Spies Five

A sketch from A Bit of Fry & Laurie

A park bench, in a television studio somewhere in Shepherd's Bush's famous London. Hugh approaches Stephen, who is sitting and feeding ducks from a brown paper bag.

Hugh My cheque book is sometimes yellow.

Stephen Yellow is the colour of some people's front porches.

Hugh (Slipping down next to Stephen) Hello Control.

Stephen Hello Murchison. Sorry to ask you to go through that coded exchange.

Hugh Yes, it seemed rather odd, because we know each other quite well, don't we?

Stephen That's a true thing to say, Tony, but the fact is we can't be too careful at the moment.

Hugh Did you think perhaps that I might be a KGB man with a false head on?

Stephen I hadn't entirely ruled it out.

Hugh So.

Stephen Mm. I expect you're wondering why we couldn't meet in my office, Tony.

Hugh Not really, it's being redecorated, isn't it? I had a little peek through the door this morning when I was passing. I think I caught a glimpse of some rather attractive rolls of wallpaper. A sort of silvery stripe, with a textured bit.

Stephen Yes. The cornice and moulding are going to be picked out in maroon.

Hugh That sounds very adventurous.

Stephen Mm. I find that makes a room look bigger. Well I've got to put my serious hat on now. Are you familiar with the term "mole"?

Hugh Surely a mole is an enemy agent planted deep within an organisation, such as ours, who pretends to be on one side but is really on the other all the time?

Stephen Yes. They are beastly.

Hugh Yes, very.

Stephen Well, for some time, Murchison, the Minister and I have been ever so slightly anxious about the possibility of there being just such a "mole" working inside our department.

Hugh Oh lor.

Stephen Yes. That's why I thought it would be more secure if we met here, not in my office.

Hugh That's a smart and professional piece of thinking, Control.

Stephen It's no good trying to be all private and secret if there's a mole listening to you all the time, probably laughing up his sleeve at you. If moles have sleeves.

Hugh So a mole, with or without sleeves. Fff. In our department? That makes my blood boil.

Stephen Mine too. It really is beginning to look like it. The Minister and I have decided to call the mole "Duncan" by the way.

Hugh Oh. Well I'm afraid that your theory about there being a mole may be wrong then, Control.

Stephen I'm busy wondering why that should be, Tony?

Hugh Well, we haven't got anyone called Duncan working in the department. I could ask the computer to give information on people called Duncan until the cows come home, but it is such a quite common name. Especially in Scotland, I think.

Stephen I may not have explained myself too well, Murchison. Duncan is just his code-name for the time being.

Hugh What a devious business we're in, Control.

Stephen Yes, I often think that it's a pity that we have to lie and conceal the truth so much. It leaves a not very pleasant taste in the mouth sometimes.

Hugh Hear, hear.

Stephen I have to say that I don't envy the mole, though.

Hugh No, quite. I have to say that as well, Control. Because a mole has extra helpings of lying and concealing the truth to do.

Stephen Yes. We've got quite enough on our plate just working for one country, haven't we, Tony?

Hugh We jolly well have.

Stephen If I had to do all my work twice I should get pretty fagged out. I shouldn't have a moment to call my own.

Hugh Nor me.

Stephen Bother him. Bother Duncan. Bother the Minister. Bother the whole damned lot of them.

Hugh Yes. Mind you, it's given us an opportunity to get out into the fresh air for a change.

Stephen That's true. And I expect the ducks will be pleased.

Hugh They'd be jolly ungrateful if they weren't.

Stephen Well I've got to have a small talk with the Minister now. Can I leave you to finish off feeding them?

Hugh Certainly Control, leave the bag with me. You put the ducks out of your mind.

Stephen Thanks Tony. Have done.

Hugh B-bye, Control.

Stephen B-bye, Murchison.

Vox Pop

Stephen Sometimes I think they ought to build a ring road round the ring road. Ha ha.

(Laughs hysterically almost forever)

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