Holy Grail Working Script Part 2

Notes about this script:
This is the 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail' screenplay as it appeared on March 20, 1974. It's a 'working' version of the script., NOT the final script that was filmed. In reading this, you'll be able to see the creative process at work. Many of the scenes were altered from the way they were originally written and others disappeared entirely. Other bits, including some of the funniest and most quoted lines from the film were written into this version of the script, and others were added in later on during filming. I've color-coded the changes so you can follow them more easily.

Some of the key points to watch out for: The 'King Brian the Wild' scene (and several characters that appeared only in that scene) disappeared entirely. A few other minor characters, like Sir Gawain, also were eliminated. The scene in which Sir Robin meets the 3-headed Knight was extensively re-written. The 'shrubbery', 'Knights of Ni' and 'Bridge of Death' scenes also were changed quite a lot from how they were originally planned. One rather famous change that doesn't appear here is the 'Directors Cut' of the Castle Anthrax scene. That wasn't included in this version of the script, so I didn't add it.

I've resisted adding this script onto the site for over a year now because I know I'm going to get flooded with e-mails from clueless newbies (most from AOL probably) trying to get me to fix the errors in this script because their version of the movie is different. REMEMBER! This is not the way the film was shot. A lot of things were changed between this version and the final screenplay. Many lines were changed, added, eliminated or were said by different characters. The staging was altered from the directions contained here. DO NOT e-mail me with things like 'You have the Black Knight scene wrong. Fix it!!' This will merely prove just how ignorant you truly are.

. BLACK: Regular text. The way the script was originally written
. GREY: Originally written into the script, but crossed out by this time.
. GREEN: Not included in the original draft. Had been pencilled in by this version.
. PINK: Staging directions
. ORANGE: Scenes


[From inside we see GALAHAD enter, wiping the rain from his eyes, and turn as the door crashes behind him. GALAHAD turns to the door reacting to the fact he is trapped.]


[GALAHAD turns back. We see from his POV the lovely ZOOT standing by him smiling enchantingly and a number of equally delectable GIRLIES draped around in the seductively poulticed room. They look at him smilingly and wave.]


ZOOT: Welcome, gentle Sir knight, welcome to the Castle Anthrax.

GALAHAD: The Castle Anthrax?

ZOOT: Yes. It's not a very good name, is it? But we are nice and we shall attend to your every ... every need!

GALAHAD: Er ... You are the keepers of the Holy Grail?

ZOOT: The what? But you are tired and you must rest awhile. Midget! Crapper!


ZOOT: Prepare a bed for our guest.

MIDGET AND CRAPPER: (grovelling with delight) Oh thank you, Zoot, thank you, thank you.

ZOOT: Away varletesses! (to GALAHAD) The beds here are warm and soft and very, very big.

GALAHAD: Well, look er, I ...

ZOOT: What is your name, handsome knight?

GALAHAD: Er ... Sir Galahad... the Chaste.

ZOOT: Mine is Zoot. Just Zoot (she is very close to him for a moment) But come.

[She turns away and leads him towards a door leading to a corner leading to the bedchamber.]

GALAHAD: Well Look, I'm afraid I really ought to be ...

ZOOT: Sir Galahad!!

[There is a gasp from the other GIRLS]

ZOOT: You would not be so ungallant as to refuse our hospitality.

[GALAHAD looks at the other GIRLS. They are clearly on the verge of being offended.]

GALAHAD: Well ...

ZOOT: (she moves off and GALAHAD unwillingly follows) I'm afraid our life must seem very dull and quiet compared to yours. We are but eightscore young blondes, all between sixteen and nineteen-and-a-half, cut off in this castle, with no one to protect us. Oooh. It is a lonely life ... bathing ... dressing ... undressing ... making exciting underwear....

[They reach the end of the corridor and enter the bedchamber. ZOOT turns]

ZOOT: We are just not used to handsome knights... (she notices him limping) But you are wounded!

GALAHAD: No, It's nothing!

ZOOT: You must see the doctors immediately. (she claps again) You must lie down.

[She almost forces him to lie on the bed as PIGLET and WINSTON enter the room. They are equally beautiful and dressed exotically. They approach GALAHAD.]

PIGLET: Well, what seems to be the trouble?

GALAHAD: They're doctors?

ZOOT: They have a basic medical training, yes. Now you must try to rest. Dr. Winston! Dr. Piglet! Practice your art!!

WINSTON: Try to relax.

GALAHAD: No look, really, this isn't nescess ...

PIGLET: We must examine you.

GALAHAD: There's nothing wrong with ... that.

PIGLET: (slightly irritated) Please ... we are doctors.

[ZOOT reappears. GALAHAD tries for one brief moment to relax. Then there is a sharp boing from the lower part of his armour. WINSTON glances quickly in the appropriate direction as GALAHAD sits up and starts getting off the bed and collecting his armour, saying:]

GALAHAD: No, no, this cannot be. I am sworn to chastity!

PIGLET: Back to your bed! At once!

GALAHAD: I'm sorry, I must go.

[GALAHAD hurries to the door and pushes through it. As he leaves the room we CUT TO the reverse to show that he is now in a room full of bathing and romping GIRLIES, all innocent, wide-eyed and beautiful. They smile enchantingly at him as he tries to keep walking without being diverted by the lovely sights assaulting his eyeballs. He nods to them stiffly once or twice and then his eye catches a particularly stunning YOUNG LADY. He visibly gulps with repressed emotion and cannot resist saying:]

GALAHAD: Good evening ... Ah, Zoot! Er ...

DINGO: No, I am Zoot's identical twin sister, Dingo.

GALAHAD: Oh. Well, I'm sorry, but I must leave immediately.

DINGO: (very dramatically) No! Oh, no! Bad ... bad Zoot.

GALAHAD: Er, why?

DINGO: She has been lying again ... she told us you had promised to stay for ever!


GALAHAD: Oh ... will you excuse me?

DINGO: Where are you going?

GALAHAD: I have seen the Grail! I have seen it - here in this castle!

DINGO: No! Oh, no! Bad ... bad Zoot!

GALAHAD: What is it?

DINGO: Bad, wicked, naughty Zoot! She has been setting fire to our beacon, which - I have just remembered - is grail-shaped ... It is not the first time we've had this problem.

GALAHAD: It's not the real Grail?

DINGO: Wicked wicked Zoot ... she is a bad person and she must pay the penalty. And here in Castle Anthrax, we have but one punishment ... you must tie her down on a bed ... and spank her. Come!

GIRLS: A spanking! A spanking!

DINGO: You must spank her well and after you have spanked her you may deal with her as you like and then ... spank me.

AMAZING: And spank me!

STUNNER: And me.

LOVELY: And me.

DINGO: Yes, yes, you must give us all a good spanking!

GIRLS: A spanking. A spanking. There is going to be a spanking tonight.

DINGO: And after the spanking ... the oral sex.

GALAHAD: Oh, dear! Well, I...

GIRLS: The oral sex ... The oral sex.

GALAHAD: Well, I suppose I could stay a BIT longer.

[At this moment there is a commotion behind and SIR LAUNCELOT and CONCORD, possibly plus GAWAIN, burst into the bathing area with swords drawn and form themselves round SIR GALAHAD threatening the GIRLS.]

LAUNCELOT: Sir Galahad!

GALAHAD: Oh ... hello ...



LAUNCELOT: You are in great peril.

DINGO: No he isn't

LAUNCELOT: Silence! Foul temptress!

GALAHAD: Well, she's got a point.

LAUNCELOT: We'll cover your escape!

GALAHAD: Look - I'm fine!

GIRLS: Sir Galahad!

[He threatens DINGO.]

GALAHAD: No. Look, I can tackle this lot single-handed!

GIRLS: Yes, yes, let him tackle us single-handed!

LAUNCELOT: Come Sir Galahad, quickly!

GALAHAD: No, really, I can cope. I can handle this lot easily!

DINGO: Yes, let him handle us easily.

LAUNCELOT: No sir. Quick!

[He starts pulling GALAHAD away.]

GALAHAD: No, please. Please! I can defeat them! There's only a hundred and fifty of them.

GIRLS: He will beat us easily. We haven't a chance.

DINGO: Oh shit!

[By now LAUNCELOT and CONCORDE have hustled GALAHAD out of the bathing area and are running through the outside door.]

LAUNCELOT: We were in the nick of time. You were in great peril.

GALAHAD: (dragging his feet somewhat) I don't think I was.

LAUNCELOT: You were, Sir Galahad, You were in terrible peril.

GALAHAD: Look, let me go back in there and face the peril?

LAUNCELOT: It's too perilous.

[They are right outside the castle by now.]

GALAHAD: Look, it's my duty as a knight to try and sample as much peril as I can.

LAUNCELOT: No, no, we must find the Grail.

[The thunderstorm is over. A bunch of PAGES are tethered to a tree with more MEN waiting. Their tethers are untied and the PAGES start banging away with their coconuts. GALAHAD is swept along with them as they ride off.]

GALAHAD: Oh, let me go and have a bit of peril?

LAUNCELOT: No. It's unhealthy.

GALAHAD: ... I bet you're gay.

LAUNCELOT: No, I'm not.

[GAWAIN or CONCORDE gives a knowing glance at LAUNCELOT. VOICE comes in as they ride off.]

VOICE OVER: Sir Launcelot had saved Galahad from almost certain temptation but they were still lost, far from the goal of their search for the Holy Grail. Only Bedevere and King Arthur himself, riding day and night, had made any progress.


[ARTHUR and BEDEVERE in the depths of a dark forest with an old blind SOOTHSAYER. He lies in a broken down old woodman's hut.]

ARTHUR: And this 'Enchanter' of whom you speak, he has seen the grail?

[The SOOTHSAYER laughs forbiddingly, adding to the general spookiness of this encounter.]

ARTHUR: Where does he live? (he stares into the blind eyes of the OLD MAN) Old man ... where does he live?

SOOTHSAYER: He knows of a cave ... a cave which no man has entered.

ARTHUR: And ... the Grail ... The Grail is there?

[The BLIND MAN laughs again to himself.]

SOOTHSAYER: There is much danger ... for beyond the cave lies the Gorge of Eternal Peril which no man has ever crossed.

ARTHUR: But the Grail ... where is the Grail!?

SOOTHSAYER: Seek you the Bridge of Death ...

ARTHUR: The Bridge of Death? ... which leads to the Grail?

[The OLD MAN laughs sinisterly and mockingly. They look down and he is gone. They stand up. Suddenly behind them is a noise. They turn sharply in the door of the little hut is a cat. It miaows and is gone. They slowly back out of the hut. As they touch the doorposts they just flake away into dust. The whole hut is rotten. It collapses.]

[Spooky music. They are thoroughly shaken, and they begin to hear noises of people moving in the forest around them. They start to back cautiously away from the hut, suddenly there is heavy footfall behind them. They turn in fear and:]

[Sudden CUT TO BIG CLOSE-UP of a frightening black-browed evil face.]


[ARTHUR and BEDEVERE recoil in abject fear. PATSY rears up with coconuts.]

ARTHUR: (to PATSY) Easy ... boy, easy ...

ARTHUR: (peers into the darkness) Who are you?

SIX VOICES FROM DARKNESS: NI! ... Peng! ... Neeee ... Wom!

[An extraordinary TALL KNIGHT in all black (possibly John with Mike on his shoulders) walks out from the dark trees. He is extremely fierce and gruesome countenance. He walks towards KING ARTHUR and PATSY, who are wazzing like mad. (Salopian slang, meaning very scared. almost to the point of wetting oneself, e.g. before an important football match or prior to a postering. Salopian slang meaning a beating by the school praeposters. Sorry about the Salopian slant to this stage direction - Ed.)]

ARTHUR: (wazzed stiff) Who are you?

TALL KNIGHT: We are the Knights Who Say 'Ni'!

BEDEVERE: No! Not the Knights Who Say 'Ni'!

TALL KNIGHT: The same!

ARTHUR: Who are they?

TALL KNIGHT: We are the keepers of the sacred words. NI ... Peng ... and Neee ... Wom!

BEDEVERE: Those who hear them seldom live to tell the tale.

TALL KNIGHT: The Knights Who Say 'Ni'! demand a sacrifice.

ARTHUR: (to the TALL KNIGHT) Knights Who Say 'Ni' ... we are but simple travellers. We seek the Enchanter who lives beyond this wood and who ...


ARTHUR: (recoiling) Oh!


ARTHUR: (he cowers in fear) Oh!

TALL KNIGHT: We shall say Ni! again to you if you do not appease us.

ARTHUR: All right! What do you want?

TALL KNIGHT: We want ... a shrubbery!

ARTHUR: A what?

TALL KNIGHT: Ni! Ni! Ni ... Peng ... Nee ... Wum!

[The PAGES rear and snort and rattle their coconuts.]

ARTHUR: All right! All right! ... No more, please. We will find you a shrubbery ...

TALL KNIGHT: You must return here with a shrubbery or else ... you shall not pass through this wood alive!

ARTHUR: Thanks you, Knights Who Say Ni! You are fair and just. We will return with a shrubbery.

TALL KNIGHT: One that looks nice.

ARTHUR: Of course.

TALL KNIGHT: And not too expensive.

ARTHUR: Yes ...

TALL KNIGHT: Now - go!

[ARTHUR and BEDEVERE turn and ride off.]


[Shouts of 'Ni' and 'Peng' ring behind them.]


[CUT BACK TO the HISTORIAN lying in the glade. His WIFE, who has been kneeling beside him, rises as two POLICE PATROLMEN enter the glade. They bend over her HUSBAND. One takes out a notebook.]

[CUT TO and animated title - 'The Tale of Sir Launcelot']


[A young, quite embarrassingly unattractive PRINCE is gazing out of a castle window. His FATHER stands beside him. He is also looking out. The PRINCE wears a long white undershirt (like a night shirt).]

FATHER: One day, lad, all this will be yours ...

PRINCE: What - the curtains?

FATHER: No! Not the curtains, lad ... All that ... (indicates the vista from the window) all that you can see, stretched out over the hills and valleys ... as far as the eye can see and beyond ... that'll be your kingdom, lad.

PRINCE: But, Mother ...

FATHER: Father, lad.

PRINCE: But, Father, I don't really want any of that.

FATHER: Listen, lad, I built this kingdom up from nothing. All I had when I started was swamp ... other kings said I was daft to build a castle on a swamp, but I built it all the same ... just to show 'em. It sank into the swamp. So I built a another one ... that sank into the swamp. I built another one ... That fell over and THEN sank into the swamp .... So I built another ... and that stayed up. ... And that's what your gonna get, lad: the most powerful kingdom in this island.

PRINCE: But I don't want any of that, I'd rather ...

FATHER: Rather what?

PRINCE: I'd rather ... just ... sing ...


FATHER: You're not going to do a song while I'm here!

[Music stops.]

FATHER: Listen, lad, in twenty minutes you're going to be married to a girl whose father owns the biggest tracts of open land in Britain.

PRINCE: I don't want land.

FATHER: Listen, Alice ...

PRINCE: Herbert.

FATHER: Herbert ... We built this castle on a bloody swamp, we need all the land we can get.

PRINCE: But I don't like her.

FATHER: Don't like her? What's wrong with her? She's beautiful ... she's rich ... she's got huge tracts of land ...

PRINCE: I know ... but ... I want the girl that I marry to have ... a certain ... special ... something ...


FATHER: Cut that out!

[Music cuts off abruptly.]

FATHER: You're marrying Princess Lucky, so you'd better get used to the idea! Guards!

[TWO GUARDS enter and stand to attention on either side of the door One of them has hiccoughs and does so throughout.]

FATHER: Make sure the Prince doesn't leave this room until I come and get him.

FIRST GUARD: Not ... to leave the room ... even if you come and get him.

FATHER: No. Until I come and get him.


FIRST GUARD: Until you come and get him, we're not to enter the room.

FATHER: No ... You stay in the room and make sure he doesn't leave.

FIRST GUARD: ... and you'll come and get him.


FATHER: That's Right.

FIRST GUARD: We don't need to do anything, apart from just stop him entering the room.

FATHER: Leaving the room.

FIRST GUARD: Leaving the room ... yes.

FATHER: Got it?


[FATHER makes to leave.]

FIRST GUARD: Er ... if ... we ... er ...


FIRST GUARD: If we ... er ... (trying to remember what he was going to say)

FATHER: Look, it's simple. Just stay here and make sure he doesn't leave the room.


FATHER: Right?

FIRST GUARD: Oh, I remember ... can he ... er ... can he leave the room with us?

FATHER: (carefully) No .... keep him in here ... and make sure he doesn't ...

FIRST GUARD: Oh, yes! we'll keep him in here, obviously. But if he had to leave and we were with him.

FATHER: No ... just keep him in here.

FIRST GUARD: Until you, or anyone else ...

FATHER: No, not anyone else - just me.

FIRST GUARD: Just you ...


FIRST GUARD: Get back.

FATHER: Right.

FIRST GUARD: Okay. Fine. We'll remain here until you get back.

FATHER: And make sure he doesn't leave.


FATHER: Make sure he doesn't leave.

FIRST GUARD: The Prince ... ?

FATHER: Yes ... make sure ...

FIRST GUARD: Oh yes, of course! I thought you meant him! (he points to the other GUARD and laughs to himself) You know it seemed a bit daft me havin' to guard him when he's a guard ...

FATHER: Is that clear?


FIRST GUARD: Oh, yes. That's quite clear. No problems.

[FATHER pulls open the door and makes to leave the room. The GUARDS follow.]

FATHER: (to the GUARDS) Where are you going?

FIRST GUARD: We're coming with you.

FATHER: No, I want you to stay here and make sure he doesn't leave the room until I get back.

FIRST GUARD: Oh, I see, Right.

[They take up positions on either side of the door.]

PRINCE: But, Father.

FATHER: Shut your noise, you, and get that suit on!

[He points to a wedding suit on a table or chair. FATHER throws one last look at the BOY and turns, goes out and slams the door.]

[The PRINCE slumps onto window seat, looking forlornly out of the window. MUSIC INTRO to song ...]

[The door flies open, the music cuts off and FATHER pokes his head in.]

FATHER: And no singing!


FATHER: (as he goes out.) Go and have a drink of water.

[FATHER slams the door again. The GUARDS take up their positions. The SON gazes out of the window again ... sighs ... thinks ... a thought strikes him ... he gets up, crosses to his desk and scribbles a quick note and impales it on an arrow ... takes a bow down from the wall ... and fires the arrow out of the window.]

[He looks wetly defiant at the GUARDS, who smile pleasantly.]


[CUT TO the middle of the forest. SIR LAUNCELOT is riding along with a trusty servant, CONCORDE.]

LAUNCELOT: And ... o v e r ... we go!

[He strides over a big tree trunk ... his 'horse' does run and jump ...]

LAUNCELOT: (enthusiastically) Well taken, Concorde!

CONCORDE: Thank you, sir, most kind ...

LAUNCELOT: And another!

[CONCORDE misses a beat.]

LAUNCELOT: Steady! Good ... and the last one ...

[CONCORDE does the run-up with the coconuts. He does the break for the leap ... there is a thwack. SIR LAUNCELOT is waiting for the horse to land.]

CONCORDE: Message for you, sir.

[He falls forward revealing the arrow with the note.]

LAUNCELOT: Concorde - speak to me.

[He realises he might be in danger and so starts to crawl off ... when he notices the note. He takes it out and reads it.]

LAUNCELOT: (reading) 'To whoever finds this note - I have been imprisoned by my father who wishes me to marry against my will. Please please please please come and rescue me. I am in the tall tower of Swamp Castle.'

[SIR LAUNCELOT's eyes light up with holy inspiration.]

LAUNCELOT: At last! A call! A cry of distress ... (he draws his sword, and turns to CONCORDE) Concorde! Brave, Concorde ... you shall not have died in vain!

CONCORDE: I'm not quite dead, sir ...

LAUNCELOT: (a little deflated) Oh, well ... er brave Concorde! You shall not have been fatally wounded in vain!

CONCORDE: I think I could pull through, sir.

LAUNCELOT: Good Concorde ... stay here and rest awhile.

[He makes to leap off dramatically.]

CONCORDE: I think I'll be all right to come with you, sir.

LAUNCELOT: I will send help, brave friend, as soon as I have accomplished this most daring, desperate adventure in this genre.

CONCORDE: Really, I feel fine, sir.

LAUNCELOT: Farewell, Concorde!

CONCORDE: It just seems silly ... me lying here.

[SIR LAUNCELOT plunges off into the forest.]


[Two hanging banners one each side of the gate with the monogram: 'H & L'.]

[TWO SENTRIES with spears ... slightly weddingly ... red ribbons on their right spears. We can hear from inside revelry and celebration music.]

[We hear LAUNCELOT's footsteps. The TWO SENTRIES are watching him. One of them raises his hand.]

FIRST SENTRY: Halt, friend ...

[LAUNCELOT leaps into SHOT with a mighty cry and runs the GUARD through and hacks him to the floor. Blood. Swashbuckling music (perhaps). LAUNCELOT races through into the castle screaming.]


[He looks down at his mutilated comrade.]


[CUT TO inside of the castle grounds or courtyard.]

[In the sunlight beautifully dressed WEDDING GUESTS are arriving. Converging on a doorway. A country dance in progress.]

[SIR LAUNCELOT: rushes towards them.]

[CUT TO HAND-HELD CLOSE-UPS as he charges through the crowd, hacking right and left a la Errol Flynn at all who come in his way.]

[He fights his way through the country dance. Blood. Shrieks. Bemused looks of GUESTS - not horror so much as uncomprehending surprise.]

[Possibly Errol Flynn music.]

[One COUNTRY DANCER is left holding just a hand.]

[Right and left the GUESTS crumple in pools of blood as he fights his way through the door and into the main hall.]


[CUT TO interior of main hall. Sound of busy preparations. MEN setting up huge hogsheads of wine. MEN putting up last minute flower arrangements. COOKS bearing huge trays of food, pies, suckling pigs, a swan, boar's head, etc.]

[The BRIDE being dressed by several ATTENDANTS. FATHER ordering SERVANTS around - organizing the STEWARDS etc.]

[SIR LAUNCELOT bursts through the middle of them, slashing heroically, hacking, wounding and killing. Again fairly CLOSE-UP chaotic SHOTS. We see GUESTS stagger back wounded - a COOK bites the dust, etc.]

[SIR LAUNCELOT eventually reaches the staircase ... runs up it and into a small door.]


[CUT TO SIR LAUNCELOT running up spiral staircase. He reaches the door of the PRINCE's room. He flings it open.]

FIRST GUARD: Ah! Now ... we're not allowed to ...

[SIR LAUNCELOT runs him through, grabs his spear and stabs the other guard who collapses in a heap. Hiccoughs quietly.]

[SIR LAUNCELOT runs to the window and kneels down in front of the PRINCE, averting his head.]

LAUNCELOT: Oh, fair one, behold your humble servant, Sir Launcelot, from the Court of Camelot. I have come to take you ... (he looks up for the first time and his voice trails away) away ... I'm terribly sorry ...

PRINCE: You got my note!

LAUNCELOT: Well ... yes ...

PRINCE: You've come to rescue me?

LAUNCELOT: Well ... yes ... but I hadn't realised ...

PRINCE: (his eyes light up) I knew that someone would come. I knew ... somewhere out there ... there must be ...

[MUSIC INTRO to song.]

FATHER: (suddenly looking in the door) Stop that!

[Music cuts out.]

[FATHER sees SIR LAUNCELOT still kneeling before his son.]

FATHER: Who are you?

PRINCE: I'm ... your son ...

FATHER: Not you.

LAUNCELOT: (half standing self-consciously) I'm ... er ... Sir Launcelot, sir.

PRINCE: He's come to rescue me, father.

LAUNCELOT: (embarrassed) Well, let's not jump to conclusions ...

FATHER: Did you kill all those guards?

LAUNCELOT: Yes ... I'm very sorry ...

FATHER: They cost fifty pounds each!

LAUNCELOT: Well, I'm really am most awfully sorry but I ... I can explain everything ...

PRINCE: Don't be afraid of him, Sir Launcelot. I've got a rope here all ready ...

[He throws a rope out of the window which is tied to a pillar in the room. He looks rather pleased with himself that he has got it all ready.]

FATHER: You killed eight wedding guests in all!

LAUNCELOT: Er, Well ... the thing is ... I thought your son was a lady.

FATHER: I can understand that.

PRINCE: (half out of the window) Hurry, brave Sir Launcelot!

FATHER: (to his SON) Shut up! (to LAUNCELOT) You only killed the bride's father - that's all -

LAUNCELOT: Oh dear, I didn't really mean to...

FATHER: Didn't mean to? You put your sword right through his head!

LAUNCELOT: Gosh - Is he all right?

FATHER: You even kicked the bride in the chest! It's going to cost me a fortune!

LAUNCELOT: I can explain ... I was in the forest ... riding north from Camelot ... when I got this note.

FATHER: Camelot? Are you from Camelot?

[The PRINCE's head peeps over the windowsill.]

PRINCE: Hurry!

LAUNCELOT: I am, sir. I am a Knight of King Arthur.

FATHER: 'Mm ... very nice castle, Camelot ... very good pig country....


PRINCE: (out of vision) I am ready, Sir Launcelot.

FATHER: Do you want to come and have a drink?

LAUNCELOT: Oh ... that's awfully nice.

PRINCE: (loud and shrill) I am ready!

[As they walk past the rope, the FATHER nonchalantly cuts with his knife. there is no sound except after a pause a slight squeal from very far away as the PRINCE makes contact with the ground.]

LAUNCELOT: It's just that when I'm in this genre, I tend to get over-excited and start to leap around and wave my sword about ... and ...

FATHER: Oh, don't worry about that ... Tell me ... doesn't Camelot own that stretch of farmland up by the mountains?

[He puts his arm round LAUNCELOT's shoulders as they go though the door.]


[CUT TO the great hall. GUESTS wounded and bloody, are tending to the dead and injured, sighs and groans, the PRINCESS in her white wedding dress is holding her chest and coughing blood. People dabbing the stains off her dress.]

[FATHER and SIR LAUNCELOT start to walk down the grand staircase. Talking to each other.]

[One of the GUESTS notices and points to SIR LAUNCELOT]

GUEST: There he is!

[As one man all remaining able-bodied MEN look up and make for the staircase, muttering angrily. SIR LAUNCELOT grabs his sword.]

FATHER: Hold it!

[But it is too lake. SIR LAUNCELOT cannot be stopped. With fearless abandon he throws himself into the CROWD and starts hacking and slashing. He has carved quite a number up before the FATHER can stop him and pulls him back onto the stairs. Renewed groans and cries.]

FATHER: (shouting above noise) Hold it! Please!

LAUNCELOT: Sorry! Sorry ... (with bitter self reproach) There you See ... I just got excited again and I got carried away ... I'm ever so sorry. (to the CROWD) Sorry.

[CROWD kneeling round their wounded again. Moans etc.]

GUEST: He's killed the best man!

SECOND GUEST: (holding a limp WOMAN) He's killed my auntie.

FATHER: No, please! This is supposed to be a happy occasion! Let's not bicker and argue about who killed who ... We are here today to witness the union of two young people in the joyful bond of the holy wedlock. Unfortunately, one of them, my son Herbert, has just fallen to his death. (Murmurs from CROWD; the BRIDE smiles with relief, coughs.) But I don't want to think I've not lost a son ... so much as gained a daughter ... (Smattering of applause.) For, since the tragic death of her father ...

SHOUT FROM BACK: He's not quite dead!

FATHER: Since the fatal wounding of her father ...

SHOUT FROM BACK: I think He's getting better!

[FATHER nods discreetly to a SOLDIER standing to one side. The SOLDIER slips off. FATHER's eyes watch him move round to where the voice came from.]

FATHER: For ... since her own father ... who ... when he seemed about to recover ... suddenly felt the icy ... hand of death upon him.

[A scuffle at the back.]

SHOUT FROM BACK: Oh, he's died!

FATHER: I want his only daughter, from now onwards, to think of me as her old dad ... in a very real and legally binding sense. (Applause.) And I'm sure sure ... that the merger ... er ... the union between the Princess and the brave but dangerous Sir Launcelot of Camelot ...


[Gasp from the CROWD.]

CROWD: The dead Prince!

[There is CONCORDE holding 'THE DEAD PRINCE' in his arms.]

CONCORDE: He's not quite dead!

PRINCE: I feel much better.

FATHER: You fell out of the Tall Tower you creep!

PRINCE: I was saved at the last minute.


PRINCE: Well ... I'll tell you ...

[MUSIC INTRO to song. CONCORDE stands the SON on his feet and adopts a 'and now a number from my friend' pose.]

FATHER: Not like that!

[But the music doesn't stop and the CROWD starts to sing.]

CROWD: He's going to tell.

FATHER: Shut up!

CROWD: He's going to tell ...

FATHER: (screaming) Shut UP!

[As the song starts the FATHER tries yelling at them and eventually gives up. SIR LAUNCELOT joins CONCORDE in the CROWD.]

LAUNCELOT: We must escape. Quickly before the song.

CONCORDE: Come with me, sir.

LAUNCELOT: You're not right for this genre ... I must escape more dramatically.

CONCORDE: Quickly, sir, come this way!

LAUNCELOT: No! It's not right for my idiom. I must escape more ... more ...

CONCORDE: Dramatically, sir?

LAUNCELOT: Dramatically.

He's going to tell
He's going to tell
He's going to tell about his great escape.
Oh he fell a long long way
But he's here with us today
What a wonderful ... escape.

[CONCORDE goes. SIR LAUNCELOT runs back up the stairs, grabs a rope of the wall and swings out over the heads of the CROWD in a swashbuckling manner towards a large window. He stops just short of the window and is left swing pathetically back and forth.]

LAUNCELOT: Excuse me ... could somebody give me a push ...


[Toothless old CRONE by the roadside. ARTHUR and BEDEVERE and two PAGES ride up and draw up alongside the CRONE.]

ARTHUR: Is there anywhere where we could buy a shrubbery?

[The OLD CRONE crosses herself with a look of stark terror.]

CRONE: Who sent you?

ARTHUR: The Knights Who Say Ni!

CRONE: Aaaagh! (she looks around in rear) No! We have no shrubberies here.

BEDEVERE: Surely, there must be.

[ARTHUR restrains from threatening the LADY.]

ARTHUR: (aside) It will be not good to argue. These simple people are terrified of the Knights Who Say Ni!

CRONE: (she cowers) Ohhh!

[ARTHUR takes BEDEVERE further aside.]

ARTHUR: There is only one way to get the information we want ...

BEDEVERE: Send her a letter from a long way away?

ARTHUR: Er, no ... no, we must ...

BEDEVERE: Talk to her in funny voices?

ARTHUR: (slightly crossly) No ...

BEDEVERE: How about trying ourselves to a tree?

ARTHUR: (grittily) No. Our only hope is to make her as afraid of us as she is of the awful Knights Who Say Ni!

BEDEVERE: (sagely) Ah! Hit ourselves with a big rock ...

[He nods knowingly.]

ARTHUR: (tolerantly but firmly) No. Nothing we do to ourselves will frighten her as much as what we can do to her ...


ARTHUR: We must threaten to say 'Ni'!

BEDEVERE: (terror) Oh, no. They reapproach the OLD CRONE who is cowering more than ever.

ARTHUR: Listen, old crone! Unless you tell us where we can buy a shrubbery, my friend and I will ... we will say 'Ni!'

CRONE: Do your worst! I have heard the Knights say 'Ni'! in the night. I have heard the hideous Peng! and they have said 'Nee-wum'! to my sister but still I have not revealed ...

ARTHUR: Very well, old crone. Since you will not assist us voluntarily ... 'Ni'!

CRONE: No. Never. No shrubberies.



ARTHUR: No. Ni! More like this. 'Ni'!

BEDEVERE: Ni, ni, ni!

ARTHUR: It's not working. You're not doing it properly. Ni!


ARTHUR: That's it. Ni! Ni!

[A PASSER-BY on a horse is observing them.]

ROGER: Are you saying 'Ni' to that old woman?

ARTHUR: Erm, yes.

ROGER: Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say 'Ni' at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land! nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress at this point in time.

ARTHUR: Did you say shrubberies?

ROGER: Yes. Shrubberies are my trade. I am a shrubber. My name is Roger the Shrubber. I arrange, design, and sell shrubberies.

BEDEVERE: (rather aggressively, to ROGER) Ni!

ARTHUR: No. No. No!


[CUT TO the glade in the forest again.]

ARTHUR: Oh, Knights of Ni, here is your shrubbery. May we go now?

TALL KNIGHT: That is a good shrubbery. I like the laurels particularly - But there is one small problem.

ARTHUR: What is that?

TALL KNIGHT: We are now no longer the Knights Who Say Ni!



ONE KNIGHT: (whispers) Sorry.

TALL KNIGHT: We are now the Knights Who Go Neeeow ... wum ... ping!






TALL KNIGHT: Therefore ... we are no longer contractually bound by any agreements previously entered into by the Knights Who Say Ni!




TALL KNIGHT: Shut up! (to ARTHUR) Therefore, we must give you a test, a Test to satisfy the Knights who say Neeeow ... wum ... ping!

OTHERS: (terrific chorus) Neeeow ... wum ... ping!

ARTHUR: What is this test, Knights of N... (can't say it) ... Recently Knights of Ni!


TALL KNIGHT: Firstly. You must get us another shrubbery!

OTHER KNIGHTS: (half seen) More shrubberies! More shrubberies for the ex-Knights of Ni!

ARTHUR: Not another shrubbery -

TALL KNIGHT: When you have found the shrubbery, place the shrubbery here, beside this shrubbery ... only slightly higher, so you get a two-level effect with a path through the middle.

OTHER KNIGHTS: A path! A little path for the late Knights of Ni!

[Chorus of 'Ni! Ni!']

TALL KNIGHT: When you have found the shrubbery, then you must cut down the mightiest tree in the forest ... with a herring.

OTHER KNIGHTS: Yes! With a herring! With a herring! Cut down with a herring!

ARTHUR: We shall do no such thing ... let us pass!

TALL KNIGHT: Oh, please!

ARTHUR: Cut down a tree with a herring? It can't be done!

OTHER KNIGHTS: (they all recoil in horror) Oh!

TALL KNIGHT: Don't say that word.

ARTHUR: What word?

TALL KNIGHT: I cannot tell you. Suffice to say is one of the words the Knights of Ni! cannot hear!

ARTHUR: How can we not say the word, if you don't tell us what it is?

TALL KNIGHT: (cringing in fear) You said it again!

ARTHUR: What, 'is'?

TALL KNIGHT: (dismissively) No, no ... not 'is'!

OTHER KNIGHTS: Not 'is'! Not 'is'!

[Suddenly singing is heard from deep in the forest.]

SIR ROBIN'S SINGERS: Bravely good Sir Robin was not at all afraid To have his eyeballs skewered ...

TALL KNIGHT: (irritated) 'Is' is all right ... You wouldn't get far not saying 'Is'!

BEDEVERE: My liege, it's Sir Robin!

TALL KNIGHT: (covering his ears) You've said the word again!

[SIR ROBIN and his SINGERS appear in the clearing. The SINGERS are going on cheerfully as usual and ROBIN walks in front of them, continually embarrassed at their presence.]

SINGERS: ... and his kidneys burnt and his nipples skewered off ...

[ROBIN holds his hand up for silence.]

ARTHUR: Sir Robin!

[He shakes his hand warmly.]

ROBIN: My liege! It's good to have found you again ...

TALL KNIGHT: Now he's said the word!

ARTHUR: Where are you going good Sir Robin?

ROBIN'S SINGERS: (starting up again) He was going home ... he was giving up, He was throwing in the sponge.

ROBIN: (to SINGERS) Shut up! No ... er ... no ... I ... er ... I ... er ... I certainly wasn't giving up ... I was actually looking for the grail ... er thing ... in this forest.

ARTHUR: No ... it lies beyond this forest.

TALL KNIGHT: Stop saying the word!

OTHER KNIGHTS: Stop saying the word! The word we cannot hear! The word ...

ARTHUR: (losing his patience with the fearful KNIGHTS OF 'NI') Oh, stop it!

[Terrific confusion amongst the KNIGHTS OF 'NI, they roll on the ground covering their ears. The TALL KNIGHT remains standing trying to control his MEN.]

OTHER KNIGHTS: They're all saying the word ...

TALL KNIGHT: Stop saying it. AAAArghh! ... I've said it ...

OTHER KNIGHTS: You've said it! Aaaaarghhh! ... We've said it ... Wwe're all saying it.

[ARTHUR beckons to BEDEVERE and ROBIN and they pick their way through the helpless KNIGHTS OF 'NI' and away into the forest.]


[We CUT TO an almost subliminal shot of the HISTORIAN'S WIFE being shown into a police car, which then roars off out of the glade]

[CUT BACK to the forest. The Knights of 'NI' are slowly recovering. They get up.]

TALL KNIGHT: Well, At least We've got ONE shrubbery.

OTHER KNIGHTS: Yes, Yes ... We've Done very Well ... NI!

TALL KNIGHT: Ssh! I think somebody's coming. We'll get them to give us another shrubbery.

OTHER KNIGHTS: Good Idea. More shrubberies. As many as possible.

[Perhaps we start to TRACK BACK from the scene as they go on talking.]

TALL KNIGHT: What shall we call ourselves this time?

KNIGHT: How about 'The knights of Nicky-Nicky'?


[A Small group of PEASANTS are being shuffled into a group formation, at the apparent direction of someone behind the camera. A Few coughs as they shuffle together. a moment of silence. Then they burst into pleasant (melliflubus) song.]

When the trees do blossom full
and all the hills are green
Oh! Oh! We sing
hey! hey! We sing
our count....ry Song...

[A hail of arrow hits them and they crumple up. Sound of raucous laughter OFF CAMERA.]

[CUT TO Reveal a firing squad of ARCHERS kneeling not ten feet away from the group of SINGERS.]

[Sitting on the throne on a dais is KING BRIAN THE WILD. He is roaring with laughter. His court is slightly shabby - bearing all the marks of a faded richness. It is a court without women, and nobody does the washing or shaves very well. Perhaps there is washing however on the line over the castle. KING BRIAN'S ADVISERS stand around him. Everyone bears the signs of past injuries (Except for BRIAN himself) I.E. they have an arm in a sling or head bandaged; all the people at court, except for BRIAN have their left arm missing (possibly the result of some violent edict a few years back)]

KING BRIAN: HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HO! HO! HO! HO! HA! HA! HA! HA! Oh! Very good! Next!

FIRST ADVISER: (a Little uncomfortably - perhaps his arm is in a sling obviously giving him some pain) There are no more, Sir.

KING BRIAN: (grabbing him by the collar) What do you mean you filthy dog?

FIRST ADVISER: There are no more close harmony groups in the kingdom, Sir.

KING BRIAN: No more close harmony groups!!!

FIRST ADVISER: We have scoured the kingdom.

KING BRIAN: (lifting him bodily into the air and breaking his arm again slightly) You Miserable worm! you wretch! You Walking son of a dunghill keeper! Guards!

[Two Rather shabby looking GUARDS approach. (as everyone else they also have their left arms missing)]


KING BRIAN: GUARDS! Take him away and suspend him by his nostrils from the highest tree in the kingdom!

[The Guards grab him unmercifully and drag him off. He whines piteously.]

Back to Part One: Scene 1 to Scene 14

Forward to Part Three: Scene 29 to Scene 41