Script by John Finnemore
Transcript by Ariane DeVere
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MARTIN (smoothly, over cabin address): Good afternoon. This is your captain speaking. Just to say, there is absolutely nothing to worry about.
MARTIN (calmly): Hello. Captain Crieff here again. Still no need to panic. I repeat: there is no need to panic. Or to look out of the windows. Everything’s fine.
MARTIN (a little more urgently): Actually, I wasn’t being entirely straight with you just now. You see, it’s this damnable sleeping sickness of mine. (He yawns.) Normally, I control it with a mysterious stimulant from South America ... (his voice becomes even more urgent) ... but, blast it, my supply’s run out! I’m afraid our only hope now is if, by some chance, someone on board knows how to prepare this stimulant and could ...
CAROLYN (from the cabin): Yes, we get the message. Arthur, take Martin his coffee.
This week, Douz!
(Sound of mugs clinking down.)
ARTHUR: Here you are, Skipper. Wow! Is that the Sahara?
DOUGLAS: The vast sandy thing on the ground? That’s the chap, yes.
ARTHUR: Wow. It’s brilliant!
DOUGLAS: Always at hand with the mot juste, aren’t you, Arthur? Yes, the Sahara Desert is brilliant, just as the Niagara Falls were brilliant; the Northern Lights were brilliant; and that chap from Ryanair burping the theme to The Muppets was really brilliant.
ARTHUR: Come on, that was brilliant! Wow! Camels!
DOUGLAS: And how would you describe them, in a word?
DOUGLAS: Thought so.
ARTHUR: What are they all doing there?
DOUGLAS: Filling up. Douz is the last town in Tunisia before the desert. It’s like a big camel petrol station.
MARTIN: Huh! What would you know about petrol stations?
DOUGLAS: I’ve ... seen them. I drive past them. Sometimes I stop for a Kit Kat.
ARTHUR: What, doesn’t-doesn’t your car need petrol, Douglas?
MARTIN (cynically): No, Douglas’ car does not need petrol.
ARTHUR: Wow! Well, maybe I should get one ...
DOUGLAS: Yes, Arthur. You keep lumbering on after the uptake. It’s sure to tire eventually. What Martin’s getting at – and this isn’t for your mother’s ears – is, you know how we have to run off a couple of litres of fuel before every trip to check for water droplets?
DOUGLAS: Well, there’s nothing in the book to say where you have to run it off to.
MARTIN (stroppily): I think there’s a general understanding that they didn’t mean ‘into the tank of the First Officer’s Lexus.’
DOUGLAS: Then they should have said so! I’m not a mind-reader.
ARTHUR: What, you can run a car on aviation fuel?
DOUGLAS: Oh, yes! It’s a bit like giving a bunny rabbit cheetah food, but it doesn’t half make it go – as, I imagine, it would do the bunny rabbit.
DOUZ AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL (over radio): Golf Tango India, good evening. You’re clear to land at your discretion on two-seven. Wind is two hundred at twenty-five.
DOUGLAS (into radio): Roger.
DOUGLAS: Ooh, breezy!
MARTIN: Are you still happy to take the landing or shall I?
DOUGLAS: Oh, I suspect I’ll muddle through, Martin. I was doing my log book the other day and I noticed that this happens to be my two thousandth landing.
ARTHUR: Oh, wow! Is that true? That’s amazing!
DOUGLAS: Oh. Not ‘brilliant’? I’m crushed.
MARTIN: No, it’s not true, Arthur. It’s just another transparent attempt to remind me what a mighty Sky God he is.
DOUGLAS: Of course it’s true! Why would you doubt it?
MARTIN (laughing): Well, my suspicions were first aroused by the use of the phrase, ‘I was doing my log book.’ The last time you did your log book, you could have had it signed off by Douglas Bader.
DOUGLAS: Don’t listen to him, Arthur. Two thousand landings precisely.
ARTHUR: Wow. And how many take-offs?
DOUGLAS: Oh, nothing like as many.
MARTIN: Mmm, because of course take-offs are cancelled all the time; landings almost never.
DOUGLAS: That’s right.
ARTHUR: Oh yes. Of course.
MARTIN: Oh, hang on. We’ve lost one of the hydro systems.
DOUGLAS: Mmm, possibly. The thing about GERTI, though, bless her, is she is rather the aeroplane who cries wolf. I particularly enjoyed her last Ground Proximity warning – the one when we were on the ground.
MARTIN (flicking switches): Contents have fallen to zero. Stand-by pump to On; check pressure ... pressure’s falling. No, we really have lost number one hydraulic system.
DOUGLAS (mock-excitedly): Ooh, what fun!
MARTIN (anxiously): Right, er, right, right. Um, number one hydraulic system lost. Err ... no special procedures. Er, note lack of rudder will reduce max crosswind limit to twenty-five knots.
DOUGLAS: Won’t it just?! Arthur, break the emergency glass. I require my Biggles hat.
MARTIN: Douglas, this is serious!
DOUGLAS (calmly, into radio): Douz Tower, this is Golf Tango India. We’ve lost our number one hydraulic system. No operational effects. We continue to make our approach.
DOUZ ATC (over radio): Roger that, Golf Tango India. We’ll have the fire truck on standby.
DOUGLAS: You’re quite the little ray of sunshine, aren’t you, Tower?
(Radio off. Bing-bong.)
DOUGLAS (over cabin address): Hello, Carolyn. This is the pointy end. Just to let you know I’ll be landing today without number one hydro.
CAROLYN (calling from the cabin): What?! Why?
DOUGLAS: Oh, I dunno. Just to see if I can. All right, everyone, hang on. We’re going in.
MARTIN: I have control.
MARTIN: I have control! I have control! Control, I have it!
DOUGLAS: Martin, you gave me this sector, and I’m well within my limit.
MARTIN: I know, I know. I’m sorry, but we can’t be too careful.
DOUGLAS: Too careful?!
MARTIN: I have control.
DOUGLAS: How d’you mean, ‘too careful’?
MARTIN (firmly): Douglas. I have control.
DOUGLAS (quietly, unhappily): You have control.
(Sound of GERTI’s engines powering down. Flicking of switches.)
MARTIN (sighing with relief): And shut-down checks complete.
(He sighs again.)
DOUGLAS (honestly, but still clearly unhappy): Well done, Captain.
(Flight deck door opens.)
CAROLYN (a little breathlessly): Good lord, Douglas. You made a right old meal of that, didn’t you?
DOUGLAS: Not really.
CAROLYN: What? You did two go-arounds, then you finally slammed it onto the ground like you were trying to wipe out the dinosaurs.
DOUGLAS: Oh, I’m not denying a right old meal was made of it, but I was not the chef du jour. Captain Crieff kindly took control.
CAROLYN: What?! Martin landed it?! With a hydro failure in a crosswind?! Martin, you get flustered trying to parallel park! Why on earth would you take control?
MARTIN: I am the senior pilot on board, Carolyn.
CAROLYN: Yes. But Douglas is the better pilot on board. You do see how ‘better’ trumps ‘senior,’ don’t you?
MARTIN: And, for your information, a firm landing is generally the safest.
CAROLYN: If that landing had been any safer, it would have killed us.
DOUGLAS: You know what they say: a good landing’s any landing you can walk away from. A great landing is one where they can re-use the plane.
ARTHUR: Mum, I was just taking a look outside, and, um – the company who’s sub-contracted to us: are they called Panda Charters?
CAROLYN: Yes. Why?
ARTHUR: And they’re hiring us because they had a tech failure?
CAROLYN: Yes. Why?
ARTHUR: Look over there. It looks like quite a big tech failure.
CAROLYN: Good lord.
DOUGLAS: That is a very broken plane.
ARTHUR: Do they have hyenas in the Sahara?
MARTIN: Not big enough to attack 737s, but I take your point.
CAROLYN: Well, let’s turn this round as quickly as possible. I’ll be back in an hour, and watch out for anyone trying to steal our engines.
DOUGLAS: Have no fear – Martin will be in control throughout.
(The cabin door is opened. Carolyn blows out a startled breath.)
ARTHUR: You all right, Mum?
CAROLYN: Gosh, it’s hot!
DOUGLAS: Ah! Sahara not only brilliant, but hot! I see where Arthur gets his way with words.
MARTIN: So they’re officially the national cricket team?
DOUGLAS: Apparently – of Scotland.
MARTIN: I didn’t think Scots played cricket.
DOUGLAS: It seems at least eleven of them do.
MARTIN: And the Scotland/Tunisia cricket match – is that a regular thing?
DOUGLAS: A hotly-contested Hiberno-African derby, I’ve no doubt.
(A camera bleeps and clicks.)
MARTIN: What are you doing now, Arthur?
ARTHUR: Oh, nothing. You two carry on. Act natural.
DOUGLAS: Why are you taking our pictures?
ARTHUR: Mum’s reprinting our company brochure, and she said I could have a go at taking a picture for the cover.
DOUGLAS: Oh dear. Does that mean we’re losing the current one?
MARTIN: The one with Carolyn strangling a customer?
DOUGLAS: I always thought that summed up MJN Air rather well.
CAROLYN: She’s adjusting his pillow! ... But, yeah, it does look a bit strangle-y.
(Knock on flight deck door.)
HABIB (male, Tunisian accent): Hello, Captain. Er, compliments of the airfield manager, and would you please be able to settle the bill?
MARTIN: Yeah, actually, I’m the captain. Hello! The one in the captain’s seat wearing the captain’s hat?
HABIB: Sorry, Captain. Er, compliments of the ...
MARTIN: Yes, all right. Give it here.
(Rustle of paper.)
MARTIN: Yes, fine, fine ... What’s this?
HABIB: Um, fire truck.
MARTIN: Yes, I can read what it says. What does it mean?
(The camera bleeps and clicks.)
DOUGLAS: Really, Arthur? The front page of MJN’s brochure: our gallant captain quibbles over a bill?
MARTIN: I’m not quibbling, Douglas. It says three hundred dollars here, for a fire truck!
HABIB: I don’t know. It’s not usual.
DOUGLAS: Oh really? (More quietly) You know, Martin, these little airfields do rather try things on sometimes if they suspect you’re not ...
(He trails off.)
MARTIN: What? Not what?
DOUGLAS: Oh, nothing.
HABIB: Would you like to speak to the airfield manager, sir?
MARTIN: Yes. Yes, I would. I’ll show him whether or not I’m ... that.
(Knock on a door, which is then opened.)
JUTTEAU (male, French accent): Entrez? Ah, you have.
MARTIN: Hello. Are you the airfield manager?
JUTTEAU: I am, yes. Yves Jutteau at your service. You must be the captain.
MARTIN (automatically): No! Actually, I’m the ... Oh. Yes. Martin Crieff.
JUTTEAU: I am delighted to meet you.
MARTIN: Are you French?
JUTTEAU: Ah! My cover is blown(!) Originally, yes. You’re not the only ones who used to have an Empire, huh?! Now, will you take café?
MARTIN: No, I don’t want coffee.
JUTTEAU: Oh. Then café you shall not have. So, how can I help you?
MARTIN: It’s this bill.
(Rustle of the paper.)
MARTIN: Well, firstly, you’re charging us for three hours on stand. We’ve only been here, what, one hour fifty-four?
JUTTEAU: I regret we charge per hour, or per part of per hour.
MARTIN: That’s still only two hours.
JUTTEAU: You are expecting to leave within the next six minutes? You ’ad better – if I may attempt an idiom – get your skates on! (He chuckles.) But yes, by all means, between friends, let us call it two.
MARTIN: Thank you. Now, this weather report: eighty dollars?
MARTIN: It’s a very glossy folder ...
JUTTEAU: Thank you.
MARTIN: ... containing one sheet of A4 printed off from Google Weather Maps.
JUTTEAU: You would prefer two sheets?
MARTIN: ... which says it’s going to be hot!
JUTTEAU: It is going to be hot.
MARTIN: D’you really think that’s information worth eighty dollars?
JUTTEAU: Without it, you cannot take off, so ... (he pauses dramatically) ... I would say so. Anything else?
MARTIN: Yes, actually. “Fire truck.”
MARTIN: Wha-what d’you mean, “Fire truck”?
JUTTEAU: I can find no words that describe a fire truck better than “fire truck.”
MARTIN: But why are we paying for it?
JUTTEAU: Because you called it up. You radioed you were landing with a hydraulics failure. We mobilised the fire truck.
MARTIN: We don’t pay for that!
JUTTEAU: Then who pays for that?
MARTIN: Nobody pays for that! It just happens.
JUTTEAU: I don’t know what your fire trucks do, Captain, but our fire trucks do not just ’appen.
MARTIN: Oh, I suppose you think I’ll believe anything, do you?
JUTTEAU: I’m sure you will believe almost nothing. However, if you pass me the bill, I will send you an amended one.
MARTIN: You’re taking off the fire truck?
JUTTEAU: No, I’m taking off the third hour. The fire truck remains.
MARTIN: ... Right. Well, I’ve made my point anyway.
JUTTEAU: You’ve made it; I ’ave disagreed with it; I’m going to do nothing about it.
(Raucous singing in strong Scots accents.)
SINGERS: ♪ Oh, Campbeltown Loch, I wish ye were whisky,
Campbeltown Loch, och aye!
Oh, Campbeltown Loch, I wish ye were whisky.
I would drink ye dry! ♪
CAROLYN (calling out over the racket): Gentlemen! Gentlemen!
(The singing stops and the men chatter and laugh amongst themselves.)
CAROLYN: I don’t mind the singing, but if you could possibly all keep to the inside of the minibus, that would be super!
LACHLAN: On yer bike, hen!
CAROLYN: Thank you! They’re a very spirited bunch, aren’t they? I was expecting the Scottish cricket team to have a certain dour quality.
CAPTAIN JESSOP (male, English accent): Well, you can’t blame them. They’re just delighted to be getting home. We all are. Really, on behalf of my crew, I can’t thank you enough. We are so, so grateful.
CAROLYN: Oh! (She laughs.) Thank you! But really, really, there’s no need.
JESSOP: Oh, but there is! I mean, we can’t get over it. It’s so public-spirited of you; so generous.
(The minibus’ tyres screech as Carolyn slams on the brakes.)
CAROLYN (suspiciously): What? How d’you mean, “generous”? What’s “generous”?
JESSOP: Well, to come and rescue us like this.
CAROLYN: Well, it’s my job, isn’t it? I mean, I’m getting paid.
JESSOP: Oh really? Who by?
CAROLYN: What? By your firm – Panda Charters.
JESSOP: Er, no. I don’t think so. I mean, they went bust, you know. You did know that, didn’t you?
CAROLYN: No. I did not. They omitted to mention it.
JESSOP: Well, that’s why we’re here. Er, the airport manager wouldn’t let us leave without paying our bill. Um, oh, incidentally, don’t cross him, whatever you do. He’s a right bastard.
(Flight deck door opens. Martin sighs.)
DOUGLAS: Ah, Martin. How did you get on?
MARTIN: Oh yes, pretty well. They’re just sending out the new amended lower bill now.
DOUGLAS: Gosh! Well done.
MARTIN: Oh, it’s nothing really – just a matter of showing them who’s in control. He’s a nice enough fellow. Really he’s just one of those little men who’ve got a little job and so have to spend the whole time proving they’re just as good as anyone else. You know the type.
DOUGLAS: It rings a faint bell.
(Flight deck door opens again.)
CAROLYN (furiously): Right, come on then. Let’s get out of this hellhole.
(The camera bleeps and clicks.)
CAROLYN (yelling angrily): Arthur, will you put that damned thing away before I make you eat it!
ARTHUR: Sorry, Mum.
DOUGLAS: Everything tickety-boo, Carolyn?
CAROLYN (more quietly, but still angrily): No. It’s not. We’re doing this whole damned trip for free. Panda Charters went bust. That’s why their plane looks like that. The airfield manager stripped it of parts in lieu of payment.
DOUGLAS: Goodness. That’s hardcore.
(Flight deck door opens again.)
HABIB: Excuse me. Monsieur Jutteau’s compliments and the revised bill.
MARTIN: Right. (He takes the bill.) Ah-ha! Two hours! See – not so hardcore as all that. Not when stood up to.
DOUGLAS: And the fire truck?
MARTIN (hastily): Doesn’t matter about the fire truck.
CAROLYN: What about a fire truck?
MARTIN: Nothing! It doesn’t matter. Right – do you have a card reader or ...
DOUGLAS (taking the bill): Er, what’s this? “Safety infringement penalty – six hundred dollars”?
HABIB: Yes. Er, the manager anticipated you might like to talk to him about that. He is on the radio.
MARTIN: “Safety infringement”? What safety infringement?
JUTTEAU (over radio): Ah. Good afternoon, Captain Crieff. I hope you are enjoying your free hour.
MARTIN: Never mind about that. What’s this about a safety infringement?
JUTTEAU: Sadly there was a small one.
MARTIN: What? It wasn’t there on the last bill.
JUTTEAU: Indeed not. But when you did me the honour of visiting my office to complain about the last bill, you crossed the apron, did you not?
JUTTEAU: And were you wearing the regulation yellow reflective safety vest?
MARTIN: I ...
MARTIN: But it’s a deserted airfield, in the middle of the day, in the Tunisian sunshine!
JUTTEAU: Nevertheless, it is wise to be in good habits.
MARTIN: Well, we’re not paying for it.
JUTTEAU: Ah. Then we have a problem.
MARTIN: Yes we do.
CAROLYN: No we don’t.
MARTIN: Carolyn! I’m dealing with this. It’s under control.
CAROLYN: Shut up, Martin. We’re already thousands of pounds down on this trip. All I want to do is get home. (Into radio, in a pleasant voice) Monsieur Jutteau, hello. So sorry about the misunderstanding. Yes, of course we’ll pay the bill.
JUTTEAU: Well, if you’ll just give your credit card to Habib there.
MARTIN (as the card reader beeps): Well, well done, Monsieur. It’s a good week for you, isn’t it? Bankrupted these guys, fleeced us. I hope you feel really big now.
JUTTEAU: “These guys”? The gentlemen from Panda Charter? They are with you?
MARTIN: Yes they are, poor sods, because you wrecked their business and pulled their plane to shreds ...
CAROLYN (interrupting): Martin, that is enough.
MARTIN: Hello! Are you listening to me?
JUTTEAU: I am sorry. I was just, er ... arranging something.
CAROLYN: Hello? The payment’s gone through.
JUTTEAU: Ah, excellent. Thank you. Regrettably, though, as you are carrying Panda Charters’ crew and passengers, I must hold you responsible for their debts. I’m afraid you may not leave until they are paid off.
MARTIN: Ah, now, come on.
CAROLYN: How much?
JUTTEAU: Twelve thousand, three hundred and six dollars. But let us call it twelve thousand.
MARTIN: Yes, well, nice try, but that’s entirely illegal.
JUTTEAU: That’s debateable.
MARTIN (hurriedly): Unfortunately we don’t have time to debate it. Must be off now. See you in court – maybe.
JUTTEAU: Of course, what is not debateable is whether it is illegal or not to take off without clearance from Air Traffic Control. It definitely is.
MARTIN: Who’s gonna stop us?
JUTTEAU: No-one is going to stop you, but when you get ’ome, your national authorities – whom I would notify – would immediately suspend your operator’s licence.
(Sound of vehicles pulling up outside the plane.)
JUTTEAU: Also, I was playing for time. I am going to stop you, by parking the fire truck across your nose – although, on the up side, this time I will not charge you for mobilising it!
(Flight deck door opens.)
ARTHUR: Chaps, I was just taking a look outside and ...
CAROLYN and DOUGLAS and MARTIN (simultaneously): Yes, we know.
(Angry murmuring from the passengers in the cabin.)
LACHLAN (clicking his fingers at Arthur): Hey. Hey, pal.
ARTHUR: Er, yes, sir? How can myself be of assistance to yourself?
LACHLAN: Er, when are we getting this thing moving?
ARTHUR: Ah. I do regret to inform yourselves that the delay that’s going on currently is still currently on-going. Er, but we will keep you fully informed as to the developments of any developments as they develop.
JESSOP: Well, how about breaking out the drinks trolley?
LACHLAN: Aye, nice one!
ARTHUR: Unfortunately, no drinks service is scheduled at this time due to technical difficulties. We do apologise for any inconvenience.
(Cries of protest and booing.)
LACHLAN: What technical difficulties stop you giving out drinks?
ARTHUR: ... Mum’s locked the cupboard.
(Flight deck door opens.)
CAROLYN: All right. I’ve had a look. As well as the fire truck, he’s put a tractor behind us, and a baggage truck on each side.
DOUGLAS: Okay, so we can’t go backwards or sideways.
MARTIN: Explain to me how we were planning to go sideways.
DOUGLAS: All right, then, Captain, I’ll just sit back and watch you masterfully sort it out, shall I?
CAROLYN: I don’t have time for your stupid squabbles. This is serious.
MARTIN: Yes. Yes, you’re right. We can find a way out of this. The most important thing is to keep cool.
(Sound of fans slowing down and stopping.)
MARTIN: What was that?
DOUGLAS: That was the air conditioning dying, Captain. But carry on – you were just telling us about the most important thing.
MARTIN: But why? Why? I mean ... why? Why?
DOUGLAS: Four excellent questions. And the answer to all four is: because we’ve run out of fuel.
MARTIN: What? We can’t have done. I mean, we’ve just refuelled.
(Knocking on the flight deck door.)
LACHLAN (through the closed door): Hey! What’s happened to the air conditioning?
CAROLYN: Monsieur Jutteau?
JUTTEAU (over radio): Good afternoon.
CAROLYN: We seem to find ourselves a little light on fuel. You wouldn’t know anything about that, would you?
JUTTEAU: Yes. We have retrieved our fuel from your aircraft, in lieu of payment.
CAROLYN: Monsieur. Without fuel, our air conditioning unit will not work.
JUTTEAU: Oh, dear me. What an unintended consequence(!) May I suggest, then, that you work fast to resolve the situation? The temperature is currently thirty-five degrees – that’s in the shade, not in a metal tube in direct sunlight.
MARTIN: All right. All right. Carolyn, I’ve been looking at the chart. There’s an air strip at Kebili, only about twenty miles away. If we could just get as far as there, we could refuel properly.
CAROLYN: Well, that’s great(!) Problem solved. All we need now is enough fuel to get there, our enemy to give us take-off clearance, and for that fire truck to disappear.
(Shouting from the cabin. Flight deck door opens, and the sound of bottles being thrown.)
ARTHUR: Yeah, yeah, I’ll tell them, okay...
(Another bottle is flung.)
ARTHUR: Ow! Um, the passengers have a few requests.
ARTHUR: Um, well, more beer. They were very clear about that. Look. To make sure I remembered they wrote it on ... me.
MARTIN: Oh yes, so they did.
ARTHUR: Yeah. So: beer, definitely; um, water, some of them are keen on; uh, and ... an umpire.
MARTIN: An umpire?
MARTIN: Why do they need an um...
(Sound of a ball thwacking against the wall. Cheers.)
VOICE: Oh, that’s a six!
ARTHUR: Ah. They’ve started without.
CAROLYN: All right ...
(She opens the flight deck door.)
ARTHUR: Mum! Mum! You can’t go in there.
CAROLYN: Why not?
ARTHUR: They’re ... they’re in their swimming trunks.
CAROLYN: In their swimming trunks?!
ARTHUR: Yes. It’s got really hot in there ... and in here. I mean, it’s just hot generally. I think it’s because we’re so near the Sahara Desert.
CAROLYN: Yes, all right. Very well. Martin, you and Doug... Where is Douglas, anyway?
(In the cabin, a ball smashes some glasses.)
DOUGLAS (from the cabin): Howzat?!
(Applause from some of the passengers.)
CAROLYN (over cabin address): Douglas, I wish to have a little word – under the wing. (Sternly) Now.
(Outside the plane.)
DOUGLAS: Carolyn. What can I do for you?
CAROLYN: What are we going to do?
DOUGLAS: I don’t know. What are we going to do?
CAROLYN: No, seriously. What are we going to do?
DOUGLAS: I really don’t know.
CAROLYN: Of course you know.
DOUGLAS: You’ve slightly lost me.
CAROLYN: You always know. You’ve always got some sort of trick, or loophole, or you know someone who knows something. What is it this time?
DOUGLAS: No, really, this time I’m stumped. But don’t you worry: Martin’s in control. I have no doubt he’ll come up with something.
CAROLYN: I thought so. This is all because Martin took the landing off you, isn’t it? So now you’re not going to help.
DOUGLAS: Martin needs no help from the humble likes of I. Martin is ...
CAROLYN: Oh, stop it. Just stop it, will you? I need you to get us out of this. This is serious.
DOUGLAS: No it isn’t! As it happens, I don’t even have the answer. I mean, the fire truck’s easy enough, but not the rest of it. But in any case, we both know that if you really want to get away, you can.
DOUGLAS: By swallowing your pride and paying the man.
CAROLYN: What with?!
DOUGLAS: With a little tiny bit of all your money.
CAROLYN: I don’t have any money.
DOUGLAS: Oh, don’t be ridiculous. I’ve seen your house; I’ve seen your car. I am currently standing underneath your aeroplane.
CAROLYN: I had money. Eight years ago I had money after the divorce – more money than I knew what to do with – and, as you say, an aeroplane – more aeroplane than I knew what to do with. But then I started to run an air charter business. Now I have three mortgages on the house. I have to keep the car because I have to have something smart to pick clients up in, and I have to keep the plane because ... well, the minimum number of planes for a viable airline is one. But I don’t have any money. Why do you think I’m always going on at you two for how much you spend? D’you think I enjoy it?
DOUGLAS: Well ... yes.
CAROLYN: Yes, well, all right, I do a bit. But also, literally every trip we do has the potential to bankrupt the company – and this one could bankrupt me.
DOUGLAS: Gosh. I had no idea.
CAROLYN: No. Well.
DOUGLAS: But, if you’ve been losing all this money, why have you kept on doing it all these years?
CAROLYN: Because I am the Chief Executive Officer of MJN Air. It’s a good thing to be. It’s better than ... (she sighs) ... a little old lady.
DOUGLAS: I see.
CAROLYN: So, will you please return to the aircraft, put on the rest of your clothes, sit down nicely with Martin, and think of something?
DOUGLAS: Right you are.
CAROLYN: Ooh, and Douglas. Your solution to the fire truck: you’re not thinking ‘set fire to the manager’s office so it has to move,’ are you?
DOUGLAS: I wasn’t, no, but I am now! Are you up for that?
MARTIN: Douglas, that’s-that’s a terrific idea. Will it work?
DOUGLAS: It worked when old G.W. and I did it with that snowplough in Vancouver; but I don’t really see how it helps us, I’m afraid. We still won’t have any fuel, and we still won’t have clearance to take off.
(Martin sighs in exasperation.)
ARTHUR: Could we go and get fuel in jerry cans and bring it back here?
DOUGLAS: If we had about eight years, yes.
ARTHUR: We can’t steal back the fuel he took off us?
DOUGLAS: I’m sure he’s locked it away somewhere.
MARTIN: Besides, it no longer meets the quality criteria.
DOUGLAS: Martin, that really doesn’t matter. I think we can give ourselves a licence to bend the rules just a tiny bit in this situation.
MARTIN (laughing sarcastically): Like you need an excuse – the man who hasn’t bought a gallon of petrol since ... Oh.
MARTIN: Well, just a thought: if you can feed a rabbit on a tiny bit of cheetah food, can you feed a cheetah on lots of rabbit food?
DOUGLAS: Oh! You mean ...
MARTIN: What do you think?
DOUGLAS: Yes! I like it!
ARTHUR (in a secretive plotting voice): Yeah. That might just work.
MARTIN: What might?
ARTHUR (in the same voice): I don’t know. I just like talking like this.
DOUGLAS: It’s a great idea, Martin, but it’ll only give us a couple of dozen litres at most. We couldn’t even fly the twenty miles to Kebili on that, even if we had clearance.
ARTHUR: ... Could we just drive there?
ARTHUR: Sorry, Skipper.
MARTIN: Sorry, Arthur – I know you’re trying to help but no, we can’t just taxi our plane out onto the main road and drive it twenty miles to Kebili.
DOUGLAS: Why can’t we?
DOUGLAS: The deserted main road, straight road, through the desert.
MARTIN: No we couldn’t ... Could we?
DOUGLAS: Arthur! Do you know what you are, in a word?
ARTHUR (sighing, in a resigned voice): Yeah.
(Cabin door opens. The passengers cheer.)
DOUGLAS: All right, boys. Martin and I have done the sneaky bit, and I don’t think anyone saw. Now, the less sneaky bit, which people will see. So it’s all about speed. We get out, we do it, we get back in, understand?
(The passengers respond with a mixture of “Yes” and “Aye.”)
DOUGLAS: Are you ready?
DOUGLAS: Then onwards! For England, Harry and St. George!
DOUGLAS: Sorry, sorry, sorry. For Scotland, cricket and St. ... Wisden!
(Outside. Footsteps come to a halt.)
DOUGLAS: Places, places! Okay, remember, bend from the knees, not from the back. And three, two, one, lift!
(Grunting and cries of effort from everyone. A vehicle creaks.)
DOUGLAS: Yes, it’s coming! It’s coming! Yes! And ... carry ... carry ...
(More groans and grunting.)
DOUGLAS: Bit more, nearly there, nearly there! And drop!
(The team grunt as they drop the vehicle.)
HABIB (calling out in protest from a distance): Hey! Hey!
DOUGLAS: Back on the plane! Back on the plane! Go, go, go, go!
(In the flight deck. Frantic flicking of switches.)
MARTIN (breathlessly): Engine bleeds on. Auxiliary power off.
DOUGLAS: Martin, we don’t have time for the checks.
JUTTEAU (over radio): Golf Tango India, what do you think you’re doing?
DOUGLAS: Hallo there, Douz Tower. Sorry about this. Love to stay but we’ve just remembered a pressing engagement.
JUTTEAU: You cannot take off. You are forbidden from taking off.
MARTIN: Duly noted. I’m afraid your little fire truck was slightly in our way. Hope you don’t mind us moving it.
JUTTEAU: And how far do you think you’ll get with no fuel?
CAROLYN: No fuel?
MARTIN: Whatever gave you that idea?
CAROLYN: We’ve got fuel.
MARTIN: Let’s just say, next time you want to starve an aircraft of fuel, don’t surround it with four petrol-driven vehicles.
JUTTEAU: You ... you stole the petrol from my trucks?
DOUGLAS: As the voice recorder in this flight deck will forever record for posterity, absolutely not! Wouldn’t it have been clever if we had, though?
JUTTEAU: It doesn’t matter. You do not have clearance – repeat: do not have clearance to take off!
DOUGLAS: Take off?
MARTIN: Who said anything about taking off?
CAROLYN: Wouldn’t dream of it. Against the law, you know.
DOUGLAS: Plus we’ve nothing like enough fuel to get us there – in the air.
MARTIN: On the ground, though ...
CAROLYN: ... taxiing down the long straight deserted highway to Kebili ...
DOUGLAS: ... we should be fine.
MARTIN: Right hand down a bit, Number One; and be sure to indicate when joining the road.
DOUGLAS: Right hand down a bit it is, Captain.
JUTTEAU: You can’t take that on the road! It’s ... it’s against the law.
DOUGLAS: Is it? I’m not sure it is. What do you think, Carolyn?
CAROLYN: It might be. Not very well up on the Tunisian Highway Code.
DOUGLAS: Well, I’ll tell you what, Yves, old chum, if you can get the Sahara Desert traffic police mobilised in the next forty minutes or so, I suppose we’ll find out. Bye.
MARTIN: Do they drive on the left or the right in Tunisia?
DOUGLAS: I think, when they’re driving on an empty highway through the desert in an aeroplane, they probably drive pretty much wherever the hell they like.
PASSENGERS (singing): ♪ We are the self-preservation society ... ♪
(They carry on singing, then cheer raucously.)
DOUGLAS: Two miles to go, Martin.
MARTIN: Thank you, Douglas.
DOUGLAS: D’you want me to drive for a bit, darling?
MARTIN: No thanks, dear. You know I get car-sick in the passenger seat. Are they ready for us in Kebili?
DOUGLAS: They are.
(The flight deck door bursts opens and Arthur crashes in.)
MARTIN and DOUGLAS (simultaneously, in irritation): Arthur!
ARTHUR (grinning and slightly slurring): Today has been the most fun I have ever had in my life!
DOUGLAS: Good. Arthur, is it possible you’ve had a little drink?
ARTHUR: I have had a little drink. Oh, and look: I think I’ve found the photo for the brochure.
DOUGLAS: Oh yes? Let’s see.
(Click as Arthur opens the camera screen to show them.)
DOUGLAS: Ah. Martin ...?
MARTIN: Mmm. Striking.
DOUGLAS: So, Arthur. In your quest to find the one image which perfectly sums up MJN Air and everything it stands for, you’ve elected for a shot of twelve Scottish cricketers in the Sahara Desert wearing swimsuits and carrying a fire engine.
DOUGLAS: Hmm. The awful thing is: I sort of know what you mean.