A man goes into the post office to buy a licence for his pet halibut, Eric.

(You no longer need a licence for any pet in the UK, but you do need a TV licence.)

Cast of thousands – well two –

John Cleese
Michael Palin

Post Office Worker: Five pence please.

Praline: Excuse me, I would like to buy a fish licence, please. … The man’s sign must be wrong. I have in the past noticed a marked discrepancy between these post office signs and the activities carried out beneath. But soft, let us see how Dame Fortune smiles upon my next postal adventure! Hello, I would like to buy a fish licence, please.

Postal clerk: A what?

Praline: A licence for my pet fish, Eric.

Clerk: How do you know my name is Eric?

Praline: No, no, no! My fish’s name is Eric. Eric fish. He’s an halibut.

Clerk: He’s a what?

Praline: He is an halibut.

Clerk: You’ve got a pet halibut?

Praline: Yes, I chose him out of thousands. I didn’t like the others, they were all too flat.

Clerk: You’re a loony.

Praline: I am not a loony! Why should I be tarred with the epithet ‘loony’ merely because I have a pet halibut? I’ve heard tell that Sir Gerald Nabarro has a pet prawn called Simon – and you wouldn’t call Sir Gerald a loony, would you? Furthermore Dawn Palethorpe, the lady show jumper, had a clam called Sir Stafford, after the late chancellor. Alan Bullock has two pikes, both called Norman, and the late, great Marcel Proust had an ‘addock! Uf you’re calling the author of ‘A la recherche de temps perdu’ a loony, I shall have to ask you to step outside!

Clerk: All right, all right, all right. You want a licence?

Praline: Yes!

Clerk: For a fish?

Praline: Yes!

Clerk: You *are* a loony.

Praline: Look, it’s a bleeding pet, isn’t it? I’ve got a licence for me pet dog Eric, and I’ve got a licence for me pet cat Eric.

Clerk: You don’t need a licence for a cat.

Praline: You bleedin’ well do and I’ve got one! You’re not catching me out there!

Clerk: There is no such thing as a bloody cat licence.

Praline: Yes there is.

Clerk: No there isn’t.

Praline: Is.

Clerk: Isn’t.

Praline: Is.

Clerk: Isn’t.

Praline: Is.

Clerk: Isn’t.

Praline: Is.

Clerk: Isn’t.

Praline: Is.

Clerk: Isn’t.

Praline: Is!

Clerk: Isn’t.

Praline: What’s that then?

Clerk: That is a dog licence with the word ‘dog’ crossed out and the word ‘cat’ written in, in crayon.

Praline: Well the man didn’t have the proper form.

Clerk: What man?

Praline: The man from the cat detector van.

Clerk: The loony detector van, you mean.

Praline: Look, it’s people like you what causes unrest.

Clerk: Alright, what cat detector van?

Praline: The cat detector van from the Ministry of Housinge.

Clerk: Housinge?

Praline: Yes, it was spelt like that on the van. I’m very observant. I’ve never seen so many aerials. The man told me their equipment could pinpoint a purr at four hundred yards, and Eric being such a happy cat was a piece of cake.

Clerk: How much did this cost?

Praline: Sixty quid and eight guineas for the fruit-bat.

Clerk: What fruit-bat?

Praline: Eric the fruit-bat.

Clerk: Are all your pets called Eric?

Praline: There’s nothing so odd about that. Kemel Attaturk had an entire menagerie all called Abdul.

Clerk: No he didn’t.

Praline: Did, did, did, did, did, did and did! There you are. ‘Kemal Ataturk, the Man’ by E. W. Swanton with a foreword by Paul Anka. Page 91, please.

Clerk: I owe you an apology sir.

Praline: Spoken like a gentleman. Now, are you going to give me this fish licence?

Clerk: I promise you that there is no such thing. You don’t need one.

Praline: Then I would like a statement to that effect signed by the Lord Mayor.