Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Nurse Review of RCUK: the Full Transcript

Sting. Possibly.
In December 2014 the Government published its new Science Strategy. It announced that it would launch a review of the Research Councils, led by the President of the Royal Society, Sir Paul Nurse.

Now read on.


The foyer of Polaris House. A grey haired gentleman approaches the reception desk. The receptionists spot him and start whispering to each other.

Grey Haired Gentleman: Good morning.
Receptionist 1: Good morning.
Receptionist 2 (whispering): Go on! Ask him!
Receptionist 1: I hope you don't mind me asking, but are you Sting?
Grey Haired Gentleman: What?
Receptionist 1: Only, my friend here thinks you look like Sting. You know, out of the Police?
Receptionist 2: You know (starts singing) 'every breath you take, every move you make, every cake you bake, every train you miss, every frog you kiss...'
Grey Haired Gentleman: Yes, I know who Sting is! No, I'm not him.
Receptionist 1 (crestfallen): Oh.
Receptionist 2: What about Bob Mortimer, off Vic Reeves? You look a bit like him too!
Receptionist 1: Aye! That's right! 'What's at the end of your stick, Vic?'
Receptionist 2: 'You wouldn't let it lie!!'
Both receptionists laugh uproariously.
Grey Haired Gentleman: No, no, I'm not Bob Mortimer either. I'm not Sting, and I'm not Bob Mortimer. I'm Sir Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society. I'm here to review the Research Councils.
Receptionist 1: Ah, ha, ha. (Wipes away a tear). Sorry about that. So a review you say? Well there must be some sort of a mistake. See, we've only just had a review.
Receptionist 2: Yes, just a couple of months back. They said everything was fine.
Nurse (for it is he): I know, but the Government wants me to do another one.
Receptionist 1: Why?
Receptionist 2: Is this going to be a monthly thing? Like checking for nits?
Nurse: No, it's just the Government has published a new Strategy, and they want to make sure that the Research Councils...fit the new plan.
Receptionist 1: Oh. But the other review said everything was fine.
Nurse: That's as may be, but we want to be absolutely sure.
Receptionist 1: Okay, well, I'll ring up for you, but I don't think they'll be happy. (Picks up phone and dials a number). Hello? Yes, it's Jeremy down on reception. I have a Sir Paul Sting here...
Nurse: It's Nurse. Nurse.
Jeremy (for it is he): Sorry. I've got a Sir Bob Nurse here. He says he's come to do a review. (pause). Yes, yes I told him that. (pause). I know, I said that everything was fine. But he keeps banging on about some Government Strategy. (pause). I know. Another one. (theatrically rolls his eyes at Nurse). You want me to tell him what? Really? Okay...
(He puts the phone down and looks apologetically at Nurse). 
Jeremy: I'm afraid they said that they're extremely busy at the moment.
Nurse: Busy?
Jeremy: Yes, busy. Extremely busy. In fact they said that there'd be very little chance of seeing you today. Or this week. Or any time.
Nurse: What? Do they know who I am?
Jeremy: Yes, I did say. But they were quite insistent. 'Extremely busy'. Those were their exact words.
Nurse: Well can you try someone else?
Jeremy: Well I can try, but I don't think you'll have much luck. (He picks up the phone and dials a series of numbers. They're all engaged. He tries a final number and Receptionist 2's phone starts ringing. Receptionist 2 picks it up) 
Receptionist 2: Hello?
Jeremy: Hello! It's Jeremy on reception here.
Receptionist 2: Hello Jeremy on reception.
(Both receptionists laugh uproariously)
Jeremy: I have a Sir Night Nurse here who wants to do a review.
Receptionist 2: Can't you tell him to go away?
(Nurse grabs both receivers and slams them down)
Nurse: This is INTOLERABLE! (The receptionists look sheepish). I mean, you're meant to be a professional outfit. You give out millions of pounds of government money, and who do you offer up when someone tries to review you? The Chuckle Brothers! Right! I'm going to give Greg Clark a ring! (Nurse storms out, shouting in to his phone). Greg? Greg is that you?
(The receptionists are silent for a moment). 
Jeremy: Greg Clark. Isn't he the one out of Fargo?
Receptionist 2: 'You're darn tootin''!
(Both receptionists laugh uproariously)





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