Hello. You have arrived at the vinceunlimited Sketches page which is for the amusing, clever and poltical sketches from the annals of my mind. In time this page will be full to the proverbial brim with all the sketches that are tied up in my filing system. As soon as I can untie the granny knot I'll put them here for all to see. Except the daft users who haven't got their contrast button sorted.
For instance, soon you’ll be able to wallow in my sketch about the man who goes into a police station to report himself as missing, the one where the postman ignores the sign on the gate that says ‘Beware of the Log’ and gets hit by a tree and the one in the library where an untidy section is labelled as the Non-Friction section. You might also read about the visual sketch set in a Blue Whale Fertilisation Clinic. On the door, or the back of the coat of a clinician, is listed 'Blue Whale IVF Facility'. He carries a huge sperm under his arm and approaches a woman leant backwards holding back a gigantic egg cell. He is about to shove it in between her legs and warns "Watch out, another deposit coming!”
Author: Vince Poynter Version 5.321 27 Jun 2021
First published in similar format: Version 1.01 Jan 2004
First published in this format: Version 5.048 1 Jan 2018
2021 website updates [see website page for full details]: Version 5.321 27 Jun 2021
It’s that time of year again where there are a lot of people booking their annual holidays. And whilst many are booking online some still resolutely rely on the personal service you can get from a High Street store.
Type: 3-4 minute sketch with 2 main actors, plus another, set in a Travel Agents shop. An assistant sits behind the desk in front of which is a vacant chair.
When booking a holiday it is not always best to just jump right in
[FX: DOOR OPENS]
A customer enters.
Customer: "Hello, I'm looking to buy an Ice Cream."
Assistant: "Well, this is a Travel Agent. There are no ice creams in here."
Customer: "But outside your signs clearly show 99."
Assistant: "That's our price board."
Customer: "OK. Then can I buy a holiday?"
Assistant: "Good. Then you have come to the right place."
Customer: The customer sits opposite the assistant. "So what can you offer?"
Assistant: "We have many options, I reckon nearly 100."
Customer: "So 99 then."
Customer: "So can I have a 99?"
Assistant: "That's an ice cream. As I explained, this is a Travel Agency."
Customer: "Thank goodness for that because I want to book a holiday."
Assistant: "Have you tried online? You could find hundreds and thousands online."
Customer: "Are you talking about ice creams now?"
Assistant: "No online holiday booking."
Customer: "Online? Online! I don't like online. I'm a strict offline person. Computers are confusing and I don't trust the sites. I'm worried about viruses."
Assistant: "But I could have a cold."
Customer: "I’m not surprised what with you spending all your time with ice creams?"
Assistant: "We don't sell ice creams."
Customer: "So you keep saying. Apart from that online pricing structure is confusing."
Assistant: "Well it's much simpler in this shop. All holidays are just £99."
Customer: "That seems incredibly good value."
Assistant: "Plus extras."
Customer: "Of course. Sorry, did you say Extras?"
Assistant: "And transfers."
Assistant: "And Flight Supplements."
Customer: "Supplements for what?"
Assistant: "You do require a seat don't you?"
Customer: "It’s the best way to fly in my limited experience."
Customer: "My favourite place."
Assistant: "Then there's the other extras."
Customer: "Other extras?"
Assistant: "Taxes, onboard meals, insurances, ID cards."
Customer: "Well, that is a lot of extras."
Assistant: "However, we do do a deal for all the supplements."
Customer: "How much?"
Customer: "That figures."
Assistant: "Or for the same price you could have three weeks in Iceland."
Customer: "In Iceland?"
Assistant: "Or two weeks in Morrisons if you prefer."
Assistant: "Or I could offer you one of our package deals."
Customer: "That sounds better. Where can I go to?"
Assistant: "To Columbia."
Customer: "Only Columbia?"
Assistant: "That's where you pick up the package."
Customer: "But what if I don't go abroad? Would that be cheaper? Could I take a staycation in this country?"
Assistant: "Still 99."
Customer: "Are you sure you're not talking ice cream?"
Assistant: "Don't start that again. 99 pounds."
Customer: "That's a lot of ice cream."
Assistant: "99 pounds to purchase any holiday."
Assistant: "Plus extras."
Customer: "Of course. I'm not sure though."
Assistant: "Wait there is another option. A virtual holiday."
Customer: "How does that work?"
Assistant: "I'll show you. Sit down here, shut your eyes. Are you ready for take off?" The assistant stands and walks behind the customer's chair.
Customer: "Well, err..."
Assistant: "Take off..." The assistant tips the customer's chair.
Customer: "Whoa! Stop tipping my chair."
Assistant: "And now you land and you are at the seaside. Can you smell the seashore?" The assistant takes off his socks and places them under the customer's nose.
Customer: "That’s just your socks."
Assistant: "Feel the sea breeze." The assistant blows in the face of the customer.
Customer: "Stop blowing on me."
Assistant: "The splash of the waves." The assistant flicks water on the customer from a glass.
Customer: "You can't just throw your water on me."
Assistant: "And now a camel ride." The assistant wobbles the customer's seat violently.
Customer: "Stop wobbling my seat."
Assistant: "Next you go to local bar and pick up a lover for a night of passion. Brace yourself!" The assistant starts unbuckling their trousers.
Customer: "Whoa! Hold on! That's enough. I'm out of here."
[FX: DOOR SLAMS SHUT]
[FX: DOOR REOPENS]
Manager: "Hi, thanks for looking after the shop. Did anyone come in while I was out?"
Assistant: "Nope. No one."
Manager: "OK. Here, I got you an ice cream for helping out."
Manager: "Why? What's with the funny face?"
You are welcome to use this sketch, on stage or video but credit and royalties must be given to Vince Poynter as the author. An invite to see it performed would also be welcomed, along with requests for more sketches, which can be scripted on any subject. Contact me for more information. On sketches, not for online ice cream sales.
Author: Vince Poynter First published here, Version 5.252 4 Feb 2019
This sketch was first presented to the BBC as part of the Newsjack radio submission process on 12 Feb 2017 but was not selected for broadcast
The photograph is of the author leaping into a pool in Mallorca, Spain around 1990
Type: 2-3 minute sketch with 3 actors, set in a meeting room.
Good, old fashioned, classic British cuisine using only the finest ingredients and prepared with such loving touches
Brexit negotiations are on the mind of many at the moment, with countless negotiation committees in session discussing the minutiae of details
Chairperson: "Thank you Ladies and Gentlemen, that was an excellent discussion about Brexit trade negotiations this morning but can I suggest we now take our break and convene for some well earned lunch."
2nd Person: "I agree. I'm feeling really hungry after all that and can't wait to tuck into a big plate of Spaghetti Bolognese."
Chairperson: "Whilst you still can I suppose?"
2nd Person: "Why? Is the menu changing?"
Chairperson: "Well. It will after Brexit."
2nd Person: "The menu?"
Chairperson: "Obviously. All the European foods won't be available after Brexit."
2nd Person: "That's hard."
Chairperson: "Yes. No more Spaghetti Bolognese. Nor Lasagne or Pizza come to that. Or Salami. Or Chorizo. And you can forget Danish pastries and Belgian chocolates. And give up on your German wine."
3rd Person: "Some advantages then."
2nd Person: "French Fries?"
Chairperson: "Nope. Not unless they accept our food trade in return."
2nd Person: "So no Danish bacon either."
3rd Person: "So it’s true then. Brexit does means breakfast."
2nd Person: "So what have we got that we can trade for this?"
3rd Person: "Well for a start there's our cheese."
Chairperson: "But the French already have a thousand cheeses."
3rd Person: "But not Cheddar."
2nd Person: "Do you think they'll negotiate on this? It all seems to be a bit one sided."
3rd Person: "Nonsense. By the time they realise they will have to give up all the great British dishes they'll be eating off our plate. As it were."
Chairperson: "So what exactly do we have to trade with? Yorkshire Beef and Cornish pasties?"
3rd Person: "Yes. And that's just the start. There's also..."
3rd Person: "You know. Everyday great British food. Like lamb."
2nd Person: "Half of which we get from New Zealand."
3rd Person: "Or there's... Oh this is hopeless we’ll have to send a memo to the cabinet."
Chairperson: "They won’t have a clue. You may as well just email the sofa."
2nd Person: "So, like the sofa you could say we are stuffed."
Chairperson: "Or more importantly we won’t be. Look what they can bring to the table. They have Schnitzels, Moussakas, Belgian Waffles, Sauerkraut, Duck a la Orange, Danish bacon, Paella, Irish stew, Goulash, Stollen cake, Stella Artois, Carlsberg. The list goes on."
2nd Person: "And if Scotland gets its way on independence you can add Whiskey, Salmon and deep fried Mars Bars to the list."
Chairperson: "And what have we got in return?"
3rd Person: "Tennent’s Lager and Werther’s Originals?"
You are welcome to use this sketch, on stage or video but credit and royalties must be given to Vince Poynter as the author. An invite to see it performed would also be welcomed, along with requests for more sketches, which can be scripted on any subject. Contact me at any time of the day or night for more information or just slip me a little note at our next meeting.
Author: Vince Poynter First Published here, Version 5.271 16 Aug 2019
The photograph is of a piece of buttered white bread emblazoned with red and brown sauce trails designed and photographed on 29 Apr 2012 by the autor and first published on https://www.instagram.com/vinceunlimited/?hl=en on the same date under the title Born & bread
Type: 3-4 minute sketch with 2 main actors, plus extras set in an office reception.
The best picture I had to demonstrate a good reception
The sketch is set in an office reception area. A receptionist sits behind the desk. A visitor enters.
Receptionist: "Good morning and welcome." The visitor acknowledges politely and turns to enter the office area.
Receptionist: "Would you sign the book, sir." The visitor mutters apology and signs in. He then makes for the office again.
Receptionist: "And the other book, sir." The visitor looks bemused and enquires why there are two books.
Receptionist: "Fire regulations, sir. It is company policy." The visitor accepts and signs the second book, then tries to leave.
Receptionist: "Your bag, sir?" The visitor again looks confused and enquires why.
Receptionist: "Security risk, sir. We have sensitive data and equipment. We wouldn't want it getting out."
Visitor: "I'm not here to steal things."
Receptionist: "It is company policy, sir. I'll look after it here if you like."
Visitor, reluctantly handing over his case: "Very well." He attempts to leave.
Receptionist: "Are we forgetting something, sir?"
Visitor, getting slightly annoyed: "What?"
Receptionist: "Your mobile 'phone, sir. It may have a camera attachment."
Visitor, annoyed: "It hasn't."
Receptionist: "I'm not to know that, sir. I can't be an expert on all things so Company Policy says..."
Visitor, interrupting: "Very well. Here it is."
Receptionist, taking the phone: "Thank you. And your jacket sir."
Visitor, bemused: "My what?"
Receptionist: "Your jacket. I must insist that you leave your jacket."
Visitor, guessing: "My pockets. Are you concerned that I might slip something into it."
Receptionist: "It's company policy. I was only reading a paper the other day. Jacket lapels can conceal recording microphones. Best leave it here with me."
The Visitor removes his jacket and hands it to the receptionist.
Receptionist: "And your trousers sir?"
Visitor: "My trousers! Why do you need these?"
Receptionist: "I was only reading on the internet, the other day. It appears that some manufacturers are incorporating modern technology in their fabrics that can sense heat and light. You must have seen those tee shirts that change colour dependant on mood. I'm afraid it is our..."
Visitor, resigned: "...Company Policy?" He dutifully removes his trousers.
Receptionist: "Open wide, sir."
Visitor: "I beg your pardon."
Receptionist, producing a large torch: "I need to look in your mouth. Just to check. Open wide."
The visitor opens his mouth and the receptionist peers in.
Receptionist: "And if I might?" The receptionist beckons toward the visitor's underwear.
Visitor, pulling his underwear forward: "Very well." The receptionist reluctantly peers down, grimaces, then gently reaches in to move things to the side. The visitor winces.
Visitor, now quite exhausted by the humiliation: "Is that all?"
They are suddenly interrupted by a film crew who crash in through the door. One person holds a camera, another a boom mike. There are assistants with clipboards and cases. The director struts forward.
Director: "Film crew for the office documentary. Alright to go in love?"
Receptionist: "Just straight through guys. I'll sign you in."
The visitor looks aghast: "What about Company Policy?"
The receptionist is unperturbed. She reaches down behind the desk and emerges with a pair of rubber gloves. "Bend over, sir." She puts another smaller torch in her mouth and snaps the gloves on.
You are welcome to use this sketch, on stage or video but credit and royalties must be given to Vince Poynter as the author. An invite to see it performed would also be welcomed, along with requests for more sketches, which can be scripted on any subject. Contact me at any time of the day or night for more information. Although, if you contact me at night I won't guarantee that I'll open my inbox until the next morning. Mummy always told me not to open the door when it gets dark. Mind you, I'm not sure that email inboxes were thought of when she said that.
Author: Vince Poynter Version 5.057 15 Jan 2018
First Published: Version 1.02 in Mar 2004
The photograph is of the author in his suit and on his phone in taken in 2009 and was added in Version 5.057 15 Jan 2018
Type: Two minute sketch for two actors set inside a Travel Agent's shop. A customer sits opposite a Booking Agent, initially addressing the audience.
A Cunard, pictured from the deck of another Cunard
Customer: [aside] "Do you recall booking your first cruise? Seems easy doesn’t it? But it didn’t go well for me, as you will see." […turns to face the Travel Agent] "Hi, I would like to book a ship to cross the Atlantic."
Agent: "I think you need to see a shipping agent. We are a Travel Agent."
Customer: "No, I only want a cabin, not the whole ship. But I want the best. What do you suggest?"
Agent: "What about Cunard?"
Customer: "That’s a duck isn’t it?"
Agent: "No. La Cunard is duck in French. Cunard is a highly respected provider of transatlantic voyages. You could go on the Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Victoria or the Queen Mary 2."
Customer: "As well."
Customer: "As well. You could go on the Queen Mary as well." [aside] "They are representing Cunard, you can't get away with poor grammar if you are representing Cunard."
Agent: "You can go on the Queen Mary 2."
Customer: "Hang on, did you say I can go on the Queen Mary too."
Agent: "Yes the Queen Mary 2, as well."
Customer: "As well as what?"
Agent: "As well as the Queen Elizabeth and the Queen Victoria."
Customer: "How does that work? Surely you can only go on one? Or do you change over mid Atlantic?"
Agent: "No you only go on one."
Customer: "The Queen Mary?"
Agent: "Yes, or the Queen Victoria or the Queen Elizabeth too."
Customer: "I'll take that then."
Agent: "You’ll take what?"
Customer: "I'll go on Queen Elizabeth 2."
Agent: "No you can't because she's in Dubai."
Customer: "Dubai's not on the Atlantic run how can I do that?"
Agent: "You can’t. She's now retired, all berthed up in Dubai."
Customer: "Why didn't you say so in the first place? So can I go on the Queen Mary then?"
Customer: "Why not?"
Agent: "She's now berthed up in Long Beach, California."
Customer: "I've only been here five minutes and already one is parked up in Dubai and another in California. So if I can go on neither the Queen Mary or the Queen Elizabeth 2 then what can I go on?"
Agent: "Have you thought about the Queen Elizabeth?"
Customer: "I thought she was in Dubai?"
Agent: "No that's the Queen Elizabeth 2nd, I was talking about the first Queen Elizabeth that I mentioned."
Customer: "I'll do that then. I'll go on the first Queen Elizabeth."
Agent: "You can’t go on the first Queen Elizabeth, she sank in Hong Kong harbour."
Customer: [aside] "Five minutes I've been here and already two are parked up and one's at the bottom of the harbour. I didn't like the sound of all that bottom of the harbour stuff. That’s why I ended up booking the Costa Concordia."
You are welcome to use this sketch, on stage or on film but credit and royalties must be given to Vince Poynter as the author. An invite to see it performed would also be welcomed, along with requests for more sketches, which can be scripted on any subject. Contact me for more information. But not just because you can't be bothered to do a Google search for something unrelated.
Author: Vince Poynter Version 5.299 6 May 2020 [First publication]
The image depicts the ship Queen Elizabeth from the deck of Queen Mary 2, both Cunard vessels. The shot was planned and taken by the author on 26 July 2019 as the ships turned in the harbour of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
The routine upon which this sketch was based was initially written in 2013 as part of a stand up comedy slot to be performed for a passenger talent show on board a Cunard Cruise ship. It was to be performed in 2018 during a cruise but no such show was organised was not used. The sketch was adapted as a two person skit later in the year with a thought to use it in a comedy performance during late 2018 but this didn't happen. Eventually the routine was revived as a solo stand up for another cruise passenger talent show entry on board Queen Mary 2 in July 2019. Film of this performance is available within the Comedy section of the Videos page of this website. The performance was published on YouTube Link here on 9 Aug 2019
The Costa Concordia was a cruise ship that became notorious because it capsized in January 2012. It was referenced because it was the most recent large ship sinking that would be commonly known to the audience
Type: 5 minute sketch with 4 to 6 actors set inside a six person train compartment [or could be set elsewhere, such as dentist waiting room] with moving train sound effects continuously [unless at the dentist].
If I told a Millennial this was a dictaphone they would believe me
The sketch starts with the non speaking roles already seated [or one or two may enter and leave as required]. One man in a mackintosh should be seated prominently, reading a newspaper. Another man enters and also takes a prominent position. A young lady is in the scene.
The second man looks about, then brings out a Dictaphone. The others take no notice. He clears his throat, switches on the machine and speaks.
"Letter please ..."
All the others look at him. The man in the mackintosh glances over his paper.
The dictaphone man continues. "Letter please. To go to John Fredericks Limited ..."
The others start to lose interest as he continues. "At Watford branch. For the attention of Mister J. Fredericks. Dear sirs, I have convened the meeting to discuss your proposals for the new block to be in my office on the twenty-first at ten thirty a.m. New paragraph. Please advise your budget costing to me beforehand by return. Signed, yours faithfully etcetera ... etcetera."
The man smiles sheepishly at the few passengers who have bothered to look up at him as he finishes. He puts the recorder away.
The dictaphone man looks around. He is clearly bored.
He again reaches for his machine. "Memo. please ..."
All passengers again look up. He continues unabated. "... to go to Sam Prendell, reference your planning application for the Woods Green Development. Sam, please forward your outline proposals showing the extension to the Cricket Club. Signed etcetera ... etcetera."
He again smiles sweetly as he puts the machine away.
Immediately he gets it out again and continues unashamedly. "Letter!" He bellows.
They all look. "To go to Richard Dickens in Shropshire. Dick, I placed the device in the cloakroom on the fourth floor. Stop. It should go off at about four o'clock when the lobby is full. Stop. Expected casualties could run into the hundreds. Signed etcetera ... etcetera."
The passengers start to get edgy. The man in the mackintosh's interest grows.
"Just kidding." He says. The others are visibly relieved.
He continues. "New letter. No, memo. To my wife Jane. Darling, I have some business to attend to early this evening. Won't be home until at least ten o'clock. Love. Etcetera ... etcetera."
He continues almost immediately. Letter to go to Mark Chalice. Mark the agreed time for the Securicor hit is eight thirty. Kevin estimates two hundred thousand but Peter thinks it could be more. Stop. New paragraph. Don't forget the cutting gear. Signed etcetera ... etcetera. Oh, and Mandy. Make sure this one's not on our headed paper and remember to use a stamp like I said, not the franking machine. See you later."
The tension in the carriage returns.
"Finally. Oh, what the hell. Letter to go to Scotland Yard, London. For the attention of Detective Inspector Robbins. To read. Robbins. You are useless. As you read this letter another poor victim lies with a slit throat ..." The young woman passenger stifles a shriek.
"... Try searching the tracks near ..." He looks out of the window. "Near Wolverton Station. Signed. The Slug. Train murderer."
He smiles at those who are now looking at him, incredulously. "End of dictation." He puts his machine away.
The man in the mackintosh calmly folds his paper and puts it down. He reaches inside his coat and pulls out his own dictaphone.
He says. "Internal memorandum please. To Chief Constable Maxwell. From D.I. Robbins, C Division. Sir, at last I think we have a break on that Slug character. I am hot on his trail and I expect a result any time now."
You are welcome to use this sketch, on stage or video but credit and royalties must be given to Vince Poynter as the author. An invite to see it performed would also be welcomed, along with requests for more sketches, which can be scripted on any subject. Contact me for more information. You may find yourself treated like a special friend or a Royal visitor. Unless you contact me after 10 p.m. in which case I'll be asleep. Not that an email will actually wake me up. I have learnt to switch off that irritating bleep. So it's safe to click away at your leisure.
Author: Vince Poynter Version 5.053 8 Jan 2018
First Published: Version 1.02 in Mar 2004 [When dictaphones were still a bit of a thing]
The image depicts a classic British red telephone box and was added in Version 5.051 4 Jan 2018
Interesting fact: Dictaphone is a trademark owned by Nuance Communications in Massachusetts, following purchase of the rights from a company called Dictaphone which was originally founded by Alexander Graham Bell, the dude from the telephone invention trade. However, the term is now widely used to describe all micro-cassette type hand-held voice dictation recorders
Type: 2 minute 30 seconds sketch with 2 actors set in a restaurant.
Can you be absolutely sure what ingredients await your consumption?
A restaurant. A customer sits at a table when the manager approaches with a menu and offers it.
Manager: "Hello sir let me show you the menu at our new restaurant."
Customer: "I see this place is called Newton 3 why not Newton 1?"
Manager: "Well, Newton 1 was indeed the name of our first restaurant. It was based on Sir Issac Newton’s first law of physics which states that once a force is in motion it does not stop. Ever."
Customer: "What happened to the restaurant ?"
Manager: "It closed."
Customer: "And Newton 2?"
Manager: "Our second restaurant, Newton 2, was based on Sir Issac Newton’s second law of physics which states that in an inertial reference frame the vector sum of the forces on an object is equal to the mass of that object multiplied by the acceleration of the object assuming of course that the mass is constant."
Customer: "Of course. Why did that one close?"
Manager: "By the time we explained all that to the guests their food had gone cold."
Customer: "So what is the thing with Newton 3?"
Manager: "Put simply sir, actions and consequences."
Customer: "Actions and consequences?"
Manager: "Yes, in our restaurant any action you take has a consequence. For instance if you order the soup we bring soup."
Customer: "Isn’t that the same with all restaurants?"
Manager: "Yes but additionally here if you are rude to our staff that is an action and you will suffer a consequence. Actions and consequences."
Manager: "Yes. Say, for instance, you annoyingly click your fingers to summon the waiter he may dip his thumb in your soup."
Customer: "Wow. What if I called out across the restaurant to him?"
Manager: "He may dip something else in it."
Customer: "Actions and consequences?"
Manager: "Yes sir."
Customer: "So, what if I said he looked like a penguin?"
Manager: "I wouldn’t do that sir."
Customer: "Why not?"
Manager: "You would be served dumplings."
Customer: "I don’t see dumplings on the menu."
Manager: "That’s because they are not on the menu sir. But you would get dumplings. Providing Chef hasn’t got constipation again."
Customer: "So the fat Chef is in on it as well."
Manager: "He both is and isn’t."
Customer: "Is and isn’t?"
Manager: "Is in on it. Isn’t fat. In fact if he heard you you would likely get pubes in your food."
Manager: "Yes, indeed. Particularly with his condition."
Manager: "Just don’t order the lobsters. You might get..."
Customer: "Crabs. Yes I see the situation. And what about you? You are the manager here. Are you fair game for a bit of mimicking yourself?"
Manager: "You can give a bit of mimicking to me. Providing you don’t mind a bit of fluid in your dinner in return."
Customer: "You would spit in my food?"
Manager: "It’s like spit sir. Only emanates from a lower place."
Customer: "That’s horrible. You monster. How low can you go?"
Manager: "I’ve never been fully tested but I do have a special, say, treat for the worst customers."
Customer: "What’s that?"
Manager: "We serve them...Oh I can hardly bring myself to say it."
Customer: "Go on, tell me. I must know."
Manager: "I would serve them...A Vegan meal."
You are welcome to use this sketch, on stage or video but credit and royalties must be given to Vince Poynter as the author. An invite to see it performed would also be welcomed, along with requests for more sketches, which can be scripted on any subject. Contact me for more information. Ideally by postcard, using a Penny Black stamp.
Author: Vince Poynter Version 5.313 18 Jun 2020 [First Published]
The photograph is of the author about to enjoy a delicious Eggs Benedict served at The Shard Restuarant on 15 Sep 2019 as taken by Lynda Poynter
Written in October 2018, based on an initial idea by Paul Jones
Type: 6 minute sketch with 4 actors [one to be a voice off stage] set inside an aircraft fuselage [side view] with background inflight noise continuously. Props include three seats, two packages and a newspaper.
Would you parachute from here? At least it will be closer than London Luton Airport
This is a visual as well as aural sketch and no names are given. For reference purposes the three actors are sat line astern and referenced as A, B and C below. The action is as viewed by the audience from the actor's side. A sits ahead of B, who sits ahead of C. They face left (stage right).
Aeroplane pilot (voice off) "Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. This is your pilot speaking. Welcome on board on this internal flight between London and Edinburgh. Now that we have successfully taken off we will be maintaining our flight path at around ten thousand feet and expect to arrive at our destination in around thirty-six minutes time. Visibility is good and the weather forecast is fair. So relax and enjoy your flight. I'll keep you informed of future developments."
B to A: "Isn't this marvellous. All this technology keeping us up. Ten thousand feet and you can see all the land whistling by below."
A: "Indeed, it is. Orville Wright would be proud. We've come so far from those pioneering days of aviation."
B: "Yes. But it's reassuring to know that in spite of all this they provide the basics." He pats the package beneath his seat.
A (agreeing): "Yes. The parachute." A pats the package beneath his seat.
A and B laugh and slump back into their chairs. Up to now C has not been involved, merely reading his newspaper. He did hear the parachute conversation. He checks that the others are occupied and subtly reaches down to feel for his package. There is nothing under his seat. He checks again, in desperation swinging his hands wildly from side to side. Nothing is found so his hands return to holding his newspaper, that starts to quiver. Another check, but still no success.
Then C surreptitiously slides forward in his seat and hooks the package from beneath the seat of B, unbeknown to A or B.
B to A: "Wasn't the meal nice?"
A: "Yes. Three courses and wine. Very good."
The pilot on the intercom interrupts the conversation.
Pilot: "Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. I'm sorry to disturb your peace but we've just received some weather reports. A spot of bad weather appears to be in our path. It's only a patch of storm so don't be too alarmed if our altitude and speed drops."
All three passengers simultaneously swing to look 'out of the window' (away from the viewpoint). They slump into their chairs and look concerned. A reaches down and assuredly pats his package, whilst turning and smiling at B. B also reaches down but now there is no package. He frantically searches around with his hand, much like C did. Finding nothing, he puts his head between his knees and looks under the seat. He spots the package under the seat of C. C has seen this and casually crosses his legs across in front of his package.
B looks concerned then spots the package beneath A. He slides forward to take the package with his feet but it gets caught up in the seat legs of A's seat. The pilot's voice is heard.
Pilot: "Ladies and gentlemen, please do not be alarmed. A couple of passengers have reported seeing white smoke trailing from the starboard engine."
A, B and C simultaneously look out of their 'windows' (away from the viewpoint).
Pilot: "But don't worry. This is just a vapour trail due to our descent to a lower altitude."
A, B and C slump back into their seats. B reaches forward to grab the package beneath A with his hands and starts to pull. This attracts the attention of A, who turns round quickly.
B is embarrassed so he pretends he was looking out of the window. B (explaining to A): "The vapour trail..."
A (suspiciously): "Yes?"
B: "Just routine."
A (now satisfied): "Yes. Still we've still got the parachutes."
A reaches down and grabs the package from beneath his seat. He holds it on his lap. B is disappointed. Then he has a brainwave. He points toward the viewpoint.
B (to A): "My God. The port engine as well!"
A leaps up placing the package on his seat and rushes over to 'look out' of the viewpoint side. At this point B snatches the package from the seat of A and sits back smugly in his own seat.
A, returning (to B): "It's alright. Just vapour."
B (clutching the package): "Best to be certain though."
A spots his package is missing. B looks away 'innocently'. A looks all around and under his seat, then under the seat of B and finally under the seat of C, who is still reading the paper. He notices the package under C and dives down to steal it. He then strolls 'nonchalantly' back to sit in his seat, smiling and caressing the package. He holds it on his lap.
Pilot: "Do not be alarmed ladies and gentleman but the suspected engine fire..."
All three simultaneously 'look out' (away from the viewpoint)
Pilot: "...on the port side..."
All three simultaneously turn to 'look out' the other side (toward the viewpoint)
Pilot: "...means that we have turned the engine off. There is no need for panic as we are under full control and able to fly on one engine."
All three slump back in their seats, satisfied that there is no need to worry.
C then folds up his newspaper and places it under his seat. He notices that his package is missing. He checks under the seat of B and looks angry. He believes B has taken his package.
C to B (aggressively): "Where did you get that?"
B (defensively): "Nowhere. Under my seat."
C: "Under whose seat?"
C pokes at B towards the eye. This makes B defend his face and drop the package. C grabs the package and returns to his seat, holding the package tightly on his lap. B rubs his eye and looks back over to C. C menacingly grimaces. B decides a novel approach and slides down between his seat and that of A. He puts his hand out ahead as he tries to crawl beneath the seat of A. Due to his positioning he doesn't hear the next announcement."
Pilot: "We have good news ladies and gentlemen. We have restarted our failed engine and as a precaution will be landing at Birmingham airport in three minutes time."
A and C look relieved and place their packages on the ground. They place them to their left, rather than under their seats. B is still struggling under the seat of A and eventually gets his hand between the legs of A. B feels around for the package and reaches up into the lap of A. Naturally A is shocked, but decides to grab the hand of B and give it a sharp tug before letting it go. This hurts B who emits a barely concealed squeal and scrabbles back out to his own seat.
A angrily turning to B: "What on earth do you think you are playing at?"
B (defensively): "But you have got my parachute."
A: "How dare you accuse me."
B: "But it's mine." He spots the package on the floor. "There. That one. It's mine."
A (knowingly): "Alright then. If it makes you happy." A picks up the package and tosses it to B, then slumps back in his seat.
B looks smug and looks about as if he needed a friend to gloat to. He turns to see C. C notices.
C: "As you are so keen. Here, have mine." C tosses his package into the lap of B and sits back into his own seat.
B looks doubly smug and sets about peering at his two packages, trying to see how to use them both.
Pilot: "Ladies and gentlemen. Please fasten your safety belts we are approaching the landing runway. The crew is glad that the trip proved uneventful. I suppose it is lucky we were not flying over the sea as you would all have been grabbing for the lifejackets under your seats."
You are welcome to use this sketch, on stage or video but credit and royalties must be given to Vince Poynter as the author. An invite to see it performed would also be welcomed, along with requests for more sketches, which can be scripted on any subject. Contact me for more information. You may be surprised how reasonable I am. Or it may be a Wednesday, in which case I'll be like a rampaging bull elephant with a nasty itch on the end of his trunk. You have been warned.
Author: Vince Poynter Version 5.056 11 Jan 2018
First Published: Version 1.02 in Mar 2004
The photograph was taken by the author in May 2015 and shows a Virgin aeroplane circling over London and was added in Version 5.056 11 Jan 2018
The Government [Philip Hammond] announced an extension to the Regional Economic Areas Development scheme to include the Midlands Engine and suggested other regions are limited only by the government thinking up catchy titles. Has a committee been formed to look into this issue, I wonder…
Type: 2 and a half minute sketch with 7 differing voices, set in a meeting room.
Main Speaker: Alright, Alright. Settle down. Now, we've convened this meeting to discuss the new Regional Development areas. As you are aware the last coalition government started this whole thing with the formation of the Northern Powerhouse, in order to boost economic growth in the north. And last November the government announced a similar project for the Birmingham area called the Midlands Engine. Now we can’t possibly create other regions without first thinking up catchy names. So time for your input. Any ideas?
[Hampshire Accent]: Yes, we were expecting this. And we want the South to be thought of as just as important so we want our region to be called the Turbocharged South.
Main Speaker: The Turbocharged South. An excellent proposal. Just what we are looking for. Well done. And what about the others?
[Norfolk Accent]: What about for us we call it the Energised East?
Main Speaker: OK. Great call. People of the east will be able to rally round this. Any more?
[Scottish Accent]: Aye, in Scotland we could go with something strong like Scottish Might.
Main Speaker: That's the spirit Scotland. So can you match that Wales?
[Welsh Accent]: If they can have that we want The Weight Of Wales.
Main Speaker: The Weight of Wales. Super. Love your thinking. That's the idea. And you guys?
[Belfast Accent]: Maybe. Yes, I know. I thought along the lines of Force Northern Ireland.
Main Speaker: So, we have some great names for our regions. We have Northern Powerhouse, the Midlands Engine, Turbocharged South, The Energised East and The Weight of Wales. Plus Scottish Might and Force Northern Ireland. Just one area left it seems.
[Devon Accent]: [Feebly] We haven't really got a catchy title.
Main Speaker: Oh come on. You don’t want to be left behind.
[Devon Accent]: That’s OK. We’re well used to that.
Main Speaker: Is there anything at all you can think of? What about South West is Best?
[Devon Accent]: Well. That would be fine but it isn’t is it?
Main Speaker: Oh come on. What about Super South West?
[Devon Accent]: You haven’t been to Plymouth have you? … But, we do do great pasties.
Main Speaker: Pasties?
[Devon Accent]: And cream teas. We do really rather good cream teas, you know.
Main Speaker: So it’s to be the Northern Powerhouse, Midlands Engine, Turbocharged South, Energised East, The Weight of Wales, Scottish Might, Force Northern Ireland and Pastie & Cream Tea South West.
[Devon Accent]: And Tin. Don’t forget the tin.
Main Speaker: Tin?
[Devon Accent]: Well not so much now, but we have got Royal biscuits.
Main Speaker: Pasty & Cream Tea, used to do a bit of Tin but now it’s more Royal biscuits South West.
[Devon Accent]: Yes. That’s what we want.
Main Speaker: I give up. So for the record we will have Northern Powerhouse, Midlands Engine, the Turbocharged South, Energised East, The Weight of Wales, Scottish Might, Force Northern Ireland and … Also the South West?
You are welcome to use this sketch, on stage or video but credit and royalties must be given to Vince Poynter as the author. An invite to see it performed would also be welcomed, along with requests for more sketches, which can be scripted on any subject. Contact me for more information.
Author: Vince Poynter First published here, Version 5.257 18 Feb 2019
This sketch was first presented to the BBC as part of the Newsjack radio submission process on 13 Oct 2016 and again in early 2017 but was not selected for broadcast
The photograph is of the author leaping into a pool in Mallorca, Spain around 1990