The Edwardians (1972) s01e02 Episode Script

Horatio Bottomley

(Wind howls) (Door creaks) I have not had your advantages, gentlemen.
What poor education I have received has been gained in the university of life.
All the same, by the time I'm done, there will be three Horatios in the history books: Nelson, that fellow who held the bridge, and yours truly.
And who is representing Mr Bottomley? May it please Your Lordship, I shall conduct my own defence.
- Is that wise? - Well, I hope so.
And looking around me, it's certainly in the interest of economy and space.
(Laughter) Looking around me, I can only agree.
Very well.
Proceed.
May it please Your Lordship, I appear for the Crown in this case, - assisted by my learned colleague - Yes, we know all that.
- Let's get on with it, shall we? - As Your Lordship pleases.
The accused stand jointly charged with conspiracy to obtain money from the shareholders of the Hansard Publishing Union Ltd and the Anglo-Austrian Printing and Publishing Union Ltd.
Charges to which, as you have heard, they have all pleaded not guilty.
The facts of the case are these.
- I'll be as brief as I can.
- Please.
At the instigation of Mr Bottomley, the Hansard Publishing Union was formed with an initial capital of half a million pounds.
Before this venture was established, and indeed the Crown's contention is that it was never properly established, Mr Bottomley and his fellow directors formed the Anglo-Austrian Printing and Publishing Union.
This too had an initial capital of half a million pounds, and purported to have business interests which it intended to develop in Vienna.
In essence, the case against the accused is that not only have they managed to lose the whole of the capital in both the companies, one million pounds in all, in a remarkably short space of time, but that more remarkable still, they are unable to account for this enormous sum of money.
And most remarkable of all, you may think, the Crown will prove that the accused have no assets of any kind, and have acquired no property in Vienna, or anywhere else for that matter, with their shareholders' vanished million.
- And when did these events come to light, sir? - At a meeting.
- Who was present? - Myself.
How can one man form a meeting? Well, you've heard of a man being beside himself.
(Laughter) I will not enter into a contest of vulgar abuse with you! No, you wouldn't shine at it.
(Laughter) After all, you are handicapped.
Wit is the eloquence of indifference.
I wish I'd thought of that.
I wish I had, sir, but since I can't recall who did, at least I can't be accused of plagiarism.
(Laughs) The Hansard Union was just at the point when the very coping stone was being put on, when these debenture asset corporation shareholders, these moneylenders with their 20 per cent in their pockets swooped down upon the institution, took advantage of a temporary difficulty, took advantage of all surrounding circumstances to say, "We must step in for their protection.
" Such was the blasphemy that was spoken to the Hansard shareholders who, all believing, and all infuriated against myself, swallowed every nostrum that was put forward and allowed this wreckage to take place.
You will bear in mind that Mr Bottomley conducted his own defence in my opinion, most ably.
He has told you how his companies were savagely attacked by the very persons one would expect to stand behind them.
He has frankly admitted to mistakes and errors of judgement which he was in the process of rectifying.
All of which, you may think, points to the honesty of his motives.
That is the real thing.
A man is entitled to an acquittal.
A man ought not to be told by the jury, "We are giving you the benefit of the doubt.
" On the contrary.
He can say, "I claim the right to be acquitted if you are not satisfied.
" That is the right every Englishman has.
Gentlemen, consider your verdict, and tell me on this case now before you whether you find these defendants guilty or not guilty.
Members of the jury, have you considered your verdict? We have, m'Iord.
How do you find the defendants? Guilty or not guilty? Not guilty, m'Iord.
- And is that the verdict of you all? - It is, m'Iord.
Well, that makes 13 of us.
(Knock on door) Have him come in.
- Sir Henry.
- Mr Bottomley.
Allow me to congratulate you on the way you acquitted yourself.
You acquitted me.
(Chuckles) Don't tell me you've come to say you want to change your plea.
Even with the light relief, I couldn't bear to go through all that again.
Nor I.
I take it this isn't merely a social call.
- No, I need your help.
- In what way? I'm forming The Hansard Relief Fund, a reconstituted company.
I wondered if you'd care to preside over it.
(Laughs) Respectability at a stroke.
You know, I'm almost tempted.
But no, I'm bound to decline in the circumstances.
- Pity.
- You should read for the Bar.
Oh, I'm too old for it.
Which is not to say I don't anticipate spending a deal of my time in court.
I don't doubt it.
But I have too many outside interests to take it up professionally.
Well, it's been a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Mr Bottomley.
Here, have these.
They may serve to remind you of your first, though I'm sure not your last, lay victory.
Well, the law's just like acting.
- That's the reason you and I get along.
- One reason.
- That'll do from you.
- Your mind! I asked Sir Henry if he'd fancy presiding over the reconstituted company.
Oh, Botty, you never! Well, why not? He might have said yes.
As it is, he made me a present of his notes and wig.
What, after he'd acquitted you and everything? How you managed to get away with it, I'll never know, chief.
I reckon it'll be a while before anyone tries prosecuting you again.
All the same, let's not tempt providence.
Might be as well to let our publishing interests lie fallow for the time being.
Well, hang it all, apart from the publicity, we've earned a bit of relaxation.
Well, we're having it, aren't we? We may have earned it, we've got nothing to pay for it.
My credit's never been better.
More champagne.
- The way you go at it, that'll not last long.
- Well, then I'll start another venture.
- What? - I haven't the least idea.
- 'Ere, what about me? - Oh, there you are, Peggy, my love.
- Don't look so worried.
- I am worried.
The trouble with you, Tommy, is you will go hunting opportunities.
It's a waste of time and energy.
Opportunities present themselves.
The trick is to recognise them and exploit them when they come along.
Meantime, enjoy yourself.
PEGGY: Cheers.
- Cheers.
TOMMY: Cheers.
Oh, Champagne Charlie is my name Champagne Charlie is my name Good for any game at night, boys Who'll come and join me in a spree? - Who's my clever Botty, then? - I am.
All we have to do is find a play with the right part for you in it and we'll have you romping home as well.
Yeah, well, it's not that easy.
- Anyway, who'd back it? - I will.
- Will you really? - Your private angel.
Oh, Botty.
(Door opens) - Oh, gawd.
Don't you never go to bed? We've been celebrating.
- Botty won at Newmarket.
- Went through the card.
6,000.
Well, that should cheer you up.
It might, if you hadn't lost L10,000 yesterday.
Oh, you're a regular Jonah, aren't you? As it is, you've got a dead disgruntled shareholder in there.
- Oh, have him call back in the morning.
- I've tried, haven't I? He's dug his heels in this time.
What's more, he's got a horse whip.
Ah.
Well, why don't you call the law? Don't think I don't appreciate your advice, but there are ways of handing these things.
Well, perhaps you'd put Miss Primrose into a cab.
Oh, trust you to put the mockers on the evening.
- I'll make it up to you, love.
- Yeah? When? I'll call a cab.
Don't worry, I'll find my own.
Good night! - That went down large.
- Bad timing.
Still, see I send some roses round in the morning.
- It was roses last time.
- Well orchids, then.
- Now then, where's this fellow? - I'll bring him in.
And champagne.
Best glasses, quantities of champ Where would I be without you? Same place as you're liable to fetch up with me - in t'clink.
(Chuckles) You'd better talk good.
He's cut up real ugly.
Don't worry, I shall positively serenade him.
My dear fellow! I've been trying to trace you.
- Haven't I, Tommy? - Oh, yes.
- I'll not be fobbed off with any more humbug! - Where have you been? I want that L15,000 you lost me with your worthless shares! And if there's any argument, sir, I shall not hesitate to use this! Calm, sir.
Calm now.
Of course you shall have your money back.
Run and fetch me a chequebook, Tommy.
You'll take a glass with me, sir, meanwhile? You needn't think fair words and fine wine will distract me, sir.
Please.
- Business and pleasure, you know.
- Oh, I try and mix them whenever possible.
Now, look here These shares that you're so dissatisfied with, now what are they? There, sir.
Oh! (Chuckles) Oh, yes.
Yes, they have slipped.
- You don't deny it? - The vagaries of the market.
It's disappointing, I grant you, but er worthless? Yes, that's what my bankers tell me.
- You get investment advice from your bankers? - Well, who else, then? Well, forgive me, isn't that rather like going to the butcher's to buy bread? (Chuckles) The only shares that your bankers are likely to approve are fixed-price consols.
- Yes, but they won't crash like these.
- They won't rise either.
Swings and roundabouts: That's the essence of investment and free enterprise.
Still if you'd sooner not gamble Thank you, Tommy.
I'll buy them back from you at the price you paid for them.
That's very reasonable.
I'm not quite the villain your bankers would have you believe.
- No, apparently not, no.
- 15,000, I think you said.
Mm! I will say you you keep a very decent cellar.
Nothing's too good for my clients.
My friends, if I may venture to call you, sir.
Oh, you may, you may, you may.
All's well that ends well, then, eh? Yes, I'm sorry you won't hang onto those shares a mite longer.
They could Hm - Still, where's my pen? - How's that? - I don't think he'd be interested, would he? - I doubt it.
- No, you wouldn't be interested.
- I don't know if you don't tell me.
Well, the fact is that I'm transferring these shares into another undertaking.
- Oh? What's that, then? - I can't let you have the details just yet, negotiations being critical, but it is a shame you should want to withdraw just now.
It can't fail.
And I had a mind to offer you the chance of getting in on the ground floor, so to speak, had you felt like investing another 3,000.
Where's my chequebook? - Don't let me press you.
- Oh, fair's fair, damn it all.
Pen.
- 3,000? - 3,000, yes.
There, sir.
And I expect it to work, see? I am touched and flattered by your confidence.
Well, I must be going.
There, sir.
Oh, don't forget this.
You may need it to threaten me again.
(Chuckles) Damn you for a rascal.
- But I like your style, though.
- You won't regret this.
No, sir.
But you will if it goes wrong.
(Burps) Where's that door? This way.
Well that went off all right, didn't it? I believe you could get away with murder.
Probably.
What's this scheme though? It's a new one on me.
Yes, it's a new one on me, too.
Well, count your blessings.
He's happy.
And we've got L3,000 to invest, if we can think how.
So shut up, drink up, and start thinking.
What did I tell you? Opportunities present themselves.
Gold, Tommy.
There's not a man in London who doesn't want to get in on the Australian gold rush.
We'll sell shares in our Australian companies.
- We don't have any.
- Well, then, we'll buy some.
- What with? - Our shareholders' money, what else? - Suppose we don't strike gold? - Oh, you're making difficulties.
By the laws of average, we're bound to strike a reef with one of them.
You're getting to be known as my rubber stamp, Tommy.
TOMMY: Wait till the cheques start bouncing.
It was during Goodwood week, if I remember rightly.
I do not profess to know much about sporting matters.
(Laughter) But it was during Goodwood week whatever that may mean.
(Laughter) that I was asked by a shareholder whether the fact that I had become the owner of Count Chamburg, and certain other racehorses meant that I was going to neglect their interests and my duties as chairman of this company.
I am pleased to reassure you on that count.
MAN: Hear, hear! (Applause) Heaven knows, I've done far too much gambling in the City to want to gamble when I get out of it! (Laughter) Speaking now on my feet, and I hope I've not entirely lost my head (Laughter) I have told you pretty frankly why we stopped paying our dividends.
The wisdom of that policy is manifest.
There only remains one other matter to deal with, and that is the injurious rumour that I myself had been dealing in shares which are being dealt in by this company.
At my request, the committee enquired into these rumours, and you will have seen attached to your shareholders' report the addendum in which they state in the most emphatic language that there is not one jot or tickle of foundation for them.
That report That report, coupled with your recommendation, is perhaps the most unique vote of confidence ever passed in a chairman of a limited company in the City of London.
And I shall show my appreciation by doing my best, as time goes on, to justify that vote and to merit it.
MAN: Bravo! For my honour is my life.
Both grow in one.
Take honour from me, and my life is done.
- Bravo! (Cheering) Three cheers for Mr Bottomley! - Hip-hip ALL: Hooray! - Hip-hip ALL: Hooray! - Hip-hip ALL: Hooray! For he's a jolly good fellow, for he's a jolly good fellow For he's a jolly good fellow And so say all of us For He's A Jolly Good Fellow - Who's my clever Botty, then? - I am.
(Door closes) - Oh, can't you knock? - Sorry.
- Never mind.
- I do mind.
I've got something to show you.
There.
Very nice.
It's your enthusiasm that keeps him going.
I've got something to show you, an' all.
- It's Hess.
- Oh, yeah? What's he got to say? That you were lucky to escape conviction in the Hansard Union case.
- The cheek of it! - That you're a swindler.
That you um your companies are "one imposition after another upon the gullible public.
" - Impertinent phrase.
- That's not the half of it.
Just for good measure, he goes on to say that you misuse your shareholders' money to bribe the great unwashed of South Hackney to send you to parliament.
Never mind about Westminster, you ought to be in the Old Bailey.
- You're not gonna stand for that, are you? - Forget it.
- Why? - It's near enough to the truth.
- It'd be risky challenging it.
- You're wrong, chief.
Do you know, honestly, for once I agree with him.
Challenge it, you could come unstuck.
Don't, it's bound to be believed.
Oh, very well.
Issue a writ for libel.
It is a fact of life albeit a sad one that those of us who achieve any degree of success attract the spite and envy of little men.
And of one thing there can be no doubt: The defendant Hess is such a man.
A pitifully small man.
A contemptible and petty man.
You'll have seen how he acquitted himself if that is the word, under examination.
You have read and heard his allegations.
I admit, frankly, that I am angry.
However, I have not come here to seek damages of a punitive kind.
I have come here only that you may judge whether the allegations you have heard are, can conceivably be, true, in substance or in fact.
Lf, as I am confident you will, you find them utterly without foundation I only ask that you shall express your opinion in such terms as to discourage this this object, to discourage him from daring ever again to befoul the name of another as he has sought to befoul mine.
(Kerching!) Champagne Charlie Is My Name MAN: Is the candidate in favour of mixed bathing for the unemployed? BOTTOMLEY: I am quite unable to consider the possibility of there being unemployed under such conditions.
Well, it's been nice seeing you, Eliza.
Been a change to see you on your own.
Well, I expect you'll be wanting to get back to The Dicker now.
- Not a lot.
- No hurry.
Not at all, to tell you the truth.
It's like Well, I mean, all them workmen tramping in and out.
Florrie's getting above herself.
And I'm like a fish out of water in the country, anyhow.
- I need you there.
- Why? You're hardly ever down.
Then not without your racing pals and your hangers-on.
I've a good mind to stop on here, I have, really.
- But you don't like London.
- Not Pall Mall.
I can't keep up with the way you carry on here in Pall Mall, but there's nothing wrong with London.
- There's no pleasing some people.
- You mean to say you've tried? I've done my best to see to it that you and Florence never wanted for anything.
We ain't gone short, if that's what you mean.
But we was better off in digs.
You nicking the instalments on the piano to play for that blessed Dalton.
Well, I mean, stuck down there with you never Boozing and jawing and gambling, or up all night in that bloomin' billiard room.
Yes, well I'm on my own now, aren't I? What I'm wondering is, why? I was obliged to withdraw my candidature.
On account of you're bankrupt, I suppose.
- A purely temporary miscalculation.
- Not again! An occupational hazard when playing for high stakes.
Won't you never learn? - What? - To be ordinary.
I'm not ordinary.
- It's like our wedding cake you couldn't pay for.
- You can't still harp on that.
You couldn't just own up, oh, no, not you.
No, you had to make out you were sick and call off the bloomin' wedding.
And ever since, it's been the same, only more so.
Why don't we sell that stupid place? - All them horses, this dirty great barracks - Never! I've worked for what I've got.
Worked up from nothing, remember.
I mean to hold onto all I can.
Besides, I'll bounce back, you'll see.
It's only a matter of time.
That will be nice.
Especially for Peggy Primrose.
- Oh, you know about her, do you? - She's common knowledge.
Her and all the others.
Even down in Eastbourne.
They don't mean anything, not really.
They couldn't all, could they? It stands to reason.
- It's - What? It's not your fault.
It's just I don't know, you don't seem to have been the same somehow since Florence was born.
- You haven't changed, I suppose.
- Not all that much, no.
Well I don't know.
I mean, I know you had a bad time in childbirth and everything, but um I think it could be we got married too young.
You'll think whatever suits you.
You always have and you always will.
No, I mean I didn't know who I was, where I was going then.
- Do you now? - Perhaps not.
But I'm on my way.
I couldn't stop now, even if I wanted to.
What it is, you got you get caught up in a sort of momentum.
I haven't left you.
- It's just that - Yes.
You're a good woman.
And you, you're bloody patronising.
Never mind that you're a fool to yourself in business, but to make out that your women when I know none better how little you've got to offer in that direction.
And now you can't even stoop down to take your shoes off! I'll lay you're not such hot stuff as you like to make out.
- Thank you.
- You may be a big fish in a small pond, but for how long? - How long? - I haven't started yet.
No! Well, if it's any comfort to you and it may be, I'll be waiting for what's left of you when they finally pull you down.
Champagne Charlie Is My Name - You can't be serious.
- I haven't failed you yet, Mr Odhams.
In fact, you'd have put up the shutters years ago if I hadn't talked you round.
No-one's more aware than I of all you've done for us.
But this is different.
He's shopped around all over town trying to find himself a new printer's.
- I am a director of the firm.
- And I made you one.
Then treat me like one.
Damn it, the man's been bankrupt twice! - Three times, actually.
- There you are, then.
He's obtained a discharge.
- And he's backed by Hooley, another bankrupt.
- Also discharged.
And between the two of them, they should have no difficulty in raising the relatively small amount it'll cost to print the journal.
Bottomley is an MP now, don't forget.
He is also a womaniser, an atheist and a gambler.
But what of it? Do you approve? It's quite irrelevant as to whether or not we undertake his printing.
You'll be telling me next you think the man's a genius.
Well, he has a genius for survival, that's one thing.
He's gone down under a series of disasters and he's bounced back stronger every time.
He's informed, he's influential, he's colourful, he's immensely popular.
He's a brilliant talker, no mean lawyer, and he has a flair for journalism.
But most of all, he's vulgar, in the best sense of the word.
Meaning what, pray? The way in which he keeps in touch with the public by living out their dreams.
He'd eat you for breakfast.
I don't think so.
It won't be easy, but we need one large-circulation journal to underpin the rag-bag we're printing, and I believe I can handle it.
On your head be it.
Would you please ask Mr Cox to step inside? Perhaps you'd inform Mr Bottomley that if he'd care to call on me, I'd be pleased to see him.
Mr Elias.
I can't tell you how much I appreciate your coming to see me, Mr Elias.
I wouldn't have dreamed of asking you, only my doctor seems determined to keep me confined here.
I trust it's nothing serious.
No, no, no, I've just been overdoing things a bit lately.
Got a bit rundown.
- Please.
- Thank you.
- Oh, isn't that Charles Bradlaugh? - Yes.
Yes, there's a look of you to him.
Rumour has it that I am his natural son by Annie Besant.
True or false, I'm happy to subscribe to it.
Perhaps because the alternative is rather a dull one.
The facts are that my parents died when I was five.
I spent my formative years in Sir Josiah Mason's orphanage in Birmingham.
Mm I want you to print a new journal for me.
I understood your printers were Wertheimer, Lea & Company.
Yes, yes, they still are, but they suggested I should approach you with this new notion.
I wonder why.
Well, far be it from me to sound disloyal, but they're not a notably imaginative firm.
And this calls for imagination, enterprise, vision, even.
To what end? Frank Harris has agreed to act as leader writer and to undertake our theatrical and literary reviews.
George Wedlake will contribute a weekly feature, entitled The World, The Flesh And The Devil.
From the size of him, you'll know he's as qualified as I am to write about the flesh.
You may take my word for it, he's equally familiar with the world and the devil.
Then there's Willie Lotinga.
You know, Larry the Lynx from The People.
He'll be Racing Correspondent.
I myself will edit the journal, and deal with the City, Parliament and the law.
A fairly formidable team, you'll allow.
Good.
We'll have a hard-hitting, blunt, fearless journal, that'll cover the field for the man in the street.
A kind of everyman's mix of news, gossip, scandal and exposure.
BOTTOMLEY: Informed opinion, with a dash of sport and a dash of culture thrown in.
And here's the real beauty of it: The title.
It'll be called simply John Bull.
24 pages, pale buff cover, printed separately and then bound on.
Initial print order of 50,000.
I've talked myself dry.
Where the devil have you hidden that champagne? Come on, Tommy! BOTTOMLEY: Well? What do you think? I don't see how we can afford to turn you down.
(Chuckles) Splendid.
You'll take a glass with us to celebrate? Well, not to appear churlish Thank you.
Thank you.
This could be the making of you.
- Or the breaking of us.
- Mm! (Bottomley and Tommy laugh) Cheers.
You'd let me have your copy 48 hours prior to publication? Depend upon it.
Well, then if you'll excuse me, I'll see about getting extra men and machines.
Good, good.
Allow me to congratulate you on your swift recovery.
Gentlemen.
He's not as green as he is cabbage looking, that one.
- The boy from Odhams is here again.
- Tell him to come back.
- He's come back.
- Tell him to come back again.
- When? - How the hell do I know? I've got to say something! Tell him we're engaged in the mysterious process of creation.
A process beyond the vulgar demands of time.
A process so delicate as to baffle the imagination - mine especially, at present.
Tell him that, Tommy, and if he wishes to take over, he's welcome.
- Meanwhile, bollocks to him! - Succinctly.
TOMMY: I'll tell him.
- What do you want? Ascot or Newmarket? - Newmarket.
That's settled, then.
That's the least of our problems.
Well, run along.
I'll have you know, I'm used to more consideration.
- You heard! - Run along! Run along! Open letter.
There's a piece here from Frank Harris addressed to Campbell-Bannerman.
The Prime Minister's good second edition stuff.
Tell Frank we want to open with one to the King.
World, The Flesh And The Devil? "We beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he'll ascertain from the Inland Revenue the amount of Gerald Balfour's income tax assessment.
" Good.
Bull's-eye.
"Sir Edward Clark has and the City is resigned.
" (Laughs) Yes, I like it.
Prisoner at the bar.
Archibald Philip Primrose, Earl of Rosebery.
You, the prisoner at the bar, hold up your hand.
The jury have given you the benefit of the doubt and acquitted you of political arson, but their duty clearly compelled them to convict you in respect of the unnatural offence of boring the British public.
Practise what you preach.
It's too long for the first edition.
Make it something snappy.
Kipling, wilful murderer of the King's English.
See if George can't knock up something along those lines.
Shams? Oh, we've got a few er - fraudulent advertisements.
- Good.
Two, three Two, three and seven.
- What about the services? - No, there's nothing doing this week.
But we've got a bit of dirt about Waring & Gillows.
Splendid.
Yes, spell it out, though.
We do not feel justified in extending critical immunity to a concern capitalised at three million pounds when we're ready to criticise more modest firms.
Knock out something along those lines, we'll put it in the City column.
Cartoon? John Bull, slaying the dragon.
Yes.
There must be a more topical dragon, surely? It'd be a help if we knew what your editorial was.
All right, take this down.
Um Head it um About Ourselves.
"Speaking candidly, we do not feel that another journal" No, no.
"Speaking candidly, we do not feel that in the abstract another journal is wanted.
But in the concrete, we are convinced that this one is.
We start with an adva" No.
"We start with one great advantage.
We have no decided opinions we have no decided opinions about anything" Hold on.
Right.
"We have no politics.
No religion.
" No, no, no, no.
"We have no politics, except the general welfare of the state.
No religion, except to do good.
No race except the human one.
To us, all parties are organised hypocrisies.
What, then, is the scheme of our journal? We shall review from a non-sectarian, non-party human viewpoint the events of the week, the various events of the week and the topics of the hour.
In these pages, we shall be no respecter of persons place or power.
" And then stick in that bit I drafted yesterday about keeping a watchful eye on the courts and the City.
And we'd better have a policy statement at the head of page one.
Let's see, um "Politics without party criticism without cant without fear or favour rancour or rant.
" All the nouns in caps, John Bull in bold on the front cover.
Edited by Horatio Bottomley MP.
That's about it, isn't it? What about something catchy to pull 'em in? Yes.
Yes, what? Um - Byron.
- Come again? "The world is a bundle of hay.
Mankind are the asses who pull.
Each tugs it a different way.
- And the greatest of these is" - John Bull.
Well done.
Where's that boy? Don't hang about, son.
My compliments to Mr Elias.
Champagne Charlie Is My Name BOTTOMLEY: If John Bull says so, it is so.
Common sense, warm blood, and no humbug.
There, in a sentence, is our policy.
That's all very well.
Our other publishers are complaining about the muck-raking John Bull seems to specialise in.
We provide a service.
It's no part of our job to arbitrate on what our customers choose to print.
I'd still sooner see him take his custom elsewhere.
- But it's vastly our most profitable undertaking.
- It might be, if he paid his bills! Best idea you ever had, John Bull.
Do you know, that's the first time he's ever given any of my ventures his unqualified approval? (Laughter) All we've got to do is find the right vehicle for you and we can take over the town.
Yeah, well, if you'd put your money into Charley's Aunt My dear Elias! - Another chair! Come and join the party.
- Thank you, no.
I wouldn't intrude, but you've been so remarkably elusive.
My shareholders' committee Look, if you're going to cast a blight on the proceedings, you might at least sit down.
Hm? Now then, what's the problem? You can speak quite freely, we're among friends.
Well, the fact is, I have been instructed You're not going on about your printing costs again? I've no alternative.
There is a time and place though, surely? I wouldn't have chosen to discuss the matter here.
Now, don't let's get it all formal.
I mean to pay your printing costs.
I want to.
The fact is, just now I haven't a penny to my name.
Thank you.
I've had to spend a fortune on publicity and circulation.
Then I suggest that we take those over.
There's nothing I'd like better.
I'd be able to concentrate on the business of actually publishing and editing the thing.
All the same, we can't go on subsidising your printing costs forever.
Well, why not? I mean, fair's fair.
At least until we get properly established, anyway.
You provide the money, I'll provide the brains.
And the champagne.
(Chuckles) I hear you've agreed to pay commission to Wertheimer and Lea.
They gave us the introduction.
We've invested a fortune in new premises, men and machines.
We had no alternative if we were to keep up with the demand.
Even his editorial staff haven't been paid.
Yes, they have.
- By whom? - Us.
In heaven's name why? For the good and sufficient reason that we couldn't afford to lose them.
He still hasn't paid our printing costs.
- He's paying current costs.
- What about the arrears? Well, it looks like we might have to write those off.
But against that, we've taken over publishing, circulation and advertising.
- He still accepts advertisements.
- Well, occasionally.
On the other hand, circulation's going splendidly.
And the fact that we're publishing means we can be sure of getting the journal out on time.
What about these writs for libel, though? What about them? Show him, Tommy.
Case dismissed.
Case dismissed.
One farthing's damages.
Case dismissed, case dismissed, - one farthing's damages again.
- They've cost you nothing.
I'm thinking of what they've meant in terms of time and trouble.
Not to mention counsel's fees.
Think instead of the way the publicity they've given us has helped to boost circulation.
You've conveniently ignored the Mitchell case, where your refusal to accept counsel's opinion set us back substantial costs, and L1,200 in damages.
You can't win them all.
And now we're faced with a writ from Crosland.
And if counsel's right, that could cost us a fortune.
It could, it won't.
- But you can't be sure.
- Oh, yes I can.
I shall defend that one.
Have you written a book called Bottomley's Book? Yes.
It is out of print now, unfortunately.
In that book, did you write "We shall keep a watchful eye on the law courts, - their comedies, farces, tragedies and judges"? - Yes.
You have kept an eye on the judges? - Yes.
And they have kept an eye on me.
(Laughter) In a recent libel case in Scotland, did you withdraw a claim for damages of L2,000 and settle for an apology? - Yes.
- Why? The defendant was a Scotsman.
(Raucous laughter) I don't follow you.
Oh, well, perhaps I can help you.
There's a saying you may not have heard.
"You cannae take the breeks off a Highlander.
" (Raucous laughter) This is a very important question I'm going to ask you now.
Well, that'll distinguish it from the others.
You now have placards all over London reading plain words to Lord Roberts.
No, no, no, that was last week.
This week's is "The Prudential Company Unmasked.
" (Laughter) Champagne Charlie Is My Name MAN: In many ways, I consider Mr Horatio Bottomley to be one of the most attractive speakers to whom I have ever listened.
His House of Commons style is almost ideal.
Gentlemen, I'm Bottomley, Member of Parliament for South Hackney.
That, I think, dispenses with the need for a formal introduction by our Chairman.
Having said that, I daresay many of you here are surprised that the man who stands before you has neither horns on his head nor, so far as you're able to judge, cloven hooves.
(Laughter) Those of you who read the law reports will know that I enjoy the unique distinction of having been through every court in the country, except one.
And here I touch wood, because that exception is the Divorce Court.
(Mutterings of agreement) Some of you may have heard of me as the editor of a more or less obscure journal.
I forget its name at the moment.
SEVERAL MEN: John Bull! Through the pages of which each week I advocate the cause of the bottom dog and the man in the street.
(Cheering) - Bravo! I've found out what those shares are worth you gave me in exchange for Lottinger's Weekly! You can diddle others all you like! Diddle me, and Don't you dare threaten me, little man! Your racing notes are lamentable, the laughing stock of Tattersalls.
You'd not be tolerated elsewhere on any terms! I can do without you! I can do without anybody! If you don't like it, get out! - Steady, chief.
- I will not be spoken to like that! Get out before I throw you out! I'll get even with you, you see if I don't! You? You couldn't! Even in the unlikely event that you had all the hosts of heaven on your side! Champagne Charlie Is My Name - Ah, I'm glad you've come.
- That's the nicest thing you've said in ages.
I must talk to you about your expenses.
Yes, yes, yes.
I've something far more important to talk to you about.
It's a new competition called Bullets.
L100 for every one we publish.
Works like this.
Each week, we print an example, invite the readers to complete them in not more than three words.
And here is the secret.
The first and last words of the bullet must begin with any two letters from the example.
For instance, the tipping system.
Tenners buy manners.
You see? Tenners buy manners.
- Mm.
- Here's another.
Kleptomania.
Obsession for possession.
See? Obsession for possession.
Ah ah, yes.
- Yes, it could catch on.
- Catch on? It'll go like wildfire! It'll boost circulation two ways.
Not only the prize money, but the bullets themselves.
Yes.
Er Er Pretty girl.
Pensive then expensive.
- That's it, yes! - Yes! Er Terrible shock.
Rich uncle recovering.
(Laughs) Yes! Er Closing time.
Induces galloping consumption.
(Laughs) Yes! (Mutters) And what do you suppose this is going to do to John Bull's circulation? We are familiar in these courts with a springing use or a shifting use.
Mr Bottomley has invented a new form of property - a springing or shifting share.
A share which, at the will of Mr Bottomley or his class, will shift and turn from Mr Bottomley's into my share.
Or will turn from a fully-paid share into an unpaid or partly-paid share.
Or, more marvellous still, will turn from an issued share into an unissued share.
We may well be grateful to Mr Bottomley for livening up the tedium of our work in these courts by humorous suggestions of that sort.
But behind it, there is somewhat of a tragedy.
Because it affects Mr Bottomley's credit.
Let us see what he means when he says that the shares were unissued.
How does that tally with his speech to the shareholders? I loathe to refer again to that speech, but if there be any meaning in words at all, Mr Bottomley, in the month of May, 1904, was saying, and meant, that these shares were issued.
Whereas in the month of January, 1912, he is trying to get Your Lordship to believe and say that he means that the shares were unissued? (Gunfire) BOTTOMLEY: I hear a call, distant now, but ever growing more distinct.
Wanted: A man.
C B Cochran.
Well? He wants you to make a recruiting speech in the interval at the Empire.
How much? What kind of fee did you have in mind? 200 guineas.
I'm afraid he couldn't accept less than 600.
- 400? - 500.
Seeing as it's a good cause, and not to set a precedent, he is prepared to accept 500 guineas.
Pounds? - Done.
- You're on.
I'm Bottomley! I've been through the fires of suffering to reach a mellow judgement.
Whatever I may have done or been before then, I drew a line in August, 1914, to become the soldier's friend.
(Mutterings of approval) I am here tonight to direct your minds to those brave lads who even now are fighting a vicious foe, and laying down their lives.
MAN: Hear, hear! I am here to ask if there's an able-bodied man among you who can, who dares shelter here in peace and comfort.
I think not! I am confident that no right-thinking patriot can do other than to rally to his country in this, her hour of need.
(Shouts of approval) You will find forms at the doors of this theatre.
Sign them! Or renounce your right to be considered English men! (Cheering) Rule, Britannia Sir Harold Harmsworth, chief.
Harmsworth.
Oh, one does one's duty.
He wants me to do a regular weekly piece for the Sunday Pictorial.
What sort of fee did you have in mind? 250 guineas an article? And bonuses, of course.
Well, for that, I'll write for you on anything from gee-gees to Jesus.
(Chuckles) Goodbye.
- Odhams isn't gonna like it.
- Sod Odhams.
We don't have exclusive rights to his services.
You must see that this can only hurt our circulation! Harmsworth has agreed to include the fact that he is the editor of John Bull in his by-line.
Oh.
Oh, well well, I must say that's fair to generous.
With any luck, we might even boost one another's circulation.
Not to mention Bottomley's income.
BOTTOMLEY: Germany must be wiped off the map of Europe.
If by chance you should discover one day in a restaurant that you are being served by a German waiter, you will throw the soup in his foul face.
If you find yourself sitting at the side of a German clerk, you will spill the ink over his vile head.
John Bull.
Sunday Pic.
And the first, I trust, of many bonuses from Harmsworth.
That really is something to write home about.
- The money's rolling in, Peggy.
- Almost as fast as it's going out.
- There really is no pleasing him, is there? - Oh, it's his nature.
Come on, love, let's spend some of this before the creditors get wind of it.
Mr Bottomley was addressing audiences at the Empire recently.
He was the Recruiting Sergeant.
Magnificent sentiments, if it hadn't to be paid for.
Mr Bottomley doesn't scream patriotism for nothing.
I rule that out of order.
You rule out of order anything which doesn't suit you! Well, of course.
What other point is there in being a chairman? (Laughter) BOTTOMLEY: I want you to know, lads, that we at home are proud of you.
You're never far from our thoughts, never out of our prayers and minds.
If you've got any problems, tell me.
If you have any in the future, write to me.
You deserve the best.
I give you my word, I, at least, won't rest till we've righted any wrongs you might have suffered.
How can you, in all conscience, shelter here when our lads, the flower of England's manhood, are being killed by the filthy Boche, at Mons, on the Somme, and at Passchendaele? Get up! Get out there and join them! - Why don't you, then? (Shouts of agreement) Would to God it were my privilege to shoulder a rifle and to take my place beside the brave boys in the trenches.
But you have only to look at me to see that I suffer from two complaints.
My medical man calls them anno Domini and embonpoint.
The first means that I was born too soon, and the second that my chest measurement has gone into the wrong place.
(Raucous laughter) (Church bells) BOTTOMLEY: I am now preparing to proceed to Westminster to run the show.
All Britain knew that I was aching to be returned by South Hackney as the unofficial prime minister, and the unofficial prime minister I am going to be.
I have up my sleeve some very big things.
You can be assured that before the session has advanced a week, everyone will know I am there.
They're all over town.
You never ought to have quarrelled with Willie Lotinga.
- It's anonymous.
- Who else? Don't be a clown, we all know who's responsible.
The point is, it can't be proved.
Well, you better do something.
If it isn't squashed for good and all, this could really bring you down.
Bigland, do you think you could find somebody to take the rap? - Some small-town printer? - Probably.
I'll pay his costs and damages, give him L100 for his pains.
What's in it for me? 1,000? The man you want is Greening.
I do not think that little men, like the defendant Greening, because they are little men financially, should be encouraged to hurl libels at other men, trusting in their magnanimity not to make them pay for it.
There comes a time when this sort of thing has to stop.
And without exaggerating the damages I have sustained, but putting to you the right of a public man to immunity from this kind of dishing up of dirty old stuff of years and years ago for no serious purpose at all and to make such public work as I am doing less effective than I would wish it to be I do ask you to give me such a verdict as would act as a deterrent to others and remove the handicap under which I have been working for the past few years.
With these words, I leave the verdict in your hands.
- Well, Julias.
- Well, HB.
You wanted to see me.
I've been asked to raise the matter of our printing bills again.
I haven't got the money just at the moment.
What are you going to do? Sue me? Well, I hope it won't come to that but I do have shareholders that I'm accountable to.
Now why don't you let us take over John Bull? You can retain editorial control and a life interest in the profits.
Never in a million years.
Besides, I've got a better proposition to put to you.
Harmsworth's got his peerage and why do you suppose? I'll tell you.
Entirely on the strength of my reputation and my articles.
Well There's no doubt about it and I'm going to prove it.
I'm going to amalgamate the National News and the Sunday Evening Telegram into a paper that will compete directly with his Sunday Pictorial.
The Sunday Illustrated.
- He'll fight you.
- I'll wipe the floor with him.
- Do you have a dummy? - Yes.
It can't fail.
And you can set the profits off against what I owe you on John Bull.
- I have my doubts.
- Well, I've none.
If it wasn't for your name As it is We'll give it a trial run.
The sweepstakes alone will finance it.
- Sunday Illustrated? You'll be lucky.
- I've been lucky before.
And unlucky too.
What we need is an altogether new venture.
- I've got the very thing.
- Hm? It's a way of making petrol out of water.
- The thing you demonstrated at Newmarket? - That's it.
Or tried to.
By the time they actually got the car to start, everyone had left to watch the Cesarewitch.
- I know it's a bit expensive to set up.
- Oh, forget it, Bigland.
I'm busy if you're not.
Getting mixed up in that fiasco's just what I don't want.
All I need is a few more I tell you, Tommy, Boadicea would have blushed to have seen it.
Petrol from water indeed! You're out of your mind! It takes time to build up sales, you know that.
Especially when you're in direct competition with an established paper.
Yours started small and they've fallen.
- All it needs is a bit of nursing.
- I'm sorry.
- The shareholders won't wear it.
- All right.
Then I'll go it alone.
And how will you finance it? Will you take over John Bull? Give me editorial control and a life's interest in the profits.
But you threw that out of the window when I suggested it.
Yes.
Well, things have changed since then.
Now I'm suggesting it.
Well? Do you accept? Thankfully.
- Got it.
- Thank God for that.
Victory bonds.
We'll make it possible for the man in the street to afford them.
- At five quid a time? How? - By splitting them into one-pound shares.
We'll buy them and hold them on behalf of the subscribers.
What's more, we'll use the interest to build up a prize fund.
- Every so often we'll hold a draw.
- Like a lottery? - Only this one will have government backing.
- Never in a million years.
Now don't you turn against me too, Tommy.
You know me, chief.
Try anything once.
BOTTOMLEY: Send me your one-pound notes and I will buy bonds.
One pound gives you the opportunity of winning L20,000.
A new road to fortune.
I am your fairy godmother.
Is he still there? Some of these are forgeries.
You can't trust anyone nowadays.
How do you know? There's more of them than we issued, that's how.
I reckon we'd better get some auditors in.
Too expensive.
Trouble is you can't tell which of the sod's is forged, which is genuine.
It's a bit academic, isn't it? What are we gonna say when people start asking for their money back? Blind them with science.
Tell them they'll get a better rate of interest if we switch their shares into French bonds.
Charge them a bit more.
Not much.
Just enough to see us through till we can get this sorted out.
It's a case of if we can now, chief, not till we can.
There you are.
Printing costs for the last edition of the Sunday Illustrated.
I hope this isn't coming out of your victory bond fund.
If you don't want to know, don't ask.
Do you know what? I think he's jealous of me.
What's the trouble? It's Bigland.
It's Reuben Bigland.
(Reads) The downfall of Horatio Bottomley, MP.
(Chuckles) His latest latest swindle.
How he got poor subscribers to invest one-pound notes in his great victory war bond You can't afford to joke about it, chief.
He's sold on close on half a million of these on the streets at a penny a time.
Never mind about your subscribers.
Every newspaper, every member of Parliament has had one.
Look, I don't want an apology.
Just drop it, Bigland, for old time's sake.
Don't you dare talk to me about old time's sake.
You can't want me to sue you, surely? You do and I'll dish the dirt about Greening amongst other things.
- Like what? - Like you can't kid an old kidder, Tommy.
That's right.
My memory goes back a hell of a long way.
Hang on.
Get him to change his mind.
What do you want? (Muffled voices) (Sighs) It's the humbug gets me.
"And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me," from Bigland, of all people.
(Door slams) I used every argument I could think of.
- Money? - Even that.
The man isn't open to persuasion.
He's out to ruin you.
Well, I'll just sue him then, won't I? - Are you sure you'll win? - Win or lose.
- What Bigland says in that court is liable to land you in the Old Bailey.
There isn't a jury in the land that would convict me.
BIGLAND: I am determined to expose the wrongs of the thousands of people, most of them poor and ignorant who have been duped for years by Mr Bottomley, by means of his succession of sweepstakes and lotteries, every one of which, I say, has been fraudulently conducted.
You'll appreciate that in the circumstances, we have no alternative but to sever our connection with you.
We've erm We've drawn up a cheque in compensation.
I have my faults, goodness knows.
But whatever else, all my life, in every article I've written, in every speech I've ever made, I've advocated the cause of the bottom dog and the man in the street - the very people that I am now accused of trying to defraud.
You are asked to believe that all the time I was scheming to rob them of their savings.
I, who at my own cost, travelling night and day, was the King's chief recruiting agent.
I, who stood by the boys in the trenches, who sat at their sides at the dressing stations, doing my best to comfort them who held their hands in the great base hospitals as they passed into eternity.
Can you believe that all the time I was scheming to rob them and their families of gold? You will never convict me.
The jury is not yet born that would convict me of these charges.
That sword would fall from its scabbard if you brought a verdict of guilty against me.
I say this with a conscience as clear as a conscience can be.
I say it without one rap of fear or misgiving.
I will wait until, in the mercy of God and the spirit of justice you liberate me from this ordeal.
The defendant has said that no jury would ever convict him of a criminal offence.
But if the evidence leaves you in no real doubt at all that he was using money which did not belong to him, that he was receiving money on account of other people to an enormous sum, that he was then in violation of the terms upon which he received it, converting it to his own use, I ask you to say that he did so, fraudulently, because that is the only inference which, in my submission, can be drawn from such facts, if they are proved.
If those facts are proved, then I ask you to treat this man as you would treat any other man of lesser eminence and to say that you find him guilty of all the charges in this indictment.
This is not a case of some uneducated person who has got a few pounds of trust money and muddled it up with his own.
This is a case of a very able and experienced businessman who has received very important sums of money.
A man who would appreciate, as well as any businessman in the City, the importance of correct accounts when dealing with other people's money.
The next observation that occurs to me is this: All that was needed in the case of clubs like these was accounts of the simplest possible character.
A record of amounts received and the expenses and the people paid off and there you have it.
JUDGE: Will the prisoner please rise? The jury, in its wisdom, and in my opinion, rightly, has found you guilty.
The crime is aggravated by your high position, by the number and poverty of your victims.
I can see no mitigation.
The sentence of the court upon you is that you be kept in penal servitude for seven years.
Er Is it not customary to ask of a convicted man whether he has anything to say before sentence is passed upon him? Not in cases of misdemeanour.
I am glad, for otherwise I should have had something offensive to say about the summing up.
Take the prisoner down.
BOTTOMLEY: In convict cell, in felon's garb, his sentence seven years Perchance a sigh, but ne'er a sob The wounds too deep for tears You can't keep me down, not for long, you'll see, Peggy.
I'll be back in the House in no time.
All I have to do is to discharge my debts.
Haven't I? - That's right, love.
- I'm going to start another paper.
Before you know it I've got the name already.
John Blunt.
Five years is a long time, Botty.
- And the public's very fickle.
- Not to me.
Not with me and my record.
If they are, all I have to do is an empire tour.
I wish little Tommy was still alive.
I could do with him.
Still Don't worry, love.
We'll think of something.
ANNOUNCER: One of the strangest turns in the new non-stop variety programme at the Windmill Theatre last night was that of an old man billed as Revudeville In Excelsis, Horatio Bottomley.
(Faint applause) Wit is the eloquence of indifference.
It was during Goodwood week, if I remember rightly, I do not profess to know much about sporting matters But it was during Goodwood week, whatever that may mean Some of you may remember me as the editor of a more or less obscure journal.
I forget its name just at the moment.
(Crowd murmur) But you have only to look at me to see that I suffer from two complaints.
My medical man calls them embonpoint er and anno Domini.
The first means that my chest measurement has got into the wrong place and the second that I was born.
Altogether now, my boys! For Champagne Charlie is my name BOTTOMLEY: I shall pass through this world but once.
Any good that I can do, therefore, or any kindness I can show to any human being, let me do it now for I shall not pass this way again.
Champagne Charlie is my name Good for any game at night, boys Who'll come and join me in a spree? Champagne Charlie Is My Name