As a part of the Professional Writing unit of BA (Hons) Communication and Media, I was assigned to write a television script. The script is an introduction to the first episode of a series, which I proposed would be suitable for a BBC One weekly show BBC One at around 22:30. We were asked to focus on the writing and using the correct format rather than the production technicality.
Black, soft music;
1 EXT. LONDON TRAIN STATION – DAY 1. 17:49
Autumn. From above – busy train station.
Slowly zoom in to platform. A young woman, OLIVIA KING, and a small boy, REECE EDWARDS sitting on a bench. REECE is clutching a toy aeroplane and a backpack. On the floor next to the bench are three large suitcases stacked on top of each other.
The silence of both characters, and OLIVIA’s distanced look, contrasts to the busyness, bustle and chatter surrounding them.
The toy aeroplane slips out of REECE’s hand. Startled, he looks at his mother.
Be careful with that, you don’t want to lose it do you? Just make sure you keep hold of all your things Reece, okay? –
REECE looks up at his mother and nods.
The train now approaching platform four is the 10:51 service to Manchester Piccadilly –
The tannoy voice is drowned out by the fairly sudden, and extremely loud, sound of the train approaching the platform.
OLIVIA stands and awkwardly picks up the suitcases amongst the mad rush of people heading towards the edge of the platform.
This is our train, come on Reece, quickly
They enter the crowd, the camera loses them as they get on the train.
Camera looks on from the platform as the train leaves. We notice OLIVIA looking out of the window as it goes past and the camera follows.
Fade into next scene.
2 EXT. PARK – FLASHBACK. 7 YEARS FROM PRESENT
Bright sunshine. OLIVIA and RICKY EDWARDS sat on the grass in a busy park. Laughing and smiling, enjoying each other’s company.
You know, one day I’m gunna marry you! I’ll look after you forever … and we’ll have little Ricky’s and Olivia’s running around! … Do you want that?
Urgh, no! I couldn’t think of anything worse!! (laughs)
RICKY playfully pushes OLIVIA over and they both laugh.
Close up of OLIVIA laughing. Fades into next scene.
3 INT. TRAIN – Day 1. 18.02
Close up of OLIVIA, head leaning against the train window, staring outside with one small tear falling down her face.
Camera zooms out, sees REECE leaning on OLIVIA, asleep, still clutching the toy aeroplane.
OLIVIA leans down and kisses REECE on the forehead.
Fade into next scene.
4 INT. HOUSE, BABY BOY BEDROOM. FLASHBACK – 5 YEARS FROM PRESENT. 18.34
OLIVIA putting baby REECE down into cot, fast asleep. RICKY standing beside her smiles hugs OLIVIA and kisses her on the forehead. They stay embraced for a while. The couple are happy and proud of their newborn son.
5 INT. HOUSE, LIVING ROOM. FLASHBACK – 3 YEARS FROM PRESENT. 23.09
RICKY and OLIVIA sat on the floor, surrounded by paper – bills, debt letters.
I can’t cope with this much longer, Ricky. We’re getting more and more behind with these! Every time we pay one off there’s always something else – something else we can’t afford.
Oh what can we do? What else can we do?!
I’ll have a better job soon, I’ll be earning more money… James’ dad said he’s got things lined up for me soon… It won’t be long Livvy, I promise… Everything will be okay soon –
You keep saying this! You always say it’ll be fine soon! You were meant to start this job months ago and it still hasn’t happened… You need to find something else Ricky! You can’t keep waiting around for it…
Liv, please, calm down we’ll be fine. I promise.
(angry, crying) Stop telling me to calm down! You don’t know we’ll be fine! We can barely have enough money to feed Reece, let alone ourselves! What are we supposed to do?!!
OLIVIA throws the paperwork around the room and storms out. Cuts to next scene.
6 EXT. PARK. FLASHBACK – 3 YEARS FROM PRESENT. 23.34
Dark and heavily raining. OLIVIA sat on the floor, soaking wet, hysterically crying.
Fade to next scene.
7 INT. TRAIN. Day 1. 18.36
Slow, sad music.
OLIVIA looking out the window where it is heavily raining.
As the train stops at the station, two policemen walk on. From the platform we see the policemen walk through the train, heads turning as they go past. As OLIVIA sees them coming she slips down in her seat and looks out the window covering her face.
8 INT. HOUSE, LIVING ROOM. FLASHBACK – 30 MONTHS FROM PRESENT
OLIVIA sat in the dark, RICKY walks in front door.
Where have you been? I’ve been worried sick. You were meant to be home hours ago.
Sorry, Babe. The boss asked me to stay behind and give him a hand.
Well you could have let me know! You could have been anywhere for all I know!
Well I wasn’t was I…? I was at work!
It just seems a bit funny that you’re doing all this overtime and we still don’t have enough money! Makes me think you’re seeing someone else or something –
Liv, don’t be stupid! I’ve been at work!!
I’m not stupid Ricky!! Surely you can see why I’d think that! You’re always out late, you say you’re working overtime but we are no better off than we were six months ago…
Olivia! Just trust me okay, I’d never do anything to hurt you!
OLIVIA breaks down in tears.
But you have! You’re never here. I don’t know what’s going on with us! You’re never here for me when I need you! You’re just off with some other girl while I’m at home struggling on my own looking after your kid!
OLIVIA slaps Ricky hard round the face. She pushes past him then runs out crying.
9 INT. HOUSE. VARIOUS FLASHBACK SEQUENCE. 2 YEARS – PRESENT
On screen – a fast-paced, jerky sequence of shots, where we see various times OLIVIA is violent towards RICKY. She hits, pushes and shouts at him. As this is shown – RICKY’s voice in the background, talking to a councillor in the future from present day.
It was all so perfect – too perfect, you know?
When things are going so well something bad is bound to happen, I guess.
I don’t really know where it started, yeah we had arguments, I didn’t really think anything of it at first. I mean, everyone argues. I just wasn’t expecting it to get so bad.
She said it was my fault. I always made her angry, you know? But I can’t see what I had done wrong! She thought I was cheating. She’d go mad every night when I got home from work saying I’d been somewhere else… She blamed me for us having no money.
I started to believe it, you know? I was doing everything I could for our family. So the three of us could have a better life! But I believed her. It was my fault we were struggling, even though I was doing everything I could.
I didn’t know what to do, I couldn’t stop her or help her. I just left her to it.
Sound now from on-screen – upstairs landing. OLIVIA is shouting and crying hysterically at RICKY, who looks helpless.
Just get out! Get away from me!
OLIVIA pushes RICKY out of the way. He stumbles and falls down the stairs. He lies motionless and OLIVIA rushes down the stairs and kneels by his side, crying.
Ricky? Ricky!! Answer me!
Fade to next scene
- EXT. MANCHESTER TRAIN STATION – DAY 1. 19.58
From platform. Among many others, OLIVIA and REECE get off the train.