As Time Goes By or They Flew From Tuscany, NewsRevue Sketch and Medley, 10 October 1992

This was the version of this sketch/medley that was actually used. It is much better than the original version – click here for that – but the original version is interesting because I wrote it before Black Wednesday.

Pearls before swine, my economic predictions, pearls before swine.

Anyway, this post crisis version is funnier. There is an in-between version written a week or so  before – click here – I’m guessing that the director suggested improvements, e.g. switching Gini Bottomley out and Lady Thatcher in, which did make for a funnier sketch.

The early evening show at the Canal Cafe at that time was called “As Time Goes By” – some sort of musical retrospective of 1940s material, which made this sketch/medley especially fitting.


or THEY FLEW FROM TUSCANY (A Sketch and Medley of Sterling 1940’s Songs)




John Major (Johnny)

Gillian Shepherd (Jilly)

Lady Thatcher (Maggie)

Norman Lamont (Fartface)




(VOICEOVER:And now, for those of you who missed the early evening show – here is an exert from “As Time Goes By”)


(The pianist tinkles away at the Second Movement of Rachmaninov’s Second Piano Concerto – a la Brief Encounter.  The music is adagio sostenuto, the voices are staccato.  Paula Tappenden knows all about it.  We start with just Johnny and Jilly on stage.)






JILLY:Oh Johnny.  What’s happened to the economy?


JOHNNY:Gerry’s giving us a bally barney, Jilly.  The pound’s doing terribly.


JILLY:What about Yankee Doodle Dandy?


JOHNNY:Gerry’s giving Yankee Doodle Dandy a bally barney too, Jilly.  The dollar’s doing awfully.


JILLY:Oh Johnny.


JOHNNY:Oh Jilly.  What are you doing for the old effort?


JILLY:I’m in employment.


JOHNNY:Gosh, that is unusual these days.


JILLY:In the ministry.  Oh Johnny,  this darned economy’s simply ruining all our lives.  I’m sorry.  I’m acting like a bally fool.


(Enter Maggie)


MAGGIE:Johnny, the economy’s going horribly.




MAGGIE:Awfully.  And what about the Treaty?


JOHHNY:(offers her a sweety)  Have a choccy, Maggie.


MAGGIE:I mean the Maastricht Treaty.  (Maggie pokes her finger at Johnny’s lapel as she says) Johnny, I’ve warned you before, it is a ruinous straitjacket.


JOHNNY:(Brushing his lapel)  I thought it was rather trendy.  I got it on special offer in Marks and Spencer’s.


MAGGIE:Oh this is hopeless.  Where’s Normy?


JOHNNY:Out there in the treasury battling it out with Gerry.


MAGGIE:Oh God, I hope he isn’t going to do something silly.


(Enter Normy)


JOHNNY:Here he comes now, and I rather think we’re all going to do something silly.


JILLY:You don’t mean……


NORMY:Yes, we’re all going to sing a medley.



(In the Style of Marlene Dietrich to the tune of “Falling in Love again”)


I often stop and wonder, why stripy shirted men,

Financial markets plunder, sell pounds and buy yen.

We offer them low taxes, but still those city sharks,

With mobile phones and faxes, dump pounds for Deutchmarks.


Falling in ERM,

Sterling’s down the drain,

Valueless again,

So don’t hold it.


Falling in ERM,

Sterling is the pits,

Norman’s got the shits,

And can’t help us.



(To the tune of “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree”)


Don’t fuck up the economy with anyone else but me,

Anyone else but me, anyone else but me (no, no no);

Don’t fuck up the economy with anyone else but me,

We’re screwed financially.


We’ve devalued the currency with countries like Germany,

We’ll struggle internally, from now till eternity (no no no);

We’ve devalued the currency to purchasing parity,

With Spain and Italy.



To the tune of “We’ll Meet Again”)


We’ll ERM don’t know why don’t know when,

But I know we’ll ERM our money pay.

Make Sterling true to the Mark and ECU,

Till the interest rate is ten percent a day.


Now we are not in at all,

But the pounds in free fall,

While the Deutchmark’s still strong;

And though Sterling’s now small,

Some of us still recall,

When we used to belong.


We’ll ERM don’t know why don’t know when,

It’ll cost us fourteen billion a day.

The above material was used quite a lot, not least the “Don’t Fuck Up The Economy” snippet which found its way into other medleys and even was sandwiched in a Ben Murphy medley in 1993 – I take no credit, nor demerits, for Ben’s other bits:

Here is Marlene Dietrich singing “Falling In Love Again”…

…and the Andrews Sisters singing “Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree”…

…and here’s Dame Vera Lynn singing “We’ll Meet Again”:

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