A Bit of Fry & Laurie


Stephen is looking at a picture on the wall, dressed in a very unControllish sort of way. Painter's smock and multi-coloured scarf. Hugh comes in, and starts talking before he sees Stephen.

Hugh Morning Control. Sorry to bother you with this but ... He sees Control and is slightly startled by his clothes. I was wondering ... whether ...

Stephen Morning.

Hugh Morning. If you'll allow me to say so, Control, you appear to have radically changed your appearance and manner of dressing.

Stephen Ah, we've got a little bit of a crossed line here, I'm afraid. I'm not actually Control.

Hugh You're not Control?

Stephen No.

Hugh Well now I don't know whether I'm coming or going.

Stephen Don't worry. I'm Control's twin brother. How do you do?

Hugh Oh I see. How do you do? You really do look awfully like Control, you know.

Stephen Yes, people have frequently remarked on the similarity between myself and Control, it's true.

Hugh My name's Tony.

Stephen My name's Control.

Hugh Sorry?

Stephen It's a bit confusing but you see my mother could never tell us apart right from the day we were born, so she decided to call us both by the same name. She called us both Control.

Hugh You mean Control is Control's real name?

Stephen That's right. Oh dear. Have I been indiscreet?

Hugh Not at all. It's just that I always assumed that the name Control was just a cover for Control's real name, which was a closely guarded secret.

Stephen Well, of course, I've always known that his name was Control. Just as I've always known that my name was Control as well.

Hugh You could knock me down with a feather.

Stephen I expect I could if it was a large and heavy one.

Hugh Yes. So. Do you happen to know where Control is?

Stephen I'm right here, as it happens.

Hugh Oh no! We're confused already!

Stephen Oh, you mean my brother Control!

Hugh Yes.

Stephen He's presently painting an erotic mural somewhere in Earl's Court I should imagine.

Hugh Oh dear. I may need a lie-down soon.

Stephen Before you go to that extreme, Mr Murchison. I assume you are Tony Murchison by the way ... ?

Hugh I am. Though the way things are going perhaps I should say "I think I am!"

Stephen Yes. I like you already, Tony, if I may call you that.

Hugh Please do.

Stephen I was going to explain that I am something of the Black Sheep of our family. Control is a widely respected chief of the Secret Service and I am a not very respectable painter, though with a certain following in the louche areas of the metropolis.

Hugh With you so far Control number two.

Stephen And the thing of it is that Control asked if I wouldn't mind changing places with him: me to run the Secret Service for a week, he to have a stab at painting an erotic mural in Earl's Court.

Hugh Ah. I expect he's wanting to keep his undercover hand in.

Stephen Very probably. So, Mr Murchison, have you got any secret documents you'd like me to sign?

Hugh Well Control number two, I just need your permission to allocate funds for the purchase of the new safe house in Kensington that nobody knows the address of. Here are the estate agent's details.

Stephen (Looking through) Oh, no Murchison. I can't possibly authorise our spending money on a house which has floral carpets and plain curtains.

Hugh Ah.

Stephen And look at the wallpaper in the hall. Far too busy.

Hugh Right. I'll get to work on finding something more appropriate.

Stephen Yes please.

Hugh Meanwhile ... would a coffee be helpful at all?

Stephen Well, I'd love a lemon tea if you can manage it.

Hugh Well well well! Control?

Stephen Yes?

Hugh Even if I hadn't guessed earlier I'd know now that you aren't the real Control. Because Control?

Stephen Yes?

Hugh The real Control never has lemon tea. Always coffee.

Stephen Voh!

Hugh One lemon tea coming up, though.

Vox Pop

Hugh (Blindfolded sipping first at a glass of red wine and then at a glass of white) It's a trick. They're both red. (Taking off blindfold) Well, well, well. That's extraordinary. Ha, ha, ha. Don't show this will you. I'm a wine merchant, I shall cop frightful stick at work. Good Lord! Ha! (He's not that amused in fact)

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