ANNOUNCER: And now, here is the host of Geopolitical Blockbusters, Bob Holness! [audience applause]
Bob: Hello everyone, what a welcome! Today we are looking forward to an exciting contest between the reigning champions, Joe and Boris from Nato, and, in the single chair, the challenger from Moscow, Vladimir. [Boris and Vladimir smile nervously and wave to the audience. Joe searches for the teleprompter] As ever, the contestants will choose a letter which, if answered correctly, will block the hexagon. They must connect a row of blocks horizontally or vertically to win the game. Vladimir tells me he has many interests including singing, collecting long tables, riding topless over frozen lakes, playing the piano and judo. He tells me he never fails to floor his opponents . . . welcome, Vladimir! [applause]
We’ll start with you, Nato. Which letter would you like?
Nato (Boris): Can we have a ‘P’ please, Bob. [audience titters]
Bob: I thought you might start there! In which former Communist state was Pope John Paul the Second born?
Nato (Boris): That would be Poland.
Bob: Well done! [applause] Poland it is. I can see you have thought about a strategic location for your first block. Vladimir, it’s your choice.
Vladimir: I vill haff a ‘B’ please, Bob.
Bob: Ah yes, a ‘B’. I can see what you’re doing there.
Which country gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1908?
Vladimir: I zink zat vud be Bosnia.
Bob: Sadly not. [audience groans] Nato . . . Your answer?
Nato (Boris): We’ll try Bulgaria.
Bob: Correct, well done! [applause] You can continue, Nato.
Nato (Joe): Can I have a pee, please, Bob? [audience laughter]
Bob: I’m sorry, Nato, the ‘P’ has already gone. I’ll have to give the next question to Vladimir.
Joe wanders off the stage in the vague direction of the men’s room.
Vladimir: I’ll have the ‘L’, please Bob.
Bob: Of which Baltic state is Vilnius the capital?
Vladimir: Zat is Latvia, Bob.
Bob: I’m sorry, Vladimir. [audience groans] I’ll have pass that one over to Nato.
Nato (Boris): I’m pretty sure that’s Lithuania.
Bob: Well done, correct. [applause]
(Nato get the next two questions right, and Vladimir must get the last letter to block Nato and keep him in the game.)
Vladimir: Zis vill haff to be ze ‘U’, Bob.
Bob: Yes, Vladimir, that was an easy choice. To block Nato and keep you in the game, your question is: this European country has a border with Romania. What is it?
Vladimir: [pause] Zat must be ‘Ungary’. [audience gasps]
Bob: I’m sorry, Vladimir, I think you were thinking of Hungary. I’ll have to pass it on to Nato. Nato, to complete a row and win the game, which European country, beginning with the letter ‘U’, borders Romania? [Vladimir looks frustrated and anxious]
Nato (Boris): Harrumph, harrumph . . . that is definitely Uk . . .
Before Boris is able to complete his answer, Vladimir rises to his feet, throws a glass of water over Bob, flings his chair at the camera, and starts to pick fights with members of the audience. On seeing the fracas, Joe returns to the men’s room. As the fighting continues, Bob regains his composure.
Bob: Well, that was an exciting game! Do join us next week when the Republic of China pit their wits against the People’s Republic of China. [applause from those not involved in the fighting]