[This is 6 pages of a 30 page half hour drama episode I wrote. It’s based on a story my mum once told me about her childhood. Names have been changed. I like the beginning, and the 60’s setting. I hate that it’s too wordy, and you may notice there are no character descriptions either, that wasn’t on purpose, just in error.]
(1963) MARY (age 11) is running fast along the street. We
see her legs. She is wearing knee high white school socks
and shiny school shoes.
ELEANOR (10) and her mother BARBARA are engaged in a
pushing pulling fight.
Mary is still running. We can see more of her now.
Barbara slaps Eleanor round the head.
You horrible child.
Eleanor manages to pull free and gives a scornful look back
at her mother before going out the front door.
It’s in your blood.
Eleanor is sat on the floor snivelling into her knees. Mary
rounds the corner after all her running. Mary’s uniform is
clearly more smart and tidy than Eleanor’s.
Mother says you are to come home
Not until she apologises.
Mary walks over to Eleanor to sit beside her. She puts her
arm around her. They sit for a bit. Eleanor lifts her head
to look Mary in the eye. They share a camaraderie. Mary
gets up to leave.
Your supper will be cold.
Mary is washing up while keeping an eye out the window for
Eleanor. Barbara is watching T.V. in the other room.
Eleanor is still sat by the garages waiting. She has
stopped crying. It starts to rain. She indignantly walks
home in the dark.
Eleanor looks up at the looming dark house. She tries the
front door and is surprised when it opens. She creeps
Eleanor quietly closes the front door, puts the chain on
and creeps through the house upstairs to the sisters’
bedroom in the attic.
Eleanor sits on the edge of her bed to remove her shoes and
gets under the covers still in her damp uniform.
Did you put the chain across?
Mary and Eleanor are walking home from school together.
He was so angry! And then he said
‘Miss Kempson, have you heard any part
of what I have just said?’ And
sweet as a kitten I said ‘No sir,
Mary and Eleanor giggle together. They stop outside their
grandparents terraced house on the street.
Hi bald head went bright purple I
swear. Come to Nan and Granddad’s
Mary gestures to her pile of books.
I’ll stay out of her way.
The sisters hug.
EXT-DAY-NAN AND GRANDDAD’S HOUSE
Nan opens the front door seeing the girls standing outside
and waves to Mary as Eleanor walks up the path toward her.
Eleanor and Nan go inside the house.
Eleanor seats herself at the kitchen table and sets out her
homework while Nan prepares vegetables at the kitchen
Corned beef hash.
Granddad walks in and kisses Eleanor’s forehead as he sits
She’s mithering about her essay.
Ah. Well you pay attention to your
sister. It’s you next. Eleven plus
in a few months.
Mum said I won’t pass.
Nan and Granddad exchange a glance.
Any tea on love?
Granddad pours the tea from a teapot on the table.
Have you showed her yet?
Nan turns from the counter and places an airmail letter on
the table in front of Eleanor.
EXT-DAY-BUSY INDIAN STREET
Robert (Dad) is rushing along the street to a business
Mam, Tad. Hope this letter finds
you well. Business in Delhi is
good. I have been been highly
commended while I’ve been here.
Robert is conducting a small business meeting in the
ROBERT (V.O. CONT.)
The food is not as bad as you
imagine and I’m quite used to
dining in fine hotels with my
Robert is seeing a pair of clients in his modest hotel
room. He has cases of hearing aids out on the bed. A woman
(Dorothy) steps out from behind a curtain partition and he
looks flustered as he introduces her. The clients make
excuses and leave. Robert and Dorothy kiss.
Not sure how long I will be out
here. The deal I’ve been
spearheading will be coming off
soon and I’ll need to be around
for that. I know these letters are
taking 3 weeks to reach you but I
hope you are all well. Send my
love to the girls.
INT-NIGHT-GIRL’S ATTIC BEDROOM
Mary is on her bed with her books strewn around her doing
her homework. Eleanor is listening to the radio. They each
have a lamp. The noise of a party drifts up from beneath
them. Eleanor turns the radio up.
Turn it down she will hear!
She doesn’t care.
Mary gives up trying to study and puts her books away. She
gets into bed and turns off the lamp. She turns her back to
Eleanor. Eleanor turns the radio off.
What do you think will happen?
Usual. They’ll drink, there’ll be
a row, mother will take to bed and
I’ll have to clear the kitchen to
make breakfast in the morning.
When we’re old enough to leave.
Mary turns to face Eleanor.
I don’t plan to stay here any
longer than I have to, do you? Why
can’t we live with Nan and
You have to get into grammar
school like me. If I can just pass
my exams then I shall be off to
university to become a lawyer. Can
you imagine Eleanor?
You’re so clever Mary if anyone
You’ll be there soon enough,
following me round like a little
I will not. (beat) I think the wig
will suit you by the way. Hide the
funny shape of your head.
Mary pulls a face at Eleanor as she reaches over to turn
out her lamp.