Miles Kington: Ask the audience? Oh, no, you can't!

'You mean the old lamp my husband got when he was an athlete in the 100m, 200m and 198m long wave?
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The Independent Online

Yesterday we brought you an exclusive extract from Jeffrey Archer's latest work, a pantomime written in prison. It's a version of Aladdin that features a young hero who comes from an obscure background to marry well, make a lot of money and become chairman of the pro-Sultan Party, as well as write a huge best-seller called Not a Shekel More, Not a Shekel Less... well, I'm sure you get the idea.

Here is another helping from this seminal work.

Aladdin is seen rubbing his magic lamp. The genie appears

Genie: What is your wish, O master?

Aladdin: My wish is to become mayor of this great city.

Genie: What on earth for? You have wealth, happiness, a lovely home and a six-bedroomed wife.

Aladdin: Don't you mean a lovely wife and a six-bedroomed home?

Genie: Do I? Sorry. When you're inside a lamp all day, you tend to lose touch.

Aladdin: So, come on. Make me mayor.

Genie: It's not that easy. When it comes to democratic institutions, I can't fiddle the results.

Aladdin: Why not? Tony Blair can! Oh, and one other thing. I need an alibi for last night.

Genie: Here's half a dozen fake diaries. Take your pick. But meanwhile, whatever you do, don't lose the lamp!

The scene changes to Princess Mary's chamber in Aladdin's palace, where she is having her hair brushed by her maid

Mary: Oh, Aladdin, you have changed since we got married! Whatever happened to the charming young rascal I was engaged to?

Maid: He became a middle-aged rascal. They always do and they're never so attractive.

Mary: Perhaps you're right...

There is a loud knocking at the door. Abanazar is shown in

Abanazar: I am sorry to have to say this, madam, but your husband's investments have gone down the pan, and he is millions of pounds in debt.

Mary: Oh, not again! How much do you want this time?

Abanazar: Well, just a small antique would do as a down payment. That old lamp, perhaps...?

Mary: You mean, the old lamp which my husband got when he was an athlete representing the country at the 100m, 200m, 300 m, 350m, 198m long wave, and 92 to 95 FM...?

Abanazar: Yes, yes, – that will do very well. Farewell, lady Mary!

In the next scene we see Aladdin take the stage alone, together with his old friend Wishee Washee, and address the audience directly

Aladdin: Now, boys and girls, I'm going to need your help if I am to become mayor of the city!

Wishee: And a lot of money.

Aladdin: I've already got a lot of money.

Wishee: But it belongs to the Kurds.

Aladdin: Shut up, Wishee Washee! Hits Wishee on the head. To the audience. This is my friend Wishee Washee, boys and girls. As you can tell from his name, he's a Lib Dem! Hits him over the head. Now, boys and girls, there's only one obstacle between me and becoming mayor, and that's my big enemy, Red Ken. Chorus of dutiful booing. Come on, you can do better than that!

Wishee: No, they can't.

Aladdin: Yes, they can!

Audience: No, we can't.

Aladdin: Fair enough. Now remember, if you see Red Ken coming, just tell me.

Behind his back, enter Red Ken

Audience: He's behind you!

Aladdin: (looking wrong way) No, he's not!

Audience: All right, darling, have it your own way. He's not behind you. Hello, Ken, love!

Red Ken: Hello, my darlings!

Aladdin: Ah, Red Ken! There you are!

Red Ken: They love me, you know.

Aladdin: We'll see about that. Now, you know that either you or I must be mayor of the city!

Red Ken: I do.

Aladdin: I'll fight you to the death for it!

Red Ken: No, no, I have a better idea. We'll have a quiz to the death.

Aladdin: How does that work?

Red Ken: I ask you a question and if you get the right answer, you become mayor.

Aladdin: Goody goody! I love quizzes. I know everything.

Red Ken: OK, here we go. Remember, Aladdin, this is your big question on Who Wants To Be A Mayor? Ready? Right. In your struggle to be mayor, which of the following weaknesses will most let you down? A. A sex scandal. B. Insider dealing in Anglia TV shares. C. An attempt to bribe Wishee Washee to lie in court. D. A certain weakness in characterisation in some of your best-selling novels.

Aladdin: Golly, that's hard.

Red Ken: You still have all your options. You can go 50-50, phone a genie or ask the audience.

Audience: Oh, no, you can't!

More of this some other time, and then again, maybe not

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