YouTube Transcription #21 Rowan Atkinson
This is a scene from Atkinson’s TV comedy drama “The Thin Blue Line”, in which there is confusion about English vocabulary, and disinterest in work parties.
Inspector Fowler: Oh, by the way, I’ll just leave the collecting tin for the Queen’s birthday present here, shall I? About three pounds apiece should cover it.
Constable Habib: Excuse me sir, I didn’t quite catch that.
Fowler: A collecting tin, for the Queen’s official birthday, which is next week. Well of course you all knew that. We are members of Her Majesty’s Police Force. The Queen is, in effect, our boss, and compared to many bosses she is a model employer. She does not attempt to kiss the secretaries at the Christmas party, she does not insist on having the best coffee mug, or hogging all the “Chocolate Hobnobs”. She’s had a pretty rotten time of it of late, and I thought that it would be a nice thing to show her that she’s appreciated.
Constable Gladstone: Personally I think celebrating birthdays at work is a bad idea.
Fowler: Yes, well on this occasion…
Gladstone: I mean that awful business of going for a curry with people you either don’t know or you don’t like.
Fowler: Yes, yes, well…
Gladstone: And there’s nothing to do but drink, so before you know it you’re doing the old elephant impression and everyone else in the restaurant hates you because, quite frankly, they couldn’t give a flying hoohar whether the birthday girl lives or dies.
Fowler: Yes, well I wasn’t really thinking of taking Her Majesty for a curry.
Constable Goody: What’s you elephant impression, Frank?
Gladstone: Well you pull your trousers pockets inside out, you see, and then you…
Fowler: I have, in fact, already taken the liberty of purchasing her a gift – a small porcelain figurine of a young lad fishing. Well, the collecting tin is there, as I say; it’s very much up to you.
Goody: I don’t want to buy the queen a present, sir. She’s an Antichrist.
Fowler: I beg your pardon?
Goody: Oh, no, I mean anarchist. No, no. What’s that word for someone who’s out of date and doesn’t matter any more?
Habib: I think you mean an anachronism.
Constable Goody: Yes, the Queen’s an anachronism.
Gladstone: I thought that was someone who was scared of spiders.
Fowler: No, no, that’s an arachnophobic.
Gladstone: I thought that was a person who was scared of wide, open spaces.
Habib: No, that’s agoraphobics. They can’t handle going outside. Arachnophobics hate spiders.
Fowler: Now look, we’re talking about the Queen.
Goody: Is the Queen scared of spiders?
Gladstone: Well you wouldn’t have thought so but it’s beginning to look that way.
Goody: Perhaps that’s why she’s scared to go outside.
“Apice” means “each”
“couldn’t give a flying hoohar” means “don’t/doesn’t care at all”
“A model (something)” means “a perfect example of (something)”
“Hog” means to keep something only for yourself
“Chocolate Hobnobs” are a popular kind of biscuit/cookie in Britain
“It’s up to you” means “it’s your choice”