A Nevill Feast is proud to present our first ever Christmas Special
A VERY NEVILL CHRISTMAS
Warwick: (Holding up his hands to dampen down the rapturous applause): Thank you, thank you. You’re too kind. It’s good to see so many of you here. We got the duke of Exeter in the audience? Duke of Exeter? No? What – couldn’t make it? Shame. I just wanted to give him this. (hunts for something in his pockets) Where is it? Ah, here it is. (Pulls out a ticket) He won the grand raffle prize. No, really, he did. Tickets for a round the world cruise. One way, sadly. (drum sting) All got your daggers with you? Good, good. If you feel yourself getting a bit peckish, just nip around the back. There’s plenty of roast ox to go round. If the turnspit’s asleep, just give him a kick. You know, that boy’s so lazy he’d fall asleep in front of an open fire! (gales of hysterical laughter) So, how many dukes we got in the audience? (smattering of applause) Three or four, that’s good. Earls? (more applause) My, there are a lot of earls here tonight! It’s good to see. Kings? (peers into the audience) Just the two of you, then? (nervous laughter) No, seriously, it’s good to see you could both make it. It’s always nice when the wife lets you out for the night. That Elizabeth Wydeville, she’s quite a woman, isn’t she? And Margaret of Anjou! Talk about hard acts to follow. Inspiring, I call them. Poetry, civil war… Well, it’s all the same in the end, isn’t it? Always good when it’s over. No, no, listen, I’ve written a poem. It’s called Queens. (clears his throat) Young Ned’s heart won by beauteous witch, while Henry’s saddled with a bi… Haven’t quite finished that one. (shrieks of laughter) Listen, foiks, we’ve got a very special surprise guest tonight. No, I’m not going to tell you who it is. You’ll just have to wait. Right now, I’d like you to give a big warm welcome to my brother John and his beautiful wife Isobel. He’s written this song specially for her. John and Isobel! (more rapturous applause)
Lights up stage right – John and Isobel I are sitting on stools, gazing into each other’s eyes tenderly. Lutes begin to play softly and slowly…
John: On Christmas Eeeeeeeeeeve, in the cold cold snow, as I toiled my way home to my love, I looked at the sky with a tear in my eye, and sang to the stars above, and they looked down at this poor poor soul, trudging his weary way hoooooooooome, and I wondered where would I be, if I didn’t have my gal, home at Seaton Delaval – my angel on the top of my Chriiiiiiiiiiistmas treeeeeeeeeeeee.
Isobel I: Home from Towton and Hexham and He-edgely Moor, from St Albans and ….
Isobel N: I think you’ll find that’s my hennin, little sister!
Anne N: No, Daddy got it for me! Anyway, aren’t you going to have a crown or something?
Isobel N: It doesn’t even fit you! Look, your big fat head’s sticking out.
Anne N: I’ll tell Mother! (snatches the hennin, it’s a little rumpled. Anne goes to the door) Mother! Mother! Isobel’s being mean to me!
In a quiet spot under a tree – this could be filmed earlier:
Breathless interviewer: I have with me here Alice Montacute, countess of Salisbury, the only woman attainted during the Wars of the Roses. She’s kindly agreed to talk to us tonight about her experiences. Tell me, countess, my lady, your highness, ma’am, what was it like, being attainted?
Alice M: Well, it wasn’t terribly nice!
Breathless interviewer: No, I’m sure it wasn’t. You’ve won many hearts, through your bravery and courage, your countessliness. I’m sure they’d love to know what was going through your mind when you heard the news.
Alice M: Well, I thought: Goodness, I’ve been attainted!
Back in the studio:
Warwick: (as the final strains of You’re the Angel on the Top of My Christmas Tree fade away) Thank you John and Isobel. Wasn’t that just stunning? And who wouldn’t want that little angel decorating their tree! (thunderous applause). Now, our next guest did extremely well at the Calais Comedy Club open mic night. Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiir Thomas Nevill! (flourish of hand, unsure applause)
Thomas: (puts a mic in a stand and looks out over at the audience) So, I says to the Duke of York, I says, So, you want to be king, do you?
Meanwhile, in another part of backstage:
Edward Prince of Wales: You upstage me tonight, Dickon, and I’ll step all over that ‘kingdom for a horse’ schtick you do.
Richard duke of Gloucester: Try it, Dead Eddie, and the audience will tear you to pieces! You know that’s what half of them have come to hear, you psychopath!
Edward Prince of Wales: Hunchback!
Richard duke of Gloucester: What did you say?
Edward Prince of Wales: You heard me.
Richard duke of Gloucester: (pretending to sneeze) Tewkesbury!
Sir Thomas Nevill continues:
Thomas: … Why does it take a Percy an hour to eat breakfast? Because the orange juice carton says ‘concentrate’…
(robust laughter – he’s got them in the palm of his hand)
Greenroom – the Archbishop of York is going over his sermon:
Archbishop: And, as you all know, Henry VI is the rightful king… No, hang on… Edward IV is the rightful king. (consults his notes) Yes, that’s right. Edward, Edward, Edward…
Sir Thomas Nevill is still going strong:
Thomas: So, where’s everyone from? Anyone here from Wakefield?
(there are a few ragged cheers)
Warwick: (quietly to floor manager) The Stanleys – aren’t they on next? … You’re kidding! … So, what am I supposed to do for the next five minutes?
Sir Thomas Nevill shows no sign of slowing down:
Thomas: A Percy walks into a bar. The barman says “Why the long face?” The Percy says “Just got our arses kicked by the Nevills again!”
(huge applause and laughter)
In the wings, the Duchess of York and the Countess of Warwick are trying to keep a choir of small angels quiet.
Duchess of York: George. George! Put down that candle. I’ve told you before, burning your sister’s hair isn’t nice.
Countess of Warwick: Richard! No, not you the other one. Richard Fitzhugh! Over here now. Tuck your shirt in. Oh, lord, your wings are all crooked again.
Duchess of York: Alphabetical order, I keep telling you that! (to the Countess) Is it by first name? Or their father’s title, I keep forgetting.
Countess of Warwick: Why don’t we just get all the Annes together, and all the Edwards…
Duchess of York: George! If I have to tell you one more time!
Back in the studio:
Warwick: Ladies and gentlemen, live by satellite from Sandal Castle. Our very special guest for this evening, and let me tell you, this wasn’t at all easy to set up. We’ve lost two camera crews to the Lancastrians and our continuity girl’s still missing. (hushed aws from audience) Yes, yes. We should all send our prayers out to her. Though I’m sure she’ll turn up, safe and well. It is Christmas after all, goodwill to all … (gets the stretch signal) Speaking of Lancastrians, what do you call one Lancastrian at the bottom of the ocean? The duke of Exeter! (drum sting) A Lancastrian, a Burgundian and a Venetian walk into a bar… (aside) Are we ready? Excellent. Ladies and gentlemen, live by satellite from Sandal Castle… my father, the Earl of Salisbury! (the audience is on its feet, Salisbury waits for some minutes before it dies down. All eyes are on him. There is a deathly, expectant hush.)
(standing ovation to end all standing ovations. The earl almost cracks a smile.)
Warwick: Well, that brings us to the end of the show. (more aws from audience) I know, I know. It’s been a great night and I’m glad you could all join us.
The duchess and the countess usher their unruly angels onto the stage. They are joined by the rest of the cast for a rousing rendition of I’m Dreaming of a White Rose Christmas.
Credits roll, lights fade.
Warwick: Well, I think that went very well, don’t you?
Countess of Warwick: (coyly) Next year, I’d rather like to be the angel on top of the Christmas tree.
Warwick: Why wait for next year? (takes her by the hand and leads her backstage) Got a perfectly good Christmas tree right here, just waiting for an angel to ah… to ah… (whispers in her ear)
Countess of Warwick: (giggling) Oh, you are awful! But I like you.