Be Thankful For Hard Hats

Yes I know it’s been a long time. I’ve been on holiday that’s all.

I was worried about being away and an e-mail coming in asking to see the script for ‘The King Of Teatime TV’ and then me not being able to respond as the file would have been on my computer up here. I’d have fretted about it, worried sick that they might think I wasn’t interested or bothered and a chance at the big time would have gone begging. Each night back in the hotel I’d use the very kind offer of 30 minutes free Wi-Fi (I know, it’s a very precious thing isn’t it?) and grab my e-mails. I need not have worried, it’s been greeted by a mass wall of silence. The message is beeping, nobody is picking up. The pitch remains as it is. Whilst the Shooting People website is good it is but one avenue and it’s probably best to leave the script alone for a bit, ready in the cannon for when the situation gives rise to it. I’m still pleased with how it turned out but it’s time to move on to other things.

I enjoyed my time away though, South Wales always holds something very special for my family and this time around we stayed in Cardiff itself rather than just outside it as we have done in the past. On the first day there we ended up going down a mine which involved getting all the right gear including the headlamps and hard hats. I was thankful for the hard hats when I managed to bang my head against in support girders three times in quick succession.

We also engaged in the now traditional visit to Spiller’s Records which is the oldest record shop in the world. Part of these visits involves letting our seven year old son choose a record. He usually walks down the racks and picks out something based on the cover artwork. The staff then let him have a listen and, if he likes it, we’ll buy it for him. Last time around he went for Dinosaur Jr, this time he ended up with The Grateful Dead.

Grateful Dead

I also had the pleasure of meeting my Uncle in his home town of Melksham over the border into England. Obviously, living up in Scotland, I don’t often get a chance to see him but we organised going across for the day as it’s only about an hour down the road from Cardiff. I used to visit my grandparents in Melksham pretty much every summer so it was a chance to walk the same steps again. After lunch we took a walk around the town with my Uncle which included walking to the street where my grandparents lived. It has changed greatly as an office block now stands between the High Street and the street itself. Opposite the houses there used to be parkland and a school playing field, it’s now been made into another housing estate.

I was astounded to see that the toy shop I used to go to whilst I was down there, usually to buy wrestling figures, still remains. With these times of internet shopping I honestly did not expect to turn the corner and see the exact same building still standing, still seeming like endless shelves of brightly coloured toys and games. Kyle tugged on my sleeve and gave us the hopeful face. If I was honest, I wanted a look inside as well if only to confirm that this was indeed the place. In the space of ten minutes, he’d pretty much filled his Christmas list. It was strange to see my son walk around with the same sense of wonder I had when I first went there around 25 years ago.

We also visited The Doctor Who Experience which I enjoyed greatly simply because it’s an entire building based on my favourite TV show. I’d write about it more here but I’m planning on a Who based blog entry to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the show next month so it’ll be part of that.

Suitably refreshed, we march on.

A Synopsis To The Synapses

I’ve spent lunchtime today ditching the original title and synopsis for ‘Seven Lucky Stars’ and instead turning it into ‘The King Of Teatime TV’. This includes sharpening up the original synopsis into something a little more exciting.

So, just for contrast, here’s the original.

Until now Edward Banks has had the TV world at his feet. Being the presenter of the 1980’s best loved game show ‘Seven Lucky Stars’ has brought him from performing stand up comedy in dingy clubs to the bright lights of prime time. He has all the houses, cars and video cassette recorders money can buy. During the filming of one particular episode however, the dream ends.

 Driven by pressure from the heads of the studio, producer John Woodward has been lumbered with the job of breaking the news of Edward’s imminent sacking to his long time friend. Recent surveys have revealed that Edward’s brand of humour, once seen as fun and outlandish, is now viewed as sexist and out dated. Making matters worse is the fact that his replacement is Edward’s old comedy club rival Ken Moon.

 During one episode featuring Brian, a man attempting to break a world record for most game show wins and Lisa who wants to win all the prizes for her Mum, the news breaks and a tense situation occurs between Ken and Edward over who is best to take the show forward whilst trying to avoid the numerous power cuts.

It’s a bit lame isn’t it? Just a continual list of stuff and no ending in sight. I’ve actually only just recently tried to break myself out of the habit of not putting endings in. I was always taken with the feeling that you should leave these things open to create drama and mystery but that idea now strikes me as a load of bollocks. It comes across as you having no idea how your own script ends and that you’ve pitched a half finished idea.

So here’s the new effort.

In the 1980’s Edward Banks has worked his way up to become the king of British game shows. Starting his career in the clubs, touring around the country with his stand up comedy act he was glad to be found by TV producer John Woodward who recruited him to present the new family game show ‘Seven Lucky Stars’. Taking charge of a show with the biggest prize fund on British TV made Edward a household name across the country. It also gains him everything he desires from his house to his car and his holiday home in the country. He also has a certain soft spot for the show’s mascot, a stuffed toy owl called Mr Bits.

A few years down the line and Edward is about to discover that the world of television can be a fickle beast. With his humour now seen as sexist and borderline racist by some in these more enlightened times the company set the wheels in motion to replace Edward at the helm. The trouble is, nobody has yet thought to tell Edward.

Filming is disrupted on the what will end up being Edward’s last episode and John is forced to introduce Edward to his replacement Ken Moon. Ken and Edward know each other from the club days and they detested each other back then. The rivalry quickly escalates as Edward works out his time on ‘his show’ is soon to draw to a close. As soon as Ken starts presenting the show, Edward is constantly over his shoulder pointing out where he’s going wrong. John finds he must balance his job of making the show and his long term friendship with Edward.

Complicating matters further are the two contestants for this particular episode. Lisa Sykes is a young woman who just wants to win a VCR for her Mother whilst Bob Smith is aiming for a Guinness Book Of Records entry as winning the most televised game shows. Whilst Lisa takes sympathy once she hears Edward is being fired, Bob cannot wait to see the back of him as he claims Edward is ‘an unprofessional waste of space’.

Tensions boil over and Edward is forcefully removed from the building . The final act sees Edward back exactly where he didn’t want to go, the smoke filled comedy clubs as he performs his stand up clutching a stuffed toy owl before screaming at the audience, throwing the microphone down and storming off stage. A faded shadow of a former TV favourite.

Whilst not perfect by any stretch it is more detailed, longer and does have some kind of ending (even though I am imagining fielding a load of questions about having a stand up performance as an ending to a movie). I’ve clicked send now so we’ll see where this goes.


Remain Tactical

My tactic of blasting through the first five pages of a script to see if it works has been done with this latest project, currently saved on my hard drive as ‘Sci Fi project’. It fairly ticks over well and I’m chucking in three characters without even really working out who the hell they are. The thing is, it kind of works and I’m interested in it enough to go further. This is far more progress than I was having with ‘The Last Alive’. It’s leading me to believe I should probably shorten down The Last Alive and run with it in a shorter form. Maybe all I had was a glorified X-Files episodes anyway.

If you want a photo that sums up the basis of the idea for ‘Sci Fi Project’ (the title will change obviously) then just examine this.


I know, it’s Weird Science. It makes sense to me honest.