A few years back I sent off the following sketch. I found it along with a lot of unfinished bits hiding away inside an Echo & the Bunnymen CD case. It concerns the gentle confrontation between two people with very differing views on the monarchy who briefly meet during a Royal visit. Arnold is a proud old soldier waiting to see the Queen drive past, while Jez is a scruffy, disinterested press photographer sent to take pictures.
Scene: An immaculate old soldier (Arnold) is stood by a roadside. He is joined by a scruffy press photographer called Jez.
FX: Crowd noise, people cheering.
JEZ: Oy, oy mate. Still no sign of her then?
ARNOLD: You mean Her Majesty the Queen?
JEZ: Yeah, if you like. She knows how to keep a bloke waiting, don’t she? I’m parked on double yellows and I’m dying for a Jimmy….
ARNOLD: I’m sure she’d be flattered at your sense of duty.
JEZ: You’re not kidding. I’ve gotta fill eight pages with pics. The boss wants some huge pull-out in tomorrow’s paper. Says they’ll sell like hot cakes. All she’s doing is shaking the mitts of a few council toffs and opening some hospital ward. Only the coffin dodgers are interested in stuff like that (PAUSE) No offence, pal.
ARNOLD: It sounds like the children are having a good time.
JEZ: Morning off school, isn’t it? You’d have been cheering too. Trust me, Ive been down the line and it’s purple rinses all the way. You can’t move for flasks of soup and tartan travel rugs.
ARNOLD: I see you printed a Union Jack in yesterday’s paper.
JEZ: That was the editor’s idea. ‘Pull It Out And Wave It Around’ – he printed that across the top. Trying pulling it out and waving it around in front of Her Majesty and they can probably still hang you for it.
ARNOLD: Or deport you to Australia.
JEZ: I wouldn’t argue with that. A long weekend in Bournemouth’s all I’ve managed this year.
ARNOLD: You do realise the Union Flag was printed upside down?
JEZ: Doesn’t surprise me. Still, it’s not the end of the world is it? You can always turn it round.
ARNOLD: If you hadn’t printed a picture of Her Majesty in the middle. We’re in Newport Pagnell not Alice Springs. The Queen isn’t meant to be upside down.
JEZ: No, you’re right. And Phil’s here, isn’t he?
ARNOLD: (sighs) The Duke of Edinburgh’s here, yes.
JEZ: Yeah, he’s going to have the right hump with that.
ARNOLD: I can see movement. Here we go.
JEZ: At long last. (he makes a hawking noise and spits)
ARNOLD: What are you doing?
JEZ: Giving me shoes the once over, making sure I’m presentable.
ARNOLD: It’s a bit late for that, now, isn’t it? Like putting a bowler hat on a scarecrow.
JEZ: Oy, this shirt was ironed.
ARNOLD: Yes, I suppose it was at some point.
JEZ: I’m not criticising your appearance am I?
JEZ: Well the glare off your boots is playing havoc with my lens. And you’re putting me off.
ARNOLD: Hello, here we go.
FX: A crowd cheers and we hear a car zoom past.
JEZ: Well that’s great, isn’t it? Five shots of the Queen’s hand poking out the window. That’s not going to fill eight pages is it? I hope Stan got something good at the opening or we’re right in it. (PAUSE) You off then?
ARNOLD: Yes. That’s my excitement over, young man. I suppose you do this kind of thing all the time.
JEZ: Yeah, I could get quite used to snapping Royalty. It’s the Prince tomorrow.
ARNOLD: Charles? Er, I mean the Prince of Wales. Where? Here?
JEZ: Nah, it’s Bobby Davro. And he’s playing Prince Charming not the Prince of Wales. It’s the panto launch at the town hall.