DAN DARE AND DIGBY are returning from a long tour of duty out in deep Space.
Oh, well, Dig! We’ve been away in space for a long spell – more than two years, Earth-time. But it’s back to dear old Earth now, at last – eh?
Aye! An’ Ah’m lookin’ forward to a reet neece spot o’ leave, too. Not t’ mention a long overdue payrise wi’ soom back pay!
Let’s watch the news, now we’re back in the Solar System and can receive it on sub-ether more or less as it happens. See what’s been going on while we’ve been away.
Drat! The sound’s completely rucked! Can’t trust any equipment these days! Full of gremlins! Oh well! Just have to switch on the telly! Damn! Sound’s jiggered on that, too! Electromagnetic disturbance! Might have known! So close to planetary influence now we’re back in the Solar System! No decent picture, either! At least the text channels are clear enough. Thanks to reserve battery! Oh, well! I’ll just have to read the news, then.
Good grief! Dig! Do you remember that peculiar little chap, John Major?
What, that boring little git wi’ ‘orn-rimmed glasses and grey hair, who’s always telling his wife ‘ow much he loves his peas?
[CHUCKLES] That’s in the Spitting Image version, Dig, me old Lancashire hotpot. Anyway, he’s only gone and replaced Margaret Thatcher as prime minister!
What? Thee moost be joking! ‘Ee are a joost a mild-mannered ineffectual tosser, as Ah recall!
You could call it a Major Disaster, Dig!
Ah call it a reet pain in the butt, Colonel!
Although my mother always said that John Major was a real gentleman.
What the –
Look out, Dig! We’re getting caught up in some type of time –
Ooh, I feel dizzy! What’s ‘appening?
Jumping Jupiter –
Ah! It’s clearing now. At least the –
Hello! What’s this – on the News text channel?
Good grief! Dig! Do you remember that peculiar little chap, Tony Blair? They’ve only gone and made him prime ninny – er – minister!
What? ‘im as dances and prances, like poofter?
No! You daft clot! That’s Lionel! This one’s a politician. You know, that silly looking little prat with a sickly smirk on his chops like the Joker in Batman – except he looks rather more like that grinning cretin on the front of Mad magazine
Thee are roody joking!
No such luck, old son!
‘Ee are reet tosser an’ all, as far as Ah’m concerned!
You could call it a Blair Prospect, Diggers!
Ee! Wait a minute! Y’ know, Colonel Dan I’ve got a reet funny feeling like I’ve already been this road before! Like some sorta – déjà vu!
What the –
Look out, Diggers, old chap! We’re heading for some kind of time –
Jumping jets! That was no picnic!
Phew! Seems to be clearing –
Hello! What’s this bit of news coming in?
Good grief! Dig! Do you remember that dreadful old ogre, Gordon Brown? He’s only gone and made himself prime minister, while we’ve been away! No election! Just pushed Blair aside and took over basically.
What? Owd lummox chops? Dead-eye Dick – wi’ mournful face like Mock Turtle – all gloom an’ doom? ‘Im who was treasurer?
That’s right, Diggers! And apparently, he made a right pig’s ear of it all. Letting the banks self-regulate and get us all into dire straits!
Should be earning a few bob if we were gigging in that band then, Eh?
We should be so lucky, Diggy. Looks like we’re heading for a nasty deep recession, though!
Eh? Flamin’ ‘eck – thee moost be roody joking, Colonel Dan!
‘Fraid not, Diggers! Blair was ready to go anyway. He’d done enough damage as it was and couldn’t wait to get out of public scrutiny. But Blair was a pussycat alongside Brown, who in his own inimitable, lumbering, clubfooted, clodhopping way merely compounded it all.
Ooh, Lumme! Lumme! Lumme! An’ Ah really mean – Lumme!
We’ve bought it, this time! This is the real diabolical end, Dig old son! You could call it, the right ‘orrible Brown Blunder!
‘Ee! Pack it in – Thou art makin’ me feel quite off-colour, Colonel Dan! Thee know, Ah reckon as -‘
Heeee-yyyold o – o – on, Diggers, there’s another rucking bladey blip coming up –
‘Oof. That got me right in the solar plexus, Colonel! Joost what is going on?’
‘Dunno Diggers – Some sort of intermittent interference. Oh no, not another message. Good grief, that’s put the cat among the pigeons. That podgy-faced Tory clot Dave Cameron has just been elected into office. It seems it was a hung parliament and he’s got some lib-dem clown called Clegg as some sort of toadying sidekick.
Hold on, Colonel Dan! [pouring from flask into plastic cup] I’ve got a reet peculiar feeling! Like we’re caught up in a loop. Soom recurrent theme! And summat about it seems t’ bring about a weird change each time – is it real, or am Ah dreaming!
[Lifting plastic cup to lips and taking a sip]
Um, what’s that, Diggers? Hang on a mo’.
Hello! What’s this? There’s a message coming in on spacefax! Well, I’ll be. ‘Regret – no pay rise as promised prior to current mission.’ Great Scot! Just look at the prices of everything on the solar index. This does not bode well!
[Cough! Choke!] Hey! Go easy, Colonel Dan! Thou ‘ave put me reet off me cuppa, now – an’ Ah were enjoyin’ it an’ all! No pay rise! I can’t flamin’ –
Hold it, Dig! There’s another message coming in, via scrambler – from Sir Hubert. ‘Sorry, Dan – no leave as promised, either.’ Jumping Jupiter! They only expect us to head straight for Venus – right away!
What? No pay rise! No leave! ‘Ead straight for flaming Venus, reet away! Nay, Colonel, leave off – don’t stress me oop anymore!
Apparently, they’ve got another Treen rebellion on their hands!
What? This is turnin’ into a reet bloody nightmare – an’ it gets worse every second. Has that malignant, melon-headed foetal megalomaniac the Mekon turned up and taken over again or summat?
No, Dig! Although Mekonta is still governed by our old Treen friend, Sondar, it’s also still under Earth jurisdiction, following the treaty drawn up in ’96, after the Earth-Venus war when we defeated and banished the Mekon. The Treens were left alone to pretty much rule themselves, though.
[READING FROM THE SPACEFAX SCREEN]
But now that twerp Cameron’s in office, some bright spark of a half-baked cretin in his government has gone and implemented some rather hare-brained neo-political policies there. All the Treens are up in arms about it and striking for a better deal. Remember, Dig – they don’t need to eat or sleep like we do, and can hold out indefinitely.
Roody ‘ell! That’ll put cat among pigeons!
In the meantime, everything’s grinding to a halt in the North Venusian spaceports and you know what that means, Diggers! Venus supplies more than two thirds of Earth’s food supplies, aside from all sorts of medicines, minerals and other substances needed on Earth and its colonies.
Food supplies, Colonel? [Digby clutches his ample paunch]
The result is, that food supplies grown on Venus are not getting through to Earth and elsewhere. The whole business is now reaching crisis point and the government want us to go and sort it all out!
Ooh, aye! They would! Ooh, eck – no food! [EYES WIDE AND LOOKING STRESSED] We’ll joost ‘ave t’ go, then – but we’re gonna need strong backup from Spacefleet on this caper! Ah can no see oos easily persuading a bunch of seven-foot high, belligerent, green-skinned, shiny-headed baldies with their little white short-sleeved tops and copper-ringed body-fit outfits stretching chest to toe on our own!
[STILL READING FROM THE SPACEFAX] That’s just it, Dig – we’ve got to go it alone, apparently!
What – just the two of us! I should flamin’ well cocoa!
Sir Hubert says he’s as brassed off with it as we are, Dig. He wanted to send a backup squadron out to us, with Hank and Pierre at its head and Jocelyn Peabody as science adviser – but the government turned his proposal down because of cutbacks and –
Now ‘old on, Colonel Dan – this is getting flamin’ ridiculous! It’s goin’ too roody far! I mean, this new government seems t’ be workin’ against us rather than with us – an’ then expectin’ us t’ bale ‘em out of trooble coz of their own short-sighted policies. It joost doesn’t mek sense. Arm afreed ma patriotic spirit ‘is being rapidly eroded oonder these loony conditions.
I can well understand, Dig!
Things ‘ave certainly changed since good owd days, when we all seemed t’ care about each other an’ didn’ stop t’ count cost! If it weren’t for poor people starving on Earth, Ah’d be inclined t’ tell government t’ go get stuffed – go sort out mess on Venus themselves, Colonel. See ‘ow they get on wi’ it. An’ t’ think our fathers an’ grandfathers fought two world wars to stop governments like this one! Ah’ve good mind t’ go on strike – or better still, sign on sick-panel, so as Ah can get soom pay while Ah’m striking!
Hmm! [CHIN PROPPED ON HANDS AND GAZING AT THE SPACEFAX SCREEN, EYES DISTANT AND THOUGHTFUL] I think you’re right, Diggers, old bean!
Eh! Whassat, Colonel?
We need to strike – strike at the heart of this trouble! It’s a power game, Dig – and we’re just pawns at their disposal! We’ll get nowhere going to Venus and trying to sort out Earth government’s mess. Earth, that’s where the trouble started – unofficially, we’re going there to confront the government official responsible for all this trouble and make him retract his policies. But we need the element of surprise! So – first, officially, we’re dropping out of sight – getting lost in space!
Arm with thee, Colonel Dan – whatever thee ’ave got oop thy sleeve!
SOME TIME LATER
I’ve sent a message to Sir Hubert telling him our engines are Up-the-Spout. His reply was simple enough: Good luck, Dan. Hope you know what you’re doing. I’m at my wits end! It seems even Mercury Metals and Asteroid Mining are out on strike, now. Don’t know what to do about the situation. Hope you have some solution! Keep in touch and let me know if you do!
Well, here we are, Dig – just passing through Earth’s cloud layer. All our sending and receiving channels are blocked. As far as Earth’s concerned we’re not even here – we’re still out somewhere between Uranus and Saturn because I used a bit of warp technology to get us here in minutes instead of weeks, which completely masks us right off the map from all surveillance systems.
Shouldn’t have done so inside a planetary system, I know – as it’s supposed to be a bit risky, could materialize inside something solid and – whoomph, we’d be cancelled right out of existence like matter and antimatter meeting. but you know how experienced I am by now, Diggers, old son. They didn’t make yours truly, Daniel McGregor Dare, Chief Pilot of Earth Spacefleet for nothing you know!
Don’t Ah joost know it Colonel – sure as ma name is Albert Fitzwilliam Digby, Spaceman Lieutenant First Class, long suffering co-pilot and Service companion to a high risk hazard in Spacefleet uniform!
Anyway, it’s done now and we’re here. We’ve by-passed all radar detection and homing beams and I’m bringing the old tub in to land in a pretty remote and secluded bit of countryside, tucked away in some lost corner of Southern England
Ee, ba goom! Talk about tucked away! It looks a bit too remote and lost, Colonel Dan! Like summat out of owd-fashioned picture postcard of medieval village!
Now remember, Dig – we’re going to feign some strange disabling or debilitating space disease – non-infectious, of course, so we can sign on the sick-panel and still get some brass while we’re sorting out this debacle! Just take one of those pills I gave you, when the time comes – they’ll produce the desired visual symptoms without any harmful physical effects and mystify any doctor!
Look up there, you lot! It’s some kind of foreign airship – and it looks like it’s coming down to land here!
What – on Nutwood Common, Rupert?
Quick, fellahs! Let’s scarper – I only came up here coz Rupert said it’s one of the best places to hide when you’re playing truant – and I don’t want to get caught now!
You came up here coz you know there’s an orchard nearby, Podgy, and you wanted to scrump their apples – you fat, greedy hog!
Come on, you two – stop arguing and let’s get out of here!
Too late, Bingo, they’ve seen us and they’re waving at us from some porthole in the airship’s side!
Oo – er!
Oh, no! It’s landing now, Rupert – right in front of us – cutting off our retreat!
Unless we scramble through those brambles behind us!
No fear, Bill! My mum will kill me if I rip my nice new red pullover!
Hey! Watch out! Look Willie – there’s a hatch opening in the side!
Oh, Mother! They’re coming out, Edward!
Hello, chaps! Don’t be afraid, we’re friends. Gosh! They’re really a strange looking collection of youngsters, Dig!
Moost be freaks or summat, Chief! Ee! It’s alreet, now lads – don’t be freet! ‘Tis only thy uncle Dan and Dig, coom visiting like! But we’re lost, see – an’ need thee t’ show us way t’ local town!
Oh! Well – er – That’s not going to be easy. You see – we – we’re –
Hey! Don’t tell him what we’re doing, Rupert Bear! You’re too darn trusting! They’re grown-ups aren’t they? They might report us!
Ee! Nay, lads, don’t fret so – we would ne’er do a thing like that! We’re on your side, aren’t we, Colonel Dan! We joost want thee t’ show us way t’ local doctor’s. We’re oop t’ same game as thou! ‘Opping the wag! Scout’s honour! Cross me ‘eart an’ ‘ope ne’er to ‘ave any more Lancashire ‘otpots or tripe an’ onions or fish ‘n’ chips an’ all that lovely grub – an’ that would be a terrible thing for thine owd uncle Dig, who’s spent so long in space an’ is really lookin’ forward to a reet owd nosh-up!
Cripes, Edward! He’s making me feel really hungry, talking about all that food!
Me too, Podgy! I fancy a bucket of currant buns right now and a whole barrow load of apples and oranges and bananas! Slurp – slurp!
Which reminds me, I got my week’s pocket money this morning! If we hadn’t been playing truant, I could have gone into the shops in our lunch hour – which is just starting now! As it is, we’ve got to stay clear of town, in case we’re seen!
We can go to shops an’ get you all the grub you want, lads! Look, here’s pen an’ paper – joost draw oos map, showin’ oos ‘ow t’ get t’ local doctor’s!
Hold your horses, Dig! I’ve got a better idea. We can get these youngsters off the hook, telling their elders we crash–landed and needed their help – that way they can take us into town, themselves!
Well – I don’t know. I wanted to go scrumping. I can tell my mum and dad and the schoolmasters I got lost or was ill!
And you will be, Podgy Pig, if you eat too many apples – you greedy fat lump. You’ll probably get caught, anyway! Farmer Giles is on the warpath lately coz too many kids have been raiding his orchard!
I think we should help these airmen, if they’re prepared to help us!
You’re right, Bill – maybe playing truant wasn’t such a good idea, after all!
I agree, Rupert – it does seem stupid now, doesn’t it? Tomorrow’s Saturday, after all! Whose idea was it, anyway? [HE LOOKS AT PODGY]
Well, don’t look at me, Algy Pug! If you’ll remember, none of you fancied today’s maths lessons – especially you and Willie!
G – G – Golly, Podgy – that’s not fair! Don’t blame it all on me – not after the way you and Freddy kept on coaxing me to come with you!
Well! You’re so spineless, Willie Mouse! Sometimes you need egging on a bit, or you’d never have any fun!
Oh, stop bullying little Willie – just coz he’s small and a bit timid! You’re the biggest troublemaker amongst us, Freddy Fox!
That’s right, Edward Trunk – stick by your mousey little friend!
All right, fellahs! Let’s not go blaming each other! We’re all to blame – and should all stick together!
Bravo, Bingo! You brainy dog. You’re dead right – we’re not going to get anywhere if we just keep arguing amongst ourselves!
Well said, Bill and Bingo – I couldn’t agree more! So let’s just stop pussyfooting around and show these airmen the way into Nutwood, shall we – everybody!
Thanks, chaps! Jolly decent of you all! Just lead on, Rupert – and we’ll be right with you. My name’s Dan Dare, by the way – and this is my co-pilot, Digby!
RUPERT BEAR & BILL BADGER INTRODUCE ALL THEIR SCHOOL CHUMS ONE BY ONE TO DAN AND DIGBY. THEN THEY SET OFF TOGETHER ACROSS THE COMMON TO NUTWOOD VILLAGE.
Hey, Rupert, lad – ‘ow far is it t’ this Nutwood gaff?
Not far, Mr. Digby – about twenty minutes walk, I think.
It’s on the far side of the common – in the next valley!
Ee, ba goom, Billy, lad – Ah can see church spire sticking oop from trees already – an’ now we’re comin’ over brow of hill, Ah can see soom sort of castle tower!
That’s the Professor’s place. He’s an inventor!
He’s always inventing! He makes all sorts of strange gadgets!
Really, lads! Ee, Colonel Dan – see that bit of railway track between gap in trees? Isn’t that a steam train puffin’ along it?
Gosh! You’re right, Dig! But they were replaced by electricity about fifty years back!
Not ‘ere it seems! This neck o’ backwoods moost be really behind times – an’ look, there’s another tower – a really weird one! Looks more like a pagoda!
That’s where the Conjuror lives!
Yes! He’s a magician – from China! Which country are you and Mr. Digby from, Mr. Colonel Dan?
Country? We’re from ‘ere, Algy, lad! From merry owd England. Leastways, it use’ t’ be more merry – afore me an’ Colonel Dan went off on last trip!
But you speak with foreign accents! Especially you, Mr. Digby!
Ee-oop, Podgy! thee lads ’ave ne’er ‘eard a Lancashire accent afore, that’s plain as snout on yon face! Not foreign accents, me lad – joost different from thee an’ thine – an’ that’s coz we’re from oop north. Well, Ah’m from a bit further oop than uncle Dan. Besides, ee ‘as ‘ad university education and speaks all posh and more neutral like!
B – But your airship looks very foreign – er, strange!
Now you mention it, Willie – It looks a bit like a zeppelin! Or a V2 Rocket!
Is – is – is it – G – G – German?
Gosh, no, chaps – and it’s not an airship! It’s for going through space – to other planets!
Other – p – planets?
Aye, Master Willie. The Colonel an’ me ‘ave been goin’ t’ other planets ever since we joined Spacefleet – years back!
Golly! I d – didn’t even know there was a Spacefleet, Mr. Digby!
Ye probably don’t get national newspapers in these backwaters, Willie, me whiskered wee laddie! Ah’ll bet ye don’t even ‘ave television!
T – television?
Ah can see why thee ’ave not ‘eard o’ Spacefleet! Ee, the stories Ah could tell thee of me an’ t’ Colonel’s adventures in deeps of space and on other planets!
Ooh! What an exciting and adventurous life! Why on Earth do you and the Colonel want to play truant?
Yes – I wonder why, too, Rupert? Besides, grown-ups don’t usually play truant!
They do when Dodgy David Cameron’s prime minister, Edward, me lad!
Nay! Camer-ON, laddie! Cameron! It’s Scottish!
From Scotland, laddie!
Great Scot! Thee really are a reet parochial bunch o’ greenhorns!
Cameron? Who’s he, Do you know Podgy?
Never heard of him, Freddy! I didn’t even know there’d been another election!
You don’t know about anything, Podgy – except food – and your big fat belly!
Well, I didn’t know there’d been another election, either – did you, Edward?
Don’t tusk me!
I thought elephants never forgot!
That’s poppycock! I wrinkle my trunk at the very idea. But I do know that there hasn’t been an election for years. Clement Atlee is still prime minister! How do I know? I heard him talking on the wireless to the King, only yesterday!
Wireless? King? Clement Atlee? Ee, lad. But he was P.M. back in the mid, nineteen-forties, till about nineteen, fifty-one – and George the sixth was reigning then!
DAN DARE LEANS CLOSE TO DIGBY’S EAR, LOWERING HIS VOICE
Dig, we must have gone through a time-warp somewhere between Saturn’s orbit and here, when I put the ship through a micro hyper-jump! The boffins said it wasn’t safe to use warp-time inside planetary-systems for various reasons – and this must be one of them! We’re fifty years or more back in time, Diggers, old boy!
[REPLYING IN EQUALLY LOWERED TONES] Huh! Soom Time-warp, Colonel – where kids have human form, but heads an’ tails of various animals – more like a warp in the fabric o’ reality!
[STILL CONVERSING PRIVATELY] Well, I can’t account for it, Dig! I’m not a scientist – but I think we’re going to have to account for ourselves, anyhow!
DAN DARE STROKES HIS CHIN THOUGHTFULLY A WHILE
[TURNING TO ADDRESS RUPERT AND FRIENDS] Er – Have any of you – um – young chaps ever heard of time-warps, alternate realities, parallel worlds?
[IN HUSHED TONES] Ee, Colonel Dan – Ah don’t think they’re goin’ t’ swallow any o’ that – an’ seein ‘ as ‘ow they thought we were foreigners, they’re goin’ t’ reckon as we’re German spies, for sure!
[ADDRESSING RUPERT AND FRIENDS] What the Colonel means, lads – is ‘as any of thee ever ‘eard of gateways or doorways into other worlds or into different time-periods of history, like?
DIGBY SCRATCHES HIS HEAD AND SHUFFLES HIS FEET IN THE GRASS IN EMBARRASSMENT. BY NOW THEY HAVE STOPPED WALKING AND RUPERT AND HIS PALS ARE STANDING IN A CIRCLE AROUND DAN DARE AND DIGBY, STARING SILENTLY
Oh, Lor! Ah’m way out o’ me depth here, Colonel! Ah think we ‘ave got ourselves in a reet pickle this time – an’ all because o’ yon tin-pot tossers in office – an’ all Ah ever wanted, were a quiet life, too!
BILL BADGER BEGINS MURMURING REFLECTIVELY, EYES STARING FIXEDLY DOWN AT THE GRASS
Rupert and I once met Queen Elizabeth when we went through a hidden panel in a derelict old Tudor house – and she lived over three hundred years ago!
When she took us outside the house, it was all new again and the gardens were different, too, all spick and span with brightly coloured flowers and neat rows of runner-beans, cabbages, beetroots and carrots – because we’d gone backwards in time to her world as it used to be. The hidden panel must have been a gate or doorway into the past! Is that what you mean by a time-warp?
We joined the Queen on a royal hunt, Bill, and we met Sir Walter Raleigh. He was always smoking and coughing!
That’s right, Rupert – and Sir Francis Drake! He showed us how to play bowls! And Queen Elizabeth smoked a long white pipe and spat quite a lot! She had black teeth, and two green ones and a gold one and wore a copper-coloured wig, as well!
Yes, Willie. And another time, we met Shakespeare. We were in a closed-down theatre and when we went backstage and peeped through the curtains, everything seemed to suddenly melt and change – and there he was, sitting at a table in one of the dressing-rooms, staring into a mirror and talking to himself. He seemed quite startled when he saw us and told us that if we’d come to apply for the part in Midsummer Night’s Dream, we should be dressed as fairies, pixies, elfs and sprites or wearing the heads of asses and not those of various other strange exotic beasts! I’ve still got that play and those odes and sonnets that he never had published!
And what about those eighteenth century pirates we met at the end of that peculiar tunnel in the caves at Rocky Bay, Edward!
Ooh, yes, Algy – They took us to the Curried b – Bean to rob the Spanners of their gold and bring it to England. And what about that time in Tanglewood, when a mist crept up and we found ourselves in Sherwood Forest surrounded by Robin Hood and his outlaws! G – Golly! But did they look fierce!
Except for Alan-a-Dale, who looked positively gay, skipping daintily about and plucking his lute! And don’t forget Will Scarlet either, mincing around like some old tart in red silk!
But fierce or otherwise they were all very good to us, Willie – and we helped them with Robin’s plan against the Sheriff of Nottingham!
Ho ho! That was fun, Edward! You should have seen the looks on the faces of the Sheriff and his men when we kept nicking the food off the banqueting table we were hiding under – each time one of them was about to eat – and when one of them spied Edward’s trunk weaving up out of the tablecloth, he nearly had a fit, screaming out, python!
That’s right, Podgy. That’s when Robin and his men rushed out from behind the curtains and took them all by surprise!
And we rode with Dick Turpin, as well – remember?
Hee–hee! Yes Algy, and helped him hold up that stagecoach full of pompous rich greedy folk, who’d got their money by cheating others!
Yes, Freddy – coz Dick Turpin said it was alright taking money from those who’d taken it from others!
Trouble is, he took it from anybody indiscriminately, regardless of whether they were rich or poor!
True Ferdy – And we met our ancestor, Guy Fox – remember?
That’s right, Freddy! And we found ourselves in the Court of King Arthur when we went through a strange sort of doorway in that ruined castle!
In fact – we’re always finding secret ways into other times and places when we’re with Rupert!
He seems to attract them like a magnet!
Especially when he’s got one of the Professor’s special gadgets, Algy!
Or been to the Chinese Conjuror’s pagoda, Bingo!
Or to the Wise Old Goat’s castle in the mountains, Willie!
Or with Tigerlily, the Conjuror’s daughter, Podgy!
And with our Pekinese pal, Pong Ping, who seems to know lots of hidden short cuts to China!
Phew! And Rupert said that we lead an exciting and adventurous life? I’ll bet his lot could even sort out the Mekon for us, Dig!
Ah wish they’d ‘ave a crack at sortin’ out Cameron’s mess for us!
Yes, by George! Poor old Sir Hubert would be pleased – he’s usually got a lot on his hands just running Spacefleet, without having them tied behind his back by some crackpot cabinet!
Ee! What’s t’ do now then, Colonel Dan? It’s no good oos signing on sick panel t’ goom oop works if this is not our world – is it?
Hmm! I don’t know though, Dig! Maybe there’s a way –
Does this mean you don’t want to go and see Doctor Lion, now?
Eh? Who’s that, Rupert, lad? Doctor Lion? Ah don’t like sound o’ that, Colonel! Mebbe ‘ee’ll want oos for dinner!
Just so long as he serves steak and chips with salad and keeps a good table wine, I’d be quite happy to accept his invitation. Seriously, though, Dig – it’s obvious judging by Rupert and his pals that they’re all quite civilized beings here. Lead on to Nutwood, Rupert – but first, we have to make a visit to your schoolmaster to set things right with him. Then maybe we’ll go see this Doctor Lion – but, tell me – is there any chance of you introducing us to this Professor?