YouTube Transcription #96 (the brilliant) Stephen Fry

Please start the video at 09:48, when Alan Davies introduces Stephen Fry’s story. (Please note that the automatic subtitles are ver y inaccurate)

Please note: The video has been removed from YouTube. This version is much shorter, and starts from “To cut a long story short…”
Alan Davies: Now, Stephen – the neighbours popping in
Stephen Fry: Yes, this is… well it’s name-dropping of the worst kind you get, but… er, I have a house in Norfolk, and I had a house full, that particular winter, of guests, friends…
Davies: That’s not a euphemism!
Fry: No. And I was, one morning, making eggs benedict, a thing that I pride myself on, on the holidays, it take a lot of concentration. Phone rang, so I pick up the phone rather testily, “Yes? What?”
“Can I speak to Stephen Fry please?”
“Yes, this is he. What? Who? What?”
“Oh, this is The Prince Of Wales.”
And this little creature in my head sent a message to my lips to say, “Oh, f*** off, Rory! This is a very strange thing, when it’s the real person, however good an impressionist you may know, something tells you that is the real person. So, another part of my brain sent a message to overtake the first message and said, “Aaah, hello sir, nice to hear from you.”
He said, “Erm, I thought I might come to tea.”
“Oh, well lovely, yes, absolutely. Do you have a day in mind?”
“Yes, New Year’s Day.”
So we sorted it, went to the hallway and shouted up the stairs, bit like Rick in ‘The Young Ones‘ – “House meeting!” And, er, people, sort of, doing up dressing gowns appeared at the top of the stairs and said, “What?” and I said, erm, “The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, is coming to tea on, erm, New Year’s Day…”
Davies: “So the lot of you **** off!”
Fry: They all went, “Oh, ****,” They didn’t believe me at all, of course, and it wasn’t until a green Range Rover with a couple of figures in tweed jackets and a lot of dogs…. They checked out that the place was secure, and by this time everybody believed that he was coming, and then… well I wish you could have seen Rowan Atkinson vacuuming the carpet, looking like Freddie Mercury in “I Want To Break Free”, so desperately tidying up, and er, Hugh Lorrie took a photograph of him because it was just so hilarious, and then it was very tidy. Anybody else started tidying, all of us, you know, quite progressive young {pensen?} figures, that don’t necessarily buy into the whole British establishment thing, getting all excited. It’s childish of us, but we did. To cut a long story short, after Rowan had come back, he’d gone to a garage, the only thing open on New Year’s Day, and got a box of fig rolls, for heaven’s sake. Fortunately I had got cakes and tea and buns and honey and things, and so… heard the doorbell go, everybody skedaddled, like cowards, and I opened the door and he gave the immortal lines, erm, “I hope you don’t mind, I brought my wife.” Princess Diana stepped forward, looking at me under her lashes in that way that she had, like nobody else. “Hello, Stephen.” And, erm, went in like that and, so my friend Hugh Lorrie was there with his son, Charlie was about two years old, I think, he was pottering around being very well behaved, and everybody else was kind of on their best behaviour and serving tea, and became relaxed and very good fun, but Charlie went up and turned the television on, as children often do, and so his mother, Jo, shouted out, “Charlie!” and the Prince of Wales went “What, what…?”
That was pretty good, and when they left I remember she looked at me and she said, “I’m sorry we’re leaving early,” she said, er, “but it’s Spitting Image tonight.” She said, “They hate it. I love it!” And there you have her in a nutshell. By saying that to me she was putting me in her power, really, because, erm, putting herself in my power, rather, because you know, I could have called up any newspaper and said, “Princess Di likes…” you know, “Spitting Image,” who were at the time were hated by a lot of people for making fun of the royal family, so she kind of makes you her slave. Anyway, it was a very extraordinary event.


pop in – short visit
name-dropping – trying to impress other people by using names of famous people you have a connection with
The Prince Of Wales – Prince Charles
Rory – Rory Bremner, a famous impressionist and friend of Fry’s, very good at impersonating Prince Charles.
The Young Ones – a popular TV comedy show in the 1980s
the lot of you – all of you, everybody
garage – petrol/gasoline station
fig rolls – a common, cheap type of biscuit
for heaven’s sake – I can’t believe it
skedaddled – ran away, disappeared
pottering around – walking with no particular purpose
Spitting Image – a TV satire show in the 80 which ridiculed famous people, especially politicians and the royal family
in a nutshell – in short, as a summary

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