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This episode was kindly transcribed by an anonymous someone else...

Note - the two "Marquee" episodes were the only two to be narrated by Jim Sweeney instead of Lee Simpson.

LS - Lee Simpson
PM - Paul Merton
CQ - Caroline Quentin
JL - Josie Lawrence
JS - Jim Sweeney
PD - Phelim McDermott
A - Audience
C - Cast in general

" - This is used when one person is doing more than one character at once, e.g. having an argument with themselves!
(Italic in brackets) - This marks where I have felt the need to make some kind of explanatory comment, such as sound effects, accents, possible explanations for unexplained laughter, and mistakes made by the cast! (Nobody's perfect)

BBC-type Announcer- Cast your mind back to last week...

LS - You'll not go near that circus, not while there's a breath left in my body, do you hearrrrr? Do you see the effect it has on our young people?

PM -The youth of today they're going to run wild if they go down to the circus.

LS - Oh yes they are, but Reverend we must have a plan, we must destroy them, we must make sure the circus never leaves Ampleforth.

LS - Here's an half sovereign I've been saving up for many years now you take that you go up to the circus my lad you go against your mother's wishes. She's got a bitter heart in her.

LS - I'm tired of you tired of all....You may be impossibly beautiful but one tires of the impossible eventually you know. There's a new young filly I've got by eye on. Isabella!

JL - Isabella?

LS - Yes, have you seen her with the tigers?

JL - Yes.

LS - It's magnificent!

JL - I can't believe this. No one has ever turned down I, Katrina Ivanivanovich.

PD - And what's that?

CQ+JL - We're Siamese twins.

PM - They'll never keep this up. You ask them any question and the magical Siamese twins will answer as if one.

PD - I...I want to escape from home and I want my Dad to be happy.
CQ+JL - Join the circus little boy.

Audience applause

JS - Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to The Masterson Inheritance. We follow the Mastersons through many years, many trials and tribulations. But we find them, as we did last week in the travelling Victorian circus and fairground. Our team of improvisers will attempt to spontaneously improvise the second part of this story, based entirely on suggestions from our studio audience. No script, no rehearsal, no preparation, just an audience and a couple of microphones. To bring you our tale tonight we have Josie Lawrence, Phelim McDermott, Caroline Quentin, Lee Simpson, and Jim Sweeney. Right now, as those of you who've been listening last week would have known we did Part One of The Masterson's Magical Marquee and we're now going to do Part Two. Now last week our articles included the reason why someone would run away to join a circus was to run away from their wife. An extraordinary ability somebody might have that they use in a circus show was growing novelty carrots, the reason that somebody might hate the circus was their mother was squashed by an elephant. So they're what we had last week. This week we want two different suggestions with which to continue part two of this thrilling saga. Now we know from last week that the Reverend Ashdown and Lucinda Scott-Moncrieff were planning to destroy the circus. In what way are they going to do that?

A - Set fire to it.

JS - Alright they're going to set fire to the circus, that's their plan Alright now the other thing we need is little Johnny, little irritating Johnny who we met as we know he went into Charlie Hawkins' novelty carrot tent and while he was in there he stole an object from that tent without Charlie Hawkins knowing. What was that object that he stole?

A - (much burbling followed by....) Siamese Twins.

JS - Say that again?

A - The Siamese Twins.

JS - He snuck out with the Siamese Twins without Charlie noticing. Well that, that's frankly splendid.


The Masterson Inheritance, this week The Masterson's Magical Marquee Part Two. The circus was now in full swing crowds of people milling around enjoying themselves.

(crowd noises from the cast)

PM - How much to knock the old ladies hat off sir?

JS - But one person was not pleased, inside his novelty carrot, side show tent Charlie Hawkins was furious.

PM - Bloody hell. Come and see these novelty carrots come on I've got them on Lord Parkinson, Disraeli, Henry the Eighth like he's living and breathing in front of you come in, please somebody, anyone. I may not have the Siamese Twins anymore but look at these novelty carrots.

CQ - Go on we don't want to know if you haven't got the twins, we only came for the twins, their geography was fantastic.

LS - Hello there.

JS - It was Captain Christopher Pearson the ringmaster and circus owner.

LS - Things don't seem to be going very well with your novelty carrot stall.

PM - Business'll pick up.

LS - You always say that Charlie you've said that many a year.

PM - It's become a sort of catchphrase people love me for it. That's why I'm the kiddies' friend.

LS - Yes, that's something else I'm worried about. Charlie, I've got no room for malingerers or hangers on.

PM - You lucky bastard.

LS - Your novelty carrot show is a luxury I can't afford - it's a cut throat business this Victorian circus game and you are surplus to requirements.

PM - Don't tell me I'm going to have to take them out and slice 'em.

LS - That's right, since you lost those Siamese Twins you're nothing to me. The public don't want to know.

PM - Oh, but please let me keep my own special favourite Isambard Kingdom Brunel. I started off with him - stovepipe hat, mutton chop whiskers.

LS - On a carrot, yes. I'm sorry Charlie he's going into the pot with the rest. I've got many mouths to feed and I'm afraid you're no longer going to be one of them.

PM - Listen here sir, I have always been a person who has known his own place but I'm damned if Isambard Kingdom Brunel is going to be fed to the rest of the circus and I never thought I'd hear myself say them words.

LS - Very well I'm impounding your carrots.

PM - You dirty devil, well you can keep 'em then I don't want them back after you've impounded them. No wonder you walk like that I thought it was your boots.

LS - .....and leave my circus begone I don't need you and I don't want you get out of here, I don't want to see your like again.

JS - And he turned on his heel (sound of Lee going into the distance) and stormed from his tent.

PM - Turned a bit too quickly there didn't you? Well he may get rid of me but he doesn't realise that's the last he'll ever see of me.

JS - The streets of the village were deserted, empty, silent except for the sound of one lad's running feet.

PD - Here we are, look, now you've got to be really silent.

CQ+JL - Why?

PD - Because I'm going to introduce you to my Dad but I don't want you to let my Mum know you're here.

CQ+JL - Oh, alright.

PD - Now come on, this is my window, come on, follow me.

CQ+JL - We've only got three legs.

PD - Well that's enough isn't it?

CQ+JL - We've got one stuck.

PD - Oh yes, so you have.

CQ+JL - Help!

PD - Oh yeah, here grab my hand and I'll pull.

JS - Suddenly the back door of the house flew open and out came Johnny's father.

LS - Awww Johnny could you get my leg? I left it in the kitchen.

PD - OK Dad here it is.

LS - Thank you Johnny.

CQ+JL - Is this your father?

LS - Blimey, it's the little mice out of Bagpuss. It's a couple of Siamese twins, well done my lad I never thought you had it in you to score with a couple of Siamese twins in my lifetime.

PD - Dad, I brought them back from the circus they're stuck together.


LS - Oh Lord, it's your mother, hide those Siamese twins you know how she takes on so.

PD - Quick, hide in that bush.

CQ+JL - Alright.

JL - What are you two doing out here you should be in bed you've gotta be up at 5 o'clock to toast my toenails.

JS - It was Henrietta, Henry's alarmingly charming wife.

LS - I'm sorry dear.

PD - I-i-i-t was Dad he'd lost his leg Mum he dropped it earlier and we came out to find it.

JL - You stupid careless fool. You're always losing that leg you're going to lose your leg one day.

PD - He did.

JL - Less of your cheek! (slap)

PD - Oo.

JL - Now come back inside before I chop your noses off and use them for chewing gum. (slap)

PD - She's in a good mood tonight isn't she!

LS - I think I might be in there my son haven't heard words of love like that from her in many a year. Woo hoo hoo hoo hoo.

JS - But they had to decide where to hide the Siamese twins.

PD - Dad, where are we going to hide these twins?

LS - Oh I don't know. How did you get them out of where you got 'em from?

PD - I sort of said 'Come with me' and they followed me.

LS - Arr you're a crafty dog just like your father. I tell you what we could pop them down into the cellar just until....night fall. (owl hoots) Oh, it's an owl, it must be nightfall already. Could you pick me eyes up son they're lying on the ground.

CQ+JL - We had better get back to the circus.

PD - What's that?

CQ+JL - We'd better get back to the circus.

LS - They're more confident when they repeat themselves have you noticed that son?

PD - Dad, please, come with me, come with me to the circus now it's amazing, they've got this Magical Marquee.

LS - Oh son, you know I think I will, I think I will son.

JS - And with the strains of beautiful magical music playing in his ears Henry's father picked up his other leg and with his son headed towards the circus at the north end of the village.

PD - Don't forget your arm Dad.

JS - Struggling through the bushes on that field were the Reverend Ashdown and Lucinda Scott-Moncrieff. Who still had not quite decided how it was they were to bring this circus to an end.

PM+LS - Ah AHHHH AH AAAAAhhh aaaah aaaaa aaaaaa hhhhhhhhhaaaaaahhhhh. (again, a triumph of trancription understatement)

JS - But they managed to pass the time.

LS - How shall we do it Reverend?

PM - Well, that's got me dog collar off.

LS - How shall we destroy them?

PM - Destroy the circus? We could do it in many ways. We could spread a rumour that they're n'er do wells and people wouldn't peek, speak to them or peek to them or week or week or neek to them. It's Latin.

LS - For what?

PM - For nonsense.

JS - At that moment lost on a walk as she was throughout the outskirts, so angry at being snubbed by captain Pearson was Katrina she stumbled across the pair of plotters.

JL - What are you two doing in the bushes?

PM - We're plottin'.

JL - Plotting against what?

PM - Against the circus it's the devil's instrument.

JL - I agree, but there is one person that makes it that way.

LS - What do you mean?

JL - Captain Pearson, he oins this circus.

LS - He oins the circus? He gives them all a common Welsh name?

JL - Owns.

LS - Oh, I'm sorry. But who might you be young lady of impossible beauty?

JL - I am Katrina Yvanavanapanowich and my sister and I Irena we will perform a trick tonight.

LS - (chuckles)
JL - And I don't mean that kind of trick.

LS - ***** side seat.

JL - but it will be the last time we perform.

PM - But why?

 - I want this circus destroyed. He broke my heart, I will break his too. But come this way, I will show you how you can get nearer to the tent.

JS - And so, she led them through the bushes and closer to the main circus area. Sitting outside her caravan and lost in thought, thinking about the wonderful trick they were to perform that night was Irena. Her thoughts were interrupted by the arrival of Alf Hercules the circus strong man.

CQ - Woy doi doi woy doi doi woidoi doi doi doi doidoi.

PD - Hello.

CQ - You interrupted my thoughts Alfred. Have you seen my sister?

PD - No, I've not seen your sister anywhere.

CQ - I'm looking for her. Tonight is the big trick we should be practising, we should be up there now on the high wire with our little shoes covered in resin flying through the air. But no, she has disappeared. What are you staring at boy?

PD - Well, you're so similar to your sister.

CQ - That's right, impossibly beautiful, impossibly clever and devious.

PD - Yes.

CQ - There's a look in your eye I don't trust Alf. There's something in your loin cloth that's looking a bit shifty too.

PD - My heart it's beginning to beat again.

JS - And he swept her up in his arms.

CQ - What big strong arms you have. Good lord it's incredible I'm seven foot off the air you are an incredible man!

PD - Yes, you would not believe it but I am the strongest man in the world.

CQ - You are, with the most incredible changing accent I have ever heard. You are so gifted you are wasted being a strong man you should work in advertising. Take me off take me off to your caravan and see to me before my big trick tonight.

PD - Alright.

JS - Swayed with passion, Alf ran off carrying Irena in his arms, not noticing hiding behind a bush. Katrina, Lucinda and the Reverend Ashdown.

PM - What is your plan?

JL - Well look inside, through the crack.

PM - Ah yes.

JL - Can you see the sawdust on the floor?

PM - Yes.

JL - Well, that is highly inflammable. But look, look towards that one little entrance there with Private written on the side.

PM - Private, do not enter.

JL - That has barrels of petroleum inside. What they do light their torches with.

LS - What they do light their torches with?

JL - The fire eaters.

LS - I see, how careless to leave cans of petroleum near to very flammable sawdust. I see your plan now.

JL - Yes,

PM - And look isn't that a ten foot flame in the corner? I suppose it's there in case they need to light a fire in a emergency.

JL - Now, we cannot do this now, we must wait until the tent is empty, then burn it to the ground.

LS - Yes, burn it burn it.

(They all cackle)

PM - Any offers. Available for pantomime.

JS - And so they left. But at the side show Charlie Hawkins was sadly packing his novelty carrots away it was the end of a perfectly adequate career for him. Where could he go now?

PM - Goodbye William Shakespeare, you did me proud. When I used to have, in my heyday a whole chain of look-alike carrot shows all over the country - kids eyes brimming with glee as I showed them one misshapen vegetable after another. But sadly there's to be no more, goodbye....

CQ+JL - Hello.

PM - Oh God, oh it's the Siamese twins I thought you'd run away.

CQ+JL - There's someone to see you.

PD - It's my Dad, Henry.

LS - Hello Sir.

PM - Are you this lads father?

LS - I am that sir, yes.

PM - I want to shake you by the hand.

LS - Arrrrrr.

PM - I'll pick it up again in a minute. There you, I thought it was a glove. You ought to get little strings tied to your wrists.

PD - I want to tell you something.

PM - Yeah?

PD - This is my Dad, and when I was little, littler than I am now, he used to tell me that he was a great man once, he used to be really important but well things happened to us and now he's not important any more but I want him to be important again cos he can do things.
PM - Listen to me son, that's exactly the sort of thing that a loser would tell his child. I wouldn't worry about it.

PD - No, no it's true, have you seen what he can do? Watch this....go for it Dad!

CQ+JL - Woooooo, that's amazing.

PD - You see he can fall apart at will.

PM - The Incredible Jigsaw Man!

CQ+JL - You could have him for your side show.

PM - Of course, the people would flock I can hear myself outside now, drumming up the crowds. "Come and see the Jigsaw Man, see if you can put his lungs back together only sixpence." Why that knocks the hat out of a load of old carrots dunnit.

CQ+JL - But you'd have to call the tent something different.

PM - Well, that's true. Hawkins is name my name Hawkins now is mud in show business. What about you?

LS - I've got a name you can use.

PM - Oh yes?

LS - It's a name which is known far and wide throughout the country but a name I haven't used for many years because I've been too ashamed.

PM - And what name is that Henry?

LS - It's the name Masterson! (gasps all round) That's right I'm a Masterson and so's my son Johnny.

PM - That would make sense. I can see with your business brain there's no holding you back. A stiff wind might cause a few problems.

CQ+JL - So what will you call the tent?

PD - We could call it the Masterson's falling apart my Dad marquee.

CQ+JL - No.

PM - I like it.

CQ+JL - No, something more magical.

PD - That's it The Masterson's Magical Marquee.

CQ+JL - Yes.

PM - It has a ring to it.

JS - And so,

LS - Let's make this the biggest show on earth.

JS - And so the deal was set, the Masterson's Magical Marquee immediately set itself up to go into business. In the main circus ring the crowds were beyond themselves with pleasure enjoying every moment of the entire circus show (crowd noises) they roared with excitement as Isabella tamed her lions and tigers.

CQ - Don't be so naughty, stop it, oh go on then...

PM - The woman's in league with the devil.

JS - But then Captain Christopher Pearson strode manfully into the centre of the ring to announce their star attraction.

LS - Ladies and Gentlemen, gals and boys. Mesdames et Messieurs Senors et Senoritas....

PM - It's Katie Boyle.

LS - I present for you the most death defying act you've ever seen upon this earth. Would you please welcome Katrina and Irena and the amazing thing that they do.

JL - Good luck Irena.

CQ - Good luck sister.

JL - Climb up the rope now.

CQ - Are you scared?

JL - Yes.

CQ - Look at the little faces, look at them looking up at us, look at them looking up my skirt.

JL - Don't look down!

Q - Don't look like that you small boy.

JS - And Irena leapt for the trapeze.

CQ - I'm ready, are you?

JL - Yes, let me go now. I'm going to swing away from you now OK.

CQ - Yes.

JL - And you will go....

JL+CQ - Yeeeeeeehhhhhyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhh.

JL - And now for the triple flippity flopply jobbly tipply topply leap.

JL+CQ - Yeeeeeehhhhhhhyyyyyyyeeeeeeeehhhhhhhh.

JL - One.......Two........Three........Four....Irena.

JS - And Irena started, she couldn't hold any longer she began to fall to the ground. Alf Hercules, standing by the circus tent rushed across and caught Katrina in his arms.


CQ - Oh, you are my hero. Not only do you give me a good seeing to before the show, now you save my life, what an incredible bloke you are.

PD - It's true I've also been working on my voice (laughter) Oh Irena....

CQ - Yes Alf,

PD - You must come with me away from this circus.

CQ - What shall we do together, out there in the real world where there is no magic, no mystery, no sawdust, no animals, just the grey world, what can we do together?

PD - We will settle down.

CQ - I can't wait. What? I will be a little wife for you is that what you're saying? Cleaning and feeding you and errrrr.....

PD - Yes, errr, doesn't it sound fantastic to you?

 - You want the truth Alf? I don't think I could handle that. I am so much in love with this magical life, what can you off....Oh yes, I remember what you can offer me...I'll do it.

JS - Lucinda and the Reverend Ashdown were waiting for the signal from Katrina. The signal that would say that the circus tent had been emptied. But Katrina was unable to get down from her trapeze, she had been stranded there. As the circus emptied nobody noticed.

JL - Help me!

LS - Well we're, we're waiting for a signal aren't we?

JL - Help me!

PM - It's very quiet isn't it.

LS - Yes, I can't hear a thing.

PM - Neither can I.

JL - (louder) Help!

PM - No, quiet as a door nail.

JL - (louder) HELP!!

LS - Ah, you could hear a pin drop.

PM - Yes, you could couldn't you?

JL - Help me down, get me down what can I do to make somebody get their attention? I know 'fire, fire'!

PM - Ah, that was the signal I believe!

LS - That's right, for us to start the fire.

PM - It was somebody shouting fire?

JL - Fire!

LS - I'll just light the sawdust and then put some burning things next to petroleum.

PM - You devil, you've worked it all out haven't you.

LS - Yes. Come Reverend, come, we must run!

PM - Yes.

LS - Run before we're we're found

PM - Yes and run for our liiiiiiiives.

JL - You bastards, get me down from......(starts trying to blow the fire out).

JS - Soon the entire big top was engulfed with flames,

CQ - Help, somebody unleash the horses so they... (she corpses)

JS - But it was too late, soon it was burnt to the ground (sound of horses whinnying and galloping) except for the horses. For years afterwards people would say 'What ever happened to Katrina that night?' nobody knew that she'd died in the flames. Indeed, most of the side show tents were burnt as well, but amazingly, one tent remained.

CQ+JL - Roll up, roll up.

PM - Come on it may be cold out there but come into the warm in here.

CQ+JL - Roll up, roll up

PM - See the Incredible Jigsaw Man,

CQ+JL - Roll up, roll up.

PM - Watch the three cup trick 'which one's got his kidney underneath?' Only he knows, place a bet, take his earlobes home in your pocket, he's the wonder of the age, the eighth wonder of the age, ladies and gentlemen, the Incredible Jigsaw Man.(applause)

LS - Thank you ladies and gentlemen thank you ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to start with something simple, an index finger.

C - Woooooo!

PM - Where's it gone?

LS - And now ladies and gentleman an entire upper limb,

C - Wooooooo!

LS - Ladies and gentlemen I will now turn round and release some of my upper organs.

C - Wooooooooo!

PM - Now watch him lasso various household objects with his lower intestine.

C - Woooooooo!

PM - The egg timer.

C - Wooooooo!

PM - A carriage clock.

C - Wooooo!

JS - The crowd were delighted. A performance that was meant to last barely 15 minutes lasted for four hours. People didn't want it to end but Henry eventually had to pull himself together.

LS - Look, come on, hold on....

PM - Take your tibia out!

LS - Come on, someone has got me left shoulder, own up who is it? Oh thank you sir, well ladies and gentlemen I've enjoyed seeing you very much but come again tomorrow night, come again tomorrow night for another show in our little marquee here I'm sure the show will ahuhhhhhhh. Oh my goodness I've lost me teeth as well.

JS - And so, as the crowds cheered and left happy into the night, Henry and Johnny were so excited.

PD - That was great tonight Dad, you were fantastic.

JL - That was a very good performance.

PD - Mum, you mean you saw the performance?

JL - Yes, I'm a changed woman, I've been going to therapy, I realise the error of my ways, I was loud and aggressive, and I made you eat toenails and puddle water which couldn't have helped.

LS - But you did it all out of love though didn't you?

JL - Well that's true but I'm going to help you out, I'm going to look after you, I'm going stay here and help sew up some of those tears in the canvas of this magical marquee.

LS - You could be the assistant if you like.

PD - Yeah Mum you could be the the nasty woman.

JL - That's true.

LS - Yes "The Jigsaw Man and the Nasty Woman". Come and watch someone fall apart and then get shouted at and insulted.

JL - Yes let's do that. Oh I love you two both so much!

LS - We've regained our dignity you know I think it's time for us to reclaim our birthright, reclaim our name, the one we daren't use for so long because we've been so ashamed.

JL - The Masterson name?

LS - Yes.

JL - Well we should, it is ours by rights,

LS - It is ours by rights.

JL - Kiss me.

LS - Hang on, have you got me lips son?

PD - Here you are Dad.

JL - Do you want them back now.

LS - Yes thank you very much.

JS - And so it was amidst all the heartbreak, and all the tears, the destruction of a tent by fire and the death of Katrina a family had been brought together, a family that had been apart for many years that had denied their names but now they had a new home, a magical marquee because it was the new Masterson Inheritance.

(theme music)