Dialogue from ‘The Day Off’

Reading & Writing, The Arts

‘The Day Off’ (see previous post) occupies a key position in the history of British comedy. Written by Galton & Simpson, who changed the face of TV humour by writing about the working class poor with more realism and pathos than anyone had previously attempted, they created the script at a high point in their creative output, modelling their film on the work of Jacques Tati and Fernandel. The plotless film echoed Pinter more than it did the traditional joke-punchline comedies that had been produced until then.

Here, as best as I can remember, are bits of dialogue from the staged film performance that made me laugh.

Hancock visits his bank and asks to withdraw money.

TELLER: How much do you want to take out?
HANCOCK: Three quid.
TELLER: (Sarcastic) Are you being blackmailed?

He visits a cafe.

HANCOCK: What’s the soup du jour?
WAITRESS: Dunno.
HANCOCK: Well, could you go and look?
WAITRESS: Pea.
HANCOCK: Don’t want it. What’s Boeuf Breton?
WAITRESS: Beef.
HANCOCK: I know that part. I want to know what the Breton is.
WAITRESS: Dunno.
HANCOCK: Well, go and find out.
WAITRESS: I went and found out about the pea and you didn’t order it.
HANCOCK: I’m not going to order it until I know what it is.
WAITRESS: It’s the way it’s cooked.
HANCOK: I know that!

…And meets his bus-driver pal.

HANCOCK: How’s the misses?
DRIVER: Don’t know, I’ve never asked.
(To barmaid) Two large gin and tonics and two Pimms please.
HANCOCK: Blimey, who are you with, Princess Margaret?

Hancock gets his girl – who says she’s a model – and his true profession is found out just before a touching goodnight kiss. The romance sadly turns sour.
As he leaves, he pauses, and you think he’s about to say he loves her, but his pride won’t let him.

HANCOCK: Charlotte, there-s something – I’d like to say…
CHARLOTTE: Y-yes?
HANCOCK: Dior doesn’t like fat birds so stay off the spuds.

Wonderful stuff. The film script has now been optioned. Don’t hold your breath waiting for it to get made, but it may get published.

As for ‘The Punch & Judy Man’, Hancock’s dark comedy made without Galton & Simpson, a deleted scene has been discovered.