by Matt Appleby
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.
How did you first get involved?
I grew up in Eastbourne. Refugees had
been landing there for over a decade.
At its peak, there was a boat every
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.
We weren't trying to make a statement.
Not back then, anyway. We just wanted
And the massacre? What are your
feelings about it now?
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.
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.
On the bad days, I can still smell the
gunpowder. I never expected to know what
gunpowder smelled like.
All those poor people. They deserved so
The regime's line was that the militia
were fighting off an attack.
And that's still the worst lie they've
Those refugees weren't criminals. They
were regular people, with families and
lives. Just like us.
No matter how bad this country has
become, the places they were coming from
are so much worse.
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.
I was only seven when the war started.
There's a lot I don't remember. But I
do remember the Declaration.
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
I heard kids these days are made to
learn the whole speech by heart.
My neighbour once told me that.
Yeah. But at the time, General Taylor
only got halfway through before the
government cut the signal.
Yeah. Suddenly there was no TV, no
phones, no internet, nothing. That was
almost scarier than the Declaration.
I miss the internet.
There's that line from the speech...
“Saving Britain from itself.”
gesturing to street)
Look at my life. Look where his fucking
deliverence got me.
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.
FORMER NHS NURSE
I came to this country when I was 20.
Poland was already falling apart.
If I had known what I was walking into,
I would've stuck it out back home.
The siege lasted thirteen-hundred days.
Over three years. Felt like thirty.
We kept the hospital open the entire
time. I'm very proud of that. We gave
What were the conditions like?
Terrible. Absolutely terrible.
No power or running water. Medications
were near-impossible to come by. We
didn't even have painkillers most days.
To be honest, I think we killed more
patients than we saved.
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
The Greer family. I've heard about
Weren't they all hanged?
Yes. I was there.
I can guess what was in those stews.
There were rumours even at the time.
If you ever find out for certain,
please don't tell me.
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.
DIEPPE MIGRANT CAMP
FORMER STORE MANAGER
At first, we all thought the war would
be over quickly. This is the UK, not
some banana republic.
At the very least, the Americans would
sort it out.
But they've got their own problems,
haven't they? How many people have died
from those dust storms over the years?
I don't know. Millions? More?
It was a long time before we accepted
no one was coming. When we did, we knew
we had to leave.
What's it like? Being a refugee?
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.
I'd read a lot about refugees over the
years. I guess everyone has. But
actually being one?
Fuck. I had no idea.
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)
I hope she's doing well. She has to be.
That's the only thing that makes all
this worth it.
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.
How did you know the Seven?
Through Jane Miles. Her son Charlie was
a friend from school.
The regime calls them martyrs.
I know. I can see the statue from my
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.
As to the others, they just wanted to
survive. But we all followed the
McCalls' lead, I guess.
I didn't know that.
No one does these days.
When the government militia came
through, we were actually pleased to
see them. We offered them all the
supplies we could spare.
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
There were monsters on every side.
That's all war really is, in the end.
If you really want to tell the truth,
like you say, then tell them that. You
tell them that.
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.
THE LAST HEALTH SECRETARY
Did he think he could win? The Prime
Minister, I mean.
He always talked up our chances. But I
don't think he ever believed it, no.
I suspect he was just indulging some
Churchill fantasies. He could be
childish like that.
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
As soon as the generals got within the
M25, he turned and fled. Didn't even
make it to Canary Wharf. None of us
At which part?
Roberts turned him in. One of the
undersecretaries. Also not a surprise.
Betrayal was his style.
There's that line. “Burning the world
to become king of the ashes”. That
could've been his mantra.
Within an hour, both had been hanged
from a tree in Parliament Square.
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.
I won't apologise for joining the
regime afterwards. It was literally
that or hang with the others.
But I know what that says about me.
That I'm a coward like the rest of
Well, you're doing something about it
The government failed its people. I
failed them. But maybe its not too
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.
VALE OF GLAMORGAN
(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
A few weeks ago, yes. There's one
living in Northumberland.
Then we both know the truth.
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.
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.
What should they be told instead?
(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
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
He would only give me the pills if I
had sex with him. I was fourteen. It
was my first time.
I'm so sorry.
(opens eyes, looks back)
I hear he's a major now.
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
I hope so.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Good night, and good luck.
The INTERVIWER stands up, walks towards the camera, and bends down to turn it off.