right, well cheerio then Neville. It was good seeing you after all these ...... er ...

Stephen (Off yelling loudly) Years!!!

Hugh Years! That's right.

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