The first Dennis Potter "Thought for the Day" went out this morning.
In case you missed it, here is the whole historic text.*
"Thought for the Day": part one of a new radio play by Dennis Potter.
The scene is a radio studio. The Bishop of Rutland is seated before a microphone. He has a bottle of whisky in front of him. He sips from a glass. We hear Fred Astaire singing "Night and Day". It fades away.
Bishop: Mmm. Scotch. Nice. Warms the cockles of your ... cockles of your thingy. Heart. Warms the cockles of your heart.
He takes another slurp.
Bishop: Cockles. Funny word, cockles. Cockles and mussels. Strange place to find cockles, in your heart. Mussels of your heart. Strange ...
Voiceover: Going live in 20 seconds, bishop.
Bishop: What do you mean ? I'm live now, aren't I?
Presenter's voice: And now it's time for "Thought for the Day", which comes today from our Leicester studio, where the Bishop of Rutland is waiting for us. Bishop ?
Bishop: Thank you, James, and good morning everybody. Today I want to say something about hearing voices. You know, we often talk about hearing voices, but how often do we actually hear voices out of the air? I mean actually hear disembodied voices out of thin air? Like St Joan of Arc did ? Well, in my case, quite often. For instance, I am sitting in a radio studio at this very moment and from time to time I hear Fred Astaire singing. Or voices saying, "Going on air in 10 minutes" or "Could you speak a little more clearly, Bishop, without the slurring?" and these voices seem to have no human source at all. I'll give you another example. I was at a party the other day ...
We move to a party scene. Lots of chatter and tinkling and laughter.
Bishop: I was just standing by myself when from nowhere a voice spoke.
Voice: Hi, Bish! What's your poison?
Bishop: How very true, I thought. Drink IS our poison, isn't it? The words "toxic" and "intoxicate" are so very closely allied. And I looked round to see who had said this, and there was a man who introduced himself as a doctor.
Doctor: Hi, Bish. Have you noticed that at every party you go to there's always one person who confesses to being a doctor? And another 10 who don't? Because if you admit at a party that you're a doctor, then someone is bound to start presenting their symptoms to you. So we take it in turns. And I'm the doctor on call at this party.
Bishop: Funny you should say that. I've been hearing voices recently. I have also been slurring my speech a lot. And I've been knocking things over. I wonder if there is any disease which causes all those things, when you haven't been drinking at all.
Doctor: You haven't been drinking at all?
Bishop: Oh, no, I've been drinking a lot. I just need a disease which produces the same symptoms, so I can use it as an alibi.
Doctor: Senile dementia would fit the bill.
Bishop: Senile dementia! Excellent! Thanks, doc!
The scene changes to a rainy street. We hear the Bishop accosting a pair of young girls.
Bishop: Hello, girls. Like to hear my thought for the day ?
First girl: You're pissed!
Second girl: You're disgusting!
Bishop: You may be right. But at least I hear voices, which is more than you do. And I'm not pissed. I've got an illness called ... hold on, I've got it written down somewhere.
Sound of a fall.
First girl: Oh my God, he's collapsed.
Second girl: It happened to my Uncle Jack just like that. One minute he was shoplifting in Woolworth's - that was his job - the next minute he was down with a stroke. They found 40 packets of jelly babies on him. The coroner said it was a miracle.
This extremely confusing episode is being repeated on commercial radio tomorrow. There will be another 149 episodes on Radio 4, all more or less the same.Reuse content