Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Mid-Summer Murder Mystery

The initial idea for this was a series of six 30 minute episodes, but the Beeb weren't interested. I think they are intent on employing known writers at the moment. Anyway, not sure if this is going to work, but I have rewritten it as a 45 minute play and am going to post it here in about 10 parts so it's not too hard to read.

The premise is that there is an allotment site in a small market town called Grint, somewhere in the Herts/Bucks area. The main character, Jake, is an unemployed 50-something with a young family and a healthily cynical approach to life. There is an Allotment Society at Trugmore Lane Allotments, full of basically well meaning but irritating individuals that Jake just about tolerates.

Felicity is the irritating chair of the society; Jack & Jill are an oddly enthusiastic(?) couple who are joined at the hip; Skippy is Jake's nemesis and the biggest wind-up  on the allotments and Tom is the only one Jake can stomach.

Jake is forever fighting a dog, ironically called Jake, and it's owner, rowing over the antics of her dog. There is also a mysterious woman from the council who is haunting Jake about how he hasn't "utilised" his plot to it's full potential.

There is another unemployed 50-something man on plot 13 who is constantly arguing with his wife and is digging a very deep hole on his plot. The members slowly all come to the conclusion that the hole is for the man's dead wife.

Jake's family, wife Natalie, 12 year old daughter Starchild and 4 year son India, are as quirky as Jake and are the source of many a laugh.

OK, so here we go, as I say, not sure if it'll work. Here's the first part:

Mid-Summer Murder Mystery

The Man on Plot 13 (angrily) I told you; I-told-you, I have been over here since early this morning woman

His wife (obviously upset) But-

Man 13 No buts

Wife I know you’ve been in that pub

Man 13 Chance’d be a fine thing

Wife What does that mean?

Tom At it again, look at them

Jake What?

Tom Him on plot 13, having a go at his missus

Jake For all you know, it’s the other way round and, what’s it to you anyway, you sound like the tittle-tattle brigade

Tom (mock hurt) How dare you

Jake Well, really, what is it to us? So they argue a bit, so what?

Tom S’pose so, but they do do it a lot and over here too. Don’t you think it’s a bit dumb, bringing their dirty laundry over to an allotment for all and sundry to over hear?

Jake (sighs) OK, you don’t have to listen do you? Perhaps it’s the only time they get to see each other. Perhaps he’s a busy banker in the city and she’s a Dragon’s Den dragon

Tom You reckon?

Jake (heavy sigh) Oh stop it!

Man 13 If I want to go to the pub, and I don’t, but if I did, I would do it

Wife (bursts into tears) There you go again. I’m going home

Sounds of digging fades in as Jake is working on his allotment.
He is listening to music on his MP3 player, and he sings along to “Going Underground” by the Jam.
Sounds of children playing fades in

Starchild (older female child, about 11/12) India! India, put that down. Dad? (shouts) JAKE!

Jake (still singing) Going underground-

Starchild (shouts & pulls out her father’s earphones) DAD!

Jake Ouch! Bloody hell, that was my ear. This better be good Star-

Starchild Look at India

Jake What? Where? OH! Oh, no, India put the scythe down son

India (from the distance) I am a knight of the realm, swish, off with your head!

Jake Put it down, be careful, you just may do that very thing

India Oh look, I’m Captain Hook, ha haaaaarrrrrr! I’ll get you Peter Pan

Skippy (voice fades in as Jake realises he is being spoken to)
You sure you’re doing that right?

Jake (sighs heavily) Sorry?

Skippy You wanna take the fork out a bit more straighter

Jake What? A bit more what? Look, I’m a bit busy trying to stop my 4 year old son severing something

Skippy The fork should go straight down, then straight back up again, then break up the sods

Jake Err, can I just (sighs heavily)

Skippy (oblivious) It helps your back if you do it like that

Jake India! Please, do not wave that thing round your head
Skippy (seemingly oblivious of the situation) You see, I know you have a bad back

Jake (sighs again) What were you saying about my fork?

Skippy No, I said you want to be a bit straighter with your penetration

Jake There really is no answer to that. India please put it down

Skippy (again oblivious to Jake’s comment) Yeah, you see if you put the fork, or spade, in at an angle of 90 degrees, it’s easier on the old back

Jake Thanks invaluable information as usual (under breath) Over here son, swing in this direction (quietly) at his shins

Skippy I suppose you want to know what I’ve got today

Jake (mutters to himself) No, not really
(Louder) Didn’t notice anything mate. Oh my (India is shouting something
indecipherable) India drop that NOW!

Skippy (triumphantly) Only a batch of perspex

Jake Look, I really haven’t got time at the moment

Starchild Look out dad

Jake & Starchild (together) Whoa!

Jake OK Star, ok, you go left, I’ll go right

Skippy (surreptitiously) Guess where I got it from?

Jake (disinterested) Not now, please

Skippy Yep, a skip. You’ll never guess where?

Jake (annoyed) Look! Will you give me a bit of space mate, can't you see what's going on here

Skippy What? No, listen, got it from a skip outside the back of Tesco!

Jake India. Ok son, that’s it give me the scythe

India (incredulous) It’s a sword. Say give me the sword, please

Skippy (Walking away) Yeah, that’s the way, never pay for nothin’ me

Jake Give me the sword.

India Say please

Starchild Just give the sword to dad India

Jake Please, India, give me the sword.

Skippy (moving away) What a strange family

India Good boy. Here you go. You be careful with that sword daddy, it could be very dangerous in the wrong hands

Jake (to Star) It could be, couldn’t it? Like used in the direction of him on the next plot eh?

Starchild You could claim death by misadventure

Jake Or diminished responsibility. I mean, how he could he just keep on about his bloody skip raid while all that was happening?

Nil Blog

As it is my birthday today and I have been working in the rain and there is a bottle of Rioja waiting for me downstairs and I'm a bit knackered and I'm now 54, I can't be bothered to write too much, so-