Majestic, snow-capped Himalayan mountain peaks. White clouds drift past.
Michael Palin (voice-over): I've been fascinated with the Himalaya for a very long time. I remember as a boy of 10 hearing on the radio news that Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay had ascended to the summit of Mt. Everest. For months afterwards I kept a scrapbook filled with clippings about Everest and mountaineering. I don't suppose I ever imagined I would go there.
The camera pans down to an alpine meadow. In the foreground is a wooden desk. At the desk a man sits behind a microphone. He is wearing a tight grey suit and has on black plastic framed glasses.
Announcer (Cleese): The BBC interrupts this program to apologize for the fact that, contrary to the title, Ms. Clodagh Rogers will not be appearing. (Pauses and looks around anxiously.) She's unavailable due to a serious illness in the family. (Pauses.) Honestly. Her aunt in Winchcombe has a case of… um, swine flu. (Stares at the camera for some moments.) Oh, all right, she doesn't want to appear on our show. Well, who needs her? That's what I say. (Getting exercised.) Thinks she's too famous to appear on public television, does she? I mean, tell me honestly, who would remember her now if she wasn't mentioned in that Monty Python episode? Don't tell me about some bleeding Eurovision Song Contest! She didn't even win for Christ's sake! And that hideous song! (He starts to sing "Jack-in-a-Box" in a mocking way.)
The camera pulls back to show another wooden desk, with another announcer sitting behind a microphone.
Announcer2 (Palin): The BBC would like to apologize for that previous apology. All the people responsible have been sacked. We would like to apologize for any embarrassment we have caused Ms. Clodagh Rogers, her family and her many loyal fans. And now, let's get back to that wonderful travel documentary by Michael Palin, shall we?
In a cramped sitting room filled with cheap bric-a-brac two frumpy ladies in floral patterned dresses are sitting watching television. On the television, standing on a lace doily, is a large stuffed penguin.
Lady1 (Jones) (in a high-pitched voice): It's funny how these announcers look like they're straight out of 1972!
Lady2 (Chapman) (high-pitched voice): Yes, Mrs. Halfstuffedfrogbiscuit. They're not like the gorgeous multi-ethnic BBC hunks of today! (They both chortle loudly.)
Lady1: I agree, Mrs. Massiveheadcheese. I like Mr. Palin's sideburns though. And he's got tight slacks on.
Lady2: He was always the cute one.
Lady1: And he wasn't a pansy like the rest of them. (Chortle again.)
Lady2: Say, Mrs. Halfstuffedfrogbiscuit, what's that penguin doing on the telly?
Lady1: That's not a penguin. That's an elephant! (Leaning over as if to whisper, but still loud.) You can tell by that great big dangly thing in front.
Lady2: (Getting up and putting her face near the screen for a closer look.) Ooohh, yes. The trunk.
Michael Palin is seated on an elephant. There is a line of them going along a path in the jungle. A turbaned guide with a long stick is walking alongside Palin's elephant.
Palin: The elephant is no longer a major means of transportation in Pakistan but the villagers were keen on showing off their animals and offered us a ride. The elephants are mostly kept for their role in the logging industry--
Palin is so busy talking to the camera that he doesn't notice the low branch until he smacks into it and drops off his elephant. The cameraman and the sound man carrying a microphone boom rush out of the woods to check on Palin. Production assistants and the elephant guides join them.
Lady1 (voice-over): Isn't it funny how the cameraman is standing there but we still get to see everything!
Lady2 (voice-over): It's the magic of television, dearie.
At night a doctor and the director are standing in front of a lit tent.
Doctor: It's rather puzzling. I'm afraid that as a result of his head injury Mr. Palin believes that he's a man named Arthur Pither and he's on a cycling tour of north Cornwall.
Director (Gilliam): Oh no, a Monty Python flashback! Thank God we have ten days to shoot in Pakistan. Let me try to talk to him at least.
The doctor lets the director into the tent but he pops out almost immediately.
Director: Michael must have run off!
The moon is shining over the darkened forest. Sound of Mr. Pither's pots and pans jangling. The Waltz from "Faust" plays as background music.