Script by John Finnemore
Transcript by Ariane DeVere
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This week, Timbuktu!
MARTIN: Do take your time, Douglas. Still everything to play for. (Gleefully) I’m only twenty-six points ahead of your three points! (He giggles.) But-but I have every confidence you’re about to come roaring back!
DOUGLAS: Yes, all right.
MARTIN: But I am gonna have to press you for an answer, I’m afraid.
DOUGLAS (sulkily): I don’t know. At twenty thousand feet, I suppose about two hundred knots?
MARTIN: Ooh, what a pity! It’s a lovely guess, but I’m afraid the answer on the card was two hundred and four knots! I win again! So that’s Martin on twenty-nine; Douglas ... oh! Still on three ... (he chuckles) ... as we head into round two.
DOUGLAS: That was one round?!
MARTIN: Oh, don’t worry, don’t worry. Round two’s much more fun. We say a fond farewell to the flight manual ...
DOUGLAS: Thank God.
MARTIN: ... and we welcome instead our very good friend the operations manual!
DOUGLAS (protesting): No! No, I’m sorry, I’m done.
MARTIN: No-no, fair’s fair, Douglas. You promised if I joined in with Flight Deck Buckaroo, I could pick the next game.
DOUGLAS: But I hate this game!
MARTIN: Yes, and I hate Flight Deck Buckaroo.
DOUGLAS: How can you hate Flight Deck Buckaroo? It’s a terrific game! And it’s educational.
MARTIN: There is nothing educational about seeing who can disable the most instruments without setting off the recorded warning.
DOUGLAS: Yes there is! You find out all the things you don’t really need! Like altimeters.
MARTIN: No, this is educational. So, welcome to round two of Beat the Manuals!
(Flight deck door opens.)
ARTHUR: Hello, chaps. Any teas or coffees?
DOUGLAS: Oh, thank God!
ARTHUR: Oh. Sorry, Douglas, you should have rung.
MARTIN: Actually, we’re fine, Arthur. We-we’ll be landing in twenty minutes.
ARTHUR: Oh, right-o. Oh, and a message from Mum. Er, she says how long until we land?
DOUGLAS: ... Right.
(Flight deck door opens again.)
CAROLYN: Drivers, how long ’til we land?
ARTHUR: I’m asking them, Mum!
CAROLYN: Not quickly enough.
MARTIN: We’ve just started the descent, Carolyn, so about twenty minutes?
CAROLYN: Excellent. Now, Douglas, I am having lunch with Herc. Can you give Arthur a lift home?
DOUGLAS: Sorry. Happy though I always am to pick up the pieces around your hectic love life, I’m afraid as soon as we land I’m driving to Twickenham. I’ve got tickets for the rugby World Cup final.
ARTHUR: Cup final? But ... doesn’t that mean it’s Birling Day?
MARTIN: Oh, Carolyn. Haven’t you told him?
ARTHUR: Told me what?
MARTIN: Arthur, there isn’t going to be a Birling Day this year.
ARTHUR (high-pitched in indignation): What?! Why not?!
MARTIN: Because this year the final is in Twickenham.
ARTHUR: Well, so?
CAROLYN: So, Mr. Birling lives in Sussex. To get to Fitton he would have to drive through Twickenham; and while he certainly has more money than sense, I don’t think anyone has that much more.
ARTHUR (disappointed): Oh, no. I love Birling Day.
MARTIN: Me too.
DOUGLAS: Do you?
MARTIN: Well, no, but I could do with the money.
DOUGLAS: True. And I wouldn’t say no to a free bottle of Talisker.
CAROLYN: The bottles of expensive whisky I provide for Mr. Birling’s exclusive use are not ‘free’, Douglas. They are stolen from me.
DOUGLAS: And therefore free to me.
MARTIN (into radio): Fitton Tower, this is Golf Echo Romeo Tango India established on the ILS.
FITTON ATC (over radio): ’Ello, ’ello, is it a bird, is it a plane? No! It’s ... oh, no wait, it is technically a plane.
DOUGLAS: Hello, Karl.
MARTIN: Fitton Tower, please confine air traffic communications to standard phraseology.
KARL: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Wind two eighty at eight; Runway three-six clear to land; all the usual jazz.
MARTIN: Roger. Clear to land, three-six.
KARL: So-o-o, did you have a lovely time in Luton?
DOUGLAS: How could one not? It’s a palace of pleasure.
MARTIN: I mean, seriously, you’re really not meant to just chat on this thing!
KARL: Sorry, Martin. Oh! One last thing, though: did any of you order a furious posh man?
KARL: Only one’s arrived for you – very cross, very drunk. Phil poured him into your Departure Hut.
KARL: Sorry: Lounge. Anyway, hope you like him! Ta-ra!
CAROLYN: That-that sounds like Mr. Birling!
DOUGLAS: It does rather, doesn’t it? By the way, cabin crew, prepare for landing.
ARTHUR: Oh, right, I’ll go and ...
(Sound of GERTI’s tyres squealing as she touches down and brakes.)
DOUGLAS: Too late.
(Portacabin door opens.)
CAROLYN: Mr. Birling!
MR. BIRLING (very drunk and slurring): Ah-ha! There you are at last.
CAROLYN: What are you doing here?
MR. BIRLING: What am I doing here? The question is: what were you doing not being here ... (he mumbles incoherently) ... before now, eh?
CAROLYN: But we’re not expecting you. You-you-you don’t have a booking.
MR. BIRLING: Booking?! Don’t need a booking! Where else are you lot gonna be – on another job?
CAROLYN: Well, yes.
MR. BIRLING: Don’t be silly. Now then – now you’re finally here, listen. Err, Timbuktu.
CAROLYN: What about it?
MR. BIRLING: Is-is it a real place?
MR. BIRLING: Ah! Told you so, stupid woman!
CAROLYN: I beg your pardon?
MR. BIRLING: I didn’t mean you’re a stupid woman, you silly woman. I mean my awful wife. Have you met my awful wife?
CAROLYN: I have met your wife, certainly.
MR. BIRLING: Well, that’ll be the awful one. I’ve only got one. I may be a fool, but I’m not a damned fool.
CAROLYN: No, I’m sure you’re not.
MR. BIRLING: And anyway, I’m not a fool. I knew where Timbuktu was, didn’t I?
CAROLYN: Did you?
MR. BIRLING: Well, I knew it was somewhere. That’s the point – I knew it wasn’t made-up like some people thought it was, naming no wives. Well, where is it, anyway? China or somewhere stupid?
CAROLYN: It’s in Mali, in the middle of Africa, on the edge of the Sahara.
MR. BIRLING: God, is it? How ghastly. Well, can’t be helped. I want you to fly me there.
CAROLYN: To Timbuktu? Why?
MR. BIRLING: Firstly, none of your business; secondly, to watch the rugby.
CAROLYN: But the rugby is in Twickenham.
MR. BIRLING: I know the rugby’s in Twickenham. I told my awful wife it was in Twickenham and she said I had to stay and see her awful friends when they came round for her awful thing. And I said I wouldn’t, and she said I must, and I said I wouldn’t, and she said I must, and I said I wouldn’t ...
CAROLYN: Yes, I believe I’ve picked up the ebb and flow of the debate.
MR. BIRLING: And in the end she said I could watch it in Timbuktu for all she cares. So I’m going to.
CAROLYN: You’re going to fly to Timbuktu to spite your wife?
MR. BIRLING: That’s the idea, yeah, yeah. Fly to Timbuktu, take a picture to show awful wife who’s boss, i.e. me, I am, find bar in airport, cheer on Wales to glorious victory over the Eyeties, get drunk, fly home.
CAROLYN: Well, I can ask the crew if they would be willing to consider giving up their day off to, er ...
MR. BIRLING: Oh, can’t we skip all that? I’ll give ’em a couple of grand each and pay you double whatever you were gonna charge.
CAROLYN (instantly): We should be ready to leave within the hour, sir.
CAROLYN: All right, how are we doing? Where are the others?
DOUGLAS: Fine. Martin’s panically filing a flight plan, and I’ve sent Arthur into Fitton to buy a book about Timbuktu.
CAROLYN: What on earth for?
DOUGLAS: He’s in a helpful mood.
CAROLYN: Yes, but why do you need a book?
DOUGLAS: I don’t. I need a temporary absence of Arthur in a helpful mood. And I have just given away a ticket to watch the Cup Final in Twickenham in order that I can fly two and a half thousand miles to the heart of Africa and watch it there.
CAROLYN (fake sympathetically): Oh, dear. Did the poor little pilot have to fly an aeroplane? (More sternly) You’re getting paid, aren’t you, plus an enormous tip?
DOUGLAS: I know, I know. And a bottle of Talisker.
CAROLYN: No. Not a bottle of Talisker.
DOUGLAS: We’ll see, shall we?
CAROLYN: No. I mean there won’t be any Talisker to steal. I have to order in the twenty-five year old stuff specially, and there’s no time.
DOUGLAS: Oh. Well, in that case, perhaps I can help. I happen to have a few spare bottles knocking about ... for some reason.
CAROLYN (hesitantly, reluctantly): Oh. Well. That would be very useful. Thank you.
DOUGLAS: Shall we say two hundred pounds a bottle?
CAROLYN: What?! No! I’m not paying you for the whisky you stole from me in the first place!
(Portacabin door opens.)
MARTIN: Guys, there’s a problem.
CAROLYN: Then solve it.
MARTIN: I can’t solve it.
CAROLYN: Have you tried to solve it?
CAROLYN: Then you don’t know if you can solve it, do you?
MARTIN: There’s a civil war in Mali. So Timbuktu’s closed to all air traffic.
CAROLYN: ... Right. So you can’t solve it.
MARTIN: Thank you.
CAROLYN: Douglas, can you solve it?
DOUGLAS: I appreciate your faith, Carolyn, but I ... I’m not sure even I can broker a peace deal in a civil war. Not in time for kick-off, anyway.
CAROLYN: Fine. I knew it was too good to be true. Who’s going to tell Birling?
MARTIN: Wait! Hang on – we can’t just give up!
CAROLYN: Well, you’re the one who said it was insolvable.
MARTIN: By me, not by you two. There must be something we can do. (He sighs.) Oh, I could really use that two thousand quid.
DOUGLAS: I know, I know, but what can we do?
MARTIN: Well, I don’t ... I don’t suppose ... I don’t suppose there’s anywhere that’s a bit like Timbuktu?
CAROLYN: What, d’you mean also famous for being far away?
MARTIN: No-no-no, I didn’t mean that. I mean, like, it ... as in ... looks like it, a bit, if you didn’t really know much about Timbuktu.
CAROLYN (surprised): Martin?!
DOUGLAS (impressed): Martin!
MARTIN: No, I know, I know, I didn’t mean it. I’m just ... I’m just trying to, you know, come up with ideas.
DOUGLAS: No, Martin! That’s inspired!
MARTIN: Is it?
DOUGLAS: You’re a genius! An unexpectedly evil genius!
CAROLYN: You mean you know somewhere that we could ...
DOUGLAS: Oh, plenty of places! There’s a little airfield on the island of Sardinia, for instance – Guspini. It’s perfect! It’s on the edge of the second biggest desert in Europe, and the chap who runs it is an old friend of mine.
MARTIN: Of course he is(!)
DOUGLAS: Couple of hundred Euros and I’m sure he’ll be only too pleased to be Timbuktuan for an hour or two. Three hundred and the engineers can probably knock up a “Welcome to Timbuktu” sign.
MARTIN: No, but that’s fraud!
DOUGLAS (smugly): Isn’t it, though? That’s why I’m so delighted you suggested it.
MARTIN: I didn’t mean ... I-I wasn’t seriously ...
DOUGLAS: Oh, don’t spoil it!
CAROLYN: Douglas, look: it’s a nice idea, but we cannot possibly ...
DOUGLAS: Look, Birling’s always roaring drunk by the time we land anyway, and all he wants is a room to watch the rugby in and a sign saying, “Welcome to Timbuktu”, both of which Sardinia can provide – and neither of which, incidentally, Timbuktu can provide.
CAROLYN: But won’t he be a bit suspicious that everyone speaks Italian?
DOUGLAS: Why would he be? Mali was under Italian rule for decades.
MARTIN: Oh. Was it?
DOUGLAS: Of course not. But if you didn’t know that, why would he? It’s a great idea, honestly! I don’t know whether I’m more proud of you for thinking of it, or worried that I didn’t.
CAROLYN: I-I suppose if we got him really drunk ...
DOUGLAS: That’s the spirit! And, of course, that’s where the twenty-five year old Talisker will come in so handy.
MARTIN: Oh, no, please, you two – no Talisker stuff! Not if we’re actually gonna do this.
DOUGLAS: Would you care to take one bottle, madam, or two?
(Flight deck door opens.)
ARTHUR: Hi, chaps. Isn’t this exciting? I’ve always wanted to go to Timbuktu. It sounds brilliant – like a cross between a ...
DOUGLAS: No, wait. Let me guess. A cockatoo, obviously ...
ARTHUR: Yes, yeah.
DOUGLAS: ... and, um, errr ... no, I give up.
ARTHUR: ... and my friend Tim Buckley!
DOUGLAS: Of course! Silly of me!
ARTHUR: Oh, and I, er, I found that book you wanted, Douglas.
DOUGLAS: What book?
ARTHUR: About Timbuktu.
DOUGLAS: Oh, right. Yes, well, you hang on to that for now.
ARTHUR: Oh, okay. It’s about all of Africa really, but there’s a chapter on Mali and a page on Timbuktu. I’ve nearly finished it.
MARTIN: The book?
ARTHUR: The page. It sounds amazing. I can’t wait to see it!
MARTIN: Yes, but, Arthur, has no-one told you? We’re not actually going to ...
DOUGLAS (interrupting): ... to see much of Timbuktu. I mean, it’s straight out, watch the rugby in the airport, and back again.
ARTHUR: Well, yeah, but I bet at least I see some camels.
DOUGLAS: How much do you bet?
MARTIN (quietly): Douglas.
DOUGLAS: Never mind. Er, hadn’t you better go away and hoover something?
ARTHUR: Not really. We’re all ready to go.
DOUGLAS: Fine. Then go away and hoover nothing.
MARTIN: So we’re not telling him about ...?
DOUGLAS: What with him being the worst liar we know, I thought perhaps not.
(Flight deck door opens.)
CAROLYN: All right, he’s in. Do the briefing, Martin.
MARTIN (rustling paperwork): Right. Destination is Guspini, code named Timbuktu. For the avoidance of doubt, crew should note that any time Timbuktu is referred to, Guspini is meant.
DOUGLAS: Yes. I believe we’re up to speed with the deception.
MARTIN: In the unlikely circumstance the actual Timbuktu is referred to, the name is to be repeated twice.
DOUGLAS: How d’you mean?
DOUGLAS: ... means Guspini.
MARTIN: No! “Timbuktu” means Guspini; “Timbuktu-Timbuktu” means Timbuktu.
DOUGLAS: Oh, I see. But you only repeated it once.
MARTIN: I didn’t. I said “Timbuktu-Timbuktu.”
DOUGLAS: Exactly. You said it, and then you repeated it. If you’d repeated it twice, you’d have said, “Timbuktu-Timbuktu-Timbuktu.”
CAROLYN: Yes, excuse me, but I’m trying to run an airline here, not an owl sanctuary. Get on with it!
MARTIN: All right. The alternate is Palermo, code named Ouagadougou.
DOUGLAS: And if the real Ouagadougou is meant?
MARTIN: I really can’t imagine circumstances under which we’ll need to refer to the real Ouagadougou.
DOUGLAS: All right, but a good pilot is prepared for any eventuality, however ...
MARTIN: ALL RIGHT! The code for the real Ouagadougou is Ouagadougou-Ouagadougou.
DOUGLAS: Thank God we’re not going to Baden-Baden.
ARTHUR: Er, Mr. B?
MR. BIRLING: Go away.
ARTHUR: Yeah, will do. Er, but first, can myself draw yourself’s kindly attention to the sign that the captain has kindly en-illuminated in regard to the fastenation of your seatbelt during the current highly-unlikely event of turbulence?
MR. BIRLING: What?
ARTHUR: Could you do your seatbelt up?
MR. BIRLING: Certainly not! Do I look like a girl?
ARTHUR: You don’t at all look like a girl.
MR. BIRLING: Well then.
ARTHUR: Okay, well, it doesn’t really matter ...
CAROLYN (calling from some distance away): Arthur!
ARTHUR: Right, yes, sorry, it does really matter these days.
MR. BIRLING: Since when?
ARTHUR: Since Mum said so.
CAROLYN (coming closer): Is there some problem, Mr. Birling?
MR. BIRLING: I don’t want my seatbelt on.
CAROLYN: Oh dear. Still, into every life a little rain must fall.
MR. BIRLING: Did you just ...
CAROLYN: And now, to console you for your tragedy, can I get you a drink?
MR. BIRLING: Oh, well, um, perhaps a small whisky?
CAROLYN: By all means. Macallans, Johnnie Walker, or Glenlivet?
MR. BIRLING: What about my special whisky – the Talisker 25?
CAROLYN: Ah, yes. I’m afraid this trip was at such short notice, we didn’t have the chance to buy that in.
ARTHUR: Ooh, Mum ...
CAROLYN: Er, thank you, Arthur. Not now.
MR. BIRLING (angrily): What?! You realise the only reason I fly on your toy aeroplane is that you carry the whisky I like!
ARTHUR: Yeah, really, Mum, it’s important.
CAROLYN: Thank you, Arthur. Code Red.
MR. BIRLING: You’re not the only people who could take me to Timbuktu, you know.
CAROLYN: You’d be surprised.
ARTHUR: Mum, I really think on this occasion, I-I should over-ride the Code Red! Because you’re forgetting that Douglas ...
CAROLYN (loudly): Code Red, Arthur. Go away, go away fast, and go away now.
ARTHUR: Right, yes, will do, yeah.
CAROLYN: I will talk to you in the galley.
ARTHUR (nervously): No-no, you don’t have to. It’s fine – I get it now.
CAROLYN (firmly): No, I will talk to you in the galley.
ARTHUR (plaintively): ... Okay.
CAROLYN: Right. First of all, you never over-rule a Code Red.
ARTHUR: No, I know, Mum. I’m sorry.
CAROLYN (sternly): Yes. Why do you never over-rule a Code Red?
ARTHUR (sighing): Because the Code Red is there to stop me when I’m being too helpful, and I can’t stop being too helpful by being more helpful.
CAROLYN: Exactly. Good!
ARTHUR: Yes, but this time I wasn’t being too helpful! It’s just, Mr. Birling wanted the Talisker, and we want him to be happy, and you’d forgotten Douglas brought some Talisker in case you needed it!
CAROLYN: I hadn’t forgotten, Arthur. That is not why I asked him to bring it.
ARTHUR: Why, then?
CAROLYN: Because today, Arthur, is the Birling Day I steal the Talisker from Douglas Richardson!
CAROLYN: Ahhh! You get it now?
ARTHUR: Yeah! I completely get it! ... Because normally it’s the other way around.
ARTHUR: Ooh, I do get it!
CAROLYN: So, do you know where Douglas has stashed it?
ARTHUR: Ooh, no – where?!
CAROLYN: I don’t know! I’m asking you!
ARTHUR: Why are you asking me? I don’t know.
CAROLYN: Yes, but I didn’t know you didn’t know until I ... Oh, go and read your book.
DOUGLAS: Okay, countries beginning with ...
MARTIN: What? No! Douglas, we don’t have time for games. Can you just concentrate, please.
DOUGLAS: All right, Captain.
DOUGLAS: ... On anything in particular?
MARTIN (anxiously): On the crime! On getting away with the crime!
DOUGLAS: I’d prefer to use the word “scheme.”
MARTIN: Yes, well, I’d prefer to use the word “hat.” But it’s not a hat; it’s a crime!
DOUGLAS: Martin, relax. I’ve done things like this hundreds of times.
MARTIN: Yes, and you got sacked from Air England.
DOUGLAS: Only once. I almost always didn’t. Trust me: it’s a perfectly good scheme and it’s all going to be fine.
MARTIN: ... Oh my God. What if he looks out of the window?
MARTIN: Well, when we’re landing. What if he sees we’re landing on an island? Africa’s not an island! Right ...
DOUGLAS: Er, Martin. Are you about to make an announcement telling Mr. Birling not to look out of the window?
MARTIN: Of course I am!
DOUGLAS: Just maybe run that past your internal psychologist first.
(Flight deck door opens.)
CAROLYN: All right, drivers, where are we?
DOUGLAS: About an hour out from Timbuktu.
CAROLYN: What? But I thought the whole point was ...
DOUGLAS: Although of course still a fair way from Timbuktu-Timbuktu.
CAROLYN: Oh, for heaven’s sake.
DOUGLAS: And how is Mr. Birling?
MARTIN (anxiously): Is he awake? Is he drunk? (In a stage whisper) Does he suspect?
CAROLYN: Oh, calm down, Martin! Course he doesn’t suspect. Until a few hours ago, he thought Timbuktu was either Chinese or fictional! However, he is fast sobering up.
MARTIN (panic-stricken): What? Oh, no-no-no-no-no-no! He needs to be drunk! That’s the key to the whole crime!
DOUGLAS: Well, you know what might help with that.
CAROLYN: Yes, I do. So – and can we please do this with the bare minimum of gloating – I will buy the Talisker.
DOUGLAS: An excellent choice. Madam could not have made a wiser decision.
CAROLYN: I said the bare minimum.
DOUGLAS: That’ll be three hundred pounds.
CAROLYN: Three hun... You said two hundred before.
DOUGLAS: Ah, that was the price in Fitton. Alas, the supply is scarcer up here.
CAROLYN: Fine. Three hundred.
CAROLYN: Well, get the bottle out, then.
DOUGLAS: Madam seems a little unfamiliar with how the whole buying process works.
CAROLYN: Oh, I’ll pay you when we get back.
(Douglas laughs sarcastically.)
DOUGLAS: Madam is a humourist.
MARTIN: Guys, please. Can we try and focus on the main ...
CAROLYN: I don’t carry that sort of cash on trips.
DOUGLAS: Yes you do.
CAROLYN: Well, show me the bottle and I’ll give you the money.
DOUGLAS: Better yet, give me the money and I’ll get out the bottle.
CAROLYN: I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want it.
DOUGLAS: Just as you please. But I warn you: the prices are only going to rise.
MARTIN (increasingly frantically): Seriously, please, will both of you forget the whisky and concentrate on getting away with the CRIME?!
CAROLYN: Martin, for someone who can’t bear to hear the word “Sardinia”, you are making very free with the word “crime.”
(Door to the plane opens.)
DOUGLAS: So, Martin, what do you think of Timbuktu?
MARTIN (quietly, nervously): Well, actually, it-it does look quite, you know, middle-of-Africa-ish, doesn’t it, actually, doesn’t it?
ARTHUR: What does?
MARTIN: Er, th-this does.
ARTHUR: Oh, yeah, well I can explain that, Skip. Er, Timbuktu is, in fact, in the middle of Africa, so, er, that’s why it looks like this.
MARTIN: Thank you, Arthur.
ARTHUR: Don’t mention it. I read the whole page of that book. I’m basically an expert on Timbuktu now.
CAROLYN (helping Mr. B down the steps): Right, there we go, Mr. Birling. Easy does it.
MR. BIRLING: Can’t you turn that down?
CAROLYN: The sun? Not very easily, I fear.
GIANCARLO (Italian accent): Hello! Hello!
MR. BIRLING: Who’s this, now?
GIANCARLO: Welcome to Timbooktoo.
MR. BIRLING: Yes, yes, all right.
GIANCARLO: Because that is where you are, and we are glad to ’ave you ’ere in our glorious country of Timbooktoo.
DOUGLAS (quietly): Town.
GIANCARLO (quietly): Town?
DOUGLAS (quietly): Town.
GIANCARLO (louder): ... town of Timbooktoo. See here our welcoming sign.
MR. BIRLING: What sign?
GIANCARLO: That one. The one that says Welcome to Timbooktoo.
MR. BIRLING: Mmm. Well ...
GIANCARLO: No, no! No, have a proper look! We spent ages on that.
MR. BIRLING: Now then, you ... What’s your name?
GIANCARLO: Giancarlo ...
DOUGLAS (interrupting): Is it, though?
GIANCARLO: Oh, no-no-no-no, it’s, uh, it’s, uh, er ...
DOUGLAS: Quick as you like.
DOUGLAS (resignedly): Terrific.
MR. BIRLING: Right, Mandela, you’ve got the rugby here, have you?
GIANCARLO: Well, er, of course. Italy’s first rugby World Cup final in history – everyone in the country is watching.
MR. BIRLING: Really? Why?
DOUGLAS: Ah, well, you have to remember Mali was part of the Italian Empire for a long time. The ties run deep.
MR. BIRLING: Oh. Was it?
ARTHUR: Er, no, Douglas, you’re thinking of France. Mali was in the French Empire.
DOUGLAS: No, Arthur ...
ARTHUR: Yeah, no, definitely. It was in my book.
DOUGLAS: Well, Mr. Birling, I think that concludes the greetings.
MR. BIRLING: Something odd’s going on here.
MARTIN (frantically): No it isn’t!
DOUGLAS: Not at all.
MR. BIRLING: Where you fellows have got lucky is that the match is about to start, so I don’t care.
DOUGLAS: An attitude that does you great credit. Shall we escort you to the crew room?
(Sound of rummaging in GERTI’s flight deck.)
(Locker door opening and closing.)
CAROLYN: No, no, no. Too obvious.
(More rummaging. The flight deck door opens.)
(Carolyn yelps in surprise.)
CAROLYN: Oh, it’s you. What are you doing here?
MARTIN: It’s my flight deck. What are you doing here?
CAROLYN: It’s my aeroplane. Now, help me search for Douglas’ Talisker.
MARTIN: Carolyn, please! Forget about the bloody Talisker!
CAROLYN: The flight deck’s the only place he’s had time to hide it. It’s not in the locker or in the foot wells or under the seats ... Maybe it’s inside one of the seats.
(She starts to rummage.)
MARTIN: No it’s not.
MARTIN (hesitantly): ... It’s ... probably ... not in the seats.
CAROLYN: You know where it is.
MARTIN (hastily): Okay, I’m going back to the crew room now.
CAROLYN (sternly): Tell me where it is, Martin.
MARTIN: Carolyn, if I’ve learned anything after five years at MJN Air, it’s never to get involved with Talisker on Birling Day. Goodbye.
[Transcriber’s note: Yes, he does actually say “MGN Air.” Shame on you, Benedict!]
CAROLYN: I’ll give you a hundred pounds.
MARTIN: I can’t. Douglas’d make my life a misery.
CAROLYN: As will I if you don’t.
MARTIN (plaintively): I’ve got to go!
(Flight deck door closes.)
CAROLYN (loudly): Two hundred pounds!
(Flight deck door opens again.)
MARTIN: Two hundred?
MARTIN (sighing): It’s in the avionics bay.
MARTIN: Under the floor hatch.
CAROLYN (lifting the hatch): I never knew there was a hatch.
MARTIN: No, well, he didn’t think you did.
(Knocking on the cabin door.)
MARTIN: Quick! Quick-quick-quick!
CAROLYN: Ah, got it!
MR. BIRLING (from outside): Hello! Are you in there?
(Sound of Mr. B trying to open the door.)
MARTIN: Mr. Birling?
MR. BIRLING (rattling the door): Open up, damn you!
(Martin opens the door.)
MR. BIRLING: Ah.
ARTHUR: Hi! It’s us!
DOUGLAS: Why was the door locked?
MARTIN: Mr. Birling! What’s the matter?
CAROLYN: Why aren’t you watching the rugby?
MR. BIRLING: Because rugby ... is dead.
MARTIN: Oh ... dear.
DOUGLAS: Italy are leading thirty-eight to three at half time. Mr. Birling feels he’s seen enough.
MR. BIRLING: Yes, and heard enough of that awful Mandela chap singing.
DOUGLAS: Mr. Mandela has managed to overcome the natural apathy of the neutrals.
MARTIN (anxiously): Oh, dear, I-I am sorry, Mr. Birling. Still, home early for us, then. Er, we-we’re actually nearly ready to go, so if you’d like to ...
ARTHUR: Aww, do we have to go?
MARTIN: Yes we do.
ARTHUR: Only, if we’ve got some spare time, can’t we take Mr. Birling to see the sights?
MARTIN and DOUGLAS and CAROLYN (simultaneously): No.
ARTHUR: Oh! We could borrow Mr. Mandela’s car!
MARTIN and DOUGLAS and CAROLYN (simultaneously): No!
MR. BIRLING: I don’t want to see the sights.
MARTIN: There – he doesn’t want to see the sights.
CAROLYN: So, everyone back on board.
ARTHUR: But-but you could take some more pictures to show your wife!
MR. BIRLING: Oh, there is that, I suppose.
MARTIN: No. I-I’m sorry, Mr. Birling. I’m gonna have to put my foot down. We really don’t have time.
MR. BIRLING: I want to see the sights.
DOUGLAS: Well played, Martin.
ARTHUR: Brilliant! I’m gonna get to see some of Africa after all.
DOUGLAS: Yes, Arthur. Yes you are.
(In a car.)
ARTHUR: ... Yellow car.
MR. BIRLING: Can’t you do something to stop him saying that?
CAROLYN: Trust me: there is no power on Earth.
ARTHUR: It’s funny, though: it was another Fiat.
DOUGLAS (sarcastically): Was it really?
ARTHUR: Yeah! Loads of Fiats, aren’t there? I had no idea they were so popular in Timbuktu.
MARTIN: Arthur ...
ARTHUR: It’s just, my book was saying that most transport is still camels and donkeys, but I haven’t seen a camel all journey!
DOUGLAS: I did warn you you might not.
ARTHUR: I’ll call out if I see one.
MR. BIRLING (grumpily): Do not do that!
ARTHUR: No, no, it’s fine. I don’t mind. I’ll make it part of the game. Are camels yellow? They’re sort of yellow-ish, aren’t they – kind of yellowy-browny. Is there a name for that colour?
CAROLYN: Yes, dear. It’s called ‘camel.’
ARTHUR: Oh, brilliant! So if I see one, I can just say, “Camel camel!”
DOUGLAS: Good idea. And that way we’ll know it’s a real camel.
CAROLYN (tetchily): Douglas.
ARTHUR: Oh dear, the road’s getting really steep, isn’t it?
CAROLYN: Yes, well, these, er, rough desert pathways ... it’s-it’s not surprising they’re a bit, um ...
ARTHUR: Well, it is a bit surprising, Mum, because the book was saying the Sahara’s one of the flattest places in the world!
MARTIN (nervously): You’ve really been getting into that book, haven’t you?
ARTHUR: Yeah. Well, Mum’s been saying for years I don’t read enough, so I thought I’d ...
MARTIN (exasperated): ... you thought you’d start now. Great. Okay, I’ve got a game: let’s see who can stay the most shut-up for longest.
ARTHUR: No, I’m terrible at that. No, you lot play, though. I’ll keep you amused. ... Oh, look! Another pizzeria! They really love their pizza in Mali, don’t they? That’s the fourth one we’ve seen.
CAROLYN (resigned): Yes, and you’ve drawn attention to every single one.
ARTHUR: Yeah, well, because it’s so surprising! ’Cause like I told you, Mali was part of the French Empire, so you’d think, if anything, there would be more ...
(The car screeches to a halt.)
MARTIN: Oh dear. The car’s stuck.
ARTHUR: Is it? It doesn’t seem ...
MARTIN: Yes! It’s stuck! Everyone out and help push. Not-not you, Mr. Birling, of course. You’re-you’re our guest.
(They get out of the car.)
MARTIN (in an urgent whisper): Arthur, please. SHUT UP!
ARTHUR: What? I didn’t say anything.
DOUGLAS: You’ve done nothing but say things since we started.
ARTHUR: Oh, you mean my interesting facts about Timbuktu.
CAROLYN: Arthur, we are not in Timbuktu. We are in Sardinia, which is an island in Italy.
(Stunned silence, then Arthur gasps.)
ARTHUR: ... I thought we were ...
CAROLYN: Yes, I know you did; and so does Mr. Birling, so please, stop loudly pointing out how much unlike the centre of Africa everything is.
(The car door opens.)
MR. BIRLING: All right. What on earth is going on?
CAROLYN: No, no. No, no. Everything’s fine. It’s all fixed.
MR. BIRLING: How is it fixed? You haven’t done anything. You’ve just stood there talking. No, there’s something very odd going on here. The idiot boy is right. This is a very big hill for a desert. What’s going on?
MARTIN and DOUGLAS and CAROLYN (simultaneously): Nothing.
MR. BIRLING: You’re very quiet suddenly.
MR. BIRLING: I said, what’s going on?
MR. BIRLING: What. Is. Going. On?
ARTHUR (hysterically, rapidly): Nothing! Nothing’s going on! We’re in Timbuktu, and everything’s totally normal and you can get pizzas anywhere these days, and camels are really shy actually and it’s nothing like Sardinia, which I’ve never been to, and I’m not going to, and I’m definitely not in now!
CAROLYN: Arthur! Stop talking!
ARTHUR (high-pitched, rapidly): I don’t think I can remember how!
CAROLYN: Someone else say something! Anything!
MARTIN (panic stricken): Er, er, er, er ... Oh, look over there, Mr. Birling! From up here, you can see the sea!
MR. BIRLING (grimly): The sea?
DOUGLAS: Well, maybe not quite anything.
(Back in GERTI.)
MARTIN (tiredly): Fuel balanced, Douglas.
DOUGLAS (flatly): Good-o.
(Flight deck door opens.)
CAROLYN: Well, we’ve come to an arrangement.
CAROLYN: He’s not going to sue us.
MARTIN (sighing with relief): Good.
CAROLYN: ... or pay us.
MARTIN: So essentially we’ve taken a multi-millionaire on a free day-trip to the Mediterranean.
CAROLYN: That’s about the size of it, yes.
DOUGLAS: Well, it’s good to give something back, isn’t it?
MARTIN: I’m really sorry, Carolyn.
CAROLYN: No, it’s all right. You only finished what Arthur started.
DOUGLAS: Yes. It’s been a topsy-turvy sort of Birling Day, hasn’t it? We flew away from the rugby; Mr. Birling got soberer and soberer; and Arthur ruined everything with his knowledge and erudition.
ARTHUR: I did, didn’t I?
MARTIN: I don’t think he meant you to be proud.
ARTHUR: No, no. ... I am a bit, though.
CAROLYN: Oh, and, er, one other thing, Douglas. I stole the Talisker from you.
(Clink of a bottle.)
DOUGLAS: Carolyn! How did you find it?
MARTIN: I told her, Douglas.
DOUGLAS: You told her?
DOUGLAS: I see. And how much did she pay you for that little betrayal?
MARTIN: Two hundred pounds.
MARTIN: Here’s your hundred.
DOUGLAS: Thank you very much.
MARTIN: Really sorry, Carolyn. But what I’ve actually learned after five years at MJN is never to side against Douglas on Birling Day.
DOUGLAS: So I’m rather afraid, Carolyn, that while you may have stolen the Talisker, you didn’t steal ... oh, could you pass me the operations manual, Martin?
MARTIN: Certainly, Douglas.
(Sound of the manual being moved, followed by a clink of another bottle.)
DOUGLAS: ... the Talisker-Talisker.