I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again - Catchphrases

Catchphrases

  • "I'm sorry, I'll read that again". A frequent interruption to mock news broadcasts on the show – the line often reads "Here is the news. I'm sorry, I'll read that again: Here are the news."
  • "Rhubarb tart?" A delicacy much loved by all the cast members and often used as a bribe during sketches. David Hatch famously leaves the University of the Air during a Julius Caesar spoof lecture after Bill Oddie's flip remarks, only to be coaxed back with offers of rhubarb tart. It is also Angus Prune's favourite dish. In the Ali Baba sketch in the 3rd series, Cleese appears as Omar Khayyam; he remarks to Ali Baba, played by Brooke-Taylor, "Surely you've heard of the Rhubarb Tart of Omar Khayyam?"
  • The Tillingbourne Folk and Madrigal Society. A recurring parody of English a cappella folk music (madrigal). The Society performs a range of songs from a medley of football chants through to the never-ending folk song "There was a Ship that put to Sea all in the Month of May". They also presented a version of "House of the Rising Sun", with Graeme Garden singing a fairly straight version of the song and the rest of the group providing highly-mannered interjections of "tiddly-pom", "whack-fol-riddle-me-o", and so on. Despite all this, it's clear that the cast are very capable singers.
  • "I'm the king rat!" Generally said very over-dramatically by John Cleese, on which the rest of the cast would reply, "Oh, no you're not!" This was later referenced in a Monty Python sketch at a "hospital for over-actors."
  • The Angus Prune Tune. Written and performed by Bill Oddie (often with considerable audience involvement), this was the sign-off song for the series. The full text runs as follows:
    My name is Angus Prune
    and I always listen to I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again
    (You Don't!)
    My name is Angus Prune
    and I never miss I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again
    (Get Away!)
    I sit in my bath
    And I have a good laugh
    Cause the sig tune is named after me
    (Tell us yer name!)
    My name is Angus Prune
    And this is my tune
    It goes I-S-I-R-T-A
    I'm Sorry I'll Read That AGAIN!
  • Beethoven's Fifth. The famous opening bars of this piece of music are constantly used in the series, usually in inappropriate settings; in fact, their first appearance was in the first sketch of the pilot programme in 1963, and during an Opportunity Knocks spoof in the 3rd series, Bill Oddie tries to tap-dance to them in what sound like hob-nailed boots. David Hatch once introduced the cast: "...with another of their sallies forth – (GRAMS: 'Da-da-da-dummmmm') – or Beethoven's Fifth –" On another occasion, the pre-show teaser was Beethoven, played by Brooke-Taylor, trying to get Bill Oddie, playing a very Jewish music publisher, to market the tune. After hearing the tune, Oddie says: "That's a load of old rubbish!" and then twists the melody to form the opening sig. The closing bars of the final movement of the symphony were used to introduce a 'promenade concert' which featured "There was a Ship that put to Sea all in the Month of May" – Hatch says solemnly in his best BBC voice: 'That was the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra under Wilhelm Furtwängler. Now, while they're getting up ...'.
  • "The Ferret Song". John Cleese has an obsession with ferrets throughout the show, including his famous performance of The Ferret Song. This song begins with the line "I've got a ferret sticking up my nose". The line is repeated, then: "How it got there I can't tell, but now it's there, it hurts like hell and, what is more, it radically affects my sense of smell" – and promptly gets even worse. The song was eventually included in The Fairly Incomplete And Rather Badly Illustrated Monty Python Song Book, accompanied by a picture of John with a Terry Jones-shaped ferret up his nose.
  • The Silly Roll Call. During many of the longer adventures, the cast engage in the Silly Roll Call, where a series of words appropriate to their adventure are turned into people's names. The Jack The Ripper story involves criminals such as "Mr and Mrs Ree ... and their son ... Robby Ree ... and his cousin from the Far East, Ahmed Robby Ree; Mr and Mrs Nee, their Swedish son Lars Nee .. and his sister Betty Lars Nee; and Mr and Mrs Sittingforimmoralpurposes...and their son...Solly Sittingforimmoralpurposes". In Jorrocks, the Hunt Ball features appearances by "Lord and Lady V'syouyeahyeahyeah and their daughter Sheila V'syouyeahyeahyeah" as well as "Lord and Lady Umeeroffen and their son Duke Umerroffen" (Do you come here often?). Even the Ancient Greek world of Oedipus is not sacred – Socrates appears with Knobblyknees, Euripides with Iripadose, Antigone and Uncle-igone, and the treble of Aristophanes, Hoiteetoitees and Afternoonteas (as well as a barrage of rotten fruit). The basic idea of the Silly Roll Call would later be revived in I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, the final game of the show often being some variant of the "Late Arrivals (at a society ball)" where the same sort of 'silly names' would be announced by each of the players in turn.
  • The Gibbon. Whenever a generic animal is required for a sketch, the team always used a gibbon. This is often expanded to ludicrous lengths, such as a "Gibbon-Fanciers' Club". Edward Gibbon's famous Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is rendered as "Decline and Fall of the Roman Gibbon, by Edward Empire". Stanley Gibbons' Stamp Catalog became known as Stanley Stamps' Gibbon Catalog. Later, during the The Goodies' heyday in the 1970s, Brooke-Taylor, Garden and Oddie would have a Top Ten hit with the song "Funky Gibbon" which reached #4, which they sang live on Top of the Pops, as well as the Amnesty International show A Poke In The Eye (With A Sharp Stick), and during The Goodies' episode "The Goodies – Almost Live". During another Goodies' episode "That Old Black Magic", Graeme Garden acts like an ape to the accompaniment of the Bill Oddie song "Stuff The Gibbon" — and, in yet another Goodies' episode, "Radio Goodies" the small boat above their pirate radio submarine is called "The Saucy Gibbon". A track on Soft Machine's "Six" album entitled "Stanley Stamp's Gibbon Album" is dedicated to Bill Oddie.
  • The Terrapin. One other animal that does appear occasionally is the terrapin. In one show, after a particularly macabre John Cleese monologue, Hatch sends him packing, whereupon the rest of the cast defect with Cleese and form Radio Terrapin in competition to Radio Prune. In another show, Bill performs "The Terrapin Song", and on yet another show, Hatch announces a terrapin joke, as follows: (Garden) Who was that Terrapin I saw you with last night? (Brooke-Taylor) That was no terrapin, that was our old school mistress – she tortoise (taught us) – a huge groan from the audience ....
  • Bill Oddie's accent. Having a Birmingham accent (although born in Rochdale, in what was then Lancashire, he grew up in Birmingham) made Oddie the butt of many jokes, as well as leading him naturally towards many roles in sketches where someone was required to speak incomprehensibly. He did get his own back in the Lawrence Of Arabia On Ice sketch, when he appeared as Nanook of the North, complete with a plethora of cod-Lancastrian patois ("ee bah goom", "black puddings", "ecky thump", etc.) Later this became the basis for an episode of The Goodies where "Ecky Thump" was a secret Lancastrian martial art, the episode itself parodying the then-popular TV show "Kung Fu".
  • The Old Jokes Home. The old jokes, of which there were many (see script below) were sometimes sent to the Old Jokes Home.
  • OBE. Characters often have OBE added to the end of their name. It is also added to places, objects and names, as well as an interruption, e.g. in the Angus Prune (OBE) song. The cast occasionally ask for one ("thank you ma'am, I'll take the OBE if it's offered") or decline one that's been offered ("no thanks, I'm trying to give them up"). On one occasion, Hatch introduced the team as "Tim Brooke-Taylor, O.B.E., John Cleese, O.B.E., Graeme Garden, O.B.E., David Hatch, O.B.E., Jo Kendall, O.B.E., and Bill Oddie, O.D.D.I.E..". On another occasion, in a send-up of the Honours List, Hatch announces that a particular person has been made an earl, and also has been awarded the OBE; he therefore becomes an earlobe.
    (Tim Brooke-Taylor, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie have now actually been awarded the OBE).

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