Brit Trek – Christmas Special

In the last, thrilling episode of Brit Trek, the insipid Captain Berk and his disloyal crew got caught up in a tacky reconstruction of Apocalypse Now and made a dark pact with Colonel Cummings. This ongoing story-arc may or may not be revisited at some point in the future. In the meantime, we find the Enterprise in an unfestive mood as we head into our Christmas Special.

brit trek - christmas special daily distress satire

Space, the final frontier.

This is the Christmas party committee of the Spiv-ship Enterprise.

Its eleven month mission.

To draw up a list.

To run over it twice.

To go down to the off-license.

To boldly organise a piss-up in the proverbial.

[WHOOOSHY MUSIC AND SUITABLY SPACEY IMAGES]

Act 1 : Stardate 16.12.2020

[ALMOST INEVITABLY, WE FIND OURSELVES ON THE BRIDGE OF THE SPIV-SHIP ENTERPRISE]

LIEUTENANT TRUSS: Admiral Patel is hailing us, Captain.

CAPTAIN BERK: Christ, as it were, on a bloody bicycle. I mean, er, on screen! Good, ah, good morning, Admiral!

ADMIRAL PATEL: Is it a good mornin’, Berk? Is it? We shall have to see. I just wanted to check up on your Christmas party arrangements. I trust that everythin’ is in order.

CAPTAIN BERK: Oh, er, yes! Yes, it’s all in hand, isn’t it, er, er, Ensign Hancock?

ENSIGN HANCOCK: Well, I don’t feel that that is a question we should be asking ourselves now, so much as one that we should be asking after the party, which, I am sure will be a …

ADMIRAL PATEL: I am askin’ now, Ensign. Any more of your lip and I’ll have you deported to Sirius B. What preparations have you made?

ENSIGN HANCOCK: Well, Admiral, it is with a deep sense of joy …

ADMIRAL PATEL: I don’t ‘do’ joy, Ensign, as well you know. [TALKS TO SOMEONE OFF-SCREEN] Have Hancock’s mother sent to the salt mines of Arcturus 4. [RETURNS TO SCREEN] Now give me some good news, Ensign.

ENSIGN HANCOCK: Er, yes, your Ma’amship. Everything’s set for stardate 25.12.2020, thanks to a remarkable effort …

ADMIRAL PATEL: That’s all I need to know, Ensign. Berk, I look forward to your highly successful party. I shall be attending as the surprise guest-of-honour. It would be very bad news if I were to be disappointed in any way. Very bad news, indeed. Over and out.

CAPTAIN BERK: Alas, it may not be quite as oven-ready as we may have led her to believe. Come along, chaps, we’re going to have to fix this or she’ll have our guts for space-garters. Let’s make a list …

[TIME PASSES]

CAPTAIN BERK: Splendid, splendid. Er, read it back to is, would you, Sunak?

COMMANDER SUNAK: Yes, Captain. Let’s see, we have gin, champers, port, caviar, vol-au-vents, hors d’oeuvres, Christmas crackers, more port, a children’s entertainer, decorations, cheese and pineapple on sticks, karaoke, cigars, more port and Gove’s chum Charlie.

CAPTAIN BERK: Well, that should just about cover it, I suppose. Do we, so to speak, have any of these things on board?

COMMANDER SUNAK: We may have some cocktail sticks in Engineering, Captain.

CAPTAIN BERK: And … ? Ah, I see. What about your friend Charlie, Mr Gove?

COMMANDER GOVE: Well, Captain, you see, I’m running a little short on supplies. I’m down to my last space-kilo and I’ve no idea when I’ll see Colonel Cummings again …

CAPTAIN BERK: We’ll have to make do with what you, indeed, have in your possession, Commander. Surely we have some booze on board. It barely seems a week since we last did the Spacebins run.

LIEUTENANT TRUSS: I’m afraid that Ensign Dorries has been drinking again, Captain.

CAPTAIN BERK: [ON INTERCOM] This is Captain Berk. Would Ensign Dorries please report to the bridge?

SLURRED OFFSTAGE VOICE OF ENSIGN DORRIES: I am extremely busy doing the job that I am very, very, very good at and I will not be disturbed. No offence, Cap, you’re my bestest friend ever but …

CAPTAIN BERK: Fish sticks! It looks like we’re going to have to go shopping. I dare say that it will be incredibly challenging given, as one might put it, the time of year, but needs must when the Admiral drives, eh? Sunak, set the course for somewhere that sells booze, fags and children’s entertainers. And don’t spare the warp drives!

Act 2 : Stardate 17.12.2020

[A SHUTTLE CONTAINING SEVERAL CREW MEMBERS ARRIVES AT A BRANCH OF SPACE CARREFOUR WHERE THEY ARE MET BY A CUSTOMS OFFICER]

CUSTOMS OFFICER: Bonjour!

CAPTAIN BERK: Oh, and indeed, heck. A foreign Johnny! Raab! I believe that you are our expert on er foreign Johnnies. Find out what he wants, would you?

LIEUTENANT RAAAAB: BON-JEW-ER!

CUSTOMS OFFICER: There’s no need to shout, Monsieur. I am not deaf.

LIEUTENANT RAAAAB: JE M’APPEL LIEUTENANT RAAAAB, JE SUIS FROM LE SPACE FORCE ANGLAIS! MOI ET MON COLLEAGUES WISH FOR ACH-A-TAY LE BEER, LES CIGARETTES ET BEAUCOUP DE GIN ET UN ENTERTAINER DES ENFANTS DANS VOTRE SHOP!

CUSTOMS OFFICER: Can one of you please tell this cretin that I can speak perfectly good English and that there is nothing wrong with my hearing?

LIEUTENANT RAAAAB: AVEZ VOUS DU FROMAGE ANGLAIS EN VOTRE BOUTIQUE?

CUSTOMS OFFICER: It’s not a boutique, Monsieur. It’s a sodding hypermarket. May I see your passport, please?

CAPTAIN BERK: I, er, believe that he wishes to see your papers, Lieutenant.

LIEUTENANT RAAAAB: Why didn’t he say so? Bloody foreigners! MON PASSPORT, MONSIEUR!

CUSTOMS OFFICER: This is not a Federation passport, Monsieur. This is some bit of dark blue crap that we printed for you as a joke. You will need to apply for a visa.

LIEUTENANT RAAAAB: NOUS AVONS LES CARTES DE CREDIT – LE MASTERCARD ET LE VISA – NOUS AVONS LE BOTH OF THOSE!

CUSTOMS OFFICER: No, Monsieur, you misunderstand. As a non-Federation member you require a visa of entry.

LIEUTENANT RAAAAB: Merde! I don’t think we’re getting in, Captain.

CAPTAIN BERK: Alas, no, it would seem. I suppose we still have some of these shoppy-things in British-controlled space. Perhaps we’d better go and er, look for some. I don’t fancy another wedgie from Admiral Patel, I can assure you. Back to the ship, chaps!

Act 3 : Stardate 18.12.2020

[THE TWITS IN SPAAAAACE ARRIVE AT A LARGE BRANCH OF SPIVCO ON A PLANET OF LITTLE REMAINING SIGNIFICANCE. THERE ARE LOTS OF SCREAMING TODDLERS AND LARGER LADIES DRESSED IN A WAY THAT DOESN’T HIDE THEIR TATTOOS VERY WELL]

CAPTAIN BERK: This is more like it! A proper British shop! Grab, as it were, a trolley and come with me!

COMMANDER GOVE: The shelves do seem to be rather empty, Captain. I wonder why.

COMMANDER SUNAK: A little localised difficulty in the supply chain, I suspect. I wonder what’s caused it.

[AFTER 3 HOURS OF CLUELESS FAFFING, THE CREW HAVE ONLY MANAGED TO FIND A BAG OF BROKEN BISCUITS AND A PACKET OF BOIL-IN-THE-BAG KIPPERS. THEY SUMMON THE STORE MANAGER]

CAPTAIN BERK: Ah, er, yes. We were, as it were, wondering where you’re hiding all of the food, drink and children’s entertainers and whatnot?

STORE MANAGER: Food? You’re having a laugh, aren’t you? Don’t you watch the news?

CAPTAIN BERK: Well, ah, no, as it happens. Alas, they have a frightful tendency to criticise me.

STORE MANAGER: Well, if you had have plucked up the courage to watch it, you’d have heard about a little thing called Spexit.

COMMANDER GOVE: Ooh! Yes! Spexit! That was one of mine! Dashed good idea, it was, too!

STORE MANAGER: So you said at the time. Space unicorns and nebula-lit uplands was what you promised.

COMMANDER GOVE: Absolutely! Like I said, it was a topping idea!

STORE MANAGER: I’m told there was a slight cock-up on the logistical front. It would appear that all of our stock is currently rotting in a swimming pool on the Planet Kent. It turns out we needed The Federation more than they need us, after all.

CAPTAIN BERK: Space balls! I can dishonestly say that, ah, I didn’t, in any way whatsoever, see that one coming.

SUNAK: The Admiral will not be a happy razor-toothed bunny, Sir.

CAPTAIN BERK: Indeed. We are, I feel, going to need, as it were, a cunning plan.

LIEUTENANT TRUSS: Ooh! Ooh! Me, Sir! I’ve got a cunning plan, Sir! Why don’t we go to the Planet Kent and liberate a container from the evil grip of imaginary Federation red-tape?

CAPTAIN BERK: You mean that we should steal one?

LIEUTENANT TRUSS: It’s not stealing when your life depends upon it, Captain.

CAPTAIN BERK: Indeed, no, I don’t suppose it is. And if my life doesn’t, so one might say, depend on it, my nadgers certainly do! Get your passports ready, we’re off to the Planet Kent!

Act 4 : Stardate 18.5.12.2020

[THE ENTERPRISE IS ORBITING THE PLANET KENT, A ONCE GREEN WORLD THAT IS NOW COVERED BY A MIXTURE OF SHIPPING CONTAINERS AND PORTALOOS]

CAPTAIN BERK: They all look rather similar, I suppose that any one, so to speak, would be as good as another. Sunak, fix the tractor beam on one of them and bring it aboard!

COMMANDER SUNAK: We have no tractor beam, Sir. Engineer Dyson was meant to supply it but he buggered off to live in The Federation. We do have a big grabby-claw like they have at the seaside, though. We’ll have to try that.

[AFTER ACCIDENTALLY KILLING SEVEN SPACE-TRUCKERS BY INADVERTENTLY GRABBING OCCUPIED PORTALOOS, THE ENTERPRISE FINALLY GETS ITS GRABBY-CLAW AROUND A CONTAINER AND HAULS IT ABOARD. ENSIGN HANCOCK DISCOVERS A SHIPPING NOTE ATTACHED TO THE CONTAINER]

ENSIGN HANCOCK: Blimey! We’ve hit pay-dirt! We’ve only gone and landed the Christmas party order for the Monster Raving Spexit Party! Admiral Patel will be delighted with my efforts! I’m so happy, I could pretend to cry.

CAPTAIN BERK: Excellent! Well, don’t, er, as it were, just stand there, so to speak. Get it open! What’s the word? Ah, ah, ah, ah, immediately! Yes! Immediately!

[THE CREW START TO UNLOAD THE CONTAINER]

COMMANDER GOVE: I say! All these boxes with the Chinese writing seem to be full of plastic British Space Force flags, that’s the decorations sorted!

ENSIGN HANCOCK: These crates of Danish lager don’t appear to be fit for human consumption but at least they’ll keep Ensign Dorries busy for a day or two. This looks more interesting … ah, just Nazi uniforms, we can always make it fancy-dress, I suppose. Oh! Look! I’ve found some cheese!

CAPTAIN BERK: English cheese, I trust. Admiral Patel won’t eat foreign muck.

ENSIGN HANCOCK: It’s made in France, Sir, but it is called Somerset Brie …

CAPTAIN BERK: That’s British enough for me, given the circumstances, as it were. Good work! Keep digging! Ah, Raaaab. What have you come up with?

COMMANDER RAAAAB: Ten crates of rubber chickens, forty-seven gasmasks, several million roubles, some rather distasteful pictures involving fish, a large quantity of Russian banknotes and a clown costume, Captain.

CAPTAIN BERK: Well, I, I, I suppose that it accounts for Redwood’s whereabouts but it’s not much use for the party. Anything else?

COMMANDER RAAAAB: Five gross of fake passports, an assortment of teenage girls, an unholy amount of herrings and a future trade advisor, Sir. We did find a crate of plastic cups, though, Sir. They might come in useful.

CAPTAIN BERK: More useful, as it were, than the trade advisor, I would imagine. Are you sure there’s no gin?

COMMANDER RAAB: Not a drop, Captain.

CAPTAIN BERK: Alas! Alas! Alas! And, er, well, indeed, alack. With hindsight it may be best to, as it were, cancel Christmas.

REST OF CREW IN UNISON: CANCEL CHRISTMAS???

CAPTAIN BERK: Well, no, I mean, yes but, no but, yes but. Obviously, we’ll still have, er, Christmas, you know, Baby Jesus and frankincense and so forth, but, well, I hate to say it, no gin.

COMMANDER RAAAAB: What about Admiral Patel, Sir? She’ll be calling soon.

CAPTAIN BERK: Oh, crumbs! I’d forgotten all about the time. We must have been here for hours. She’ll duff me up good and proper!

LIEUTENANT TRUSS: Captain! Captain! The ringy thing went and I pressed the button all by myself! Admiral Patel is hailing you, Sir!

CAPTAIN BERK: Oo-er! Fudge my luck! I’m for it now. On screen …

Act 5 : Stardate 19.12.2020

[THE TERRIFYING SMIRK OF ADMIRAL PATEL APPEARS ON THE SCREEN]

ADMIRAL PATEL: Good mornin’, Berk. May I enquire as to why you are surrounded by Zimmer-frames, golf clubs and rubber chickens?

CAPTAIN BERK: Ah, er, yes, indeed! We, er, we, er, we just having a little spring clean. Nothing to worry about at all, I should say.

ADMIRAL PATEL: You’re lyin’, Berk. I can tell. Your lips are movin’. However, I may decide to forget about it if you have some good news for me. You do have some good news for me, don’t you Berk?

CAPTAIN BERK: Well, er, er, er, of course, your Ma’amship! That is to say, ah, ah, ah, that Gove has some good news for you, Admiral.

COMMANDER GOVE: What the Captain is saying, Admiral, is that Christmas will be celebrated in a limited and specific way. Whilst the core spiritual message will remain intact, the more frivolous elements …

ADMIRAL PATEL: I’m warnin’ you, Commander, if you are plannin’ to include gin in the category of frivolous elements, this will not end very nicely for you. Are you tryin’ to tell me that Christmas is cancelled, Gove? Are you?

COMMANDER GOVE: I give way to the Captain, Ma’am.

CAPTAIN BERK: Et tu, Fishy? Et tu? Let me ah, ah, ah, explain, Admiral …

ADMIRAL PATEL: Never mind, Berk. I’m sure you did your best. It is the season of goodwill. We shall have a party after all. Given that there won’t be any food or gin, you just put on the clown costume and we’ll all have a nice game of pin the tail on the donkey. [SHE WAFTS AROUND A HIGHLY SHARPENED POKER WITH A HORSE TAIL HANGING FROM IT]. Merry Christmas! Over and out!

ALL EXCEPT CAPTAIN BERK: Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas, everybody!

Will Captain Berk survive until the next episode? Which hapless crew member will replace him when I’m halfway through writing it? Will we ever get back to the plotline about Princess Nutella of the Crabs Nebula and whatever else was going on? Same Brit-time, same Brit-channel etc. etc.

The entire team (me) wishes you all a safe and happy Yuletide. The cast don’t really care whether you live or die, to be honest, apart from the bloke who played the French customs officer and the British supermarket manager (I bet you didn’t even notice that it was the same actor, he was that good). Anyway, if you’re a bloke, it’s time you got started with your Christmas shopping, so click the link below and stop making excuses.