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No Sacred Cows  
Toby Young
Monday 10th October 2005

Who's The Daddy? (The full text of the stage play)

by Toby Young and Lloyd Evans, with additional material by Jeremy Lloyd

Prologue

Film projected on to screen. Parliament Hill. A dog and a bitch enter frame from either side. One is a ludicrous white toy-dog in a Burberry dog-coat. The other is a black Labrador with a cloth cap, wearing the lead of a guide-dog. They sniff each other out and start copulating with noisy relish. Enter Kimberly and Blunkett from opposite sides, panicking, calling to their dogs. They pull the dogs off, calm them down and lead them away.

Act One

I.i

The editor's office at the Spectator. A grand room. Victorian furniture. Large desk with a pair of antlers behind it. Discarded bottles of champagne everywhere. Various entrances, cupboards etc. The wall L is decorated with a vast portrait of Mrs Thatcher (6ft by 4ft) holding a handbag.

We hear panting and gasping, though no one is on stage, apparently. Someone is having sex. But who? As lights come up we see Boris's blonde head bobbing up and down from behind the desk.

Enter Tiffany, a busty Essex blonde with matching heels and accent. She totters to the edge of the desk and peers over it.

Tiffany: D'you have to do that in here?

Boris [off]: Well, I don't like doing it in the street.

Tiffany goes over to light switch and turns the lights on. Boris appears from behind the desk with a bicycle pump and a bicycle wheel.

Boris: That's better. Flat tyre.

Tiffany moons about aimlessly.

Boris: What is it, Tiffany?

Tiffany: I forgot why I come in. Oh yeah! There's some geezer outside.

Pause

Boris: And --

Tiffany: ...he wants to see you.

Boris: What's his name?

Tiffany: He didn't say.

Boris [typing away]: Did you ask?

Tiffany: Ask what?

Boris: His name!

Tiffany [slaps her forehead]: Duh! You have such good ideas.

Boris [exasperated]: Well, go and ask.

She goes.

Boris. O tempora! O mores!

She returns carrying a card.

Tiffany: His name is [reads slowly] Michael Howard.

Boris: Dracula!

Tiffany: No. [Reading]: Michael Howard.

Boris: Is he at the door or the window?

Tiffany: What?

Boris: Just send him in.

She goes.

Boris: Cripes. What the hell does he want?

He tidies up his desk, straightens the rug, checks himself in mirror, etc. Sees his hair is too neat and un-tidies it.

Michael Howard prowls in, sly, potent, full of scornful menace. Boris doesn't see him.

Howard: Hello Boris.

Boris starts.

Boris: Michael! How are you, old bean? Come in. Right. Triffic performance at PMQs the other day. Wiped the floor with him. How's Sandra?

Howard: Cut the crap Boris.

Howard: I'm not here to exchange vacuous pleasantries with a puffed-up public-school wag. I'll be blunt. I don't like you and I never have.

Boris: Well, I've always had a huge admiration for --

Howard: Don't interrupt. You're cocky. You're pretentious. And you're too clever by half. But as long as you're useful to the party, you'll be tolerated. Sit down.

Howard sits in Boris's chair.

Boris: Er...that's the editor's chair, old bean.

Howard: Too bad, 'old bean'. Got to move fast in politics or you'll lose your seat.

Boris: Ha! Right. Um. Triffic. Can I get you a tea or coffee or anything?

Howard: No.

Boris: Whisky?

Howard: No.

Boris: Virgin's blood?

Howard: I'm trying to cut down on virgin's blood.

Boris: Oh God. Sorry old bean. I was just joking.

Howard: So was I. Anyway, I'm here to discuss the General Election.

Boris: It hasn't been called already has it?

Howard: No, you clot. It won't be until next year. We've got 12 months to get our house in order. We've been doing some research. A nationwide survey. And you know what we keep hearing on the doorstep?

Boris: Piss off you Tory tosser?

Howard: Yes, your name has been mentioned.

Boris: What?

Howard: Trust, Boris. Trust is the great issue of the day. Britain is a deeply conservative nation and we -- the Conservatives -- have lost our way. We are the natural party of Government.

Boris: Well absolutely. And you're our champion. Like Sir Gallahad riding into --

Howard [interrupting]: Don't be a fool. I haven't got a prayer. The most I can hope for is to reduce Blair's majority. And the day after my defeat, I'll do the decent thing.

Boris [aside]: Fall on your wooden stake.

Howard: The real battle will be the next election but one. That's why I'm here Boris. To talk about the new generation of Conservatives. The greatest service I can perform for the party is to anoint a worthy successor. But for some reason the public aren't impressed by suave, professional politicians. You seem to have hit it off with the great unwashed, Boris. That whole buffoonish, doesn't-know-if-he's-coming-or-going thing...

Boris scratches his head.

Boris: Er, thanks, old bean.

Howard [advancing towards him]: The upper-class twit with his shirt out of his trousers...

Boris hastily tucks in his shirt.

Howard [examining him]: The stammering, wittering, shambling, bumbling, stuttering, blithering, fumbling, babbling, dithering, muttering, chattering fool...

Boris: Er, yuh, er, what? Could you be more specific?

Howard: I've decided to put you in the Shadow Cabinet.

Boris: Me? What a tremendous honour. I can't tell you how much...

Howard: Save it for Paxman. I'm going to start you off as Shadow Spokesman for Arts, Media and...whatever the other thing is. And ultimately, if you don't balls it up, Shadow Home Secretary.

Boris: Crikey moses.

Howard: I want you to spearhead an aggressive new publicity drive. Traditional values. Trust and decency. You're our greatest asset, Boris. A popular Tory! You represent the Conservative dream. Hard work, a happy marriage. How many kids is it now? Three?

Boris: Four, actually. At least, I think it's four. Or is it five? [Beat.] Hell's teeth, I can't remember. [Pulls out wallet and a string of photos flip down.] No, no, it's definitely four.

Howard: Four! Excellent.

Boris: That's the Johnson gonads for you. Busting with weapons-grade testosterone.

Boris punches Howard jovially in the shoulder, then realising his mistake, rubs it better.

Howard [doing a double take]: And you are...happily married.

Boris: Course. [Three fingered salute.] Scout's honour.

Howard: No skeletons in the cupboard?

Boris: Absolutely not. Heh heh heh. My cupboard is a skeleton-free zone.

Howard: Good. [Stands.] Don't let me down, Boris.

Howard exits.

Boris rubs his hands together gleefully.

Boris: This calls for a celebration.

Picks up phone.

Boris: Tiffany. Tell Petsy to come to my office. [Beat.] Petsy. Petronella. The Hon Petronella Wyatt...P, E, T...Oh, for Christ's sake, she's sitting right next to you.

Bangs down phone and exits.

Petronella enters. Starts taking off her Chanel suit.

Petsy: What did Dracula want? [She strips off skirt to reveal stockings, suspenders and a basque.] Not many virgins round here...

Boris [off] : Nothing much. Just to promote me to the front bench!

Petsy: Borrie! Congratulations.

Boris enters in luxurious robe. He lets it fall open to reveal a pair of large, silk, leopard-print boxers.

Boris: I'm a big beast at last.

Petsy [staring at crotch]: You always were.

Boris removes the robe.

Boris: Plus he wants me to rebrand the Tories. From now on we're the party of...er...what did he say? Trust, decency, hard work and...what was that other thing?

He pulls a lever. The portrait of Margaret Thatcher comes down and turns into a double bed, complete with red satin sheets.

Boris: Oh yeah. Family values.

He and Petsy leap onto the bed.

Blackout.

We see the words "Two minutes later."

The lights come back on to reveal Boris and Petsy lying on the bed. He's reading a biography of Churchill and she's staring at the ceiling, smoking a fag.

Blackout.

I.ii

Two hours later.

Tiffany is rifling through papers on Boris's desk. Rod Liddle enters, shirt open, tie askew, smoking a fag, finishing a glass of red wine. He takes off his sunglasses and eyes her up. She stands by the desk.

Rod: Hi. I'm Rod, Rod Liddle? You...er, you may recognise me.

She peers at him.

Tiffany: Nah.

Rod: You must be Boris's new fuctotum.

Tiffany: Tiffany. And watch your language.

Rod: Hi, I, er, I seem to have mislaid an important document.

Tiffany: What's that?

Rod: The seating plan for lunch.

Tiffany: It's under your nose.

He starts trying to peer down her bra. She pushes him away.

Tiffany [picking seating plan up off desk]: Here it is.

Rod: Oh. Silly me. [Goes to drinks table.] Want some Champagne?

Tiffany: No, ta. I'm here to learn how to be a journalist.

Rod: Lesson one: the liquid lunch.

He picks up an open bottle of champagne, pours her a drink and approaches her.

Rod: Take glass, open lips.

Tiffany: Piss off, grandad.

He backs away, amused, and makes the baby-roar of a roused cat. Picks up seating plan.

Rod: Uhh God! The usual bores and whingers. Bruce Anderson, Nicholas Soames, Simon Heffer, Andrew Neil.

Tiffany: I'm sure they're all very important.

Rod: Do you know Andrew Neil? He's tangerine. Got sunlamps all over his house. Open the fridge. Sunlamp.

She shrugs.

He ambles lazily over to her.

Rod: Fancy a bunk-up in the broom cupboard?

Tiffany: You what?

Boris comes in.

Boris: Hey, hey, hey. What's going on?

Tiffany: He aint right in the head. Thinks he's god's gift.

Boris [sternly]: Now listen, Rod --

Rod [off-hand]: What's the problem?

Boris: I've warned you about the interns.

Rod: That's what they're there for.

Boris: What do you mean? The Spectator is a respectable magazine.

Rod: Since when?

Boris: 1828.

Rod: When?!?

Boris: Alright. Two hours ago. I'm not presiding over a bordello. From now on it's a temple of purity and restraint. I declare this office a nooky-free zone.

Rod [approaching Tiffany]: Better come to my office then.

Tiffany retreats behind Boris who shields her from Rod.

Boris: I mean it. Got that Rod? Or it's back to Call My Bluff.

Rod [cowering]: No. Please. Anything but that.

Boris: Now run along poppet and the big nasty man won't bother you any more.

Tiffany: Thanks Boris. You're a diamond.

She kisses him on the cheek, then sticks her tongue out at Rod and flounces out. He lies on floor to peek up her skirt as she flounces.

Boris: That's better. The last thing we need is a sex scandal at the Spectator.

Kimberly walks in wearing a red gown sewn with silly embroidery and a ridiculous headdress.

Boris: Kimberly.

Kimberly: What do you think? Am I a little under-dressed?

Boris: Never. Staying to lunch, Kimbo?

Kimberly: I can't. It's my fifth wedding anniversary. Stephen's managed to snag a reservation at the Gavroche. It was very last-minute, they were fully booked but...[We hear the theme tune of the American national anthem. It's her mobile phone ringing. She answers it.] Hi Stephen. [Beat.] Love you, too. Are you there yet? [Beat.] Who else is there? Anyone we know? Anyone I know? Anyone I...should get to know?

She retreats, chatting to him.

Tiffany comes in with a bowl of dog-food. She puts it on the floor.

Boris: What's this? Dog food?

Tiffany: Pedigree Chum in a parsley and dill sauce. Chef said something about a dog...coming to lunch?

Boris: A dog?

Rod: I think you'll find she's going to the Gavroche.

Faint police sirens.

Boris: A dog...

Police sirens louder. Boris glances around. Police sirens stop.

Boris: It's Blunkett! Tiffany, you cretin. You left him off the list.

Tiffany: Blunkett?

Boris [at window]: He's here.

He picks up the dog food and runs out. Tiffany goes too. The commotion attracts Kimberly's attention. She wanders to the window, holding her mobile phone, glances out.

Kimberly: Why is the street full of cops?

Rod: The Home Secretary's coming to lunch.

Kimberly [into phone]: Stephen? I can't make it. I can't. Someone came up.

She cuts him off and whips out a mirror to adjust her make-up.

Kimberly: God, look at my hair.

Rod: Don't worry. He's blind.

Boris re-enters without the bowl.

Off, loud noises. A dog being calmed down by Blunkett.

Blunkett [off]: Wait here, lass. Look, here's a smashing bowl of food for you. Tuck in, lass. That's it girl.

Barking stops.

In comes Blunkett. Smartly dressed. White stick. He's a chippy old communist northerner, but years of power and success have softened his outlook. He thinks he is entering a room full of journalists.

Blunkett: Hello. Everyone. Please. Don't get up.

Everyone looks around. No one has.

Boris [getting up]: I'm afraid you're the first one here Home Secretary. They're all stuck in traffic. Glass of champagne?

Blunkett: Not quite the tipple for a Labour minister.

Boris: Would you prefer something soft?

Blunkett: Champagne is soft--where I come from. Go on, then. If the top's off I'll 'ave a snifter. Put it in 'alf pint jug.

Boris tosses some flowers out of a silver tankard on his desk, pours the water into another flowerpot, then fills it with champagne. Kimberly takes it iand gives it to Blunkett.

Kimberly [running her hand over his suit]: Nice suit. Ozwald Boateng?

Blunkett [extending hand]: No, it's Blunkett. David Blunkett.

Kimberly [taking it]: Kimberly Fortier.

They shake.

Blunkett: Soft hands. What do you do, love?

Kimberly: I work here. I'm the publisher. I take prospective advertisers out to lunch and flirt with them outrageously.

Blunkett: Not everyone would call that work, would they?

Kimberly: You should see our advertisers.

Blunkett: I was just teasing you, love. [Drinks.] Eeh, this is smashing. I do like to treat myself to the odd luxury.

Kimberly: Oh, me too. Without luxury, life is just completely sad.

Boris: God. Where the hell is everyone?

Petsy comes in.

Petsy: Sorry I'm late. I had to go to the hairdresser.

Kimberly [looking at Petronella's hair]: Was it closed?

Petronella and Kimberly glare at each other.

Boris: Pets! This is David Blunkett. You know everyone else.

Petsy [loudly and clearly, as if he's hearing-impaired ]: Hello, Home Secretary. I've been looking forward to meeting you. Petronella Wyatt.

Handshake.

Blunkett: How do you do Miss Wyatt? Or are you a Ms?

Petronella [sotto]: I'm Hon, actually.

Blunkett [sotto]: Are y'? So's me dog. I 'ave to give it pills.

Petronella: What?

Blunkett: Heh, heh, more soft hands. Heh heh. All right for some isn't it?

Petsy grabs the Champagne.

Petsy: Have we run out of Krug? Oh God. Suppose this'll have to do. [Glugs.] Christ it's chocka out there. Cab I was in got totally stuck. Had to get out and walk.

Blunkett: On your own legs? Poor love. There's never a rickshaw around when you need one, is there? I'm glad you survived the shock. Heh heh heh.

Kimberly laughs uproariously in a conspicuously sycophantic way.

Petsy: Yes, well, Mr Blunkett. I haven't survived the shock of having my bag stolen by a gang of teenage delinquents.

Blunkett: Was it very distressing?

Petsy: Yuh! It was a Hermes red birkin.

Petsy takes out a photograph of the stolen bag and shows it to Blunkett, then to Boris. Boris nods with pity.

Blunkett: I'm sorry to hear it. When was this?

Petsy: Last December. The police did absolutely bugger all.

Blunkett: What, nothing?

Petsy: Yuh! All I got was two letters about 'ongoing enquiries'. We don't want a correspondence course, thank you. Get out there with police dogs and hunt the bastards down.

Blunkett: Well, I agree with you, love. Thank you for drawing it to my attention.

She seems non-plussed. She was ready for a fight. He takes out his mobile.

Blunkett: Blunkett here. Get me the Commissioner. [To them]: Won't be a mo.

Everyone is rather amazed.

Blunkett: Hi John, it's David. I've just received a complaint from a young lady about a violent crime not being properly investigated. [Beat.] Would you? Thanks. [To Petsy]: He wants to talk to you.

Petsy: John Stephens?

Blunkett: Yes.

Petsy: Sir John Stephens, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police?

Blunkett: Yes, yes.

She quickly adjusts her appearance. Takes the phone. Puts on a sexy voice.

Petsy: Hi, Sir John. It's Petronella Wyatt. [Beat.] Well, it's about my handbag....

Kimberly [staggered]: Just...just like that!

Blunkett: Well, if I get a complaint, I like to act on it.

Pause.

They all move in on Blunkett and start shouting at once: about parking tickets, scratched cars, stolen bikes, etc.

Blunkett: One at a time.

They retreat to one side and take turns to tell Blunkett their grievances.

Enter Renaldo. He wears a chef's hat, a Village People moustache, spongebag trousers. He's as camp as they come. He carries menus and a covered dish which he places on a table.

Renaldo: Hola.

Boris: Renaldo. You shouldn't be in here. [Aside]: You shouldn't even be in the country. Your visa's run out.

Renaldo [Pointing to Blunkett]: You tell me he can fix visa?

Boris: He can help, I never said fix. You need a profession. Crap cook doesn't quite cut it.

Renaldo: What about my...

Boris: Nor does moonlighting as a drag act in Soho. I've seen more convincing female impersonators at the House of Commons Christmas panto.

Renaldo: I good because every night in Chile I see old movies.

Boris: A cinema usher is not a profession, either.

Renaldo: Help me. What can I put on visa?

Boris: Er, plumber or dentist.

Renaldo: What is difference?

Boris: On the NHS, very little. Perhaps you'd better stick to chef.

Renaldo [Addressing room]: I hef menus. Eluncheon is ready.

Blunkett rises.

Blunkett: The cook. Marvellous, a real person at last. Thank god you're here, sir. You're very welcome. What's your name, son?

Renaldo: Renaldo. From Santiago.

Blunkett: Now, Renaldo, these pampered intellectuals can draw a useful lesson from your noble example.

He draws Renaldo into the centre of the room, holds up his hands. Renaldo reacts, camply enjoying the attention.

Blunkett: Look at these. The honest hands of toil. The sacred instruments of labour. Gaze long and hard -- all of you -- at this fine specimen of working class manhood.

Renaldo kisses Blunkett.

Renaldo: Mwah! Please to be here. And escpecial for you I have made the favvooreet deesh of Yorksheer. I wake at seex this morning to prepare. Sheep bott.

Blunkett: Sheep butt?

Renaldo: Si.

Blunkett: Sheep's arse? No ta.

Renaldo: No, cheep butt.

Boris [to Blunkett]: Chip butty.

Renaldo: Exatemante!

Blunkett: Smashing. The heart and soul of Yorkshire.

Renaldo offers the covered platter.

Renaldo: Is mwah! Try, por favor.

Blunkett takes a bite out of the chip butty.

Blunkett: Ay lad. Ay! Not bad at all. Now that's what I call real food.

Kimberly: May I taste a soupcon of chip butty?

Kimberly tries it. She gags, looks apologetically to Renaldo, runs to the window. Spits it out.

We hear off: Oi? D'you mind?

Blunkett: Good?

Kimberly [making a face]: Delicious. I just love down-to-earth cuisine. Plain truffles. Caviar. Oysters. [She touches Blunkett's arm.] The simple things, David.

Renaldo: Bien. And now, vamos todos, Eluncheon is eserve.

Boris: Steady on old sport. Nobody's here yet.

Renaldo: Is ready, now. Please? Come now. Or is ruin.

Rod: They're all stuck in traffic in Theobald's Road.

Renaldo: Oh Hesu Christo! My deesh. Espezial deesh. Is ruin! All ruin!

Boris: Cheer up old boy. Remember Horace. A chef is like a Field Marshall. Calamity brings forth genius.

Renaldo: O dio, dio, Santa Maria. Oh oh!

He bursts into tears.

Kimberly: David. Can't you...fix the traffic or something? Clear the streets?

Blunkett: Mm well, it's a bit extreme. [she touches him] But...all right. For Renaldo's sake. My phone?

Petsy is finishing her call.

Petsy [on phone]: So kind, Sir John. Top of your list. So kind. Ciao. Mwah.

She gives phone to Blunkett. Once again they are all mesmerised by his impromptu wielding of power.

Blunkett: John? Blunkett. Get onto Traffic Command and Control. I want a temporary 4-12 exclusion sequence around Theobald's Road and Doughty Street. Now.

Kimberly [aside]: My God...what...what power!

Blunkett: That should have it sorted.

Renaldo sobs with joy and throws himself round Blunkett's legs.

Renaldo: Oh, Senor, you hev sev my deesh!

Petsy: Oh, turn off the waterworks you asylum-seeking communist.

Boris: Triffic stuff. Let's go everyone. Don't forget the Champers Petsy.

Boris leads them all off. Blunkett and Kimberly remain. She takes his arm. He smirks, shyly.

Kimberly: Let's sit together. I'm so looking forward to getting better acquainted, David.

Blunkett: Me too.

She strokes his beard.

Kimberly: It's so soft.

Blunkett: Thank you...mmm.

Kimberly: Tell me all about Sheffield. Is that where the coal comes from?

Blunkett: Coal? Ho no, love. Steel!

Kimberly: Steel? Really?

She's still stroking his beard.

Blunkett: Sheffield steel, ay. Shafts of gleaming metal. Hulking great girders. [He strokes his stick in phallic excitement.] Unbreakable columns. Rods of iron.

Kimberly: You know, David, I've always wondered what it would be like to make love to a blind man.

The black top of the stick comes flying off.

Kimberly [examining stick]: Nothing a little screw won't fix.

Blackout.

I.iii

Two hours later.

Off, loud noises of a riotous lunch. Tiffany comes in, drunk. Spills her glass. Hiccups. When she speaks she has a posh voice.

Picks up phone. Dials.

Tiffany: Guardian newsdesk please. [Beat.] Hi Pete. [Beat.] Nothing much so far, just a long boozy lunch. They keep plying me with Champagne which I absolutely loathe. [Beat.] And -- there was this ridiculous toast. Urgh! To Queen and Country! [Beat.] Well, I had to, obviously, but I kept my fingers crossed under the table. [Beat.] No, no, no, of course I'll stick with it. Something juicy's bound to turn up. Shit, someone's coming.

Phone down.

Rod comes in swinging a bottle of Champagne.

Rod: Where d'you sneak off to?

Tiffany [cockney accent again]: Bit of an 'eadache.

Rod: Ah. Two Disprin. Champagne chaser. Best thing for it.

He gives her pills. Refills her glass.

Rod: Drink up. Doctor's orders.

She drinks.

Tiffany: Mmm, that's better.

Rod: Hey, I'm sorry I was rude to you this morning.

Tiffany: S'all right. Forget it.

Rod: So. You like it here?

Tiffany: Bit of a laugh, isn't it? Yeah...Are things always like this? You know, everyone getting pissed with politicians and that?

Rod [lighting a fag]: All in a day's work for us.

Tiffany: I bet you could tell me some stories.

Rod: I bet I could. Have another drink. We should go out to dinner sometime.

Tiffany: Okay.

Rod: Cheers.

They drink.

Tiffany: Oohhh!

Rod: You all right?

Tiffany: I think it was them prawns.

Rod: D'you mean the larks tongues?

Tiffany: I feel like I've just done one of them Bushtucker Trials.

Tiffany retches.

He crosses to her. Places a hand on her forehead.

Rod: I did First Aid...once. You're overheating. You should take some clothes off.

She unwraps a scarf from round her neck.

Rod: And your blouse...

Together they unbutton it, without removing it.

Rod: Blimey. Tiffany? Are you okay?

Tiffany: I think I'm gonna be sick.

He helps her onto a chair. Boris comes in.

Boris: Rodders! I told you. Keep your hands off my factotum.

Rod: She's not well--honest guv.

Boris: This building is a temple, remember. I'm not going to tell you again.

Rod: Yeah, yeah.

Tiffany: I think I really am gonna be sick.

Rod: To the bathroom.

Rod and Boris help her out. Exit right.

Off. We hear hearty drunks saying goodbye to each other. The door slams. Everyone has gone. Except...

Kimberly comes in leading Blunkett by his stick.

Kimberly: You don't have to rush off right away, do you?

Blunkett: Unbreakable appointment. I'm collecting a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Enoch Powell Society.

Kimberly: Come up to my office for a couple of minutes. I have the most gorgeous etching by Perdita von Finckelstein. It's fantastic. You just have to see it. [Realizes.]...Or, um, run your fingers over it. And, at the same time, I can maybe...persuade you to part with your phone number?

Blunkett: Top secret. I could tell you but I'd have to kill you.

Kimberly: Ooh David...Sooo mysterious. Like 007. [Aside]: With a guide dog.

They exit.

Rod comes back in with a semi-conscious Tiffany. He hits the lever. Out comes the bed. He helps her onto the bed. Looks at her.

Rod: Perfect.

His hands tremble lustily. But he forces himself to back off.

Rod: Hmm. The first moral crisis of the day for Mr Rod Liddle, columnist, broadcaster and well-known swordsman.

Tiffany: Water.

Rod: Coming right up.

Rod pours her a glass of water.

Rod: She said yes to a date. Ergo -- I have the right to take things further? Hmm. Not really. It's a tough one. Very tough.

He hands her the glass of water.

Rod: There you are.

She takes it, but instead of drinking it puts it on the floor. Rod comes downstage, musing.

Tiffany [drowsy]: Am I at home?

Rod: Sort of, yeah.

She strips down to her bra and undies, as if getting ready for bed. He doesn't see this.

Rod: A semi-conscious, Essex slapper right under my nose? Tempting...but...no. Mind you --

She picks up the glass and takes a deep draft.

Rod: -- I am Rod Liddle, the Rod Liddle. Wouldn't any girl want to sleep with me, given half a chance?

Tiffany [putting glass down and wiping her mouth, relieved]: Yes.

He turns and sees her in her bra and panties.

Rod: Phwoor.

He leaps on to the bed and starts tearing off his trousers.

Off, voices approaching, Boris and Petsy having a tiff.

Boris [off]: Petsy! Don't get in a sulk.

Petsy [off]: You were flirting with her. All bloody lunch!

Boris [off]: I wasn't. She's just a brain dead sex kitten.

Petsy [off]: Sex kitten is she?

Rod reacts. Leaps up. Pulls on his trousers. Panics. Hits the lever. The bed disappears with Tiffany in it. Thatcher's handbag comes down. He hides behind the desk. Petsy and Boris come in.

Boris: Come on Petsy. Nothing like a good scrum-down after lunch. How about it?

Petsy: How can you possibly imagine that I would sleep with you after watching you drool over that trollop?

Boris: Grrrr.

Petsy: No.

Boris: Grrr.

Petsy: No.

Boris [bigger]: Grrr.

Petsy: Oh, alright then. You big beast!

She turns away from him and takes off her top. He hits the lever. Out comes the bed. He sees semi-naked Tiffany.

Boris: Rod!

Petsy: What?

Boris: Nothing.

He hits the lever again. Bed goes back, just as Petsy turns. She goes to the lever.

Boris [intervening]: Er, tell you what Pets, old girl. How about a quickie in the cupboard?

Petsy: Where? In there?

Boris: Yuh! A real knee-trembler.

Petsy: Like in Nobu? Come on Boris.

Petsy mimes hitting a ball with a racket.

He drags her into the cupboard. Rod emerges just as they disappear inside. He hits the lever. Down comes the bed.

He drags Tiffany off and carries her across the carpet while...Petsy and Boris are going at it inside the cupboard.

Boris: Ready blue forwards. Ready along the line! Go.

Petsy: Hey Borrie. Have you got a thingy?

Boris: We don't need a thingy.

Petsy: Boris!

Boris: Oh bloody hell. All right. Stand-by blue forwards.

Rod panics. Drags Tiffany back onto the bed. Hits button. Bed goes up. Rod hides behind the desk just as Boris emerges.

He rushes over to a bust of Churchill on the mantlepiece and fishes a condom out from under the bust's fez. Goes back into the cupboard.

Petsy: Hurry up.

Boris: They've retreated into the changing room. Come on blue forwards. Time to make that try. Righto. Scrum down. Phwoor!

Rod emerges from hiding place. Hits the button again. Down comes the bed. He pulls Tiffany off again. Carries her along the carpet. Now he hears Kimberly off-stage.

Kimberly [off]: What am I looking for? Is it an Ericsson or a Nokia?

Blunkett [off]: I've no idea.

Rod has to drag Tiffany back onto the bed yet again. He hits the button. The bed goes up. He hides just as Kimberly and Blunkett come in.

Kimberly: It's not here, David.

Blunkett: Must have left it in the dining room.

Kimberly: I'll go. [Exits.]

Rod emerges from his hiding place. Goes up to Blunkett curiously. Waves hands in front of his face. Blunkett does nothing. Rod tip-toes to wall. Pulls the lever. Bed comes down. He picks up Tiffany and starts carrying her across the carpet, right under Blunkett's nose. He's almost at the door when --

Blunkett: Who's that?

Rod [as Renaldo]: Is Renaldo. I clearing up the leftover.

Blunkett: Let me give an hand.

Rod [as Renaldo]: No, no. Is just some old tart.

Kimberly [off]: David! Is it silvery-grey? [pause] I think I've found it.

Rod panics and carries Tiffany back to the bed. He puts her on. Pulls the lever. The bed goes up. He hides just as Kimberly appears.

Kimberly [entering]: Have you got George Bush's number on Speed-dial?

She's punching buttons, going through his mobile phone memory.

Blunkett: Course I 'aven't ye daft clot.

From the cupboard, loud sighing and moaning.

Blunkett: What's that?

Kimberly: Er, someone...someone's left the television on.

Boris [inside cupboard]: OK blue forwards. Drive for the line, drive for the line!

Blunkett: Rugby...?

Kimberly: I...I, er, think so.

Blunkett [settling down in front of the cupboard]: Who's playing? England is it?

Kimberly [improvising]: Er...yes.

Blunkett: Is Johnson playing? I bet he scores.

Boris lets out an orgasmic groan.

Kimberly: I think Johnson's scoring right now.

Blunkett: Go for it lad. [Getting up]: I ought to be going.

Kimberly [loudly, to cover the sound]: It was lovely sharing these moments together.

Blunkett: Eh?

Kimberly: We should meet again some time.

Grunting noises from Boris.

Blunkett: Beg pardon? Can't you turn the sound down?

Kimberly kicks the cupboard. Silence.

Kimberly: We should meet again.

Blunkett: Ay, but it'd have to be top secret.

Petsy starts having a When Harry Met Sally orgasm.

Kimberly: What?

Blunkett: Is that Channel 5?

Kimberly: Medical programme. Woman seeing her facelift for the first time.

Petsy climaxes.

Blunkett: Sounds like she's been totally buggered.

Kimberly: I wouldn't be surprised. Maybe we could have supper some time?

Blunkett: Smashing...oh but wait a second. It's out of the question. No no no no no no no. You're a married woman!

Kimberly [biting lip]: I'm thinking of leaving him, actually.

Blunkett: Are ye?

Kimberly: My marriage has gone stale, David. All he does is buy me haircare products. I need so much more than that. [Beat.] I need handbags, jewellery, shoes...Let me give you my number.

She turns away. Finds pen on desk. Writes number as Boris emerges from the cupboard, swaggering. He sees Blunkett and Kimberly. Rushes back inside the cupboard.

Kimberly gives scrap of paper with her number on it to Blunkett. He stands there, holding it.

Blunkett: What am I supposed to do with this? [Beat.] Why don't I give you my number...

Kimberly: I already got it out of your phone.

Blunkett: Ooh. Naughty. If we do meet, it's a deadly secret.

Kimberly: Of course. Who on earth's ever going to find out?

Rod pokes his head gleefully up from behind desk and then disappears.

Kimberly: Au revoir, David.

She hands him his stick.

Blunkett: Goodbye.

She kisses him. It gets passionate. They break.

Blunkett: By God that was smashing. Right. I'd better hurry back. You never know what comes up at the office.

Kimberly: So soon?

Blunkett: I've got a war on terror to spearhead.

Kimberly [melting]: Say that again.

Blunkett: I've got a war on terror to spearhead.

Kimberly [pulling him to her]: God! You really are the hard man of British politics.

Blunkett: You're not bloody wrong.

They stop and compose themselves. She leads him out. He limps, having trouble with his erection.

Kimblery: Let me guide you out.

Blunkett: Don't let Sadie see you. She's a jealous bitch.

They exit.

Petsy and Boris come out of the cupboard.

Boris: Where's Rod. He's toast.

Petsy: Oh Borrie that was great. [yawning]: I want a lie down.

Boris spots Rod making his escape.

Boris: Rod you scoundrel come here.

Rod [rises]: Ah, Boris. How was pudding?

Petsy hits the lever. The bed down. She sees Tiffany asleep and snoring.

Petsy: Boris. You bastard.

She slaps him.

Petsy [pointing at Tiffany]: How do you explain that?

Boris [spluttering]: Nothing to do with me. Rod!

Rod: What?

Boris: I warned you. You've gone too far, old bean. You're fired.

Rod: No, hang on, mate. I didn't touch her.

Petsy: I want this filthy little tramp out of here. And her nasty cheap clothes.

Petsy finds the clothes and can't help checking the labels.

Petsy: Primark! I might have guessed.

She flings them at Boris and Rod. Rod catches them.

Rod: You can't sack me for this. Rogering a bit of totty I haven't even rogered. Anyway I was...

Boris: You were what?

Rod: I was...I was trying to, um, er, I was...

A card drops out of her clothes.

Rod [looking at card]: Bloody hell! There's a rat in the house.

He passes the card to Boris

Boris: A Guardian press card. Crikey moses. We've been infiltrated by the pinkos!

Rod [quickly taking advantage of the situation]: That's what I was trying to tell you.

Boris: You knew about this?

Rod: Yeah, er, I had my suspicions. So...I, er, I decided to, er...get her between the sheets. Try to screw the truth out of her. Sadly, she passed out.

Boris: Undercover journalism. Well done, old man. Now listen. We can take advantage of this scheming Leftie, burrowing into our sanctum sanctorum like a termite to bring the whole house down. These Leninists! Think we're a bunch of incompetent toffs.

Petsy: Yuh!

Boris: We didn't run this country for 300 years without learning something about...running this country. But she mustn't know we know.

Tiffany [groaning]: Where am I?

Boris: Midnight sleeper to Romford.

Blackout.

I.iv

Boris is behind his desk bashing out a column.

Enter Rod

Rod: Good weekend?

Boris: Top-hole, old man.

Kimberly enters holding a copy of Vogue. She puts it on the desk, flips through it.

Kimberly [to Boris]: When's the next luxury goods special?

Boris [lying]: next month.

Kimberly: We need something on Louis Vuitton luggage. Get...whatsisname...Paul Johnson to write a history of the false bottom, from Murikami to...

Kimberly's mobile rings.

Kimberly: Hi, David, I was just looking at your photo in the Independent. You are such a handsome guy. [Covers mouthpiece and addresses Boris]: And something about Crystal champagne...a think piece. [Exiting, talking to Blunkett]: Well, I have some good news on that front. My husband's going to the opera.

Boris: D'you reckon he's wopping it up her?

Rod: Sounds like it

Boris: What does she like about him?

Rod: First man she's ever met who can't see through her.

They fence with a bicycle pump and a newspaper.

Boris: Christ, old man, we better make sure the little Bolshevik doesn't get hold of this. One whiff of a scandal at the magazine and bang go my chances of the leadership. [Presses button on intercom]: Tiffany? Can you come in to my office for a moment. [To Rod]: I'm going to fill that pretty head of hers with a lot of balls about my green tendencies. Ask how my weekend was.

Rod: And you ask me about my chat show.

Boris: I hardly think she's going to write about you, old bean.

Tiffany enters. Boris gives her some work.

Boris: Sort those out. Yes, Rod. Family weekend. Took the nippers to an exhibition on global warming.

Rod: What?

Boris: Last weekend.

Rod: I thought we were talking about my new chat show? 'Rod,' you said, 'It's time to put your Call My Bluff days behind you.'

Boris: No I --

Rod: -- couldn't agree more. I've got an idea for a new talk show.

Boris takes a big marker pen and starts scrawling a message across a sheet of A4.

Rod: It'll be chat, but chat with a twist. Hard-hitting interviews, celebrity gossip plus a dose of highbrow wit. Paxman meets Parkie over a long cool glass of Stephen Fry.

Boris holds up piece of paper. It reads:

FUCK OFF.

Rod: Hang on.

Boris [pointing off]: To your office. Now!

Rod cowers in mock-fright. Exits.

Boris: Bloody Rod. Total narcissist. [Beat.] So, did you see that profile of me in the Sunday Times?

Tiffany: Eh?

Boris: Never mind. Nice weekend?

Tiffany: Went to Thurrock Lakeside.

Boris: Is that in East Anglia?

Tiffany: Nah. England.

Boris: Me? I took the nippers to the science museum. Fascinating stuff -- global warming. We're destroying the planet with this rampant consumerism.

Petsy comes flouncing in swinging half a dozen Harrods shopping bags.

Petsy: Hi Boris. I put it all on your account. Hope you don't mind.

Boris gets very formal.

Boris: Morning Ms Wyatt. Pleasant weekend?

Petsy: Yuh. Screwing non-stop.

Boris [to Tiffany]: DIY. [To Petsy]: Did you get all the shelves up?

Petsy [as if talking to a simpleton]: Screwing my boyfriend.

Boris gestures for her to shut up.

Boris: All very well if you're footloose and fancy free.

Petsy: He's married, actually.

Boris: Okay Tiffany. That'll be all.

Tiffany exits.

Boris: Are you trying to drop me in it? If she finds out about us my career's up the chimney.

Petsy: Oh Borrie. I don't care any more.

Boris: Well I do! I'll lose my seat. I'll have to scrape by on...let's see, my radio documentaries, my Telegraph column, motoring thing at GQ, after dinner speaking fees, the books, Have I Got News For You? and turning on the Christmas lights at Burlington arcade.

Petsy: I just hate being your...bit on the side. I want to be the main course.

Boris: Well, we can't go public, old girl. I'm the first in line to the throne. I've got to start behaving like a leader. Decency, probity, self-restraint...

She pulls open her blouse.

Boris [noticing her]: I could tear your knickers off right here.

Petsy: What's stopping you?

Boris: Wait till tonight. Your place. I'll rip 'em off with my bare fangs.

Petsy: Grrr!

Boris: Grrr!

Petsy: Oh shit. No! I forgot. My mother.

Boris: What now?

Petsy: She's invited the Budapest String Quartet round for dinner.

Boris: Not again! More goulash!

Petsy: Back here then after dark?

Boris: See you later tiger.

Petsy: Grrr!

Boris: Grrr!

Petsy: Oh what the hell Borrie. Take me. Take me now.

Boris: Desk or carpet?

Petsy [bending over desk]: Desk.

Boris: Hang on.

Kimberly [off]: D'acord, merci, au revoir.

Boris: Blast! Kimberly!

Petsy grabs clothes, runs out L. Boris sits, types.

Boris: '...and rid the nation of these corrupt, immoral New Labour hypocrites.'

Kimberly comes in. Flirtatious.

Kimberly: Hi.

Boris: Hi.

Kimberly: I didn't congratulate you on your promotion.

Boris: Thank you.

Kimberly: I haven't done it yet.

She sits on his knee.

Kimberly: Congratulations on your promotion.

Boris: Thank you.

His arm goes round her waist. She touches his hair. It's innocent, but they both enjoy it.

Petsy enters, fully dressed.

Petsy [icily]: Am I interrupting something?

Kimberly [leaping up and looking at Petsy]: Beautiful! That look really suits you. Is it Gucci?

Petsy: Only footballers wives wear Gucci.

Kimberly: Exactly.

Petsy [coolly]: It's St Laurent - vintage.

Kimberly: I saw an item just like that yesterday. At Oxfam.

Patsy: Oh lovely. I hear you can pick up old things there on the cheap. Favourite haunt of yours?

Kimberly: I take them a box of my rejects every month.

Petsy: And they replace them with a larger size?

Kimberly seethes.

Petsy: Charity's wonderful, isn't it? For the mature woman.

Kimberly: Well, Petronella, it's true what they say. Older and wiser. I'm much more appealing to men than when I was young and vacuous and insignificant. I'm more attractive than ever.

Petsy I agree. You'd have to be BLIND not to see it.

They both pick up a weapon from the desk: a phone, a bottle...

Boris: Girls, girls. Both of you. Out!

Petsy exits R.

Tiffany enters.

Tiffany: Your husband called.

Kimberly: And?

Tiffany: He's feeling poorly.

Kimberly: And?

Kimberly dials her mobile.

Kimberly [exiting]: Stephen? What is it now?

Tiffany brings several wads of paper to Boris.

Tiffany: Stuart wants you to look at the proofs.

Boris: Of what?

Tiffany: The magazine.

Boris: Oh. That.

She gives him the wads in turn. First --

Tiffany: The Arts Section.

He throws it onto the desk without looking at it.

Boris: Triffic arts section this week.

Tiffany: Book reviews

He doesn't take it, just offers a double thumbs up.

Boris: Epic stuff.

Tiffany: Columns.

Boris [ignoring them]: Another great team effort.

Tiffany: And the cartoons.

Boris [grabbing them enthusiastically and reading]: Ha! Ha, that's good. Subversive message. Good. Bit near the knuckle, ha ha.

He walks off L, reading them closely and chortling.

Rod comes in. Sees Tiffany. Strolls up smoothly.

Rod: Doing anything tonight?

Tiffany: None of your business.

Rod: Because I was thinking. We could have a nice cosy chat --

Tiffany: I'm busy.

Rod: -- about investigative journalism.

She reacts.

Rod: Rule one: Learn how to hold your liquor. Rule Two: Remain upright. Rule three: Don't let your press card slip out of your blouse.

Tosses it on the floor.

Tiffany [talking in normal voice]: Who else knows?

Rod: It's a pretty small circle so far. But I'm a terrible gossip. I do blurt things out...

She goes to pick up the card. He stands on it and gets close to her as she stands up.

Rod: How about we meet for a drink and I'll give you your first scoop? I know this great little place with really comfy sofas and plenty of champagne.

Tiffany: Where?

Rod: Here. See you after work.

Tiffany: Just a drink. Don't go buying any Viagra or anything.

Rod: That's for old gits who can't get it up.

Tiffany: Exactly.

Rod exits.

They take separate exits. Kimberly comes in talking on her mobile, followed by Boris on his mobile.

Kimberly: Stephen, I know a hundred and four is a high temperature, but you can't waste the tickets. It's a classic...[continues]

Boris: Can't do the kids tonight. Got to go down to the constituency, old girl. Dress rehearsal for the Regatta. [Beat.] Tell you what. Go to the flicks and I'll pay for a babysitter...[continues]

Enter Petronella also on her mobile.

Petsy: Mummy. Does it have to be tonight? I want to bring someone home...[Beat.] Well can't they play outside the window? [Beat.] If it does, give them umbrellas...[continues]

Boris: Of course I want to see you, darling, but this is work -- grim, grim work. I've got to wear all the clobber, for Christ's sake...[continues]

Kimberly: It does not last three hours. Tristan and Isolde lasts 90 minutes, tops. [Beat.] Well, it does in America...[continues]

All three finish their phone calls in frustration.

Boris: Women!

Kimberly: Men!

Petsy: Mothers!

Blackout.

I.v

Early evening. Petsy is sitting on the desk, drinking a glass of red wine, drumming her fingers.

Noises off.

Petsy: Boris? Is that you?

Boris [off]: Yuh.

Petsy: Hurry up. I've been here for half-an-hour.

Boris [off]: Promise you won't laugh?

Petsy: Why?

Boris [off]: The missus was home. Had to change into this bloody ridiculous outfit.

Petsy: Let's have a look at you then. Come on. It's only me.

Enter Boris in full Henley Regatta mode: boater, blazer, white flannels, deck shoes.

Petsy: You look so sweet. Like a little schoolboy. With a squidgy bum.

She puts her arms around him and starts kissing him, still clutching the glass of wine.

Boris: Careful. I had to borrow it from Tim Rice.

Petsy spills red wine on his trousers.

Petsy: Woops.

Boris: Petters! Timbo's going to kill me.

Petsy [exiting with him by the hand]: Let's go into the kitchen. There's usually a scrubber lying around there somewhere.

They exit.

Enter Rod and Tiffany.

He's clutching a bottle of champagne. She's sober and impatient.

Tiffany: Right. You promised me information...Where is it?

Rod: Hang on. Have a little drinkie-poo.

Tiffany: Dish the dirt, come on. I want some scoops.

He stares at her breasts.

Rod: How about letting those puppies off the leash?

She moves away, sulks.

Tiffany: You're so rude.

Rod: And you're so uptight. We're on the same side.

Tiffany [skeptical]: Really?

Rod: That's why I'm helping you. I'm a socialist.

Tiffany: You're a sexist pig.

Rod: I'm a feminist...you thick bimbo.

Tiffany gets up and walks over to the window.

Tiffany [at the window]: Someone's coming.

He joins her.

Rod: It's Blunkett and Kimberly...

Tiffany: What are they doing here?

He drags her to the cupboard.

Rod: Now you'll get your scoop. And this is big, big, big, believe me.

He shoves her in. Follows. Closes door.

Petsy and Boris come trotting in. Boris is no longer wearing his trousers.

Boris: How long before they dry?

Petsy: In the oven? Twenty minutes.

Boris: Okay blue forwards.

Boris hits the lever. The bed comes down. Petsy takes her top off. They leap on the bed.

Petsy: Quick Borrie.

His hands are struggling with her bra behind her back.

Boris [as commentator]: It's in the scrum. Lots of pushing and pulling. Both sides taking the strain. Bit of a ruck in there. Hands all over the place.

Petsy: It's a front loader.

Boris: Ah! Ref should have spotted that. Yes. He's got it. Can he get it out?

Kimberly [off, sing song]: Yoo hoo. Is anybody ho-ome?

Boris: Cripes! Kicked into touch.

Petsy and Boris leap off. Boris hides under bed. Petsy behind the desk.

Kimberly: Great. Nobody's here. [Beat.] This way David.

Kimberly comes in, leading David with a white stick. He feels around.

Blunkett: What room are we in?

Kimberly: My husband's study. He likes to work at home.

Blunkett: Oh right. And the bedroom?

Kimberly [panicking]: The bedroom? Well this one's the nearest, I'll just check.

She opens the cupboard. Rod is revealed but she doesn't see him.

Kimberly: Oh no the maid left it in such a mess.

Blunkett [cocking an ear]: This room has exactly the same acoustics as Boris Johnson's office. Are the proportions the same?

Kimberly: What about my proportions, David? There's a day bed in here.

Blunkett: Champion...Come here lass.

They fondle.

Blunkett: What if your husband walks in? Not that I'm afraid of him.

Kimberly: He's in a business meeting. All night...he says...David, I think he may be having an affair.

Blunkett: The filthy brute. [He starts undressing.] But never mind him, Kimberly. This is about us.

Kimberly starts undressing.

Blunkett: Oh Kimberly. I'm a simple man but there's poetry in my soul. You're an angel, Kimberly, come down from heaven to --

Kimberly [cuts him off]: Yeah, yeah, never mind that. David. [Sexy and intimate]: Talk law and order. I love it when you wield your authority.

Blunkett: Right.

Kimberly [sexy]: Say something hard line.

He throws his trousers aside.

Blunkett: Er. Ahem. This government has never flinched from taking tough decisions.

Kimberly: Oh David!

Blunkett: -- and we intend to restore power to local communities --

Kimberly: I'm melting.

Blunkett: -- by introducing the Anti Social Behaviour Bill -- with strict penalties.

Kimberly: ...Strict penalties!

Blunkett: -- We intend to clamp down hard --

She drags him onto the bed. They pull the covers over them. They start having sex.

Kimberly: Are taxes going up or going down?

Blunkett: I can't tell you that. But I'll give you a hint.

Boris crawls out from under the bed, knocking over Blunkett's stick.

Blunkett: Who's that?

Boris: No one. [Realises.] Shit.

Blunkett [sitting up]: An intruder! Phone the police.

Kimberly: No, no, no David...It's...it's my husband. Stephen.

Boris: Stephen?

Kimberly: Stephen what are you doing here? I thought you were in a business meeting?

She gestures at Boris to say yes.

Boris [old man voice]: We...we, er, we, we ran out of paperclips.

Blunkett [gets up with sheet around him]: Mr Quinn is it? I've been looking forward to meeting you, lad. Well, it's over between you and Kimberly. She's mine now. We love each other.

Boris looks in surprise at Kimberly. She shrugs, equally surprised.

Blunkett: No self-respecting male would let a gorgeous blonde like Kimberly slip through his fingers without a fight.

Boris: Blonde?

Blunkett ties his sheet like a toga. Puts his fists up. He is facing in the wrong direction.

Boris: Er, look here Home Secretary, there's no need --

Blunkett: There you are.

Blunkett swivels and clops Boris one in the face.

Boris: Ow!

Blunkett: Come on, y'soft southern pansy. Let's be having you.

Swings at him. Boris ducks.

Boris: Hey!

Each blow tells Blunkett where he is.

Boris: This isn't fair.

Blunkett: Fair? I'm blind.

Blunkett hits him again.

Boris: Ow!

Petsy reacts to Boris being hurt.

Blunkett: Who's this? Who are you?

Kimberly: It's...the maid. Stephen! How could you?

Petsy mouths the word 'Maid' incredulously.

Kimberly: Screwing the maid.

Petsy looks furious.

Boris: What?

Kimberly: Leoncia. I can't believe it. I thought we were friends.

She slaps Petsy.

Petsy: Ow!

Blunkett: Who's Leoncia?

Kimberly: A poor orphan girl from Manila. I found her in the barrio and, er, I took pity on her. I gave her a beautiful home to look after. [Tearful.] And this is how she repays me.

Blunkett: Buenos dias, Leoncia. You are very welcome in Britain.

Petsy: Thank you, er, I mean grassy arse.

Blunkett: Are you happy here, love?

Petsy: Yeah, er, si, si...er, no, no. [She gets into the accent.] No, no. Leoncia no happy. Leoncia berry berry sad.

Blunkett [avuncular]: Is it Senor Quinn?

Petsy: Ho no! He perfeck hentelmen. But Senora Kimberly. Oy! She shout. She stamp foot. She bery bossy. She a bitch.

Kimberly: She's lying.

Petsy: Senora Kimberly -- she beat me.

Kimberly: I do not

Kimberly takes a swing at her.

Petsy [dodging the blow]: She heet! She croo-illl lady! She speet! She jealous.

Blunkett: Kimberly?

Kimberly: It's not true. Leoncia. Go and Hoover the stairs.

Petsy: Or what? You beat me again?

Blunkett: Kimberly --

Petsy [a torrent of insults]: She hungry for sex. She weecked weetch. She have haemorrhoid. She --

Boris clamps a hand over her mouth.

Boris: Breathe deeply, Leoncia. And calm down.

Boris: Now Mr Blunkett. Let's sort this out. It would appear you've stolen my wife.

Blunkett: Ay, you two-timing creep.

Petsy bites Boris's hand and makes her escape. Blunkett puts up his fists again.

Boris: No, no. Fair dos. You won her. She's yours.

Blunkett: Eh?

Boris: Who am I to stand in the way of what fate has decreed.

Blunkett: You're a free woman, Kimberly.

He gets down on one knee.

Blunkett: Kimberly...

Kimberly: David, not in front of the maid.

Blunkett: Sorry, love, you're right. We need privacy. Excuse me while I put my trousers on.

They hand him his clothes and he exits.

Kimberly: Stephen. Leave this house now. And take that poor misguided creature with you.

Boris: This is my house. I'm not leaving. [Whispering]: I was here first. Take Blunkett to your place.

Kimberly [whispering]: Stephen's there. Take Petsy to your place.

Boris [whispering]: My wife's there.

Kimberly [whispering]: What about Petsy's mother's place?

Boris [whispering]: The Budapest String quartet are there.

Blunkett [entering]: I like the Budapest String Quartet.

They react with surprise.

Blunkett [entering]: Kimberly, I've had a smashing idea. Where are you, Sadie lass? [Barking off.]

Kimberly: Where are you going?

Blunkett: The Spectator offices.

Boris and Kimberly exchange a look.

Blunkett [exiting]: Don't forget your keys. I'll hail us a taxi.

Kimberly snarls at Petsy and advances on her,

Blunkett [off] : Kimberly!

Kimberly: David, I'm coming.

She rushes out after him.

Boris exits and then returns with his trousers and starts pulling them on.

Petsy: Christ. What a night.

Tiffany [off]: Get off!

Petsy gets up and goes over and opens the cupboard.

Petsy: You!

Tiffany [coming out of the cupboard]: Hiya. I'm...working late.

Rod [also emerging]: And I'm...helping her with her estuary English. Unfortunately, I couldn't get past the Thames Barrier.

Boris [suspicious]: Very diligent of you.

Tiffany: Did I just hear the Home Secretary having it off with Kimberly? What a laugh!

Boris: Just your imagination, old girl.

Tiffany: No, I definitely heard something.

Boris: No, it was -- definitely -- your imagination.

Tiffany: I'm from Essex. I 'aven't got an imagination.

Boris: Er, well, bound to come out eventually. It's Petsy. She's having an affair.

Petsy: Yes, Boris, tell her. Tell the whole world.

Boris: With Renaldo.

Petsy: What?

Boris: No use denying it old girl.

Tiffany: I thought he was gay?

Petsy: So did I.

Tiffany [to Petsy]: What's it like having sex with a South American toyboy?

Petsy: Ask Peter Mandelson.

Boris has drifted to the window. Glances out.

Boris [aside]: Blunkett! [Hastily]: Right, Tiffany. Fetch...a bottle of Krug. Some in the cellar, I think. Pop down, old girl.

He throws her a huge bunch of keys.

Tiffany: Which one?

Boris: Try them all.

Tiffany is suspicious. She edges towards the window, trying to take a look. Boris blocks her path.

Boris: Go on, go on.

She has to accept orders from the boss. Out she goes. Boris quickly tries to restore order.

Boris: Blunkett's back. [To Rod]: What the hell were you up to?

Rod: Finding out how much she knows. Injecting a bit of the old truth serum.

Boris: Is that what you call it?...Right. Got to keep a lid on this at all costs.

Kimberly comes in, leading Blunkett.

Kimberly: Here we are David.

Blunkett: That was the shortest taxi ride of my life...

Boris: David, it's Boris. Just about to lock up.

Blunkett: Oh, er, hello, Boris. I've come to...er, run my fingers over Kimberly...Kimberly's, Kimberly's Finklesteins...

Boris: Of course old chap. I believe you. I should warn you, though -- there's an undercover journalist in the building. She may get the wrong end of the stick.

Blunkett: A journalist? At the Spectator? Surely not?

Off, we hear jangling keys.

Boris [indicating cupboard]: Pop in here for two ticks while we get rid of her.

He helps Blunkett into cupboard with Kimberly.

Boris: Tiffany!

Enter Tiffany. Suspicious. Peers round.

Tiffany: Couldn't find the right key.

Boris: Never mind. Er...triffic. Right. Let's go to the Carlton Club. Come on. Chop, chop.

He ushers Tiffany out. Switches off the lights.

Boris [to Petsy]: I'm really sorry.

Petsy: You will be. I hear Renaldo's an even bigger beast than you.

Petsy flounces out.

Half light.

Blunkett and Kimberly emerge. Take off their clothes. Leap on the bed. Pull the covers over.

Blunkett: Hang on a minute, Kimberly. I never go in to unknown territory without adequate protection. Have you got anything?

Kimberly: Don't worry, David. I'm on the pill.

Blackout.

Interval.

Act Two.

II.i

Four months later. Spectator office. Morning.

Tiffany busy with papers. Rod lolling on a sofa, asleep. Boris on the phone. A long tiresome call which he is trying to bring to an end.

Boris: Yuh, yuh I will, yuh. Promise. Soon as she comes in. I'll call your office. [Beat.] Yuh. Got your private number. Yuh. [Beat.] No, no need to double check. No really. I'VE GOT IT. Bye.

Slams phone down.

Boris [shouting]: Blunkett! You bloody pest. Stop -- ringing -- me -- up... [Calmly, to Tiffany]: Man's gone absolutely doolally. [Getting worked up again]: Twice a day! For the last four months!

Renaldo glides in carrying a dish on a platter and a very large pepper mill. He's wearing a chef's hat.

Renaldo: Senor Johnson?

Boris: Ah Renaldo.

Tiffany: You want these photocopied?

Boris: Oh, Tiffany, don't run away, old girl. Stay -- for a spot of elevenses.

Rod comes to suddenly and falls off the sofa.

Rod: Eleven o'clock already?

He pops a bottle of Champagne. Pours himself a glass.

Renaldo tucks a big white bib into Boris's shirt. This is clearly a set up for Tiffany which they've practised. Renaldo lays out two melon halves and several strips of ham.

Renaldo: Parma Ham and melon.

Boris: Splendid.

Renaldo offers the pepper mill. Boris holds up a hand.

Boris: Approved by the soil association?

Renaldo: Si, si.

Renaldo twists the peppermill.

Boris: Organic ham?

Renaldo: Horganic, si.

Boris: Cruelty free?

Renaldo: Si, si. Very happy pig.

Boris: Where's the melon from?

Renaldo: Hexcuse me?

Boris [sotto]: I wrote it down!

Renaldo [pulling out piece of paper and reading from it]: The People's Republic of Cuba.

Boris: Cuba? People's Republic? Triffic. That'll be all, Renaldo.

Renaldo [picking up pepper pot]: Come on Pepe.

Exit Renaldo. Boris tucks in.

Boris: Mmmmm. Nothing like a spot of eco-friendly tucker. When the Tories are in power this'll be compulsory in every secondary school.

Tiffany: Cruelty free ham?

Boris: It's the latest thing.

Tiffany: I've never heard of it.

Boris is floored.

Boris [improvising]: The pigs enjoy a life of leisure that borders on decadence. Air-conditioned farmyards. Hot and cold running pigswill. And they're herded into the slaughterhouse to the strains of Mozart's Requiem.

Phone rings. He leaps up.

Boris: Not again. [Gesturing at Tiffany]: Answer it, answer it.

Tiffany [answering phone in sing song voice]: Good morning. The Spectator. [Beat.] Just a moment. [Not covering phone]: Are you in?

Boris [a despairing whisper]: Is it bloody Blunkett?

Tiffany [into phone]: Boris wants to know, is it bloody --

Boris [snatches phone]: Hi David. [Beat.] No, no sign of her yet, I'm afraid. She may not be back all day. [Beat.] No, no, no, no, no. No need to come here. Very busy day for us. It's, er, er ---

He looks over at Rod in a panic.

Rod: Press day?

Boris: Press day. [Beat.] You know, when we, er, press the magazine. Very important stuff. Highly technical. [Beat.] No, no, really, there's no point in doing that. [Beat] Isn't there something more worthwhile you can be getting on with? Any English liberties you could be suppressing? Freedom of assembly? Free speech? Repeal the Magna Carta? [Beat] Hello? Mr Blunkett? Are you there?

Phone down.

Boris: Cripes! He's on his way. Kimbo's got to get rid of him. Where is she?

Tiffany: Hospital appointment.

Boris: There's not something wrong, is there?

Alicia [shrugging]: Stomach cramps. Nausea. Can't stop eating.

Boris: Well, you know what that is --

Alicia: Bulimia?

Boris gives her an exasperated look.

Faint sirens.

Boris: Crikey moses. He's here already. Go and stall him.

Tiffany: Who?

Rod: Blunkett, you cretin.

Rod and Tiffany go out.

Renaldo runs in, clutching some official papers. He rushes to window. Looks out in a panic. Sirens increasing.

Renaldo: O dio. O Heso Christo. They coming for me.

Boris: No Renaldo, not for you.

Renaldo: Si, si. For me.

Boris: For Kimberly.

Renaldo: But I kaf letter from Kome Hoffice.

He shows two official letters to Boris.

Sirens reach top pitch. Then cut dead.

Boris [studying the papers]: No visa eh? You're in a bit of a pickle, old boy.

Renaldo: But you MP, you khan help me.

Boris: Okay, but I should warn you, under Michael Howard's new scheme you'll have to be detained in a windswept no-man's-land completely untouched by civilization.

Renaldo: Where?

Boris: Wales.

Renaldo: Ayeeee!

Boris: Better get your visa fast-tracked, old boy. Home Secretary's outside.

Renaldo: But I asylum seeker. He no like.

Louder barks.

Renaldo: Aaah! He set dog on me. He keel Renaldo!...Oh Hesu Christo.

He 'hides' with his head under the desk. The rest of him sticking out backwards.

Boris: Calm down old man. This isn't a police state...[Glances off towards Blunkett.] Not yet, anyway.

Renaldo: I find Senora Kimberly. She help me.

Runs out L, screaming.

Blunkett enters R, in disguise. Dark glasses. Hat. Overcoat.

Boris: Good God. It's the Grim Reaper.

Blunkett [sotto]: It's Blunkett.

Boris: I'd never have guessed.

Blunkett: Any sign of her?

Boris: Fraid not old stick.

Boris: Oh Boris. I think she's avoiding me. It's awful...being in love.

Boris: As Catullus said...Odi et amo...Sentio et excrucior and all that.

Boris starts tiptoeing out.

Blunkett: Love. Such exquisite torture. Have you ever been in love Boris? Boris? [Realises he's alone.] Kimberly, my angel. Where are you? Oh Kimberly.

Renaldo enters L. Spots Blunkett. He starts to leave...

Blunkett: If you were here I could run my fingers through your hair. Put my arms around your waist. Give you whatever is in my power

But comes back in when he hears this last sentence.

Blunkett: Just talk to you...feel the touch of your skin -- oh Kimberly!

Renaldo prepares himself. Crosses himself, then makes a noise.

Blunkett: Who's there?

Renaldo [like Kimberly, but a bit deeper]: Hi-yee --

Blunkett gets up and approaches Renaldo, guided by his voice.

Blunkett: Kimberly? Is that you?

Renaldo [stage American accent]: Who else? But you look so different

Blunkett: I'm in disguise. [Takes off dark glasses.] Where've you been, my angel? Oh! [Breathes in her aroma.] Mmmm lovely -- you smell of...Parma ham.

Renaldo [backing away]: Yes, I was...helping Renaldo in the kitchen. A wonderful man, Renaldo. Excellent chef.

Blunkett: Where are you...come here.

Renaldo [backing away]: I have a cold.

Blunkett [advancing on him]: And a bit of a throat by the sound of it. Give me a dose of your microbes.

Renaldo: [pushing him away strongly] Ooh, forceful.

Blunkett [pursuing him]: Give us a kiss.

Renaldo is backed up against the desk -- where the remains of Boris's eco friendly lunch remain. Renaldo keeps his face away from Blunkett's.

Renaldo: Please, no, I'm sucking a cough-sweet.

Blunkett: Give us a squeeze of those big juicy melons.

Renaldo grabs melon halves from the desk. Cups them to his chest -- just in time. Blunkett feels them.

Blunkett: Rock hard! And your hair -- oh your lovely blonde hair.

Blunkett's hands start creeping up the back of Renaldo's neck. Renaldo throws his hat aside. His hands are wet from the melons. He wipes them on the back of Blunkett's coat. Blunkett likes it.

Blunkett: Oh Kimberly.

Renaldo is stuck massaging Blunketts bum.

Blunkett [as Renaldo massages his bum]: Oooh, that's lovely.

Renaldo: Oh David! [Sobbing.]

Blunkett: What is it, chuck?

Renaldo: Renaldo -- He must get his visa extended. Only you can help.

Blunkett: Ooh, I'm not so sure about that.

Renaldo [undoing his fly]: You could zip it through on...the fast track.

Blunkett: I couldn't do that. I'm an absolute stickler for propriety. [Renaldo pulls him forward] Oooh, don't stop. That's smashing.

Renaldo [with mouth full]: Please. It's quite urgent.

Blunkett: But...ohhhh! Crikey! You've learned a thing or two since we last met.

Renaldo: Oh Blunky.

Blunkett [pleased]: You've never called me that before.

Renaldo stands and puts visa application on the desk.

Renaldo: Hunky Blunkey...just sign your name here.

Blunkett [signing]: Kimberly Bimberly.

Renaldo takes visa application.

Renaldo: Hunky Blunkee. Feeling spunky.

Renaldo reaches door, hears someone coming. Retreats into cupboard.

Kimberly comes in R. She sees Blunkett. Hovers uncertainly. She doesn't see Renaldo. But Renaldo sees Kimberly.

Renaldo peers out of cupboard door, then closes it.

Blunkett: Where've you gone my angel?

Kimberly [aside]: Just get it over with. Fast.

Blunkett [overhearing]: Not that fast, I hope.

Kimberly: What?

Blunkett: Come here, love. Where are you?

Kimberly: David, we've got to talk.

Blunkett: OK, angel...But weren't we er -- Feeling spunkee. [Mimes fellatio.]

Kimberly: David. That's filthy. Pull your trousers up they're falling down.

Blunkett: What's up with you so sudden?

Kimberly: David. I'm pregnant.

Blunkett: Oh right. [Realising]: oh my God. You mean --

Kimberly: I just came back from the hospital.

Blunkett: That's wonderful news.

Kimberly: Wait. There's something else.

Blunkett [kneels]: Will you marry me?

Kimberly: Marry you? Get a grip on yourself.

Blunkett: Ay, lad. Concentrate. Remember your New Labour training. Before you take any course of action...square it with the Daily Mail. [Takes out phone. Speed dials.] Blunkett here. Get me Paul Dacre. [Mimes splash headline.] THEY RISKED ALL FOR LOVE.

Kimberly [snatches phone]: Wrong number. [Ends call. Puts down phone.]

Blunkett: Eh?

Kimberly: David, listen to me. It's over between us.

Blunkett: Y'daft clot. We're made for each other. Peas in a pod.

Kimberly [exasperated]: How do I get through to this jerk! David. I didn't want to tell you this -- but I've been living a lie -- all through our relationship -- I've been a practising homosexual.

Blunkett: What?

Kimberly [lowers voice]: I'm a lesbian.

Blunkett: A Carpet muncher? Well, I'm not prejudiced. Tell you what. Come and work for me at the Home Office and you'll help us meet our sexual diversity targets.

Kimberly: You're still not listening. This is it, David. Good-bye.

Blunkett: See you later, chuck.

Kimberly: Boris will show you out.

She exits R.

Blunkett: Pregnant women, eh? Talk about hormones! I don't know...the way she twists me round her little finger, gets me to sign that blasted visa application. Still, I can always cancel it.

Renaldo flings open the cupboard. He is horrified.

Renaldo [from cupboard]: Blunky...

Blunkett: Eh?

Renaldo: Blunky Spunkee...

Blunkett: Now that's what I call a mood swing. Where've you got to, you little minx?

Renaldo: Over here-ere. I'm waiting for you!

Blunkett: Old yer horses. Just going to empty the tank. Back in a tick.

He exits L.

Boris enters R with a Planet Organic bag. He sits and takes out a Big Mac, which makes his voice indistinct.

Boris: Ah. Mmmyomyom. Where's Kimberly?

Renaldo [from cupboard]: In here-ere.

Boris [mouth full]: Who's that?

Renaldo: Kimber-leee Bimberly...

Boris: What are you doing in there?

Renaldo: Waiting -- for you.

Renaldo's camp feminine hand emerges from the cupboard. A finger extends. Beckons. Then makes a circle and mimes masturbation.

Boris [tosses aside burger]: Kimbers? [Checks L and R.] Okay, just a quickie.

He darts into the cupboard, opening his flies.

Boris [from cupboard]: Phwooorh ooh whoor! Good stuff. Lovely stroke there Kimbo. Keep it going. That's it. Stroke! Stroke! Stroke! Stroke...Swing, swing together. With your body between your knees. Blade on the...owww! Kimbo. Your top lip's a bit rough. Gently girl, gently.

As he says this Kimberly enters, R. She hears that he is in the cupboard, but doesn't know what he's doing there. She treats it as normal.

Kimberly [on phone]: Yuh. Yuh. [Covering mouthpiece]: Boris? Boris? [knocking on cupboard door] It's Kimberly. You have a visitor. [Into phone]: Yuh, yuh.

Exit Kimberly L.

We hear a huge kerfuffle coming from the cupboard.

Boris [from cupboard]: What the? [Beat.] Renaldo!

Renaldo [from cupboard]: Senor Boris?

Boris comes tumbling out of the cupboard just as...Michael Howard enters. Howard steps over the fallen Boris.

Howard: So Boris. You've finally decided to come out of the closet.

Boris: No, no, no...oh I see. Yes. Very good, yes, out of the closet...heh heh heh.

Michael Howard wanders around, snooping casually.

Howard [at window]: Lot of police cars outside.

Boris [thinking fast]: US ambassador's coming to lunch.

Howard: Seen the polls this morning? I'm up, Boris. I'm up!

Boris [adjusting trousers]: You're not the only one.

The cupboard door opens. Boris hastily shuts it.

Howard: And there's an interesting rumour flying around...What's that?

Boris: What?

Faint noises from the cupboard.

Howard: Is someone in there?

Boris: No no no. You were saying? An interesting rumour?

Howard: Could be a death-blow to the government.

Renaldo [in cupboard]: Let me out the cupboard.

Boris: Shut up!

Howard: What?

Boris: Nothing -- sorry. Death-blow to the government...

Howard: Yes. What do you think?

Boris: Right, er, too early to say, old bean.

Howard: You've no idea what I'm talking about, have you? The Home Secretary! He's having an affair.

Boris: Oh, that old chestnut. Ha!

Howard: Working on it are you?

Boris: Round the clock.

Howard: Who's your top newshound?

Boris: Er, Rod Liddle.

Howard: Bring him in here. I want a progress report.

Boris picks up the phone, but presses the ring-off button with his hand at the same time. Fakes the phone call. His acting is terrible.

Boris: Hi Tiffany. I'm looking for Rod Liddle. [Beat.] Oh has he! Oh dear. Out all day, is he? [Beat.] Dentist's appointment? Not back till this evening?

Tiffany appears and runs across the stage in distress.

Tiffany: Leave me alone! Leave me alone!

And exits L.

Boris: OK Tiffany. [Puts the phone down]. Rod's not in the office today, I'm afraid.

Just as Rod comes in, chasing her, with a bottle of Champagne. He falls drunkenly at Howard's feet.

Howard: Who the hell are you?

Rod: Rod Liddle. But don't think that means I've got a little rod.

Rod exits L.

Howard glares at Boris for an explanation.

Boris: They're warming up for -- an undercover operation.

Howard: Get him on to Blunkett. He leaves the Home Office all the time. No one has a clue where he goes.

Enter Blunkett, still in disguise. He crosses to the cupboard, enters it, and closes the door behind him.

Howard: Was that...

Boris [thinking fast]: Piano tuner. Blind as a bat, poor chap. Must have the wrong floor.

Howard: What?

Boris goes over to the cupboard.

Boris: I say old man. Piano's upstairs.

Blunkett emerges from the cupboard.

Blunkett: Eh?

Howard: Will someone please tell me what's going on?

Blunkett [sotto]: That sounds like...

Boris [sotto]: It is.

Blunkett: Who am I? Quick.

Boris: Stanley Fairbrass. Piano tuner to the gentry.

Howard: What are you two whispering about?

Boris: I'm, er, just telling him where the piano is.

Howard: It's just outside your office, you clot.

Boris [pushing him forward]: Yes, there it is, Mr Fairbrass. Well, er, get tuning then...

Hand emerges from cupboard to give Blunkett his stick.

Howard [extending hand]: How do you do, Mr Fairbrass. I hope we can rely on your support.

Blunkett nervously shuffles past. Once past Blunkett he turns quickly:

Blunkett: Fat chance y' Tory bastard.

Howard: What?

Blunkett: What've you lot done for the working man?

Boris: Just tune the piano, Fairbrass.

Boris starts leading him off.

Blunkett turns. Sticks up two fingers to Michael Howard.

Blunkett: Two nill to us y' brainless toffs.

Boris and Blunkett exit R.

Howard moves towards the cupboard, curious.

Howard: Hello? Anybody there?

He's about to open the cupboard when...Kimberly glides in.

Kimberly: Michael Howard? Kimberly Fortier. So glad to meet you. [They shake.] And such good news in the polls this morning. Can you stay to lunch?

Howard: Love to, but I'm doing the One O'Clock. Boris and I were just discussing the Home Secretary's affair.

Kimberly [too quickly]: It's over. [Beat.] At least, that's what I've heard.

Howard: I wonder who she was?

Kimberly: No idea, but I bet she's smart - and stylish - and gorgeous - and witty - and irresistible to men in high places. [She hooks an arm through Howard's and leads him off.] You know, Michael, I've always wondered what it would be like to make love to a Transylvanian Welshman.

Blackout.

II.ii

Five months later.

Tiffany is tidying Boris's desk.

Enter Rod in dark glasses waving some tickets.

Rod: Fancy a week in Cuba?

Tiffany: What?

Rod: I'm headlining at the Marxist Forum. All expenses paid. Me plus one.

He hands her a ticket.

Tiffany: Don't you ever give up? I can't go to Cuba. I'm working on this story.

Rod: I don't get you. It's the scandal of the decade and you still haven't written it. She's about to pop.

Tiffany [cautious, sceptical]: And Blunkett's the father?

Rod: Duh.

Tiffany: Not her husband? We couldn't run something like that unless it was absolutely water-tight.

Rod: If I get you the proof will you come to Cuba?

Tiffany: Alright, but I still say you're barking up the wrong tree.

Rod: Okay, then, here goes. Rod Liddle, master sleuth.

Rod goes to desk. Takes out Dictaphone.

Rod: Ever heard of a Dictaphone? [He turns it on.] Let's leave it running and see what we get.

Then hears Petsy and Boris enter, R. Closes the desk drawer quickly.

Boris: OK, team! So...the Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year Award. Any thoughts? [Putting his arm avuncularly around Tiffany]: Tiffers, who's your favourite MP?

Tiffany [Essex accent]: Whatsisname? Scottish geezer with the 'tache.

Boris: George Galloway?

Rod [nudging Tiffany significantly]: Gorgeous George? Me too. For his principled opposition to the war.

Boris: Hey. Team! No! Come on. This is a serious prize.

Kimberly comes in, L, heavily pregnant and glowing with health but determined to extract maximum sympathy.

Boris: Kimbers, looking splendid. Blooming with health.

Kimberly [Forcing a sulky Petsy out of her chair]: Here. Out. Shoo!

Boris helps her sit.

Petsy: Shouldn't you be bedridden?

Boris: How are you old girl?

Kimberly: Oh. Ooh. I'm so bloated. I feel fat. I feel unattractive. I feel...like...[She looks pointedly at Petronella] Petronella --

Petronella takes a swing with her bag. Boris grabs it.

Boris: Right, right, er, yuh. And when's it...when's it due?

Kimberly: I haven't decided yet. I have a C-section pencilled in for next Tuesday, but I'm waiting to hear back about the Donna Karen sample sale.

Boris: C-section?

Kimberly: A Caesarian.

Petsy: too old to push?

Kimberly: I'm having it done at the Buckingham. They're offering a two-for-one deal if you have a tummy tuck at the same time.

Boris: So, Kimbers, any suggestions for Parliamentarian of the Year?

Kimberly: Isn't it obvious? [All stare blankly at her.] Michael Howard! We're meeting for lunch. I could give him the good news in person.

Boris: But won't it look like I'm just sucking up?

Kimberly: So suck. It works for me.

Boris: No hang on Kimbers...dash it, look -- let's give it to Clare Short. We can highlight the Government splits over Iraq.

Kimberly: Let's see how the votes stack up.

Boris: Petsy. Decided yet?

Petsy [writing]: I certainly have, Boris.

She approaches his desk slightly flirtatiously.

Boris: Whoph! Petronella. Thank you so much. You shouldn't have. [Reads.] Blunkett!

Petsy: Yuh.

Kimberly [sweetly]: Why...why David Blunkett, Salmonella?

Petsy: Triumph over adversity. Poor guy. Managing a busy career while being led around the place by a smelly old dog.

They all react.

Petsy [innocent]: The Labrador...I meant the Labrador.

Kimberly: Hand in your ballots.

Kimberly snatches up the ballots and reads them.

Kimberly: And the final tally is: Clare Short: one, George Galloway: two. [Taking Petronella's ballot]: Spoilt ballot. [She tears it up.] Michael Howard: three. And the winner is...Michael Howard.

Rod: It's a fix! Call in the UN inspectors.

Kimberly: The winner is Michael Howard.

Rod [to Boris, but Boris won't get involved]: I appeal to the Supreme Court.

Kimberly: Appeal rejected.

Rod: That's not democracy.

Kimberly: It is where I come from.

Off sirens approaching

Kimberly: Oh. My. God.

Boris: What?

Kimberly: I can't get away from him.

Boris: Not...Blunkett?

An SAS man comes in R. Battle fatigues. Camouflaged face. Gas mask

SAS Man: I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you all to evacuate the premises. We've had reports of a possible gas attack. [Beat.] Come along, out, out.

They all shuffle out, with Kimberly bringing up the rear.

SAS Man : Except for Ms Fortier.

Kimberly: I don't want to be blown up.

SAS Man [taking off gas mask to reveal that it is, in fact, Blunkett]: Only me, chuck. How you feeling?

Kimberly: David! You have got to stop following me around.

Blunkett [putting hand on Kimberly's left breast]: I can feel a little heart beat.

Kimberly [removing his hand]: That's me. David. Our relationship is over. Period.

Blunkett: It can't be. I want to hold that baby in the first moments of his life. I want to be there even before he's drawn his first breath to give his bottom a good slap.

Kimberly: Isn't that illegal?

Blunkett: Taking care not to leave a mark or a bruise.

Kimberly: Why are you being so difficult about this?

Blunkett: That baby is mine. And you won't keep me away from my own flesh and blood.

Kimberly: David, please, for God's sake. You're stressing me out. Can we deal with this later? [Beat.] Oh my God.

Blunkett: What?

Kimberly: I think my waters are about to break.

Blunkett: All right, love. Relax. Breath normally.

Kimberly: Breathe normally? I'm about to get amniotic fluid all over my Manolo Blahniks.

She struggles to reach her feet to remove the shoes.

Blunkett [on phone]: Blunkett here. Get me the Health Secretary. [Cupping receiver]: I'll have this sorted in no time, chuck. [Into phone]: John? It's David here. I need the name of the nearest maternity unit to WC1. [Beat.] What about St Mary's? [Beat.] Well, how about Queen Charlotte's? [Beat.] St Winifred's? [Beat] Well, are there any hospitals we haven't closed? [Beat.] Well, where's that? [Beat.] Cardiff?!?

Kimberly: I'll handle this on my own, David, if you don't mind.

Blunkett: Rubbish. From now on, chuck, I'm not letting you out of my sight.

Kimberly does a double take. Then starts to tiptoe around him.

Blunkett: I want to be there when the child takes it's first breath. I want to be there when --

He's interrupted by his phone. It plays the theme to the Red Flag.

Blunkett [into phone]: Blunkett. [Beat.] What, now? [Beat.] Very well.

He hangs up. Kimberly is frozen in the doorway, waiting to hear what the call was about.

Blunkett: Whips' office. They want me in for a chat right now.

Kimberly tiptoes back into the room.

Kimberly: Oh David. That's terrible.

Blunkett: Shouldn't take more than five minutes. I'll be by your side in no time.

Kimberly: See you in Cardiff.

Blunkett exits.

Kimberly picks up phone on Boris's desk and dials.

Kimberly [into phone]: Is that the Buckingham? [Beat.] Get me Dr Bloomberg. [Beat.] It's Kimberly. Hi. Listen, I may have to bring that C-section forward to this afternoon. [Beat.] Right now? Perfect. And we'll hold the tummy tuck until next week.

Phone down. She gathers up stuff and exits. Making pained noises as she goes.

Rod appears. Picks up Dictaphone. Rewinds it. Plays. We hear: 'That baby is mine. And you won't keep me away from my own flesh and blood.' He smiles and gives a shagging gesture.

Black out.

II.iii

Two hours later. Tiffany and Rod bickering.

Rod: Phone them. Find out what's going on.

Tiffany: The news editor said he'd call me back as soon as they've made a decision.

Rod: They've had the tape for [checks watch] two hours.

Tiffany [Makes call]: Guardian newsdesk please. [Beat.] Hi, Pete, so? [Beat.] What? [Beat] I see. [Beat] Yes, I see. [Beat] Okay, will do.

Rod: Well --

Tiffany: Spiked.

Rod: What?!?

Tiffany: The Tories are up in the polls. They're not running anything to damage New Labour.

Rod: Bunch of tossers. What ever happened to free speech? So... [He rubs his hands together and looks at Tiffany expectantly.] Cuba.

Tiffany: Have a good time.

Rod: What?

Tiffany: Send me a postcard.

Rod: But I got you the story! That was the deal.

Tiffany: Not if they don't run it.

Rod: Referee!

Tiffany: Too bad, Rod. I'm calling it a day. [She starts gathering up her stuff, then stops.] Unless you can give me something on the shadow arts minister...

Rod: Boris? He's my best mate. How cute do you think you are, for Christ's sake?

Tiffany leans into the desk giving him an eyeful of her cleavage.

Rod: He's having an affair with Petronella.

Tiffany: He can't be...she's seeing Renaldo?

Rod: He's as bent as a three-speed walking stick.

Tiffany: Are you sure?

Rod: About Renaldo?

Tiffany: About Boris and Petronella.

Rod: They're at it like rabbits, for Christ's sake. All day and all night.

Tiffany: I've never seen them. When?

Rod: Whenever he's got anything to celebrate, which in Boris's case is quite often. [Thinking] OK, Mr Liddle. Get that hot-rod brain of yours into gear...[To Tiffany]: Pop yourself in the cupboard.

Tiffany: I don't think so.

Rod: I'll give him something to celebrate.

Tiffany: this had better be good.

Rod: [ogling her us she gets into cupboard]: It will be.

Rod hands her the Dictaphone and ushers her into the cupboard.

Rod [calling]: Boris?

He grabs a set of papers off Boris's desk.

Enter Boris.

Boris: Hey Rodders, have you seen my pump?

Rod: Have you seen the latest from Reuters? Hot off the wire.

He flashes the papers at Boris, but doesn't let him see them.

Rod: Liverpool are in the relegation zone.

Boris: Are they?

Rod: They're going down, mate. Liverpool. [Plummeting gesture.] Finito.

Boris: I thought they were near the top.

Rod: No, no they've slipped...12 places -- in the course of...one match.

Boris: Oh dear. Bad luck. [Beat.] That's not possible is it?

Rod: Yeah, yeah. It happens. So, let's celebrate. Triffic news, eh?

Boris: Right [Beat.] OK. Why is that...triffic news?

Rod: Because it's Liverpool.

Boris: Right...

Rod: And you hate scousers.

Boris: Oh, no, no, no I don't, old boy. I love Scousers. You've got it the wrong way round. I love Scousers. But they hate me. [Beat.] It's a very important difference.

Rod: Ok, well...if they hate you and their team's going down. Then...that's good news. That's 'triffic'.

Boris: I suppose so.

Rod: And calls for a bit of a celebration.

Boris: OK.

He uncertainly starts pouring himself a little Champagne.

Rod: Possibly of a sexual...er, nature or with a sexual...um, element.

Boris [getting this straight]: Liverpool have lost a football match -- and you want to roger me?

Rod: ...er, no, no, no.

Boris: I mean, I know you support Millwall, and these loyalties run deep, but really old chap...

Rod; No, I didn't meant that, I meant, I meant...oh my God!

He pretends to have found another hot-off-the-wire item from Reuters.

Rod: Another Reuters exclusive. Oliver Letwin's resigned as Shadow Chancellor.

Boris: Bloody Reuters. More scoops in the last ten minutes than we've had in the last ten years.

Rod [pretending to read]: Central Office has announced that Oliver Letwin has decided to stand down from the shadow cabinet in order to..er...spend more time with his family.

Boris: Poor old Ollie.

Rod [scheming]: My God. Of course. Now I get it.

Boris: Get what?

Rod: Well, it's not official or anything but...[Very quickly]: Bruce Anderson was having a chat with Peter Oborne who'd just had lunch with Trevor Kavanagh who'd come straight from the whips office and the word is that Michael Howard is coming here this afternoon to discuss...you know what.

Boris: You know what?

Rod: That's right.

Boris: What is, old bean?

Rod: You know...

Boris: What?

Rod: Oliver Letwin...

Boris: You don't mean --

Rod: That's the rumour.

Boris [basking in imaginary sunlight]: Crikey moses.

Rod. Congratulations.

Boris: Thank you.

Boris. Shall I send her in?

Boris: Who?

Rod [with erotic intent]: You know who. Grrrr.

Boris [coy]: Er, yeah, well if you, er... All right, if you pass her in the corridor you might whisper in her ear that the editor wants a brief word with her...

Rod crosses to the exit.

Rod [yelling]: Petsy? Where are you? Boris is gagging for a quick shag.

Boris: Hey! Secret squirrel. That little traitor's still loose in the building.

Rod: Oh yeah. [Looks meaningfully at cupboard.] I forgot.

Exit Rod.

Enter Petsy.

Petsy: Yuh?

Boris: The best news ever, Pets. Wait for it. You're looking at the new Shadow Chancellor.

Petsy: Desk or carpet?

Boris: Carpet...

They clinch, but Boris changes his mind.

Boris: Oh, but hang on. Dash it all, I mean, Shadow Chancellor. We're talking about one of the great offices of state. And after the election, I mean I could be...in control of -- bloody hell -- the entire national budget!

Petsy: Yuh.

Boris [dreamy]: Imagine having two-hundred-and-fifty billion pounds to spend.

Petsy [slowly]: Yuh.

Petsy tries to imagine it then faints.

Boris gets down on one knee and holds her hands.

Boris [waving champagne under her nose]: Pets. You okay?

Petsy [coming to with the smell]: Yuh. [Noticing him]: What is it Borrie?

She thinks he's about to propose.

Boris [anxious]: Petsy, old girl, we've had a good innings, it's been great and everything, I mean, you know...triffic. But we've got to call it a day. I mean, Chancellor of the Exchequer. Caesar's wife and all that.

Petsy [leaping up]: I knew it. That conniving little Stalinist. She's taken my place. Where is she? I'll kill her.

Boris restrains her.

Boris: No, no honestly, Petsy. There's no one else. You're the only one I'd risk my career for. It's just that...well, a time comes when a man's got to take responsibility. Knock it on the head, you know. Can't spend my whole life leaping around like a priapic kangeroo.

Petsy: Why not?

Boris: Petters. Ave atque vale.

Petsy: Oh God. I can't believe this is happening.

Boris: Stiff upper lip, old girl.

Petsy: Oh Borrie

She exits, running, in floods of tears.

Boris [moved]: Cripes...The eternal reciprocity of tears.

Sound of a file being dropped in the cupboard.

Boris opens the cupboard.

Boris: Tiffers. What are you doing in there?

Tiffany [in Esssex mode]: Just...er...listening to you.

He spots the Dictaphone in her hand and takes it.

Boris: What's this? You're recording me?

Tiffany: Yeah, to, um, improve my pronunciation. I wanna learn to talk proper.

Boris rewinds the tape: "Honestly, Petsy. There's no one else. You're the only one I'd risk my career for."

Tiffany snatches the tape back.

Boris: What the hell's going on Tiffers? I thought we were friends.

Tiffany: Did you?

Boris: Well, what are you waiting for? Run along to the Guardian with your precious little tape.

Tiffany [back in her own voice]: The Guardian?...You know about that?

Boris: Rodders was on to you from the start. We're not that stupid.

Tiffany: He was, was he? So all that stuff about saving the planet?

Boris: Well, er, yuh. We've got to save the planet. If we don't save the planet we'll...have to move, to a different planet. And then we'll be on another planet. And, er...

Tiffany [brandishing the Dictaphone]: Is that on the record?

Boris: You do realize you'll ruin my life?

Tiffany: Sorry Boris. It's too good a story.

Boris: I know I'm not perfect, but you're going to destroy my career, wreck my marriage and...oh God. [Realizing]: The nippers! [He drops to his knees.] The tape, Tiffers. Please. My future is in your hands.

Enter Petsy.

Petsy: I knew it.

Boris leaps up.

Boris [to Petsy]: You've got the wrong end of the stick. She's got us both on tape.

Petsy: So that's your game is it? Trying to get a story for your KGB paymastes at the Guardian? Give me that.

She makes a lunge for the tape.

Tiffany [dodging]: Bugger off.

Petsy: How dare you? Don't talk to me like that, you little airhead.

Tiffany: I'll talk to you how I like, you fascist snob!

Petsy: Lower middle class bitch.

Tiffany: Nazi!

Petsy: Trotskyite

Tiffany: Slut!

A fight erupts. Slaps, hair pulling, name-calling.

Enter Rod.

Rod: That's more like it. Whay-hayyyyy!

He brings the bed down and guides the two girls onto it.

Rod: Bitchfight!!!

Boris [into phone, as if to secretary]: Hold all my calls.

Rod throws himself on the bed.

Tiffany: Eeeuuu.

Boris: Hey, Rod. I warned you.

Boris throws himself on the bed. All four grapple and fight. Torn clothes are now hanging off the girls.

Enter Michael Howard. He stops dead in his tracks. Slowly and deliberately clears his throat.

Howard: Ahem.

They all stop dead.

Howard: Editorial conference?

Boris [clambering off the bed]: Er, Hi. Yuh, Michael. You, er, you know everyone don't you?

Howard: You're fired.

Boris: No, but, I can explain...you see. Er --

Tiffany: Let me.

Boris: Shshsh Tiffany.

Tiffany: Mr Howard. I'm an undercover journalist. I work for the Guardian.

She shows the Dictaphone to Howard.

Boris: What? I'm shocked. Shocked.

Howard: What kind of ship are you running here, Boris? To think I was grooming you as my successor!

Tiffany [to Howard]: I was sent here because my editor was convinced that this office was a den of vice and debauchery.

Boris: The Spectator? That's an inverted pyramid of piffle.

Tiffany: He wanted me to write a hatchet job about Boris. You know, 'Behind the outward veneer of a shambling buffoon there lies -- '

Howard: A shambling buffoon?

Tiffany: A duplicitous love rat.

Howard: And?

There's a long pause, while Tiffany tries to make up her mind, torn between the Dictaphone [ie, the Guardian] and Boris.

Tiffany: He's not. Boris, to my amazement, turns out to be a fine family man, a one-nation Tory, a dedicated environmentalist. I'm going to write it all up for G2. Cover story. 'The Compassionate Conservative'.

She smiles at Boris.

Boris: Tiffers!

Howard: But what are you doing, Boris, romping and tumbling in a bed with two unmarried women?

Tiffany [holding up Dictaphone]: We were fighting over this.

Howard: Which is what?

Tiffany: Why don't you explain, Rod? It was all your idea.

Boris: Rodders?

Tiffany: Hide in the cupboard, he said. I'll give Boris something to celebrate.

Boris [sotto voce]: The Chancellorship...Oh Rod. How sharper than a serpent's tooth.

Petsy: Traitor.

Petsy slaps Rod.

Rod: Ow!

Tiffany: Lech.

Tiffany slaps Rod.

Rod: Ow!

Boris [to Rod]: You're fired.

Rod [at the door]: You wait. You wait till my chat show's on. I'm in talks with BBC Breakfast. Rod Liddle's going to be the new Eamonn Holmes.

Tiffany: John Leslie, more like.

Exit Rod, shaking his fist.

Howard: Okay Boris. You're reinstated. Now, I gather I'm in line for some sort of Award?

Boris: Yes, of course, of course. Now then, Tiffany, stick around for this. Make a good ending for your story.

Tiffany: Sure.

Howard: Marvellous. Just what we need. Now if we could just get to the bottom of these stories about the Home Secretary that would be the icing on the cake...

Kimberly enters with two babies, heavily swaddled.

Kimberly [sing song]: Hi-ee. I'm ba-ack.

Boris: Kimbers! Twins!

Kimberly: Yah, it was have one get one free. Michael, so sorry to miss lunch. I had an appointment I couldn't...sorry, babies I couldn't wriggle out of. What are you doing now?

Howard: Haven't you got your hands full?

She tosses one bundle to Petsy, the other to Tiffany.

Kimberly: Look after these.

Petsy [inspecting baby]: Something funny about this baby...

Petsy and Tiffany unswaddle the babies who both turn out to be the spitting image of Boris, complete with little blonde manes.

Boris: Crikey moses! Kimbers you said you were on the pill!

Kimberly: That's the last time I buy British.

Petsy plonks her baby in Tiffany's arms and marches over to Boris.

Petsy: And you said you weren't ready for another baby.

She slaps him.

Boris: Ow!

Howard [to Boris]: You're finished in politics. This time it's over.

Off, sirens.

Kimberly: Uh-oh.

An SAS man bursts in.

SAS Man: Everybody out. The Spectator offices have become a target of a violent protest.

Kimberly: David. For Christ's sake. Will you stop stalking me!

SAS Man: Calm down Madam. You're becoming hysterical. There's a lunatic scaling the outside of the building.

A smoke grenade comes smashing through the windows. There's an almighty bang and then the stage is engulfed in smoke. Blunkett swings in. He's dressed as Spiderman. He unfurls a Fathers-4-Justice banner.

Blunkett: Fathers-4-Justice, Fathers-4-Jusice.

Tiffany [on phone]: Guardian newsdesk please.

Enter Renaldo, carrying a silver platter with a dome-like cover.

Renaldo: Eluncheon is served.

He lifts the cover to reveal two babies' bottles full of milk.

Blackout

Curtain

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