British Comedy Guide

Only Fools & Horses (Spec script)

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Lee

  • Thursday 10th July 2014, 7:52pm [Edited]
  • Lincolnshire, United Kingdom
  • 36,348 posts

I feel like writing something, being too lazy to think of my own characters, I'll just do a spec script of a scene from one of my favourite sitcoms.

INT. FLAT

Grandad is struggling to write with a pen.

GRANDDAD
Del boy, these pens you got don't work?!

DEL
Because it's an electronic cigarette, you tart!

Del grabs it and takes a drag then coughs in disgust.

GRANDDAD
What do you need an electronic cigarette for?

DEL
Because of all the smoking bans, in'it? You can't smoke anywhere these days.

They both shake their heads in disbelief.

DEL
That's why I don't let you use the toaster anymore, you wore the smoke alarms out din't ya!

GRANDDAD
You saucy git!

Rodney enters through the front door. Granddad gets up and heads for the kitchen.

GRANDDAD
Shall I put the kettle on Rodney?

DEL
I'm not sure it'll suit him Grandad.

Grandad laughs and exits to the kitchen.

RODNEY
Ha-de-ha! Please, Grandad!

He clocks the electronic cigarette.

RODNEY
What you got there, Del?

DEL
It's one of those e-cigs in'it. I'm gonna sell 'em to those hipsters down the Nags'.

Rodney examines it closer.

RODNEY
Oh yeah?

DEL
I know what you're thinking and no, you can't put your wacky backy in there.

RODNEY
No I wasn't, I've put that all behind me now.

DEL
That Cassandra has got you right under her thumb, hasn't she?

RODNEY
No! No, that's not it. I'm just too old for all that stuff now.

DEL
Yeah, yeah. Anyway, what you come round here for?

RODNEY
I think I left my new tie here, Cass is dragging me to one of her dinner parties.

Del laughs knowingly, winking at Rodney.

RODNEY
Alright, alright. Have you seen my tie?

DEL
No bruv, maybe Grandad knows?

Grandad comes back and passes a cup to Rodney.

RODNEY
Blimy, you made that quick didn't ya, Grandad.

GRANDAD
Yeah, I microwaved the tea you didn't drink yesterday.

RODNEY
(sarcastic)
Lovely.

He takes a sip.

RODNEY
It tastes burnt. Only you Grandad could burn a cup of tea,

GRANDAD
It's that microwave, it's all Japanese ain't it?!

RODNEY
Most Microwaves are Japanese, Grandad.

GRANDAD
Yeah but that one has Japanese writing all over it!

DEL
(interrupting)
Alright, alright Grandad. It doesn't matter about that. Have you seen Rodney's new tie?

GRANDAD
He's not wearing a tie?

DEL
No, you dipstick. He thinks he left his new tie here.

GRANDAD
What did you leave it here for, Rodney?

RODNEY
I don't know, I must have just took it off and forgot about it.

GRANDAD
You want to be more careful with your stuff.

RODNEY
(becoming impatient)
I know that, Grandad. Have you seen it?

GRANDAD
Is it a grey one with red stripes?

RODNEY
Yes!

GRANDAD
No.

Del and Rodney roll their eyes.

GRANDAD
Although there's a red one with grey stripes on the side unit.

Rodney spots it.

RODNEY
Well that's the same one, you old git!

DEL
Oi Rodney, show some respect to your Grandad.

RODNEY
Alright, sorry Grandad!

Grandad nods and smiles.

RODNEY
Right, I had better go before Cass has a go.

Del mimes "under the thumb".

Rodney shakes his head and quickly leaves.

DEL
(through the door)
Oi, Rodney, you didn't drink your tea!

GRANDAD
It's okay DelBoy, I'll put it in the fridge.

Del acts disgusted, grabs an e cig from his top pocket and take a drag before coughing in disgust.

END

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Rob0

  • Thursday 10th July 2014, 10:47pm
  • England
  • 1,263 posts

That's brilliant by the way.

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Ben

  • Thursday 10th July 2014, 11:02pm
  • England
  • 18,371 posts

I rather enjoyed that, Leevil.

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Lee

  • Thursday 10th July 2014, 11:06pm
  • Lincolnshire, United Kingdom
  • 36,348 posts
Quote: Rob0 @ 10th July 2014, 10:47 PM BST

That's brilliant by the way.

Why thank you, Mr. 0. It's good to have you back!

Quote: Ben @ 10th July 2014, 11:02 PM BST

I rather enjoyed that, Leevil.

I rather enjoyed writing it, WL.

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Paul Chisholm

  • Friday 11th July 2014, 12:16pm
  • England
  • 19 posts

I really like this. I'm sure there's a gap in the market for something along the lines of Only Fools.

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Lazzard

  • Friday 11th July 2014, 12:22pm
  • Ludlow, England
  • 4,669 posts

I don't think it's for want of trying!

This exercise goes to prove that a distinctive 'voice' is what good enduring TV comedy is about.

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Lee

  • Friday 11th July 2014, 12:31pm
  • Lincolnshire, United Kingdom
  • 36,348 posts
Quote: Michael Monkhouse @ 10th July 2014, 11:09 PM BST

Great work. The best way to hone your writing talents and get into a producer's underpants is spec scripting. This takes me back to https://www.comedy.co.uk/forums/thread/2457/

Oh God, don't bring that up again! What a shit storm that caused.

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Steve Whyley

  • Friday 11th July 2014, 3:41pm
  • England
  • 113 posts

This is brilliant! Really made laugh and made a depressing afternoon that much better!

As for the modern day equivalent question - wonder if there is something in a modern day Delboy but set in the Technology startup world. Essentially the Del type of character is like a flawed, idiotic, Mark Zuckerberg who keeps trying to come up with the next Facebook. Attempts to get investments, users to the site etc but always seems to fail..

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gappy

  • Friday 11th July 2014, 3:41pm
  • Oxford, England
  • 2,027 posts
Quote: Lazzard @ 11th July 2014, 12:22 PM BST

I don't think it's for want of trying!

This exercise goes to prove that a distinctive 'voice' is what good enduring TV comedy is about.

Quite. The advice is always "don't just write banter", but this scene is essentially just banter - we are happy because we already know the characters.

It's nice work, anyway, you captured the voices, and put in a good high gag rate.

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enigmatic

  • Friday 11th July 2014, 6:42pm
  • England
  • 241 posts

It's a scene just banter, but it's *completely authentic* banter. John Sullivan could get away with scenes of just banter when writing the original series' because there invariably turned out to be a good plot development further along, and the strength of the characters.

The great thing about OFAH is I can read your script in the actors' voices

I love the anachronism of Grandad being involved with a scene involving e-cigarettes

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Michael Monkhouse

  • Friday 11th July 2014, 6:49pm
  • Eternal City, Italy
  • 4,945 posts
Quote: Lee @ 11th July 2014, 12:31 PM BST

Oh God, don't bring that up again! What a shit storm that caused.

I had a good time with that one - I enjoyed participating and it also showed me how easy and fun it is to write when you're au fait with the characters and background. I think a lot of comic writers can't be arsed with characterisation / situation, they just wanna crack jokes, but if you do your homework on the set-up the gags write themselves. This is why in my opinion 'The Young Ones' is far superior to 'Filthy Rich and Catflap' but I've been through this several billion times before and it ain't really relevant to this thread, where I just gotta say, Good writing, Sir.

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Rob0

  • Saturday 12th July 2014, 8:52am
  • England
  • 1,263 posts
Quote: gappy @ 11th July 2014, 3:41 PM BST

Quite. The advice is always "don't just write banter", but this scene is essentially just banter - we are happy because we already know the characters.

Agree with that, the Royle Family is essentially just banter between characters we're eavesdropping on.

In this case, yes it is banter, but it is somewhat related to the story too - based around Del Boy's latest wheeze involving electronic cigarettes and Rodney's attendance of a dinner party with Cassandra. There's also a pace to it because Rodney's in a rush, all the banter and jokes naturally fit around him just looking for a tie. It's also not static - for example Granddad's in and out with the cup of tea, etc.

But mainly it just lovely, natural conversation where every character's voice and personality shines through. The strength in the characters means we almost know how each should behave in any given situation - which I guess is what sitcom is all about.

I've got a couple of sitcom ideas but am really struggling with deciding what the characters should be like. This seems a great idea to try and practise one's writing craft with ready-made ones.

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Michael Monkhouse

  • Saturday 12th July 2014, 2:56pm
  • Eternal City, Italy
  • 4,945 posts

...Yup. Byrne and Powell's 'Writing Sitcoms' namecheck 'The Royle Family' and many 'Hancock' eps as examples of sitcoms 'where nothing happens' (I've heard that before somewhere).

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gappy

  • Saturday 12th July 2014, 6:46pm
  • Oxford, England
  • 2,027 posts
Quote: Michael Monkhouse @ 12th July 2014, 2:56 PM BST

...Yup. Byrne and Powell's 'Writing Sitcoms' namecheck 'The Royle Family' and many 'Hancock' eps as examples of sitcoms 'where nothing happens' (I've heard that before somewhere).

Things happen in a lot of Hancock episodes, esp on the radio - he does am dram, he steals a military plane, he blows up his house, all sorts - but for my money the very best episodes are "empty" of events.

The thing about Hancock and Royles is that, although the events are minute, the episodes are still impeccably constructed; in many ways, one coudl says that having nothing happen means that you have to be even more conservative in terms of actual narrative craft. I'll have 3000 words on that on my desk by Wednesday, please.