You are in:
Home: Radio Broadcasts
The Girl in the Yellow Overcoat  

First Broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on December 15th 1999

Sfx                                 Opening music

Announcer                     Bristow by Frank Dickens. Featuring Michael Williams as Bristow and Rodney Bewes as Jones with Owen Brenman and Dora Bryan. The Girl in the Yellow Overcoat

Bristow (VO)                 reciting  Twinkle twinkle little star
What time are you through, up thar?
chuckles and says something incomprehensible
Smiling constant in the heaven
I'm stuck here till half past seven
Twinkle twinkle milky way
You’ve never worked a ten hour day
Bet you wish that you were me
I’ve earned six pounds fifty three
normal voice over
When however it was called on us to deck the halls with boughs of holly, tis the season to be jolly, tra la la, la la la la, I'm sure he meant well but hadn’t reckoned on this modern society. For the punters nowadays start to jolly things along far too early and for far too long a period. The build-up in this neck of the woods started as early as mid-November, when I was waiting for a train at East Winchley station, and upon looking round, realised the platform was unusually crowded.

Sfx                                 Outdoor train station noises. Staff going “keep moving please, keep those bags with you etc”

Bristow                          Good morning Mr stationmaster.

Stationmaster                 to the crowd Move along there please move along

Bristow                          You’ll have to speak up. These earmuffs, adequate against the chill of winter though they are, do not help in matters of hearing. In the unlikely event of one of your trains ever arriving at this station, and me happening to turn to look over my shoulder, it is quite conceivable that it might come and go without my even realising it.

Stationmaster                 You have my sympathies, but you shop-early-for-Christmas people are, to put it bluntly, more trouble than you’re worth. British Hi-Speed Rail are more interested in the regular commuter who wants to catch a train to his place of employment than folks like yourself. Now move along please keep moving.

Bristow                          It is obvious you do not recognise me. Heavy scarf – breathing filter- and dark glasses plus the aforementioned earmuffs might be the explanation.

Stationmaster                 Oh its you!

Bristow                          I wear the glasses because I suffer from snow blindness and should there be a sudden fall I would hate to tumble onto the track. I realise I'm being rather silly because I will be perfectly safe there, with trains so seldom passing this way

Stationmaster                 Stand aside please I’ve not time to bandy words with you on a day like this.

Bristow                          You’re a lucky man, Mr Stationmaster

Stationmaster                 Why’s that?

Bristow                          Because you don’t see the faces of the people staring at your back as you stroll up and down the platform. If looks could kill…

Sfx                                 Link music

Sfx                                 Buying department typing noises

Jones                             Morning Bristow

Bristow                          Hallo Jones. You’ve done well for Christmas cards this year. Jones laughs Row upon row. Tastefully strung up on string across the window and blocking out any daylight that is endeavouring to get into the room.

Jones                             Not bad. It shows I have a few friends left.

Bristow                          You’ve done better than I have this year.

Jones                             Seems so, doesn’t it?

Bristow                          Must be some sort of office record. You are more popular than I would have believed

Jones                             laughing Oh please Bristow you embarrass me.

Bristow                          Yes, I’ll embarrass you still further. Reading the top row from left to right the cards read, er, Happy Easter, Get Well Soon , Be my Valentine…

Jones                             …ah yes…

Bristow                          Congratulations on your anniversary, er, Merry Christmas 1995

Jones                             Bristow if I choose…

Sfx                                 Door opens

Moorcroft                      Mr. Fudge?

Jones                             He’s not in, sir. Can, can I help?

Moorcroft                      I doubt it. What’s your name?

Jones                             Jones, sir the name’s Jones

Moorcroft                      Thank you Mr Jones. Will you ask Mr Fudge to give me a call when he gets in. The name is Moorcroft. It’s in connection with order number DB 49265.

Jones                             Certainly Mr Moorcroft

Moorcroft                      Thank you!

Sfx                                 Door shuts

Jones                             I say, pleasant young man. One of the directors wasn’t he?

Bristow                          I should imagine so. Smart suit, dazzling smile. Typical director. Typical con-man.

Jones                             Bristow, what happened to order number DB49265?

Bristow                          Tchh…I take it you want me to look it up?

Jones                             Oh if you wouldn’t mind.

Bristow                          There is a search fee of five pounds

Jones                             laughs

Bristow                          Hm,,.yahh, there we go.

Jones                             It’s time we did something about this order. There’s a heavy penalty clause comes into force on the 1st January.

Bristow                          Jones, we had this nonsense last year and it completely spoiled our Christmas. Didn’t we promise it would never happen again?

Jones                             Suppose we had a real go at it. A sudden splurge of energy. A frenzied attack.

Bristow                          Good idea. When? Looking through my diary, I’m busy this week.

Jones                             why not TODAY?

Bristow                          You made me jump. Today you say? Tell you what, we’ll have a relaxed tea break, filling ourselves with plenty of carbohydrate to give us the energy to cope with it…

Jones                             Yes yes yes

Bristow                          …plus I’ll have a couple of Mrs. Purdy’s flapjacks, the clerical equivalent of spinach to Popeye.

Jones                             I don’t care what we have. Let’s get on with something

Bristow                          Jones, what’s all this eager beaver stuff? You are behaving in a rather curious manner this morning. Why?

Jones                             Bristow, do you believe in love at first sight?

Bristow                          It takes a certain kind of person to fall in love at first sight. And if you are one of those people – Bingo. Lucky you

Jones                             It’s happened to me Bristow. I’m one of the chosen few.

Bristow                          Don’t be ridiculous you’re not the type.

Jones                             What’s that supposed to mean?

Bristow                          People who fall in love on sight are impetuous. The last thing anyone would call you is impetuous. You are more – hmmmm – humdrum, dull, gray, flat, everything that someone who falls in love on sight, is not.

Jones                             In spite of what you say, I am in love.

Bristow                          Who is the unfortunate lady?

Jones                             The girl in the yellow overcoat. Our eyes met on the platform at Guffnell Park station, platform five…

Bristow                          And?

Jones                             What do you mean, and?

Bristow                          What happened?

Jones                             That’s all

Bristow                          That’s all? The girl in the yellow overcoat

Jones                             Love. L - O - V- E

Bristow                          Daft. D - A  - F - T. Your eyes met on platform five at Guffnell Park station.. I think, as Shakespeare said, this is indeed the stuff that dreams are made of.

Jones                             I think she’s a shop-early-for-Christmas type

Bristow                          Coh! Holy Mackeral! They’re the worst. You can't afford that sort of woman on the money you earn here.

Jones                             laughing Don’t try and tell me what I can afford. You don’t know what I can afford

Bristow                          I know exactly what you can afford. Some weeks ago I found a wage slip at the back of one of your drawers.

Jones                             What? You what?

Bristow                          And from it I worked out exactly what you take home…

Jones                             Dear me!

Bristow                          …and I’ll tell you this. It doesn’t run to a shop-early-for-Christmas type. You can normally run to tea and a chocolate biscuit in the morning and coffee and a macaroon in the afternoons. A shop-early-for-Christmas type won’t go dutch, mark my words.

Sfx                                 Door opens

Hewitt                            Morning Mr Jones, morning Mr Bristow

Bristow                          You’re late.

Jones                             Morning

Hewitt                            I stopped to pick up some stuff for the office get-together.

Jones                             Ohh

Hewitt                            Sounds of things likes bottles dumped on a desk Oh, sorry Mr Jones

Bristow                          Office get-together? What office get-together?

Jones                             You might as well tell him. Now you’ve started.

Hewitt                            We’re having a small get-together with accounts

Bristow                          Choo-ah, excellent. Their place or ours? And when?

Hewitt                            Their place. You know we’re not allowed decorations and you can't have a get-together without decorations. Its on Friday. Starts at five and goes on. The password is ‘down with the management’

Bristow                          Sounds as if it’s in an advanced stage. I’m surprised this is the first I’ve heard of it.

Jones                             We’ve been keeping a low profile in case Fudge gets to hear about it.

Bristow                          Oww, good thinking.

Sfx                                 Tea trolley crunches in to the office

Purdy                             Tea up, wet and warm and plenty of hard bake.

Jones                             Good morning Mrs Purdy, two lumps please, a couple of meringues and a gingerbread man.

Bristow                          Jones, watch the spending.

Jones                             Chocolate biscuit please

Purdy                             Cheer up Mr Jones you have a got long face this this morning

Bristow                          Unrequited love Mrs Purdy

Purdy                             Unrequited love eh? Tea trolley gushes out some tea Well there’s a lot of it about

Jones                             Bristow! Is it necessary to repeat everything you’re told in confidence. Can’t anyone keep a secret in this place?

Hewitt                            I can

Jones                             You. Keep a secret? Don’t make me laugh. Office get-together. Whoops. You’re as big as blabbermouth as Bristow.

Sfx                                 Retreating footsteps. Door slams

Purdy                             Oooh, he’s in a bad mood. More tea gushing Unrequited love you say

Bristow                          He saw a pair of laughing eyes on the platform at Guffnell Park today.

Purdy                             Guffnell Park eh? Oh, Guffnell Park, there’s a coincidence, that’s where I met my laughing eyes in the shape of Mr Purdy. Seventeen years ago next week.

Bristow                          I doubt if he was shopping early for Christmas

Purdy                             Shop-lifting for Christmas more like. He was in charge of the canteen there and he could carry three cups in each hand. There aren’t many people can do that, you know, three cups. He can't do it now of course with his arthritis. Whoever thought I’d meet my nemesis on platform five at Guffnell Park station.

Bristow                          Platform five? Why that’s where…

Sfx                                 Door opens

Fudge                            What the devil is going on? Why is everyone one sitting around? Why are those Christmas cards strung up across the window?

Bristow                          They belong to Mr Jones

Fudge                            I don’t care who they belong to. TAKE THEM DOWN AT ONCE

Sfx                                 Door slams

Purdy                             Oohh, there’s another one in a bad mood, I’d best be off

Bristow                          Finish your narrative Mrs Purdy. Tell us about Mr Purdy, your knight in shining armour.

Purdy                             He didn’t have none of that. On our wedding day he turned up in a drape suit with a velvet collar, bootlace tie, plain black trousers, fluorescent socks and blue suede shoes.

Bristow                          Come straight from work, had he?

Purdy                             Ooooghhh

Bristow                          Only joking, Mrs Purdy only joking

Sfx                                 Tea trolley crashes out and door shuts

Bristow (VO)                 And that, you might say, was that. Except that a couple of days later, as I entered the office, Jones who had taken of late to wandering the corridors like a moonstruck calf or gazing into space like a frog on a lily pad sprang to his feet his eyes glittering.

Jones                             Bristow, it’s fate!

Bristow                          Mmm – what’s fate?

Jones                             I saw her again today – the girl in the yellow overcoat

Bristow                          On the platform?

Jones                             No, in the street. Not far from here. Our eyes met once again. It’s fate.

Bristow                          It’s hardly fate. It’s stalking. Yes, but it shouldn’t concern you. You’re a married man.

Jones                             quickly Says who?

Bristow                          Jones – the lady with the spectacles. When a crowd of us came round on that night to play cards, you turned her photograph to the wall.

Jones                             That doesn’t mean to say…

Sfx                                 Door opens

Hewitt                            Down with the management

Jones                             Bring it in. And don’t keep using the password it’s supposed to be saved for the party

Bristow                          Holy Mackerel. That’s a lot of drink

Hewitt                            Ahh, there’s plenty more where this came from bottles clink now the girls from the pool are in on it by the way

Bristow                          How many people are we expecting?

Hewitt                            How many grains of sand in the desert? How much rice is there in China? How many stars in the skies above?

Sfx                                 Door opens

Sunman                          Down with the management

Bristow                          Miss Sunman, the password is supposed to be kept for the party, not used indiscriminately

Sunman                          Are we to bring presents?

Bristow                          Presents? Alms for the poor yes. Certainly not presents

Jones                             Since when did you have any say in the running of it? You only got in because of blabbermouth Hewitt…

Hewitt                            I said sorry

Jones                             …now you seem to be taking over.

Bristow                          That’s because I’m a natural born leader And I hardly need to remind you, I come before you alphabetically.

Jones                             There’s lots of people come before you. Arbuthnot. Askie, Armstrong, Abercrombie…

Sunman                          Arnold

Jones                             …Arnold

Sunman                          whisphers Sorry Mr Bristow

Jones                             Eighty-seven

Bristow                          What’s in a name? Duhhh, that’s what love does for you Hewitt

Hewitt                            Seen her again, have you, Mr. Jones?

Jones                             Seen who?

Hewitt                            The girl in the yellow overcoat

Jones                             Bristow! You’ve told him haven’t you? How many other people have you told? You tell someone something in confidence, before you turn round it’s all over the building. Fishwives, that’s what you are. Fishwives. FISHWIVES fading out If anyone want’s me I’m with Mr. Moorcroft

Sfx                                 Door shuts

Sunman                          Who’s the girl in the yellow overcoat?

Bristow                          Miss Sunman, you heard Mr. Jones didn’t you?. You saw his face. How upset he was. I don’t want him upset any more. I don’t want to spoil a relationship. I have to work with him all day. He’s a clerk with special needs.

Sunman                          But who is she?

Bristow                          She’s a girl he met at Gufnell Park Station

Sunman                          Excited I’ve seen her! Platform five

Bristow                          You know her?

Sunman                          I don’t know her. I’ve seen her, that’s all. You can’t miss her. She’s beautiful, like a super model. She’s a shop early for Christmas type. I don’t think Mr. Jones stands much of a chance there. She’s like the girl from Ipanema. When she walks down the platform all the men’s heads turn to look after her.

Both                               Ahhh!

Sunman                          I should be so lucky. I doubt whether men would look at me if I threw myself in front of a train.

Bristow                          Oh I’m sure they would. But enough of such pessimism. You don’t want to fill your pretty little head with thoughts like that.

Sunman                          Did you say pretty?

Hewitt                            He did, yes, he did

Bristow                          I said don’t fill your pretty little…

Sunman                          almost ecstatic Did he say pretty again?

Hewitt                            He did.

Sunman                          He said pretty twice. Sings I feel pretty, Oh so pretty fades out

Sfx                                 Door shuts

Bristow                          You’d better lock it. She could easily return

Hewitt                            She’s definitely got the hots for you

Bristow                          Er..I don’t wish to encourage it. Women and business don’t mix. Women are good only for planes books and films. And soap operas. Their heads are full of shoes, hair-dos and jewelry. And they get in the way of a career.

Hewitt                            laughing Oh that’s funny, you talking about a career. Fades out Dream on

Sfx                                 Door shuts

Bristow                          Tchah! Insolent young pup. How dare he laugh at me having thoughts of a career.

Bristow (VO)                 I suddenly decided to take a crack at order number DB 49265. I could wrap that up before Christmas, it would show them that my thoughts of a career are not just pie in the sky.

Sfx                                 Phone picked up

Bristow                          Mary, I want Gun and Fames.

Fenella                           I’m afraid Mary’s not in this week. Can I help

Bristow                          That depends on who you are. I belive there was a saying in World War 2 – Careless talk costs lives. I don’t believe such warnings are current in our modern society, but I should like to know to whom I am speaking

Fenella                           I’m Mary’s replacement

Bristow                          And your name is?

Fenella                           Guess.

Bristow                          Guess? Did you say guess? I should like to remind you, whatever your name is, that this a business call of the utmost priority. Give me a clue

Fenella                           Something something something, something, double something something

Bristow                          Cruella

Fenella                           Cruella?

Bristow                          Yes or no?? Cruella?

Fenella                           Do I sound cruel?

Bristow                          Yes or No.

Fenella                           Nearly right. It’s Fenella. Are you going to the thingy tomorrow?

Bristow                          Eh, oh, the get-together? I shall probably show up. It is, as they say, the season to be jolly. Tra-la-la-la-la, etc.

Fenella                           Isn’t there something about miseltoe in that carol.

Bristow                          Possibly. It does embrace most of the Christmas paraphernalia. I’m sure miseltoe is in there somewhere.

Fenella                           suggestively I’ll bring some with me

Bristow                          Oh…

Fenella                           Just in case someone’s forgotten. Sexy laugh See you there. Business tone Now how can I help you?

Bristow                          I want the good samaritans’ help line

Fenella                           Okay.

Sfx                                 Phone ringing

Man                               Good Samaritans’ Helpline. Can we be of assistance?

Bristow                          I'm having some trouble with our order number DB49…

Man                               Not you again.

Sfx                                 Phone replaced

Bristow                          Hello? Hello? Jabs phone Hello?. Oh, Tcha.

Sfx                                 Door opens

Postboy                         Down with the management

Bristow                          Postboy, that’s supposed to be a password, not an everyday phrase or saying. How can you have a password that’s passed into common usage.

Postboy                         Couple of letters.

Bristow                          These letters appear to have been tampered with.

Postboy                         Oh no, we wouldn’t have touched those. We only steam open the ones that are drenched in perfume. Bristow expostulates What’s this drawing pin stuck in your desktop for?

Bristow                          That represents a buying clerk and is allowed to move in any direction. This paper clip represents the establishment and moves in one direction only,

Postboy                         What are you doing?

Bristow                          I was playing war games yesterday.

Sfx                                 Door opens

Fudge                            What is going on our here? If you have delivered the mail, postboy, I suggest you get about your business.

Postboy                         Here I go, sir. Watch my dust. Cheers Mr. B.

Sfx                                 Door shuts

Fudge                            Bristow, has Jones returned from Mr. Moorcroft’s office yet

Bristow                          No sir

Fudge                            Well, tell him to come and see me, AS SOON AS HE GETS BACK

Bristow                          Yes sir.

Sfx                                 Door slams

Bristow                          Arrrr…that man will be the death of me. He’s only got to open his mouth and I can feel my hackles rise. Yes, but what is Jones playing at. Acting as a go-between, carrying messages from Fudge to Moorcroft and vice-versa. This is not the job for a buying clerk. This is the job for a messenger boy. This way over and above the call of duty. I’m determined to have it out with him.

Sfx                                 Link music

Bristow                          Jones, what is all Moorcroft business?

Jones                             What’s it to you?

Bristow                          I asked you a simple question. I would welcome a civil answer.

Jones                             It’s Mr Moorcroft if you don’t mind, let’s have a little respect for one of our directors. He calls me Mr. Jones. We are trying to make some progress on DB 49265. We happen to get on well together.

Bristow                          Are you crazy, Jones? Nobody gets on with a director. They’re a breed apart. Villains the lot of them

Jones                             Nonsense.

Bristow                          Read your newspapers. Scarce a day goes by you don’t read about a company director being sent down for something or other. The prisons are booked solid with directors. Face the facts. And as for someone like you, thinking you are getting on well a director…

Jones                             Well we are

Bristow                          …it makes the mind openly boggle. Keel over. We’re talking chalk and cheese stuff here.The trouble is, you are starting to believe it and that can lead to trouble mark my words.

Jones                             You think so? Well you might be in for a surprise. And it might come sooner than you expect

Sfx                                 Link music

Sfx                                 party noises. Door opens

Jones                             Password please

Postboy                         May the Chester-Perry Building be struck by lightning and the directors perish in the ruins

Jones                             That was last years. Try again

Postboy                         Down with the management

Jones                             Pass, friend.

Sfx                                 Door shuts

Hewitt                            Well Mr. Bristow seen anything you fancy?

Bristow                          You must be joking. Chester-Perry’s is renowned for the plainness of its female employees. It’s an occupational hazard, I’m afraid.

Hewitt                            You can say that again. I don’t know where they find them. Look at them gathered round the noticeboard. More pathetic bunch of women I’ve never seen.

Bristow                          Yah...Hewitt let’s change the subject. Wse haven’t come here to talk shop. I could tell by your furtive manner that you have a question to ask. Let’s have it

Hewitt                            Mr. Bristow, I haven’t been here long enough to know but at this firm does everyone give each other Christmas presents?

Bristow                          There’s nothing laid down about it. It depends on what sort of mood you’re in.

Hewitt                            What sort of thing would I get for Mr. Jones?

Bristow                          Ah let’s see. Pocket calculator perhaps a briefcase, umbrella or a pair of socks. Or one of those felt-tip pens you get from the stores downstairs.

Hewitt                            That’s more the sort of thing I had in mind.

Bristow                          I’ve already got him one. Mine’s in blue but you can get them in red.

Hewitt                            Oh well red it is. Well excuse me, I’m off to mingle. Merry Christmas.

Bristow                          Merry Christmas.

Sunman                          Mr Bristow

Bristow                          Oh, ah ha…

Sunman                          I’m suddenly getting in a Christmas mood. The Chester-Perry Glee Club are on the pavement down there singing Christmas carols.

Bristow                          Quick the fire bucket. We may catch them before they move on.

Sunman                          Don’t be like that. It’s peace on earth time. Wouldn’t it be romantic if we had a white Christmas?

Bristow                          It certainly would. I love throwing snowballs at people. I seldom miss. S – plat. And making slides on the pavement. Wheee! Ker- ash!

Sunman                          Yes. Quite. Merry Christmas. moving off

Bristow                          Merry Christmas to you

Bristow (VO)                 It’s shaping up to be a great party. When I mingle I like to mix with the accounts department. There’s always a hope that some of the money will rub off on to you. Atkins, on my right, even though he’s their boss [note 1], the only one I know.

Bristow                          Atkins. Ah you people in accounts throw excellent parties.

Atkins                            Bristow! I needed something to cheer myself up, I’ve had a bad day. The kids that have started here straight from school. Their first wage-packets. It’s always sad. The tears that come into their eyes when they see their first stoppages.

Bristow                          But it must have its good side. I would enjoy knowing exactly how much everyone in the firm takes home.

Atkins                            Even that has its drawbacks. If you know how much everyone is earning you tend to worry about whether they’re living beyond their means or not. If, for example, I thought you had contributed anything at all to the cost of this delicious fruit punch we are drinking, I would probably have a sleepness night.

Bristow                          Would you like more?

Atkins                            I’d love a little more. Oh, whoa, whoa. Good lord, what on earth is Jones doing. He’s letting one of the directors in, and he’s bringing him over here.

Jones                             fading up Very kind of you to join us Mr. Moorcroft.

Moorcroft                      Very nice of you to ask me, Mr. Jones.

Jones                             If you’ll follow me, I’ll introduce you to two of the gang.

Moorcroft                      Thank you

Jones                             Allow me to introduce you to Mr. Atkins of Accounts, and Bristow. This is Mr. Moorcroft

Moorcroft                      Very pleased to meet you Mr. Atkins. I know you by reputation. Merry Christmas. And Mr. Bristow and I have met before. When I popped my head round your door to speak to Mr. Fudge the other day. Merry Christmas Mr. Bristow

Bristow                          Merry Christmas to you sir

Moorcroft                      Speaking of Mr. Fudge, I don’t see him here. Is  he, ah, detained elsewhere or is he one of those heads of department that doesn’t approve of office get-togethers.

Jones                             laughing How shall I put it? Mr. Fudge is not a great socialiser, sir

Atkins                            You can say that again. We had him and his wife round to dinner last month, he hardly said a word the whole evening fades out still chatting

Jones                             Well Bristow I told you I had a surprise up my sleeve and you didn’t believe me. Perhaps next time you’ll…Good heavens. Over there. Coming in through the door. It’s the girl in the yellow overcoat. Am I dreaming? Excuse me. Gangway, stand aside.

Moorcroft                      I’m afraid it’s me that has to be excused. The lady in the yellow overcoat is my wife.

Bristow                                    Oh really?

Moorcroft                      She’s been doing some modeling in town this week and as we’re going to the theatre tonight I arranged to meet her here. I hope Mr Jones doesn’t mind. Over here! Here, hello precious, I’d like you to meet these…

Mrs. Moorcroft              Darling, that man by the door , he’s the one I was telling you about. The one that stares. Call the police darling. Do something.

Moorcroft                      What are you saying

Mrs. Moorcroft              The man by the door, that’s him. The stalker

Moorcroft                      Stalker? Is it now. Look, somebody get a chair. Keep calm darling

Mrs. Moorcroft              hysterial The police, call the police.

Moorcroft                      Just a minute darling, I know the man. Let me have a word before we call the police.

Mrs. Moorcroft              breathless Oh he’s coming over here.

Jones                             Has no-one offered the lady a drink.

Moorcroft                      Jones, I’d like a word with you. In private.

Jones                             I don’t understand

Moorcroft                      Follow me

Jones                             fading er what’s going on

Moorcroft                      Jones.

Mrs. Moorcroft              Be careful darling

Atkins                            Easy does it Mrs Moorcroft, sit down. I’ll get you a drink

Mrs. Moorcroft              I’ve been terrified. I saw him on the platform at Gufnell Park and there he was undressing me with his eyes.

Atkins                            Jones??

Bristow (VO)                 There was no need to stand and listen to her incoherent story. I hate hearing my friends being maligned when there is no-one there to defend them. Discreetly I slipped away to join the punch bowl. It was as I was struggling for possession of the ladle that I felt my elbow being gripped.

Bristow                          splutters Wha…

Fenella                           Hello. Nice to meet you.

Bristow                          I…what…ah Cruella. The lady of the telephone. It’s nice to meet you. I hope you’ve remembered our appointment with the miseltoe?

Fenlla                             I did indeed…

Bristow                          Let’s get at it then. Where is it?

Fenella                           I wasn’t allowed to bring it

Bristow                          Not allowed to bring it!. NOT ALLOWED.Whatever happened to women’s lib? Did Mrs. Pankhurst wage her battle for freedom in vain? Not allowed! Nonsense. Who wouldn’t allow it? A jealous boyfriend, an angry lover?

Witherspoon                  An irate husband. She flirts with you and all does she? She flirts with everyone. She ought to be called Flirtella. It’s that voice of hers. Drives me wild that voice.

Fenella                           Don’t be daft. This is my husband, Reginald

Bristow                          Ah – I consider it an honour and a privilege to meet you sir .

Fenella                           This gentleman works here

Witherspoon                  Is that a fact? If you work here, you must know whether there’s a Mr. Bristow in the room.

Bristow                          I am Bristow.

Witherspoon                  I’m Witherspoon.

Bristow                          Not Witherspoon of Gun and Fames?

Witherspoon                  That’s right.

Bristow                          Order number they recite together  DB49265. both laugh

Witherspoon                  You’re nothing like I imagined.

Bristow                          No, neither are you. I had you down as a little thin man.

Witherspoon                  And I had you down as a big fat chap. Both laugh

Bristow                          Do you realize we’ve been writing to each other for nearly a year and we’re still no nearer a solution.

Witherspoon                  Ah, but we are

Bristow                          We are?

Witherspoon                  It can all be done by a few strokes of the pen.

Bristow                          It can??

Witherspoon                  Yes – and if we had it here now…

Bristow                          My office is across the corridor. The order is on my desk. Would you, could you…

Witherspoon                  Lead on, MacBristow. Both laugh

Sfx                                 Link music

Bristow (VO)                 And in that self-same moment, the bells of the seaman’s mission on the corner, donated by Sir Reginald Chester-Perry, our beloved firm’s founder began to chime their seasonal greetings. And to the strains of “tis the season to be jolly” Mr. Witherspoon and I made our way over to the Buying Department to sort out pause order number DB 49265. ecstatic sigh And as someone said to someone in a book I read somewhere, a merry Christmas to one and all.

Sfx                                 Closing music

Announcer                     Bristow was written by Frank Dickens and featured Michael Williams as Bristow, Rodney Bewes as Jones, Owen Brenman as  Hewitt, Dora Bryan as Mrs. Purdy,  Kate Odey as Miss Sunman, Jon Glover as Fudge and Atkins, Robert Bathhurst as Moorcroft, Anna Mountford as Fenella, Simon Schatzberger as the post-boy, Peter Kelly as Witherspoon and Zena Eet [note 2} as the yellow overcoat girl. The music was composed and performed by John Whitehall. The sound recording was by Graham Harper, the director Neil Cargill.


                                      1. Atkins is not the head of Accounts in any of the strips.

                                      2 I’m sure this is not the correct spelling