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Rated: 18+ · Script/Play · Drama · #2224650
The real story of a time yet to come, in the words of those who lived through it.
Author's Note: this was something I wrote late last year, and I'm not sure why it's taken my so long to upload it. Anyway...the short version is, my brother and I were on a long car journey, and we passed the time by brainstorming ideas for a short film. The majority of the credit belongs to him, especially regarding the concept and structure; my contribution is mostly just embellishments, and of course writing it all down.

The idea is that it would be presented as an underground documentary, filmed on smartphones or something equally lo-fi, and then uploaded to a streaming site of our choice. Each scene would be initially released seperately, over the course of a week, and then the whole film would be immediately re-released in its entirety. A good way of generating buzz, if we're lucky.

And someday, we may even get on and make the thing.



THE TRUE HISTORY OF THE BRITISH CIVIL WAR

Story by Ant Appleby and Matt Appleby

Screenplay by Matt Appleby



1. THE EASTBOURNE MASSACRE, 2031

INT. OFFICE. DAY.

A long-abandoned office, with paper and other rubbish scattered everywhere. Most of the equipment and furniture is either missing or broken.

EMILY, late 60s, white, is sat on a tattered office chair.

                             (CAPTION)
                   EMILY
                   UNDISCLOSED LOCATION
                   PRO-REFUGEE ACTIVIST

                             INTERVIWER (O.S.)
                   How did you first get involved?

                             EMILY
                   I grew up in Eastbourne. Refugees had
                   been landing there for over a decade.
                   At its peak, there was a boat every
                   two days.
                             (beat)
                   It split the town right down the
                   middle. Many wanted them gone. But a
                   lot of us would go down to the beach to
                   help. Food, blankets, mugs of tea. That
                   sort of thing.
                             (beat)
                   We weren't trying to make a statement.
                   Not back then, anyway. We just wanted
                   to help.

                             INTERVIWER (O.S.)
                   And the massacre? What are your
                   feelings about it now?

                             EMILY
                             (beat)
                   Looking back, I can't say I'm surprised.
                   There were always far-right groups
                   around, looking for trouble. I never
                   kept track of who they were.
                             (beat)
                   But an actual militia? With guns? In
                   fucking Eastbourne? At the time, we
                   didn't have a clue what to do. Nothing
                   could've prepared us.
                             (beat)
                   On the bad days, I can still smell the
                   gunpowder. I never expected to know what
                   gunpowder smelled like.
                             (beat)
                             (to self)
                   All those poor people. They deserved so
                   much better.

                             INTERVIWER (O.S.)
                   The regime's line was that the militia
                   were fighting off an attack.

                             EMILY
                             (angry laugh)
                   And that's still the worst lie they've
                   ever told.
                             (beat)
                   Those refugees weren't criminals. They
                   were regular people, with families and
                   lives. Just like us.
                             (beat)
                   No matter how bad this country has
                   become, the places they were coming from
                   are so much worse.

END SCENE.



2. THE “DELIVERENCE DECLARATION”, 2032

EXT. COUNCIL ESTATE. DAY.

An anonymous council estate, seemingly deserted. Deprived even at the best of times, there is now rubbish everywhere, and even patches of rubble.

AMIR, early 20s, asian, is stood in the road, wearing a hi-vis jacket and holding a shovel. Behind him is a half-full wheelbarrow.

                             (CAPTION)
                   AMIR
                   LOWESTOFT
                   COMMUNITY LABOURER

                             AMIR
                   I was only seven when the war started.
                   There's a lot I don't remember. But I
                   do remember the Declaration.
                             (beat)
                   Mum was shell-shocked. Dad was crying.
                   Even at that age, I knew what it meant.
                   I'd been called “paki” enough times to
                   know what my face was worth in this
                   country.
                             (beat)
                   I heard kids these days are made to
                   learn the whole speech by heart.

                             INTERVIWER (O.S.)
                   My neighbour once told me that.

                             AMIR
                   Yeah. But at the time, General Taylor
                   only got halfway through before the
                   government cut the signal.

                             INTERVIWER (O.S.)
                   I remember.

                             AMIR
                   Yeah. Suddenly there was no TV, no
                   phones, no internet, nothing. That was
                   almost scarier than the Declaration.
                             (long beat)
                   I miss the internet.

                             INTERVIWER (O.S.)
                   Me too.

                             AMIR
                             (long beat)
                   There's that line from the speech...

                             INTERVIWER (O.S.)
                             (mocking)
                   “Saving Britain from itself.”

                             AMIR
                   That's it.
                             (spreads arms,
                             gesturing to street)
                   Look at my life. Look where his fucking
                   deliverence got me.

END SCENE.



3. THE SIEGE OF MANCHESTER, 2032-2035

EXT. UNDERPASS. DAY.

A canal towpath, under a major road near a city centre. It has recently rained, and even in cover, the ground is wet.

GRETA, mid 40s, white Polish, is sat against the wall, wrapped in a dog-eared sleeping bag.

                             (CAPTION)
                   GRETA
                   BRADFORD
                   FORMER NHS NURSE

                             GRETA
                   I came to this country when I was 20.
                   Poland was already falling apart.
                             (beat)
                   If I had known what I was walking into,
                   I would've stuck it out back home.
                             (long beat)
                   The siege lasted thirteen-hundred days.
                   Over three years. Felt like thirty.
                             (beat)
                   We kept the hospital open the entire
                   time. I'm very proud of that. We gave
                   it everything.

                             INTERVIWER (O.S.)
                   What were the conditions like?

                             GRETA
                             (beat)
                   Terrible. Absolutely terrible.
                             (beat)
                   No power or running water. Medications
                   were near-impossible to come by. We
                   didn't even have painkillers most days.
                             (beat)
                   To be honest, I think we killed more
                   patients than we saved.
                             (long beat)
                   Some people came by every few days,
                   carrying big vats of stew. Free of
                   charge, and nothing was free in those
                   years. Often that was the only food we
                   had. None of us would've survived
                   without them.

                             INTERVIWER (O.S.)
                   The Greer family. I've heard about
                   them.
                             (beat)
                   Weren't they all hanged?

                             GRETA
                   Yes. I was there.
                             (long beat)
                             (looks away)
                   I can guess what was in those stews.
                   There were rumours even at the time.
                             (looks back)
                             (beat)
                   If you ever find out for certain,
                   please don't tell me.

END SCENE.



4. REFUGEES, 2033-2037

EXT. REFUGEE CAMP. DAY.

A small tent in the middle of a refugee camp. It's pretty threadbare, but a little life has been added by some scraps of coloured cloth, stapled to the outside.

RICHARD, early 60s, white, is sat on a rusted director's chair outside. A small parafin stove is on the ground next to him.

                             (CAPTION)
                   RICHARD
                   DIEPPE MIGRANT CAMP
                   FORMER STORE MANAGER

                             RICHARD
                   At first, we all thought the war would
                   be over quickly. This is the UK, not
                   some banana republic.
                             (dry laugh)
                   At the very least, the Americans would
                   sort it out.
                             (beat)
                   But they've got their own problems,
                   haven't they? How many people have died
                   from those dust storms over the years?

                             INTERVIWER (O.S.)
                   I don't know. Millions? More?

                             RICHARD
                   Must be.
                             (beat)
                   It was a long time before we accepted
                   no one was coming. When we did, we knew
                   we had to leave.

                             INTERVIWER (O.S.)
                   What's it like? Being a refugee?

                             RICHARD
                   Oh God.
                             (beat)
                   I wasn't rich, but I did well. Had a
                   steady job. My kids went to a good
                   school. And then suddenly it was all
                   gone. Our whole world shrank to what we
                   could fit into a few bags.
                             (beat)
                   I'd read a lot about refugees over the
                   years. I guess everyone has. But
                   actually being one?
                             (beat)
                   Fuck. I had no idea.
                             (long beat)
                   There was a flu epidemic, our first
                   winter here. Anna, my wife, our son
                   Rob, they both died within a few days
                   of each other. My daughter Sam got onto
                   the North Star. That Canadian ship.
                   They had room for her, but not me. I
                   didn't argue. I've no idea what's
                   happened to her since.
                             (sniffs, holding back tears)
                             (beat)
                   I hope she's doing well. She has to be.
                   That's the only thing that makes all
                   this worth it.

END SCENE.



5. THE DUNDEE SEVEN, 2036

INT. COUNCIL FLAT. DAY.

A kitchen in a run-down council flat. Some effort has been put into cleaning it, but this is only slowing the decay.

JOHN, late 30s, white, is sat at a tiny formica table.

                             (CAPTION)
                   JOHN
                   DUNDEE
                   RATIONING ORGANISER

                             INTERVIWER (O.S.)
                   How did you know the Seven?

                             JOHN
                   Through Jane Miles. Her son Charlie was
                   a friend from school.

                             INTERVIWER (O.S.)
                   The regime calls them martyrs.

                             JOHN
                   I know. I can see the statue from my
                   office.
                             (beat)
                   They were no such thing. To be a
                   martyr, you have to follow the cause.
                   The McCalls were pro-democracy, had
                   been since the beginning.
                             (beat)
                   As to the others, they just wanted to
                   survive. But we all followed the
                   McCalls' lead, I guess.

                             INTERVIWER (O.S.)
                   I didn't know that.

                             JOHN
                   No one does these days.
                             (beat)
                   When the government militia came
                   through, we were actually pleased to
                   see them. We offered them all the
                   supplies we could spare.
                             (beat)
                   Of course, they thought they were too
                   important to share. They took all we
                   had, shot everyone who protested. A lot
                   of us didn't survive they winter after
                   that.
                             (long beat)
                   There were monsters on every side.
                   That's all war really is, in the end.
                             (beat)
                   If you really want to tell the truth,
                   like you say, then tell them that. You
                   tell them that.

                             INTERVIWER (O.S.)
                   I will.

END SCENE.



6. THE FALL OF PARLIAMENT, 2037

EXT. PUBLIC PARK. DAY.

A city centre park, clean and orderly. Obviously a neighbourhood the regime cares about. It's only an hour or so after dawn.

AMANDA, mid 50s, black, is sat on a bench. She looks cold.

                             (CAPTION)
                   AMANDA
                   OXFORD
                   THE LAST HEALTH SECRETARY

                             INTERVIWER (O.S.)
                   Did he think he could win? The Prime
                   Minister, I mean.

                             AMANDA
                   He always talked up our chances. But I
                   don't think he ever believed it, no.
                             (beat)
                   I suspect he was just indulging some
                   Churchill fantasies. He could be
                   childish like that.
                             (beat)
                   Once Manchester finally fell, we all
                   knew it was just a matter of time. He
                   started talking about “surrender with
                   dignity”. Just another front, of
                   course.
                             (beat)
                   As soon as the generals got within the
                   M25, he turned and fled. Didn't even
                   make it to Canary Wharf. None of us
                   were surprised.

                             INTERVIWER (O.S.)
                   At which part?

                             AMANDA
                             (dry laugh)
                   Both.
                             (beat)
                   Roberts turned him in. One of the
                   undersecretaries. Also not a surprise.
                   Betrayal was his style.
                             (beat)
                   There's that line. “Burning the world
                   to become king of the ashes”. That
                   could've been his mantra.
                             (long beat)
                   Within an hour, both had been hanged
                   from a tree in Parliament Square.
                             (beat)
                   An honest-to-God lynching. I know there
                   was a lot of that, during the war, but
                   at the time I could barely believe it.
                             (long beat)
                   I won't apologise for joining the
                   regime afterwards. It was literally
                   that or hang with the others.
                             (beat)
                   But I know what that says about me.
                   That I'm a coward like the rest of
                   them.

                             INTERVIWER (O.S.)
                   Well, you're doing something about it
                   now.

                             AMANDA
                             (beat)
                   The government failed its people. I
                   failed them. But maybe its not too
                   late.

END SCENE.



7. WRITTEN BY THE WINNERS, 2047


INT. CLASSROOM. DAY.

A primary school classroom, well-maintained but under-supplied. The mis-matched furniture, whilst clean and neat, is obviously donated.

CLAIRE, mid 20s, white, is perched on the corner of the teacher's desk. She's holding up a textbook, The History of the British Civil War.

                             (CAPTION)
                   CLAIRE
                   VALE OF GLAMORGAN
                   SCHOOLTEACHER

                             CLAIRE
                             (pointing to book)
                   This is what your kids are being taught
                   now. What we have to teach. Every word
                   in here is a lie.
                             (opens book, flips to page)
                   Here's their bit on the Plymouth
                   bombing. They say they targeted the
                   hospital because Parliament troops were
                   using it to store weapons.
                             (puts book on desk)
                   Have you spoken to any of the
                   survivors?

                             INTERVIWER (O.S.)
                   A few weeks ago, yes. There's one
                   living in Northumberland.

                             CLAIRE
                   Then we both know the truth.
                             (beat)
                   A few of them came through our village
                   not long after. The generals attacked
                   them just to deny the government a
                   source of recruits. That's the truth.
                             (long beat)
                   I want to cry every time I open that
                   book. The kids here just accept it
                   without question. It's all they've got
                   to go on.

                             INTERVIWER (O.S.)
                   What should they be told instead?

                             CLAIRE
                             (long beat)
                             (closes eyes, looks away)
                   After the war started, I was sent to my
                   grandparents in Devon. We avoided most
                   of the fighting, so I guess I was lucky
                   in that sense. But getting supplies was
                   very hard.
                             (long beat)
                   A neighbour's son caught meningitis. No
                   way did we have anything to treat that.
                   But eventually I managed to find a
                   soldier at a nearby outpost. He could
                   get antibiotics through the black
                   market.
                             (long beat)
                   He would only give me the pills if I
                   had sex with him. I was fourteen. It
                   was my first time.

                             INTERVIWER (O.S.)
                   I'm so sorry.

                             CLAIRE
                             (opens eyes, looks back)
                   I hear he's a major now.
                             (beat)
                   That's what the kids should be told.
                   Right now, I'm afraid they're still to
                   young to understand. But when they're
                   old enough, this film will be waiting
                   for them.

                             INTERVIWER (O.S.)
                   I hope so.

END SCENE.



THE TRUTH SHALL SET US FREE

INT. OFFICE. DAY.

The same derelict office as the first segment.

The INTERVIWER is taking her turn in front of the camera. Early 30's, mixed race, sat on the same tattered office chair.

                             INTERVIWER
                   I want to thank everyone who took part
                   in this film. You've all put yourselves
                   at a great deal of risk to tell your
                   stories, for no guarantee that it'll
                   change anything. I couldn't be more
                   grateful for your courage.
                             (beat)
                   I should also thank you, the audience,
                   for watching. You're the reason for
                   doing this, that you might see the
                   truth, and understand why we must
                   protest the lies.
                             (beat)
                   You've also put yourselves at risk. The
                   regime will do what it can to silence
                   this film and all who see it. I can
                   only hope they do not succeed. We have
                   to make sure they do not.
                             (long beat)
                   The next time you see me, it will
                   either be for another film, or for my
                   execution. I honestly feel it could go
                   either way at this point. But I won't
                   let that stop me.
                             (beat)
                   Remember, the truth only lives so long
                   as people speak it. Look to those who
                   give you courage, and to those who need
                   courage. Keep each other safe. Keep
                   fighting. Never give up. I love you
                   all.
                             (long beat)
                   Good night, and good luck.

The INTERVIWER stands up, walks towards the camera, and bends down to turn it off.

END SCENE.
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