Tuesday 10th July Ď01. 8.06am. Somewhere in the Lake District. Itís a bright sunny day. Mave Parker is trying to keep her spirits up. Locked in a cheerless room within the complex that forms the headquarters of Aubrey OíGoughís gang of smugglers she ponders her fate...
MAVE (Singing):ĎEvery sunbeam that shines on the ground, every robin that takes to wing and flies off...í Ah, Ďello Errol - my little ant. Ave yer come back? Ah! Youíre my only friend Ďere. Díyer know that? Of course, I donít expect yer to talk. But itís nice to have somebody to talk to. And sing to. (Sings) ĎCast neíer a clout, or Iíll lock your daughter out...í
The sound of the door being noisily unlocked. Joaquin enters...
MAVE (Nervously): Ooís there? Ere, am I free to go Ďome yet?
JOAQUIN: No. Now shut up. And no more singing. Iíve got a blistering headache.
MAVE: Iím not singing for you. Iím singing for my friend, my ant Ė Errol. I named him after Errol Brown.
JOAQUIN: Youíre to come with me.
MAVE: You know, off of ĎYou Sexy FingĎ? Ere, whatís all this about? What díyou want me for?
Meanwhile, in the peaceful village of Widowís Elbow Jenny Luscombe is sitting at her kitchen table holding a crumpled photograph of Mave and weeping. Friend and magistrate James Wool is there too, and full of concern...
JAMES: There, there, Jen. There ainít nothin one can be doiní now. The die Ďas bin cast and the bird Ďas flown. I wouldní go getting all flummoxed an emotion-racked. Can I Ďave another cup o coffee?
JENNY: Thereís some in the pot. Oh, James. Iím so glad youíre here. Youíre like a rock in a raging torrent. A buttress against the buffeting wind of adversity. I donít know what I would have done without you. (Pause) I feel quite empty. So spent. (She continues weeping)
JAMES: Iíll help myself to another flapjack. Díyou wanta use my hanky? Here.
JENNY: Thank you.
JAMES: Mrs.Wool made me that on her sewing machine for our last anniversary. Hm. I got Ďer a toaster-teasmade, I recall. Well, the discrepancy in the respective expenses incurred created a rift in our previously quite harmonious marriage. Iíve learnt to live with it since. Cheer up, old pal!
JENNY: I canít! Oh! (Weeps) Do you think Iíll ever see Mavis again? What must Stan be going through now? And the boys...
JAMES: The kidnappers will be found. Have no doubt about that. And punished, Jen, so please donít go getting your lovely face all soaked and wet. You know, our best officers are on the case.
JENNY: I suppose so. But, oh - when are they going to issue a ransom? I canít sleep for worrying. Oh!
Back at the kidnappersí hideaway...
AUBREY: Well, good morning, Mave. How are we this fine day?
MAVE: I can only speak for meself.
AUBREY: Then speak.
MAVE: Iím alright.
AUBREY: Good. Good. Now - .
MAVE: I could do with a warmer duvet. My feet were cold all last night. Apart from that Iím fine.
AUBREY: Get on it.
JOAQUIN: Yes sir.
MAVE: Ere. Why are you being nice to me? And when are you gonna free me? Iím goiní caravanning with me old man in three weeks - .
AUBREY: Your working class lifestyle must go on hold, Mave. (Pause) What are you like in the kitchen?
MAVE: Iíve won praise in my time. Why?
AUBREY: Have you? (Pause) Good. Mrs Parker, this bunker is full of ravenous souls, eager for the simple taste of home-cooking. To be honest, weíre tiring of frozen pies and cup-a-soups.
AUBREY (Awkwardly) Do you think, er - . Would you, for a slight alteration in your circumstances Ė agreeable from this morning, of course - be able to - ?
MAVE: Iíd be happy to accept your offer. But in the kitchen, I call the shots. Iíll need my own rubber gloves.
AUBREY: Of course
Mave goes on to demand a long list of sundry items...
Back at the TV station. Ellenís office. 11.06am. Rodney bursts in on Ellen, without knocking...
RODNEY: Mrs.M! Mrs.M!
ELLEN: Rodney! You havenít got an appointment. Youíre disturbing my mid-morning yoghurt break. This had better be important. Youíre flustered and out of control. Whatever is the matter?
RODNEY (Breathless): Itís just been on the news. The kidnappers. Demanding $500,000! For Mave!
ELLEN: Mrs Parker?
RODNEY: Yeah! Sheís bin kidnapped.
ELLEN: Well blow me down. I thought I hadnít seen her for a while. I thought she was on holiday. It was on the television just now?
RODNEY: It showed a picture of her Ė the one where sheís weariní er Kiss Me Quick, Squeeze Me Slowly Ďat. (Chuckles) Ere, what are we gonna do?
ELLEN: Hush now, Iím thinking.
There is a pause...
RODNEY: Youíve got some nice plants in here, Mrs.Macintyre.
ELLEN: Thanks. (Pause) $500,000, you say theyíre after? Thatís a mighty large sum of money for somebody on Mrs.Parkerís income. I donít suppose her family has money?
ELLEN: Thought not. Gosh. This is a puzzle.
RODNEY: Do you want to see the video of the news? Iíve got it Ďere somewhere. I taped it over ĎDictionary DiligenceĎ. Itís Maveís tape. She likes seeiní them eggheads lookin' stumped. (chuckles)
1.10pm. Back in the Lakes. Kendal, to be precise. The humming newsroom at The Cumbria Advertiser. As the news team whirrs and whistles like a sort of well-oiled machine, reporter Sandy Catanzaro is on the telephone, talking animatedly to her brother, a disgraced former editor of a daily newspaper...
SANDY (On the Ďphone): Iím telling you, Jake, this storyís got everything.
JAKE (On the Ďphone): Everything? Sure, but - .
SANDY: It just made the one oíclock. This time as one of the main stories. (Pause) Think about it. Old woman. A cleaner. Married. Maybe not married. Mixed up in . . . what? Drugs? A drug cartel? In the North of England. In where? In Leeds? Bradford? Manchester? Newcastle? Too obvious, Jake. The storyís wider than that. Itís deeper. Itís got real depth. How does she wind up kidnapped? What was she doinĎ? Maybe she got too close. Maybe she knew too much about the operation? Maybe she was in on the operation? Maybe the operation was nothing more than a Mcguffin which was designed to bring her in on the operation from outside, so that the operation would make her think that she was in, that she was involved, when in fact she was outside. So outside that there was never any hope she couldíve got in. Even if she had wanted to. And why would she have wanted to? Anyway. We got a classic case of: cute old lady, maybe itís she knows much too much, is brought in by these twitchers, is ransomed, is what? What? Itís got everything . . . except an explanation! (Pause) Old lady; the half a million dollars ransom Ė weíre maybe talking international...
JAKE: Iíve seen it all before. The case is a stiff. Youíre not gonna go for this? Sandra, Iím tellin ya - your face is gonna be nose deep in manure before you are begginí for your editor to take you off of the story. Believe me. Iím giviní you good brotherly advice here. And hey Ė before you say it Ė Iím not a bum. This story ainít got no heat. It got no thousand island; no dressing. No mayonnaise.
SANDY: Whatís that?
JAKE: A salad has gotta have dressing, Sandra. When it donít, itís nude. Nude lettuce - thatís what this is.
Thereís a pause...
SANDY: Youíre a bum.
8.29pm. In the smallest studio at Channel Z, Studio 6, guests Dr.Franklin Rice and Dr.Jonathan Hanley, host Olivier Riedle, and a studio audience are standing by for the live transmission of ĎBody Talk - With Rice and Hanleyí. Michael Macintyre and Martin Blarnspot are observing proceedings from the edge of the set...
MICHAEL: I love this show. Itís so near the knuckle.
MARTIN: Itís cause itís live. Anything can happen.
MICHAEL: And usually does. (Chuckles) Here - .
MARTIN (Interrupting): By the way, the Columbus shoot has wrapped, as you know. All the footage is safely in the can. Cutting OíGoughís rewrites has saved weeks of filming.
MICHAEL: As planned. (Pause) Hey - you know that Olivier Riedle? Not many people know but his real nameís Jeff Peters.
The ĎBody Talkí theme plays, and the audience applauds. What follows is a short excerpt from today's live recording...
RIEDLE (In full flow): We have been talking about blood, Dr.Hanley. Would you agree that it is the blood which gives us a method Ė a failsafe way Ė a kind of transportation system for the body?
HANLEY: Yes. Blood cells are effectively the transportation system for our bodies. Cells appear to me to take their journeys along the highways and byways of our arteries, which are really - .
RICE: Can I jump right in here? Can I interject, cause blood Ė which I think is so great, thatís what I believe is just so wonderful about it is that itís so much the unsung hero of, of, of, of our bodies, which - . I mean, where would we be without our blood system and the tremendous work it does for us, without us even thinking about it, day in day out? I mean, think about it, itís like a, a series of, uh - .
HANLEY (Interrupting. He seems anxious to be heard): Wait. Wait. Er Ė I would, er, like to just pause and bring into the equation the heart which er- .
RIEDLE: Iím glad one of you brought up the heart - .
HANLEY (Seems sad and a bit angry): I hadnít finished speaking.
There are gales of audience laughter, and some applause. Ellen approaches Michael...
MICHAEL: Hm? (Sees her) What? (Pause) Iím watching all of this, Ellen. Itís my show. I created it.
ELLEN: Itís rubbish.
MICHAEL: Iíll try to forget that comment. Rice and Hanley are - .
ELLEN: Michael - !
MICHAEL (Annoyed): What do you jolly well want?
ELLEN: Our chief cleaner Mave Parker - .
MICHAEL: Former chief cleaner, I think youíll find.
ELLEN: What? You havenít fired her? How could you?
MICHAEL: I saw it on the news. Turns out sheís had a lot of time off without permission. Now, you know as well as I do - .
ELLEN: Michael Ė sheís being held hostage against her will - .
MICHAEL: I donít care where sheĎs being held hostage. We donít want our station getting enmeshed in all this kidnapping malarkey
Ellen utters an angry noise...
MICHAEL: Now, if youíll kindly go and let me - . Ellen! Stop it! Youíre - youíre hurting my arm!
ELLEN: Iím giving you a Chinese burn.
A slight pause...
ELLEN (Upset): If you have to ask -
8.55pm. Channel Z reception. Rather overawed by the large bronze statue of Hans Christian Anderson that dominates the reception area, Sandy Catanzaro approaches Helen, the receptionist, who is busy mixing herself a non-alcoholic brandy and lemonade...
HELEN: Oh. (Pause) Hello.
SANDY: Hello. Iím looking for the boss of the station.
HELEN: Ellen Macintyre is in a business meeting...
SANDY: I mean Michael Macintyre. Iíve come from Kendal today, to see Michael. Is he available? (Pause) Maybe you could call him? Iím Sandy. Sandy Catanzaro.
Itís nearly midnight now. Iíve been able to post this set of tapes, but I donít know how many more Iím going to be able to get hold of. Michael has found recording equipment in one of the boardrooms. Heís called me to his office first thing tomorrow morning - he says itís about my bad attendance record. Could you see you way to getting me either all or some of the money you owe me for all my expenses since April, please, SOON!