REPORT SUBMITTED BY PETER BROUGH AND ARCHIE ANDREWS, Hampshire, England 1844.
PETER BROUGH: Good morning, everybody, I’m here with Archie, my boy, looking forward to a nice cup of tea after a successful night in Miss Florence Nightingale’s bedroom.
ARCHIE ANDREWS: Here, steady on Brough, you’d better not let Richard Monckton Milnes hear you say that or it will be pistols at dawn. We’re still in 1844 don’t you know?
PETER BROUGH: Now don’t be ridiculous, Archie, my boy. Now what do you know about night time affairs? Is that in the curriculum?
ARCHIE ANDREWS: No, Brough, it’s extra-curricular activity. I make a point of staying up late to watch all Jayne Mansfield’s films.
PETER BROUGH: Well, at least it keeps you occupied, my boy, and keeps you out of mischief.
ARCHIE ANDREWS: Well, I don’t know Miss Chief, but if she’s anything like Miss Nightingale I’d be interested. Could you introduce us, Brough?
PETER BROUGH: Please, please, for pity’s sake, Archie, stop messing about. We have been engaged…
ARCHIE ANDREWS: Crikey, I’ve never even met the woman yet you are going to marry her. If Miss Chief discovers about your night with Miss Nightingale it won’t be just Dickie Monckton Milnes after your blood. Poor old Brough, you’ll be pulverized.
PETER BROUGH: Oh, for heaven’s sake, Archie. If you will let me finish, I was going to say that we have been engaged on a mission of world importance. And we succeeded, my boy!
ARCHIE ANDREWS: By Jove, Brough. I’m so proud of you, so proud.
PETER BROUGH: Well, you played an important role, my boy. I rather think at one stage Miss Nightingale was convinced you were dead. Normally, I wouldn’t stoop to such a trick, but all’s fair in love and war.
ARCHIE ANDREWS: Yes, rather. My acting has come on a lot since we started mixing with the Noel Coward set, eh?
PETER BROUGH: Oh, yes, yes, yes. Well, it’s difficult playing dead, my boy, and you were marvellously convincing at it.
ARCHIE ANDREWS: That’s it, Brough. I convinced myself that I was my cousin Hector as I led there on the floor of Miss Nightingown’s boudoir and it helped me kerp still and not move a muscle.
PETER BROUGH: Oh, good, my boy. Is Hector an actor?
ARCHIE ANDREWS: No, he’s a shelf in a tobacconist’s in Cleethorpes!
PETER BROUGH: Don’t be silly, Archie.
ARCHIE ANDREWS: Oh, I’m so excited, Brough. Do you think we will be weighed down with medals?
PETER BROUGH: Well, I rather think so. We have saved the world as we know it. I should rather think we will be invited to the Palace, my boy.
ARCHIE ANDREWS: But I support Queens Park Rangers!
PETER BROUGH : Not Crystal Palace you buffoon. Buckingham Palace to meet Her Majesty, young Queen Elizabeth. I’ll order a suit from the best tailor in the kingdom.
ARCHIE ANDREWS: Hey, Brough, you’re living it up a bit aren’t you?
PETER BROUGH: I could possibly save the expense and wear one of my old suits.
ARCHIE ANDREWS: How do you know it would still fit?
PETER BROUGH: Of course it’ll fit me, Archie, I haven’t put on a pound since I left school.
ARCHIE ANDREWS: You haven’t spent one, either!
PETER BROUGH: Now, now Archie, when we are invited to the Palace I want none of this Tomfoolery. I want you to behave yourself there, my boy, and don’t speak until you are spoken to. It is a place for gentlemen.
ARCHIE ANDREWS: Don’t worry, Brough. I won’t give you away.
PETER BROUGH: Well, thank goodness we succeeded. Miss Nightingale was really convinced that I had brought you back to life. The lightning outside the window made your miraculous revival all the more dramatic. It couldn’t have gone any better, my boy.
ARCHIE ANDREWS: Well, Brough, we rode our luck.
PETER BROUGH: Yes, my boy, we can be proud. She’ll want to take up medical matters now, as sure as eggs are eggs. She was so taken with my talents, Archie, that she called me your creator, which happens to be true, my lad.
ARCHIE ANDREWS: Yes, Brough, I couldn’t help noticing that you told her that you rather wish you hadn’t created me, due to all the scrapes you get in thanks to my boorish behaviour. I was really browned off. I felt like having a stiff cup of cocoa and then going to bed without cleaning my teeth.
PETER BROUGH: Don’t be silly, Archie. It was all part of the act. I was trying to make her laugh. She’d had a shock seeing us suddenly appear in her bedroom at night and then witnessing you being brought back from the dead.
ARCHIE ANDREWS: For such a hero, Brough, you look a bit of a Charlie.
PETER BROUGH: Oh, and why is that, Archie?
ARCHIE ANDREWS: Because of all the sawdust on your shoes.
PETER BROUGH: Sawdust? Yes, you’re right, my boy. It’s all over the place.
ARCHIE ANDREWS: I was filing my nails, Brough. Got to look spick and span for our date at the Palace. I think me and the Duke of Edinburgh will be jolly good pals.
PETER BROUGH: Well, that’s right, my boy, we will be top of the bill and rightly so.
LATE NEWS LATE NEWS LATE NEWS LATE NEWS LATE NEWS LATE NEWS
The History Maintenance Commission have released this bulletin pertinent to the report that appears above.
It is with deep regret that we have to announce that the Peter Brough and Archie Andrews holograms have been aborted. It has become abundantly clear that they were not in Florence Nightingale’s bedroom in 1844 but in Lord Byron’s villa in Switzerland in June, 1816. It was there that Mary Shelley, the teenage partner of the radical English poet Percy Bysshe, was staying with others when she had the dream that led to her writing, the following year the novel Frankenstein. This is how Mary Shelley describes the event:
I saw with shut eyes, but acute mental vision, I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion.
It has now become apparent that what Mary Shelley actually saw (with open eyes) were the holograms of Peter Brough and Archie Andrews doing their life reviving act. The History Maintenance Commission does think that Mary is being a trifle over dramatic in calling Archie Andrews a ‘hideous phantasm of a man’. Yes, he did have manic eyes and a Savile Row blazer that might appear far too extravagant to the early nineteenth century eye, but other than that he looks a perfectly normal piece of hollowed wood. It is also going a bit far to label Peter Brough as ‘The pale student of unhallowed arts’. The entertainer had to spend a lot of time in radio and then television studios so rarely got a chance to develop a tan and when he did venture out his arm was usually out of the Sun as it was invariably stuck inside Archie s back.
It appears that the History Maintenance Commission has made a faux pas. Our worthy endeavours to put Florence Nightingale right has instead literally created a Frankenstein. Before this mission there was no Frankenstein. Now, the misguided failure of Peter Brough and Archie Andrews in hologram form has produced one and suddenly it has become ingrained into our history as if it has been there all along.
The History Maintenance Commission sincerely apologizes for the problems the failure of the first holograms to Florence Nightingale have caused. A private internal review will be conducted and any recommendations will be adopted. In the meanwhile, at least there is a great book now available and an extra role for Lon Chaney Jr to play in films.
We will of course endeavour to still complete Mission Nightingale for the good of mankind and the maintenance of history and the world as we know it.
Professor Delphi CEO History Maintenance Commission