Last Tango in Halifax – Series 2 – Missing Scenes [Eps 4-6]

Here we are again, for the missing scenes in second half of Last Tango in Halifax as aired by PBS. Hope you like the lines/scenes that were dropped. For those of you watching this series in North America, do yourselves a favour and pick up an inexpensive multi-regional/region-free DVD player. You can pick one up through Amazon (.ca or .com) for about $50, and then go purchase the UK (Region 2) DVDs from Amazon or other UK sellers. You can pick them up separately or in a 2-series box set. The Region 1 (North American) DVDs of the series are the versions aired on PBS, so the lines/scenes are still missing from them. Also, for those of you who are interested in British shows and want to buy the DVDs, the multi-regional player will come in handy down the line. 🙂

Some of these scenes are particularly long, because they contain missing parts of lines in various parts of the scene. Comprehension of the lines comes better when it’s all inclusive. In some instances I’ve stopped a scene where there’s been a change of topic and no further lines have been dropped, in which case I mark where the remainder of the scene is intact from the original BBC broadcast airing.

As usual, the missing parts are marked in red. Dialogue and images are property of Sally Wainwright, Red Production Co and BBC.

Season 2 Episodes 4

During the conversation with Greg and Kate, with Caroline mostly just watching, feeling terribly uncomfortable and out of her depth with the whole thing, there’s a little left out.

Greg: Josh Hetworth, do you remember him? [Kate shakes her head]. Oh you do. He fancied you. Brown hair…five foot ten… scarf…acne. Rhodes, he always wore Rhodes. He lived in same house as PJ in second year. We went there for a party once. Fancy dress.
Kate: Who did we go as?
Greg: Oh, shit. I don’t remember. Ummm. [Kate laughs].
Lizzie drank too much.
Kate: Surely not.
Greg: And she puked this spectacular tidal wave of multi-coloured vomit into a doorway at Woolworths.
Kate: This is ringing a bell.
Greg: Anyway, I’m in Oslo, and I bump into Josh Hetworth. Yeah, how mad is that? He works there; in Oslo. He’s working for Ericsson. I was just on holiday…

The scene pans out with muted sounds of the two of them talking and the camera focusing on a distraught Caroline.


This next bit picks up just as Judith has come into Gillian’s sitting room, barging in. Gillian and Robbie just looking on at first. This is long, but there are a couple of parts with line segments missing.

Judith: You bastard!
John: Sorry, hang on. What?
Judith: What’s this? [holding up partially folded up manuscript notes] This was my idea.
John: What was?
Judith: To write a novel about two old people in love.
John: it was not. We discussed it certainly but it was me…
Judith: And it was me who said that’d make a great story.
John: It must have been obvious what my intention was.
Judith: Well, I could say that. I could say it must be obvious to you what my intention was when I said that’d make a great story.
John: [attempting to placate her, hands up.] No.
Judith: You were talking about it as a thing that had happened…was happening. And I was the one saying that would make a great novel.
John: That’s really…not…
Judith: You’re a plagiarist.
John: No!
Judith: You even copied ideas I talked about, writing it from Bathsheba Everdeen’s point of view.
John: That was…that was…entirely my idea.
Judith: No. I put the idea in your head.
John: This is a fantasy. You’ve mis-remembered.
Judith: Nope.
John: You probably had a drink.
Judith: You definitely had a drink.
John: Judith! This is my story. My family. You don’t even know these people.
Judith: So bloody what! Shakespeare didn’t know Richard III. It didn’t stop him writing a shitty play about him.
John: I would not steal somebody else’s idea.
Judith: Let me explain to you the difference between observing something and making the decision to write about it.
John: I understand what you’re saying.
Robbie: Why don’t you both calm down? There’s a baby trying to sleep here.
Gillian: This is Robbie.
Judith: [Turns from Gillian to Robbie] Is it? God. Wow. What a fascinating manage.
Robbie: What’s that’s supposed to mean?
Judith: [Indicating between John and Gillian] They slept together. These two. Well. I’m saying that; I’ve only got his word for it, so obviously it might be another of his little wish fulfillment fantasies. Who knows? [Turns to Gillian] Sorry.
John: That’s…that’s just not true.
Judith: Really? So you made that up, too?
Gillian: How dare you?
John: No. No. I didn’t make anything up?
Gillian: You told her that I’d slept with you?
John: No! I didn’t. She’s lying.
Judith: I’m not lying. That’s what he told me.
John: You may have got the wrong end of the stick then.
Judith: So you made that up, just like you’re saying this [throws manuscript to the floor] tripe was your idea when it wasn’t. [Gillian picks it up, folding it.]
Robbie: Have you slept together?
John & Gillian: No.
Robbie: [to Judith] What did he tell you?
John: Nothing! I didn’t tell her anything.
Robbie: Describe to me, the language that he used.
Judith: Language? Well, he was here, obviously, drunk, upset. Angry, because he’d just found out Caroline had been shopping round the corner. And Celia was here. She was upset, too, because he was mouthing off. And Alan. And you were here. [This is ringing a very clear bell with Robbie and he’s not liking it.] And it was Caroline’s birthday. I cut an artery open with a broken bottle. [Turning to Gillian] It was your birthday, too. They have the same birthday. Well, it was that night he claimed it happened. Although he said he was so pissed the next day he barely remember what happened. And like I say, he’s probably making it up.
John: She’s making it up.
Robbie: How can she be making it up? She wasn’t even here.
John: Yes, but we didn’t…we didn’t…[Sighs heavily. Pauses and looks at Gillian] All right. We did. We did! So what. You’re clearly no good for her so why don’t you just clear off? Uh? [Gillian’s confounded by John’s gall and idiocy] You’ve made her life a living hell in the past. Trying to get her arrested when she was at her most vulnerable. Yes, I know all about it. And now you prey on her because you know how generous and good and kind-hearted she is.
Robbie: Prey on her?
John: Yes! Well, get lost. She doesn’t need you. She doesn’t want you. She rang me to come over and help because she was at the end of her tether with everything. With all of you. Especially with you.
Robbie: Is this true?
Gillian: Some of it. Partially. After yesterday.
Robbie: After sleeping with me.
[Gillian nods her head and keeping her eyes down and anywhere but looking at him. Everyone is uncomfortable. Robbie hauls off and punches John.]
John: Shit! Shit. Oh, shit. [Touches the back of his head where he’s hit it where he fell back against a corner table]



Gillian enters the house to find John up and around.

John: I’ve made some coffee.
Gillian: Well done. Where’s your girlfriend? Her car’s still outside.
John: She’s not my girlfriend.
Gillian: Yeah. Where is she?
John: I’ve got no idea.
Raff: [lying on settee, still half asleep, while EmilyJane is awake in the crate she’s lying in.] She’s crashed out in my bed.
Gillian: She polished off another two bottles of wine you brought in less time than it takes me to bend over and tie one shoe lace. And my emergency supply of medicinal brandy seems to have disappeared as if by magic as well.
John: She really is the real McCoy I’m afraid.
Gillian: She doesn’t just languish in the amateur division like you and me, you mean.
John: I haven’t a bloody clue whose car that is. She’s probably nicked it.
Gillian: [To Raff, who’s sat up at this point] You all right, darling?
Raff: Yeah.
Gillian: How was your night?
Raff: Nice.
Gillian: [to John] They’re taking it steady.
John: I heard.
Raff: Shit! What have you done to your face?
Gillian: Oh your Uncle Robbie’s fallen out with me again.
Raff: Why?
Gillian: He’s…I…He’s got wrong end of stick. Yet again, so…
Raff: What about this time?
Gillian: [Looks at John then back to Raff as she picks up the bottles and glasses to return to kitchen] Oh, it’s sorta ridiculous.
Raff: [To John] Did he do that? [John just shrugs]

Series 2 – Episode 5

At the end of the first scene where Caroline and Celia are talking of the planning of the wedding and the potential logistical nightmares, there’s a bit left off.

Caroline starts walking up the steps to the house.
Celia: [gesturing to the ‘For Sale’ sign at the driveway entrance] Have you had any more inquiries?
Caroline: [looks back at the sign forlornly then heads back up the steps] No, not this week. [After entering the house into the kitchen, she stops at the island, about to put her glasses on then puts them down and leans against it.]



There’s a brief shot of Gillian with the sheep, before she heads back to the house. There’s no dialogue spoken in this scene. And then again at the end of the scene, there’s a shot of Gillian out in the yard holding the baby and watching as Raff and Ellie walk down the road for the school bus.



In the scene where Kate tells Caroline about the pregnancy, after Kate leaves, the scene is cut a little bit short. No further dialogue, except a gorgeous shot of a distraught Caroline.



After Caroline’s conversation with Laurence regarding his interest in moving in with his Dad, the phone rings. I’m including most of the conversation here though it’s a couple minutes in where PBS drops the scene.

Caroline: Hello.
Gillian: Caroline, it’s Gillian.
Caroline: Oh, hello.
Gillian: How are you?
Caroline: Fine. Fine. [Caroline’s putting the supper dishes away as she chats with Gillian].
Gillian: Good.
Caroline: Are you?
Gillian: Yeah. Yeah. I was ringing you about the wedding. I was just concerned and I thought you might be able to shed a bit of light on something.
Caroline: Okay.
Gillian: It all seems to have got bogged down somehow and I think it’s making my dad a bit miserable.
Caroline: Oh, I know. Is it not to do with um…ah, Ted, his brother?
Gillian: No. No, it isn’t.
Caroline: That’s what my mum said.
Gillian: [Sighs] She’s using that as an excuse.
Caroline: I did wonder.
Gillian: I think it’s to do with her sister. Muriel?
Caroline: Right. Right. [Picks up her wine glass from the dining room table.]
Gillian: It’s fine. Honestly. He’s really easy going. He just wants to fit in.
Caroline: Yeah, it’s…that wouldn’t surprise me…Muriel.
Gillian: Is she…difficult?
Caroline: Auntie Muriel. No. God, no. She’s…They’re just…chalk and cheese, that’s all.
Gillian: Okay. Only, if we could only get to the bottom of whether she’s coming or not, they could move forward with things. That’s all.
Caroline: Oh, she’d be coming. I don’t think she wouldn’t come.
Gillian: Well, pinning it down then so they can set a date. Could you ring her? Muriel?
Caroline: Yeah, sure.
Gillian: Find what stage they’re at, then delegate negotiations, cause I’ve got Ted and his lot Skyping every five minutes, wanting to know when they can book their flights. The sooner they can book, the cheaper it will be.

Caroline. Course. Course. Leave it with me. It’s just…They’re just…it’s…
Gillian: Complicated.
Caroline: Yeah.
Gillian: Yeah.

This is a long scene, but I’ve included it all because there are bits of lines cut out and it probably wouldn’t make much sense to just include those lines.

Gillian: I’ve been thinking.
Alan: Oh aye? What with?
Gillian: Ah, you’re so funny. Why don’t I…Why don’t me and Caroline organize the wedding?
Alan: Really?
Gillian: Yeah. Only you seem to have got stuck and I can’t believe you wanna be stuck. So.
Celia: Well…
Gillian: We’d run everything past you. We wouldn’t do anything you’d hate.

Celia: Have you spoken to her?
Gillian: Just now, just this second.
Celia: Oh. Well.
Gillian: Why don’t we just check out some venues for you, at least. We’ll suss a few out and you can choose. And we’ll compile an invite list and then you can cross anyone out that you don’t really want.
Celia: Well, I don’t know. I suppose so, if you wanted to.
Gillian: We would love to. I would love to.
Celia: [her mobile rings] Oh, who’s this? [looks at the display on the phone] Muriel. [Answers phone] Hello.
[Gillian’s house phone rings and she answers]
Gillian: hello?
Caroline: I have just put my foot right in it.
Gillian: [darts back into the kitchen] Oh yeah? Why?
Caroline: She didn’t know. Muriel didn’t even know. My mother hadn’t even told her.
Gillian: Wow. Wow. That’s just…
Muriel: [conversation with Celia] Alan Buttershaw. That’s…it’s so…so perfect. It’s wonderful. Gosh, you must be so happy.
Celia: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I am.
Muriel: So when is it? The wedding?
Celia: Well, we’ve…we’ve…um…How did you know?
Muriel: Caroline. Caroline just rang, just now.
Caroline: [to Gillian] I’m so deep in the doghouse it won’t ever be worth trying to get out.
Gillian: it’s not your fault.
Celia: Our Caroline?
Caroline: You don’t know what it’s like?
Gillian: Caroline, you didn’t know.
Celia: Damn, she’s spoiled the surprise. I was thinking of popping down, this uh very…weekend. This coming weekend to…to tell you. Both of us. Me and Alan. [Alan looks very surprised at this.]
Caroline: How’s she taking it?
Gillian: [looks back to the sitting room] She’s smiling. She’s happy. She’s laughing.
Caroline: Yeah, well that’s just…you wait til she comes off the phone. It’ll be on again. The forces of Gog and Magog will gather from the four corners of the earth.
Gillian: You’re losing me, Caroline.
Caroline: Yeah, well, good luck.

Gillian: I’ve offered to organize the wedding for them and I said that you’d help me…Hello? Come on…Come on. We’ll have a laugh. I could use a laugh. Couldn’t you? I’m…bloody well fed up. Have been for months.
Caroline: Yeah. Yeah, I…[sighs] yeah, all right.
Celia: Oh, wonderful. That’ll be lovely. So this…uh…coming weekend.
Gillian: How are you fixed for this coming weekend?
Muriel: Yes well if that was the plan…If that fits in with you and Alan, it’s absolutely fine with me.
[Rest of the scene is the same.]


The following scene was completely omitted. Celia and Alan are preparing for bed.

Celia: I don’t know what Caroline was thinking of, ringing our Muriel
Alan: She would have assumed, and she wasn’t alone, that you’d spoken to Muriel, even if it were weeks ago.
Celia: Well I never said I had.
Alan: If you don’t want her there, we won’t invite her.
Celia: What’re you smiling at?
Alan: You.
Celia: Whenever have I said I didn’t want her there.
Alan: It’s an impression you’ve given.
Celia: Well I don’t know how. She’s always to be interfering.
Alan: Who?
Celia: Caroline. Always has to be organizing everybody. Of course I want my sister at my wedding.
Alan: Good! [Celia looks at him] Good. [Disbelieving]
Celia: I don’t know why you’ve got that expression on your face. She’s all right, our Muriel…in small doses.


John arrives to pick up Laurence. Caroline opens the door. She turns to call for their son but John interrupts.

John: I…um…Sorry. Could…? [indicating he wanted to talk to her in private] This isn’t your problem, clearly, but just…just so you’re aware…Judith’s pregnant.
Caroline: She…uh…How? I mean how…how…how…how can…?
John: Eight or nine weeks.
Caroline: Is it yours?
John: She…Yes, she’s not slept with anyone else. So I don’t know.
Caroline: Has she been to see a doctor?
John: Yes. Just this week.
Caroline: And? [John shakes his head] It’s definitely not something else?
John: Such as?

Caroline: [Befuddled at his denseness] Does she want it?
John: I…it’s…it’s all very…[shakes head] And the reason…the reason I’m telling you this is that things…things might get a bit fraught around there, given that it’s just reared it’s… so as much as I’m happy to have Laurence for the weekend normally, if you wanted to take him with you, instead, to Halifax, just this weekend, I’ll completely understand that that might be the better option. Not for you, obviously, but for him.
[Laurence emerges from the house]
Laurence: Popsicola.

[Rest of the scene is intact]


Caroline pulls up to Gillian’s, just as she, Robbie, Raff, Ellie, the baby and Cheryl exit the house.

Gillian: Hello.
Caroline: Hi!
Robbie: Caroline [nods greeting].
Caroline: Robbie.
Gillian: They’re off to York Races for the day.
Cheryl: Hello. Ah, I’m Cheryl. How do you do? [shakes hands with Caroline]. I’m Robbie’s better half…other half. God, what am I like? Don’t tell me. Shame about t’ weather. I like your jacket. I love the pattern. It’s really classy.
Gillian: Bye then. [Eager to hurry Cheryl along.]
Robbie: I don’t know how late we’ll be.
Gillian: No problem.
Cheryl: Loving you and leaving you.
Raff: Bye!
Caroline: Have a nice time.
Gillian: That’s the baby. That’s Ellie.
Caroline: Oh my God. You’re a grandmother.
Gillian: Hmmm.
[Gillian and Caroline wave them off, and Cheryl’s waving like crazy back]
Caroline: She’s annoying. [Gillian nods in agreement.]
Gillian: Bloody York Races. Money to burn. He’s got own work. She’s got own work.
Caroline: I thought…weren’t you and Robbie…?
Gillian: No. Hell no. That went tits up months ago.
Caroline: Oh. Well, I’m sorry.
Gillian: Right, Batman. What’s the plan?
Caroline: Lunch. Somewhere nice.
Gillian: To be honest, I’m a bit skint this week.
Caroline: Well, I’m not. [Then quieter] I’m loaded. [Both of them laugh, though]
Gillian: I can’t have you paying for me.
Caroline: Yes, you can. Get your stuff.

Gillian: [Eyeing up Caroline’s clothes] Do I need to get dressed up?
Caroline: Only if you want to.
Gillian: Where are we going?
Caroline: It’s a surprise.
Gillian: Whose car are we going in?
Caroline: I don’t care. [Feeling pretty free and relaxed at the moment]


In the scene in Holdsworth House garden, where Gillian and Caroline are asking about information for their parents’ wedding, there’s a line left of Gillian’s dropped.

Caroline: She’d love this.
Gillian: Hmm. So would he.
Caroline: [To hotel manager] Can we talk about costs? Packages, deals, numbers.
Hotelier: Of course. Can I offer you ladies a glass of Champaign?
Caroline: Uhmm. Do…? [Briefly turns to Gillian before back to the hotelier] Yes, thank you.
Hotelier: Do you want to join me in the Waterhouse Bar when you’re ready? [She then leaves to return to the building]
Gillian: If I drink too much, can you drive my Land Rover?
Caroline: What if I drink too much?
Gillian: We’d be up shit creak. [Both of them laugh.]



John and Laurence are watching a movie and Judith’s been writing but unable to concentrate and/or at wits end.
[Loud action noises from TV vs typing on computer]
Judith: [She gathers up her things] I’m going out.
John: Is this too loud?
Judith: No, no. It’s me. It’s fine.
John: We can turn it down.
Judith: It’s fine. It’s just…I can’t concentrate.
John: Where are you going?
Judith: Just for a walk.
John: Should we all go?
Judith: No.
John: We can all go.
Judith: I just…no. No. You…[Nodding her head towards the door]
John: Perhaps you can get us something for supper…while you’re out. Pizzas or….
Judith: Yeah.
John: How long will you be?
Judith: I don’t know. Does it matter?

John: Have you got your mobile?
Judith: [Nods and mumbles ‘yeah’ then leaves]
[rest of scene is in tact]



After Gillian and Caroline return to Gillian’s and Caroline’s talking about what went wrong with her relationship with Kate, Caroline asks about Gillian’s relationship with Robbie. Before Gillian decides to go into that, she sits up right, needing more Dutch courage.

Gillian: Do you fancy a drop of brandy, in your tea?
Caroline: Are you?
[Gillian nods then gets up and heads to the kitchen.]


Celia and Alan in the guest bedroom at Muriel’s. Celia’s already in bed and looking at the laptop while Alan’s looking at the photographs on the wall.

Celia: I hope we’ve made the right decision.
Alan: Well, I think it looks spot on.
Celia: One thing I will say for Caroline, she’s has good taste.
Alan: [As he looks at pictures on the wall] Well, we’re committed now. They’ve paid deposit.
Celia: Though she sounded a bit pissed when I spoke to her.
Alan: Is this Kenneth? [Pointing to picture]
Celia: Yeah. That’s him.
Alan: She seems very fond of you. Muriel. Considering.
Celia: Considering what?
Alan: Well that, you don’t seem very fond of her.
Celia: Oh… She’s right enough. It’s…
Alan: What?
Celia: Ohhh. She always has to be the centre of attention. She can’t just come to a party. Muriel. She has to be the party.
Alan: Some people are needy that way.
Celia: Needy? Is that what it is?
Alan: Scared of being left out. Scared of being overlooked. So, they push their way to the front…with their sharp elbows. Some people might find that attractive but I’m damn certain I don’t.
Is that what you’re bothered about? If she came to wedding she make you feel like it were her big day rather than yours?
Celia: Somewhat like that, yes.
Alan: She’s very plain, you know. Compared to you. And she hasn’t made me laugh all day. Not once. I think the day we get married, you and me together, will eclipse everyone else entirely, don’t you? [After a bit] Was that her husband?
Celia: Yeah. Frank. That’s Frank. He’s dead.



Series 2 Episode 6

During the conversation with Alan, Muriel and Celia about their plans before the wedding (ie. Celia’s hen night) they get talking about various ideas.

Celia: Do you fancy a stag night, Alan?
Alan: Like in a lapdancing club with strippers and so on?
Celia: Yeah.
Alan: Do you?
Celia: I could do, with the girls. That what you had in mind, Muriel?
Muriel: It…it’s not…No. I said…uh…
Celia: [Interrupting and facing Alan] Do they do lap-dancing with fellas?
Alan: Probably.
Celia: Is that the same as polo dancing?
Muriel: No, it isn’t. To me, pole dancing…
Celia: How do you know?
Muriel: No, that’s not what I had in mind. I don’t think…
Alan: Google it.
Celia: A sleazy night in Amsterdam. What more could a woman ask for?
Muriel: I did start off the conversation by saying…
Celia: Making assumptions.
Muriel: I don’t mind going to Amsterdam for the art galleries, if that’s all…
Celia: Oh, bugger the art galleries. They’ll be full of them dobs by that twerp who chopped his ear off. This is my hen night we’re talking about. What’re you thinking, Alan?
Alan: Personally, well, I’ve been there. All in all, I got the tshirt. But if you fancy it…
Celia: Amsterdam? Have you?
Alan: More than once.
Celia: So you’d recommend it?
Alan: Oh. [smiles]

At Gillian’s, the night after drinking, both have hangovers, physical and emotional.

Caroline: Wonder why you told me. Do you think you feel better?
Gillian: I don’t know.
Caroline: Do you?
Gillian: Do you wish I hadn’t told you?
Caroline: I suppose you told me because you needed to. Needed to tell someone. I’m just wondering why it was me.
Gillian: Because you were here. Because I was drunk.
Caroline: Do you want me to turn you in? Is that why you told me?
Gillian: No. No. I’ve buggered everything up, haven’t I? We could have been friends and I…
Caroline: You had a lot to deal with. Trapped in a marriage with a man who…We are friends. Told me because you needed to. Not going to turn you in. Not going to turn you in, all right?
Gillian: You’re sure?
Caroline: Yeah.
Gillian: Really.
Caroline: Yeah.


Alan and Celia in car, leaving Muriel’s.

Muriel: Drive carefully.
Alan: Yeah. We will.
Celia: Like she cares. Do you fancy a stag night?
Muriel: Text me to let me know you’ve got back safely.
Celia: Right Oh! [then quieter:] Like hell.
Alan: Well, I wouldn’t mind going for a pint. Up Spring Road with Harry and up and our Raff.
Celia: I could do a bit of something. Me and Caroline and Gillian. And I could even invite her. Muriel. A laugh an hour. [Waves at her sister] Ta ta.
Muriel: Bye!
Celia: Have you been to Amsterdam or are you lying? No, have you?


At the hotel where Caroline’s picked up her phone and Gillian’s there to get her car left from the day before. This part picks up from after Caroline hangs up on John. Not sure why the bit that was left off in the following conversation, because after all the crap they talked about in the previous twenty-four hours, Caroline was actually complimenting Gillian for the most part.

Gillian: He all right?
Caroline: Yep. I’m gonna go.
Gillian: Okay.
Caroline: Look after yourself.
Gillian: And you.
Caroline: Sorry, but [turns back from the jeep] can I just say I think you’re right about you and Robbie.
Gillian: I know. I really like him.
Caroline: No, I meant…you said it could never be a good idea, you and him. Don’t you remember? Last night. Had a conversation…how it all started…what you told me.
Gillian: Right. Yeah. Okay.
Caroline: Move on. You’re a nice person. You’re a good mother. You work hard. Something appalling happened, you dealt with it, but move on.
Gillian: Yeah.
Caroline: Promise me? If I’m keeping this secret, promise me, because that would be one hell of a can of worms, you and him. Surely you can see that.
Gillian: Yeah. Course. Sorry. You’re right.
Caroline: Okay. [Turns and walks back to jeep door]

During Caroline’s conversation with Kate, there’s a bit in the discussion about Caroline’s retelling/paraphrasing what Gillian told her that’s missing.

Caroline: I just had a really weird night with Gillian. She told me…she told me what her husband used to do to her. He committed suicide but before that…She never told anyone before. She’d never been able to talk about it before but…she told me things. He raped her. He did things and she couldn’t…and humiliating things.
Kate: Jesus.
Caroline: This is a big bloke. Not that it’d take a big bloke, she’s tiny, Gillian. Pinned her down and she couldn’t do anything, so she just took it…because she had to.
Kate: Why? I mean why did he?
Caroline: It’s control. It’s power. Why do they ever? Ah, he was a bully. He was a prick. Just an inadequate prick. I think she told me because we drank too much and we were telling each other things. And the point is…apart from the fact that it was a really weird evening…the point is…I realized that amidst all the disappointment and complexity and mundanity and madness of the day-to-day, we had something really nice that happened us. I know you’ve made your mind up about me and I know I leave a lot to be desired sometimes but I decided it was worth…one more time…asking…saying I’m sorry for all the things I got wrong and I will try…I would try harder.
Kate: No. Thank you.

After Caroline leaves Kate’s, she’s walking back to her vehicle, and she just sits back for a moment, heartbroken.


Alan, Celia and Harry discussing the plans before the wedding night. I’ve left off the initial part about place names.

Alan: We’d have all our stuff on board, ready. We’d have morning suits, top hats, [turns to Harry for a moment] the ring, then drive straight to hotel from Hebden in our car. Or whichever car we’ve left in Hebden. And be at hotel bang on 10am.
Harry: So that works.
[rest of scene intact.]


The split conversations (in different places) between Celia & Caroline and Harry & Alan, talking about the wedding speeches. Caroline’s trying to dissuade her mum from asking John to do the speech about the bride.

Caroline: Wouldn’t you be worried he might say things you’d rather people didn’t hear?
Celia: Like what?
Caroline: Well, there was that time you slapped him across the face up at the farm.
Celia: Oh yeah.
Harry: I shan’t tell ’em about the time you fell down that manhole in the snow when you’d been up razzled.
Alan: Well, it should’ve been better lit.
Caroline: And that time you nearly choked to death laughing when he snapped all the tendons in his ankle falling off that jetty in Puerta Valencia.
Celia: Oh, that was comical!
Harry: Or that time you drove wrong way around Baldrine roundabout in Halifax when you came back from continent.
Alan: That were quite exciting.

Caroline: And then that Christmas when you let all his tires down, when you both got drunk on barley wine and he called you a rancid old bag.
Celia: Oh I don’t think he ever knew that was me.
Caroline: [laughs heartily] Ha! Oh, he did.
Harry: Or that time you got caught shagging that sheep.
Alan: Hey. It’s not funny. Our Gillian once called caught the lad.
Harry: I know. She told me.
Alan: And the funny thing, he kept coming back. To see the same sheep.

[rest of scene remains in tact.]


When Gillian and Alan are at the graveyard, after their conversation on the bench and his chat to his late wife’s stone asking her blessing for his getting re-wed, the part where he joins Gillian at his uncle Norman’s gravesite is left off.

Alan: Is he tidy?
Gillian: Yeah. Nineteen. Mad.
Alan: Aye. She were ten…my mother when he died. Course she couldn’t go to see him. They managed to get him home, to a military hospital in Leicester. That’s where he died. His granny went down. His mum…my mother’s mum. Sat by his bedside two days. He had his spine shot out. Couldn’t feel anything apparently. So, anyway, I promised my mum I’d keep it tidy.
[Gillian and Alan return back towards where the bench was as Gillian needed to get Calamity’s pram.]
Alan: I’ll see you back at t’ car.
[Gillian stops to look at Eddie’s memorial plaque before heading off again.]


Caroline’s joined Kate in the waiting room at the hospital where Kate has taken herself in due to bleeding. Kate surprisingly looks over to find Caroline has come.

Caroline: You might be fine. It doesn’t always mean what you think it means.
Kate: No, I think if you’re bleeding, that’s usually it.
Caroline: Yes, but not always. And you’re 20…how many weeks? Very unusual.
Kate: I’ve kept thinking for a few days that there wasn’t been as much movement.
Caroline: You rung your mum?
Kate: I don’t want to upset her, til we know something definite.

Nurse: Kate McKenzie? Would you like to come through?
[A nervous Kate stands ready to go]
Caroline: Do you want me to come in with you?
Kate: Will you?
[Rest of scene is the same]


Dinner at Caroline’s. A few lines left out.

Caroline: No! When did this happen?
Alan: Day before yesterday. Well, no, it must have happened last week, but he Skyped day before yesterday.
Celia: And it’s all swollen you see, all up here.
Alan: Black and blue. And his knee’s in plaster. So there’d be a risk of deep vein thrombosis apparently, so doctors had just said no.
Celia: And he’s a big feller, isn’t he, Alan?
Alan: Yeah.
Celia: And he’s nearly eighty so you can’t take a risk at that age.
Alan: Eh. Travel insurance people have been very good though. He’ll get his money back.
Celia: And he can travel over here in three or four months time.
Alan: Mmm.

Laurence: How did he break it?
Caroline: How disappointing for you.
Alan: He fell over.
Celia: On his drive, in Aukland. Just getting his car out.
Caroline: And what about the rest of the family?
Alan: Oh they’ve all fall by the wayside, one way or t’other.
Celia: Well, it’s getting enough time off work to make it worth their while.
Alan: Yeah. You see realistically there’s no point in coming less than three weeks. Spending all that money. Travelling all that way.
Caroline: So, are any of them…?
Alan: No. No. Doesn’t look like it.
Laurence: Can Angus come?

[Rest of the scene remains the same.]


Celia’s hen do at the hotel restaurant.

Celia: Who told you this?!
Caroline: I would…we…It…It’s
Gillian: I shouldn’t…[turns to Caroline] Only told you cause I thought you’d see the funny side. Didn’t think you’d tell your mum.
Celia: What do you mean ‘funny side’?
Caroline: Mum, let’s not spoil…
Gillian: I didn’t…I didn’t mean…
Muriel: I don’t understand what’s being said.
Caroline: I thought it would be better if I told her than if she found out later from anyone else, that’s all. I’m sorry. Sorry, I’m sorry.
Celia: He’s too soft. He’s too kind-hearted, that’s the top and bottom of it.
Caroline: Exactly.
Gillian: I’ve been telling him this all his life, Celia.
Caroline: Generous fault.
Gillian: Well, my life, obviously, not…[shakes head and makes a face] not that…

Muriel: So…
Gillian: So…
Caroline: So, they’ve put an offer in on a bungalow.
Gillian: I didn’t want my Dad selling out old house up Barker’s Land, but he, being Dad was too soft to turf the tenants out.
Celia: And in the meantime, someone else has put a better offer in on the bungalow and of course they went with it…the vendors.
Muriel: Oh dear. Good Lord. Celia, I thought you’d have him better trained than that by now.
Celia: Clearly not. Not yet.

John’s out in the street in Harrogate and makes a phone call to Celia and gets her voicemail.

John: Celia, it’s John. I just…I wanted to say good luck for today and…and…and sorry not to be there. Umm…well, all the best then. Bye. Bye. Bye-bye.


At the wedding reception

Harry: [clinking glasses to get attention] Ladies and gentlemen! Can we have a little hush? [gets the microphone] Ladies and gentlemen…Ooh, that works. Right. Pipe down. Raff, that includes you, love. Right. Traditionally…who’s still talking? Ted Buttershaw! Surprise, surprise. Right. Traditionally we start with a speech from the father of the bride. Only today, we’ve got the daughter of the bride. Caroline!
Celia: Oh, shit. What’s she going to say about me?


The rest of the episode remains as aired by PBS. I was only partially surprised that none of the stuff was cut from the last bit when Kate returned, however, it’s likely too difficult to cut part of that when there’s music playing in the background without making it very obvious that you’ve cut part of the scene as the music wouldn’t match up.

To get an idea of the timing of the episodes between the BBC broadcast versions and the PBS broadcast versions, here’s a breakdown of the runtime for series 2.

BBC: S2: Ep1 – 58:13 / Ep2: 56:34 / Ep3: 58:31 / Ep4: 56:00 / Ep5: 58:54 / Ep6: 58:26
PBS: S2: Ep1 – 55:11 / Ep2: 55:11 / Ep3: 55:10 / Ep4: 55:11 / Ep5: 53:51 / Ep6: 54:45

Anyway, that’s it for another year. Looking forward to series 3 to air later this autumn on BBC One for more shenanigans of the Dawson/Elliot/Greenwood clan!

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Conversation with a Storyteller

Interview with Jill Lorie Hurst
By J. Lynn Stapleton

In the several months previous to the American soap opera, Guiding Light, being cancelled and subsequently going off the air, I made friends with numerous other fans of the show, resulting in meeting in a large fan gathering in New York City to celebrate the final official fan club luncheon with the cast. It would also be the start of a wonderful friendship with one of the head writers of the series very soon after.

Holding various positions within the Guiding Light family from Assistant to the Writers, Scriptwriter, Assistant Head Writer, Story Producer and Co-Head-Writer, Jill Lorie Hurst has won a Daytime Emmy Award for Best Writing (2007), and a Writer’s Guild of America Award for Best Writing (2004), along with several nominations in both awards ceremonies over the years.

Over the past few years, we’ve talked on-line and in person about just about anything that strikes our interest, from soaps, to photography, to life in general. For a long time, I’d felt a bit odd asking a friend for an official interview, primarily about scriptwriting, but decided just to go with it and I’m glad I did.

Jill Lorie Hurst. Photograph by Donna D. Pool, July 2012.

Jill Lorie Hurst. Photograph by Donna D. Pool, July 2012.

Lynn: What got you interested in working in television as a writer when you were starting out?

Jill: I never thought about television writing until I started working at the front desk at the studio where Guiding Light was taped. You get to know about people when you wait tables or work at a front desk. The quality of people and storytelling at GL made me want to stay forever! I’d grown up writing, loved theater and I watched the [Proctor & Gamble] P&G soaps, but had no career plan. I left college in 1982 and moved from Detroit to New York City. I waitressed for 10 years and my life was pretty full. Full of theater going, travel and friends. And it was the 80’s – NYC was crackly and crime filled. A number of good friends were dying of AIDS. There was a lot going on, but I loved the restaurant, my co-workers, the customers. Luckily, one of my customers, Grace Bavaro, loved me enough to send me across town for a tour of the GL studio. A year later I started working part time at the front desk. I was in my early 30’s then. I didn’t officially join the show til I was almost 35, and I was close to 40 when I became a staff writer! A late bloomer by TV standards. I never thought of myself as a WRITER. I just wanted to be there and be part of the storytelling process and help put out the “product” on a day to day basis. If the environment at GL hadn’t been so amazing, I might’ve gone back to the restaurant business. I like working with good people, doing work I care about. Thanks to the generosity of some terrific people I got the chance to do that at Guiding Light for many years.

Lynn: When you look for inspiration for stories or dialogue, what are things that grab your interest/attention?

Jill: I’m not a big picture story teller – I tend to think in scenes and characters. I am inspired by people I see on the street, conversations I listen to on the bus, looking in windows as people live their lives. My husband, friends and family inspire me. Sometimes a really basic challenge or thought grabs you – like when Ellen Wheeler challenged all of us to come up with stories that would use P&G products. My choice of product turned into an idea that I still want to produce. A place – like the 24 hour laundromat in my NYC neighborhood – can get things going. I think writers need to look around and listen – that’s one of the reasons I don’t wear ear buds and listen to music on the street – or watch TV on my phone – I might miss a good character or setting!

Lynn: Creating storylines for groups of characters in a soap drama involves a lot of planning, organization and development before it even gets to the writing stage. What was your favourite aspect of storylining an idea for a group or for an individual? And conversely, the worst part?

Jill: I love being in a room with a group of writers when someone first mentions a new idea for a storyline or a couple – that moment when everyone stops for a split second to take it in – and then starts talking and tossing their thoughts into the pot. Story stew! I like story boards – using different color markers and squares of paper to lay out days/weeks/months of story. There’s something kind of intoxicating about moving the people and the scenes around, then finally coming up with the day, the week, etc that you’re happy with. I like having the end of the story up there first, so that we know what we’re writing toward. My other favorite job is script editing. It’s a great job. The best part was having the opportunity to assign a day to the right script writer, cheering them on through the week as they write and then, getting a beautiful script handed back to me. I can rewrite a not so good day if I have to – but I get no thrill out of the rewrite. I think I’m kind of good at knowing who’s good at what – who’s funny, who’s heartbreaking, who’s good at killing off characters (really) – and assigning accordingly! My least favorite part of the process is breakdown writing. Glad I had to do it. Don’t like it. Not very good at it.

Lynn: Have you ever had characters that get stuck in your head, demanding their stories to be told? Or had a particular scene becoming very vivid in your head and then have to write it down?

Jill: When you work on a show, the characters live with you and they tend to be a chatty group. If you listen to them, a lot of the story will unfold. Telling a story you love is so uplifting and fun. You can’t wait to get into the meeting, or sit at the computer (or grab your legal pad in my case) or get on the phone with the other writers. It just…bubbles. And when you’re telling a story you don’t believe in – it’s very upsetting. I used to carry on conversations with characters, other writers, the network in my head as I walked to work and I’m sure my facial expressions and mumbling scared a lot of people. Once someone actually stopped me to ask me if I was okay and I blurted. “No! We’re killing Ben today and we’re doing it for all the wrong reasons”. Yikes.

Lynn: What are some favourite pieces of writing advice given to you when you were starting out, that really stuck with you throughout your career?

Jill: Here are a few –
“When you’re writing the emotional/relationship stuff, keep it tight, contained. If the show is long and those scenes take up too much time they will be the first scenes cut and often that means losing the best stuff in the day. Protect those moments”. – From actress/director Lisa Brown

“There is no such thing as a stupid question. Ask the question.” – From producer Mary O’Leary

“Can we tell that story (write that scene) in 9 lines?” – From actress/executive producer Ellen Wheeler

“Don’t tiptoe into your scenes. Walk in, you have the right to be there.” – From writer/producer Claire Labine (when I asked for breakdown writing notes)

Lynn: Following Guiding Light’s cancellation, you had joined up writing for former GL actress, Crystal Chappell’s two-time Daytime Emmy Winner, ‘Venice the Series’ web soap for seasons three and four – and currently fifth season – of the series. What’s it been like switching from writing for a network soap opera to writing for a web platform soap opera?

Jill: Network vs. the web – It’s still serial storytelling, which is the great thing. I love the Venice characters. I’m more of a writer on this show and not part of the rest of the production team, which forces me to use different muscles. I’ve learned to collaborate on the phone, which has always been hard for me! I’m still wrestling with technology and realize how spoiled I was at GL, when I could scribble a scene on a legal pad and stand there looking crazy til Amanda took it away from me and said “That’s okay, Jilly. I’ve got it.” I’m glad our characters can swear and kiss and make love if the story calls for it! I love the freedom, but I miss some of the checks and balances that come with working for the network – they force you to try harder and find different ways to tell the stories you care about. Life is all about picking your battles. When I was on GL and we were answering to both P&G and CBS, we won some important battles, which was great – and we lost some fights that broke our hearts, both as writers and people. I learned a lot from all of those experiences.

Lynn: Are there any other series, either television or web, that you’d love to work on/ work with? Or have you any of your own projects that you’d love to start/continue with?

Jill: We just sent Venice 5 to Crystal and will start the edit as soon as we get her notes this week. I love working with Penelope [Koechl, co-writer] and we have a few ideas we’re discussing. I have to finish my book and there’s another project that needs to be attended to! I don’t think about writing Guiding Light any more – but the Guiding Light actors are so talented and inspiring that whenever I am working on anything, their beautiful faces and voices float through my head. I’d like to write them in very different roles. They are a great rep company. Mostly, I’m looking to tell stories that mean something and work with people I enjoy. That’s the plan. Hey, you made me come up with a plan! Thanks, my friend.

Well, I wish I had a lofty answer, but truth be told, we are sitcom junkies at our house. Modern Family saved our lives this year, along with Frasier, Roseanne and Cosby Show reruns – but sitcoms are serials too – family relationships, overcoming obstacles, love stories! I also love Orange is the New Black, The Good Wife and I think House of Cards is fascinating. Still like Grey’s Anatomy. Catching up on Parenthood, Last Tango in Halifax. I miss Friday Night Lights and Gilmore Girls. I like to think, but I like to laugh and cry and connect when I watch a show.

Out for a walk in Central Park. Jill Lorie Hurst & J. Lynn Stapleton. Photograph by Donna D. Pool, July 2012

Out for a walk in Central Park. Jill Lorie Hurst & J. Lynn Stapleton. Photograph by Donna D. Pool, July 2012

Posted in Entertainment, Interviews, Television, Webseries | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Last Tango in Halifax – Series 2 – Missing Scenes [Eps 1-3]

The second series of Last Tango in Halifax has recently started on the American PBS network, and in keeping with the tradition that I started for series one, I’ve continued marking the missing scenes that had been cut from the US broadcast that were in the original BBC broadcast. The words/lines/scenes that were eliminated are marked in red. This post covers the first three episodes of the second series. The second half of the series will be posted soon after its been broadcast on PBS.

Dialogue and images included are property of Red Production Co. and the BBC. A wonderful thank you to the brilliant Sally Wainwright for another fantastic series.

Series 2 Episode 1

After John’s phone call with Gillian, and before his phone call to Judith, there’s a bit of an interchange between he and his sons.

Laurence: Dad, what’s for tea?
John: Nothing… I don’t know.


During Gillian and Caroline’s conversation in the cafeteria, after Gillian has asked Caroline about Kate, Gillian delves into telling Caroline about her drunken one nightstand with John. As the rest of the previous conversation is all intact, I’m starting with that vantage point.

Gillian: I need to tell you this thing.
Caroline: Okay.
Gillian: You’re going to think I’m a complete dipstick when I’ve told you but I’d rather be up-front about it, you know and then we can either move forward…or not. Okay, so first of all, I don’t regret it. I don’t regret anything. I make a point of never regretting things…however…
Caroline: You’ve slept with John.
Gillian: [rather surprised that Caroline’s voiced it right off.] I was pissed. It was my birthday. I felt sorry for him, for him being such…um…a twat. So pathetic.
Caroline: [surprised] Oh, you really have slept with John? [Long awkward silence]. Was it? What was it like?
Gillian: To be honest? I don’t actually remember very much about it, except that it happened.

The rest of the scene remains intact.



Just a side note from the scene (nothing missing from it) with Alan and Celia up on the high cliff, as the camera pulls back for the long shot, that is some absolutely gorgeous scenery.


After the scene where Alan and Celia tell Gillian about moving over to Harrogate, there’s a little scene with Alan and Celia up in his bedroom.

Celia: I’ve got me new hat.
Alan: Umm.
Celia: So that’s that bit covered.
Alan: Umm.
Celia: Something old, something new.
Alan: Something old we’ve not got.
Celia: Well, we’re both old.
Alan: Are we?
Celia: Well, you are. I’m not. [they both start laughing.] I started counting backwards when I got to 36.
Alan: How old does that make you now, then?
Celia: Mmm. Minus three.
Alan: Fancy.
Celia: I had a very interesting experience in 1988, when me and our Caroline were both twenty-two.
Alan: That must have taken some explaining.
Celia: Not really. Something borrowed?
Alan: Well, I could borrow a bow tie off Maurice. Then I’d be very dapper.
Celia: Uhm. You could and you would. But then he’d want to know why you were borrowing it. You know what a nosy old bugger he is.
Alan: I could lie. I could say I’d been invited to a cocktail party. In Manhattan.
Celia: Mmm. He’d believe that.
Alan: Or he’d want to come with me.
Celia: Tell him to sod off.
Alan: Okay. Something blue? A mucky magazine?
Celia: Have you got any?
Alan: No. Have you?
Celia: Oh yeah. Got loads. [they laugh] No, I haven’t. [heavily laughing again]


When Gillian’s about to leave Caroline’s place, John comes running out to her car and tries to stop her. Before he gets in the car, Gillian yelps a surprised and pissed off “Shit!” as John has his hands braced against the hood of the car.

Following John’s conversation in Gillian’s Land Rover, he returns to the house to find he’s locked out. He knocks on the window where the family is having supper, and Caroline lets him in.

Caroline: Do you want something to eat?
John: Is there enough?
Caroline: Just find a chair. [The others in the room aren’t very impressed with him.]
John: [After returning with a chair, sitting at the end of the table with William on one side and Kate on the other.] Hello. Hi, Alan. How’s the… [he gestures towards his chest]
Alan: Oh, fighting fit.
John: Good. That’s good. That’s…
Kate: [holding up wine bottle] Would you like?
John: Oh, just a small one. [Caroline puts a place setting down for him.]
Caroline: You want a glass? [A little snarky]
John half smiles around as Celia is glaring at him.


Series 2 Episode 2

When John’s turned up to Caroline’s office to talk about his future prospects there’s a little bit left out.

John: I don’t know what’s happening to me. I don’t know who I can…I can’t…There’s no one I can…
Caroline: What do you want? I don’t mean…um, generally, in life, now, what do you want? Focus on the future, not the past.
John: I want you. I want everything to go back like it was.
Caroline: Right. [Thinking he’s an idiot and that’s not going to happen, she stands up and walks round the desk to sit in an adjacent chair.] I’ve moved on. You are going to have to get used to that and when you do…
John: [Interrupting] My publisher’s dropped me.
Caroline: Really. Really?
John: Yeah.
Caroline: Oh, shit.
Well, I’m…God, I’m sorry.
John: I’ve squandered everything that mattered. I don’t recognize myself.
Caroline: Could you get more work at the university?
John: Yes…that’s…it’s…I can ask. But…[shakes head, it’s not likely]
Caroline: [after an awkward silence] Would you like some tea?


After Gillian’s phone conversation with Raff, there’s a brief that’s dropped with Kate driving into Caroline’s driveway, then Caroline pulling up with herself and Laurence in the car.

Caroline: [to Kate, smiling at her] Have a good day?
Kate: Uhm mm.
[Laurence gets out of the car. He’s not exactly appearing thrilled that Kate’s moved in.]

The rest of the scene in the house is the same as aired on PBS



During the conversation with Caroline, Alan and Celia after they’ve popped round to tell Caroline about the wedding and such, there’s a little bit left out of Celia’s line.

Caroline: Right. So, just out of interest, now you’re married, where were you thinking of living?
Alan: Ah, well, ah… [Alan & Celia talking over each other]
Celia: Ah, we’ve not really thought about it…
Alan: That’s just one of the things, you see. We were getting that bogged down in practicalities of this and the other that we ended up thinking that we’d never end up get wed at this rate.
Caroline: Okay, well, I’m just going to run this past you. John’s publisher’s given him the shiff.
Celia: [laughs] Oh, shit.
Caroline: So, this is the thing. He can’t afford to buy me out, my half, my share, which I always imagined he could. But he can’t, so whey hey [raises her champagne glass then puts it down]. Anyway, now I’m contemplating ways I can buy him out, rather than sell up, which is obviously an option.

[The rest of the conversation between them remains the same.]



At the end of Caroline and Kate’s discussion whilst they’re supervising the cricket practice, Kate comments that at Caroline’s age, looking after a baby wasn’t really what she’d be planning on next. The part that follows is missing from the PBS airing:

Caroline: I wonder how my mother’s getting on. [Checking her phone] She was delivering a baby the last time I spoke to her. [texting her mum]
Kate: [incredulous] You’re mother was delivering a baby?
Caroline: Well, she said she was.
Kate: Whose?
Caroline: Ah, oh it’s… [shakes head]
Kate: Is there anything that woman doesn’t get up to?
Caroline: Well, someone else will be doing all the hard work. She’ll just be standing by the door making droll comments.



Series 2 Episode 3

In the scene when Alan and Celia are talking on the phone about Raff, Ellie and the baby, there’s a part missing after they say they’re missing each other and Celia tells Alan that Caroline’s returned home, and the next scene where Caroline walks into the house to the sitting room. They talk a little about what to name Ellie and Raff’s baby.

Celia: I’m missing you.
Alan: [little chuckle] I’m missing you.
Celia: [sound of Caroline’s Jeep pulling into driveway] Oh, eh up. Madame Mazonga’s back.
Alan: [chuckles again] Who?
Celia: Our little Caroline. Hey, what do you think about Cordelia for a name. It’s King Lear. There’s three of them…daughters: Goneril, Regan and Cordelia.
Alan: Why think of three?
Celia: [laughs] Goneril. Oh, you just wouldn’t, would you?
Alan: There’s no wonder they wanted him dead.
Celia: The dozy old bugger.


The following scene comes from the next morning at the house before they leave for school and Celia pops round to talk to Caroline. In the scene, there’s a flashback to a conversation that Celia and Alan had had in their car the evening before after they left the farm, that’s eliminated from the PBS broadcast.

Celia: Poisonous. I could have been in tears.
Caroline: Do you want me to get involved? Do you want me to ring her?
Celia: No!
Kate: [enters room] I’m off. Oh, hello, Celia.
Celia: Hello, love.
Kate: See you there.
Caroline: [Giving Kate a loving look; she’d clearly love to kiss her but not around Celia just yet] Yeah.
Kate: Okay, bye. [Kate leaves]
Caroline: Is Alan all right? Is he here?
Celia: We drove back last night. Did you not hear us?
Caroline: How is he?
Celia: I think he’s had enough of her. I think, between you and me, it sounds like she’s been a bit of a bloody nuisance all her life.
[flashback: Alan and Celia are sitting in their car chatting]
Alan: Never at school. This was after she went back after the abortion. Always over in Manchester at night. Pink hair, green eyebrows, studs everywhere. Course this is when she started bothering with him. Eddie. Bloody Eddie. And then there were the little incidents: shoplifting, joyriding. It were all him. She were just daft enough to along with him. And a word and she would just go doin’ all apologizing, making amends. One thing, aye, she weren’t from a bad home. She’d had a perfectly good upbringing, thank you. And we were just as upset and bemused by the way she carried on as anyone else.
Celia: Well, I’m sorry you’ve had it all to put up with.
Alan: Aye, well. Makes you wonder why you bother.

Caroline: Well that can’t be any good for him with his condition.
Celia: He’s fine, he says. He says as long as he’s with me, nothing else matters.
Caroline: I might ring her.
Celia: Oh, I wouldn’t. You know she doesn’t like you.
Caroline: You shouldn’t say things like that.
Celia: She’s right jealous of you.
Caroline: Oh, I don’t….I’ve never…
Celia: You don’t see it.
Caroline: Right. Well, okay. I’ll keep out of it then.


Following Celia and Alan’s conversation about the tiff with Gillian, and the two of them looking after Caroline’s boys while Caroline takes Kate away for her birthday weekend, there’s a continuation of the scene that’s been intercut with Caroline and Laurence. Caroline and Laurence arrive at the school.

Laurence: Why don’t you and Ms. McKenzie drive to school together?
Caroline: Because we don’t always finish work at the same time. [Turns to face Laurence] Please call her Kate.
Laurence: Everyone knows, you know? You need to stop kidding yourself because you just look like a hypocrite. Which is not a cool message to be sending out to the 2.7 percent of kids in this school who will one day turn out to be muff-munching shirt-lifters.
Caroline: I see. [Pause] See you later. [Laurence gets out of the car and Caroline looks over the parking lot where Kate has just gotten her things from the boot of her own car.]
Laurence: [to his mate, Angus] She’s taking McKenzie off on a dirty weekend next weekend. My granny’s looking after us. Do you want to come around and watch “Resevoir Dogs” and get pissed and trash the place?
Angus: Yeah.


After John arrives at the farm, he and Gillian start talking as she brings a couple of cups of tea to the sitting room.

John: So, where’s Ellie gone? Do we know?
Gillian: I rang her mum and she said she had no idea. But then Harry phoned later to say she was there, at her mother’s. Silly bitch.
John: Are you all right?
Gillian: Well, everyone’s fallen out with me. Again. So…I’m kinda up shit creak without a paddle. Again. So, God. I don’t know. It’s a bit mad, isn’t it? You and me.
John: Well, I don’t know. It’s not much madder than everything else that’s happened.
Gillian: I’m wondering if you were right. About Robbie. Me and Robbie.

John: Really?
Gillian: It’s not just…it’s…I did this thing once. I’ve never told anyone. Except my Dad knows.
John: What thing?
Gillian: It was when Eddie died.

[The rest of the cross-cut scenes between Gillian and John, Celia and Alan discussing in tandem how Eddie died, remains in-tact.]


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Last Tango in Halifax – Series 1 – Missing Scenes (Eps 1-3)

A while back I wrote up a post entitled Last Tango in Halifax – Missing Scenes (Eps 4-6), that covered the sections of episodes that were cut from the original BBC broadcast version in order to air it on PBS in the United States, allowing for US public broadcasting advertisements. At the time I had written the post for episodes 4-6, I hadn’t really realized how much was actually being cut until I remembered specific scenes from the original that were not included. The cutting of the scenes seemed rather random. By the time I had thought about covering the first three episodes for this blog, the episodes for streaming from the PBS streaming video links had been deleted. Leading up to series 2 airing currently, PBS also re-added the episodes from the first series.

Now, on with the show.

Series 1 – Episode 1

There was only one scene in episode one that was shortened in the PBS broadcast. In this scene, Celia and Alan have gone to a café to discuss all that had gone on that day with meeting up after sixty years, Alan’s car being stolen, then found, the crashed. The part dialogue that was eliminated from the American broadcast on PBS is marked in red text.

Celia: Oh, it’s hopeless. You can never get hold of her at school. She’s always got it switched off. I’ve left a message anyway.
Alan: Right.
Celia: And if I get desperate, I can always ring John. Well, who’d have thought it…us here today, like this?
Alan: Were you really [leans forward] in love with me?
Barrista: [Interrupting conversation] What can I get you?
Celia: Oh…um…[picks up her glasses and looks at the menu board] Ahhh….oh. What do you suppose a crappuccino is, Alan?
Alan: [looks at the board then back to Celia] Isn’t that an ‘f’?
Celia: [looks around the room] Is it? Where?
Alan: [looking puzzled] On the board.
Celia: Is it?
Barrista: It’s frappuccino. Coffee with ice.
Celia: They’ve always to muck everything about these days, haven’t they? Still, if you’re not taking risks, you’re not living. That’s what our William says…and he lives in his bedroom, so what does he know? [Alan laughs]. Oh, go on. I’ll have one.
Alan: Well, following that impeccable logic, I’ll have one as well. [Barrista leaves to go back to counter to place their order]
Celia: I’d forgotten you were a comedian.
Alan: I’d forgotten you were one. You knew damn well that didn’t say crappuccino.
Celia: Well, people bother with you more if they think you’re senile. I mean, look at that policeman. Well, either that or they run a mile, which can be equally entertaining.

Alan: Were you really in love with me?
Celia: Uhm hum. I used to think about you, when I was so miserable with Kenneth. I used to wonder what you were up to, and who you were with. And how different things might have been if I’d married a lad like you. Did you think about me? When you were with Eileen?
Alan: [nods] Now and again. I don’t think I ever stopped thinking about you.
Celia: [Sighs]. We missed a trick, didn’t we?
Alan: I can’t believe Eileen didn’t give me that letter.
Celia: Well, we can’t change it.
Alan: It’s such a big thing not to have done. She must have known.
Celia: Well, you’ve got Gillian and Raffy. And I’ve got my lot. And I don’t regret that. Do you? Whatever else might have happened.
Alan: No, no. I’d…Of course not.


Series 1 – Episode 2

Most of this episode is exactly the same from the BBC full broadcast to the PBS version, as it was one of the series shortest episodes.

About half-way through after Gillian sleeps with Paul, and he leaves, Gillian’s fixing herself up in the mirror. Most of it that scene is intact, except at the end of the scene Gillian says, “You twat” to her mirror image for giving in and sleeping with him.



Following the scene where Alan and Celia arrange for the car purchase and for it to be delivered on Saturday for their engagement party, there’s a phone conversation between Celia and Caroline, and Celia and Alan drive back to the farm.

Caroline: Mum, where are you? Are you all right?
Celia: Oh, I’m with Alan, in Halifax.
Caroline: What? What are you doing in Halifax? [She walks through a set of doors at the school and down a flight of stairs.]
Celia: Nothing [looks over where Alan is driving].
Caroline: Are you all right?
Celia: Yeah. I’m never better.
Caroline: [stops mid flight as she meets up with Kate before they part ways again without saying anything.] Right…well, ah, drive carefully.
Celia: Yeah, I will. Bye-bye.
Caroline: Bye.
Celia: Bye-bye. [Celia hangs up and turning to Alan, she laughs].
Shows Caroline walking down another hallway.



Caroline returns home in the evening and John’s been cooking and the kitchen is a mess.
John: I’m cooking.
Caroline: No shit, Sherlock.
Rest of the scene remains intact.


Series 1 – Episode 3

The first scene that has stuff eliminated is when Alan and Gillian are at the police station to collect Raff, who’d been cautioned by his Uncle Robbie for assaulting Paul Jattry. The first bit when Alan and Gillian were talking remains the same, so I’ll not add that here. Taking up where Robbie and Raff appear.

Robbie: Done and dusted. [Turns to Raff] And next time give the weenie little twat a wide berth.
Gillian: [to Raff] Are you all right?
[Raff doesn’t say anything and walks right past her.]
Robbie: What were it about? Gillian?
Gillian: You know as much as me, Robbie.
[Gillian walks off, then Alan follows as Robbie looks on.]

Gillian and Alan leave the police station and Raff is standing in front of Gillian’s Land Rover
Gillian: What did he say? The inspector?
Raff: Stuff.
Alan: I’ll see you back there.
Gillian: Right. [Turns back to Raff] And what was Paul Jattry saying?
Raff: Shit.
Gillian: What kind of shit?
Raff: Can I go in the Lexus with Granddad? [Heads towards Alan] Granddad, can I go with you? [leaving his mum behind]
[In car]
Alan: You okay?
Raff: Sorry to spoil your party.
[Alan puts his hand up for Raff to not worry. Gillian heads to get into her vehicle as Alan’s car pulls away.]

During John’s conversation with Gillian after Gillian, Alan and Raff return home, most of the conversation remains all in tact. Except

John: The ironic thing is…
Gillian: What?
John: Oh, I had this fling thing…affair, fest, embarrassing mistake thing with this Judith…four…three months ago. Tell me when I get boring. [Gillian covers her mouth a little] Well the point is…she…I was in the house, by myself…our house…mine and Caroline’s…and she turns up, Judith, and I can’t get rid of her. William comes home from school early because he’s in the middle of his A Levels. He assumes we’re up to stuff, which we’re not, absolutely not. All over, thing of the past, big bad mistake, desperately grateful to be back with glorious, snotty, mad Caroline, albeit in the spare bedroom. But now she’s gone all berserk, and says I’m out on my ear again… Shit. [He continues drinking his wine; he’s already quite drunk.]
Gillian: I’ve just got to pop upstairs and see if Raffy’s okay.
John: Sure.
After Caroline and John’s explosive argument in the kitchen, in the PBS version, it moves on to Gillian’s farmhouse. But in the BBC broadcast version, the scene continues on where Alan and Celia had been listening in on the argument from Celia’s granny flat.

Celia: It’s not funny. [They’re both laughing, however.]
Alan: Hey, how do you fancy dropping over to Buxton’s Ridge?

Following this shot are glorious comparison shots of Caroline and Gillian in their respective homes. There’s no dialogue but the set up and framing of the scenes is brilliant to show both the comparison and contrast of how the women try to cope with the complexity of their family lives.



I will be doing the same for series 2 as it’s broadcast on PBS (this time I’m recording them on the DVR) at present, though I may just do up one full post at the end of the six episodes. Or, potentially will do them in two posts (1-3 and (4-6); this time in actual order. 🙂

*** All images and text are property of Red Production Company and BBC. ***

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I bought this book by Yvonne Grace, an accomplished writer of television in the United Kingdom. The book has been a brilliant read so far, with a lot of useful information and insightful moments of humour in the job of writing for television.

I’ve written prose stories for many years but haven’t yet made the jump to writing in script format. Working on that with a project or two. 🙂

Here is Yvonne’s latest post about making contacts in the television industry.'s Blog


Writing is a solitary exercise. But the business of getting your writing read, talked about and appreciated is just the opposite. You need to be a focussed solitary scriber, and then morph when the time dictates, into a sociable, approachable type who is more that happy to talk about your work and ask questions of those that are experienced and able to help you get in and get on in the industry.

Even if you have a writing partner; someone with whom you work to create and construct your drama scripts, there is always that point in the creation process where you must turn the collaboration switch to ‘off’ and get on with making your part in the writing process your own. You need to get your head down and start writing.

If you work solo, (like most writers in my experience do) then it can be really hard to…

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“Happy Valley” – One of the best dramas I’ve ever seen

By J. Lynn Stapleton, 4th June 2014

Come visit Yorkshire!…we’ve got murder, mystery and mayhem… Probably not the kind of thing the Yorkshire and West Yorkshire Tourism board teams have in mind when they boast some of Britain’s most beautiful scenery; winding rivers and roads, hilly moors, spacious farms, caverns to explore, rolling hillsides dotted with villages and cities, and so much more.

Calderdale Valley, © Magnus Manske, wikipedia

Calderdale Valley, © Magnus Manske, wikipedia

Home to hosting various dramas such as Peter Robinson’s DCI Banks series, Val McDermid’s Wire in the Blood, Sally Wainwright’s Scott & Bailey, Unforgiven, Last Tango in Halifax and most recently Happy Valley, one might think that the large Yorkshire countryside is riddled with crime.

I sat down this morning, watching the finale of Happy Valley (working night shifts sometimes leaves me rather knackered on my days off, so when I get a chance to watch good tele I grab it when I can). I pointedly kept off social media last night to avoid spoilers. So, I grabbed my blanket and headed into the family room and watched it on the big screen TV (as opposed to watching on my laptop).

Sarah Lancashire as Catherine Cawood and James Norton as Tommy Lee Royce in Happy Valley. © Red Production Co., BBC, 2014

Sarah Lancashire as Catherine Cawood and James Norton as Tommy Lee Royce in Happy Valley. © Red Production Co., BBC, 2014

Watching Sally Wainwright’s drama, Happy Valley over the past six weeks has often been a roller coaster of emotions from story lines fraught with sometimes very intense drama, whether that be the internal family conflict, along with the external sources of drama due to the violent kidnappings and murders in the Calderdale area of West Yorkshire. At the end of the fourth episode that left Police Sergeant Catherine Cawood (Sarah Lancashire) battered and bruised, lying on the street following rescuing kidnap victim Ann Gallagher (Charlie Murphy) from Tommy Lee Royce (James Norton), I was left literally shaking in my seat, worried about Cawood & Gallagher’s outcomes.

Catherine’s resulting deep depression following learning that Royce and his tag-along, Lewis Whippey (Adam Long) were still at large was wonderfully portrayed by Lancashire. The effects of which affected not only herself but her interactions with her family. It also affected her work.

Fed up with the seeming inaction by her superiors in the police department to follow up on catching those responsible for the killing of Ashley Cowgill (Joe Armstrong), along with those in the drugs trade, and with the search for Tommy Lee Royce appeared to have stalled, Cawood takes it on herself to do something, anything, to catch the bastard. Despite everything he did to her and her family, Catherine’s innate sense of justice stops him from killing himself and taking her and her grandson, Ryan (his son) with him, though not without a few digs in. His death would be too easy a way out for the crimes he’s committed.

Siobhan Finneran as Clare Cartwright and Sarah Lancashire as Catherine Cawood, Happy Valley. © Red Production Co, BBC, 2014

Siobhan Finneran as Clare Cartwright and Sarah Lancashire as Catherine Cawood, Happy Valley. © Red Production Co, BBC, 2014

It was nice to see some more of the background reasons upon which Daniel Cawood (Karl Davies), Catherine’s son, who refused to talk to her for so many years and why exactly he’s refused to acknowledge his nephew, Ryan (Rhys Connah). The death of her daughter, Becky, who was by no means perfect, shook Catherine to the core years ago, so much that it shattered her family apart. With an infant grandson to raise, and only the support of her sister, she managed to go on with life. The continuing support that Clare (Siobhan Finneran) gives Catherine, even when everything goes to crap, is wonderfully portrayed. I also enjoyed the bonding between Catherine and Ann Gallagher. I could see some mentorship resulting from this connection down the road.

As Kevin Weatherill’s (Steve Pemberton) remains in jail for his part in starting the kidnapping plot, he continues his plight of not being the one to take the blame for the consequences of his actions, instead he blames Nevison (George Costigan) for not giving him the raise he asked for to help his daughter into an independent school. He doesn’t really seem to grasp how much crap he’s gotten himself into thanks to his desperate planning.

There is so much to this series that keeps you tied to your screen (big or small), that it’s absolutely breath-taking. I’ve quite likely over-used the word brilliant when referring to this series in previous posts & tweets, but in all truthfulness, it has been. The writing, casting, acting, producing teams have come together to create this perfect storm of a well-crafted drama.

With an overnight ratings of 6.2 million in viewing numbers, with more to come as people get caught up via BBC’s iPlayer and DVR recordings and downloads, that number will increase. Now that all the episodes are aired, and the DVD available for pre-order, I expect there will be many more people doing a six-episode marathon…including my parents.

For a second time this series, the hashtag was trending on Twitter last night, with people commenting on how they saw the show, with all manner of praising the series, along with Red Productions thanking people for all the tweets in support of the show.

There are talks on-going for a second series of Happy Valley. In the meantime I look forward to the return of Wainwright’s Scott & Bailey, though for the fourth series, Wainwright has handed over the reigns of writing to others but she remains on as Executive Producer, and a returning of Last Tango in Halifax late this fall (which will be starting to film within the next month).

Here’s hoping for a string of BAFTA Television awards for Happy Valley in 2015!

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“Happy Valley”: Extraordinary drama with realistic portrayals

By: J. Lynn Stapleton

In the past few days, I’ve read articles from various news sources (Daily Mail, Guardian, Digital Spy) along with blog reviews, and part of a BBC Women’s Hour Podcast of the new BBC hit series, Happy Valley, a brilliantly written drama set in the West Yorkshire area of Calderdale; the articles discussing the level of violence portrayed, specifically in the last two episodes, which saw a young police constable, Kirsten McAskill, killed by Tommy Lee Royce backing over her with a car multiple times because she happened to stop a van carrying his kidnapped prey, Ann Nevison. A woman he’d kidnapped but had taken it upon himself to also rape (though not shown) in an earlier episode. In addition, when finding Sgt Cawood in his mother’s home rescuing Ann, Royce badly battered Sgt. Cawood.

Sarah Lancashire as Sgt. Catherine Cawood in BBC & Red Productions Co series 'Happy Valley'

Sarah Lancashire as Sgt. Catherine Cawood in BBC & Red Productions Co series ‘Happy Valley’

There were apparently 15 reported complaints about the violence against women made to the BBC. When you compare that to the over 13,000 tweets on Tuesday (20th May) night into late Wednesday, praising the series for best drama they’ve seen, I think that needs to be taken into consideration. Personally, I think the Mail has taken it out of context and blown the issue up further than necessary. The show is broadcast after the 9pm watershed point and there is a violence warning given before the episode airs.

This is most definitely not to say that I agree with all portrayals of violence against women. One only has to look at the horrifying incident on Friday in California, where a 22 year-old man shot and stabbed 7 people because he was rejected by women, or the numerous other incidences of violence against women, both in real life and in film or television. I do object to the gratification to gratuitous violence against women.

That said, however, what I saw in Happy Valley over the last few weeks, I didn’t find gratuitous. Yes, it shocked me and left me shaking. It should have. When gratuitous violence against women no longer shocks me, THAT’s when I should be worried. Taken into context, there’s a few points I’d like to make. Tommy Lee Royce is a violent individual. He’s attacked and beaten up both men (Lewis) and women (Ann and Catherine), and threatened the life of his boss, he’s beat the crap out of his own drug-addled mother, as a means to an end. He’s psychopathic, in that he really doesn’t care who he hurts, and he’s not afraid to take it to extreme methods.

On the other end, you have police officers hurt and killed. I really think, given Royce’s psychopathy, that even if McAskill or Cawood had been male officers, Royce still would not have seen any reason not to do the same, to avoid being caught, arrested and sent back to prison. That is the reality police officers, men and women, face when they go out in the streets to protect and serve; sometimes they are faced with violence. That is realistic. To pretend otherwise, or to not include the violence in Happy Valley, where the police routinely deal with the effects of drugs on populations, would be a disservice to the story, and to the violence that police officers face in real-life similar situations.

Catherine Cawood is deeply affected by McAskill’s death. She takes it to heart, even as she had reprimanded the officer only the episode before for taking a bullying from an inebriated politician. Catherine genuinely cares about the people she works with and the people she’s there to protect and serve.

In that last episode this past week, at the end of the episode, you see Ann, the kidnapped woman, free herself and come to the assistance of Sgt. Catherine Cawood. Finding what was at hand (a dumbbell weight) and hitting Royce in the head with it to back him off the senior police officer. Battered and bruised herself, Ann helps get the battered Catherine out of the basement and out onto the street. With Ann secured in the back of the police car, Catherine calls for help before collapsing in the street.

There are two more episodes to go, and frankly, though I’m anxious to see how Catherine and Ann come through this ordeal, I can hardly wait for the last two to air. Having been watching many series via marathoning episodes, this is one series that I haven’t been able to wait until the end to marathon them. This series is definitely ‘watercooler’ conversation material…or for that matter, social media conversation, if Twitter was anything to go by on Tuesday night, Wednesday and beyond.

Some of the articles posted this past week.

Anna Howell (Unreality Primetime) – BBC inundated with complaints over violent Happy Valley! Furore over bloody Sarah Lancashire!

Chris Hastings (Daily Mail): Dehumanising and anti-women? No, Happy Valley is feminist TV, its creators insist after show features brutal kidnapping of mother by rapist

Cathy Owen (Wales Online): Why I’m more than happy with the gory side of Happy Valley

BBC Women’s Hour – Violence Against Women in Drama – Jenni Murray interviews writer Sally Wainwright and Karen Lewis of Red Production Co.

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The National Theatre Live Program brings plays to the cinema


Living in Canada, I never thought that I’d get chance to see Nicola Walker, one of my favourite actresses, perform on stage. I’d first heard of her involvement in the National Theatre production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, based on Mark Haddon’s novel of the same name, via her website. I’d heard wonderful wonderful reports of the play, which had been adapted by Simon Stephens and directed by Marianne Elliott and premiered at the National Theatre in London on 2nd August 2012. The production ran through until the end of October 2012, and in September it was broadcast live through the National Theatre Live Programme which brings live theatre to national and international audiences in cinema theatres. Tonight’s Encore showing at the local Cineplex cinema was my opportunity to see the show that I might not have done before.

A story within a story, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is about and told from the perspective of Christopher Boone, a fifteen year old boy living on the autism spectrum. He finds that his neighbour’s dog was killed, and the neighbour called the police believing he was the culprit. Like many people living with autism, Christopher dislikes and is uncomfortable with physical contact from anyone, so when a police officer touches him in an effort to get the lad to come with him after finding him next to the dead dog, Christopher lashes out and strikes the officer, earning him a caution from the police. Despite efforts from his father to curtail him, Christopher decides to start his own investigation to find out who killed the dog, and eventually find out the cause of his parent’s separation.

Christopher is brilliant when it comes to understanding maths and science; it’s his comfort area of being, and reciting the prime numbers in order often helps calm his thoughts when large amounts of information threatens to overwhelm him when faced with situations in which he’s never been or faced.

Though I’ve got friends who live on the autism spectrum and relatives with children who have autism, I’ve not really had much experience with disorder, even as a nurse. This story, and the way in which it was portrayed, with numbers and letters at times jumbled and overlapping does a wonderful job at allowing the viewer a glance into the mind of someone living with autism.

Luke Treadaway does a brilliant job portraying Christopher, both in his physical mannerisms and speech as you view life through his point of view. His parents, Ed (Paul Ritter) and Judy (Nicola Walker) sometimes struggle to understand him and his behaviours as he searches for understanding people’s emotions, metaphors and why people do the things they do. Niamh Cusak plays both part of narrator and Siobhan, one of Christopher’s teachers, and help guides him through his search and understandings. Una Stubbs plays Mrs. Alexander, an elder neighbour that tries to befriend Christopher and help him out. The rest of the cast play a number of rotating roles help to move (figuratively and literally) Christopher around through the story. The set design complemented the story throughout the play, by helping to articulate Christopher’s thought patterns at times and guide him at other times.

Photo by Manuel Harlan

Photo by Manuel Harlan

In 2013, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time won seven trophies at the Laurence Olivier Awards, including Best New Play, Best Director (Marianne Elliott), Best Actor (Luke Treadaway), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Nicola Walker), Best Sound Design (Ian Dickinson and Adrian Sutton), Best Lighting Design (Paule Constable), Best Set Design (Bunny Christie and Finn Ross), and was also nominated for Best Theatre Choreographer (Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett).

The next showings of Curious Incident in New Brunswick are on 28th June in Fredericton at the Cineplex Theatre, in Saint John at Cineplex Saint John, and Cineplex Trinity in Moncton. You can check the National Theatre Live website for other Venue dates and times in your area of the country and around the world. In the UK, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time returns to the stage in June 2014 at the Gielgud Theatre, and on Broadway September 2014. Also, if you haven’t already, check out Mark Haddon’s novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time from your local bookstore, library or online.

Also, check out other National Theatre Live productions available at these venues. I highly recommend the show.

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‘Happy Valley’ continues to ramp up the tension and drama

by: J. Lynn Stapleton

Happy Valley. BBC, RedProductions

Happy Valley. BBC, RedProductions

What can I say about the BBC’s latest series, Happy Valley that hasn’t already been said, by critics and fans alike? I have to agree with much of it, which is to say its a cracking series penned by Sally Wainwright (Scott & Bailey, Last Tango in Halifax, At Home with the Braithwaites), and produced by Karen Lewis at Red Production Co. Though much darker than Scott & Bailey and Last Tango, Happy Valley is not without its humour or exploration of humanity; it’s not afraid to show its character’s flaws.

Image Credit: BBC/Red Productions. Photographer: Ben Blackall

Image Credit: BBC/Red Productions. Photographer: Ben Blackall

Despite the misnomer, Happy Valley is anything but a ‘feel good’ show; set up in the Calder Valley (West Yorkshire) area, the nickname of ‘Happy Valley’ comes from the drugs trade and usage. The series starts out on a relatively lighter tone – a police sergeant, Catherine Cawood, played by the very talented Sarah Lancashire (Last Tango in Halifax, Rose & Maloney) and her younger constable, PC McAskill (Sophie Rundle, The Bletchley Circle) out to see to a young man who’s likely drugged up as well as drunk and standing atop a children’s playground unit threatening to light himself on fire because his girlfriend dumped him for a mate. Whilst the call in has sent for a negotiator, it’s pretty much left down to Catherine – armed with a fire extinguisher to talk the lad down. Without much fanfare, Catherine’s attempt to ‘relate’ to the lad results in quite handily spelling out her own situation, but then quickly turns it back on him.

Sgt Cawood: I’m Catherine, by the way. I’m forty-seven, I’m divorced, I live with my sister who’s a recovering heroin addict. I’ve two grown up children; one dead, one who don’t speak to me and a grandson.
Lad: Why? Why didn’t he speak to ya?
Sgt Cawood: It’s complicated. Let’s talk about you.

Turns out Catherine’s daughter, Rebecca was raped and had a son, then unable to cope with the aftermath of the rape had committed suicide, leaving Catherine to pick up the pieces and raise her grandson. Neither her remarried ex-husband, Richard (Derek Riddell, Frankie, Five Days) or her son could cope with Rebecca’s rape or suicide, nor would they acknowledge the boy or help out.

The other part of this series involves a bumbling accountant, Kevin Weatherill (played by Steve Pemberton (Benidorm, Whitechapel), goes to his boss, Nevison Gallagher (George Costigan, Scott & Bailey, Homefront) asking for a raise so he can put his daughters through an Independent school. When it doesn’t go as planned, he drums up the ‘brilliant’ idea of kidnapping the boss’s daughter and using the ransom money to pay for the girls’ education. He mentions this to Ashley Cowgill (Joe Armstrong, The Village, Public Enemies), the fellow who runs the caravan park where he and his family rent caravans for vacation time, but quickly, after the fact, panics. Especially after his boss reconsiders and gives him more responsibilities with more money. Unfortunately, his plan rather quickly goes pear-shaped. Kevin tries to go to the police to confess the kidnap plot to Sgt Cawood but bottles it.

Catherine’s sister, Clare (Siobhan Finneran, Downton Abbey, Clocking Off) works at the local mission, and helps raise Ryan (the grandson), and she informs Catherine of Tommy Lee Royce’s (James Norton, Death Comes to Pemberly) release from prison, which brings up painful memories for Catherine, as he was the one who had raped her daughter.

Kevin’s kidnap plot goes from bad to worse as Royce and Lewis (Adam Long, Waterloo Road), two of Ashley’s employees kidnap the daughter but, Royce has some other ideas that don’t sit well with Lewis.

This series is not for the squeamish or light-hearted. It does get quite dark and occasionally brutal as the series progresses. I can’t actually find one weak performance in any of the actors; each has a story and the characters are vibrant, even the bad guys. Nothing comes off as superfluous.

Sarah Lancashire is brilliant here as Catherine Cawood. She’s been going from strength to strength with Seeing Red, Last Tango in Halifax, The Paradise, Happy Valley. After watching the fourth episode last night, I was quite literally shaking by the end of the edge of seat drama, that was well-paced, and fabulously-written. This episode was actually also directed by series writer, Sally Wainwright. With only two episodes left, I suspect my heart will remain up in my throat and my rear-end planted at the front of the seat, with comfy blanket and teddy bear well within reach.

I’ve been paying attention to the social media response on Twitter, primarily, to which last night’s episode was trending in the UK, and the twitter response has been overwhelmingly positive. And the accolades keep coming through. It reached an initial 5.8 million viewers (26% share) for the time slot, coming in as the most viewed show of the night (Source: DigitalSpy UK). The +1 day PVR and BBC iPlayer viewings are continuing to rise.

Source: SecondSync

Source: SecondSync

For anyone interested, the BBC Writer’s Room has posted the first four scripts of the series on their website.

BBC’s Happy Valley homepage

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Clara’s Big Ride – Bell Let’s Talk about Mental Illness

Screen Shot 2014-04-10 at 7.55.14 AM

Many people of all ages, races, sexual orientations, socio-economic status are affected by mental illness, whether it is something they live with themselves, or have family and/or friends that have some form of mental illness. Many suffer in silence because of the fear and stigma associated with having a mental illness, and don’t seek treatment, or are unable to continue treatment. While some of us have periods when we’re feeling down or anxious and it’s something we cope with, there are others for which mental illness is a lifelong struggle, and at times completely debilitating, both mentally and physically.

The following are just a few facts from Canadian Mental Health Association, the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Institute of Health Research, the Mental Health Commission of Canada:

  • Mood and anxiety disorders impact an estimated 22% of the Canadian population (CMHA)
  • In Canada, only 1 out of 5 children who need mental health services receives them. (CMHA)
  • 2 in 3 people suffer in silence fearing judgement and rejection (CMA)
  • 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a form of mental illness at some point in their life (CIHR)
  • At this very moment, some 3 million Canadians are suffering from depression (CMHA)
  • Mental health problems and illnesses also account for more than $6 billion in lost productivity costs due to absenteeism and presenteeism. (MHCC)

(More facts on mental health and mental illness in Canada available: here).

In 2010, Bell Canada set up a new multi-year charitable campaign program called Bell Let’s Talk, to raise money and awareness for mental illness and mental health, and since then the charity has raised over $62 million nationally. The initiative set out to remove the stigma associated with mental illness, to help provide community care and access to mental health services across the country, to assist with workplace mental health, and funding towards mental health research.

Clara Hughes speaking at the Women and Wellness event at Fredericton High School, 8th April 2014.

Clara Hughes speaking at the Women and Wellness event at Fredericton High School, 8th April 2014.

One such person has set out to help raise awareness of mental illness and work towards eliminating the stigma associated with mental illness, and that is Clara Hughes. The six time Canadian Olympian has won medals in both summer (cycling) and winter (speed skating) Olympic Games. After the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, where she won two medals, she had thought that medals would fill an emptiness inside her but she had fallen into a severe depression. At first, partially because of the shame surrounding mental illness, she didn’t seek help but eventually she did. She was fortunate in that she had the support of her spouse, friends, her sponsors, physicians, and sporting organizations that allowed her as much time as she needed to get treatment. But she acknowledges that she was lucky, that not everyone has that kind of support when dealing with mental illness.

When the Bell Let’s Talk initiative began, Clara decided she wanted to be involved with the program, looking for a way to become involved, and shortly thereafter decided to come public with her struggles with depression. Over the past four years, Clara has been a key speaker in the Bell Let’s Talk Day, talking about her struggles with mental illness, with the goal that by publicly speaking about it, and encouraging others to do so as well, it will help to de-stigmatize mental illness.

Since 2010, Bell Let’s Talk Day has contributed over $62 million dollars towards mental health initiatives in Canada. On Bell Let’s Talk Day, 28th January, 5 cents from each call from Bell landline along with 96 million calls and texts from Bell mobility customers was donated towards mental health programs, an amount that reached $4.2 million. In 2014, Bell Let’s Talk day ran a multi-platform fundraising effort so that people that weren’t Bell customers could help donate funds for mental health initiatives in Canada. They could tweet using the hashtag #BellLetsTalk or share the Bell Let’s Talk Day image on Facebook. This year, a record number, 109,451,718 calls, texts, tweets and shares – not only in Canada now but across North America using the twitter hashtag (3,016,621) or Facebook shares (313,151) contributed to donations, reaching $5,472,585.90. In 2014, Clara was also joined by other spokespersons in the Let’s Talk campaign: Shea Emry, Joé Juneau (sports), Matthew Good, Robb Nash (musicians), Kevin Breel (comedian), Michel Mpambara, Seamus O’Regan and Stefie Shock (media).

Bell Let's Talk advertising campaign

Bell Let’s Talk advertising campaign

In 2014, Clara Hughes, set a new goal of mental health awareness as she set out on 14th March in Toronto on a 110 day, 12,000km bicycle tour across Canada; spanning every province and territory, she is stopping in 95 cities and towns along the way, to talk with Canadians, young and old, in particular stopping at schools and talking with youth about mental illness, to help de-stigmatize mental illness. She began training in the fall of 2013 in Arizona, but as she started in mid-March in Ontario, going eastwards, she’s faced snow, sleet, rain and sun. With a tour bus, and support staff including her husband and other riders, Clara averages about 90-190km per day. The ride will conclude on Canada Day in Ottawa, Ontario.

On 8th April, Clara peddled 96km through a rainy day from Woodstock, NB to Fredericton, NB. I had the opportunity to see her speak at Government House in the afternoon, and as a guest speaker at the Women and Wellness event held at Fredericton High School in the evening. It was a heartwarming presentation and sometimes quite humourous, where she spoke of he personal experiences in dealing with depression, and interactions that she’s had, particularly with children who’ve had their own experiences with mental illness. Other guest speakers in the Women in Wellness event included Maureen Bilerman who spoke of the Dots NB program. Dots NB is a local champion for Clara’s Big Ride, and it is a New Brunswick initiative for Kids’ Mental Health through Youth, Family & Community Empowerment, Joan Mix (Executive Director of the Canadian Mental Health Association of New Brunswick), and Janice Butler (a motivational speaker).

To find more information, check out Clara’s Big Ride, where you can support the ride and donate funds towards the Bell Let’s Talk initiative.

Where to go for help if you need it:
Children: Visit Kids Help Phone or call 1-800-668-6868
Adults: Visit Canadian Mental Health Association
If you’re in a crisis situation, call 9-1-1 or go to your nearest hospital.

Clara's Big Ride

Clara’s Big Ride

Interviews and other links:
Join the Conversation: Clara’s Big Ride for Bell Let’s Talk
CTV News W5 Program Interview – Hard work and passion as Clara Hughes gets ready to ride for mental health awareness
Strombo (2012) – Interview with Clara Hughes
Dots NB Story: Connecting the Dots

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