Mortimer & Mears #4: The New Designer Woman

Dick: Good reading, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the mag. Have we got a show for you this issue. There’s…..ermmmmm? And……?

{To Sarah}: Have we got a show for them this issue?

Sarah: I don’t know. I thought you had the script.

Dick: I haven’t got it. Well, we can’t do anything without a script, so after 3:


Both: Editor!!!

Editor: You screamed?

Dick: He gets worse! He’s given himself an even fancier box now.

Editor: It was the new designer’s idea, nothing to do with me.

Sarah: You mean….

Editor: Yes, I’ve been framed!

Dick {To Sarah}: No need to ask where our script’s got to. {To the editor}:

You… you… thief you!

Editor: I haven’t got your script. Fact is, there isn’t one yet.

Dick: We are professional entertainers, we can’t perform without a script.

Editor: Clive James does.

Sarah: Who?

Dick: Ignore him, he’s just trying to sidetrack us. Where’s our script?

Editor: I’ve just told you, there isn’t one. The author’s suffering a crisis of creativity, he’s sitting at his typewriter, staring at a blank sheet of paper still. You’ll just have to ad lib.

Dick: Ad lib? This isn’t “Whose line is it anyway?”.

Sarah: I don’t know. You’re about the size of Mike McShane.

Dick: But you’re no Josie Lawrence. We just can’t do it.

Editor: What if I gave you a couple of items and you made a comedy sketch out of them? Here, have this banana and these two peaches.

Sarah: You’ll get us banned.

Editor: You could always gibber on meaninglessly for the next one or two pages, interspersed with the odd sexist, sizist comment, and end with a cheap double entendre and the first line of Morecambe & Wise’s greatest hit, “Bring me sunshine”.

Dick: We couldn’t do that!

Editor: Why not? You usually do.

Dick: I tell you, he’s nicked our script.

Both: We demand to see the author! Author! Author!

Author:  You chanted?

Sarah: What kind of typeface does he call that?

Author:  "Avante Garde".  The new designer's idea.  
Very appropriate for an artist like me, I thought.

Dick: He’s worse than the editor! But onward!! What’s happened to our script?

Author:  I don't know.  I gave it to the editor weeks ago.

Dick: I knew it! The thief! Well, what’s the meaning of all this then?

Editor: Errr……I’m the editor, I edited it.

Author:  Edited it?!  Edited it!!  The room's spinning....

Editor: I can’t help that, it was an awful script, full of secondhand jokes, cheap laughs, and satirical digs at Bent’….

Dick: Say no more!

Dick: Anyways, that’s as maybe, but I demand you give it to us.

{Dick thrusts out his hand to receive it, in a forceful manner.}

Editor: Okay, okay.

{He reaches down the front of his trousers and takes out the script.

It’s rolled up and limp looking.}

Sarah: Oh. And I thought he was pleased to see me.

Dick: {Rapidly withdrawing his hand in horror}: Sarah, get the script! {She does} Now read it to me.

Sarah: Oh, I see I got to speak first.

Dick: That’d have to go.

Sarah: Followed by you making a libellous slur about my mother, a camel, a cucumber, and the band of the Black Watch; going into a blasphemous sketch about the Virgin Mary and the three wise men; all rounded off by an obscene version of “Ding Dong Merrily On High”!

Dick: Nowt to edit there then. Let’s have a look.

{Dick scans the script, a slight smile forming on his face.}

Ah! I see! He’s not in it! The editor’s not in it.

Editor: That’s nothing to do with it.

Sarah: But why? He’s been in every one since we first started.

Author:  He refuses to pay me.

Dick: When did he wake up?

Author:  You don't know what it's like
to be a writer.  There's no double act
for me, writing is a one man job.  Just
me, a room, a soulless lump of type-
writer, and a piece of blank paper
staring back at me, mocking me,
defying me to defile it with words;
words that have to be ripped from my
innermost recesses, pulled and
wrenched out with all my strength,
until I'm left impotent, bleeding from
my very soul

Dick: I thought he nicked all his stuff from the worst of Morecambe & Wise.

Author:  What do you know about it?  You two 
dimensional characterisation of a jester -- a pale 
shade of such Greats as Eric Morecambe, Tony Hancock, 
and the one and only Grocho Marx.

Dick: That’d be fighting talk if I knew what he was on about.

Sarah {To the author}: Anyhow, it’s nothing personal, he doesn’t pay anybody.

He pays me!

Dick: Who said that?

{Enter a woman with long chesnut hair,
brown eyes, and a voluptuous figure.}

I did! I’m the new designer.

Sarah: It’s a woman!

Dick: A gorgeous woman!

Editor: We try not to be sexist.

Author:  Never mind all that.  {To designer}:  He pays you?

Editor: Not with money.

Dick: You dirty little devil!!!

Editor: She wants to be a journalist, I give her advice.

Yes, he’s been showing me how to take things down
when I interview people.

Dick: Would you like to interview me?

Author:  This just makes it worse.  She'd have nothing to design 
if it wasn't for me,  and without my words you two would 
get no laughs.

Editor: They never do.

Dick: Right! We don’t have to take this, we’re stars! Sarah, come with me and you, designer woman, whatever your name is….


….Molly, you bring that banana and them there peaches.

Author:  What on earth are you going to do with them?

Dick: Improvise!

Bring us sunshine…..


Copyright John Steele, 1991, 1999, 2011
I think from this episode on, I have to take all the writing blame myself. And this was the first one in which I started to use fonts to differentiate the various characters to make it easier to see at a glance who was speaking (and because I figured if I was writing for radio I’d use sound effects, so why not make use of visual cues when writing for print media). Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to recreate the original fonts above.

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