One Foot in the Grave (1990–2001): Season 6, Episode 3 - The Futility of the Fly - full transcript

Katy,the Meldrews' cleaner,is so taken with their bizarre lives that she writes a play about them,using recent events that have happened to them. Such as Victor mistakenly taking Mrs Warboys to a tattooist and not a dentist,who gives her a tattoo of her dental plate. Or the finger found in a fish and chips takeaway and how the letter Victor helped the takeaway's owner write to an agony aunt was found by Mrs Warboys,who thought Victor was in love with her. Or the giant fly delivered to the house. No wonder Katy's director finds it all so hard to believe.

# They say I might as well face the truth

# That I am just too long in the tooth?

# So I'm an CAP and weak-knead

# But I have not yet quite gone to seed

# I may be over the hill now that I have retired

# Fading away but I've not yet expired

# clapped out, run down, too old to save

# One foot in the grave #

(WATER RUNNING)

(DOORBELL RINGING)

HILTON: Oh, God almighty!



One of Jehovah's witnesses?

Don't they ever leave people alone?

Descending on your house every week
like a plague of boils.

Hilton, what are you doing?

What does it look as though I'm doing?

Castrating an elephant?

They know someone's in. Our car is outside.

MAN: Good morning... Oh, no,
you were in the bath. Oh, I do beg your pardon.

HILTON: Yes. Just getting ready
to go out, I'm afraid.

Otherwise I'd love to stay and chat,
but nice to have met you anyway. Bye.

What do they always got to be
so bloody cheerful for, is what I'd like to know.

Yes, well.

Not everyone in life's a congenital misery—guts.

It wouldn't hurt you to lighten up
once in a blue moon.



See the world
in a more optimistic light for a change.

HILTON: Oh, yes. After that hideous
performance last night, you mean?

Coming home from the fish shop
to find a severed finger in my bag of chips?

It's us, Ruthie.

In case you hadn't noticed, we've been cursed
with bad luck since the day we were born.

I'd noticed.

Okay. How can I put this, folks?

It's a little bit Brian Rix, wouldn't you say?

And let's be honest.
Any broader, you'd be performing in a circus ring.

Specifically?

Specifically, you're looking at a plot here

no audience in the West End
is ever going to buy into.

I mean, finding someone's finger
in a bag of chips?

Then you've got the scene where he hilariously
ends up in the bath with that old lady.

Listen, the biggest problem of all
is your central character.

People want someone with warmth.
Someone they can relate to.

I don't know what planet this guy is off,
but it's certainly not Earth.

Well, you say that, but here's the thing.

I've actually met this man in real life,
and I'm telling you,

everything you've just seen happened.

There is no way I could invent this kind of stuff.

At least stay and see how it plays tonight.
You can't always judge till the audience are in.

(WATER RUNNING)

(SAWING)

(DOOR CLOSING)

Another hubcap in the marigolds.

I don't know why I bother sometimes.

After three hours lugging all that other stuff
up to the tip this afternoon.

What's this?

Oh, they tried to deliver a parcel
this morning, apparently.

I don't know what that'll be.
We're not expecting anything.

Oh, these are nearly cold.

Which Chippy did you go to?

Not that one with the mad Italians, I hope,
that are always arguing with each other.

They do a nice piece of gurnet.

There were some real fun and games there
last night, if you believe everything you hear.

That chap who runs the place, Enrico,

apparently was caught by his wife
at it with her best friend.

What? You mean...

In the shop.
Behind the counter with the lights out.

Putting on what he thought was a contraceptive
turned out to be a sachet of mustard.

His wife heard the screams, ran downstairs
and tried to batter them both to death.

Of course, the batter was cold, so she went
completely doolally with the meat cleaver.

Good grief!

—Did she do any damage?
—That we don't know.

The way people were gabbing away there
19 to the dozen tonight.

I did hear the words "hacked off".

I should think she was, poor woman.

Oh, these will be fine when they're warmed up.

Mrs Warboys,

hope that's not my favourite clothes prop
you're cutting up.

What? Oh...

Margaret said I could take it back for firewood,
as you don't use it any more.

By the way, I've run a bath for you
if you want to freshen up before we eat!

Oh, yes, that'll be just the ticket.

MAN ON TV“. Having selected a mature female,

the male now waits
until she is settled in the water.

And then proceeds to attach his jelly-like
protuberances to her body.

(SCREAMING)

Well, I haven't got eyes in the back of my head,
have I?

That much is evident.

I should think she'll be afraid
to go to sleep in the bath ever again

for fear of what might suddenly land on her face!

I mean, I cannot believe that someone
would just plonk themselves down...

All right, all right, Margaret. All right.

It's bad enough it happened.
Can we just drop it, please?

The worst of it was banging my jaw on that tap.

I think one of my crowns has come loose.

Not sure I can manage this meat pie now.

Just try eating the chips.

Yes.

Yes, I might be able to manage...

What is it?

What?

Is that a...

Someone's finger.

Oh, God.

Tell me it's not. Surely.

It's been deep fried.

I think I need some fresh air.

What are you doing?

Looking to see if there are any more.

For crying out loud! Isn't one enough?

—Go and get a flask.
—A what?

A thermos flask and fill it with ice.

If we get it up to the hospital quickly,
they might be able to do something with it.

Like what?

Pick their ruddy noses! How would I know?
Just get the thing out of this house.

Oh...God.

What a day.

Talk about one thing after another.

Did you remember to rinse that flask out
when you got back from the hospital?

Yes.

Suppose it would have been a miracle
if they had managed

to sew that thing back on after all that.

The things people get up to.
Oh, you wouldn't credit it.

What are you doing all that for
at this time of night?

I suddenly remembered it's tomorrow
that cleaning woman's coming.

I don't want her to find the place
looking like a pigsty.

But the whole point about getting a cleaner
was to give you a rest.

You know you can't go at it the way you used to.

Yes. Well, there's something about her
that makes me feel very inadequate.

If she kept her clothes on while she was here,
it would be a start.

Running about in that skimpy bra.
You can't tell me she gets that hot.

What are you talking about, skimpy bra.
That's a bikini top, surely.

Oh, it looks exactly like a bikini top, I'll grant you.

But that is definitely a bra.

I'd stake my life on it.

If they both look exactly the same,
what difference does it make?

(MARGARET SCOFFING)

As long as she's got somewhere
to tuck her dusters.

Just one of those things we'll never know.

You're in a funny mood tonight. What is it?

Hmm?

Oh. Just a bit tired after all that other palaver.

Night, night.

Night.

"Dear Mimey,

"I wonder if it's possible to reverse a circumcision.

"For the last 13 years

"my husband has kept his foreskin in ajar.

"But to be honest, I'm not sure it would still fit.

"Any guidance you can give us on this matter
would be much appreciated."

(TUTTING) It's tragic really,
the things people write in about.

I mean, listen to this one.

"I have developed a thick white coating
on my tongue

"which I'm worried may be dandruff.

"And despite gargling twice a day
with Head and Shoulders,

"the problem does not seem to go away."

So, how is Victor this morning? He not up yet?

No, I don't think he got much sleep, to be honest.

Seemed to have something on his mind
that he evidently didn't want to talk about, so...

Boiling now.

—If that's water resistant, I'm a Dutchman.
—Well, exactly.

Yes, my name's Meldrew, 19 Riverbank.

I believe you've got a parcel for us
and I was just...

Ah. Anytime before 6:00. Okay, then.
Right. Thank you. Bye.

(PHONE RINGING)

Hello.

Oh, Enrico, how are you today?
Are you still in the hospital?

-Oh, have they? Really?
—Did I... Did I leave a nozzle in here?

Yeah.

There's no need to go to all that trouble.

Yeah.

All right, Enrico, I'll look forward to that. Yes, bye.

Katy, are you well?
How is the play going these days?

Oh, good question.
I read it to my boyfriend last night

—who, like, just totally hated it.
—What did he say?

He said I'd done a sensational job.

But men will say anything, won't they,
when they wanna get laid.

The subtext was definitely,
"Don't give up your day job".

Anyway, how's everything in this room?
All right for you?

Yes, you've done a sensational job.

Very nice, thank you.

Oh, God, it's nearly 10 to one.
I've got a dental appointment in town at two.

—I've got to rush, Mr Meldrew. Bye.
—Bye.

Unbelievable!

He's only invited himself round here
for lunch now.

—Who has?
—That chip shop wallah, Enrico.

Said he was very grateful
that I'd taken his finger back last night.

Now he wants to treat us
to a large portion of haddock.

Where are you off to?

Well, I'm not sitting here all morning
watching Snow White get her kit off.

Said we'd pop down the health shop,
see if we can get something for Jean's shoulder.

It's like one long pain, now,
going right up into my jaw.

Dreading going up to see him, now,
about this tooth.

Oh, of course.
'Cause you're allergic to the injections.

I don't know what it is, the Novocaine or whatever,
always makes me horribly sick.

Remember last time when I brought my liver up?

Those suction tubes can barely cope
with a mouthful of gravy.

Well, there must be other ways
they can numb you.

Have you ever thought
about going to a different dentist?

I won't, if you don't mind, Enrico.

I've gone off chips for the moment.
Thanks all the same.

Just a nibble.

It's good, right?

Like being suckled by Angela Rippon.
Just melts in the mouth.

Listen, Victor. I was deeply touched, you know,
when you brought that back to me last night.

Other men would have
flushed it down the crapper.

But Victor? No.

Listen, how many years now
you come into my shop?

Doesn't matter. Enrico knows.
Can spot a man of superior intellect.

Because for me right now

is big problem, right?

Two nights ago, my wife catch me
with her best friend on floor of the shop

—behind the counter.
—Yes, I heard.

You heard? It's very possible.
I make plenty of noise.

But, then, this morning I come home
from hospital. I know just what to do.

Get both women together and I tell them
it's only one way to choose between them.

We'll let Victor decide.

What?

We'll let Victor Meldrew make the decision,
like judgement of Solomon.

It's not easy, for sure.

They are both very beautiful.

Antonella is a wonderful, wonderful wife.

But Phyllis...

You know, wow!

Well, Enrico, I haven't...

Have you thought of writing
to one of these people in the paper?

I'm sure they can advise you
much better than I can, because...

Anyway, I've got to pop out very shortly
to the post office.

So perhaps I'll just...
Perhaps I'll just take these and wash them up.

Hey, Victor, it's fantastic idea, right?

Check it out. Mimsy Berkowitz.

"Am I lost in love

"or seeking solace in sex?"

Whatever my emotional dilemma,
Mimsy can help me.

Maybe write to her. She tell me what to do.

Yes, I think it's for the best, Enrico.

Now, I'm afraid I've got to go now.
So, unfortunately, you'll have to...

Yes. Before you 90, Victor. Do me one tiny favour.

Oh, hello.

—Did you make it in time then in the end?
—Sorry?

—The dental appointment.
-Oh, yes.

Sorry, Mr Meldrew, I'm not quite with it yet.
I'm still a bit spaced out, I think.

-Oh, right. From the anaesthetic?
—Hypnosis, actually.

—Hypnosis?
—I know, it's amazing.

She's Taiwanese. She uses, like, this kind of
hypnotherapy to put you under, and it's brilliant.

You don't feel any pain.
Don't remember any of what happened, anything.

What's that? A new pair of cufflinks?

To be honest, I haven't the faintest idea
who it's from or anything.

—I'll see you around, Mr Meldrew.
-Right. Bye, Katy.

Take care.

What are you up to? She's supposed to have
done that once this morning.

"Supposed to" is right.

My God.

Is that it?

—What do you think it is?
—I don't know.

There's nothing on the outside
to say who sent it or anything.

Oh!

I'll tell you what I did find when I was out.
A dentist that might be handy for you know who.

Apparently there's one that cleaner goes to
who uses hypnotism on her patients.

She puts them under,
and they don't feel any pain or anything.

What in the name of all that's holy!

What...

Where did it come from?
That can't possibly be for us.

Mr and Mrs Meldrew. 19 Riverbank.

Well, there must be a letter or a note.

I mean, what the hell is it for?

-Perhaps it's a free gift.
—A free gift?

Oh, hang on.

There's something written underneath here.

—What does it say?
—It says...

"Best before January 2001

Sorry, Mr Meldrew, I thought we said 10:00.

Perhaps I'll just take my own car.

Oh, you'll do nothing of the kind, Mrs Warboys.
I'll be with you in just a jiffy.

Now, if you could get the car out of the garage,
that would be one big help.

Yes. Yes, all right.

Still don't know if it's the answer.
Hypnotherapy, you know.

I mean, what if they can't bring me
out of a trance?

I could turn into a vegetable doing a striptease
every time anyone claps their hands.

Oh.

This is very lifelike, isn't it?

Could almost be real.

—\/\/hat?
—Of course, I had a talk with my old dentist

who said I should definitely give it a try,

and he's given me a copy of the X—ray
to take along and everything, but...

What's that? Bad news?

Well, I found it in that letter rack.

"Mimsy Berkowitz."

Is this Victor's handwri...

What would he be doing writing to an agony aunt?

I don't know.

There was obviously something on his mind
the other night, but...

My God, you think he's got some girl into trouble?

Why ever do you say that?

Well, whatever it is, it smacks of dishonesty.

—Let's see if I can pick it open.
—No, Jean!

If he's got some kind of problem
that he feels he can't share with me,

that's his lookout. I'm sorry.

Yes, well...

I'll pop it into the box for you while I'm out.

"Dear Mimsy, I have the most terrible problem
and need your advice.

"Recently I have developed an insane passion
for my wife's best friend

"who I now realise I totally worship.

"Ever since we shared
an intimate moment together a few nights ago,

"I cannot stop thinking about her."

Oh, my God.

Here we are then.

Sorry about that.

All set.

We're all set.

Try not to worry about it.
Everything's going to be absolutely fine.

(MECHANICAL WHIRRING)

—Mrs Warboys.
—Yes.

—First time here, yes?
—Yes.

And feeling a bit nervous about it all,
if truth be told.

You say something about a crown, right?

Yes. Oh, and Mr Spigot gave me this
to give to you

which will make far more sense to you
than it does to me.

Ah, okay. I see.

It's been giving me such gyp, I can't tell you.

And I've been saying to myself for weeks
I must get this shoulder done,

-but you know what it is.
—Okay. Fine.

First of all, Mrs Warboys, just relax, okay?

And keep very, very still.

Doesn't seem to need a lot of doing, this floor.

Are you sure you haven't secretly
been mopping it all over before I got here?

Oh, by the way, thanks for putting us
onto that dentist of yours.

That was just what our friend was looking for.

Amazing to think they can do that now.

Give you fillings and everything
just with hypnotherapy.

Oh, no, it's fantastic.

It's not my dentist, though, who does all that.
I wish it was.

Not your dentist?

Then who was it you'd just been to see
when Victor ran into...

(PHONE RINGING)

Hello, Jackie Tang's...

Mr Meldrew? Your wife.

Thank you. Hello, yes?

Yes, we're still here.

Yes, I think she should be out at any minute.

What?

You're joking!

I'll speak to you later.

All completed now.

I hope she will be pleased.

Er, yes.

Mrs Warboys.

Mrs Warboys.

You excuse me.

(PHONE RINGING)

Mr Meldrew!

I'm sorry. I'll just get your coat.

Where in God's name is she?

And why did she have to shoot off on her own
like that anyway? It doesn't make any sense.

I've no idea. After we came out,
she said she had to go to the post office

and she was going to come back here on the bus
to pick up her car.

She's been giving me very strange looks all day,
come to that.

Well, when she does get here,
you are going to tell her everything.

God, you've cocked some things up in your time,
Victor, but this one takes the biscuit.

I don't know who was in a bigger trance,
her or you.

MARGARET: Don't tell me
that bulb's gone again already.

No. All off now.

VICTOR: It'll just be the trip switch
needs re—setting. Do you want me to do it?

No, I can manage.

JEAN: Anyone in?

Sorry, it was murder on the buses tonight.

Oh, Mr Meldrew?

—What's going on?
—VICTOR: It's all right, Mrs Warboys, come right in.

No, I'm sorry, I can't stay.

I just came to collect my keys
which I think I left here.

Yeah, but you're not in a rush, are you?

I thought it might be an idea
if we just sat down and had a little chat.

JEAN: Oh, my God,
what's that horrible rubbery thing?

(SLAPPING)

You keep away from me, Mr Meldrew!

Help! Help!

—Mrs Warboys...
—No! Oh, God!

No! No! Help!

Jean?

Oh. I'll...

I'll talk to you later...

Bye.

Do you ever get the feeling

you'd just like to go to sleep
and not wake up the next morning?

Every night. Wouldn't have to worry then.

Wouldn't have to keep trying
to make sense of it all.

All what?

Us. This.

Everything. It's like when I was at the hospital
the other night... I don't know.

And you see it all there, don't you?

The whole thing under one roof.

Birth.

Death.

All the misery in between.

I remember reading an article once that said,
"All our lives are just a temporary blip

"in the long meaningless void of eternity."

And that we'll never know where we came from
or what we're doing here.

Or why a grown woman
would suddenly jam a courgette in the door.

I mean,

it's not even as if she could have mistaken it
in the dark for something else.

(SILENT)

(THEATRE AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

(THEATRE AUDIENCE APPLAUSE)

Molly, what the hell
did you think he was trying to do?

And with a thing like that?

Who do you think I'm married to?
Champion the Wonder Horse?

(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

Make it a spring onion,
we'd be getting closer to the mark.

Look, we're on the end of a pier.

They're not gonna be
the most demanding house in the world.

—They're laughing.
-But the laughter is meaningless.

You put this in front of people who think,
they're gonna ask too many questions.

Like, "What the hell was the deal
with that giant fly?"

You can't just set up something like that
and then never explain it.

But they never did explain it.
It just became like this total unsolved mystery.

—Which is what I love about it.
-Sorry, Katy.

There's some interesting stuff here,
but bottom line, the writing has to be convincing.

And end of the day, I'm afraid for me,
that's the biggest single problem.

I don't believe it.

# They say I might as well face the truth

# That I am just too long in the tooth?

# I've started to deteriorate

# And now I've passed my own sell-by date

# Oh, I am no spring chicken, it's true

# I have to pop my teeth in to chew

# And my old knees have started to knock

# I've just got too many miles on the clock

# So I'm a wrinkly, crinkly, set in my ways

# It's true that my body has seen better days

# But give me half a chance
and I can still misbehave

# One foot in the grave

# One foot in the grave

# One foot in the grave #

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