Smell

A sketch from A Bit of Fry & Laurie

Stephen talks. John is at his side.

Stephen We see things. We touch things. We hear things. We taste things. But never forget that we also smell. Huge caption: "SMELL - THE FORGOTTEN SENSE?" John, my spies tell me, and I should point out that they're not actually spies in the sense of having hidden cameras and false bottoms, they're just people who tell me things - my spies tell me that, in your spare time, you're Vice-Professor of Smell at De Montfort University - reserve your seat of learning - do you think we've forgotten smell?

John I think we have forgotten smell. I think we neglect smell. I think smell is the one sense that seems to have got left behind in the mad rush for profit and cheap housing.

Stephen Can you give us some examples?

John Of what?

Stephen Anything.

John Alright. First leg qualifier against Holland. Libby Purves. Beethoven's Violin Concerto.

Stephen They being examples of ...?

John Of the glaring deficiencies of the long ball game, a Radio Four presenter, and a violin concerto by Beethoven.

Stephen But to get back to this wretched business of smell ...

John Well now, I have to pick you up on that. I can't let that go unchallenged.

Stephen waits, but there is no more.

Stephen Fair enough. I believe you've actually brought some smells with you, to give us some idea of the kind of thing YOU say, and I stress the you, when I say YOU say, that we're missing.

John rummages at his feet and brings out some bottles.

John That's right. Have a go at this one, and tell me what you think.

Stephen takes the bottle and sniffs.

Stephen Hmm. Pretty nasty. What is that?

John That one is ... He looks at the label. ... Michael Portillo getting out of a Rover 200 after quite a long journey. He hands over another bottle.

Stephen Ah now, that's rather nice.

John 'Tis, isn't it? That's the inside of a slaughterhouse in Kent. Fresh, tangy, but full of character.

Another bottle.

Stephen Hello, I think I recognise this one.

John You should do.

Stephen What is it?

John Have a guess.

Stephen Well I don't know ...

John Go on.

Stephen The lavatories at Earl's Court during the Royal Tournament?

John No. That's actually your right knee.

Stephen Is it? Stephen smells his own knee.

Stephen Good heavens, so it is.

John There you are, you see.

Stephen And you say, you say, that a lot of ordinary people are missing out on this sense.

John I say that. I say that. And I think that's a shame.

Stephen So do I.

Vox Pop

Hugh No I love this country. I do, I love it. Only trouble is there's nowhere to park, is there?

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