A Bit of Fry & Laurie


Stephen M. and Phyllida sit behind a kind of bench as for a tribunal of some kind. Stephen, rat-faced and moustached, is up before them.

Phyllida You are Councillor Kenneth Wade?

Stephen I am.

Stephen M. I hope you are aware, Councillor Wade, that this is an informal hearing?

Stephen Indeed. I would like it understood at the outset that I have done nothing of which I am ashamed and that I stand by my record in local government. Having said that I am very happy to co-operate fully with this enquiry and answer such questions as might be put.

Phyllida You were elected to Grangely City Council, Mr Wade, on a ticket of ... let me see ...

Stephen ... on a ticket of providing value for money for our charge- paying customers and injecting new standards of decency, honour and family values into the community.

Stephen M. Fine words, no doubt, Mr Wade. You were, I believe, in charge of the "contracting out" of the Council's cleaning services?

Stephen Cleansing.

Stephen M. I beg your pardon?

Stephen Cleansing services. We call them cleansing services, not cleaning services.

Phyllida Why?

Stephen Um ... because it annoys people, I suppose.

Stephen M. And the company you contracted those cleansing services out to was called Wade Cleaning Ltd.

Stephen Cleansing. Wade Cleansing. Slogan: we know the Meansing of Cleansing.

Phyllida Wade Cleansing is wholly owned and run by your wife.

Stephen The matter has already been fully investigated by an independent enquiry ...

Stephen M. Yes. Wade Independent Tribunals Ltd.

Stephen Certainly. The old publicly-run enquiry procedures were expensive and inefficient, we contracted out to Wade Independent Tribunals Ltd, who offered a competitive, hard- headed, business-orientated tribunal and enquiry service.

Stephen M. But which is wholly owned and run by your son, Geoffrey.

Stephen As it happens, yes.

Stephen M. Who is five months old.

Stephen Five and a half months old. Geoffrey put together a very attractive bid. I was proud of him.

Stephen M. Mm. Geoffrey's mother, however, is not your wife, but Miss Valerie Jephcott, your secretary.

Stephen Yes. The sexual service my wife was offering was old- fashioned, inefficient, unwieldly and ... after my older children's birth ... overstreched and with a tendency to too much waste. I decided to contract out my sexual requirements, open them for competitive tender in the market-place. Valerie offered a sexual service that was faster, tighter, more efficient, more imaginative and more slimmed down than my wife's.

Phyllida I thought you stood for family values and clean living?

Stephen Cleanse living.

Phyllida Cleanse living. In your electoral literature, for instance, you promised to come down hard on homosexuals.

Stephen Since I've been in office I have spent a lot of money and energy coming down very hard indeed on homosexuals.

Stephen M. To return to financial matters, Mr Wade. Do you think it is appropriate that in these very lean times for ...

Stephen In these very lens times ...

Stephen M. Whatever. The point is, you have been accused of making a lot of money from being a councillor.

Stephen Yes. Well. There you have it: "accused". That's the attitude I have to deal with all the time. Making money is a crime, something to apologise for. Well, I'm sorry but when I grew up "profit" wasn't a dirty word. "Arse" was a dirty word. "Profit" wasn't. "Scrotum" was a pretty dirty word too and so was "titty". Well, I'm not ashamed to say that I've never been afraid of hard graft, sheer bloody graft ... or is "graft" a dirty word too, like "botty" and "helmet"?

Stephen M. I think we've heard enough, Councillor. This may be an informal hearing, but frankly, I'm sure we're agreed ...

He cocks his head at Phyllida.

Phyllida No quarrels. It's all there.

Stephen M. Yes. Yes. Uh-huh. Good. (To Stephen, solemnly.) Kenneth Wade. Your name will now go forward as that of our officially adopted Parliamentary Candidate for the Grangely Constituency. (Smiles.) Congratulations, Ken.

Stephen comes up for a handshake. We see for the first time that we are in the Meeting Room of the Grangely Conservative Constituency HQ.

Stephen M. Long live Britain.

Stephen God Save the Quense.

Download Tribunal as XML