As Time Goes By (1992) s02e07 Episode Script

207 - The Book Signing

# You must remember this # A kiss is still a kiss # A sigh is just a sigh # The fundamental things apply # As time goes by # I think I'm getting a bunion.
That's not a very auspicious start to the day.
I've never had a bunion before.
I've had corns, I've never had a bunion.
- I can recommend a very good chiropodist.
- Can you? - You mean, you have - This coffee's delicious.
One of my many talents.
There's something rather demeaning about the word.
- Coffee? - Bunion.
- I don't know.
I've never thought of it.
- I hadn't before today.
Turn your mind to other things.
Like the book signing.
Hm.
I've warned Alistair.
- I won't write a lot of flowery inscriptions.
- You won't be rude? I shan't write dirty limericks, if that's what you mean.
- That's not what I meant and you know it.
- I'll be sweetness and light.
There's no need to go overboard.
Are you nervous? Not really.
No, I'm into calmer waters now.
Either it sells or it doesn't and that's it.
- You sound resigned.
- Hmph, substitute "sanguine".
- It's like having a second.
- What is? You.
Someone in my corner, so to speak.
You won't expect me to flap a towel in your face, will you? - I'm glad you're here.
- I had to be.
It's your big day.
- I do look a twerp in this.
- No, it's growing on me.
- Like fungus? - No, not like fu Are you nervous? - You asked me that.
- Oh, sorry.
It's cos I'm nervous.
Have you eaten? You did have a good breakfast? - Yes, I had a doughnut.
- Good.
- Are you going to order a cab? - No, Alistair's going to pick me up here.
I'll lay odds it'll be a Land Rover painted in zebra stripes! - You said you had a doughnut for breakfast? - Erm yes.
- Why? - I don't know, really.
- It was there so I thought I'd eat it.
- You do some peculiar things.
Perhaps I'm becoming an eccentric.
Goes with the suit, I suppose.
- I'm glad you're here.
- You've already said that.
Oh.
Well, either I'm starting to repeat myself or I am nervous.
- You're not, are you? - Well, a bit.
It's me, I'm contagious.
You wouldn't be nervous if I'd gone to work.
- You're getting in a state.
- I already am in a state! - (Doorbell) - Oh.
- (Doorbell continues) - That sounds like Alistair.
I'll get it.
Before you let him in - - I'll be thinking of you.
- That's good.
Cos I'll probably be thinking of you.
- Oh, Alistair.
- Aye, aye, fit? Erm yeah, come in, I won't be a second.
Oh, er you wouldn't wear this, would you? - No.
- I thought not.
- Good morning, lovely lady.
- Hello.
Don't worry, I won't be sitting in the bookshop with him.
I just stayed at home to wish him luck.
- TLC.
Mega.
- TLC? - Tender loving care.
So how are you both? - Of course.
Well a bit nervous, to be honest.
No, I'm sanguine.
Good mix.
OK, let's hit the bookshelves and make some bucks.
- Yes, let's.
- Can I give you a lift to the office, Jean? No, thanks, Alistair, I'll order a cab.
I don't like Land Rovers with zebra stripes.
How did she know about that? She's very psychic.
Good buzz, good buzz! - How much did you pay them? - They're just to get the ball rolling.
You're on a double-yellow line.
When they start making triples, I'll worry.
- Won't you just wear the hat into the shop? - No.
The hot seat.
- Will you leave me alone? - Sorry, sorry, sorry.
- Are you sure you won't wear the - Positive.
Well, one minute to liftoff.
- This stacked queue of yours.
- Yes? How do I distinguish between them and those not bribed to ask me to sign the book? Lemon squeezy, Li.
Mine will wink.
- Wink? - Yeah, you know, wink.
I know what a wink is.
I think this whole thing is teetering on the brink of farce.
- I'm pulling out all the stops for you.
- Be accurate.
You're pulling out all the stops for your father because he owes my father a favour.
That was true, but, er the fact is, and I know you're gonna hate this, I've got to like you, Lionel.
I want the book to sell for you.
Oh.
Thank you.
- But you definitely won't wear the hat? - No.
(Recording of drums beating) - What on earth is that? - Mood music.
The drums of Kenya! Those are the drums of Nigeria.
Really? Well, only you would know the difference.
- (Tape squawks to a halt) - Catch you later.
Ladies and gentlemen the man! Good morning.
Oh, yes, good morning.
- (Loudly) I've heard it's a wonderful book! - Oh, have you really? (Whispers) No, don't sign, mime.
- Mime? What do you want me to mime? - Signing.
- Why? - We don't all buy a copy.
I shouldn't have asked.
(Loudly) Thank you so very much.
I'm sure it's going to be a bestseller.
I know, don't sign, mime.
My Life In Kenya.
Yes.
Yes, of course it's good.
Spicy? Oh, yes, it's incredibly spicy in a kind of understated sort of way.
Well, that's the spiciest kind of spicy, I think.
No, I'm not pushing anything.
I'm just recommending that you go out and buy a copy before it sells out.
Yes! Oh, and, Pauline, um I think that this year, I might be able to lay my hands on a couple of tickets for Wimbledon.
Yes.
No, of course they're not connected.
I just thought I'd mention it.
My Life in Kenya.
Yes, and you'll tell your friends, won't you? Thanks, Pauline.
OK, bye.
(Sighs) - Blackmail is a very ugly word.
- I'm running out of sales patter.
- How are you doing? - I phoned everyone I know in the British Isles.
I'm sure I've promised to sleep with half of them.
This is bringing out the seamy side of our nature.
- Decidedly.
- Eight copies for sure in Nottingham.
Why are you so big in Nottingham? - I loved a man in Nottingham once.
- He must've loved you too.
- No, he didn't, but he has a kind heart.
- Oh, Sandy, why aren't you married? - Why aren't you? - Uh-oh.
- I'm too concerned about the Northeast.
- I don't see what - We don't know anybody in the Northeast.
- We're doing our best.
- Yes, I know and I'm very grateful.
- Well, I hope Lionel is.
I don't want him to be.
I don't want him to know that we're selling our souls.
- Let alone our bodies.
- Speak for yourself.
I just want him to be a success.
- What if he is? - Mm, what if he is? It can be a mixed blessing, success.
You are him, aren't you? Yes, I am.
- You look smaller in real life.
- Most of us do.
Hm.
Is it a beautiful place, Kenya? Very beautiful indeed.
I've only ever got as far as Ostend, you see.
- I think I'll take it.
Could you sign it? - Yes, of course.
Erm could you put "To Doris".
To Doris.
- There's more.
- Oh.
"On the occasion of her 53rd birthday.
" Oh, happy birthday.
No, "On the occasion of her 53rd birthday.
" Occasion of her 53rd birthday.
Would "with affection" be all right? It wouldn't be very accurate.
I don't know a Doris.
There's no need to be lofty about it.
- I'm not being lofty at all, I'm stating a fact.
- Well, I'd like it in there.
With affection.
- Lionel Hardcastle.
- Thank you.
Lionel Hardcastle.
- Nice present, that.
- I hope so.
- Who's it for? - Me.
- You're Doris? - I'd have thought that was obvious.
Er not really, no.
Well, thank you very much.
Where's the till? It's, erm Look, as it's your birthday, would you allow me to pay for it? Certainly not.
I don't accept presents from perfect strangers.
- Could I 'ave your autograph, mister? - Yes, of course.
Oh, it's you.
Hello.
- How are you doing? - Seem to be getting down to the lunatic fringe.
- Would you like a cup of tea? - Where? Oh, they're looking after me.
Don't be overawed, will you? Oh.
- You are overawed.
- Very grand.
No, no, I should have this stool.
It's the less wobbly of the two.
- Right.
Oh, comparatively.
- Comparatively.
- Well, you've sold a few copies, then? - Strangely enough, yes.
Yes, it was quite busy earlier on.
- And they weren't all winkers.
- Sorry? - Is that a technical term? - Yes, it is now.
Alistair stacked the queue.
They identified themselves by winking at me.
- Did you wink back? - Certainly not.
Do you mind? This is a board meeting.
Now you can't see out.
What if someone wants you to sign their book? - They'll just have to wait.
- That's hardly the Dunkirk spirit.
Well, this isn't Dunkirk.
I don't really expect to be mobbed for the rest of the day.
I don't know.
We're sitting on our wobbly stools and your book's selling all over the country.
- One here, one there.
- It's going wonderfully well in Nottingham.
How do you know? - I'm guessing.
- Why would you guess Nottingham? Why should the people of Nottingham be interested in Kenya? - Why not? - I can't answer that.
- There you are, then.
- How's it doing in the Shetland Isles? - Oh, how do I know? - I thought you'd like to make another guess.
- Oh, ha, ha! - Bristol, Birmingham? - Oh, shut up.
- How do you guess it's selling in Gateshead? - I don't know anybody in Gateshead.
- Ah! Oh, well.
All right, so I made a few phone calls.
Nothing wrong with recommending a book to friends.
- I don't like it.
- Don't you? - It smacks of charity.
- And you smack of being stiff-necked.
The next performance is at three o'clock.
We shall be doing excerpts from South Pacific.
This has been quite the silliest morning of my life and it's only just beginning.
(Tries to tune in radio) If you're trying to get Radio Luxembourg, it's off the air.
- I'm trying to find Lionel.
- Oh, where is he today? - He's doing a book programme in Glasgow.
- You won't get that on there.
I can get France.
Oh, maybe he'll do France next week.
Oh, I hope he's not too tired.
Alistair's got him dashing all over as if he's in the Milk Race.
He's not cycling, is he? - Come on, Alistair's only trying to do his best.
- Oh, I know, I know.
- Do you miss him? - Well, I've got used to him being around.
Is this what you meant by success can be a mixed blessing? Sort of.
Anyway, don't worry, he might not be a success.
Oh, I want him to be.
I want it both ways, don't I? - (Doorbell) - That'll be Alistair.
He's a success.
How does he manage so much time to take you out? - He's a big success.
- Oh, he's a mega success.
- Hi, Alistair.
- Hi.
- Hi, Jean.
- Hi.
Ah, did you manage to get Lionel in Glasgow? He did well.
He's getting less hostile every time.
How did you manage to get a local radio station from Glasgow? - On the car radio.
- Can you get Tibet? - Only faintly.
- Oh.
- Would you like a drink? - No, thanks.
- There's something I want to put to you.
- Oh, what? - The book.
- She's already bought 120 copies.
- 140.
- Star on the chart! But I'm talking bigger than locally.
We're not exactly bombing, but we're not grabbing either.
What we need to do is open up a second front.
Are you intending to invade Russia? - You sounded just like Lionel then.
- I'll do his next interview for him.
- Well, it's funny you should mention - Alistair, what are you building up to? The inscription in the book.
"To Pooh" it says.
You're Pooh, aren't you? - Of course not.
- Pooh was a dog.
- Yes, a spaniel.
- A collie.
Lionel's favourite spaniel.
- A springer spaniel.
- A cocker spaniel.
Oh.
All right, I am Pooh or, rather, I was.
I certainly wouldn't answer to it now.
What about it? Don't you see? It's the perfect publicity angle.
The book is dedicated to the girl he left behind, the girl before Africa.
The girl before the dawn of time.
- Who is she? That's the angle.
Who is Pooh? - Do you seriously think anyone cares? They will.
We can have the whole nation on tenterhooks! - We could double the book sales.
- People love a mystery.
What happens when the nation's curiosity dries up? We don't let them.
We produce you.
We produce Pooh! - You did say you wanted to help.
- (Mouths silently) - (Jean) You'd be what? - Flattered.
- I've always wanted to be a mystery woman.
- All right, then, you be Pooh, then.
- When Lionel knew Pooh, I wasn't even born.
- That's just it.
All this happened a hundred years ago.
It has no relevance to today.
- People still fall in love.
- Yeah, I bet they don't call each other Pooh.
Well, you did say you'd help.
I have helped, one way and another.
I've lived with this bloody book for months.
And now all this "Who's Pooh" business is too much.
- It's up to you.
- I hate it when people say that.
They don't mean "make up your own mind", but "I'm right and you're wrong".
- Look, if you really hate the idea - (Lionel) Hello? Ah, it's a celebrity.
Donald Duck is a celebrity, I'm not even a five-minute wonder.
- You're better looking than Donald Duck.
- Marginally.
Could I beg a cup of tea? Yes.
- (Jean) Ahh, hello.
- Hello.
You look awful.
This is my brave face, as well.
- Sit down.
- Thank you.
Where have you come from? - Wales, I think.
- Oh, as bad as that? Alistair's itinerary wasn't really designed for me.
It was designed for a hyperactive decathlete.
- Push, push? - Yes.
I hope the next time he says that, he's on top of Beachy Head with his back to the sea.
Keep telling yourself it's all worthwhile.
- I'm too tired to listen.
- I'm sure it is.
I don't know, I think I've seen more bookshops than people wanting to buy the book.
Ahh.
How's your bunion? - Throbbing.
- Ahh.
- That probably explains it.
- What? You being dismal.
Bunions can be very depressing.
- I'm not being dismal, I'm being realistic.
- You were sanguine.
Bluff.
I was trying not to care.
Vanity, I suppose, but at the end of the day, I did want it to sell.
- Well, it has.
The local bookshop's sold out.
- Thanks.
How many copies did you buy? - Now, what kind of a remark is that? - An appreciative one.
I just put it badly.
And what's all this past tense? What's all this "I did want it to sell"? I've grown accustomed to Alistair's vocabulary.
When he says "mega", he means minute.
I'm sure he's got other ways of pushing the book.
Oh, let's be realistic, there isn't anything else.
(Phone rings) It's a celebrity.
You've only said that twice and it's wearing thin.
Where are you off to? - Home.
- Already? It's past my bedtime.
- Jean still here? - No, she's gone home to talk to Alistair.
- Oh, right, I'll creak round there, then.
- Ah, then you've saved me a diversion.
Give this to her.
She won't want it lying around the office.
- What's in it? Used notes? - An idea.
- I thought they were usually kept in her head.
- Good night.
Good night.
I get carried away, you see.
She doesn't really want to.
I found those two sentences totally incomprehensible.
The envelope's not sealed.
Good night.
So, what did you think of the mock-ups? - I left them at the office.
- You didn't like them? I wouldn't have liked them if you'd presented them to me in a jewelled casket.
It's a woman's prerog, but you haven't changed your mind? - No, I'll do it.
- Oh, come on, Mum, it'll be fun.
Right.
How many people get the chance to be somebody? - Right.
- I already am someone.
I'm me.
- Anyone can be me.
- That's tortuous.
- No, what Judith means - Yes, all right, I know what she means.
I'm just thinking about the revelation.
Next week, Pooh revealed.
- Tomorrow, Pooh revealed! - You should be a copywriter.
- And what is revealed? An old blob.
- Oh, come on, you're not old.
- And you're not a blob.
- Thank you, I was hoping you'd say that.
But you know what I mean.
I'll be an anticlimax.
I'm coming at you head-on with this one, Jean.
You're not the end, you're the means.
I think that's the least flattering thing anyone has ever said to me.
- Yes, so do I.
- But you're right.
- You speak my language.
- No, but we've formed a sort of Esperanto.
- (Doorbell) - I'll get it.
- Well, perhaps - Worth a try.
Cheers.
- You know, I could fall for you.
- Oh, you've done that.
We've talked about it.
You're much, much, much, much too old for me! - This is out of the question.
- Li, though I say so myself, it's a great idea.
I don't care if it's better than the wheel, she's not doing it.
- She's agreed.
- But I haven't.
- She wants to do it.
- She's not.
- I don't like this "she" business.
- You, then.
You're not.
- She wants - Who? - Jean wants to help.
- She's - Who? - You are not going to.
- Don't tell me what to do.
- Anyone want some coffee? - Look, we're all on the same side here.
- On the button.
- Of course we are.
- No.
- Lionel, she - Oh, be quiet.
- Who is Pooh? She is - Who? Jean Pargetter, the girl I was in love with, is Pooh.
It's a silly nickname because Jean liked honey.
It's our business.
It has nothing to do with the readers of this or that newspaper.
But if it helps to sell the book It has nothing to do with the book.
It's ours.
- Why don't you ever say anything like that? - Huh? - What did you say? - I can't remember.
- You meant it.
- Of course I meant it.
- Oh, but the book - Bugger the book.
Look, I went to a travel agent's.
- You're going back to Kenya! - No! - Paris.
- Why are you going to Paris? I booked for two.
That weekend we planned and never had.
- You're making assumptions.
- I thought it was time I did.
- Oh, I see.
- You're not going to go on the defensive? Not with you in such a masterful mood.
- Now you're just taking the mickey.
- No, I'm not.
Not at all.
- We're going out to eat.
Coming? - You don't know what a good sulk is.
- No.
Well, are you coming or not? - No.
- No, thank you.
- Do you know, I amaze myself sometimes.
What have you done? Passed a mirror without looking in it? Nice dig, Li, but no.
I've just thought of your next book.
- Oh, for heaven's sake! - Oh, go and eat, Alistair! - Just let me give you the bones.
- Lionel's tired.
He'll feel like moving mountains when he's heard this.
It's set in the '50s, right? A young army lieutenant and a young nurse are in love, and I mean heavy love! - Don't tell me, he gets posted to Korea.
- I know what happens.
The nurse sends him a letter and he doesn't get it.
- Tragic, but dull.
- Dull? In a "God, I can't put this book down" sense.
No, no, no.
He gets the letter, but just as he's about to read it he's wounded.
By a mule? An enemy mule, of course.
You're not taking me seriously, are you? Look, this could be the prequel to My Life in Kenya.
Go away or this could be the prequel to some very foul language.
- Another time, Alistair.
- OK, OK.
Let's see if we can think of a title.
- Us, a novel.
- Don't even think about it.
I've thought of a very good title already.
The Jean And Lionel Story.
- They laughed, they loved, they lost - Until - Until what? - In inverted commas.
Until dot, dot, dot, dot.
- We're sounding like Alistair.
- I'd like to be taller.
- Now, that's a strange thing to say.
- In the book.
And willowy.
Oh.
Fair enough.
And I'll have a shock of red hair.
- And Jean's too plain.
- Gert? Oh, good! Gert! Gert and Ginger.
- Have a drink.
- Yes, good idea.
Oh, God.
Ohh! I clicked in about 18 places then.
Stay there.
I'll get it.
Would you like something to eat? I don't have any doughnuts.
Well, beans on toast would be nice.
You don't trust my cooking, do you? - I just fancy beans on toast! - Hm.
- Cheers.
- Ah, thanks.
Cheers.
The Gert And Ginger Story.
Why stop at one book? I could make it a series.
Gert And Ginger Go To Paris.
- Gert And Ginger Go To The Chiropodist.
- Gert And Ginger Go To The Dogs.
Yes, but who knows about the ending? I mean, there we were and here we are now with a great big gap of 38 years in between.
Sometimes it's as though we've never been apart.
But at other times it seems that we never knew each other, that we were just complete strangers.
I wonder what'll happen to us.
Have you any ideas on the subject? Lionel? Lionel? My hero.
# You must remember this # A kiss is still a kiss # A sigh is just a sigh # The fundamental things apply # As time goes by # And when two lovers woo # They still say I love you # On that you can rely # The world will always welcome lovers # As time goes by #