Star Trek: The Conscience of the King (1966)



Hamlet played by Marc Grady Adams.
Directed by Gerd Oswald.

The Enterprise is diverted to some random planet when a childhood friend of Kirk’s thinks that Karidian, the leader of a group of travelling players isn’t just one of the great tragedians of the period but also an ex-politician, Kodos, who brought genocide to half of the citizen of the colony which was under his care. All signs point to that being the case, but even though the Captain was at said colony and saw the murderer, he can’t quite convince himself that they are the same man and so it goes on, with Kirk largely in the role of Hamlet, a man who were not quite sure hasn’t gone slightly unhinged as his memories catch up with him.

This was the first time amongst many, many occasions that Star Trek and Shakespeare met and it’s a very odd beast. On the one hand it features a scene which wouldn't look out of place in one of the histories between the trinity of lead characters, Spock and McCoy’s confrontation of Kirk regarding his actions presents one of the most ambiguous conversations about their friendship as the Captain is unusually guarded about his private life with his first officer who sees his job as not only to protect his superior officer, but also the crew from his foibles – in other words if they’re not compatible, the ship is the priority.

On the other it has all of the complexity of Midsummer Murders or Morse, the conclusion, so obviously grasping towards an authentic Shakespearean tragedy, ultimately comes across as that moment when the John’s Nettle or Thaw discover that Richard Briers’s postman character was a war criminal whose been offing the few people who knew it. I think both of those series have had their Shakespeare episodes, but neither of them offered such an incongruous mix of styles, trying to wedge theatre into the gap between space and opera, presenting scenes from Macbeth and Hamlet on an alien world or star ship along with lashings of garbled blank verse.

Fittingly, the scene from Hamlet happens towards the end as Kirk’s conscience finally reveals itself. In the Enterprise’s theatre (who knew the ship had one of those) against what looks like a school panto set, Karidian’s daughter gives a brief introduction to some assembled personnel, and then after cutaway to some other business, we’re confronted by the ghostly Hamlet snr (Karidian behind a masque giving an intentionally mannered performance) imparting to Hamlet the ‘I am your father’s spirit’ speech. I think the resonance were supposed to recognise is that recent events have resurrected some of the ghosts of the past and as Karidian speaks the words he’s coming to terms with what he’s done.

Hamlet
is played by Marc Grady Adams and his job is largely to look surprised and not upstage the lead guest actor, one Arnold Moss (pictured) who two decades before this episode was recorded appeared as Prospero in The Tempest on Broadway for a hundred shows. But what I’d really love to know is whether Mr. Shatner ever played the Dane and if, please god, it was ever recorded. Of course some of his fascination would later be recorded on wax, a suitably off kilter version of ‘To Be or Not To Be’ cropping up on The Transformed Man, nestling next to ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’. But that’s an analysis for another time, Captain.

Reset.



TV Well that was … disappointing. No I don’t mean the episode. That was proper television, somehow managing to do everything my series saving manifesto pleaded for, superlatives all round particular for writer J. C. Wilsher who also created one of the best cop shows ever, Between the Lines. RTD and the gang should be out right now celebrating over a Sex on the Beach or whatever the official Upper Boat cocktail is (Cerebral Hemorrhage?). No I was disappointed because of something entirely outside of their control. What I mean is that I wish that once again I could be tapping away this keyboard totally stressed out by the ending. Owen’s not dead is he? Really? Really? They simply can’t do that!

At the risk of doing a Charlie Brooker and chatting around the subject for a few paragraphs before actually reviewing the episode, I’m sick to the back teeth of spoilers. It’s not unusual for the BBC to knock out the following episode of a series on a digital channel – The Sarah Jane Adventures went to DOGville as has Spooks and Life On Mars briefly here and there. The problem is that those of us who don’t want to watch these things with a spinning or dayglow (or both) logo in the middle of the widescreen and with the majority of the nation, are fucked when it comes to spoilers especially if we’re in the target audience for the series -- in other words people who use the internets.

So by at least last Thursday I knew that Owen was shot and killed. But then I noticed that even if you had managed to ignore all of the relevant blogs, dodged emails and played cold turkey from discussion board, Torchwood Magazine printed a bloody great photograph on its inside pages which is the kind of thing you’d expect from ironically named tabloids (who’ve ruined the end of the fourth series already I see) and not from the official publication which I saw in Forbidden Planet last Friday. Doctor Who Magazine’s so ass-tight it actually delayed publication once for a whole week so as not to spoiler an episode which had been postponed due to sport but their new cousins clearly haven't a clue what they're doing. Whoever they are.

Of course, students of the work of Mr. Whedon and Mr. Abrams and probably Mr. Hitchcock would have had some impression that Mr. Harper wasn’t long for this world, given the complete rewiring of his character to the point of making him bearable, quite tenderly agreeing to a date with Tosh, the one woman he spent much of the first series taking the piss out of. Despite the threat of an interloper to steal the show, this was probably Owen’s best episode so far and saving the day for a change is just the kind of thing someone does in television if they’re about to contract cancer, be involved in a fatal car accident or as in this case experience a fatal gunshot wound the chest.

Assuming he really is dead, at least he’ll have Suzie to spend his television afterlife with, rutting for all eternity. We’re yet to see the after effects (well I am anyway) but this should resonate more because we can see the kind of hole he’ll leave in the team. Who’s going to be the flirty twat that isn’t a Captain now? But to offer some random speculation for those of us who are watching it the slow was, really I don’t think he’s gone. Burn Gorman’s sticking around for cadaver duty and I can’t imagine Jack’ll stand by when he can borrow Buffy’s urn of Osiris and bring the mockney MD back to the land of the living – or what passes for it in The Hub.

And what of the interloper? It used to be the return of companions was the stuff of spin-off novels, spin-off audios and fan fiction – and with the exception of the eponymous Sarah-Jane Smith that’s largely been the case. In the coming months though apparently the Tardis is going to be like some intergalactic version of the hop-on-and-off City Sightseer red bus service, with Donna Noble sticking her hand out first of all. Martha’s back too and these episode of Torchwood are going to be setting the scene for that. Insert here another version of my discussion about how this series can’t ever be seen as totally independent from its mother.

Whispering (because this is heresy amongst some fans), apparently there are some people who don’t like Martha and with addition murmering, are looking forward to the return of Catherine Tate. They’re half wrong of course. Catherine Tate is going to be brilliant and despite her initial similarities to the expected model of what a Doctor Who companion is like these days – young, born in the shadow of the bow bells – Martha developed into an indispensable, adorable figure, completely free of the cockiness which derailed Rose’s character towards the end. Say what you like about the glowly floaty Doctor and Judeo-Christian undertones, we’re talking about someone who saved the world through the power of speech. What’s not to like?

Martha 2.0 is a useful extension of that. Having her join UNIT (who in a slight retcon are suddenly more important than Torchwood) means that all that travelling hasn’t gone to waste and in storytelling terms gives a perfectly valid reason for her to pitch up in the Hub, a story beat which could easily have been of an order not since Worf turned up on the Enterprise for no good reason in Star Trek Insurrection (‘I was in Cardiff shopping and thought I’d look you up – ooh is that an alien?’). She’s still a bit funny, still sweet but also exhibiting an intellect only hinted at before; if this had been Rose it’d be like Jo Grant returning from her trip up the Andies and sounding like Liz Shaw. But Martha’s a doctor, she has always been able to think on her feet and she used to learn from the Doctor all the time.

The disciples at The Church of AHistory are probably already scratching their heads though; judging by the weather patterns, the clothing, and probably the d├ęcor, this can only be about September and yet here’s Miss Jones talking like a copy of The New England Journal of Medicine. Is she fast learner or has something gone on between SOD U LOTT and this which we haven’t been privy to? Either way, squeevians were well served by a range of references to that earlier story, not least that Jack’s not very trusting of the folks at Whitehall these days, and a flash of the newspaper from Boomtown. But the most significant development about Martha, apart from the new boyf, was the revelation that the time vortex has mutated her blood (did this happen to every companion, ever?) and what looked like her resurrection. Is she in the Jack way?

All this and Jim Robinson. It seems only right that Alan Dale, who on leaving Neighbours received one of the most undignified deaths in soap opera history (face down under a kitchen table) should go on to forge a career in Hollywood playing slimy bastards only to return here and possibly get flashbacks of Hilary Robinson tutting over Jim’s corpse (even though that was filmed in Australia). Perhaps, since the episode had so much more to do, not least giving Martha the chance to share a scene with all of the main characters in turn – except Tosh oddly – delicious Dale didn’t have as much screen time as he deserved – but at no point did he seem like a single episode character – you don’t hire someone like Jim Dale for that kind of duty. Like a bad penny or the Delgado Master in the Pertwee era, he’s sure to be back.

I’ll let everyone else tease out the thematic elements – that the only real difference between the bad people in The Pharm and the good people of Torchwood is that the former steals aliens and the latter their technology. The fact that Owen’s doodat was deus ex machina par excellence, only redeemed because it was misused throughout the episode and not simply whipped out at the end. That the Mayflies were essentially the Wyrrn with standards and that Martha’s contact lenses were one of the best sci-fi gadgets ever though truly a missed opportunity for comedy and speaking to the kids by using txt speak on her monitor: “kEp him talkin & try 2 git yorself inside” etc. Again I say, this was proper television and I’m delirious with anticipation for next week.

It even took time to throw in a probably coincidental reference to a Doctor Who spin-off companion. Tens of dozens of McGann fans punched the air.

Next Week: I don't want to know until next week. Lalalalalalalacan'thearyou.
Elsewhere All together now ... my surprisingly angry review of Wednesday's brilliant Torchwood.

"Sometimes I wish I was a lesbian .... did I say that out loud?" -- Chandler, 'Friends'

TV After making myself miserable last night just by writing three paragraphs, I perked right up after turning on the television and finding on BBC Three the late night rerun of Dawn Goes Lesbian, a Super Size Me-style documentary in which the author and broadcaster threw herself into the gay community to see if it could stir any feelings in her very straight heart. Porter's done this kind of thing before -- in her book Diaries of an Internet Lover, she ran headlong into the web dating scene -- but on this occasion there were cameras.

Essentially this was an episode Bruce Parry's Tribe series if he pitched up in London instead of the Andies and he found at about the gay scene instead of the Babongo. The wikipedia says of that series: "Parry adopts the methods and practices of his hosts, participating in their rituals and exploring their cultural norms. This often enables him to form personal bonds with the members of each tribe." That is exactly what happened this programme -- to spoil the surprise, Dawn did indeed go a bit lesbian with a Fenella Woolgar lookalike, one of the women she shared a flat with for the duration.

They became very good friends, kissed and spent the final night together in a bed, although as Porter was quick to stress 'We both kept our pyjamas on'. What possibly saved the show from being too problematic though was that despite the trips to see strippers and to buy pornography (for, erm, therapeutic purposes), the direction and writing were far less salacious than they could have been. Much of the programme was issues led (there's abuse in lesbian relationships too etc). Porter was refreshingly naive but not in with Louis Theroux's irony -- she seemed genuinely honest and natural and confused.

Her endevour reminded me of the main character's dating attempts in the Cedric Klapich's When The Cat's Away. Except at the end of that film Chloe, though hetrosexual, has to some extent changed her identity in order to conform and find a man, whereas it was very carefully explained at the end of the month that for Dawn it was good whilst it lasted but she couldn't do it full time. Like Parry there was time to say goodbye and wave to the tribe as the boat floated down the river -- or in her case, the front door was shut and she was seen kitting herself out for a night out presumably back in her old haunt. Which is a shame because I thought her and Fenella really had a chance.

"You don't sleep much, you bathe even less, you'd have to eat things that you wouldn't want to look at while they were alive." -- Jeff, 'Rear Window'

Life I hadn't realised it had been so long. I manage to churn out something here pretty much every day, but it hadn't occurred to me how long it's been since I simply wrote about my state of mind which is something I used to do all of the time. I'm sure there's an existential reason for this and a few hours of therapy would probably find meaning but I think it's just that there isn't much to write about. Partly this is to do with The Rules which have been particularly important, especially now.

Truth be told, I've been in a very odd mood, fixating on bizarre things like poor cups of coffee and television spoilers. The emotional part of the brain which is supposed to be dealing with friendships and relationships is really beginning to luxuriate in the famine and letting other random nonsense drop into the hole. Life's uncomplicated and I'm seem actually to be depressed about that which is a bit masochistic because not too long ago I was longing for this state of grace. Infuriating.

Perhaps I've just been sleeping too much. It used to be I'd get six hours a night but lately I've been working through eight or even nine. In an entirely unscientific experiment I'm alarming myself at seven every morning and making sure I don't go back to sleep even if work doesn't ensue. So far it's been working. I do feel properly tired as I type this at just before midnight (which accounts for the fairly experimental use of the English language) but still relatively alert and happy. I do feel like I'm getting more accomplished but this is only day four. I'll let you know how rotten I feel at the weekend.

"Make someone happy with a phone call" -- General Post Office

Life Before Monkey. Before Flat Eric even, there was Buzby, an advertising mascot whose existence I'd totally forgotten about until I saw these photographs.





That's my Dad in the white cardigan, me in the red jumper and we're at the Liverpool Show in the 70s. This is what the current revolution in telecommunications is missing. A giant yellow bird voice by Bernard Cribbins.

Carrot Juice etc.

TV In what's sure to be a confirmation that a release is imminent the BBFC have passed with a PG rating a range of extras for the Mindwarp section of The Trial of a Timelord. I'll not spoil the surprise but with a certain exception they're a fairly standard bunch and it seems inconceivable that the series wouldn't be released as separate stories with this middle one first. Expect more soon, I shouldn't wonder.

"I'm an oilman, so hopely you'll forgive me for my plain speaking..." -- Daniel Plainview , 'There Will Be Blood'

Film There Will Be Blood is an immense film and the ramifications of its artistry probably won’t be measured for some years. Which I’m well aware is a bold statement but Paul Thomas Anderson has created a very bold film, a manifesto offering yet another alternative to the kinds of filmmaking we’re so used to enjoying from Hollywood. In other words, it's an art film. But what's clever is that Anderson has somehow managed to cloak it in the trappings of a mainstream movie to such an extent that unlike previous examples ( particularly Fight Club) it's actually being recognised and hailed by people who tend to run a mile from that sort of thing (particularly the Academy).

Classical Hollywood techniques such as establishing shots, the 180 degree rule, expository close-up and continuity editing are all tossed out and although the likes of Godard have been doing that for years its just not something we’re used to seeing in this context and in much the same way as Orson Welles borrowing from pioneers and innovating by accumulating in Citizen Kane, Anderson has absorbed the work of 70s directors, the French New Wave, Third Cinema and the rest to create something which seem paradoxically utterly unlike anything we’ve seen before on screen.

It isn’t just Daniel Day-Lewis’s unhinged yet hypnotic performance as oilman Daniel Plainview that makes us uneasy then – it’s that we’re just not used to films looking and to some extent sounding this way. But what Anderson also cleverly does is to underpin the enterprise and make the film watchable and pleasingly familar by sending Plainview through a character arc not unlike a gangster film from the 1930s. Squint and you can see James Cagney in Angels With Dirty Faces, a determined figure taking advantage his persuasive abilities both verbal and violent in order to become a very rich king pin, with God glancing over his shoulder and offering the odd warning were necessary.
Elsewhere A book review. Sort of.

'Playing Bit Parts in Shakespeare' by M.M. Mahood



What’s perhaps unique about Hamlet amongst all of Shakespeare’s plays is that despite very much having a central role, the preponderance of smaller roles means that should the director choose to, it can appear as much of an ensemble piece as some of the comedy or history plays. Most stagings however, especially in the theatre, to bring the play down to a ‘manageable’ length, generally cut many of these parts, either handing off some of their dialogue to other characters or omitting their contributions entirely.

Mahmood’s book doesn’t feature a chapter dedicated to the play, but a general thesis does emerge from the few examples included that a director cuts there ‘bit parts’ at his peril and that despite appearances many of them carry rather more narrative or thematic resonance than they’re given credit for. In other words, Hamlet doesn’t really work as ghost story unless Barnado's fear introduces some much needed atmosphere up front.

The most interesting discussion is in relation to Fortinbras. I can’t think of a production I’ve loved which hasn’t included the Norwegian’s presence; as Mahood notes, without Fortinbras it becomes a different play -- a family drama, almost a claustrophobic chamber piece lacking the grand arena of international politics and ironic ticking clock of the impending invasion at the close. I also think you lose extra emotional drag that both of these sons are dealing with the choices of their father with Fortinbras arguably holding the better hand.

The role Osric plays in the final scene is also looked at, and in particular whether he’s the fop he’s most commonly portrayed as. Quite rightly, the author – with help from the likes of Dover Wilson suggests that he could be as duplicitous as Claudius, since its under his guidance that Hamlet agrees to the duel and it’s as sword master that the poisoned weapon makes it into Laertes hands. I’m not so sure – I’ve always thought that Hamlet fights because he’s recognised that he’s reached the end game and this will hasten the inevitable – to think otherwise weakens him somehow.

"Cheyenne Jackson comes to mind as one performer who can handle all those qualities."

AfterElton speculates on who would be cast in a US remake of Torchwood and suggests something absolutely perfect:

"Tosh is the most introverted member of the Torchwood team, someone who'd rather think things through in their head before speaking out (save for when she's telling a room full of WWII military that she's Japanese, oy) and I think I can imagine the incredibly charismatic Keiko Agena in the role. Agena is usually great at playing characters with a lot of energy, I think it'd be interesting to see her play someone who has a lot of energy that stays within her skull. It'd be nice to see her in a role that gets more screen time than her Gilmore Girls character did, as well." [via]

"We just talked for hours about everything." -- Jason, 'Nice Imagination'

Film Jake Paltrow's new film The Good Night hasn't exactly been greeted with great reviews despite the cast (Freeman! Pegg! Cruz! Paltrow! DeVito!) but frankly, its been giving me nightmares because the synopsis sounds, well, a bit familiar.

In the late nineties, before I discovered blogging, my creative energy was ploughed into writing scripts, all kinds of things, although admittedly mostly science fiction which was a real no-no in those days. In the midst of that, Channel 4 ran a competition looking for new writers in conjunction with Red Productions, the makers of Queer as Folk and Clocking Off and I entered.

As part of the process, there was even a masterclass above the Philharmonic Pub in Liverpool during which Nikki Shindler & co from Red described the kind of thing they were looking for whilst Ricky Tomlinson talked about The Royal Family a lot and shared jokes with the dockers who helped write Jimmy McGovern's drama Dockers.

Anyway after all that I turned out a script. Clearly, since they were looking for social realism, something that really evoked the culture of the North West I wrote a Twilight Zone style fantasy set across realities based on the idea of lucid dreaming. It was indeed, predictably, rejected, at the time I thought because of their lack of imagination, but on reflection because it might not actually be very good. And yet I'll never forget the experience of writing the script and have taken it out every couple of years since to mull over its failures, and to wonder if I might be able to do something with it after all.

Then, on reading about The Good Night I shuddered because, well, they're a bit similar. Actually it's also not unlike The Matrix, Richard Linklater's animation Walking Life, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Demi Moore weepy Passions of the Mind, but The Good Night is the real nail in its coffin which is why I thought I'd at least inflict it upon ... let you read it instead, you lucky people.

Some notes first though on those failures:

(1) The main protagonist, Jason, is annoying or at least his voice over is. Rather than choosing an idea that would work over the required half an hour, I've decided on something tailored for a feature film and to make it fit into the shorter duration layered on a thick spread of exposition from him which just keeps going on and on and on.

(2) He's also pretty much a Mary Sue, but I've tried to cover up the fact by giving him a range of unappealing qualities, not least his rather laddish approach to women and taking the piss out of everything. But note how the ending pinions around the Vigee-Le Brun painting I mentioned the other day. And Pre-Raphaelites. I wonder if the nice person who left the lovely comment then will have second thoughts ...

(3) Some of the proofreading leaves a bit to be desired. I can't spell Michael for example.

(4) There's a really annoying scene in the middle in which Jason watches an actor playing Hamlet speaking the lyrics of Debbie Gibson. Seriously, what possessed me?

(5) It's impractical. This was meant to be produced on a tv budget and yet there's more scene changes and cast members than some Hollywood blockbusters. It's dizzying.

... and yet, there a couple of thematic ideas which sort of work now in relation to how people interact with MMORPGs. And in another co-incidence, Sophie's surname is Tyler so there's even what looks like a Doctor Who reference, six years before the show came back.

Anyway, here it is, back from 1999 ...

NICE IMAGINATION

BY

STUART IAN BURNS


1 EXT. CORN FIELD. DAY.

Sun beats down on a corn field which seems to stretch as far as the eye can see. A girl is dancing through the grass smiling now and then, pirouetting and twirling. She bows and removes her hat expecting busk money.

VOICE OVER:
(reflectively)
The problem was, I fell in love with this girl, Sophie. She was breathtaking.
(beat)
You can see why I was distracted.

2 INT. ORCHARD. DAY.

It’s a orchard, with rows and rows of apples. JASON HARRISON is slipping down path between two rows of apple trees, munching away on a perfectly ripe red apple. He’s about 23, from Liverpool, in a white t-shirt and blue jeans. In a neighbouring row, heading towards him is SOPHIE TYLER, whose about the same age, with short brown hair. She’s from Glasgow. She’s equally ensconced in a Grannysmith.

JASON (V.O.):
I went to this orchard to meet Michael, a friend I’d known for years, I think we were going fishing.

JASON hears her footsteps and stop to look between the trees. He sees SOPHIE passing by.

JASON (V.O.):
And it was odd that she was there.

JASON jumps through the trees behind SOPHIE.

JASON:
(calling)
Hello?

SOPHIE trips backwards in shock. JASON leaps forward to catch her. He fails.

JASON (V.O.):
You don’t meet people like that very often. When I realised she was real.

JASON puts out his hand, which SOPHIE nervously takes. He lifts her from the ground. He mouths ‘I’m Joseph’.

JASON (V.O.):
I introduced myself and we started sharing.

CUT TO:
JASON giving SOPHIE a foot up to a particularly high apple.

JASON (V.O.):
Michael didn’t turn up and whoever Soph’ was waiting for didn’t arrive either.

CUT TO:
JASON and SOPHIE sitting between two trees, wrapped in each other’s company, laughing and chatting.

JASON (V.O.):
We just talked for hours about everything.

3 INT. JASON’s BEDROOM – STUDENT HOUSE. DAY.

JASON sits up in bed. He looks shattered.

JASON (V.O.):
Then, like every bloody night since, I woke up.

4 INT. JASON’s KITCHEN – STUDENT HOUSE. DAY.

JASON is dressed now in an Everton football shirt and jeans. He is tiredly making some beef sandwiches.

JASON (V.O.):
But like every other morning, I didn’t mind.

5 EXT. MAIN ENTRANCE - UNIVERSITY. DAY.

JASON is running up the steps of the universities large giant gothic college building.

JASON (V.O.):
Because I knew I’d be back.

6 INT. LECTURE THEATRE – UNIVERSITY. DAY.

JASON is doodling the name Sophie on some exercise paper, as the lecturer points out the finer points of ‘HAMLET’.

JASON (V.O.):
Shit, sorry. I forgot. You don’t know do you. How could you know. Maybe I should explain.

The lecturer puts a video into a A/V unit and an actor, playing Hamlet, on the screen starts to mouth the ‘To sleep perchance to dream speech’. JASON looks at it and smiles.

JASON (V.O.):
I haven’t told anybody. But while you’re here – all of you, I might as well get of my chest. Now is as good a time as any – its not often you get to tell a story like this to a whole nation – well everyone watching Channel Four right now.


7 INT. JASON’s KITCHEN – STUDENT HOUSE. NIGHT.

JASON is calling someone on an old dial telephone. He starts chatting.

JASON (V.O.):
There isn’t really anything that special about me. Not realistically, anyway.

8 INT. BAR – STUDENT UNION - UNIVERSITY. NIGHT.

JASON is playing pool.

JASON (V.O.):
I go out. I drink. I play pool.

He knocks a ball badly and into a cushion.


9 INT. JASON’s BEDROOM. NIGHT.

JASON is in his room slipping back under his duvet. The only light is from a street lamp outside which flickers across his face as his head hits the pillow. A drunk student is singing in the street.

JASON (V.O.):
Then, when everyone else is at there quietest, apart from that pissed bastard outside, my life begins.

10 INT. MAIN HALL – MEDIEVAL HOUSE. DAY.

A younger Jason is lying on a bid wooden table in just his underwear, as a MAIDEN, about 16, in a corset is beginning to unlace.

JASON (V.O.):
I think I was about sixteen. That age when you start having those kinds of dreams. For me they usually involved a beach and Kylie Minogue. This was a bit different.

CUT TO:
JASON and THE MAIDEN kissing tenderly.

JASON (V.O.):
This happened . . .

JASON reaches up to feel her breast. THE MAIDEN smacks him across the face.

MAIDEN:
(shocked)
Bastard.

The MAIDEN gets up and starts getting dressed.

JASON:
Wait a minute. Were you going?

MAIDEN:
(indignantly)
I didn’t come here to be somebody’s wet dream.

JASON (V.O.):
You can understand why I was a bit - surprised. She was running out. And I could complain about it. That’s not the kind of thing that happens in a dream.

JASON:
Then what the hell were you here for!?!

THE MAIDEN stops.

MAIDEN:
Shit. You are real. Wait - here. Just wait.

CUT TO:

The MAIDEN running out the main door.

JASON (V.O.):
Then I realised. She was a complete stranger.

JASON begins to get dressed.

JASON (V.O.):
Look, tt’s an unwritten rule of the psyche. Dreams only involve people you know. But here was a girl who I’d never met before offering me – stuff. And then - not. And now I was being given time to get dressed, when before, all this would have merged into some nightmare about running naked around school – or falling off it.

JASON is fully dressed now. He hops up onto the end of the table, looking shattered.

JASON (V.O.):
Which is probably why I look a bit winded.

From the door which the maiden left through enters a teenage boy, MICHAEL, from Newcastle, in tie-die t-shirt and long tied-back hair. He’s slightly older than JASON.

MICHAEL:
Nice imagination.

JASON:
What’s going on? What’s happened?

MICHAEL:
Look Mate, you’ll not believe me.

11 EXT. STREET – MEDIEVAL VILLAGE. DAY.

MICHAEL and JASON are walking across the cobbles.

JASON (V.O.):
Michael had been sent to tell me how much my life had changed. I’ve never quite got to the root of the thing. Oh -hang on – were getting to the bit were Michael explained the whole thing to me. You’ll love the big epic bit in a field.

12 EXT. SQUARE – MEDIEVAL VILLAGE. DAY.

MICHAEL using his hand to hang off the village cross as JASON tries to keep up with him.

MICHAEL:
(without breathing)
Its like this. When we dream, it’s a way for our sub-conscious to take a break from our conscious mind for a few hours, so that we can get away from our own hum-drum existence, and try out all of the things that we’d like to do anyway. What’s happened to you. To us – all of us, is that somewhere along the line all got bit muddled and the conscious part of us has fused with our subconscious and the linkage with the world that floats under there. So I can be asleep in Newcastle and you can be asleep in . . .

JASON:
Liverpool?

MICHAEL:
And we all start bumping into each other like some huge mental network. But the really cool thing is, while we are here . . .

13 EXT. EDGE - CLIFF. DAY.

MICHEAL is dwarfed by the size of the cliff and the sea beyond. He starts to spin around.

MICHAEL:
(shouting)
We can do what ever we waaaaaaant . . . .

The scale of the image is overwhelming as his voice strains to be heard.

14 INT. SQUARE – MEDIEVAL VILLAGE. DAY.

MICHAEL:
Understand?

JASON shakes his head smiling.

JASON (V.O.):
I’m actually lying. I hadn’t a bloody clue what he was saying. I supposed I’d get the idea eventually. But it was a good bit of exposition. And I’m sure some of you got the idea.

15 INT. LOUNGE - RUSTIC PUB. DAY.

The pub is empty except for a long table to the side which is filled with people of all ages and backgrounds. There are two empty chairs. Everyone at the table turns to them.

MICHAEL:
This – is – Jason.

JASON offers a little wave.

CUT TO:
JASON and MICHAEL at the table. Like some verbal pass the parcel, everyone is (inaudibly) offering their names.

JASON (V.O.):
So now I was meeting even more people I didn’t know.

CUT TO:
The MAIDEN, now in modern clothes, putting a piece of pizza on the plate in front of him.

JASON (V.O.):
Almost.

CUT TO:
A tall man with a long white beard as he put money in the Juke Box, which starts playing jazz music. JASON is now enjoying himself, chatting to the MAIDEN and MICHAEL.

JASON (V.O.):
What happened on that night when I was sixteen.

CUT TO:
The same table. The same pub. But everyone is slightly older and some the people have changed.

JASON (V.O.):
And is still happening now, is that when I go to sleep I wake up again in this other world that my mind and the minds of thousands of other people hold together. And I can do whatever I want. Do what ever I want to do. Be whoever I want to be. I think I heard that somewhere.

16 INT. PORCH – FARMHOUSE. DAY.

SOPHIE lies on a hanging chair, rocking slightly in the wind. She has her eyes closed.

JASON (V.O.):
And then in my dreams I met Sophie.

JASON steps up onto the porch and approaches Sophie. He reaches down and places a perfect orchid on her chest. She moves her hand and holds his before looking up and smiling.

17 INT. BAR – STUDENT UNION - UNIVERSITY. NIGHT.

JASON steps up to the bar. He looks right then left, spotting a BARMAID. She’s slightly taller, than him a buxom.

JASON (V.O.):
But I know some of you are thinking. If you can have everything, you could have any woman in existence. For example.

CUT TO:

The BARMAID pouring a pint for Jason.

JASON (V.O.):
That cute barmaid at the pub who won’t give you time of day?

The BARMAID puts it down in front of him.

BARMAID:
(tiredly)
One pound-forty.

JASON hands over the money.

JASON (V.O.):
That night she’d be yours.

18 INT. OUTSIDE BAR – STUDENT UNION - UNIVERSITY. NIGHT.

JASON leaving the bar looking contented.

JASON (V.O.):
And it would be the best sex ever.

JASON stops and looks around.

JASON (V.O.):
But that’s the thing. It’s same each time. And believe me, and I know some of you won’t, that it can get – well - boring. It isn’t real. Its just fantasy

19 INT. PORCH – FARMHOUSE. DAY.

JASON sits on the bench using his feet to rock it, as SOPHIE snuggles into him flicking through some papers.

JASON (V.O.):
(sighing)
And god knows, Sophie was a fantasy. But she was also a reality.
(somberly)
And she was the first girl I fell in love with.

SOPHIE looks up at him. JASON kisses her on the forehead.

JASON (V.O.):
(somberly)
I’m just going to refill my coffee. I’ll be back in a minute.

SOPHIE reaches up and kisses him.

SOPHIE:
I missed you.

JASON:
I love it when you talk girly.

SOPHIE sits up, placing the pages on the floor. JASON is a bit surprised.

SOPHIE:
Do you get bored?

JASON:
Bored?

SOPHIE:
With this whole thing.

JASON:
No. Now way. How could you ask?

SOPHIE:
I just wish sometimes this was our only life.

JASON:
I like both. You know I like both.

SOPHIE:
What if you had to choose though.

JASON:
I’d choose this one. I hope your not suggesting we induce coma. Someone only survived once and look what it did to Susanna. No one needs that much reality.

SOPHIE:
(Sadly)
I know. I know.

JASON:
What if you could choose.

SOPHIE gets up and turns to him.

SOPHIE:
(uncertaintly)
This one. This one.
(beat)
But, How long are we going to be going on like this?

JASON:
I don’t know. Sophie – what’s wrong?

SOPHIE:
I just need to sure that we aren’t wasting our time.

SOPHIE carries on talking, overshadowed by Voiceover JASON slurping his coffee.

JASON (V.O.):
Were are we up to? Oh I know.

SOPHIE bends down on one knee.

SOPHIE:
What I’m trying to say is – will you marry me?

JASON (V.O.):
Yes. You heard that right. She asked to me to marry her.

JASON doesn’t know what to say. They are both frozen in time.

20 INT. JASON’s LOUNGE – STUDENT HOUSE. DAY.

The flat is filled with people having a party. Everyone is dancing, enjoying themselves. Some are kissing. JASON sits on the arm of a very empty couch hugging a cushion.

JASON (V.O):
Can you imagine how it felt. I’m the guy who never goes out with girls unless their boyfriends are with them, and now I’ve had a proposal of marriage from a girl I’d never really met.
(beat)
What was I supposed to do?

21 EXT. CITY PARK. NIGHT.

Its night and JASON is strolling past a pond.

JASON (V.O.):
(reflectively)
I couldn’t sleep for days. But there are only so many times you can walk through a park in the dead of night without people like the police getting suspicious.

JASON stops and looks at a duck snoozing by a pond.

JASON (V.O.):
So I went and asked an authority.

22 INT. ROMAN AMPITHEATRE. DAY.

The actor who played Hamlet on the video is in the centre of an empty stage. His voice reverberates.

HAMLET:
(dramatically)
Every time I’m telling secrets
I remember how it used to be
And I realised how much I missed you
And I realised how it feels to be free

As Hamlets speaks, sitting in the centre of the stone seating area is JASON looking glum, with his chin resting in the palms of his hands, his elbows on his knees.
HAMLET:
Now you see I’m up to no good
And I want to start again
Can’t remember when I felt good
I can’t remember when

No - only in my dreams
As real as it may seem
It was only in my dreams

JASON starts muttering along to the words.

HAMLET (AND JASON):
Couldn’t see how much I missed you
Couldn’t see how much meant
Now I see my world come tumbling down
Now I see the road is bent

From stage right, ignored by the actor, SOPHIE enters.

HAMLET:
If I only once could hold you
And remember how it used to be
If I only once could scold you
And forget how it feels to be free

JASON sits up. SOPHIE starts heading up the stone steps towards.

HAMLET:
Only in my dreams
As real as it may seem
It was . . .

JASON gets up and turns to the actor. He holds up his hand.

JASON:
Hold on a sec.

HAMLET:
. . . Only in my dreams.

SOPHIE has reached him. She’s out of breath.

SOPHIE:
Michael said you’d be here.
(swallow)
I’ve been worried.

JASON:
Yes.

SOPHIE:
(happily)
Yes?

JASON:
Yes.

HAMLET:
(shrugging)
Yes.

SOPHIE nods her head in HAMLET’s direction.

SOPHIE:
What?

JASON:
Debbie Gibson.

SOPHIE rolls her eyes as if to say ‘figures’.

23 INT. JASON’s BEDROOM – STUDENT HOUSE. DAY.

JASON opens a calender at July and drawing a felt tip cross in the box marked 6.

JASON (V.O.):
We did it properly. Set a date.

24 EXT. BEACH. DAY.

All of the men from the pub earlier are sitting in the perfect golden sand and watching four perfect ‘Baywatch’ blonde girls playing the perfect game of beach volley ball. Around each of the guys is a seemingly inexhaustible supply of beer.

JASON (V.O.):
The stag night was amazing, especially considering a dream day is three times as along as a normal day and you can’t wake up with a hang over.

25 EXT. FAIRY GLEN. DAY.

This one of those fairy tale scenes from the paintings of the Pre-Raphaelites. A stream runs past the clearing of a forest, and in a clearing are all of the people from the pub standing in a circle, dressed in various types of traditional wedding gear. In the centre is JASON, in medieval costume looking nervous.

JASON (V.O.):
We had to have the wedding twice of course.

26 EXT. FAIRY GLEN. DAY.

This one of those fairy tale scenes from the paintings of the Pre-Raphaelites A stream runs past the clearing of a forest, and in a clearing are lots of people we’ve never met before standing in a circle, dressed in various types of traditional wedding gear. In the centre is JASON, in medieval costume looking nervous.

JASON (V.O.):
Not everyone is asleep at the same time, and weddings are a bit rare in the dream world.

SOPHIE appears from the edge of the circle, in the green drapery from Rossetti’s ‘Proserpine’. There is a collective sigh. She approaches and stands next to JASON who is flabbergasted. MICHAEL steps forward in a suit of sack cloth and approaches SOPHIE.

MICHAEL:
Good shepherd, tell this youth what ‘tis to love.

JASON:
It is to be all made of sighs and tears:-
It is to be all made of fantasy,
All made of passion, and all made of wishes;

SOPHIE:
All adoration, duty, and observance;
All humbleness, all patience, and all impatience;
All purity, all trial, all obediance.

MICHAEL:
And so you are for marriage. You may kiss now.

JASON reaches over and kisses SOPHIE. There is a cheer as everyone moves forward to congratulate the couple.

JASON (V.O.):
It was a great ceremony. Unintentionally funny perhaps, but that’s what it can be like in the dream world.
(beat)
And in case you were wondering, the vows are from ‘As You Like It’. And so there I was. . .

27 INT. ADMIN OFFICE - UNIVERSITY. DAY.

The lecturer from before is standing behind a table with a pile of dissertations and a list in front of him. JASON approaches and hands his in.

JASON (V.O.):
. . . in reality, I’m handing in a dissertation about ‘Supernatural Shakespeare’ . . .

28 EXT. CORN FIELD. DAY.

JASON and SOPHIE are wrapped around each other, rolling over and over, flattening the corn and giggling.

JASON (V.O.):
. . . and in my dreams I’m starting out on married life.

29 INT. JASON’S BEDROOM – STUDENT HOUSE. DAY.

The room is empty now, all of his things packed away in boxes. JASON is siting on the edge of the bed watching himself in the mirror.

JASON (V.O.):
The weeks went by. University ended. And the weight of the great unknown was on me. It was at that stage, the stage Michael says everyone in our situation goes through, where the only real thing I cared about was the dream world. And I had to find something to do in the real world.

30 INT. OPEN PLAN OFFICE. DAY.

The hustle and bustle of the office has been tuned out, by JASON who sits huddled over a manuscript for a novel.

JASON (V.O.):
I got a job as a proof reader in London. I was used to living in big cities, and I was lucky enough to move to the biggest. I think I was trying to make my real life as busy as possible.

He looks up to see some people laughing and joking around a coffee machine.

JASON (V.O.):
But I wasn’t making any friends. It was as though I subconsciously didn’t need them.

31 EXT. BUSINESS QUARTER. DAY.

JASON is dashing through the city.

JASON (V.O.):
So I was basically existing for my dream life, which I promised myself I’d never do. So I did something about it.

32 EXT. VICTORIAN HOUSING BLOCK.

JASON approaches the doorway, and rings one in a long list of intercoms for various services. He rings its intercom. Above the button is a small sign ‘WWW.FindAnyone.Com’. The door buzzes to let him in.

33 EXT. RIVER BANK. DAY.

JASON and MICHEAL are sitting on stools at the edge of the bank, on fishing stools in fishing gear. MICHEAL turns to JASON, almost losing his rod to the river.

MICHAEL:
No. No. No. No-no. No way. Not at all.

JASON:
Well its done.

MICHAEL:
You can’t. Its . . .

JASON:
It’s what?

MICHAEL:
There are some things you just can’t do with this gift we have. And that’s one of them.

JASON:
So it’s a taboo not a rule.

MICHAEL:
Its an unwritten rule. But its there for a reason.

JASON:
But I’ve already started it.

MICHAEL:
Then stop it. Have you told Sophie?

JASON:
I was going to surprise her.

MICHAEL:
Well I hope she will be. Because it could be very . . . very . . .

JASON:
Bad? Oh god, I hate it when you quote Ghostbusters like that.

34 INT/EXT. TAXI. DAY.

JASON is looking out of the window at London.

JASON (V.O.):
So here it is. What all this has been ‘leading up to’.
(confessionally)
I hired a private detective and using everything Sophie had ever told me, found out were she lived.

35 EXT. OUTSIDE - APARTMENT BLOCK. DAY.

JASON is standing across the road from the entrance to the building watching the door.

JASON (V.O.):
I felt like a stalker, and I probably looked like one.

SOPHIE leaves the building. She’s very different from the summer girl we know from the dreams. She’s blonde, for a start, and is wearing a black power suite with thick rimmed glasses and carrying a briefcase.

JASON (V.O.):
I froze. It wasn’t what I was expecting.

SOPHIE looks from left to right before walking away. JASON starts to follow.

36 INT. RAILWAY CARRIAGE. DAY.

SOPHIE sits in the carriage reading a broad sheet. From the back, JASON approaches and sits kneeling on the chair behind her. He bends forward and whispers in her ear.

JASON:
Talk girly to me.

SOPHIE is shocked and stands up pushing JASON backwards off his feet and onto the chair behind.

SOPHIE:
Piss off.

JASON:
Sophie?

SOPHIE:
Yeah. And who the hell are you?

FADE OUT.

FADE IN.

37 INT. RAILWAY CARRIAGE. NIGHT.

JASON sits with his head on the window watching the landscape pass. Slowly, the view from the window fades into . . .

38 EXT. PORCH - FARMHOUSE. DAY.

SOPHIE sits rocking on the bench her knees under her chin, back in her floppy hat and summer clothes. She’s looking at her sandals. JASON steps up onto the porch but SOPHIE is unmoved. He touches sit down beside her and touches her shoulder. She gets up startled.

SOPHIE:
Don’t touch me.

JASON:
I didn’t know. How could I know?

SOPHIE:
We all have lives out there. How could you do it?

JASON:
I spend my days out there thinking of you. I can’t exist without you. I wanted us to be together out there as well as here.

SOPHIE:
You think we’re all like this in reality?

JASON:
I am.

SOPHIE:
Oh you think you are. Subtly different, but there was something.

JASON:
How could you not know me?

SOPHIE:
I don’t remember my dreams. I never have. When I wake up in the morning I forget everything. This world. You.

JASON:
I remember everything.

SOPHIE puts her had on his shoulder.

SOPHIE:
No wonder you’re lonely.

JASON:
But how could you be so different?

SOPHIE:
I don’t know. Somehow, my ambitions replaced my real dreams.

JASON:
But she isn’t you.

SOPHIE:
I have to think of her that way. It’s the only way I exist out there.

JASON:
That’ll have to do.

SOPHIE:
What are you suggesting?

39 INT. LIFT – ‘SPRING AND FALL PUBLISHING’ BUILDING. DAY.

JASON stands clutching a wadge of envelopes of various sizes.

JASON (V.O.):
As luck would have it, Sophie’s publishing firm needed someone in the mailroom.

40 INT. CORRIDOR – ‘SPRING AND FALL PUBLISHING’ BUILDING. DAY.

The lift doors open and JASON, steps out, making his way down the corridor. On the ply-wood walls are posters for books.

JASON (V.O.):
I knew I wanted to be close to her.

JASON stops at an open door and knocks at the side.

SOPHIE:
(inside)
Yes.

41 INT. SOPHIE’S OFFICE – ‘SPRING AND FALL PUBLISHING’ BUILDING. DAY.

JASON enters the room. Power-dressed SOPHIE is sitting behind a very neat tidy businessy desk with a headset on and an angry face. The office looks better than were you live.

SOPHIE:
(angrily)
Well you tell that son of a bitch that if he doesn’t make the deadline I’ll throw a fit so psycho, he’ll think that Kathy Bates in ‘Misery’ was his sick grandmother.

She prods off the line really, really hard. She carries on thumping numbers into a calculator. JASON just stands there watching her.

JASON (V.O.):
She was so different. All those years of not having dreams had meant she must have bitten harder into life. Thrown up all of these barriers.

She looks up at JASON who is somewhat trepidatious.

SOPHIE:
(Angrily)
Yes. Can I help you?

JASON hands her the envelope.

SOPHIE:
They’re late.

JASON:
I know – I had an accident on the way . . .

SOPHIE:
Well try to be quicker next time.

42 INT. SOPHIE’S OFFICE – ‘SPRING AND FALL PUBLISHING’ BUILDING. DAY.

JASON enters her office. SOPHIE ignores him and simply points at the table. He puts the letters down.

JASON (V.O.):
And that’s how it went. For days.

43 INT. SOPHIE’S OFFICE – ‘SPRING AND FALL PUBLISHING’ BUILDING. DAY.

SOPHIE snatches the letters from JASON as she talks on the phone.

JASON (V.O.):
And days. The Sophie in my dreams couldn’t understand it. Then one day.

44 INT. SOPHIE’S OFFICE – ‘SPRING AND FALL PUBLISHING’ BUILDING. DAY.

SOPHIE us flaming at JASON who stands the other side of the next nervously.

SOPHIE:
What do you mean you don’t know?

JASON:
I don’t know, Miss Tyler. If it had been through the mailroom I would have seen it.

SOPHIE:
Well, you better bloody get down there and find it!

JASON:
Yes, Miss Tyler.

JASON nods his head and goes to leave. SOPHIE takes off her glasses, lays them on the table and rubs her eyes, which are tinged with sadness. JASON looks back for a moment. SOPHIE looks up at him.

SOPHIE:
Look. Jason.

JASON (V.O.):
She knew my name.

SOPHIE puts her hands up in an ‘I surrender’ pose.

SOPHIE:
I’m sorry I shouted. I suppose I’m just a bit tetchy today. We’ve got some new novels ready for publication and I haven’t had much of a break.

JASON (V.O.):
She knew me. Whether it was because of the incident on the train I couldn’t tell. But she knew.

JASON:
I know how that must be.

SOPHIE smiles at him, before carrying on with her work. JASON leaves. SOPHIE looks behind him before carrying on with her work.

45 EXT. CHILDREN’s PLAYGROUND. DAY.

JASON lies across the top of a spinning roundabout looking up at the sky.

JASON (V.O.):
It was working. Was it ethical? I’m not sure. After all, I would basically be having an affair with my own wife. Which is the plot of a Woody Allen film.

A hand appears and starts to spin the roundabout slightly faster. JASON spins once more before seeing the smiling face of Dream SOPHIE.

SOPHIE:
You’re doing it. I don’t know how, but she’s beginning to notice you.

JASON:
Don’t you mean you.

SOPHIE:
Ho. Ho.

JASON:
So I – like - kind of need your help.

SOPHIE:
I was waiting for you to ask.

JASON:
Were do I go from here? I’m not exactly her type. I don’t think she’ll appreciate flowers.

SOPHIE:
How did you get me?

JASON:
It was . . . I don’t know what it was . . .

SOPHIE:
I think you do.

46 INT. MAILROOM – ‘SPRING AND FALL PUBLISHING’ BUILDING. DAY.

JASON pops a small white envelope in a pigeon hole marked ‘SOPHIE TYLER’.

47 INT. SOPHIE’S OFFICE – ‘SPRING AND FALL PUBLISHING’ BUILDING. DAY.

Real SOPHIE sits at her desk. A girl from the mailroom appears and leaves the post on her desk.

SOPHIE:
Were’s Jason?

MAIL GIRL:
He had to go home early.

As the MAIL GIRL leaves, SOPHIE looks through the mail quickly and spots a small white envelope with her name on it. She opens the envelope. Inside is a postcard, with the following written on the back:

‘It would be nice to see you outside work. Meet me at this painting, tomorrow at 1pm. Jason.’

She turns it over, and it’s a picture of ‘Self Portrait in a straw hat’ by Elizabeth Louise Vigee Lebrun. After a moment it fades into . . .

48 INT. LONG ROOM - THE NATIONAL GALLERY. DAY.

. . . the real thing. JASON sits looking very alone staring up at the painting of Vigee Le Brun. He looks at his watch, which says 13:55. He sighs. Almost from nowhere, the real SOPHIE sits next to him. Although he doesn’t move there is a recognition in a smile. The pair simply sit and look up at the work for a moment.

SOPHIE:
(whispering)
How did you know?

JASON:
You had the postcard blue-tacked to you computer screen.

SOPHIE:
I also had ‘Proserpine’ and ‘The Lady of Shallot’.

JASON:
Would you have liked to have hiked all the way over to the Tate?

SOPHIE:
(smiling)
I suppose not.

They stop talking a just sit looking at the painting.

JASON (V.O.):
We just sat there staring at the picture. Oddest first date ever I suppose. We realised later that we’d both been on similar visits to the gallery, and when everyone else had spent their hour looking all of the way around, we’d just sat here looking at this painting.

SOPHIE and JASON finally start chatting.

JASON (V.O.):
We’d read in the catalogue that it was a self portrait of someone who painted royalty and always embelished them. The way they looked. But this was different. Liz had been honest about who she was. How she looked. And I think Sophie got it. Honesty. She opened up to me. Just seem to relax, and some of the Sophie I knew seeped through.

50 INT. NORTH WING - THE NATIONAL GALLERY. DAY.

JASON and SOPHIE walking through rooms of works towards the exit, talking and chatting, pointing at works now and then.

JASON (V.O.):
It must have been strange for her. Here I was, some mail boy so far below her in the company as to become a joke, and she could talk to me. Talk to me more than she could to her friends.

51 EXT. ENTRANCE - THE NATIONAL GALLERY. DAY.

JASON and SOPHIE have stopped on the steps. SOPHIE looks at her watch.

SOPHIE:
Listen I’ve got to get back to work. Is there anything I can do for you – I think there’s a higher position in the company coming up. I could put a good word in.

JASON:
No I’m happy. I think.

SOPHIE bows her head.

JASON:
But – you could let me take you out.

SOPHIE looks up. She’s surprised.

SOPHIE:
(surprised)
OK.

She reaches into her jacket pocket and pulls out a pen and a small pad of post-its. She writes her number on it quickly. He opens up his palm and she sticks it to it, before dashing away into Trafalgar Square. JASON watches her go and smiles, then punches the air.

52 INT. LOUNGE - RUSTIC PUB. DAY.

JASON and MICHAEL sit at the bar, a collection of empty beer bottles surrounding them.

MICHAEL:
. . . and Sophie is fine with it all.

JASON:
That’s what she says.

MICHAEL:
Well you be careful. You might end up losing both.

53 EXT. EXIT – ODEON LEICESTER SQUARE. NIGHT.

JASON and Real SOPHIE leaving the National Film Theatre, having quite a heated discussion.

SOPHIE:
Cinematography. That wasn’t cinematography. It was point and shoot.

JASON:
What about that sunset.

SOPHIE:
You mean the underdeveloped slightly off centre sunset?

JASON carries on put his case across as . . .

JASON (V.O.):
I know what you’re hoping I’m going to say now. In fact part of me wanted it too. That my Sophie would break through to the real world.

54 EXT. OUTSIDE - APARTMENT BLOCK. DAY.

JASON and real SOPHIE stand outside the apartment block looking into each other’s eyes.

JASON (V.O.):
But it didn’t happen. And . . . I didn’t want it to happen. Despite being basically the same person, they were, well, they separate people.

JASON fumbles slightly as he reaches over to SOPHIE and kisses. She returns the kiss.

JASON (V.O.):
And I was falling in love with both. With obvious consequences . . .

55 EXT. CHILDREN’s PLAYGROUND. DAY.

Dream SOPHIE and JASON are sitting on opposite ends of the see-saw. Up and down. Up and down.

JASON:
I’m not different with her.

SOPHIE:
You are. You’re . . .

JASON:
I’m . . .

SOPHIE:
Not as tender.

JASON:
She’s harder to . . .

SOPHIE:
Be with.

JASON:
Well she’s more . . .

SOPHIE:
Serious?

JASON:
Yes.

SOPHIE:
Meaning?

JASON:
I don’t know.

SOPHIE:
You’re franker with her.

JASON:
She can take it.

SOPHIE:
She is me.

JASON:
You’re jealous.

SOPHIE stops them rocking.

SOPHIE:
You’re moving into a flat together.

JASON:
But aren’t we in each other’s minds together.

SOPHIE:
Good point.

56 INT. LIVING ROOM - SOPHIE’s APARTMENT. DAY.

JASON is standing at the door. Its very minimalist and not very feminine. He drops his luggage on the floor.

JASON (V.O.):
I hope I’m not going to quickly for you. But I’ve only got five minutes left with you and a hell of a lot of story to get through.

57 INT. BEDROOM - SOPHIE’s APARTMENT. DAY.

The same minimalist style as the Living Room. With a double bed. JASON has opened a wardrobe and is putting his clothes away.

58 INT. KITCHEN - SOPHIE’s APARTMENT. DAY.

The kitchen is functional and doesn’t seem to have been used for any big parties. JASON is standing by a kettle waiting for it to boil.

JASON (V.O.):
I actually moved into her apartment.

59 INT. KITCHEN - SOPHIE’s APARTMENT. NIGHT.

The kitchen is functional and doesn’t seem to have been used for any big parties. JASON is standing by a kettle waiting for it to boil.

JASON (V.O.):
Its not what you were expecting? You can imagine how I felt.

60 INT/EXT. BALCONY – SOPHIE’s APARTMENT. NIGHT.

JASON stands with a mug of coffee leaning against the balcony, looking out over London.

JASON (V.O.):
I began to wonder whether I was actually in love with this Sophie or in love with the idea of being in love with her. Which makes no sense.

Real SOPHIE appears in a T-Shirt and Jeans, and stands next to him. She puts her hand on his shoulder.

JASON (V.O.):
But I was here now. And I thought I’d give it a try.

61 EXT. CORN FIELD. DAY.

JASON’s head bobs above the top of the corn.

JASON:
Oh its great. Different. But great.

MICHAEL’s head bobs above the top of the corn.

MICHAEL:
And our Sophie doesn’t mind?

JASON:
She loves it. It means we can be together all the time.

MICHAEL:
But doesn’t that also mean you’re together all the time?

62 INT. LIVING ROOM – SOPHIE’s APARTMENT. DAY.

JASON and SOPHIE are arguing.

SOPHIE:
But is it so difficult?

JASON:
I don’t see what the problem is.

JASON (V.O.):
Michael had a point. I saw it whenever we had an argument, which now had a nasty habit of . . .

63 EXT. PORCH – FARM HOUSE. DAY.

JASON and SOPHIE are arguing.

SOPHIE:
But it was important demonstration.

JASON:
But she could have worn the black dress.

JASON (V.O.):
Spilling into the dream world. But there was a compensation . . .

64 INT. BEDROOM – SOPHIE’s APARTMENT. DAY.

The door is closed, and moaning can be heard inside.

JASON (V.O.):
The making up did too . . .

65 INT. PORCH – FARM HOUSE. DAY.

The back of the swinging bench, which squeaks backwards and forwards.

JASON (V.O.):
But that’s none of your business.

66 INT. FOYER – ‘SPRING AND FALL PUBLISHING’ BUILDING. DAY.

JASON stands watching the lift. The doors open and real SOPHIE walks out. She’s softer new – clothes still smart but lighter greys, less strikingly formal – and long shoulder length (but still blonde) hair. She sees JASON and smiles.

JASON (V.O.):
But how could I complain. I was in Sophie’s life . . .

67 EXT. PATH LEADING UP TO THE PORCH – FARM HOUSE. DAY.

There scene is the same. JASON watches as SOPHIE makes her way up the path towards him.

JASON (V.O.):
And dreams. Who else can say that?

JASON puts out his hand. SOPHIE takes it, and as music drifts in from nowhere, they start to dance.

JASON (V.O.):
But I knew. I don’t know how, but I knew.

68 INT. LIVING ROOM – SOPHIE’s APARTMENT. DAY.

JASON and the real SOPHIE, dancing to the same music. In gowns and slippers.

JASON (V.O.):
I’d have to choose. At some point. I’d have to choose between them.

JASON bows down and kisses real SOPHIE’s hand chivalrously.

JASON (V.O.):
If the choice wasn’t made for me.

69 INT. BEDROOM – SOPHIE’s APARTMENT. NIGHT.

SOPHIE and JASON lie in bed. JASON turns over and closes his eyes.

70 EXT. PORCH - FARMHOUSE. DAY.

JASON stands with his hands in his pockets looking out across the fields.

JASON (V.O.):
One night, I stood on the porch, just as I had on other nights. Its were we waited to meet each other. But as I stood there I knew something was different. I stood there for hours – until I woke up. Sophie didn’t come.

71 INT. BEDROOM – SOPHIE’s APARTMENT. DAY.

JASON is awake watching real SOPHIE sleep.

JASON (V.O.):
I decided she had gone somewhere with her dream friends. Yachting or something.

72 EXT. PORCH - FARMHOUSE. DAY.

JASON stands with his hands in his pockets looking out across the fields.

JASON (V.O.):
But the next night was the same.

73 EXT. PORCH - FARMHOUSE. DAY.

JASON stands with his hands in his pockets looking out across the fields.

JASON (V.O.):
And the next.

74 INT. RIVERBANK. DAY.

MICHAEL in his fishing gear shrugs.

JASON (V.O.):
Michael hadn’t seen her.

75 EXT. WAITING ROOM – SURGERY. DAY.

JASON reading Fortean Times.

JASON (V.O.):
The next day, Sophie asked me to pick her up from a surgery. All kinds of things were racing around my mind. I couldn’t handle losing both of them.

SOPHIE enters.

SOPHIE:
Shall we?

76 INT/EXT. SOPHIE’s CAR. DAY.

SOPHIE is determinately making her way through traffic. JASON sits in the passenger seat watching her.

JASON (V.O.):
She wouldn’t say anything, apart from . . .

SOPHIE:
Not until we get were we are going.

77 INT. LONG ROOM - THE NATIONAL GALLERY. DAY.

SOPHIE and JASON sit opposite each other, as though on the stillest of see-saws, on a bench under the painting of Vigee Lebrun.

SOPHIE:
I just feel so much more relaxed. What’s the point in screaming at someone if things don’t go right. More often than not they’ll work themselves out.

She carries on talking.

JASON (V.O.):
Sophie – this Sophie – had been thinking about dream therapy for years. She thought it was odd that she couldn’t remember her dreams, and our finding each other had spurred her to go and see a therapist. If I’d known maybe I would have tried to stop her.

JASON is smiling, even though his eyes are filled with sadness.

SOPHIE:
The therapist said that my tension was because I wasn’t getting enough from my dreams, so we started having sessions.

JASON (V.O.):
I read between the lines. The dream therapy would have been different to what she would have experienced in her subconcious.

JASON:
(smiling)
That’s great.

JASON looks into SOPHIE’s eyes. They are filled with sadness. SOPHIE looks away.

SOPHIE:
(mornfully)
Jason. Oh god. I remembered. The whole thing. You. And her. In my dreams. But I started having new dreams. And she wasn’t in them. You weren’t in them. Oh god, Jason. She’s gone.

JASON looks at her.

JASON (V.O.):
That was the thing.

He puts his arm on her shoulder. She turns an leans her on his.

JASON (V.O.):
She wasn’t gone. She was cuddling into me. In the real world.

78 INT. ORCHARD. DAY.

Its Autumn and leaves are swishing around, off the trees. JASON and real SOPHIE sit cross legged opposite each other apple core strewn about them, munching away at Russette apples. SOPHIE spits a pip at him.

JASON (V.O.):
She’d remembered her dreams. She remembered our subconcious life together. She understood why I’d looked for her and in those moments there were no longer two Sophies. Just this one.

79 EXT. CORNFIELD. DAY.

JASON and real SOPHIE (in would you believe a summer dress) kissing.

JASON (V.O.):
And I loved her.

FADE OUT.

CREDITS.

80 EXT. PORCH - FARMHOUSE. DAY.

The swinging bench is empty. The house is derelict.

JASON (V.O.):
Of course, the dream world would be a bit emptier.

81 EXT. RIVER BANK. DAY.

Michael appears on the bank with a rod in one hand and a tackle bag in the other.

MICHAEL:
Cheers mate.

He starts to walk sadly away into the distance, before stopping and turning around.

MICHAEL:
But hang on. Doesn’t this mean we get to go fishing more often?

JASON (V.O.):
Good point.

FADE OUT.

THE END.
Art Copiously illustrated history of the use of red in painting from Richard Lacayo: "The techniques of oil glazing were brought to Italy by the Italian painter Antonello da Messina, who learned them from van Eyck. That development catalyzed the move from tempera to oil among Italians, who needed heavy supplies of red to paint all those ecclesiastical garments."
Politics For some reason, I missed the news that the Liberal Democrats are holding their annual conference at the Liverpool Echo Arena in March. Pity it's £73 a ticket. Got to fund the party somehow, I suppose.