Belly Up TV!

Several years ago, after I had written my surreal adult comic Belly Up! (with William Barker) I decided I’d turn it into a teevee sketch show. Not thinking of budgets and suchlike practical matters I just put down on the paper what I’d like to see on the screen. Turns out that each episode would cost about a million quid dollars to get right (or perhaps half that as an animated series?). It’s totally ridiculous and I don’t know why I wrote it, so here’s episode 1, given away as it were. Any insane multi-millionaires with money to burn on such a thing, let me know.

                                    "BELLY UP: Episode One"

          FADE IN:

          EXT. MOUNTAIN TOP - SUNRISE

          To the magnificent strains of Bach's B-Minor Mass (Gratias
          agimus tibi, Klemperer recording) TWO MEN pull themselves, with
          immense effort, onto the highest point of MOUNT EVEREST, the
          breathtaking Himalayas stretch from horizon to horizon. Before
          them, pristine, lies the grail they have sought; a TEASPOON.
          They reverently approach and, together, lift the spoon. It is
          evidently very, very heavy. With colossal effort, they raise it
          aloft. Music swells, sunlight strikes the teaspoon.

          BEGIN TITLES.

          TITLES: To the lunatic strains of the THEME FROM BELLY UP!
          Hundreds of people, animals, historical celebrities (Jesus
          Christ, Rasputin, Tutankhamun, etc), gods, aliens, robots etc
          pour out of suburban homes (London), make their way, striding
          in time to the rancid music, to TRAFALGAR SQUARE where a
          colossal WINGED CAT is waiting. Everyone ‘boards’ the cat and
          takes a seat on its back. The cat takes off, flies up into the
          clouds, out of the Earth's atmosphere, through space and
          collides with the sun which explodes with the triumphant end of
          the music. 

          CUT TO:

          INT. STUDIO - DAY 

          Pan back to reveal a modern news STUDIO. The large, wry
          anchorman, WILLIAM, sits at a DESK in front of a vast window /
          MONITOR displaying the credits. William watches the
          screen then turns to camera, with a slight satisfied smile and
          a welcoming nod.

                                   WILLIAM
                      Okay then, here's what I've got for
                      you. Take it or leave it.

          Screen displays image of thousands of tiny PRISONERS running
          around the top of a TABLE. Caption: ITTY BITTY BADDIES.

                                   WILLIAM
                      The home secretary has announced that
                      prison overcrowding can be solved by
                      shrinking convicts and housing them in
                      miniature cells

          INT. GOVERNMENT OFFICE - DAY

          Official enters room carrying a ‘PRISON DOLL HOUSE’, puts it on
          the table, and begins sweeping all the prisoners towards the
          entrance with his cupped hand and forearm.

                                   WILLIAM
                         (v.o.)
                      The home secretary unveiled plans 
                      yesterday for a nationwide network of
                      very small prisons of 'radically
                      reduced' offenders; each one around
                      3mm tall. 

          EXT. GARDEN - DAY

          In a tidy middle-class home-counties garden, the HOME SECRETARY
          is cowering under a small bush.

                                   HOME SECRETARY
                         (Bellowing)
                      WE COULD EASILY PUT ALL THE WORLD'S
                      TERRORISTS UNDER MY SINK!

          INT. STUDIO - DAY

          Screen displays SCIENTISTS in magnificent gothic-style
          LABORATORY running around three high-tech VATS (Music:
          Combustible Edison, Carnival of Souls). As William narrates,
          THREE NAKED PEOPLE arise from the vats, mesmerising fractal
          patterns swirling over their lightly glowing skins.

                                   WILLIAM
                      Scientists at the University of Kent
                      have reported pale mustard success,
                      flecked with lilac, in their attempts
                      to cross deaf people with cuttlefish,
                      enabling them to communicate through
                      opulent waves of colour. Morphic
                      Flywelt has this report.

          MONTAGE:

          - A man with hot-red skin is trying to chat up a cool blue
          woman, most uninterested.

          - young children, playing with llamas giggle with irrepressible
          yellows and pinks blobbing around their faces and bodies.

          - an old guy, resting on his spade, look up at the sky and
          ripples with mmm, sympathetic glowing umbers.

          INT. LAB - DAY

          Morphic, a rather shabby and knackered-looking reporter, to
          camera:

                                   MORPHIC
                      The cuttledeaf are already beginning
                      to dispense with sign-language,
                      communicating instead in pure colour.
                      Professor Ron Gish, head of the
                      project, said the department has also
                      developed a device to allow non-deaf
                      to see each other's moods. 

          PROFESSOR RON GISH, seated on a high tech HOVERING THRONE
          wearing an elaborate HEADSET, floats into view.

                                   GISH
                         (voice distorted)
                      The problem is, if anything, our new
                      OMNISCOPE shows a bit too much. We're
                      worried that when people start using
                      it, in the, er, field, they might get,
                      erm, a bit depressed? 

          MONTAGE (Music: Matt Elliot, The Guilty Party: plus subtle
          hollow fx, roaring in the background). Various scenes of ordinary
          life, mood coloured through the lens of the cuttle-viewer:

          - People working in typical offices; brown, grey, sick black.

          - MPs in parliament, braying with extremely forced laughter.
          Deep, diabolic blood red and smokey black.

          - People walking around LONDON, dark muddy colours.

          EXT. STREET - DAY

          Morphic, now coloured a rather wan blue, to camera:

                                   MORPHIC
                      It's a post-dusk mud-purple world out
                      here, halfway between midnight bludder
                      and charred chickenrib.

          INT. BUS - DAY

          A typical LONDON BUS. Everyone's faces etched with pain and
          worry. All skins dirty, shitty grey.

          The bus winds through south London. A MAN (Joe), life-crushed,
          stares into space. The bus stops. A WOMAN gets up to leave. She
          walks down the aisle. She has an exceptionally beautiful,
          prominently displayed ARSE, two glorious orbs sliding around
          each other in a tight dress. The man glances at it, double
          takes, and looks again. The arse glows with sublime gold. Slow
          motion. Joe's eyes widen. Strafes of colour thrown out by the
          bum electrify his face. High, mighty chimey sounds. Light glows
          around the arse. Joe starts burning brighter and brighter.
          (Music: B-Minor Mass again, Dona nobis pacem, Klemperer
          recording).

          DISSOLVE TO:

          EXT. STREET - DAY

          The bus, seen from without, explodes, from within, in a hot
          white sunburst, which radiates out through the windows. Street
          stark and blinding, faces bathed in wondrous light, which
          slowly fades. Moment of hush. Joe gets off the bus, sprightly,
          and strolls down the street. He passes a GLOWING TREE
          surrounded by a little fence and stops to admire it, smilingly
          for a few moments, before heading into the JOB CENTRE.

          INT. JOB CENTRE LOBBY - DAY

          Joe walks into Job Centre. On a COUNTER in front of him
          (reading 'welcome') are two RABBITS. Behind them the sign 'I AM
          YOU'. A MAN IN A BEAR SUIT appears holding a clip-board;
          extremely cheerful. He bows, Japanese style, and gestures Joe
          through into the corridor behind him to:

          INT. CHANGING ROOM - DAY

          Joe gets undressed.

          INT. JOB CENTRE - DAY

          Joe enters main consultation area of the Job Centre. Same as a
          normal Job Centre, except everyone is naked. Also many rabbits
          on the floor, on people's laps, etc. A [naked] WOMAN greets
          him.

                                   WOMAN
                      Welcome to Job Centre Plus!

          Man walks over to desk. Another [naked] WOMAN at the computer
          greets him.

                                   WOMAN
                      Please, taken a seat.

          The MAN sits down and the woman gives him £3500 in CASH.

                                   WOMAN
                      There you go. Now what kind of thing
                      would you like to do this week?

                                   JOE
                      Not really sure, what is there?

                                   WOMAN
                      Well, we have vacancies for golden
                      throated yawpers to design, paint and
                      perform in their own peddle-powered
                      buses, fish-monger double-bass origami
                      master left-back witch-doctors and
                      spirit-guides with excellent noses
                      (she checks, nods briefly ر Joe does
                      have a good nose) to convert the
                      secret voice of nature into snowflakes
                      of meaning for fatly scattering on the
                      eyelashes of the ready-for-anything
                      and, erm, bright-eyed banjo-loving
                      milk-maids for astronomy and skids.

                                   JOE
                      Hmm. Sounds good, but I fancy fannying
                      around for a bit.

                                   WOMAN
                      Oh, fannying around?

                                   JOE
                      Yeah.

                                   WOMAN
                      Are you qualified?

                                   JOE
                      Not really, no. I've had a lot of
                      spare time, but I've never really done
                      nothing with it. I thought maybe it's
                      time to take it to the next level?

          Joe indicates a lower level.

                                   WOMAN
                      Well, you're in luck. We've got a
                      fannying around course starting right
                      now, if you're interested?

                                   JOE
                      Great!

          DISSOLVE TO:

          INT. CLASSROOM - DAY

          Ten people sitting around, naked and 'paired-up', with an
          eleventh TUTOR standing in front of them at a white board upon
          which is written, in large clear letters, 'FANNYING AROUND AND
          SACKABILITY'. Joe is here, but the tutor is midway through
          explaining something to another man, JOHN.

                                   TUTOR
                      Okay John, could you be even more
                      vague?

                                   JOHN
                         (turning to his partner)
                      Erm, I'll come round about four and
                      then maybe we could go and get a bite
                      to eat?

                                   TUTOR
                      I think you can do better than that
                      John.

                                   JOHN
                      Err, alright, okay, how about I come
                      round at some point tomorrow and maybe
                      we could do something?

                                   TUTOR
                      More, John, more vague. Come on now,
                      you can do it.

                                   JOHN
                      Gosh, okay, okay. (Deep breath,
                      gathers himself). Erm, how about, er,
                      something happens, or maybe not, at,
                      er, some point in the future?

                                   TUTOR
                      Good. Good. That's much better. We're
                      really making progress. Good. Okay,
                      now, next week I'd like to focus on...

          He trails off, everyone hangs suspended. A look of reverie
          comes over the tutor's face. The class look around at each
          other, a bit confused, a bit awkward.

                                   TUTOR
                         (con't.)
                      ... briefly slipping into altered
                      states; one of the corner stones of
                      fannying around. Before we all go
                      though, I'd just like to play a little
                      video.

          He clicks a REMOTE CONTROL.

          INT. OFFICE - DAY

          CAPTAIN UNEMPLOYMENT, a beefy, but slightly shabby and unshaved
          superhero, is walking through an office, talking to the camera.
          He has a deep, mellow, reassuring Canadian accent.

                                   CAPTAIN UNEMPLOYMENT
                      Need a few weeks off at work? Fancy a
                      little 'you time'? Or maybe you just
                      need some unearned cash? Well why not
                      try Captain Unemployment's Self
                      Sabotage Service.

          (MONTAGE: Range of workplace accidents)
                      Whether it's a slipped disc, broken
                      collar bone, crushed hand or a good
                      old fashioned bang on the head I'll
                      provide the lot. I can discreetly
                      unloosen bolts, dislodge roofing
                      tiles, drop banana skins and wreck
                      protective gear. Then my team of
                      lawyers will screw the fuckers who
                      employ you for every penny they've
                      got.

          INT. BEDROOM - DAY

          Captain Unemployment is standing next to MR. OPPLE bandaged up
          in a hospital bed.

                                   CAPTAIN UNEMPLOYMENT
                         (to camera)
                      Call Today!

          Mr. Opple gives a cheery thumbs up. Slogan on screen: Captain
          Unemployment: Free Your Arse and Your Mind Will Follow.

          INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT

          Same room. MR OPPLE is dead, and MRS. OPPLE is weeping over his
          ashen body.

                                   MRS OPPLE
                      Ohhhh... Ohhhh... did you have to take
                      it so damn far? Is work really SO bad?
                      (Shakes her fist, tear-bruised eyes
                      search the sky) CURSE you Captain
                      Unemployment!

          More weeping. She pulls the man out of the bed and drags him
          downstairs.

          EXT. GARDEN - NIGHT

          Mrs Opple is digging a grave. She drags her husband into the
          hole and starts filling it in. 

          DISSOLVE TO:

          EXT. GARDEN - MAGIC HOUR

          Beautiful morning. PIGEON on the fence. Freshly dug grave, and
          from it a tiny tree, hanging with TINY NAKED MR OPPLES, all
          waking up with cute yawns.

          INTERCUT BETWEEN PIGEON AND TREE OF YAWNING OPPLES.

          Slow close up of Pigeon's eyes.

                                   PIGEON
                         (v.o. with great awe)
                      I... am... me.

          Zoom into Pigeon's eyeball. Brief but mindbending
          journey round pigeon-based universe taking in pigeon
          Kecak ceremonies, pigeon-ping pong, pigeon cathedrals of fire,
          exploding pigeon suns, millions of pigeon heads floating around
          Micheal Gove's head chanting 'I am Me' etc... finishing with
          Beethoven's 9th (Furtwangler) and WILLIAM riding the back of
          the Pigeon as it flies towards the OLYMPUS MONS on Mars.

                                   WILLIAM
                         (Shouting over roaring red
                           winds)
                      You'd be forgiven for thinking this
                      was just another pigeon. But you'd be
                      wrong! Yesterday morning, at 8 a.m.,
                      this pigeon Plantagenet Pax, as he
                      now wants to be known, became self
                      aware. Plantagenet! How did it feel?

                                   PLANTAGENET
                      Unfortunately William that's beyond my
                      capacity to express directly! Only the
                      most sublime art could possibly do
                      justice to the experience!

                                   WILLIAM
                      Right! I see what you mean!

          Beethoven's Ninth swells as Plantagenet swoops in towards a
          dusty red PLATEAU. They shoot into a CAVE (a rather well
          appointed one Soviet style, modernist, lots of brass and
          marble) where a full ORCHESTRA is reaching crescendo.
          They swoop down to the composer's podium. [Tiny] William
          dismounts and the pigeon lands on the music stand, picks up the
          baton and brings the ecstatic passage to a close.

                                   PLANTAGENET
                         (to William)
                      That's why I'm learning classical
                      composition.

                                   WILLIAM
                         (walking to camera)
                      Plantagenet isn't the only animal to
                      become self-aware.

          MONTAGE:

          Close ups of animals profoundly realising: A wallaby, a rhino,
          a cat.

                                   WILLIAM
                         (v.o.)
                      A wallaby in Southern Australia, a
                      Rhino in Namibia, and a cat in north
                      Wales all reported the shattering
                      experience of knowing that they know,
                      and all the newly conscious animals
                      thus far have immediately turned to
                      art to express their new meta
                      awareness. The Wallaby, Samantha
                      Soames, has decided to dedicate her
                      life to opera, the Rhino, Ngazetungue
                      Nangombe is writing the great African
                      novel and the cat, Mr Neko, is... well
                      it's hard to say what Mr Neko is up
                      to.

          EXT. ROOF - DUSK

          Music — cool, late-fifties bass-heavy scat Jazz track (a
          rumbling version of 'The Pink Panther' perhaps, many
          fingerclicks). A CAT walks along a ROOF of terraced houses in a
          plush London suburb. It stops. A tight funky chorus half
          whispers half sings:

                                   CHORUS
                         (hushed)
                      Neko business.

          The cat, MR.NEKO hops down onto a balcony. 

          Again the music stops and the chorus chants.

                                   CHORUS
                         (hushed)
                      Neko business.

          Mr Neko slinks into an open window.

          INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT 

          Mr Neko pads past a WOMAN (HELEN), going to bed in a plush,
          comfortable, tasteful (just the right touch of kitsch) Middle
          Class bedroom. She lies down, and sleeps. Music fades out.

          DISSOLVE TO:

          INT. BEDROOM - DAY

          HELEN wakes up. She is in a completely different bedroom, much
          sparser and more rustic, bit dusty. She gets out of bed, brow
          furrowed in sleepy confusion. Her funky, ethical pyjamas are
          now a rather cheap gaudy nighty. She fingers the fabric,
          wanderingly. Still confused, but not excessively so, she takes
          the dressing gown from the back of the door and exits.

          INT. FARMHOUSE - DAY

          Silence. Helen walks around the FARMHOUSE, opening doors,
          looking in rooms. Evidence of being inhabited; unmade beds,
          fresh washing up, etc. She exits.

          EXT. FARM - DAY

          Helen walks outside into bright sunshine. A gaggle of GEESE
          waddle past her, squawking. She looks around, nose wrinkling.
          Before her a LIVESTOCK PADDOCK, and behind that, a FISHERY. She
          wanders around the empty farm رتalong row upon row of
          FISHERIES. She comes to a SMOKING BARN, hanging with thousands
          of TROUT.

                                   HELEN
                         (whispering)
                      A farm?

          She sees a MAN filling up a TANK with CO2, the FISH are
          slapping around helplessly.

                                   HELEN
                      Excuse me?

                                   MARK
                         (not looking round, still
                           working)
                      Yeah? (he has a broad Lancashire
                      accent)

                                   HELEN
                      Ergh... um... This... situation. It's
                      a fish farm?

                                   MARK
                      Trout.

                                   HELEN
                      Well, er, do you think... I mean could
                      you... I just...

                                   MARK
                         (stops working)
                      Look, seeing as you're here, why don't
                      you give us a hand?

                                   HELEN
                      Oh yes, of course.

                                   MARK
                      Go back and get yourself dressed, have
                      some breakfast. There are some
                      overalls in the hall.

                                   HELEN
                      Oh right, okay.

          DISSOLVE TO:

          EXT. FARM - DAY

          MONTAGE:

          - Mark leading Helen around the farm, showing her how to clean
          the fisheries, smoke the fish, etc, etc. HELEN tentative but
          kind of interested.

          - HELEN involved and mucking in. MARK watching, non-committal
          acceptance.

          - HELEN working on her own, confidently now.

          EXT. FARM - DAY

          MARK is in a barn tacking up a HORSE. HELEN approaches him.

                                   HELEN
                         (nervously)
                      Um, Mark, I was wondering if you'd given
                      any thought to my leaving? Maybe going
                      home, back to London?

                                   MARK
                      You said you liked it here.

                                   HELEN
                      Oh I do. I do. Erm.

          Mark looks at her. No threat, just stolid confusion. Helen also
          confused. Close up of HORSE'S eye, watching them.

                                   MARK
                      And we've got to start processing
                      4,000 trout before the weekend.

                                   HELEN
                      Yes, that's true. Okay, shall I bring
                      the holding tanks in? They're done
                      now.

                                   MARK
                      Yeah, good.

          MONTAGE:

          - Mark and Helen living a normal life on a trout farm.

          INT. FARMHOUSE - DAY

          Mark and Helen are relaxing beside an open fire. Helen is
          reading. Mark is cleaning his ear with a piece of wood. He
          pulls a bit of wax out and shows Helen. She doesn't pay any
          attention. She scratches her crotch distractedly.

                                   MARK
                      Don't scratch your fanny.

                                   HELEN
                      Sorry darling.

          EXT. FISHERY - DAY

          Helen stands naked next to one of the fisheries. She has a
          trout in each hand. Mark, naked in front of her, nods with
          matter-of-fact acceptance.

          EXT. MOUND - DAY

          Helen is leaning back against a TREE, watching the sun set.
          Mark is struggling up a hill on which Helen sits. As soon as he
          arrives he opens a RING BOX and pulls out an ENGAGEMENT RING,
          which he puts on Helen's finger, then turns and tramps down the
          hill. Helen returns to watching the sun.

          DISSOLVE TO:

          INT. BEDROOM - DAWN

          Helen wakes up in bed with Mark. She carefully gets out of bed
          and goes downstairs. A beautiful wedding dress is on a tailor's
          dummy in the living room. She fingers it, confused, lost.

          Helen rapidly dresses and leaves the farmhouse, head down, lost
          in thought.

          EXT. FARM - DAWN

          Helen walks through the farm. She passes the HORSE painting an
          expressionist landscape, but is so lost in thought she doesn't
          notice it.

          EXT. VILLAGE - DAWN

          Helen walks rapidly down the country lane. She passes the TWO
          MEN from the pre-credits slowly, slowly, heaving the TEASPOON
          in the opposite direction, but she is still oblivious, wrapped
          up in thought. She turns into the CHURCHYARD. The CHURCH DOOR
          is open.

          INT. CHURCH - DAWN

          A small country church. Beautiful, simple and austere (original
          gothic). Wan morning light falls filtered in gold through the
          stained glass windows. An OLD MAN is kneeling at the alter.
          Helen hesitates. The old man very slowly gets to his feet and
          then, very, very slowly walks down the aisle. We see he is
          about as old as man can be (late nineties?). When he eventually
          reaches Helen he shakes his head in bitter confusion and jerks
          his head backwards and upwards, towards God.

                                   OLD MAN
                      Wanker.

          He walks out. Helen walks to the alter and then kneels down.

                                   HELEN
                      God? God? Are you there? (Silence).
                      Dear God. I've never prayed to you
                      before. I رتI don't even think I
                      believe in you رتbut I just don't know
                      where to turn, or what to do. So, if
                      you're there, please answer me.

          A voice, clear, rather too clear, Norfolk accent, answers from
          above.

                                   GOD
                         (kind of distracted sounding)
                      Yeah?

                                   HELEN
                         (stunned)
                      God, is that you?

                                   GOD
                         (pause)
                      Er. Yeah. What do you want?

                                   HELEN
                      Really?

                                   GOD
                      (muffled, inaudible, as if to someone
                      else with hand over a phone) Sorry?

                                   HELEN
                      How do I know it's you? I do so want
                      to believe.

                                   GOD
                      Okay ask me a question.

                                   HELEN
                      Who was the first boy I kissed?

                                   GOD
                         (pause, sound of tapping on
                           keyboard)
                      John Mattingly.

                                   HELEN
                      What's my worst nightmare?

                                   GOD
                         (pause, sound of tapping on
                           keyboard)
                      Genghis Khan. Rice pudding. Dog suit.

                                   HELEN
                      Are you looking these answers up on a
                      computer?

                                   GOD
                         (pause, tapping stops
                           abruptly)
                      No.

                                   HELEN
                      It's just, I dunno. I didn't expect
                      God to sound so... provincial.

                                   GOD
                      Oh right! You want the other God. He's
                      not here right now.

                                   HELEN
                      The other God?

                                   GOD
                      Yeah, the other one. I, well, I
                      normally keep a lower profile, if you
                      know what I mean. But it's chocka up
                      here. Hold on. (More muffled inaudible
                      speech, exasperated sounded, slightly
                      impatient). Sorry, what is it you
                      wanted, darling?

                                   HELEN
                      Did you create the universe?

                                   GOD
                      Yep.

                                   HELEN
                         (Pause)
                      Well, alright, erm, I'm not sure I...
                      I'm getting married later today you
                      see, and it's all been so fast. I'm
                      just, I don't know if I'm doing the
                      right thing. I do love him, he's a
                      lovely man, but... 

                                   GOD
                      Sorry, er, Helen? I'm a bit pushed for
                      time here.

                                   HELEN
                      Oh, sorry, erm, is he the one?

                                   GOD
                      The one?

                                   HELEN
                      Yes, you know, the one.

                                   GOD
                      Probably not.

                                   HELEN
                      Oh.

                                   GOD
                      Does that matter?

                                   HELEN
                      I don't know. Yes, I think so.

                                   GOD
                      Does he love you?

                                   HELEN
                      He does love me, but...

                                   GOD
                      You gotta respect him too.

                                   HELEN
                      ...yes, I do, but...

                                   GOD
                      And do you fancy him, is the sex good?

                                   HELEN
                      Yeah, it's really... yeah, it's
                      just...

                                   GOD
                      I dunno what you're worried about
                      then. I know Mark Bowyar, he's a
                      lovely bloke. Sister's nice too. Whole
                      family is. Marry him!

                                   HELEN
                      Well if you think so?

                                   GOD
                      I do.

          Pause. Helen thinks to herself.

                                   HELEN
                      Maybe you're right God.

                                   GOD
                      Good, now is there anything else? Only
                      it really is a bloody madhouse up
                      here.

                                   HELEN
                      No, that's all thank you, God.

                                   GOD
                      Alright, bye then.

          INT. HEAVEN - DAY

          Heaven is a typical on-site PORTACABIN. GOD, a middle aged,
          friendly chap, slightly dishevelled, in a checked shirt, sits
          at a cheap desk behind a PC. Several phones on his desk are
          flashing red. GOD puts the phone down and picks up another one.

                                   GOD
                      Christ, not you again. I told you, you
                      cannot milk a cat. It's just not
                      possible.

          He hangs up and picks up another phone, and then another: quick
          fire replies, trying to keep up.

                                   GOD
                      No, you can't talk to Jesus, he's
                      busy... yes, so is Isiah... (hangs up
                      / picks up) No, she's not interested,
                      she's never going to be interested...
                      alright, send her a text, just don't
                      come running... (looks at the phone -
                      they hung up / picks up another) No,
                      it makes you look fat. (sigh) ر no,
                      I'm not saying you are fat... Well get
                      the red one then. (hangs up / picks
                      up) What?... Again? (sighs) Okay, open
                      system preferences... Then network...
                      Then advanced... 

          While he is explaining how to reconfigure network proxies, an
          ANGEL comes in. She is pretty, but not at all glamorous.
          Wearing jeans, hair pinned back. She takes some KEYS which are
          on a noticeboard, and hangs around, waiting for God to finish
          his call.

                                   GOD
                         (con't.)
                      (with great patience) One drip at a
                      time.

          He hangs up, disgusted. Turns to the ANGEL.

                                   GOD
                         (con't.)
                      Mayonnaise. Some people. They just
                      don't seem to be able to understand
                      that I've got a universe to run.

                                   ANGEL
                      Two.

                                   GOD
                      Yeah, two! Two universes to run.

                                   ANGEL
                      Why don't we get one of those
                      automated systems?

                                   GOD
                         (philosophically)
                      It makes sense. (Pause) But (he nods
                      his head towards the door) He won't
                      hear of it.

                                   ANGEL
                         (sighs)
                      He can be a right nob sometimes.
                      (Pause). Mind if I knock off early
                      today? I've got a dental appointment.

                                   GOD
                      Yeah, go on.

          The Angel exits. God sighs and picks up a phone.

          EXT. SOUTH AMERICAN RAINFOREST - NIGHT

          A SHAMAN, painted all kinds of fantastic colours (like the OMO
          tribe) and with bits of what look like cotton wool tied all
          over his body, is dancing on a rock. Suddenly he stands
          perfectly still, as if hearing a distant voice, his eyes
          rolling back in his head.

          INT. HEAVEN - DAY

          God is singing into a phone. Extraordinarily weird multi-tone,
          double-voice, 'yma sumac' style scatting.

          EXT. FOREST - DAY

          The Shaman, held gripped by the rapture, suddenly breaks loose
          and starts running through the forest. He runs faster and
          faster until he reaches a huge mushroom, hits it full pelt and
          boings high, high up into the sky. He flys through the forest,
          landing on huge rubbery mushrooms, reaching enormous heights,
          almost to the moon, laughing in outrageous delight.

          A TAPIR watches the boinging shaman. We watch the tapir. Close
          up tapir's eyes. Close up of CAT-KIN. Tapir frowns in
          confusion. Cat kin again.

          CAPTION: BITS OF NATURE THAT LOOK LIKE BEARDS.

          MONTAGE:

          Various bits of nature that look like beards.

                                   SILKY NARRATOR
                         (v.o.)
                      Join us at 7 o'clock this evening for
                      Bits of Nature that Look like Beards,
                      an educational documentary on patches
                      of grass, catkins, dead-birds and the
                      like that, at a distance or if
                      squinting, could be mistaken for a
                      beard.

          CUT TO:

          INT. STUDIO - DAY

          PHILIP SCOFIELD is combing a large blue RABBIT with PETER HALL. 

          CAPTION: GROOMING A BIG RABBIT WITH

                                   SILKY NARRATOR
                      Then, at seven thirty, it's Grooming A
                      Big Rabbit With... This week,
                      presenter Phil Schofield grooms a big
                      Austrian Blue with national theatre
                      director Peter Hall.

          EXT. MEADOW - MAGIC HOUR

          We are in a meadow. In the distance is a TREE, which we slowly
          dolly towards.

                                   SILKY NARRATOR
                      That's followed at 8 o'clock by tree
                      racing.

          We reach the tree, which is covered in PEOPLE sitting on
          SADDLES, madly, joyously riding nowhere. (Music: You Made Me
          Warm, The Sharks). We fly through the branches for a bit before

          INT. PALLADIUM - NIGHT

          Thousands of people, packed into the London Palladium are
          crying pure tears of heartbreaking sorrow. Not wailing, but
          silent, profound, harrowing and tragic weeping (Music: Back to
          Schizo, Pascal Comelade).

          CAPTION: STAND UP TRAGEDY.

                                   SILKY NARRATOR
                      Then, at 8:30 it's Stand up Tragedy.
                      purifying weep-a-thon from the London
                      Palladium, led by the most sorrowful
                      stand-up tragics in the business.

          A deeply sombre man, with BULL'S HORNS, ruined face running
          with tears, explains his tragic tale (inaudible).

          DISSOLVE TO:

          INT. TRAIN - DAY

          (Sad music continues) Two superheroes, APPROPRIATE MAN and THE
          HUMAN BULL are quietly chatting in an empty train.

                                   APPROPRIATE MAN
                      I've lost my way.

                                   HUMAN BULL
                      I was thinking of a game of sudoku and
                      then going to bed.

                                   APPROPRIATE MAN
                      I never really wanted this job.

                                   HUMAN BULL
                      Neither did I.

                                   APPROPRIATE MAN
                      My wife pushed me into it. (pause) I
                      was weak. (pause). My wife knows what
                      she wants but I cannot find it in me.

                                   HUMAN BULL
                      Do you love her?

                                   APPROPRIATE MAN
                      Love is my super power, but my wife is
                      a virago. She has drained my love beam
                      dry.

                                   HUMAN BULL
                      Does it hurt.

                                   APPROPRIATE MAN
                      It hurts like hell.

                                   HUMAN BULL
                      Well I have no-one.

                                   APPROPRIATE MAN
                      Why?

                                   HUMAN BULL
                      Because I have a bull's head.

                                   APPROPRIATE MAN
                      But you have a lovely personality. You
                      are very gentle.

                                   HUMAN BULL
                      When I speak to women I go red and
                      sound like a flid.

                                   APPROPRIATE MAN
                      What does a flid sound like?

                                   HUMAN BULL
                      Flurhh rrrrh ng ftth

                                   APPROPRIATE MAN
                      I can't leave the room, and you can't
                      get in.

          They look at each other in dejected silence.

                                   HUMAN BULL
                      Oh for God's sake what are we going to
                      do?

                                   APPROPRIATE MAN
                      I am going to build something. A house
                      maybe, or a bike.

                                   HUMAN BULL
                      Yes, and I am going to become a
                      hairdresser.

          They look at each other in silence رتnot quite so dejected.

          A WOMAN (KATIE) pushes through the carriage door, talking on
          the phone. Pays no attention to the superheroes.

                                   KATIE
                      No I like him, that's the thing. He's
                      enigmatic. Not like... Like, (sigh)
                      I've just, you know what? I've, like,
                      I've had enough of bastards and wimps?
                      I'd reached a rubicon, yeah? And
                      then... boom, Atawn. (pause) Atawn,
                      that's his name. It's Welsh. (pause)
                      God, is he... Haven't I shown you? 

          She taps her phone. Brings up a picture of ATAWN, a good
          looking fellow, but something slightly awry about his posture,
          very square-on it looks, odd perspective. She clicks 'send'. 

          She gets off the train. We follow her through the underground
          into WATERLOO station, still chatting.

                                   KATIE
                         (con't)
                      There... he's... you got it?
                      I know, and, I dunno, there's, I know
                      I've only messaged with him on the
                      internet, but it's like there's
                      something about him, some presence.
                      (pause). He might be a weirdo though.

          EXT. SOUTH BANK - DAY

          Katie is walking along the SOUTH BANK.

                                   KATIE
                         (con't)
                      Well, he sent some really bizarre
                      instructions for meeting him (pause).
                      I've got to... look darlin' I'm almost
                      there and I'm already late. I'll tell
                      you all about it later.

          EXT. TATE MODERN - DAY

          Kate is outside the Tate Modern, looking around on the floor
          for something. Eventually she spots a yellow chalk ARROW, which
          she follows. It leads to a second arrow, pointing in a slightly
          different direction. She follows that to a third, until she is
          facing the TURBINE HALL of the Tate Modern, straight on. She
          walks forward, following a fourth arrow.

          INT. TURBINE HALL - DAY

          In front of Katie, at the stop of the wide gangway which leads
          down to the mail hall, stands ATAWN in exactly the same posture
          as the photo on the mobile phone. She walks up to him.

                                   KATIE
                      Hello.

          Pause. Atawn closes his eyes, as if readying himself for
          something, then speaks رتor rather 64 voices simultaneously and
          in perfect harmony, sing:

                                   ATAWN
                      Hello!

          Katie steps back, shocked, confused. She moves to look past
          Atawn, and as she does so 64 men crane their heads from behind
          Atawn and sing, again in beautiful harmony:

                                   ATAWN
                      Don't be alarmed!

          The two of them talk. Katie in the normal manner, Atawn
          glorious in 64x harmony.

                                   KATIE
                      That's easy for you to say.

                                   ATAWN
                      I'm really sorry!

                                   KATIE
                      What... who... I just...

                                   ATAWN
                         (bashfully)
                      That's why I asked... Oh God... I'm a
                      64 voice Welsh male choir!!!

                                   KATIE
                      But how?

                                   ATAWN
                      Please, don't ask me to explain. (as
                      an overlapping round) This is just who
                      I am (who I am, who I am, who I
                      am...).

          Katie moves to see the other 64 men more clearly, but as she
          does so they all shift behind each other.

                                   KATIE
                         (curious, delicate)
                      Can I see you?

                                   ATAWN
                      Really? You want to?

                                   KATIE
                      Yes, I really do.

                                   ATAWN
                         (whispering singing)
                      I don't... don't I frighten you?

                                   KATIE
                      No.

          The 64 men bashfully reveal themselves.

                                   ATAWN
                      This. This is who I am.

                                   KATIE
                      You're quite cute.

                                   ATAWN
                         (bit awkward)
                      Not bad yourself.

                                   KATIE
                      So what do you want to do today then?

                                   ATAWN
                      You're not ashamed? I mean, you don't
                      mind being seen with me?

                                   KATIE
                      Look, I found your confidence on the
                      internet attractive. Don't ruin it now
                      Atawn.

                                   ATAWN
                      Right! Yes!

                                   KATIE
                      So where we going?

                                   ATAWN
                         (in a magnificent, super
                           confident polyphony)
                      Chinatown!

          MONTAGE:

          - (Music: Heart and Soul, Al Bowlly) Katie and Atawnx64 sharing
          Dim-Sum in a CHINESE RESTAURANT.

          - Katie and Atawnx64 walking hand-in-hand-in-hand-in-hand-in-hand
          in-hand... through HIGHGATE CEMETARY.

          - Katie and Atawn at a fair. Atawnx64 is standing on a MERRY-GO
          ROUND facing outwards and kissing Katie who stands as their
          heads fly past her one a multiple kiss wheel.

          - Katie and Atawnx64 at a JAZZ CLUB, watching a classic
          performance of Heart and Soul (mimed to the Bowlly version
          we've been listening to).

          - Katie in bed, 64 Atawns in various states of undress,
          dancing to Heart and Soul.

          - Atawns on their knees in NUNHEAD CEMETERY, proposing marriage.

          - Atawns and Katie getting married.

          - Atawns and Katie at home, packing for their honeymoon (bags,
          hawaiian shirts, etc). The MEN WITH THE SPOON labour past in
          the outside hallway.

          - Atawns and Katie boarding the long-haul 777.

          INT. PLANE CABIN - DAY

          Music fades into ominous high-pitched sound. The plane is
          airborne. Atawn and Katie are seated with four hundred other
          PASSENGERS. Everyone looks exhausted, unhealthy, uncomfortable
          and bored, eating shit food, watching films on their ipads and
          phones, trying to sleep, queuing for shitty toilet, etc.

          INT. PLANE COCKPIT - DAY

          Pilots, also bored, playing video games, grey, wan, sick,
          greenish light, utterly exhausted. 

          A RED LIGHT begins flashing. Surprise, urgency and then panic
          ripples through the cockpit.

          INT. PLANE CABIN - DAY

          General scenes of frustration and malaise. Then a BING. Pan
          over faces intently listening.

                                   CAPTAIN
                      Ladies and gentlemen, this... this is
                      your captain speaking. I'm afraid we
                      have a bit of a situation up here. In
                      fact, I'll be honest with you, we're
                      totally fucked. We've got a major
                      malfunction of all engines. They're
                      going to cut out in ooh, about three
                      minutes? After that we'll, er (pause,
                      checks) yeah, we'll all plummet to our
                      deaths. (clears his throat). So, ahem,
                      yeah, that's it I'm afraid. All over.
                      (whispers) Bye.

          Ominous pause and then the cabin erupts in joy. Everyone
          cheering, delirious with joy, embracing, weeping, kissing.

          Various scenes of delight — games with children, intent
          affectionate conversation, love-making, partying. Song breaks
          out: What a Way to End it All, Deaf School (sung by pilot).
          Dance routine. Nuns in the cabin, monkeys on the wing, intercut
          with:

          MONTAGE:

          - People running joyously off of CLIFFS and plumetting happily
          to their deaths.

          - A DARK FOREST with scores of people hanging from TREES,
          singing.

          - A SAXOPHONIST walking into a lake.

          - Dolly past hundreds of people in a POSH RESTAURANT blowing
          their heads off.

          EXT. MOUNTAINSIDE - DAY

          At the end of the song the plane smashes into the side of a
          mountain, and explodes.

          EXT. MOUNTAIN - DAY

          A man (TOM) is washing a mountain.

                                   TOM
                         (to camera)
                      Have you ever washed a mountain?

          INT. STUDIO - DAY

          WILLIAM is in the studio. On the screen behind him is TOM
          washing the cliff. The image pans up and up: it's the same
          mountain where the plane crashed. Caption: MAN ATE HIMSELF TO
          STAY ALIVE.

          EXT. MOUNTAINSIDE - DAY

          A MAN is eating himself (amongst bits of plane wreckage) ر only
          a small part of his torso is left. We watch him continue to eat
          himself, but reach a point where he can't get one last mouthful
          in. He dies.

                                   WILLIAM
                         (v.o.)
                      Pierre Stott, A Bedfordshire man who
                      had been missing in Northern Vancouver
                      for three weeks after his plane
                      crashed near Tugsaw Ridge, is dead, it
                      was confirmed yesterday by Canadian
                      police, after having consumed six
                      sevenths of his own body. His head and
                      some of his torso were all that
                      remained after his terrifying ordeal.
                      Forensic experts believe that he
                      started eating himself after 10 days
                      of starvation and only stopped when he
                      could no longer reach his own head. 

          INT. LAB - DAY

          Police pathologist, DAVID WILSON (caption) talking to camera.

                                   WILSON
                      It was a brave attempt to stay alive
                      but I guess he must have realised that
                      there is only so far you can go when
                      eating yourself. It just becomes
                      counter-productive after a while. 

          INT. STUDIO - DAY

          William at the desk in front of images of GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS
          are carrying people towards various objects. CAPTION: BLIND
          SPOTS.

                                   WILLIAM
                      The government have announced plans to
                      place short-sighted people nearer to
                      things.

          EXT. STREET - DAY

          MONTAGE:

          - Various scenes of OFFICIALS scooting people around, lifting
          and placing them here and there.

                                   WILLIAM
                      The department of health have trained
                      and deployed thousands of officials
                      into the field to optimally position
                      short-sighted folk in better relation
                      to things. The measure will save
                      hundreds of thousands a year in
                      spectacle production.

          INT. IKEA - DAY

          A MAN (JOHN) is being placed nearer to a CUPBOARD in Ikea. He
          scrutinises it, then shakes his head sadly.

          INT. BASEMENT WORKSHOP - DAY

          John is looking at himself morosely in the mirror. He turns to his
          WORKBENCH and begins sawing.

          DISSOLVE TO:

          INT. BASEMENT WORKSHOP - LATER

          John has built a CUPBOARD with a hole in the bottom which he
          slips over his head.
          He goes over the MIRROR, opens the door, looks at himself, and
          then closes the door. He remains standing in front of the
          mirror.

          DISSOLVE TO:

          INT. LOUNGE - DAY

          John is watching TEEVEE. His wife (ELAINE) comes home and looks
          at John with a irritable 'what now?' sigh. John turns and
          timidly opens the cupboard door.

          INT. LOUNGE - DAY

          John and Elaine are arguing. Elaine slams John's cupboard door
          closed.

          INT. OFFICE - DAY

          John walks into the office. He peeps through his cupboard door.
          Everyone looks at him in smirky wonderment. Whispered asides.
          He closes the door in fear and shame.

          INT. MANAGER'S OFFICE - DAY

          John has his cupboard door open, pleading to a horrified
          looking MANAGERESS. She gets up from behind her desk and slams
          his door.

          EXT. PARK - DAY

          John is walking sadly through the park. A little GIRL comes
          skippingly up to him. John bends down and opens his door. The
          girl laughs, John laughs. From nowhere the girl's MOTHER
          appears, furious, and slams John's door shut. (Music fades)

          DISSOLVE TO:

          EXT. BRIDGE - DAY

          John is standing on the edge of a high bridge, getting ready to
          end it all. Wind howls. People pass by, look at him, and hurry
          on. A WOMAN climbs over the railings and edges up to him, John
          turns to her. She gets her phone out and asks him a question.
          John nods sadly. She takes a selfie of them both and leaves.

          John, sitting down, now stands up. Could he be ready to end it
          all? He sees, a little further down, a WOMAN (FRANCESCA), also
          perched on the edge of the bridge. She is wearing a WARDROBE
          over her body. John opens his cupboard door a little (revealing
          a hint of eye). Francesca opens her wardrobe door a little
          (revealing a hint of breast).

          SLOW DISSOLVE TO:

          INT. BEDROOM - DAY

          John and Francesca are majestically fucking, all doors open.

          We pan to the bedroom door. The MEN WITH SPOON are heaving
          their load along the landing. The carry it into the kitchen
          over to the CUTLERY DRAWER. With profound effort they get the
          draw open, lift, heave it over and drop... (Music: Dies irae
          from Mozart's Requiem, Karajan, 1976)

          ...The spoon smashes through the drawer, smashes through the
          floor and smashes into the EARTH. We follow its hurtling
          progress deep into the EARTH'S CRUST. Sparks, mud, earth, metal
          roaring, plummeting.

          INT. EARTH'S CORE

          A vast, vast underground CHAMBER, vaulted with an immense dome
          of rock, arching over a colossal SEA OF FIRE. The spoon bursts
          through the roof and hurtles down to the flaming ocean where,
          reclining on a LIE-LOW with a CUP OF TEA in his hand, is
          William. The spoon rockets downward, straight into the cup.
          TINK! William stirs his tea, takes a sip and says...

                                   WILLIAM
                      And that's what there is.

          CUT TO:

                                       CREDITS

          CUT TO:

          INT. TRAIN - DAY

          Normal train, normal COMMUTERS. Voice over رتdeep and
          authoritative;

                                   VOICE OVER
                      Are you sure your train is not driven
                      by a dog?

          Close ups of commuters. Now worried. Evidently they are not
          sure.

                                   VOICE OVER
                      No. You are not.

          CUT TO:

          INT. DRIVERS CABIN - DAY

          A dog is driving the train.

                                       FADE OUT
I wrote this episode (one of six), as a low budget taster. After this, things get silly.