Meeting Nicola Walker

A few months ago I had heard that Nicola Walker (along with the other cast members of the National Theatre) was reprising her role in the Arthur Miller play “A View from the Bridge” on Broadway. I had seen it with some friends when the National Theatre Live production was aired at the local cinema, which was very powerful and very well done. So, when I heard about the show coming to Broadway, I checked with a couple friends (Anna Tara and Bettie Laven) online who might be interested and able to go. And thus began the planning for my fall road trip. Tickets for the performance (on Friday, 6th November) were purchased by Bettie since she lives in New York City. We had tickets for one of the Preview performances

I left my home in Fredericton, New Brunswick (Canada) and drove down Anna’s (Hartford area of Connecticut) on Thursday and early Friday morning we took the train into New York City. I don’t think either of us anticipated that NYC would be as warm as it was. By 10am it was already mid 70s (24C). We got to our hostel (Chelsea International Hostel on W20th Street) after getting our MTA (Metro Transit Authority) cards and taking the subway down from Penn Station. We lucked out that there had been a no-show the night before so the room we were supposed to be in was all clean and ready, so we got ourselves sorted and up to the top floor (walk-up) and were just hot. After a break, we got hold of Bettie who was going to take us around a walking tour of NYC, including a walk along The Highline (an old formerly abandoned elevated train line that was converted into a park / walking trail). I’ve been on parts of The Highline before with friends, but since that time, it had been completed up to W34th Street. I’ll have pictures of my New York weekend in another post.

Lyceum Theatre door

Lyceum Theatre door

We’d picked up our tickets (held at the theatre) and then gone for supper at Junior’s at Times Square for a nice meal. I made sure of one more bathroom run; this is important as the show is 90 minutes long with no intermission and if you did have to go out they wouldn’t let you back in. Anna and I had both seen the show when the National Theatre Live broadcast it to cinemas earlier this year. It was powerful even then, seeing it on screen. However, seeing the show live was just fantastic! It’s stunning. The acting was top notch, the direction, which went with a very minimal stripped down version of the play was wonderfully done. Fabulous! I can’t recommend it highly enough – and if I weren’t a long distance away from NYC again, I’d go see it again in a heartbeat.

We had asked ahead of time where the stage door was for meeting the cast after the show; it was on the next street behind (W46th). We headed back there after the show and waited in line. Fortunately for us, there were maybe only 16-17 other people besides us three. After about half an hour the cast came out and we had the chance to meet with them. I had my Playbill and a Sharpie all ready to go and had it signed by four of the cast.


Nicola Walker was the third person we saw (I think) and wow. I’ve met other actors over the past few years but I’ve been a fan of Nicola’s for many years – and mentioned to her that I’d been watching her work since her “Touching Evil” days with Robson Green (1997-1999). We (Anna, Bettie and I) talked with Nicola for a few minutes – including me mentioning how far I’d come to see her in the show, how much we’re liking “River” and “Unforgotten”, and that we were looking forward to “Last Tango in Halifax” returning. There was a couple others that she saw then Mark Strong (who plays Eddie Carbone) came out of the stage door and we briefly spoke with him as well.


After the show, and still on a happy high from meeting Nicola, Bettie, Anna and I headed back to Junior’s to get some cheesecake. While it’s not a dessert I regularly go for, that night we went with a nice rich cheesecake with cherries and cherry sauce on top. Yum. Anna and I parted ways with Bettie for the night and caught the subway back to our hostel. Still so warm we ended up keeping the window open. Oh what a night, indeed.

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Last Tango in Halifax – Series Three – Missing Scenes [Eps 304-306]

This post concludes the missing scenes from second half of series three of Last Tango in Halifax.

Okay, so these episodes were probably the hardest to re-watch, and possibly one of the reasons for the delay – in addition to switching work schedules to help accommodate vacation time, and need for sleep as I work rather anti-social hours. 😀

As usual, the segments omitted from the PBS broadcast are marked in red, and as the second half of the series has flashbacks, I’ve marked those in blue to differentiate from present day conversations. In this post, I have added a bit extra dialogue in some scenes rather than cut the scenes short here for brevity, oft times because the scenes are so brilliant as they are, and it loses something without the whole – kinda like what PBS edits out. (/snark)

As per usual, a huge thanks to Sally Wainwright for penning the series. Dialogue herein belongs to Sally, and images belong to Sally Wainwright and Red Productions. Much thanks.

If you’re interested in checking out the previous posts on missing scenes/words/sections from LTIH, here they are:

Series One – Episodes 101-103
Series One – Episodes 104-106
Series Two – Episodes 201-203
Series Two – Episodes 204-206
Series Three – Episodes 301-303

Episode 304

At the reception at Caroline’s house following Kate’s funeral. Greg, Kate’s friend and biological father of Flora, shows up.

Greg: Hello. Sorry. I know we didn’t hit it off, but I couldn’t not come. We were college buddies apart from anything else. So… how’s…uhm…I know I’m not supposed to ask, but how’s the baby?
Caroline: She’s fine. She’s fine.
Greg: A girl.
Caroline: yes.
Greg: I couldn’t…I couldn’t look at her?
Caroline: That wasn’t the plan, was it?
Greg: No. What’s going to happen to her?
Caroline: She’s going to be fine.
Greg: Are you?
Caroline: I’m looking after her.
Greg: Is that…?
Caroline: Official? Yes. I’m on the birth certificate as her parent.
Greg: No, I was going to say, is that what you want?
Caroline: Yes, of course it is.
Greg: It must be tough. I mean it’s not what you thought you were buying into, is it? You didn’t want her to have a baby and now you’re the one left with it.
Caroline: I didn’t not want her to have a baby.
Greg: Sorry, I must have misunderstood.
Caroline: No, I wanted what she wanted.
Greg: She said you weren’t as keen as she was.
Caroline: No, I wasn’t. But I wouldn’t have stopped her.
Greg: I’m sorry.
I better go. I’ve got the train back to Manchester. Just…I wanted just to say, I can see you’ve got a lot of help and support, but if you just needed someone to help look after her for a bit, or, and as I say, under any other circumstances, I wouldn’t be offering. In fact, I wouldn’t even be here. That was the deal and I’m aware of that. But if ever there was anything, I’m flexible. I’m self-employed. I can work anywhere. So I wouldn’t want you to feel like you couldn’t ask, or that it would be inconvenient, cause chances are, it wouldn’t be. That’s all.
Caroline: Okay. Well, thank you.
Greg: Have you got my number?
Caroline: it…it’ll be on Kate’s phone.
Greg: (nods) Well.
Caroline: She’s in the kitchen with my mum and Kate’s mum, if you want to…have a look at her.
Greg: I shouldn’t have asked.
Caroline: It’s up to you.
Greg: Okay. (Caroline starts towards the kitchen but Greg stops her.) Thing is, she’s with Kate’s mother. And…um…Kate’s mother thinks I’m an idiot. (Caroline continues on to the kitchen – her facial expression is one that would agree with Kate’s mum).



Alan’s talking to the Head of Maths at Caroline’s school, and having a cigarette.

Alan: Of course, they built the M6 toll road since then, so, well I’ve no idea if that’s any more efficient. (Takes a draw off a cigarette and spots Celia and puts it out). Oh shit.
Celia: Are you smoking?
Alan: Hmmm
Celia: You were smoking.
Alan: I wasn’t.
(Rest of scene intact.)



Following Caroline dropping William at the train station, she starts talking to baby Flora and Kate’s ghost:

Kate: Now what?
Caroline: God knows.
Kate: You’re doing really well, you know.
Caroline: No, I’m not.
Kate: I think you are.
Caroline: I’m talking to myself. That’s usually a sign of madness.
Kate: You can always ring Greg.
Caroline: (shaking head) Not ringing Greg.
Kate: He did offer.
Caroline: Not ringing Greg.
Kate: Maybe he’s not a big a twerp as you think he is.
Caroline: I think as twerps go in the twerp department, Greg is off the deep end.
Kate: You just don’t like him.
Caroline: No shit, Sherlock.
Kate: Don’t swear in front of Flora.
Caroline: Sorry.
Kate: You overuse that phrase anyway. You know that, don’t you?
Caroline: Yeah.

Kate: You do realize, as well, that Greg is the only person on the planet who’s likely to feel as protective towards Flora as you and my mum do. What use is my mum going to be? She’s winging it back to the States on Tuesday.
Caroline: Would you really hate it if I got a nanny? A good nanny? A really good, expensive proper nanny?
Kate: I wouldn’t speak to you, Caroline.
Caroline: Look…
Kate: You’ve got Mary Poppins in your head. That nanny doesn’t exist.
Caroline: Let me ring some of those numbers. We might both be pleasantly surprised. I promise…I promise I won’t do anything you’d hate. Look I love this kid, too. Not as much as you would have done, but I do. I do. I love her and I would do everything I can for her but I’ve got to deal with it all.



Gillian, Raff, Ellie and the baby are out in the yard as Gillian works on her truck, and talking about the wedding, and her not talking to Gary yet, and John’s staying over a couple weeks previous. There’s just one line there with a wee bit of cussing. 🙂

Gillian: And I don’t want to hear any smart-arse shit-stirring comments about John in front of Robbie, all right?



Gillian and Garry meet up in a cafe for tea and a chat.

Gary: Hey, sorry.
Gillian: It’s okay.
Gary: How are you? (Gillian nods pleasantly as he leans over to kiss her cheek. Then to cafe staff over at the counter, he calls out.) Can I have some tea? (takes coat off and sits down) Thanks for meeting me.
Gillian: It’s nice to see you.
Gary: Is it?
Gillian: Why wouldn’t it be?
Gary: Well, Alan hasn’t rung me for two weeks.
Gillian: Ah, he’s been in Harrogate.
Gary: Yeah.
It’s all been pretty traumatic, for everyone.
Gary: Sure, but then you didn’t ring me back either, til Sunday.
Gillian: Well, I’ve been a bit snowed under, my self as well.
Gary: Course. Course. It’s just that I’m paranoid.
Gillian: Are you? (nervous laughter)
Gary: Not normally.
Gillian: How’s Raff doing?
Gary: Really well, yeah. He loves it. He’s great. He’s such a nice lad.
Gillian: He can be when he’s not being a cocky little dick.
Gary: Me and Felicity are not getting on very well at the moment.
Gillian: Oh really…
Gary: Oh sorry, that’s…
Gillian: No.
Gary: I mean, since all this was probably all my fault
Gillian: Why? What do you mean?
Gary: Suddenly I felt very angry after we’d been over for lunch the other Sunday.
Gillian: Why?
Gary: How’s Caroline?
Gillian: She’s coping. Why did you feel angry?
Gary: I don’t know why. It’s not…
Gillian: Angry with?
Gary: Everything. Why, why my parents never told me. That’s a conversation that I can never have with them now.
Gillian: Yeah, I know. I understand. I do understand, because I feel the same.
Gary: And I’m remembering things, things that happened in the past and I’m wondering whether they did think more about our Adam, that’s my brother, than they did about me.
Gillian: He’s younger than…
Gary: Yeah. And my dad was his dad. His proper dad. And I’ve never, never thought like this before. I’ve never felt angry or jealous before. Well not like this.
Gillian: No? It changes the past, almost. Even if it doesn’t. But yeah, it colours the past. Well, that’s difficult, but…
Gary: And then nobody rings me up. After that Sunday, so I got all this shit in my head about my real parents and I’m thinking “Oh, and now he doesn’t really want to get to know me.”
Gillian: No, that’s…
Gary: But I’m the one who always has to be the one doing the ringing up.
Gillian: No, Gary, honestly, you’re reading too much into it. It’s been an odd few weeks.
Gary: You’re getting married!
Gillian: (chuckling) Yeah. You are invited.
Gary: Really?

Gillian: Just ring me dad up if you’re worried you’ve not heard from him.
Gary: Yeah, well…
Gillian: What?
Gary: I daren’t…
Gillian: Daren’t? You’re Gary Jackson.
Gary: Yeah, but it doesn’t mean anything. I don’t want to end up feeling like I’m being a nuisance all the time.
Gillian: My dad would never think like that.
Gary: Your Dad?
Gillian: Yeah. My Dad, your Dad. Whatever.
Gary: He is interested in me, I think.
Gillian: Yes, absolutely. He thinks you’re fantastic.
Gary: And Celia liked me.
Gillian: She loved you.
Gary: Sorry.
Gillian: Don’t…
Gary: I’m not like this. It’s just been such a shock, Gillian. It’s like it’s only just sunk in properly.
Gillian: I know.
Gary: The implications.
Gillian: I do know.
Gary: I’m sorry. I get obsessed and a little weird about stuff. That’s just me. (Anxiously wringing his hands, then speaks up louder than necessary trying to get the wait staff attention.) Is she even bringing me some tea?
Gillian: Calm down!
Gary: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Gillian: Calm down.



Episode 305

In the school cafeteria, the kids that put the labeled note on Lawrence’s back the previous week are a couple of tables away joking around. Lawrence and Angus decide to play a prank, lighting a firecracker and putting it under a nearby table, then stand up on the benches.

Lawrence: (accented voice) Everybody be cool, this is a robbery. Any of you pricks move, I’ll execute every last one of you. (Others are laughing, until the fireworks crack off, then screams. Lawrence and Angus start laughing and take off through the school).
Teacher: No running!
(The boys continue as they were and head out to the school grounds to the athletics field.)



Caroline and Gillian are in Gillian’s kitchen peeling vegetables and chatting.

Gillian: Suspended?
Caroline: Only for two days. I don’t wanna go over it.
Gillian: Is this since…?
Caroline: It’s ever since I got together with Kate, which obviously is difficult, but he was always a rebel who didn’t like doing any homework and, of course, John always indulged that sort of thing, so (Flora’s fussing in her carrier) I’m the Wicked Witch of Whatever, and John’s, you know…Jack Kerouac or something. Raff ever been suspended?
Gillian: No. (smirks) I was. Once.
Caroline: What for?
Gillian: No, I can’t tell you.
Caroline: Come on, why?
Gillian: Huh, what about you, Miss Goody-two-shoes? Were you never, ever in bother at school?
Caroline: (smiles) I was actually.
Gillian: (Gasps) Go on.
Caroline: It was bad. I never got suspended but I was in detention, twice. (Caroline’s smiling).
Gillian: Twice? Jesus, Caroline.
Caroline: Okay, this is good. This is funny. Home economics. You remember home economics?
Gillian: No, we did domestic science.
Caroline: Ah, well, it’s Food Tech now.
Gillian: La-di-da.
Caroline: It’s still taught by light-weights. I didn’t say that.
Gillian: I didn’t think you had. Go on.
Caroline: Okay. so home economics. I used to get so bored. I once got so bad I had a panic attackk. I’m 13 and I’m having a panic attack because I’m bored out of my mind. (Flora is still fussing). So, anyway, one week…(looks at Flora) She’s going to start soon.
Gillian: She’s fine. Go on.
Caroline: Okay, so, we’re making Cornish pasties. Cornish pasties? Why? Just buy them? (Gillian chuckles) So, anyway, we’d all done what we had to do and got everything in the oven and blah blah blah and we realized if we pulled our resources, us young ladies, we could make a few more. So, we invented a new filling. We cut up some brillo pads, a squirt of Fairy, a teaspoonful of Ajax, mix it in with the leftovers…
Gillian: Yes!
Caroline: Stuffed it in the pastry, brushed milk on the pastry, cooked them, they looked lovely. Went off to whatever class was next and fed them to the boys , who ate them. I’m sorry, but you know, they were complicit in their own downfall. I would have spat that out.
Gillian: Yeah but boys, they’ll eat owt, won’t they?
Caroline: Exactly.
Gillian: Plus, they’re not very bright. (She looks over at Calamity babbling).
Caroline: No, they’re just wired differently. So, they were all sick and we got sent to the headteacher and got detention. Which we all agreed afterwards that it was worth it because it was so funny.
Gillian: Well done!
Caroline: Thank you.
Gillian: (tapping on the fussing Flora’s carrier) See? Not perfect after all. And yet, ironically, my estimation of your mum now goes through the roof. (Smiles back at Caroline).
Caroline: So, what did you get in bother for?

Gillian: Having sex in the cricket pavilion.
Caroline: No! You’re lying!
Gillian: (Sighs) You’re not going to go all Headmistressy on me?
Caroline: Who with?
Gillian: Robbie…probably. Yeah, it would have been… him. See? Really should have stuck with him.
Caroline: (looking over at Gillian) Yeah.
Gillian: Will you come? To the wedding?
Caroline: I suppose it’d look odd if I didn’t, wouldn’t it? (long pause) I can’t believe that my mother’s gone to a football match.
Gillian: No. No! No?



Caroline arrives home with Flora in her carrier. John is there. There’s just a bit of swearing that’s cut out with a couple of lines, but the whole damned scene is so fabulous, especially Caroline’s telling him off, so I just included the whole scene.

John: Ah, you’re back. Lawrence is in bed.
Caroline: I thought he was staying at your flat.
John: Yeah, we were. But I think when it came to it, he preferred to sleep in his own bed. So…I bought him some noise-cancelling headphones. And I think those, along with the ear plugs when she starts…Might help. (Caroline picks up the carrier again and heads into the kitchen area by the dining room). Has she not…?
Caroline: No. Not yet. But she will. It’s only ’cause she’s been in the car.
John: Do you want a glass of wine?
Caroline: Uh…No. I’m going to bed.
John: How was Gillian?
Caroline: Fine.
John: Good. Good. That’s good. And how are you? How are things?
Caroline: Shit. But you know, it’ll get better.
John: No, it will. Of course it will.
(awkward pause) Right, well I’ll… get my jacket. (Leaves room)
(Caroline’s busy taking Flora’s things out of her carry bag, looks over to the couch and sees a vision of Kate)
Ghost Kate: You were happy today. I saw you.
Caroline: Briefly.
John: (Returning to the room) I just wanted to say. Bit ironic, now that I’ve got the flat sorted out, but it was just to say that we had a great day, me and Lawrence. It was nice. He was happy. We enjoyed each other’s company, and…Is there an argument, bear with me…Is there an argument for you and me…getting back together?
Caroline: No.
John: Fair enough. I just thought…
Caroline: Sure.
John: It was worth…
Caroline: Yeah.
John: Suggesting. Asking. Seeing what you…Well, anyway…I’ve put the idea out there. Perhaps it’s something to dwell on.

Caroline: (thinking through the crap that John is talking about – realizing that she’s not really paid much attention) Sorry, hang on. Wait a minute. What?
John: Well.
Caroline: It’s six weeks tomorrow that Kate died. It’s less than six weeks since Kate died.
John: Well…
Caroline: Are you seriously asking me that question?
John: As I say…
Caroline: God, you’re like something out of a joke book, aren’t you?
John: It was just an idea for Lawrence. And, well, for Laura…Flora, actually.
Caroline: Do you seriously think…
John: You were the one who asked if I’d help out the other day. Surely having two parents…
Caroline: What do you think I am? John, I don’t think that you do think, do you? I think you just let words spill out of your mouth and on to the floor and see if anyone’s stupid enough to pick them up.
John: Okay. Well, that’s…
Caroline: I’m a lesbian. I like sleeping with other women. I always did and this is after you’ve been trying so blatantly to get inside Gillian’s knickers, again.
John: That’s…That was never… (Caroline obviously thinks he’s an idiot and it shows in her facial expressions). Okay, forget it. I mistimed it.
Caroline: Yeah. I think that just about sums it up.
John: Okay, well I’ll drop the latch.
Caroline: Yeah. if you would.
John: I’ll phone you.
Caroline: Right.
John: I’ll…
Caroline. Yeah, whatever. (Starts shutting door on him)
John: That’s…(turns around as door shuts as he mutters)



Caroline’s on the phone with Holly’s mother after she and Alan and Celia return from the police with Flora. She’s holding Flora in her arms and still shaking.

Caroline: (on phone) Okay, thank you. Bye-bye. (puts the portable handset down).
Celia: You all right, love?
Caroline: Well according to her mother that’s why she dropped out of university.
Celia: Good Lord!
Alan: I thought you got her through an agency?
Caroline: I did. She had references. The agency obviously knows nothing, well presumably they don’t, or they’d never have taken her on.
Celia: You see? They can hide it.
Caroline: Her mother said she could be fine for weeks and then she’ll have an upset or whatever and then she’ll have a drink and that’s it, she can’t stop.
Celia: God, she must be sickened, her mother.
Caroline: (holds out hand) Look at me, I’m still shaking.
Alan: Well it’s a terrible disease. A young lass like that.
Caroline: She could have killed her. What was she not thinking, getting into a car…(hitting the kitchen counter with her hand for emphasis) Getting behind the wheel of a car, in that state with a baby. Somebody else’s baby. And where had she been to get so drunk? Where had Flora been? And why Bradford?
Alan: You really ought to ring that agency.
Caroline: I will. I’m going to. I just need a bit more…
Celia: They’ll get shut of her.
Caroline: Equilibrium.
Celia: She’ll not get work.
Alan: Well, she can’t be in charge of little ones if she’s…
Celia: Of course she can’t.

Caroline: You know she was such a nice girl at school. She was so…She was perfectly normal. Kate knew her. She would have been delighted with her. How could I have known? I couldn’t have known, could I?
Celia: It’s not your fault, love.
Caroline: What the hell am I going to do? I knew I shouldn’t have gone back to work. I mean, that’s it. I’m going to have to resign. I’m going to have to take early retirement. I’m just going to have to rethink everything.
Celia: Well, there are other nannies.
Caroline: No, no, no. No, Kate, she’d kill me.
Celia: You can’t resign.
Caroline: What choice have I got? It’s ridiculous. Even with a nanny, I come home and there’s still everything to do. I can’t sleep, I can’t think. I haven’t got a second to myself and then that’s not good for her. I want her to feel loved. I don’t want her to feel like she’s an inconvenience. (Voice softens as she looks at Flora) She isn’t.
Celia: I mean, who else is there? I mean, we said we’ll do what we can, but…
Caroline: I know. I know. I know. I know. It’s impossible. The whole thing is impossible.
Ghost Kate: (standing behind Caroline) You know, when push comes to shove, which it would appear to have done, you could always ring Greg.
Caroline: I suppose I could always ring Greg.
Alan: Who?
Celia: The father?
Caroline: Mmmm.
Alan: Really?
Ghost Kate: I know you can’t stand him.
Celia: I thought you thought he was a jerk.
Caroline: Yeah, he is, but…
Ghost Kate: You know, I’ve always thought you’d feel very differently about him if you got to know him properly.
Caroline: He offered at the funeral to help…
Ghost Kate: Ring him.
Caroline: (sighs) He’s self-employed. I don’t know what he does, but he meant he could be flexible and…And he did offer…And you saw what he was like with her, I mean. Well, he’d love her, wouldn’t he?
Celia: Yeah, but he can’t just drop everything, can he?
Ghost Kate: I bet he would.



John’s been talking with Alan and Celia – after finding Greg having dinner with Caroline and Lawrence – and talking about how everything in this marriage fell apart. Seemingly trying to compare his long-term affair with Judith with Alan’s one-night fling with Gary’s mother. Alan and Celia are not impressed. John tries to explain what happened, as shown through flashback after Caroline’s found out about Judith.

Caroline: (At the top of a rung of stairs, throws shoe down at John – he ducks a bit and it hits a glass frame behind him). Eighteen years! Eighteen fucking years! (Another shoe thrown).
John: Caroline! Caroline! Stop it, Caroline! The boys are in tears. They don’t know what’s going on. (book thrown)
Caroline: (suitcase thrown) Oh, well. Shall we tell them. Do you want to or shall I?
John: I think you’re becoming hysterical. (Caroline grabs a lamp post) No, really. I think you are actually becoming…(lamp thrown down the stairs at him).
Caroline: Your daddy has been having it off with somebody else, boys!
John: (Stammering) That’s…that’s that’s just irresponsible. (Another shoe thrown hitting broken glass).
Caroline: Despite having a beautiful home, two wonderful children and a pretty damned fantastic wife, Daddy has been putting it about elsewhere. (More items thrown).
John: That’s…
Caroline: What? What is it? Are you embarrassed? Embarrassed? You shit. (More stuff thrown as Caroline comes down the stairs, more glass broken). You shit!


(Out of flashback:)
Alan: Heck!
John: Yeah. I left. I left and I didn’t want to. And the irony is, that in her version of events, i.e. the official version of events, the one that everyone believes, including my children, is that I left her for an alcoholic. And it just wasn’t like that. (mobile ringing) Is that you?
Alan: (Checks his phone and answers) Hello. (to Celia and John:) It’s Gillian. (John looks predictably interested).
Gillian: Have you seen this week’s Courier? (referring to the Halifax Courier newspaper that she’s got laid out with an article about Gary and his real Dad – showing a Buttershaw-Dawson family wedding photo w/ Gary insert).
Alan: No.
Gillian: Huh. You’re not going to believe this.
Alan: Well, what is it, love?


Episode 306

This first scene is kinda split back and forth between Gillian having a panic attack at the house and Caroline trying to figure out what’s up, a meeting between Gillian and Gary, and Gary and Raff. Gillian tells Caroline that she feels guilty going through with the wedding because a) everyone else wants this big do for her and Robbie, and b) feeling guilty about the stuff in the paper.

(flashback of Gillian and Gary in a cafe chatting)
Gary: Why didn’t he come and talk to me?
Gillian: It’s not how he does things.
Gary: Just going silent on me and not answering the phone calls.
Gillian: He doesn’t make a fuss. It’s not his way.

(flashback of Gary and Raff conversation at work)
Raff: It’s embarrassing. You’ve embarrassed him.
Gary: How?
Raff: It’s like saying, “Here’s this little old fella who was unfaithful to his wife all those years ago.”
Gary: That itsn’t…That wasn’t…That isn’t what it was about at all.
Raff: No, but it’s implied. It’s fairly obvious what the story behind it is. That is going to be read by everyone who knows him. Everyone around here. And it’s embarrassing. You’ve humiliated him.
Gary: No, I haven’t.
Raff: Fine. You asked my why he seems to stop bothering with you. Well, as far as I’m aware, that’s what seems to be the answer.


(switches back to conversation with Gillian and Gary)
Gary: You know, if anyone should be embarrassed, it’s me. Finding out the man who I thought was my dad, wasn’t my dad, age 46. It’s me who’s been humiliated, lied to. God knows what.
Gillian: Well, obviously, that’s your perspective.
Gary: My perspective?

Gillian: Yes. That’s…I’m not making light of it. Obviously you’re having it to deal with.

Gary: I didn’t do the interview to embarrass him.
Gillian: No, but he is…
Gary: That’s not why I did it.
Gillian: Yeah, but nobody thinks…That’s not the point.
Gary: I did it because I want to celebrate the fact that he’s my dad. I did it to embrace the fact that he’s my dad. I don’t want any of us to be embarrassed about it.
Gillian: Well, that’s very nice, obviously. But from his point of view you can see, surely you can see, that you’ve pointed out in public that he was unfaithful to the woman he was married to. My mother.


Raff: My granny.
Gary: Yeah, I don’t think that’s how people would see it.
Raff: That’s how he sees it.
Gary: Is it Celia? She’s found an excuse to go all funny about it again, and make him feel bad about things.
Raff: No. If anything, she’s the one who’s been trying to make out it’s not as bad as he thinks.
Gary: Really? (sceptical)
Raff: Yeah.
And I think me granddad’s right about me going to university and getting a degree. Not that I’m not grateful about the job offer, but, I think on balance, I’d rather stick to the original plan.


Gillian: He keeps going up to my mum’s plaque at the chapel in Blackley, where we scattered her ashes.
Gary: Why?
Gillian: Because he feels guilty.
Look Gary. No one thinks you did it out of malice.
Gary: Well, maybe, I don’t know. Maybe he should feel a bit guilty.
Gillian: Yeah, well, he does. So…
Gary: So, should I apologise?
Gillian: Well, you could try.

(end flashbacks)


(Back to Gillian and Caroline’s conversation)
Gillian: I think he touched a nerve. My dad. I think Gary’s motives for that newspaper article were a bit dubious. So, they’re not speaking to each other. Our Raff’s declined, thank God, Gary’s very generous, thank you, offer to stop him going to university and take him on full time, train him up to be something he’s never expressed any interest in whatsoever. (Caroline’s looking a bit confused) Accountancy.
Caroline: Ah.

Gillian: So, that’s how I end up in this…fix. Peacekeeping. My wedding is a glorified peacekeeping operation.
Caroline: Okay, so…Okay, so I think to begin with, it’s not a fix. If you stand back and look at it, it’s…it’s bigger than you wanted. Yes. But actually what is it? It’s a few hours standing there smiling, and then it’s all over with. The chances are, and I bet you anything, you’ll get to the end of the day, earlier, sooner, once the formalities are over and done with and you’ll realise that actually, you’re having a great time. Or at the very least, it’s just not that bad.
Gillian: (heavy sigh)
Alan: (waiting downstairs, calls up the stairs to them) How are we doing?
Caroline: What do you think? Is it about something else?
Gillian: No, no, no.
Caroline: It’ll be fine. Come on, you don’t want your dad to think it’s his fault.
Gillian: Don’t I?
Caroline: You’re really normal to feel like this at the last minute. I bet you’ve got all sorts of daft misgivings buzzing around in your head, but you’ve just got to tell yourself that it’s normal, yeah? Okay?
Gillian: You didn’t want me to marry him!
Caroline: Yeah, but we talked that through and you made the decision, didn’t you?
Gillian: (sighs)



At the wedding do, folks are standing round talking. Robbie’s not feeling all too well following his stag do.

Harry: Hair of the dog.
Robbie: Does that work?
Harry: Never tried it.
Celia: I’ve no sympathy.
Robbie: Yes, Celia. You keep saying.
Dave: Try it and see if it works.
Harry: What do you fancy? I’ll get it.
Celia: What were you doing drinking til 3:00 this morning?
Robbie: It was a stag night. (Sighs) Banging headache.
Harry: What do you fancy then, lad? Brandy? Whiskey? Doubles?
Dave: All right. Go on.
Robbie: I think it must be summat else. I’m wondering if I’m coming down with flu.
Gary: (who’s just come in with his wife & daughters) Hello, Celia.
Celia: Oh, hello.
Gary: Robbie, you’re looking forward to Mallorca?
Robbie: Yeah:
Felicity: You’ll love it. I’ve told Mariella, the housekeeper, just to stay out of your way.
(John and Greg come in; John carrying Flora’s baby carrier).
Robbie: (looks over at him then points him out to his best man) Here’s that lanky streak of greasy shite I told you about that she insisted on inviting. You have got the ring safe, haven’t you?
Dave: No, Robbie, I flogged it.
Ellie: Are you going to say hello to Gary?
Raff: Of course. I haven’t fallen out with him.



(flashback to an argument with Gillian and Gary. Gillian’s holding an axe in her hand, gesticulating with it during the argument.)
Robbie: Gillian, it’s agreed. We’ve accepted it.
Gillian: Yeah, because of me dad falling out with him. And then our Raff, deciding he’s not taking him up on his stupid job offer.
Robbie: It’s booked, it’s paid for, we’ve sent out the invitations. You’ve been happily choosing all the stuff you want, flowers, menu, decor.
Gillian: Only because people kept ringing up and asking bloody questions.
Gary: You’re being…You are being irrational. Just relax. Just enjoy it for God’s sake, just go with the flow. Is this about something else?
Gillian: It’s about not being in control of my own wedding. It’s about having my wedding hijacked by Mr. Moneybags and turned into a circus. And you, you going on and on and on at me.
Robbie: It would have been weird not to have accepted it.
Gillian: It wouldn’t! It would not. It would have been normal.
Robbie: Gillian.
Stop being a twat.


Caroline’s stopped at a petrol station to put some fuel in the Jeep; Alan’s headed into the station to pay for it, so Gillian decides to carry on an earlier conversation.

Gillian: There is more to it than what I’ve said.
Caroline: Okay.
Gillian: I shagged this bloke I work with.
Caroline: When?
Gillian: Ollie.
Caroline: When?
Gillian: At the supermarket. Not at the supermarket. In the back of his van.
Caroline: So this is -?
Gillian: Four weeks ago. (quick flashback to the van – not covering the brief flash) Obviously, it shouldn’t have happened. Obviously it was cause of Robbie calling me a twat, and I just thought that…Right you…That is going to have repercussions, whether I like it or not. That is going to have reprecussions.
Caroline: Was it just that once?
Gillian: Yes.
Caroline: Lashing out?
Gillian: If you like.
Caroline: And this Ollie lad, he’s someone that you’ve had shenanigans with before?
Gillian: Yeah, he’s an old…well, I say old, he’s 24. But yeah. Bit of an old pal, yeah.
Caroline: Not. Not the…?
Gillian: No.
Caroline: Except that it’s not like you’re embarking on something new, if it was just…
Gillian: No, no.
Caroline: A moment…
Gillian: Yes!
Caroline: And that’s how this lad, this…
Gillian: Ollie.
Caroline: Ollie sees it, he’s not…likely to kick up a fuss.
Gillian. No. God, no. Except he’s…He’ll be there.
Caroline: To…to…to the…
Gillian: I invited him.
Caroline: Today?
Gillian: Well, I sent the invites, didn’t I? Before I…with him.
Caroline: But he’s not going to say anything?
Gillian: No, no, no. I don’t know.
Caroline: Jesus.
Gillian: I doubt it.
Caroline: (Takes a moment as she hangs up the pump before heading back to the car, directly in front of Gillian) So is this something you want to tell Robbie about to get off your chest, before you…
Gillian: No, no. I just needed to tell someone else.
Caroline: All right.
Gillian: I know you think I’m a right old slapper.
Caroline: No, I don’t. I don’t. Think things like that. I think…You’re an adult. People are what they are.
Gillian: I don’t like feeling trapped, owned, chattle…-ated. That’s not a word.
Caroline: No.
Gillian: But you know what I mean.
Caroline: Yeah. I think you’ve got to shoulder the burden of the guilt, whatever. Put it all behind you and tell yourself it happened, won’t happen again and move forward, yeah?
Gillian: Yeah.
Caroline: Yeah.
Gillian: Yeah, yeah, yeah. (Caroline closes the door of the car and goes round to her side.


Gillian: It wasn’t…it wasn’t just Ollie.
Caroline: Okay. Well, what else?
Gillian: John. John, it was John. And that was your fault.
Caroline: My fault?
Gillian: Indirectly.
Caroline: Oooh, I’m dying to hear this.
Gillian: It was when he thought you were shagging Greg.
Caroline: Who thought I was shagging Greg?
Gillian: He did. John did.
Caroline: When?
Gillian: When he moved in, at your house. Greg. When Greg moved in.
Caroline: John did?
Gillian: Yes!
Caroline: John did?
Gillian: My dad. Shut up.


Caroline’s driving them off to the wedding and they’re discussing things about John and Greg being buddies, when a car is driving in the middle of the road, forcing Caroline off to the side where she gets a flat rear tyre.

Gillian: Idiot!
Caroline: Did you see that?
Gillian: Jerk! (looking back and yelling, despite the fact the other driver can’t hear her) You tosser!
Caroline: Oh, hang on.
Alan: Is summat up?
Caroline: Oh my God.
Alan: That’s all we need.
Caroline: We can only be ten minutes from the hotel. We just need to ring someone up to come and fetch us.
Gillian: No signal.
Alan: No, neither have I. We should have gone through Halifax instead of coming over tops.
Gillian: Yeah.
Caroline: (holding her phone up to see if she can find a signal) Okay, well.
Alan: Yeah.
Gillian: This is a sign.
Alan: What is?
Gillian: From God. That I shouldn’t show up.
Alan: Oh.
Caroline: (Sizing up the wheel) I think, between us, we can change a wheel in 10 minutes. And they’re expecting us to be a little late anyway, aren’t they?
Alan: Yes, that’s…Yeah, true.
Caroline: So?
Gillian: He’s not changing a wheel. (To her dad) You’re not changing a wheel. You’ve got a heart condition.
Alan: Well, where’s the manual. I can read the instructions.
Caroline: In the glove compartment.
Gillian: You realise we’re going to get covered in cack and goo and grease and general shite –
Caroline: Yeah. But we’re not just standing here.



Caroline rolls the wheel out of the back of her Jeep, then rolls it over to the side and takes a breather once she drops it; Gillian’s still looking at the manual

Caroline: So what’s this thing then, that happened?
Gillian: (after relaying to Caroline about her conversation with John) I knew it was a mistake before anything had even happened. It was why I wanted to do it in the first place that haunts me.
Caroline: So, his…his plan was thinking I’d have him back? That is…
Gillian: I think it still is, ’cause obviously after that, I had to send him packing again.
Caroline: That is so misguided.
Gillian: Mmmm.
Caroline: So hang on. So you’ve shagged Ollie and John in the last…
Gillian: It was more of a fumble with John. The logistics were a bit…(waggles hand)
Caroline: Okay.
Gillian: But yeah…
Caroline: (trying to get the bolts off with the lug wrench, without success) Okay, this is impossible.
Gillian: Is it?
Caroline: Easier to screw them on in the factory with the pneumatic thingy.
Gillian: You need to stand on the lever. Shift over, I’ll do it.
Caroline: No! We’re keeping you clean. Stand on it?
Gillian: Yeah. Yeah. Then you got your whole weight. (Caroline huffs) Then you need to jump up and down a bit. (Caroline does so and the lever creaks). Yeah, that’s it. (Caroline’s still bouncing on the lever – and Alan looks back to see what’s happening.) Is it shifting? (Clank)
Caroline: Yeah. (One more bounce, the lug comes off and Caroline lands on the ground in some manure). Oh, shit! Ugh.
Gillian: Yeah, but it worked. It’s worked. Look! The…There’s just the other four to loosen now.
Caroline: Oh shit. (sighing).
Gillian: You’re doing really well. I get covered in crap every day. It’s a matter of course and it’s not that bad. Honestly, it’s just…it’s just horse shit, that. It’s nice. It’s friendly. It’s good for you. They’re not carnivorous. So, you know. It could be worse. (Caroline sighs). It’s just grass. It’s grass and bacteria, really. You’re a chemist.
Caroline: (Upon seeing the heel of her shoe broken off) Oh, no.
Gillian: Okay, let me –
Caroline: No! No! You stand back. One of us is going to get there looking decent, and obviously, it isn’t going to be me.
Alan: Are you all right? (Caroline sighs)
Gillian: She’s fine. One day, we’ll look back on this and laugh. Or not, possibly. Were those shoes very expensive? (Caroline gives her a dirty look).
Alan: You don’t think it’s going to rain, do you? (at which point it does, with a rumble of thunder).



Gary and Felicity are having a conversation at the wedding.

Felicity: So is it true?
Gary: Who told you that?
Felicity: The little thingy over there, with the baby. Ellie.
Gary: Ah, okay.

Felicity: You paid Harry’s costs?
Gary: Well…
Felicity: £46,000.
Gary: Does it matter?
Felicity: (sighs) You don’t know these people. (Chuckling) I mean, God, you spent ten grand on this.
Gary: I felt sorry for him, and…And I thought it might make Alan a little bit more, you know, a little bit less ill-disposed towards me.
Felicity: And did it?
Gary: No. He accused me of trying to suck up to his friends.
Felicity: Well, you had better not tell my father that you have undermined his authority.
Gary: No, I’m going to tell your father anything I like. It’s my money. Yeah. Sorry, Richard, I paid this 75-year old man’s costs for him because your ruling meant he wouldn’t have a roof over his head.
Felicity: He damaged the lock. People were incovenienced for weeks. He was drunk.
Gary: It was an accident.



After Gillian and Caroline escape to the bathroom to get tidied up

Gillian: There was something else.
Caroline: What?
Gillian: It was weird.
Caroline: What was?
Gillian: Yesterday. Robbie. Before he set up here to his stag do. (She relays the conversation that Robbie knew all about Eddie beating the shit out of her and not doing anything, and that he didn’t blame her but the consequences if she had were severe). “Because murder is murder,” he said. (sniffling) And that was it. I said I was glad he told me. And that was it. Which is why I don’t think I can go through with it. It wasn’t all that other stuff. That was just excuses. Rubbish. You see, I’ve always imagined, in some…mad, alternative universe that one day, I could tell him the truth and he would understand. And he’d forgive me. But now, I know that he never would. Ever. He’s a copper. It’s how he thinks. I’m sorry. I should have told you that in the first place, before we set off. That’s why I couldn’t come out of the bathroom. I couldn’t say it, so I came out with the all that other shit.
Caroline: Wow.
Gillian: Yeah.
Caroline: Buf if you pulled out now, what reason would you give him?
Gillian: Ollie, John. Gary paying for everything, me being bulldozed into stuff. Or I could say I was upset about what he told me. That he knew Eddie knocked me about and he did nothing. (sighs)
Caroline: I don’t know what to say.
Gillian: (Sighing) I should have listened to you. It was wrong. I never should have got involved with him. You were right. You were right.
Caroline: I don’t know what to say.
Gillian: You’ve been a really good friend, and I’ve just dumped a load of crap on you. As usual.
Caroline: Oh, don’t worry about that. It’s fine. It’s what friends are for. It’s just, I…(sighs) I don’t know what to say.
Gillian: (sighs & sniffles) On the other hand, he’s such a nice man and he’s had such a rubbish life. He was orphaned. His brother got murdered…Died, and now (sighs) how could I think about standing him up at the altar in front of all his friends? Wouldn’t that be worse? Now. Now we got this far.
Caroline: You know…You can always get divorced. Afterwards.
Gillian: Yeah. (Both sighing)
Caroline: I look ridiculous.
Gillian: Yes, you do.



To leave on this on a happier note, I’ll leave you with a wonderful shot of Caroline and Gillian after the wedding, since we’re going to have quite a wait until series four is underway. All the best to you until then. 🙂


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Last Tango in Halifax – Series Three – Missing Scenes [Eps 301-303]

Here we go again for another series of Last Tango in Halifax being aired on PBS with clips and sections edited out for various reasons, the choices in the edits I don’t always understand. For me, whether you like the choices made or not, each part of Sally Wainwright’s writing is very specific and nuanced, so making the editing choices from the full BBC edition to make way for PBS’s advertisements during their airings of the show doesn’t make sense.

This series was just as interesting, beautiful, heartbreaking to watch for the second time as it was the first time. Admittedly, while I own the official BBC DVDs and have digital copies of the episodes on my computer’s hard drive, I’ve not actually re-watched the third series again until now. In order to do the write-ups for series three, I’ve recorded the eps from PBS to my DVR, and using the digital BBC copies on my computer to make the comparisons. There are a couple of lines or sections of lines that I did have to guess at due to the mumbling of a word or two, or an unfamiliarity of a word/location. I’ve tried my best to sort out everything for you. If you happen to spot an error in wording, let me know and I can fix it.

A HUGE thank you to Sally Wainwright, Red Productions and the cast and crew of Last Tango in Halifax for yet another strong series, which made me laugh and cry in almost equal measure. The writing, acting, directing (and so much more) were phenomenally done. Original dialogue and images belong to Sally Wainwright and Red Productions.

This post covers the first three episodes of series three. The next one will come after the second half of the series has been aired. If you’re interested in checking out the previous posts on missing scenes/words/sections from LTIH, here they are:

Series One – Episodes 101-103
Series One – Episodes 104-106
Series Two – Episodes 201-203
Series Two – Episodes 204-206

As per previous posts, the segments/words edited out are written in red.

Series Three – Episodes 301

Caroline and Kate are celebrating Valentine’s Day with chocolates and cider, kissing on the couch while University Challenge plays in the background.

Host: Your bonuses are on quantum physics: Heisenberg’s original uncertainty relation concerns which two observable properties of a particle?
Caroline: (briefly breaking kiss) position and momentum.(continues the kissing)
Student: Yeah, location and momentum.
Host: Position and momentum is correct, yes. (clapping from studio audience). Quantitatively, the product of the two uncertainties is always greater than or equal to the unreduced Planck’s Constant H divided by what number?
Caroline: (breaks kiss again) 4 pi.
Host: (after students look at each other in query) Come along. Let’s have it, please.
Caroline: (responding to the tv screen) 4 pi. (Kate feeds her a chocolate candy).
Host: Quickly.
Caroline: (indignant, speaking around the chocolate) It’s 4 pi….hello?
Student: Speed of Light
Host: No, It’s 4 π.
Caroline: Mmm. No shit.
Host: A similar uncertainty relationship exists between energy and what quantity?
Kate: (grabs the remote) I’m turning this off (spoken over the host, then hits the off button).
Caroline: Oh, guess what? Gillian’s got a date.
Kate: Has she? Gillian?
Caroline: This bloke…
Kate: What bloke?
Caroline: Just came in to the shop apparently and asked her out.
Kate: Oh that’s romantic.
Caroline: Is it?
Kate: Isn’t it?
Caroline: Oh, it’s very Gillian.
Kate: I can never work out whether you love Gillian to bits or you think she’s a complete plonker.
Caroline: It’s kind of…both.
(starts rubbing Kate’s pregnant belly). I’ve got something else for you. As well as the card, and flowers and the chocolate.
Kate: What?
Caroline: Okay. You know Christmas?
Kate: Yeah.
Caroline: (continuing to play her fingers over Kate’s belly) I was so happy…when you know…and I was thinking, with the baby nearly due and everything (reaches behind her and puts an open ring box on Kate’s belly). Should…shall…why don’t we get married…properly…married.
Kate: (bubbles up with happy laughter.)
Caroline: (leaning up to look at her properly) Is that a…? What is that?
Kate: nods her head and they both start giggling before returning to the kissing.



This scene picks up with Caroline & Celia’s conversation where Caroline informs Celia that she and Kate are getting married. It is kind of a long scene, and the part PBS cut was near the end of it, so rather than type out the whole thing, I’ll backtrack slightly before the end of what PBS aired and continue on. Celia was getting on about what the baby would call her, and blaming Caroline’s father for being ineffectual as a man as to explain why Caroline was gay, so Celia had projected expectations onto Caroline growing up.

Celia: …I thought you were in a rush.
Caroline: Yeah, but you know that’s all bollocks, don’t you? I was born this way, to quote Lady Gaga. (turns to the door and opens it).
Celia: Oh, I like Lady Gaga.
Caroline: Do you?
Celia: Mmhmm. She’s nuts.
Caroline: (turns back to her mum and gives her a kiss) I’m going now. (heads out the door back her own part of the house).
Celia: She reckons to be a lesbian. I’ll bet she isn’t, anymore than you are.
Caroline (stops and turns back to her mum. She starts to speak then turns back to the car rather than get into another argument). No, I’m going to work.
Celia: Okay, ta ta love. (closes the door to her granny suite).



Raff, Ellie, Alan, Celia and Gillian are having dinner, talking about Harry’s accident with his narrowboat. Alan and Gillian aren’t really participating in the conversation after talk about Alan’s old fling.

Raff: It’s shameful. A fella in his 70s being ordered by some over-privileged toffee-nosed twat of a judge to sell his house.
Ellie: He could have killed someone.
Raff: Yeah, but he didn’t. He was enjoying his retirement. He had a mishap.
Ellie Which would have all been fine if he’d not been over the limit.
Celia: Who is it that he actually owes the money to? Who is it that’s taking him to court? The council?
Ellie: No, it’s the…
Raff: Waterways and Rivers Authority. Evil bastards.



This next scene was completely missing from the PBS airing of this episode.

Celia, Alan and Harry are at Harry’s house while Harry goes through some papers. Alan’s sitting in a chair, very pensive while they talk about Harry’s need to sell his house.

Celia: I think you’ve got to bite the bullet.
Harry: I have. I’ve rung the estate agent. That one down Rippondon. She’s popping up this aft.
Celia: Hmmm. I’ve very good at selling houses. Sold four and we always got the asking price.
Harry: My.
Celia: What you need, Harry, is a good tidy up and a lick of paint.
Harry: I have tidied up. (Celia turns around to him, askance, as he moves some things off the couch.)
Celia: When? Recently?
Harry: Yeah. Just before you came.
Celia: (disbelieving) Okay.
Harry: I think, what somebody would be buying, with a house like this, is personality.
Celia: I think, I’m only giving you an opinion…
Harry: No, no. Go on.
Celia: I think your definition of tidied up and somebody else’s might differ.
Harry: Well, yeah, obviously. But anybody with an ounce of wit can see it’s got potential. And you couldn’t put a price on view out that Velux window in the attic.
Celia: Oh, no. I think that’s your big selling point. It’s a blank canvas.
Alan: Have you thought where you might move to if it did sell?
Harry: I’m not moving without Yvonne.
Alan and Celia: No.
Harry: Even if she asked me, which she wouldn’t. I’ve got an appointment with local housing. Rang ’em this morning. Nice girl. But obviously there’s a waiting list.
Celia: (to Alan) Right. Should we make tracks, Mr. Buttershaw?
Harry: You don’t suppose I could move up to farm?
Alan: No, you couldn’t. There’s not room.
Harry: Yeah, but you and Celia have got your little pad in Harrogate. I could doss in your room.
Alan: Don’t be so bloody daft.



Lawrence and Angus are at school walking in the hallway, talking about his mum and Kate’s wedding.

Lawrence: You don’t have to come, man.
Angus: I don’t mind coming, dude.
Lawrence: It’ll be, like, boring.
Angus: Dude, so what. Saturdays are, like, boring anyway.
Lawrence: They better not read out, like, any poems.
Angus: Why not?
Lawrence: ‘Cause that would be truly embarrassing.
Some classmates come up to the boys and turn to place a sticky paper to the back of Lawrence’s school jacket, then walk off laughing.
Boy: Sorry, man.
Lawrence: Oh, yeah. (More laughter from the passing boys). (Back talking to Angus) Poems, no. Not poems. Search for poems that are lesbino.

Angus turns back to look at the guys still laughing then back to Lawrence but not before noticing the sign stuck to Lawrence’s back and pulls it off.

Lawrence: What? What’s that?
Angus: It’s nothing.
Lawrence: What is it?
Angus: (crumples the paper and holds it up) Nothing.
Lawrence: (grabs it and unwrinkled it to read it, then crumples it again about ready to take off).
Angus: It’s not worth it. It’s not worth it!
Lawrence tackles the boys that were responsible.

Very shortly thereafter, the boys are in Caroline’s office. She unfolds the sheet of paper in question, which reads “My mum sips from the furry cup”. She’s not amused.

Caroline: Who was it?
Lawrence: No one.
Caroline: Who was it?
Lawrence: No one.
Caroline: (turning to Angus) Who was it?
Angus: (looks at Caroline then Lawrence) Seb Dickson.
Caroline: (to Beverly who is standing there) Could you find Seb Dickson’s parents for me and explain to them that he’s been involved in a homophobic incident…
Lawrence: Do you have to?
Caroline: …and I’d like to see them at their earliest convenience? (Beverly turns to head out to her office). (To Lawrence) Yes, I do have to. (Sighing, she turns to Angus) Are you coming a fortnight on Saturday, Angus, to the wedding? Has Lawrence invited you?
Angus: Yep. Thank you.
Caroline: Nobody is going to bully or humiliate or ridicule me…
Lawrence: It’s not just about you!
Caroline: …or anyone. Anyone! In this school.



Gillian and Robbie in bed chatting post-coitus.

Robbie: Dark horse isn’t he, your Dad?
Gillian: Yep.
Robbie: You all right?
Gillian: I ought to be really cross with him. I am really cross with him. I’m more…It’s my mum and he’s…And she never knew, he says. How can I be cross with him, with his heart? I can’t say, ‘You…shag bandit.
Robbie: *smiles & chuckles*
Gillian: Well, that’s what he’s called me over the years.
Robbie: Was it just the once?
Gillian: He says.
Robbie: Do you think there were others?
Gillian: Not asked…Oh, I don’t want to know. I can’t imagine there were. But Caroline said she couldn’t imagine her dad…
Robbie: How did it happen? How does a fella like your dad end up getting into bed with somebody else?
Gillian: I don’t know. I’m not… I’m not going there.
Robbie: Maybe it was in the back-of-the-car, knee-tremble type job. (They both laugh). Huh. So, does Celia know?
Gillian: No. Shit, no. Not yet.
Robbie: Is he going to tell her?
Gillian: Don’t know.

Robbie: So, what’s he after, this Gary?
Gillian: Nothing.
Robbie: Money?
Gillian: No
Robbie: Compensation?
Gillian: No. He doesn’t seem short of money.
Robbie: Yeah, well, don’t you be fooled.
Gillian: Caroline and Kate are getting married.
Robbie: Are they? (Gillian nods) Are they?
Gillian: Apparently.
Robbie: You going?
Gillian: Just the toffs being invited by the sound of things….How’s Cheryl?
Robbie: Uhhhh. She wants a new kitchen. (they both chuckle at the absurdity of things).



This scene flits back and forth from a phone conversation between Gillian and Caroline and a supper conversation between Caroline and Kate. It is a bit long but necessary to understand Gillian’s reaction (even though it’s eliminated.

Gillian’s phone rings while she’s under a tractor. Caroline’s calling her on her mobile from work.
Gillian: Hi.
Caroline: Hi, how are things?
Gillian: Fine.
Caroline: I’ve not heard from my mother for a few days and I wondered if there’d been any developments in this Gary situation?
Gillian: Oh. Yeah. Um. I shoulda rung you. Sorry.

Kate: Definitely?
Caroline: Apparently. Well, he definitely had a fling with this woman and the dates fit so, yeah.
Kate: God, you never can tell, can you?
Caroline: My mother still doesn’t know.
Kate: Oh.
Caroline: He’s going to meet him. Apparently, Alan’s going to meet this guy. Gillian’s fixed them up with a date in a tea shop in Halifax next week. She’s going to take my mother out shopping for a new outfit for our wedding, so it’s all going off behind her back. She thinks her and Gillian are having a girlie day out. In fact it’s just a ruse to get her out of the way. That’s more or less how she said it, ‘like I choose to spend a day with your mother’ and I thought don’t you damn well talk about my mother like that.
Kate: She didn’t say that.
Caroline: The subtext.
Kate: You didn’t say anything?
Caroline: Well, yes, in fact I did.

(On phone with Gillian)
Caroline: Okay, well, Gillian, I’m sorry. I understand it’s a difficult situation and I really don’t want to make it any worse, but he…well, someone is going to have to tell my mother at some point and if none of you do, I will because my dad deceived her for years and I am not not having that happen again. Ever.
Gillian: (pulls phone away from face, looking at the screen whilst holding up a two-fingered salute and mouthing ‘bitch’ at the phone). Thing is, Caroline, nobody wants to deceive anybody. I just…I think if he meets him first and gets that out of the way sort of thing.Yeah?
Caroline: Yeah.
Gillian: Okay.
Caroline: Right.
Gillian: Okay.
Caroline: Thank you.
Gillian: Congratulations, by the way.
Caroline: Oh, yeah. Thank you.
Gillian: (holding her finger over the microphone) on being a lesbian. (removes finger from microphone).
Caroline: Are you busy, fortnight on Saturday?
Gillian: Oh, uhm…
Caroline: Ah, you, Raff, Ellie and the baby. 11:30 at the register office in Harrogate.
Gillian: Well, we…
Caroline: It’s not going to be a big do; don’t feel obliged. It’s just us, one or two of my friends from Oxford, a few of Kate’s friends from uni, one or two members of senior staff. You don’t have to, you know, be obliged. Um.
Gillian: Sorry, it’s ummm. Yeah, sorry, damn. Sorry, we’re hum
Caroline: Well, I know it’s short notice.
Gillian: Sadly, yeah. We’re ah busy. Otherwise, yeah. We woulda have loved to…yeah been there.
Caroline: Okay.


Caroline: (heavy sigh) So…
Kate: He wasn’t unfaithful to her, though, was he?
Caroline: I don’t think it matters. She’ll be gutted. She’ll be devastated. But I do know she’d never forgive me if she knew I’d known and not said anything.



Episode 302

Celia and Gillian at a cafe in town.

Celia: So you’re not coming to this “wedding” then?
Gillian: She did ask me, only I said we were busy.
Celia: And aren’t you?
Gillian: I don’t think she really wanted me there. I think she only invited me ’cause she thought she should.
Celia: I think you’ve been a bit sensitive. If she didn’t want you, she wouldn’t ask you. You know what she’s like.
Gillian: Who else is going?
Celia: William’s coming up from Oxford, a few people from school, couple of her pals from Oxford. I don’t know about Kate’s family. Fairly small. It’s all about last minute as not everybody’s available. Our Muriel’s in Corfu, sadly.

Gillian: So, John’s living at the house and Kate’s on leave now, so she’s at home all day, with John.
Celia: Oh, yeah. Presumably… ’cause he’s never at work, is he? I don’t know why they pay him.
Gillian: (starts to giggle slightly).


Celia and Alan get ready for bed.

Celia: I do like Kate, you know. I suppose if Caroline had to be that way, she could have done a lot worse. It’s funny, isn’t it? Babies, they’re always welcome when they come, even when they’re unexpected. Like our little Calamity. And now, there’s this other one.
Alan: (leaning against the headboard) sighs.
Celia: I know there’s something bothering you. I wish you’d let on what it is. Is it Harry and that damn silly mess he’s got himself into. (Alan shakes his head) Well, what then.
Alan: I’d have had a bit of news.
Celia: What news? (Celia comes to sit on the bed)
Alan: I’ve been in two minds about whether to tell you or not.
Celia: What news?
Alan: No, it’s not…I’m not ill. I suppose there’s a lot about each other that we still don’t know, isn’t there?
Celia: Is there?
Alan: Well there were 60 odd years not seeing someone, there’s bound to be one or two
Celia: What? One or two what?

Alan: It turns out I’ve got skeleton in the cupboard.
Celia: What do you mean?
Alan: One I never even knew I had. Well, not (puts hand over his face)
Celia: What? What is it? Oh, I don’t care what it is, Alan. You can tell me anything. Nothing’s worth making yourself ill over. Just tell me. Just say it. Just spit it out.
Alan: You’ll think I’m like Kenneth.
Celia: How could you ever be like Kenneth?
Alan: I’ve got a lad. A son. A boy I never knew I had. Well, I call him lad, he’s a man now. You see, I had a bit of a fling.
Celia: When?
Alan: No, years ago.
Celia: Before you were married?
Alan: No. (Celia pulls back a bit from him) Celia, I don’t want to make excuses. It happened, it shouldn’t have. But I didn’t know there’d been a child.
Celia: When?
Alan: Year our Gillian were born. Only as I said, I’ve only just –
Celia: The year Gillian was born? But you’d been married nine years when Gillian was born. Who was she?
Alan: Oh, you wouldn’t know her. They lived up further… Siddle. Mary. She were called Mary. Mary Kershaw. Came to work at Jessops. She were the secetary. She, uhm, she had a look of you.
Celia: The year Gillian was born you were…did Eileen know?
Alan: No. It’s like I said to Gillian, it stopped before it started. It were never…
Celia: What does Gillian know about it?
Alan: Her date, on Valentine’s Day; it weren’t a date, as such. It were him.
Celia: Well, how long did it go on?
Alan: We didn’t.
Celia: Long enough to get her pregnant.
Alan: Only the once. Then she left. I never saw her again. I had no idea she were…

The rest of the conversation carried on in the kitchen is the same.



Raff comes out into the yard to find Gillian working with one of the tractors. He’s looking for Ellie.
Raff: Have you seen Ellie?
Gillian: Yeah, she were up at quarter past six. She was off to catch the ten to seven bus. She has to be at Greenoughs at half past.
Raff: She didn’t discuss this with me at all. Nothing.
Gillian: You need to be communicating with each other more.
Raff: Ahh, No shit.
Gillian: I’m not being an unpaid nanny if she’s out earning money. It’s not, that’s not the way the world works. This isn’t cloud-cookoo-land. Also, plus, Yvonne is slinging me cash every week for her housekeeping, whi-…I can’t accept that. I’m not accepting that if Ellie’s working. Did she even speak to her mother last night?
Raff: No idea.
Gillian: Do you just not talk to each other at all, about anything?
Raff: (starts walking away in a huff with his hand up).
Gillian: Hello? Oh well, I’ll have to bang on her about it then.
Raff: Oh, feel free!
Gillian: Well, see you later. I’m on a shift, after I’ve done everything bloody else for every bugger else! (She throws down the spanner on the tractor in frustration.)
Raff: (turns around and starts back to his mum) What’s up with Celia and my granddad?
Gillian: What is up with Celia and your granddad?
Raff: They sat at the breakfast table not speaking to each other. Has something happened? They were up at night. I heard them.
Gillian: No, I…I don’t think.
Raff: Is one of ’em ill?
Gillian: No, nothing like that. Just. It turns out I’ve got a brother. (Raff lets out snicker). A half-brother, I didn’t know about.
Raff: How? (disbelieved laugh) What?



Gillian’s watching the Greenough’s manager explain some things to Ellie. When it looks like the conversation is easing off, Gillian grabs a couple of boxes in front of her and walks over to Ellie.

Gillian: You and me need to be having a proper conversation at some point, lady.

Ellie turns and walks away, and as Gillian does the same, she spots Cheryl walks into the grocery store in her police uniform, walking right up to Gillian.

Cheryl: Gillian!
Gillian: Cheryl.
Cheryl: How’s yourself?
Gillian: Yeah, yeah. I’m all right (looking over her shoulder)
Cheryl: Oh, bless. I heard the news.
Gillian: Which?
Cheryl: That you and Robbie’s been at it behind me back. Is there anything you’d like to say to me?
Gillian: I…ah…
Cheryl: You don’t know what I’m talking about? No. I’m sorry, that’s not going to wash. That it were Robbie who told me himself. Yeah, a bit of a domestic about the kitchen and him not wanting to spend money and me saying, well, it’s just a breeding ground for bacteria. Well, one thing led to another and it all came tumbling out, so what I’d like to suggest is, next time you’re making whoopie, if you could just ask him to wear one of these (hands Gillian a box of condoms on top of the boxes of things she’s still holding and by this point several store customers are watching on to the confrontation much to Gillian’s horror), ’cause obviously I personally don’t want to be picking up anything unplanned. Oh, and as well, if you’re so desperate for sex that you need to borrow other people’s fellas, let me give you this: (Cheryl puts an activated purple rotating vibrator on top of the boxes as well. Gillian’s mortified) Yep. So, there we go. Have a nice day. Mind how you go. (Cheryl turns around and addresses the increased crowd.) Careful now, don’t get too close or she’ll have your keks off. I know, and with a face like a bust shoe. She must release some sort of like pheromones, eh? (turns to a patron) Oh, I like your shoes.

Gillian makes a face like: Go on, get your gawking over with and move on, then turns back to see the store manager and Ellie looking on and turns back to quickly get rid of her armful of stuff – including the still rotating vibrator that only seems to get louder as she tries to figure out how to turn the damned thing off. And people are still looking on.



At the farmhouse, they’re getting ready to go to supper with Gary, and having a discussion about the confrontation at work.

Raff: Ah, yeah, Mum, what’s this about you and a vibrator and some condoms?
Ellie: I said not to say owt!
Raff: So, actually you got sacked, in fact.

I resigned.
Ellie: (at the same time) She resigned.
Alan: What happened?
Gillian: Nothing.
Raff: Cheryl came in the shop apparently.
Ellie: I wouldn’t have told you about if I thought you were going to be horrible and repeat it in front of your granddad.
(Knock on the door)
Gillian: Go!
Raff: I’ll go.
Alan: What happened?
Ellie: (approaching Gillian) I wouldn’t have, Gillian.
Alan: Well, what happened?
Gillian: There was an incident at work, involving Cheryl, who clearly has some form of borderline personality disorder and who got the wrong end of the stick, yet again.
Alan: So? What happened?

Flashback to Gillian trying to get the vibrator to stop but it won’t shut off. Ellie comes up to help pick up the stuff that was dropped on the ground. People are still gathered about.
Gillian: It’s nothing. It can’t turn off.
Ellie: (turns from picking stuff up and shoving it in a bag, to the gawkers) Carry on!
Boss: Perhaps we should have a chat, Gillian. My office? (he turns and walks away)
Ellie: You all right?
Gillian: Yeah, I’m fine. (end flashback)


Gillian: So, he said it was a final warning and I resigned.
Alan: No, hang on. Why would Cheryl do something like that?
Gillian: Because she’s deranged.
Ellie: And she’s thick. Not that she can help it.
Robbie: (walking into the living room) I heard what happened. Just wanted to say I was sorry. I should have warned you that she um…that she…(Alan’s looking back and forth between Gillian and Robbie). Anyway, she’s moved out. She’s gone.
Raff: Why?
Gillian: We’ve…uh…
Raff: Ahhh…You’ve…
Gillian: (after Alan’s giving her a look) Don’t you ever, ever pull that face at me again, young man.
Robbie: Why? What did…oh.
Gillian: I did tell you.
Robbie: Yeah.
Alan: You…you told him? (incredulously) When?
Gillian: (to Robbie) We’ve been invited out to tea, to Gary’s.
Robbie: Gary? Oh.
Gillian: (gives Robbie a hand gesture to head out the door) So
Robbie: Okay, so…blimey.
Gillian: So, she’s moved out?
Robbie: Yep.
Alan: Come on, we need to be setting off.
Gillian: Hmmm.
Robbie: Sorry, well, I’ll catch up with you later.
Gillian: Yeah.
(Looks passed between Raff, Alan and Gillian as she’s herding them out the house.)


Following the main part of the meal at Gary’s, they break off into different groupings. This part is completely edited out of the PBS version. While Gillian and Felicity are still in the dining room drinking some alcohol (brandy?) and they and Ellie are laughing and chatting, Gary and Alan off in a sitting room and Gary is showing Alan an old book.

Alan: And this is a first edition? (Alan’s looking at an old book)
Gary: No, not quite. God knows how much that’d be worth. No, this is a first edition in America with, look, the publisher’s misatribution on the title page to Charlotte Bronte. Isn’t that, you know, amazing?
Alan: Amazing.
Gary: I’m so excited that we’ve met, Alan. I feel like I need to know everything…everything about you. And I want you to know everything about me.
Alan: Yeah. Yeah, well. We will, lad. We will.



The morning of the wedding, Caroline wakes up to an alarm clock and after shutting it off turns on to her back then happily turns over to curl up to an already awake Kate.

Caroline: Good morning.
Kate: Well, hello.
Caroline: How long have you been up?
Kate: I couldn’t get comfortable. Then I got heartburn, again. Then I had to get up to pee, about 19 times. And I got all excited thinking about being married, to you.
Caroline: Ohhhh. (curls up even closer to Kate, resting her head on Kate’s chest). Aren’t you simple.
Kate: Just think, in over three hours we’ll be shackled to each other forever. Have you chosen a poem?
Caroline: I might have.
Kate: Don’t want to be the only one reading out a poem.
Caroline: Might have written one.
Kate: Have you?
Caroline: Might have.
Kate: No, have ya?
Caroline: My love is like a hot water bottle.
Kate: That’s so flattering, Caroline. (sarcastically)
Caroline: My love is like a thermal vest.
Kate: God, you really missed your “metier. haven’t you? (Kate’s rubbing Caroline’s head that’s draped across her abdomen, lulling Caroline back to sleep).
Caroline: Shall I compare thee to my Jeep Cherokee?
Kate: Go on then.
Caroline: Thou art more…
Kate: More?
Caroline: more…
Kate: Built like a tank and guzzles diesel like it’s going out of fashion?
Caroline: Yeah. I’ve not thought that one through yet.
Kate: Well, you’ve got three hours. (Kate’s noticed Caroline’s responses have slowed down and her breathing has changed to sleeping). Caroline? (softer) Caroline? (She presses a kiss to sleepy Caroline’s head then reaches over for her mug of tea.



Episode 303

Robbie turns up at the farmhouse at a rather awkward time for Gillian so she goes out to see him.

Gillian: This is all your fault (as Robbie’s getting out of his truck).
Robbie: What is?
Gillian: I should have been on a shift at Greenough’s now. Then I’d have had enough money for…(starts to turn away, then back). Why did you tell Cheryl?
Robbie: It just…it…I don’t know. It just came out. I thought you said you were happy to have an excuse to chuck it in.
Gillian: Yeah, but now the euphoria has died down and the reality is in a few short days I’m going to be skint.
Robbie: Okay. Well. In fact that is why I’m here. Is there somewhere where we can talk?
Gillian: (Looks around at the otherwise quiet space around her farm, raising her hands then dropping them back to her side). Harry and Raff and Calamity are up the sitting room so, fire away.
Robbie: Okay, well. I’ve suggested this before, and you know it’s a good idea, but then things got a bit messy because of that John. Twat. But look. I’ve seen the light, with Cheryl. I don’t want to live in a box, worrying about a new kitchen and a new bathroom and a new carpet. I know you’re…you. But look, why don’t we get married. You can farm and I’ve got my salary and then a good pension. Good enough. And you won’t have to worry about doing anything part time. I can help you. Yeah? You know I can. I can turn my hand to owt. What are you thinking?
Gillian: I don’t like being dependent on people.
Robbie: I know that, Gillian.
Gillian: Well, what would…you mean you’d sell your house and come and live here?
Robbie: Yeah, married. It isn’t about being dependent. It’s about sharing…everything. Pooling our resources and yeah, being equal…partners.
Gillian: I don’t know.
Robbie: Why?
Gillian: You’re a nice fellow. You’re a good man.
Robbie: So? You think about it. If you give me the nod then I can have my house up on the market within a week.
(Gillian’s gently nodding her head in understanding, thinking.)



John drives Alan over to the farmhouse in Halifax rather than dropping him at the train station. Gillian’s surprised to see him back.

Gillian: What’s going on?
Alan: John’s kindly driven me over. He was going to get the train. You know, with his (gesturing to his heart)
Gillian: Has something happened? You’re not at the wedding?
Alan: No. (he walks on ahead, Gillian turns back questioningly at John wondering what’s going on).

Inside the house the conversation continues.

Alan: She just needs time. That’s all. It’s all been a big shock for her. For all of us. And these things just take time. That’s all.
Gillian: Caroline’s going to be like gutted, that her mother didn’t…
Alan: Yeah. Yes, I think she was.
Gillian: You shoulda gone. You shoulda gone to support Caroline at least
Alan: Yeah, yeah, well. I did go, in fact. I said to Celia, ‘I’m going, whether you do or not. And then when I got there, she told me there were no point me being there if her mother weren’t, so…
Gillian: She said that?
John: Did she?
Gillian: Caroline did? In front of everybody?
Alan: No, outside. Everyone else had gone in. It were cutting. I was shocked.
Gillian: Right. Bitch. (picks up her mobile, and starts pressing keys)
Alan: Ah, she were upset, obviously.
Gillian: Don’t care. She’s not talking to you like that.
Alan: What’re you doing?
Gillian: I’m sending her a text. ‘F-Off, bitch. Hope you have a shit day.’
Alan: (Interrupting her) – Don’t do that!
Gillian: I’m tempted.

Alan: Yeah, none of it would have happened if Celia had’ve…(sighs) ah, then, of course none of any of it would have happened if I hadn’t…
John: Sorry, what? What did happen?
Gillian: (after a long pause) I’ve got a half brother.
Alan: I’ve got a son.
John: You? So he’s…
Alan: He’s younger than Gillian.
John: So?
Alan: And it’s all been a bit of a surprise.
Raff: Uncle Gary.
John: Ah. Gosh. Okay. So
Gillian: Yeah, they’re coming over for Sunday lunch tomorrow. Him and Felicity. (turns to Alan) Did you know?
Alan: What? Of course I knew. I was there when you arranged it.
John: So, Celia…
Gillian: Yeah.
John: Wouldn’t like…
Gillian: No.
John: So. So how do you feel about that, Gillian?
Alan: Well, it’s complicated. Obviously.
John: So you had a fl—
Alan: Ehhh. It should have never happened, but it did. So.
John: God. That’s really…God. And this Gary…he’s…
Alan: He’s a nice lad. He’s done very well for himself. He just…he wanted to get to know us.
Gillian: (to John) You all right?
John: Me?
Gillian: Celia said you were upset about this…baby business.
John: Oh, well, yes. It’s been…well, yeah.
Gillian: And Judith’s?
John: Gone. To stay with her sister in St. Albans.
Gillian: So that’s…
John: Good. Yeah. I think for everyone.
Alan: Well none of us know what’s round the corner, do we?
Gillian: There’s some soup and some bread, for dinner, if you fancy stopping.
John: Dinner?
Gillian: Lunch.


Gillian and John are still in the kitchen having gone through a considerable amount of wine and are both drunk.

John: Gosh
Gillian: Yeah
John: So how did she find out…Cheryl…that you and Robbie had?
Gillian: He told her. Robbie did.
John: Well I can’t say I’m sorry. Woman like you shouldn’t have to work at a check-out.
Gillian: Nothing wrong about working at a check-out. If people didn’t work at check-outs, snobby piss-heads like you wouldn’t have to buy their Recaro.
John: This is undoubtedly true.
Gillian: In fact, people like you only exist to keep the check out assistant amused. Did you not know that? Paying £14.99 lahdida for something the French paisant wouldn’t chuck over a casserole.
John: Ooooh, listen to you.
Gillian: I was doing French A-Level.
John: Yeah?
Gillian: Yeah. Until I had to drop out, cause of…
John: Oh yeah.
Gillian: Not being pregnant…puh…Not that…
John: Not that..? Not that what?
Gillian: Not that it would have done me any good, finishing my A-Levels
John: You don’t know that. You don’t know what you might have done.
Gillian: Huh. I love drinking too much at lunch time. (They share a short laugh). Sod it. I mean…pblblblbl! (gives the two-fingered salute) I’ve lost my job, I’ve no money, my dad’s fallen out with his girlfriend/ladys/wife/woman, my son’s…phhhh, God knows he’s thrown his future away and chucked his lot in with…actually, you know what? I like Ellie. But the bigger point is why bother pretending? Just go with the flow. Just stop trying to imagine you can resist the onslaught, the inevitable, just give in to the gentle whittling away of anything you imagined resembling a life or a personality.
John: Yeah, I know. It’s just that waking up feeling like shit thing later.
Gillian: I have a thousand and one things I want to ask you.
John: Oh, gosh, well, plunge in.
Gillian: (clears her throat) Okay. One. Did you have no idea that Caroline wanted to bat for the other county before, you know, announced it?
John: Dunno. It’s odd. Looking back, you wonder…
Gillian: What?
John: How much I didn’t know her, really. I was in love with her. I fell in love with her. My God, I was in love with her, Couldn’t believe she existed. She was so…you know, Caroline. But then you realize all you’ve fallen in love with is this face, this lip, this eye, this nostril. It took me ten years to realize that actually when you get beyond the tantalizing exterior, she’s actually pretty boring. (Gillian giggles) I mean, who the shit reads chemistry for God’s sake. (Both of them start giggling again). I just think that people have a shelf life, with each other, and we should just accept that and learn to move on, so we can enjoy…ahhh
Gillian: What?
John: The next thing. Marriage vows are so ancient, so elderly, there’s so…actually today, those two…she’s 47, Kate’s 43. Maybe that works. Maybe they will forsake all others til death do they part. But come on. You can’t say that at 24 and know what you’re buying into. Not when people live to be 90. It’s all right if you drop dead at 27 of plague or small pox. You’ve got a built-in exit to the whole damn pantomime, but come on.
Gillian: Do you. I know what you’re saying.
John: You do? Of course you do. You’re an adventurer. You’re a buccaneer. You live life, that’s why you’re so exciting you silly bitch.
Gillian: Yeah, until the next thing that comes along.
John: Yeah, but as long as we both understand that, isn’t that…You know I’ve got all this money…they bought out my half of the house, the lesbians did.
Gillian: Oh hey.
John: I think you and me could be very good for each other. I think you know that. You’d never have to worry where the next five quid was coming from ever again. I’m serious. You could farm, I could commute to the university and write my novel. I think life could be…I don’t know…pretty good.
(Phone alert sounds)
Gillian: Who’s that? Is that you, Dad? (She calls out to Alan who’s having a nap in the sitting room with Calamity. He wakes up.)
Alan: Huh? Oh. (Sitting up, he reaches for his mobile phone from the table. There’s a text from Harry. ‘I’ll be in the Crown at 7 if you fancy a pint’.) Oh. Hey Gillian?
Gillian: Yes, father?
Alan: Can I borrow Land Rover an hour or so this evening? (Gillian’s giggling away in the kitchen with John).



Kate: Your mother’s car is gone.
Caroline: Gone to get the Mail on Sunday.
Kate: A bit early.
Caroline: She’s the sort that sits outside in the car til they’re open.
Kate: Okay. She’s your mother. (Looks over when she noticed Caroline stopped looking at her iPad and turned to face her). What’s up? (Caroline passes over her iPad enough for Kate to read the screen) Piss off you mad old…(full text reads: ‘Piss off you mad old dyke, I hope you have a shit day. Gillian.) That’s a bit…’ Maybe it’s a joke? Maybe she thinks she’s being funny. Ironic. You know I mean maybe in Halifax that’s how they say ‘Congratulations’…kinda thing. (Caroline looks at her askance.)
Caroline: (Turns back to her iPad and starts typing then shows it to Kate. It reads: ‘Thank You X.’ Kate smiles and nods).

Gillian’s mobile beeps and she opens the message and reads the response and then looks back at the previous text to see what she had sent.

Gillian: Oh shit. No. Shit. No. He’s…I did not send that…(drops her phone to the ground and puts her hands to her head). Ohhhh….ahhh. WANKER!


Celia comes to the farmhouse to apologize to Alan.

Celia: (after Alan opens the door) Hello.
Alan: Hello.
Celia: Look. I’m sorry about yesterday.
Alan: (nods) You want to come through.
Raff: (holding Calamity) Hi, Celia.
Celia: Hello, love. (She approaches Calamity) Hello. Hello.
Raff: I’ll just take her upstairs and change her.
Alan: Right.
Celia: You don’t have to run off because of me.
Raff: It’s nice to see you. (He leans in to give her a one-armed hug and a kiss before leaving the room with the baby).
Alan: Do you want to (gestures to the chair).
Celia: Well I’ve not slept, again.
Alan: Yes. I thought when I saw you; you must have set off early.
Celia: I wonder if…looking back, I was more bothered that you went and met him without telling me than the thing itself.
Alan: I don’t know. I’ve no idea.
Celia: Well that and going on about how wonderful he is when you could see that I was struggling with it all.
Alan: He’s a nice fellow. I’d be lying if I said it was.
Celia: Well do you want me to go away again?
Alan: (finally sitting down) How’s Caroline?
Celia: Oh, she’s not speaking to me.
Alan: No. And do you wonder?
Celia: I would have been at that wedding if none of this had happened.
Alan: You were wrong to take it out on Caroline.
Celia: I was upset.
Alan: Oh, yes. I think we all got that, Celia. Loud and clear.
Celia: I want to move on. And I don’t want to fall out with you.
Alan: You’re your own worst enemy.
Celia: I can’t help how I am.
Alan: You should have never have taken it out on Caroline.
Celia: I went round last night to apologize and she wouldn’t listen.
Alan: Did you?
Celia: And now you’ve fallen out with me.
Alan: I don’t want to fall out with you. It’s last thing I want.
Celia: (grasps his outstretched hand) Is it?
Alan: You know it is.
Celia: So I’m sorry. I am sorry. I’m just…you know it takes time sometimes to deal with something.
Alan: I know that. They’re due round to Sunday dinner today. Him and his wife. I can call; put ’em off.
Celia: No, don’t do that. I think perhaps it’s time I met him.
Alan: Are you sure?
Celia: I’m sure.
Alan: Interestingly, oddly, when we went round to tea t’ other night, as evening wore on and our Gillian drank too much, like she does and his wife, Felicity, she were knocking it back as well; I sensed an undercurrent. Nothing to do with us being there, she seemed perfectly happy with us. I sensed it were more between them, somewhat, I don’t know, so, he probably isn’t perfect.



John goes out to see Gillian in the yard and she’s sitting on one of the tractors.

John: Hi.
Gillian: How pissed were we yesterday?
John: Oh…(scrunches up his face)
Gillian: I’ve done something really stupid. I sent Caroline a text.
John: Oh, yeah.
Gillian: Jesus.
John: She won’t care.
Gillian: I care.
John: Oh.
Gillian: Why didn’t you stop me?
John: Well I did. Tried to. I said probably best not to but you called me a limp-wristed twat, so…

Gillian: I gotta stop drinking. I really have got to stop drinking.
John: Celia’s turned up.
Gillian: Has she?
John: Looks like you’re going to have a full house for lunch.
Gillian: Did you…Did I invite you to stay for lunch? Ahhh, I did, didn’t I?
John: Yeah.
Gillian: Okay, well, thing is, you can’t, because yesterday I invited Robbie as well.
John: You? When?
Gillian: Before you turned up, he came over. Now look, whatever the hell we were talking about yesterday, when we’d had a few, it’s not going to work. It’s not ever going to be a good idea, is it? Okay, so…
John: (moving over to the tractor to sit next to her) Why isn’t it? Why not?
Gillian: Thank you for driving my dad over.
John: I meant what I said…about helping out financially. I didn’t just say it because we’d had a few.
Gillian: I know, I know, I know that. But in the sober light of day, It’s not what I want. All right?
John: Why? Why not?
Gillian: We can be friends but that’s got to be it.
John: No. Why?
Gillian: John. (shakes head) You turn up. You go out and you buy a load of wine. At lunchtime. I didn’t get anything done yesterday afternoon.
John: Well it’s nice, occasionally.
Gillian: I’m not getting into all of that.
John: I didn’t physically pour it down your neck.
Gillian: I know. I did. I’m not blaming you beyond bringing the stuff in. It’s me. I’m ridiculous. I’m rubbish. I can’t be trusted. But what I don’t need is someone who is no better than I am.
John: We’re very alike, you and me.
Gillian: No…yeah, in a bad way.
John: No, Gillian. You… You’ve just got to like yourself more.
Gillian: I don’t even know what that means. If I liked myself more I wouldn’t drink so bloody much. If I liked myself more I’d be able to be more grown up about everything, like Caroline is. I can’t cope with you and Robbie and every bloody body else I’ve got coming today. And then this stupid text I’ve gone and sent.
John: You sent that text because she’d gone and upset your dad. That wasn’t very grown up was it?
Gillian: Yeah, but I didn’t have to be childish about it, did I? She wouldn’t have been, would she? She goes ‘Thank you. X’ like she thinks…Do you think she thinks I was joking? Think she thinks it’s a joke? Do you think she thinks it’s my daft way of saying ‘Congratulations’?
John: Let me read it again? (Gillian gets her mobile and opens the text for John to see) I think you see Caroline through rose-tinted glasses sometimes. I don’t know why you give a toss what she thinks. She’s not perfect you know. Far from it. Yeah, she might have thought it was a joke. She still upset Alan.
Gillian: Yeah, well, maybe Alan’s asked for it in a bit, ya know. I mean, he was unfaithful to my mother, lest we forget, and for once, for once I don’t blame Celia for being pissed off at him.
John: I suppose nobody’s taken your feelings into count in all of this, have they? Not properly. It’s all been about him and her.
Gillian: You’re a nice fellow. But I really don’t want you and Robbie at the same dinner party.
John: Well, tell him not to come then.
Gillian: I can’t do that.
John: Why?
Gillian: Because yesterday morning, before you turned up, he asked me to marry him. And then, God knows how many hours later I was in bed with you, because I’m stupid, flaky and fed up being those things.
John: You don’t want to marry him.
Gillian: Don’t I?
John: I asked you to marry me. More or less.
Gillian: But what if I did want to marry him? What if I do?
John: You don’t.
Gillian: (starts to smile) I do. I do actually. I need you to leave, John. I need you to go. Just go. Stop coming here. And stop thinking you can come here.
John: I brought your dad…
Gillian: My dad asked for a lift to the station in Harrogate. He told me.


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Rediscovering those lost gems: “Gillery’s Little Secret”

© Liquid Filmworks, 2005.

© Liquid Filmworks, 2005.

Following a discussion the other day when I was talking with a friend about shows with lesbian characters and interesting stories, I remembered a short film that I bought several years ago called Gillery’s Little Secret. I’m not positive about how I came to hear about the film, except that it was likely due to interest in Annabeth Gish, who stars in it.

The 2005 film is about 25 minutes long and is a snapshot in the lives of a few characters, whose lives are changed when Gillery Poiencot (Gish) returns to the town she fled eighteen years earlier to attend her high school reunion. Once there, a young woman, Blake (Jeanette Brox) finds her, looking for answers about her past and Gillery’s connection with her mother. The journey brings forth some long lost forgotten memories and secrets.

Based on a story by Ali Vali, the script was written by T.M. Scorzafava. The film also stars Allison Smith, Julie Ann Emery and Jeanette Brox. On the DVD there are also cast vignettes and commentary with the director and executive producer, T.M. Scorzafava.

You could only buy a copy of the DVD from the production company (Liquid Filmworks) website [which I did] as it was not released to online commercial retailers, but alas the site no longer works. There had been plans and a script was written to make a regular full-length feature film, but alas, that seems to have gone to the wayside. Since I’d been talking about Gillery’s Little Secret with a friend, it got me thinking about it, so I took out the DVD, popped it into my computer and re-watched it and remembered what I liked about the film. While the film was short, it told a lovely story about lost loves and the potential for the future. I would have loved to have seen what could have been done, had it been made into a full-length feature, but for now, that future of what could be lies in the imagination.

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My Thoughts on Series 3 of ‘Last Tango in Halifax’

©  Sally Wainwright, Red Production Co. & BBC.

© Sally Wainwright, Red Production Co. & BBC.

Okay, this is a bit more long-winded than I had planned when I started writing it, but there it is. Storyline-wise this series took place over a span of seven months (February-August).

I occasionally thought it was uneven at times, particularly when it game to the Gary storyline and Gillian’s initial reactions to Caroline and Kate getting married, but then there were also a few moments throughout the series that I was laughing where something was possibly unintentionally funny [I have my grandmother’s very English dry humour to ‘blame’ for that]. And this dry humour is something I’ve found Sally’s pretty good with in any of the television projects that she’s worked on. Sarah pulls it off flawlessly. You don’t always know if something you write comes off as well as you hoped, and sometimes better than you thought seeing it on paper.

I’ll start off with the more controversial aspect of the third series, in terms of the representation shown by Caroline and Kate’s relationship. Do I think it was a bad idea to kill off Kate? Absolutely. I don’t think it was really necessary to the story for Caroline and Celia to mend their relationship. It could have had Kate requiring long term care for a while after the accident. I’m of two two minds on this at the moment; while I would have loved to have seen what the alternate script for S3E4 had done but I don’t know that I want to read the alternate because I’d mourn the actual loss even greater than I do. I would have loved to have seen where that relationship btw Caroline & Kate with baby Flora could have gone, well into the future. It was a beautiful relationship, well developed and written for a lesbian couple in their forties – very much a rarity on television. I can understand the grieving and anger that has been shown on social media platforms, even though I don’t feel it to the extent that many do. I’ll admit that even as a lesbian woman in my forties (who came out at the age of 22), I have the support of my family, friends and co-workers, and to a large degree I’ve not faced much in the way of homophobia at all, at least directed at me. I’m also caucasian and from a middle class family, so I do recognise that I have some privilege there. I’m aware that for many that is not the case, and seeing a relationship like Caroline and Kate’s portrayed as loving as it has been, it’s a tremendous loss to not see that anymore.

On the up-shot, Sarah Lancashire acted the hell out of Caroline’s grieving. Caroline’s self-realisation and identification has come pretty full-circle, being more comfortable with who she is. When we met her in S1Ep1, she was unhappy and uncomfortable; depressed. She had been starting to find a love interest but unceremoniously dumped her when her John showed up again, albeit just for the boy’s sake. Then she and Kate got back together again but again not quite comfortable with being them being public, which continued pretty much to the end of S2. In S3, she was finally open about her relationship to not just family, but also friends. Sadly, frustratingly, that relationship had a painful end with Kate’s death and Caroline remains to raise their daughter. As Flora grows older, she’s certainly going to have questions about her mum. Kate is gone but she won’t be forgotten.

I came into the series already a fan of Sarah Lancashire’s and Nicola Walker’s from other projects and the premise of LTIH was an interesting one; the lesbian relationship btw Caroline and Kate was a bonus for me, but it wasn’t the only reason I fell for the show.

I have really loved the growing sister relationship between Caroline and Gillian, especially in the second half of this series, which was a lot more pronounced in the finale. I would love to see that shown even more next series. Nicola and Sarah play very well off each other.

Gillian and Robbie: I love them but I think it’s bound to be a train wreck, especially with the circumstances of Eddie’s death looming over them. That storyline has come almost full circle. I don’t know that Gillian could stay happy with Robbie. I think she self-sabotages things because she doesn’t know how to be truly happy in a relationship.

Gary: I’m still not sure what to make of him; he’s trying too hard. Ditto his wife. But I did like Raff putting Gary in his place when it came to the family and how he approached things.

John: self-absorbed, useless, alcoholic twat. If he’d been the one to die, Celia would have been dancing on his grave. Caroline might have cared, if only for Lawrence’s sake. You could hit him over the head with a clue-by-four and he still wouldn’t get that Caroline’s a lesbian and can’t be bothered with him. And as long as Caroline doesn’t go back to men at all, particularly not John, I’ll be a happy camper. I LOVED the flashback of a royally pissed off Caroline pitching shoes and stuff at John. Seemed very cathartic for her.

Greg: I’m not as bothered by him as I thought I might be. It’s not an ideal situation by any stretch but he’s kind of like an over-grown kid. Yes, he loves his daughter but he’s not trying to hook up with Caroline, despite what John thinks. And there’s this weird bromance vibe developing btw John and Greg. A one-up-manship between the two that seems to have moved into a friendship of sorts. Not sure what exactly to make of that, but if Greg can get John to stop making an ass of himself, it would be a considerable plus.

Lawrence & Angus. Teenagers. Still Angus has been to three McKenzie-Dawson-Buttershaw-Greenwood family weddings as Lawrence’s +1, would be four if they go to Raff & Ellie’s.

Raff & Ellie: For a young couple with a baby, they’ve actually come quite a way. And little Calamity Jane’s adorable. They’ve grown up for the most part, partially because they’ve had to because of the baby.

Alan and Celia: They’ve gone through a lot in the last three series. There are checks and balances as they work through all the family dynamics. They will call each other on their crap. Have done since the beginning. It will be interesting to see where they progress.

Last night the BBC announced that it has commissioned a fourth series of “Last Tango in Halifax”. I’m cautiously optimistic. I wouldn’t mind a few less bombshells being dropped. Things need to settle down a bit after this tumultuous series. I’d like to see Caroline happy. And Gillian. Even if neither of them are in relationships with others. While I’d like to see Greg  maintain a relationship with his daughter, depending on the time span between the series (when they pick back up again), have him move out into his own flat. It’s August for Gillian’s wedding. Caroline’s off to NYC for a vacation and to see Kate’s mum. When she comes back it’ll be the beginning of a new term. I think there’s loads more to explore with this multi-generational extended family.

Sarah Lancashire (Caroline) and Nicola Walker (Gillian). Last Tango in Halifax. © Sally Wainwright, Red Production Co., BBC.

Sarah Lancashire (Caroline) and Nicola Walker (Gillian). Last Tango in Halifax. © Sally Wainwright, Red Production Co., BBC.

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Getting caught up on ‘Five Days’

You know how sometimes you’ll get a DVD set and make plans to watch and then life happens and you don’t get back to it for a while? Several months ago I’d ordered the DVDs for the BBC/HBO produced series “Five Days” (aired in 2007) and “Five Days II” (aired in 2010; as a BBC production). I spent one night recently marathoning all five episodes of the first series in one go, and to say I was hooked from start to finish would be an understatement. I wanted to know what was next.

Nothing is what it seems. That is the tag line for the show. There are often no cut and dry answers, people are fallible, and emotions run strong.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 10.20.58 AM

The first series involves a woman who disappears from a motorway lay-by after going to buy a bouquet of flowers from a vendor, while her two young children wait in the car. A lorry passes through the lay-by and after that the older boy goes looking for his mother, who is nowhere to be found, and the vendor packing up his vehicle, and the mother’s bouquet is lying on the ground. At a loss for where their mother is, the two children leave the car, hand-in-hand, looking for help. An older teenaged daughter from a previous marriage, and the woman’s husband and parents are distraught once the police learn of the tragedy. There’s so much going on, with a large phenomenal cast, and three tracks proceeding over the course of the 70+ day investigation: the family’s story, the police investigation and the media’s over-involvement in the case – that rivals the Madeline McCann media mob. Each episode follows different days within that 70+ day period.

Written by Gwyneth Hughes, directed by Otto Bathurst and Simon Curtis, the show boasts a tremendous cast: including up to 50 characters, whose parts throughout further the story. The primary cast of the first series is led by Penelope Wilton (Barbara Poole) and Patrick Malahide (John Poole) as the parents of the missing woman, Leanne (Christine Tremarco), David Oyelowo (Matt Wellings) as her husband. Other primary cast include: Harriet Walter, Hugh Bonneville, Janet McTeer, Charlie Creed-Miles, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Phil Davis, Christopher Fairbanks, Edward Woodward, Sarah Smart, Michelle Bonnard.

The only trailer I could find had Dutch subtitles. Apparently a different ending was filmed for the HBO airing in the US.

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 10.21.39 AM

In series two, which I’ve just started the first two episodes, there is equally compelling storyline with its own set of five episodes, over an investigation into what initially seemed like a woman in a niqab jumping to her death off a bridge into the path of an on-coming train, and the abandonment of a new baby in a hospital handicapped bathroom. Are they linked and if so, how?

What starts off with a Detective Constable Laurie Franklin (Suranne Jones) taking her mother, Jen Mason (Anne Reid) to a hospital appointment, but on the journey, the train jerks to a stop. When it’s discovered the reason for the stop, several of the passengers decide to take off rather than hang about and give reports to the police. Two young lads, not being where they’re supposed to be, horsing around the rail lines, unknowingly catch some video on their mobiles until checking them after the fact. But who exactly is this ‘jumper’ and were they actually pushed, and who left the baby in the loo.

As with the first series, the cast is pretty superb. In addition to Jones and Reid, the cast is rounded out by Derek Riddel, Nina Sosanya, Bernard Hill, Ashley Walters, David Morrissey, Shaun Dooley, Sasha Dhawan, Matthew McNulty, Hugo Spear, amongst many others.

I can’t wait to see what happens next. 🙂

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Yet again playing devil’s advocate for Last Tango in Halifax

Another series and another set of knee jerk reactions from a group of fans (if you don’t know that I’m lesbian in all my writings thus far, so be it) pissed off with the direction of the series, saying they’re not going to watch any more. Well, you know what, if you can’t be bothered to stick around for the rest of the series because the Caroline and Kate storyline is the ONLY one you watch/care about/fast-forward through the rest: bye, see ya later. Don’t let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya. That’s not to say at all that I wouldn’t be very sad and disappointed if she did die. I would. But you’re missing out on some brilliantly written drama.

Last Tango in Halifax is a drama series. If you look at the word, drama, it means ‘a composition in prose or verse presenting in dialogue or pantomime a story involving conflict or contrast of character, especially one intended to be acted on the stage; a play.’ and/or ‘any situation or series of events having vivid, emotional, conflicting, or striking interest or results’ (

Playing devil’s advocate here for a moment, again.

1. Yes, Kate’s been in an accident where at this exact moment her life has been threatened. That does not mean that she is dead and I will continue to hope that she’s NOT dead until the end of S3. IF she does die, I’ll be like many of you, curled up with a box of tissues, my cat and/or teddy bear, and bawling my eyes out. And glad I don’t have to work next Sunday night.

2. It’s unreasonable not to expect their relationship to have ups and downs, or bad things happen at times when the shit keeps hitting the fan with the other characters: Gillian’s disasterous choices with men, Alan and Celia facing 1st Alan’s heart attack, and now long-lost son added to the mix, John’s idiotic behaviour, Ellie leaving school to get a job, Harry drunkenly upending his narrowboat in the canal. You can’t expect that Caroline and Kate wouldn’t face more than one challenge in their relationship than just the issue of Kate’s method to get pregnant. It’s not going to be all puppy dogs and unicorns for them when the shit keeps coming for the others.

3. There are probably quite a few tropes involving the other characters as well, as what Caroline & Kate have faced. For instance long-lost child of an affair. Not like THAT hasn’t been done a million times over by different writers over many years of film, theatre, television. This show, as lovely as it is, and has wonderfully as their relationship has been written so far, is NOT just about Caroline and Kate’s relationship.

Sally Wainwright has written a brilliant drama (several of them, in fact), where the consequences of actions are usually more important than the actions themselves, and how the characters deal with the fallout.

If you leave now, without watching to the end of the series to find out the outcome, to quote Caroline Dawson, “It says more about you, than it ever will about me.”

*Please, if you are going to comment, do not include spoiler information in your responses. I don’t want to know what’s coming in advance of watching.

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Decoding the Past at Bletchley Park

An Interview with Researcher and Author, Kerry Howard
By J. Lynn Stapleton

The Mansion, Bletchley Park Museum, Milton-Keynes, UK. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 6th August 2013

The Mansion, Bletchley Park Museum, Milton-Keynes, UK. © J. Lynn Stapleton, 6th August 2013

In August of 2013, I had the opportunity to visit Bletchley Park. There was so much to see and take in, and yet there was still much to uncover as the park’s restoration continues. Many of the huts which held the Bombe machines were still in poor condition. The Park in itself had been under threat of demolishment more than once, which would have been a great tragedy as it is one of the most historic points in British history, and indeed world history, as the site where the German Enigma code was broken thus ending the War as much as two years earlier and saving millions of lives.

Bletchley Park, also referred to as Station X, was home to the Government Code and Cypher School – the precursor to Britain’s communications intelligence service – Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), and the home place of modern computing. The war-time cyphering work decoding Enigma, Lorenz and the Sturgeon at Bletchley Park remained covered by the Official Secrets Act until the 1980s; officially Station X did not exist, and the employees were unable to inform anyone or speak of their work, lest it get into the hands of the wrong person(s). The mystery about that period of history at Bletchley remains so intriguing, as it is part of our not-so-distant past.

Recently, more attention has been paid to Bletchley Park, in part due to shows like ITV’s “The Bletchley Circle” and the film, “The Imitation Game”, a fictionalised bio-pic of Alan Turing during his time at Bletchley Park and his creation of the Turing Bombe Machine, which was instrumental in speeding up the deciphering time to decode the German military messages.

There was so much more going on at Bletchley Park, and I recently had the opportunity to speak with Kerry Howard, an author and researcher about her work at Bletchley Park Research, which provided me with further insight into the goings-on during World War II, and the life of some of the individuals who worked there.

Bletchley Park Research


JLS: On your website, you wrote that it was discovering Robert Harris’s 1995 book Enigma that sparked your interest in the codebreakers at Bletchley Park, to the point where you wanted to become part of the project of cataloguing and archiving photographs and documents related to the Park’s wartime history. What was it about the materials you were working with that really excited you and made you want to take your research even further?


KH: Every other Sunday for a period of about 12 months, I travelled the 80 miles to Bletchley Park eager sit in the Archive, often alone and do my bit towards preserving Bletchley Park’s history. Piled high with cupboards full of declassified documents copied from The National Archives, and boxes of memorabilia donated by Bletchley Park veterans, the cluttered archive had the musty smell of the past. At the time all resources were needed at restoration, so the archive had the feel of ‘make do and mend.’ It was wonderful. In the cold silence I could almost hear the sound of people behind the glass panel of the door at the end of the corridor. My sense of fascination was somewhat indulged by peeking at the photographs and documents I had the privilege of cataloguing and felt excited that there were so many stories yet to be told. What I did was really very minor compared to the work carried out by the archive volunteers during the week. Those early archive pioneers should be saluted for laying the groundwork the Bletchley Archive today. It is full of remarkable information that I have long hoped would be more available to the public. I think that time in the archive is the start of my love for the untold stories of Bletchley Park and the small details. I’m much more excited by the journals, the letters, index cards and even the little envelopes used for the wages than the formidable Enigma machine. It will continue to survive in its wooden box and fascinating the world with its complex interior workings, but the day to day memories of the people who worked at Bletchley Park and small threads of their past are easily forgotten and will all too soon pass out of living memory.
JLS: What was it like for you the first time you stepped through the gates of Bletchley Park? And how has it been as you see how the Park has continued to expand through its restoration process?
KH: I felt the enormous spirit of the volunteers who worked relentlessly to save Bletchley Park. They welcomed me, showed me around and patiently helped me learn about its past. I distinctly remember that an Enigma machine used to be out and could be freely used by visitors, but I can’t remember where it was – so much has changed and been moved around in the last 14 years. There have been times that I have thought that too much restoration would mean no more musty smells and imaginings of Bletchley ghosts. However, the sympathetic restorations, such as in Hut 3 and Hut 6 mean we no longer have to imagine what it was like – they are set out to evoke what they would have been like and modern technology cleverly hidden in filing cabinets projects the Bletchley ‘ghosts’ on the wall for all to see. I also love that more of the small details – the index cards, the journals, the wage packets – are now on display in the renovated Block C.

JLS: In Dear Codebreaker: The Letters of Margaret Rock and John Rock, you mentioned that finding the letters and photographs from Margaret’s nephew was a game changer for your research. The letters were a fascinating read in seeing their daily lives as children growing up with a father who’d been killed in duty, and then during their time during World War II. In what way(s) were they (the letters and photographs) a game changer for you?
KH: If only I could bottle up the experience of that first weekend I spent going through Margaret’s papers! Until that point Margaret Rock was simply a name mentioned in some of the books about Bletchley Park. Always spoken of with high regard but no information about her as a person. That’s the exact thing that gets my research fingers tingling. To then be able to walk through her life through the words written by Margaret, her mother and particularly her brother John was spellbinding. For the first time we could see Margaret’s photograph, understand her background and just how Bletchley Park impacted her life. She was an amazing woman and a truly unsung hero of Bletchley Park. The biggest surprise was the intense emotional response I had for her brother. Most of the letters are written by him and the family’s lives are mostly seen through his eyes. Even though I knew he had died in 1942, I grieved when his letters stopped and the next item was his obituary. So during that weekend I found a Margaret, but was unexpectedly moved by John.
You can visit my website Bletchley Park Research and download a free profile on Margaret Rock as well as a copy of an original letter she wrote in September 1940, which describes her attempt to return to Bletchley Park during a London Blitz bombing raid.


JLS: You’ve also remarked on the website about revising an early book you’d written with John Gallehawk, called Figuring It Out At Bletchley Park, 1939-1945. What can you say about the research behind it, and the revision process?
KH: Figuring It Out at Bletchley Park, 1939 – 1945 is the child born out of the time in the Bletchley Park archive. While there I worked with John Gallehawk who is one of those early archive pioneers. I have been fortunate to count him as a friend and his knowledge of Bletchley is exceptional. I stopped travelling to Bletchley after a motorway crash but I began helping John to convert the official numerical data held at The National Archives into a useable resource for others. The weekly returns, which took over a year to collate, chart the number of civilian and service men and women, their sections, transport, billets and even their food through the war offers a unique insight into the growth of the codebreaking operation at Bletchley Park. It’s a book where the numbers do the talking.
We’ve been adding another 50 plus tables covering merchant shipping losses, U-boat decrypts and Bomber Command operations. The work at Bletchley Park had a profound effect on reducing these losses. The text of the book is also undergoing an overhaul so it goes beyond explaining the data and provides more background information. All I can say is that the extended version will be available in 2015.
JLS: Of the ten thousand workers at Bletchley Park, about seventy-five percent of those were women, however, very little is known about many of them, in their work as WRNS (Women’s Royal Naval Service), generally referred to as Wrens, working on the Bombe machines and as cryptographers, deciphering the Enigma codes. In your new book, Women Codebreakers at Bletchley Park: The Story of Margaret Rock, Mavis Lever and Joan Clarke, (available for preorder here), you examine the lives of these women in their roles at Bletchley. I notice you also added Ruth Briggs on your website for further research. What was it about these women that piqued your interest? 
KH: The number of women at Bletchley Park peaked in the last week of January 1945 with 6,769 women compared to 2,225 men. Of these women, 2,660 were civilians and 4,109 were in the armed services. This compared to 738 civilian men and 1,487 men.
Margaret Rock, Mavis Lever and Joan Clarke were all part of the civilian numbers and were first employed by the Foreign Office for clerical work. Mavis and Joan were recruited straight out of University in 1940 but Margaret was much older at 36 when she arrived, also in 1940. Margaret and Joan were mathematicians and Mavis a German Linguist. Margaret also spoke very good German yet Joan always enjoyed saying ‘Grade Linguist languages none’. The Bletchley bosses wanted educated women but never expected, or planned for the fact that they could be as capable at cryptanalysis as their male peers. Luckily these women found their way into nurturing environments with male section heads who saw their potential and let them fly. Yet, I feel that even now they have never been given due attention in the history books. It’s a great honour to be able to bring their stories into the public domain. Their stories not only sheds light on Bletchley Park but also on the changing role of women during the war and how the discovery and exploration of their potential changed their lives forever.
JLS: What other projects are you working on? Interested in pursuing further?
KH: I’ve been working on a historical novel The Milliner’s Spy since last year. The final edits have been on hold while I finished Women Codebreakers. You can find out more about this World War 2 novel set in a hat shop at and download a free chapter. I have also been researching the story behind the first occupation at Bletchley Park in 1938. Captain Ridley’s Shooting Party has been a long term project that I will hopefully (and finally) complete in 2015.
You can find me at
On Twitter as @CaptainRidley
On Facebook as BletchleyParkResearch


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Why write fan fiction?

This article was originally posted on 5th September 2011 on my old blog.

I was talking with my mother about a week or so ago about writing, specifically my interest in writing fan-fiction, which she doesn’t entirely get. ‘Why not write some original fiction?’, was her point. ‘Why write a story with characters and a setting that someone else has set up?’ she would ask. There’s myriads of reasons why writers would seek to ‘play in someone else’s playground’ as it were.

To some degree, it’s the fact that the characters are already established as something visual; though for some fan-fiction writers they base their work on other author’s books, so it’s not always from a visual medium that the fan-fiction writers borrow from. For some authors, it’s a chance to say, “What if…” such a character was faced with a particular scenario, how would they deal with it? Or sometimes it’s a small scene that the writer felt was missing from the show that they felt the need to fill, or to expand upon. For some fanfic authors, they start in writing fanfic then branch into their own published original stories, or televised scriptwriting.

For as long as I can remember, I’d been writing poems, stories and the like. Somewhere in a box in the storage space under the stairs, there is an old folder of things I started writing when I was in primary and elementary school. There’s also the two ‘zines that our high school’s advanced creative writing class put out. I had a story in one of them. I watched a fair bit of television in my teens as I’ve long been introverted, thus preferred to stay at home. Often the tv shows, like ‘Remington Steele’ or ‘Scarecrow & Mrs. King’ would inspire stories and ideas, but things that stayed in my head and not written down.

As far as writing fan-fiction, I think the first story I wrote that was tied into a tv show was a ‘Beauty & The Beast’ Catherine & Vincent story. It was one of the first tv shows that I was really enamoured with, when I was in high school. Though that one is forever lost, no idea where that ended up – this was before the days of posting things online (1989). It would be sometime later before I would do much more writing that something grabbed me enough to write.

The next fandom to grab me to write would be from ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’, and it was a story that I co-wrote with a friend of mine nearly twenty years ago. Again, it was a story that had been hand-written in note-books. In the early to mid-1990s I got hooked into the Canadian/American sci-fi/fantasy show, ‘Forever Knight’, which prompted me to do some more writing. It was also around this time that I was getting more involved online with the FORKNI-L listserv, and I wrote a couple stories. Around the same time I also was involved with a ‘Xena: Warrior Princess’ listserv, xenacampfiregirls. Over the years, other shows, or films have captured my attention enough to care about the characters to write about them.

Before the current age of posting fan-fiction online, large numbers of fanzines, compilations of stories from one particular fandom, or multi-fandoms, were published in small numbers and shared or sold (simply for printing costs) at conventions. As computer usage increased throughout the 1990s, majority of the fanzines closed up. I still have fanzines from MediaWest Con (‘Forever Knight’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’).

I’ve participated in various online fan-fiction writing challenges, and other stories I’ve written for personal interest. The shows (or films) I’ve written fan-fiction about include: ‘Army Wives’, ‘Bad Girls’, ‘Battlestar Galactica’, ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’, ‘ER’, ‘Forever Knight’, ‘Fried Green Tomatoes’, ‘Hospital Central’, ‘Spooks/MI-5′, ‘The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert’, ‘Wire in the Blood’, ‘Witchblade’, and ‘Xena: Warrior Princess’. [Stories available to read here]. Within the past year, I can also add ‘Guiding Light’ to that collection of writing.

In the past year, I’ve been involved in writing for the Otalia Virtual Seasons project which I’ve wrote about in other blog posts. It’s been a labour of love, challenging me to write longer, more detailed plot stories, exploring the characters, and writing as a team with other writers. Each of us writes an episode or more in a season. Some of us also are pulling beta (editing) duty as well. We’ve also got a couple of brilliant artists that work to provide accompanying artwork that complements the stories. It’s the first time, probably since high school since I’ve done group creative writing. I’ve done group writing projects in academic projects, but that’s a different ball game all together.

Up until writing for the Otalia Virtual Seasons, the longest story I’d ever wrote was the Spooks story, A Retreat of Truths, which was about 14,000 words give or take, and I was a little worried that my writing wouldn’t fit in with authors that I knew were part of the project, authors that I admired tremendously for their well-written stories. But I pitched the idea, and it was accepted, and I started writing. I was fortunate to be with a really good writing and editing team, and there was an overall plan for where the season was planned, and we could bounce ideas off each other easily. It also helped that I could identify with the main characters of Olivia, Natalia and some others that it made it much easier to write. That and sometimes the characters would get in your head and would not shut up until they told their story. Some of my favourite moments to write though were the little family moments with Olivia, Natalia and Emma. Thus far, I have one episode written in season one, one completed for season two (both of which are in the 30,000 word mark), and one more to come for season two.

Undoubtedly there will be more stories over the years written, and who knows, maybe I’ll eventually get an original fiction story written. A goal to work towards.

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BBC interview at Bletchley Park and TNMOC

This is a great post by Dr. Sue Black, who was instrumental in helping to save Bletchley Park, the home of the coders during WWII that helped end the war, and home to the National Museum of Computing.

Dr Sue Black

Yesterday was busy, and a lot of fun. The morning was spent travelling up to Bletchley Park and being interviewed outside by the BBC’s Adam Fleming and Simon about crowdfunding, the future of publishing and my book Saving Bletchley Park. It was a really fun interview that ended up with Simon recording close up audio of me knitting. Why knitting? Well one of the perks of my crowdfunded book, the one that sold out first included a pair of socks handknitted by me. Here are Adam, Simon and my daughter Leah, and the socks that I’ve just started knitting.


When the interview was over we went up to The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park to say hi and to see their new exhibitions. There are so many!

I saw the locked gates and fence that have been put up by Bletchley Park for the first time. I have…

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