Stunts

A sketch from A Bit of Fry & Laurie

Stephen Ladies and gentlemen, many of you have expressed the worry that some of what Hugh and I do in this show is physically very dangerous, and have asked whether or not we ever use stuntmen in the performance of our sketches.

Hugh Well the answer is basically that Stephen and I do all our own stunts.

Stephen All our own stunts.

Hugh Every single one.

Stephen And almost none of our own acting.

Hugh That's right. It's not widely known, but acting is in fact an incredibly dangerous thing to do ...

Stephen Incredibly dangerous, and for insurance reasons we have been forbidden from delivering all but the simplest lines. Cut to Stephen and Hugh "in performance" while their voices continue off ...

Hugh (Voice-over) Take for example this sketch, that we're about to record now. It's called "The Adventures Of Colin The Serving Hatch", and it begins with me diving through a plate-glass window, with my bottom on fire. Hugh dives through a window, trousers ablaze.

Stephen (Voice-over) Those of you who are doing this sketch for A-level will know that the next thing is for me to smash Hugh in the face with a cricket bat ...

Hugh (Voice-over) Whereupon I crash through a wall and fall on to some iron railings. In vision, the relevant actions can be seen. Somebody shouts "cut" and Stephen steps in and addresses the camera.

Stephen Now comes the really dangerous bit - the first line. And to do this line, we've drafted in Alan Witheridge, who has almost twenty years experience of delivering lines like this one. Alan is going to "double" for Hugh at this point in the sketch, and say the line "I'm so sorry, I thought you were my brother." We can see Alan preparing for the line. Kneepads etc. Stephen goes over to interview him. Alan, how's it going?

Alan Fine thanks, Stephen. Just putting the final touches to the preparation.

Stephen Are you nervous at a time like this?

Alan Not nervous, no. If you've done your homework, which I think I have, there should be no problem. Anyway, we'll see.

Stephen Well Alan, the very best of luck. Alan takes up his position in the set. A voice shouts "stand by". (Voice-over) Just to remind you that Alan is now going to try and say the line, "I'm so sorry I thought you were my brother." Fingers crossed. A voice shouts "action" and Alan begins.

Alan I'm so sorry, I thought ... Alan explodes and people run in with fire extinguishers.

Stephen Well, a lucky escape for Hugh there.

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