Executive Producer reckoned he’d get away with it. The Legal Department, when they finally came back to him, had little to add. Everything still depended on the interpretation of the word ‘unreasonably’, and they couldn’t really say how that decision would go in a court of law unless the issue actually went to a court of law. In other words, the lawyers proved as helpful as ever.

John Mantle offered more drinks, but even Aaron Greenberg refused this time. As he settled the bill with his American Express Gold Card, the Executive Producer stole another look at his watch. Nearly four. The show started recording at seven-thirty. Only a few hours to survive the Americans’ wrath.

On the way out of the Brasserie, he greeted West End Television’s Head of Drama who was coming to the end of lunch with a moderately famous actress. As a further delaying tactic, he introduced the couple to his guests. Since the actress had recently been seen in a Masterpiece Theatre in the States, conversation developed satisfactorily.

John Mantle was discussing a vicious point of W.E.T. politics with his colleague, when he overheard Greenberg saying, ‘Yeah, and do you know what they wanted to call it? Only If The Cap Fits!’

‘Really?’ The moderately famous actress chuckled throatily. ‘Why — is it a show about contraception?’

Aaron Greenberg looked puzzled. ‘What’s that supposed to mean?’

‘Cap, darling. Cap. Dutch cap. A form of female contraception.’

The American shook his shaggy head, still bewildered.

‘It’s a thing you put. .’ The moderately famous actress gave another throaty chuckle. ‘I’m afraid we’re liable to get a bit technical here. It’s a. . what would you call it? A diaphragm!’

‘A diaphragm?’ Aaron Greenberg echoed. ‘You hear that, Dirk? You know that dumb title they wanted to use? If The Cap Fits. You know what a “cap” means over here? A diaphragm! A diaphragm, for Christ’s sakes!’

John Mantle ushered his guests grimly out of the restaurant. He was not looking forward to the next couple of hours.

Sydnee’s game of hide-and-seek with the hamburger chef, the surgeon, the stockbroker and the actor had continued through the afternoon. They had finally had their inappropriate hats grudgingly fitted in Wardrobe, been shown where to stand on the red, blue and silver set, and been conducted up five floors of W.E.T. House to the Conference Room where they were to await their call. Unfortunately, when Sydnee opened the door, she found the four non-celebrity contestants who were to play If The Cap Fits already ensconced, and had to beat another hasty retreat.

She led her four charges into an empty office, found a phone and immediately punched four digits. ‘Hello. Mandy? Listen, how many Conference Rooms got booked for this pilot today? Well, no, there should have been three. Yes, I know on Funny Money it’s one for the celebs and one for the punt-. . for the members of the public, but in this game we’ve got two different sets of members of the public and they mustn’t meet. Yes, well. . what? No, we couldn’t put the contestants in with them. Mixing with members of the public?. . the celebs’d never wear it. No. Well, is there another Conference Room free? Oh, shit. No, no, okay, not your fault. Don’t worry. I’ll sort something out. Yes, after this little holocaust, fine. ‘Bye.’

She turned to face the hamburger chef, the surgeon, the stockbroker and the actor. ‘Sorry. Cock-up on booking. I’m afraid you’re going to have to wait here in the Production Office.’ She gestured round the room. ‘Welcome to where I work. I’ll organise some drinks and things for you later.’

‘What’s that?’ The one female in the party pointed up at a wall which was covered with small head-and- shoulders snapshots pinned up in rows.

‘Oh, that’s our “Ugly Wall”,’ Sydnee replied. Then she seemed to wish she hadn’t said it and try to cover up. ‘I mean, it’s a very ugly wall, so we just try to stick as many things as possible on it.’

The stockbroker looked more closely at the snapshots. ‘These look like the sort of pictures we had to send in when we got your form about taking part in game shows.’

‘Oh, do they?’ asked Sydnee innocently. ‘Now, can I get you all a tea or coffee? I’m afraid you’re going to have rather a long wait. You must understand, with a pilot it’s always a bit difficult to work out quite how long all the rehearsal’s going to take. I’m sure we’d get it sorted out better if the show ever went to a series.’

‘I thought,’ the stockbroker objected, ‘the producer said it definitely would go to a series.’

‘Oh yes. Yes, of course,’ said Sydnee.

The office door opened and a tall man with steel-grey hair and thickly-lashed blue eyes entered. Ignoring the other four, he walked straight up to Sydnee. ‘Where the bloody hell have you been? Have you got that list of “hat” lines?’ he demanded brusquely.

‘Oh yes.’ She reached into a drawer and produced a few typewritten sheets. ‘I went through all the dictionaries and books of quotations. I should think you ought to be able to work out some links from that lot.’

‘I’ll see. Other thing, check my glass on the set after rehearsal.’

‘Your glass?’

‘Its contents.’

‘Oh. Oh yes,’ said Sydnee, understanding.

The four ‘professions’ remained mystified by this exchange, but the stockbroker, bolder than the others, addressed the grey-haired man. ‘It’s Barrett Doran, isn’t it?’

He turned on her the kind of look rose-growers reserve for greenfly. ‘What?’

Sydnee stepped into the breach. ‘Barrett, these four are the “professions” for the First Round.’

‘Oh,’ said Barrett Doran without interest, and turned to leave the room. But, as he reached it, the door opened and he was confronted by a pale youth with ginger hair and an apologetic expression.

‘Ah, Barrett. I was looking for you. I have worked out a few one-liners on the “hat” theme. If you want to cast your eye over them, I’ll be happy to — ’

‘I do my own links,’ said Barrett Doran. ‘I don’t need any of your bloody crap.’ And he walked out of the office.

The pale youth let the door close behind him and looked at the five who stood there. His face was vulnerable, almost tearful. ‘Hello, Sydnee. If there’s anything I can. . you know, for this lot. .’

She introduced him to the hamburger chef, the surgeon, the stockbroker and the actor. ‘Jeremy Fowler’s our Script Associate on the show. He’s got an endless supply of funny lines for all the contestants and everyone. You know, so if you want to have a few witty ripostes, and you can’t think of any yourself, ask Jeremy.’

The youth smiled weakly. ‘I have got a few lines. I mean, I only got the list of your professions late yesterday, but I have worked out a few things you might say.’

‘When?’ asked the hamburger chef.


‘When might we want to say them?’

‘Oh. Well, for example, when you’ve got the wrong hat on. I mean, say someone puts the surgeon’s hat on you and you’re asked if you are a surgeon, you could say, ‘I don’t think I’d be cut out for the job.’


‘What do you mean — why?’

‘Well, why should I say that?’

‘It’s a joke.’

‘Is it?’

‘Well, a sort of joke. Not a marvellous one, I agree,’ Jeremy Fowler conceded, ‘but it’s the sort of thing that might get a laugh if you pong it enough.’

Pong it?’


‘I don’t understand it.’

‘Well, it’s a sort of pun. “Cut out for the job”. . surgeon. . cut out. .’

‘Oh,’ said the hamburger chef seriously. ‘Oh, I see. I don’t think I probably will say that, actually.’

‘Ah, well. Never mind. I’ve got a few lines for the rest of you. . you know, if you think you might need them. . They will get an opportunity to say something, won’t they, Sydnee?’

‘A bit, I should think. It really depends how Barrett plays it.’

‘Yes. Well, as I say, I have got a few lines about, you know, being a hamburger chef. . or a stockbroker. . or

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