British Comedy Guide

"The Tower" - sample from episode 1

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Mark McAndrew

  • Monday 2nd October 2006, 9:58pm [Edited]
  • Manchester, England
  • 4 posts

(You should know that Gorlim is a wizard, Falco a hobbit, Rodrik is a knight and Silval an Elf. They are trapped in a long-dead wizard's tower, hence the name.)

Main chamber. Late evening, the sky is dark and moonlight is shining. Rodrik is doing a flamboyant weapon kata in the centre of the room. Silval is watching, Gorlim is trying not to, Falco is cross-legged on the floor, ignoring the show and working on some unseen object. All are sat around the fireplace, which is roaring away. Rodrik finishes with a flourish and a ridiculous pseudo-oriental scream.

RODRIK: Hiii-yurgh!

His back towards Rodrik, the yell makes Falco jump. He drops something, cursing.

FALCO: Stupid noisy lanky streak of posing piss…

Falco returns to whatever he was doing.

GORLIM: Does it help?

RODRIK: Hm?

GORLIM: Screaming like a constipated goblin, does it help? Make you faster and stronger, hm? Improve your swing, perhaps?

RODRIK: You wouldn’t understand. Shock and awe, that is.

SILVAL: Shockingly awful. Grant you that.

RODRIK: It’s psycho-thingy warfare. (Adopts a strange Confucius-style accent) If your opponent is beaten mentally then he is also beaten physically.

Falco shakes his head in contempt.

FALCO: Yeah, right. Can just see chess taking off as a weapon of war. ‘Retreat lads, they’ve got intellectual board-games! Our swords are useless!’

RODRIK: Ha bloody ha, short-arse. That’s not what it means.

SILVAL: Well, I’m intrigued. How do you defeat your opponent mentally then?

RODRIK: You have to get inside his mind. Mess with his brain.

SILVAL: And the best way to do that?

RODRIK: Stave his head in with a two-handed sword.

GORLIM: You know, if we were actually aging in this place I think I’d quite resent you wasting great swathes of my life with your drivel.

FALCO: You mean you don’t? I resent him breathing.

Fine mechanical noises. A ‘powering-up’ and back down again noise accompanies a brief glow from whatever Falco is tinkering with.

RODRIK: When you’re in the same room I resent having to breathe as well.

Rodrik wanders over to the main window, retrieving a small black book from inside his tunic. He starts reading it aloud in reverent tones.

RODRIK: Innomi-spiritus… sanctus… spartacus… snuffleuppagus… Grant this servant a mighty steed that he may bring justice to the infinite corners of the world…

The others are now staring at him, baffled.

SILVAL: Rodrik, what are you doing?

Rodrik continues to mutter away to himself, head bowed in prayer. He holds his sword aloft and stays silent for a couple of seconds.

FALCO: I think he’s really losing it.

Rodrik turns, sheathes his sword and approaches the others. He seems oddly content.

RODRIK: Elves, halflings, wizards and gentlemen… I am now a tenth-level Holy Warrior.

He beams. The others look blank.

RODRIK: According to my Holy Warrior’s guidebook, once I’ve perfected certain weapon kata and killed so many evil things, I am officially a Paladin. Which makes me favoured by the Gods and basically hard-as-nails.

SILVAL: Since when?

RODRIK: Since about two minutes ago.

GORLIM: So you have suddenly become a more proficient fighter than you were? You are now a paladin just like that?

RODRIK: Not ‘just like that’. It’s taken me years to be this good.

SILVAL: Which means it hasn’t just happened all at once.

RODRIK: Well, duh! Of course not. You can’t jump to tenth level in one go. Obviously I was ninth level. Now I am tenth.

FALCO: Off his tits.

RODRIK: Look. Since I first picked up a sword, I’ve become a better swordsman. Yes? But how many times have I become better-than-I-was? That’s the point. And the answer is ten times.

FALCO: Nine times.

RODRIK: Oh yes, of course. You start at first level so… yes. Nine.

Gorlim shoots a ‘don’t encourage him’ look at Falco, who senses it and smiles to himself.

SILVAL: I think you’ll find becoming better at something happens gradually. It’s called practice, learning and experience.

RODRIK: I think you’ll find it doesn’t. And you can call it what you like - it has to take effect sometime. There has to be a point when you can do something that you couldn’t do before. Prove me wrong.

GORLIM: It’s like a whole new type of logic. Fascinating.

FALCO: It’s a whole new type of bollocks.

SILVAL: And all that about ‘mighty steeds’?

RODRIK: I’ve called for my warhorse.

GORLIM: Called for…?

FALCO: Do what?

RODRIK: My warhorse. A tenth-level Holy Warrior is permitted to summon his warhorse – a magical steed that will obey my every command. It should appear within 12 hours.

The others look around at the walls, then each other, then Rodrik.

RODRIK: Well, obviously I won’t be able to ride it in here.

GORLIM: No, obviously.

FALCO: Like it will turn up.

SILVAL: Or, indeed, exist.

RODRIK: I just go by the Book. It says, I do.

GORLIM: Thought you couldn’t read?

RODRIK: We have to memorise the words. Besides, it’s mainly pictures.

SILVAL: Well, I can’t take this much longer. I am going to bed. Goodnight gentlemen.

GORLIM: I thought elves didn’t sleep.

SILVAL: I’ll learn.

Silval retires to his corner and shuts the curtains.

GORLIM: yawns. You do have a remarkably soporific effect on people, Rodrik. I believe I shall bid you goodnight as well. And don’t be clattering about.

RODRIK: Don’t need to now. Tenth level.

Rodrik and Gorlim crash out in their respective corners of the room. Falco is still intently working on his unseen device. Another strange small noise from it. Falco stands, apparently satisfied. He holds up a small metal cylinder and grins. A familiar noise. Falco is holding a humming red lightsabre. He swishes it a couple of times, then pokes the cushion of an armchair leaving a burnt hole. He giggles and retracts the lightsabre, then pockets it and goes to bed. As one, the other three then wake with a start, look at each other puzzled and fall back asleep.

CUT TO:

Middle of the night. A noise from the stores. Falco wakes. The others are snoring loudly. Falco hears no more noise, but his stomach rumbles. He shuffles to his feet and walks to the storeroom. He returns quickly with a large ham on a platter and walks over to the fire, which he stokes up. He takes a bite and munches, looking confused. He stops chewing and looks at the open storeroom door. A horse neighs from within. Falco carries on eating, deep in thought. A Eureka moment, and Falco casually returns to the stores. He closes the door behind him. A red glow around the door and the noise of a lightsabre. A questioning ‘whinney’ is cut short by a ‘voom’ and then, ‘thud… THUD.’

CUT TO:

Morning. A sleeping Falco is in front of the fire, surrounded by hunks of bread, veg, bowls, plates and empty wine flagons. A large cauldron is simmering away. Silval is the first to wake, shaking his head in disgust as he nears Falco.

SILVAL: You can clean this up.

FALCO: Mm-hm.

SILVAL: How can you eat so much yet move so little? It’s… phenomenal.

FALCO: S’cos I eat so much, I move so little. Try me stew.

SILVAL: What?

FALCO: I made stew. It’s absolutely gorgeous. Took me all night.

SILVAL: I must confess, it does smell strangely pleasant.

Silval takes the lid off the cauldron and examines the stew with a ladle. He seems impressed and puts some in a bowl. The first tentative taste quickly becomes a ravenous devouring. He goes for seconds in, well, seconds.

FALCO: Pretty damn good, eh?

SILVAL: Hm!

Gorlim joins them.

GORLIM: Who’s been cooking…? Ask a stupid question. Falco, what the…?

He looks at Silval stuffing his face. Silval realises and tries to be more elf-like.

GORLIM: Are you on drugs or something?

FALCO: He’s on my stew. Which I stayed up all night making for you, my friends. And it’s the best thing I’ve ever cooked, so there. Taste and believe.

Silval nods enthusiastically. Gorlim appraises the stew.

GORLIM: Does smell… rather good. I’ll give you that.

Gorlim tastes some. Amazed, he too helps himself to a bowlful. Finding an empty flagon he snaps his fingers over it and it is full of water. He and Silval munch and slurp contentedly as Rodrik wanders over, yawning.

RODRIK: F**k me, you sound like a nuns dormitory after lights out.

SILVAL: Yes, thank you Rodrik. We are eating, you know.

GORLIM: The famed eloquence of the Holy Warrior.

FALCO: Have some stew. It took me all night. It’s really nice.

Gorlim and Silval nod.

RODRIK: Do what? You’re eating something he cooked? And enjoying it? Are you on drugs or something?

GORLIM: It is actually uncommonly good.

Rodrik sniffs at the cauldron, examining a ladleful.

RODRIK: Smells alright. Why isn’t he eating any, though?

GORLIM: That would require movement.

Falco rolls over. He has practically doubled in girth and has stew down his front. He belches loudly.

FALCO: Go on then, one more bowl.

RODRIK: You fat bastard. No, you can piss off ‘til we’ve had some.

Rodrik gets a bowl of stew. He is presently feasting with the others. They occasionally pause to refill their bowls and nod at each other. They obviously can’t believe it is so good. Falco smiles and dozes.

RODRIK: The meat is really good. What is it? Beef? Venison?

FALCO: Chef’s secret.

GORLIM: I think you should cook entirely at night, Falco. This is quite inspired.

SILVAL: Indeed. Your cooking has undergone a quite magical transformation.

FALCO: Yup. Magical.

GORLIM: So what’s in it?

FALCO: Tender loving care.

RODRIK: Come on, how do you make it?

FALCO: You don’t. You ask me politely and treat me with respect and maybe then I put some effort in to treat my friends once in a while.

The others look slightly embarrassed.

SILVAL: Well, it is a very nice gesture. Thank you, Falco.

GORLIM: Thank you, Falco.

RODRIK: F**k you, Falco. So all this time your cooking has been intentionally shite? Gods, you even ate it yourself. What type of twisted little twat poisons himself just to make his comrades sick as well?

They all sense a logic to the argument.

RODRIK: Answer? You. Now I know you can cook, if you ever feed us comedy pig-swill ever again I’ll drown you in it.

FALCO: Look, I must have gained a cooking level.

They all sense a logic to the argument. Then Silval and Gorlim baulk at their own thoughts and frown. Rodrik, however, is swayed.

RODRIK: Hm. Yes, I suppose so. Yes, that makes sense actually.

FALCO: So I suppose an apology, nay, perchance even slight gratitude would be too much to ask for?

RODRIK: Hmph.

FALCO: Sorry?

RODRIK: Ta.

FALCO: Hee, hee… That actually hurt you, didn’t it?

SILVAL: There is such a thing as giving with good grace, Falco.

FALCO: Is there? Anyway, for the record, I don’t intentionally make crap stew and I haven’t – as far as I’m aware – suddenly gone up a cooking level. I happened to find a hunk of very special… meat in the stores, that’s all. So when it’s gone, it’s gone.

GORLIM: Special meat?

RODRIK: Dragon! Is it dragon?

FALCO: Dickhead. Of course it is…nnn… dragon. Is dragon. Is dragon. Yes. It is. You guessed it, Rodders. Dragon stew.

RODRIK: I knew it!

SILVAL: Astounding.

GORLIM: Dragon?

FALCO: Yup.

RODRIK: Were there any…

FALCO: Scales? No. Someone’s got some good armour somewhere, but it ain’t you.

RODRIK: Yardy-yardy-yar. Maybe I wasn’t going to say, ‘scales’.

They all look at Rodrik. He concedes and shrugs.

GORLIM: What makes you think it’s dragon-meat, then?

FALCO: It was labelled.

GORLIM: Labelled?

FALCO: You know, er… branded.

RODRIK: Branded labels. Bit of class.

GORLIM: I would have assumed dragon-meat to be reptilian. Stringy.

RODRIK: That’s what they want you to think. Stops people wanting to eat them.

SILVAL: The fact that dragons incinerate and devour anyone they see is probably the major deterrent to hunting them for food, I would have thought.

RODRIK: Well, not any more it isn’t. I’m a paladin now and one of the things paladins do is hunt and kill dragons.

FALCO: On your warhorse?

RODRIK: Yes, on my warhorse.

FALCO: Not likely.

RODRIK: I will one day. You’ll see.

FALCO: Not on your warhorse you won’t.

Gorlim and Silval instantly stop eating. They look at each other.

GORLIM: Rodrik? May I have a look at your Holy Warrior guide?

RODRIK: If you must.

He throws it at Gorlim, who reads.

GORLIM: Magic horse.

RODRIK: Yeah. Can’t be killed, apparently.

FALCO: Eh?

GORLIM: I don’t believe it…

SILVAL: What?

GORLIM: This looks like a real summoning spell. For warriors. He really did it. He summoned a horse.

He and Silval glare at Falco. Gorlim reads more.

FALCO: What?

RODRIK: It’s not here though. Maybe it’s outside waiting for me.

GORLIM: Hang on, you’re right. Thank the Gods. It can’t be killed, apparently.

RODRIK: Yeah, I know. So what?

SILVAL: It can’t be killed?

GORLIM: No. Apparently not. Had the spell worked, which it probably didn’t.

SILVAL: So this isn’t…?

GORLIM: No. Can’t be.

He and Silval relax and eat more stew. Gorlim throws the Warrior guide back to Rodrik. He catches it and turns over one more page from where Gorlim had left it.

SILVAL: Would it have mattered, you know, if we were eating, you know?

GORLIM: It’s not possible. Either the spell worked and it summoned a magical indestructible horse, or it didn’t. Either way, this can’t be that. You see?

RODRIK: What are you going on about? Anyway, it’s not indestructible. Just can’t die.

FALCO: What?

Rodrik throws the guide back to Gorlim.

RODRIK: See the picture of its legs getting cut off in battle? Then joining back on? It regenerates magically.

GORLIM: Oh great.

SILVAL: Gorlim?

GORLIM: Right. Falco? Have you or have you not just fed us magic regenerating magic paladin magic horse stew?

RODRIK: WHAT?

FALCO: No. Don’t be ridiculous. Have you heard yourself?

A pause. Gorlim reconsiders. The others breathe a sigh of relief, trusting Gorlim’s judgement about magical things.

FALCO: Eat your dragon stew and enjoy it. There won’t be any more.

He finally sits up and lifts the lid on the cauldron. A pair of horse ears stands proud of the liquid. One twitches as though alive. They scream.

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Aaron

  • Wednesday 11th October 2006, 3:12pm
  • Royal Berkshire, England
  • 68,519 posts

Due to the length, I only skim-read that, but it doesn't look too bad. (In fact, I think I'll print it off and read later.)

You have to have Falco react sarcastically to one of the other's comments with "Well rock me, Amadeus! [BEAT] I mean NAME" at some point. That would amuse me somewhat.

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Scott T

  • Saturday 14th October 2006, 7:47pm
  • All over the shop, United Kingdom
  • 241 posts

I thought it was well-written and snappy. The dialogue and interaction was good fun.

Sometimes I think production companies are looking for more stuff with 'normal people', but then there's Little Britain, League of Gentlemen and The Mighty Boosh, so that shows what I know.

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Mark McAndrew

  • Thursday 2nd November 2006, 3:09am
  • Manchester, England
  • 4 posts

Thanks guys, much appreciated. And Falco will indeed use that excellent why-didn't-I-think-of-it line, with your permission. Don't care if half the audience don't get it, I did - and I only write stuff that makes me laugh, and that did. Sod it, I'll even have him whistling the tune.

Anyway, the real reason I'm posting is to big up the site. Two producers (count 'em!) have contacted me thanks to putting that sample here - and neither are from the two companies I sent complete scripts to.

I promise to wear a Sitcom.co.uk t-shirt at the BAFTAs... (Hey, stranger things have happened. Just ask Norman Lamont.)

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Scott T

  • Thursday 2nd November 2006, 10:56am
  • All over the shop, United Kingdom
  • 241 posts

That's brilliant Mark, good work. Have you had anything broadcast before? I haven't, and that 'leap' seems a huge one to me. I imagine once you get something under your belt it gets easier.

All the best with it, and let us know when we can see the fruit of your labours :)

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Aaron

  • Thursday 2nd November 2006, 5:20pm
  • Royal Berkshire, England
  • 68,519 posts

Yeah, well done, definitely! :)

And of course you can use it. I'd love to see that on TV. :D

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Blenkinsop

  • Wednesday 8th November 2006, 5:10pm
  • England
  • 2,014 posts

Hi mark

I enjoyed reading this and felt the situation was original and fresh. The dialogue was sharp and well paced and I can see how you may well have had a few nibbles as a result.

Well done