Ron Ormerod

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In Good Omens, Ron is a man much put upon and spoken for in life, who must have temporarily regarded his encounter with the Death of Roundworld to be a blessed relief, regardless of where he was sent post-mortem.

Unfortunately for him, his widow Beryl had other ideas, and attends séances every Thursday without fail, where Madame Tracy pulls back the veil with the assistance of her spirit-guide Geronimo. Ron is therefore forced to endure the double-whammy of having to attend the séance because he has been Called, and there is no getting around this, even though Madame Tracy has the psychic ability of a flatworm and is just winging it - there is no way he can talk through her.

Not that Beryl will let him, as via some sort of power of cyclic breathing, she talks on and on and on about the doings of at least four interestingly assorted children and two grandchildren, considering that it is important to remain in touch with Ron, despite the temporary inconvenience of his death. This unhappy set of circumstances persists for some years, until a temporarily disembodied angel called Aziraphale takes over Madame Tracy, in an entirely self-willed act of Insorcism. In answer to the wittered question of "Is Ron There?", Aziraphale grudgingly admits to Beryl that there is a spirit of that description hanging around over there in the corner, yes, and very well, but it had better be quick.

Finally allowed his say in a real two-way spirit communication, Ron demonstrates what all wise witches and practitioners of the occult know only too well - never give the client exactly what they want and never be too accurate. In a voice communicating his earthly stutter, he informs Beryl he's had to listen to her for most of his life and all of his death, and would she do him the kindness of SHUTTING UP. This brings the séance to an abrupt end, and Tracy is left to find out what her spirit visitor really wants...


On the Monty Python's Flying Circus album Matching Tie and Hankie, there is a sketch which takes the mickey out of radio phone-in shows, where a continual background feature is an endlessly ringing phone, a crossed line, and a voice repeating the question "Is Ron there?" - exactly Beryl Ormerod's opening line at the séances...