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The Bogus Psychiatrists

Tragic music in background




Quick cut to a close shot of a big American car skidding round a corner. Music. Montage of close ups of tyres, foot on accelerator shots, etc. with a deafening sound track. The car skids to a halt at the side of the kerb. Pull out to reveal it is in a smart Harley Street type location. The door opens and out gets a man in black leotard, with make-up and a small crown – Hamlet, in fact. He goes into a doorway, presses the doorbell and waits. Cut to modern psychiatrist’s office. Hamlet is lying on the couch.

Hamlet (TERRY J) It’s just that everywhere I go it’s the same old thing. All anyone wants me to say is ‘To be or not to be...’

Psychiatrist (GRAHAM) ‘...that is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous...’

Hamlet (quickly) Yes, it’s either that, or ‘Oh that this too too solid flesh would melt...’

Psychiatrist (taking over) ‘...would melt, thaw and resolve itself into a dew. Or that the everlasting had not fixed his canon ’gainst self slaughter...’

Hamlet Yes. All that sort of thing. And I’m just getting really fed up.

Psychiatrist (picking up a skull) Now do the bit about ‘Alas poor Yorick...’

Hamlet No. I’m sick of it! I want to do something else. I want to make something of my life.

Psychiatrist No. I don’t know that bit.

Hamlet I want to get away from all that. Be different.

Psychiatrist Well um... what do you want to be?

Hamlet A private dick!

Psychiatrist A private dick?

Hamlet Yes, a private dick!

Psychiatrist Why do you want to be a private dick?

Hamlet Ooh... why does anyone want to be a private dick? Fame, money, glamour, excitement, sex!

Psychiatrist Ah! It’s the sex, is it?

Hamlet Well, that’s one of the things, yes.

Psychiatrist Yes, what’s the sex problem?

Hamlet Well, there’s no problem.

Psychiatrist Now, come on, come on. You’ve got the girl on the bed and she’s all ready for it.

Hamlet No, no, it’s nothing to do with that.

Psychiatrist (getting excited) Now come on, come on, there she is, she’s all ready for it. She’s a real stunner, she’s got great big tits, she’s really well stacked and you’ve got her legs up against the mantelpiece.

Dr Natal (ERIC) All right Mr Butler, I’ll take over. (a distinguished-looking man in a suit enters; the psychiatrist leaves) Morning, Mr Hamlet. My name’s Natal. Sorry to keep you waiting. Now what seems to be the problem.

Hamlet Well, I was telling the other psychiatrist...

Dr Natal He’s... he’s not a psychiatrist.

Hamlet Oh. He said he was a psychiatrist.

Dr Natal Well... yes... um, he’s a kind of psychiatrist but he’s... he’s not a proper psychiatrist. He’s not er... fully qualified... in, um, quite the sort of way we should want. Anyway the problem I believe is basically sexual is it?

The psychiatrist puts his head round door.

Psychiatrist I asked him that!

Dr Natal Get out! (the psychiatrist goes; to Hamlet) Now then, you’ve got the girl on the bed. You’ve been having a bit of a feel up during the evening. You’ve got your tongue down her throat. She’s got both her legs up on the mantelpiece...

Enter a distinguished-looking psychiatrist in a white coat.

Third Psychiatrist (MICHAEL) (quietly and authoritatively, indicating the door) Dr Natal... out please!

Dr Natal I’m talking to a patient! Oh... (he goes)

Third Psychiatrist Out please! I’m terribly sorry, sir. We have a lot of problems here with bogus psychiatrists. One of the risks in psychiatry I’m afraid. Unfortunately they do tend to frighten the patient and they can cause real and permanent damage to the treatment. But I assure you that I am a completely bona fide psychiatrist. Here’s my diploma in psychiatry from the University of Oxford. This here shows that I’m a member of the British Psychiatric Association, a very important body indeed. Here’s a letter from another psychiatrist in which he mentions that I’m a psychiatrist. This is my psychiatric club tie, and as you can see the cufflinks match. I’ve got a copy of ‘Psychiatry Today’ in my bag, which I think is pretty convincing. And a letter here from my mother in which she asks how the psychiatry is going, and I think you’ll realize that the one person you can’t fool is your mother. So if you’d like to ask me any questions about psychiatry, I bet I can answer them.

Hamlet No, no, it’s all right, really.

Third Psychiatrist OK, you’ve got this girl on your bed, you’ve had a few drinks, you’ve got her stretched out and her feet on the mantelpiece... (the intercom buzzes) yes, what is it?

Intercom Voice There’s a proper psychiatrist to see you, Dr Rufus Berg.

Third Psychiatrist Oh, oh my God! OK thank you. (he hurriedly changes into a police constable’s uniform) Right thank you very much for answering the questions, sir. We’ll try not to trouble you again, sir. (exits hurriedly)

A fourth psychiatrist rushes in.

Fourth Psychiatrist (TERRY G) Right you’ve got the girl down on the bed, you’ve got her legs up on the mantelpiece.

Two men in white coats bundle him out. Dr Natal enters.

Dr Natal Well, well done, Mr Hamlet. You’ve done extremely well in our disorientation tests.

Hamlet Oh? Oh!

Dr Natal You see, I’m sorry it might have confused you a little, but we do this to try to establish a very good doctor/patient relationship, you see... we do it to sort of, as it were, to break down the barriers. All right?

Hamlet Yes fine.

Dr Natal Good! Well, you’ve got her legs up on the mantelpiece...

The two men come in and chase him out. Cut to a man at a consultants desk in a smart West End surgery.


Dr Bruce (TERRY J) On behalf of the Psychiatric Association, I should like to say that we are taking firm action to clamp down on the activities of bogus psychiatrists. In fact in many areas of modern psychiatry computers are now being increasingly used for the first basic diagnosis and this has gone a long way in eliminating the danger of unqualified impostors.

Cut to Hamlet in an office. A big, impressive-looking computer beside him.

Computer (in tinny computer voice) You’ve had your tongue down her throat and she’s got her legs on the mantelpiece.

The door opens and a nurse appears.

Nurse (CAROL) Out!

The computer scuttles for the door, revealing that underneath it are six pairs of legs, in pin-striped trousers and expensive well-shaped shoes. Cut to the same computer in a field. The nurse picks up a bazooka. The computer rises into the air, the nurse fires at it and it explodes.

Part of the Monty Python’s Flying Circus broadcast of 21 November 1974. From Monty Python’s Flying Circus: Just the Words, Methuen, London, 1989

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