From Bad To Worse

A teleplay by Kevin Mitchell.


EPISODE ONE: SO IT GOES

1. EXT. MALCOLM'S HOUSE. NIGHT.

Malcolm's house is silhouetted against the night sky. All is calm and still. A clock can be heard ticking away gently. Suddenly the peace is disturbed by the sound of the clock alarm and then shattered shortly afterwards by the sound of a radio. A light appears in one of the upstairs windows. Gradually a light goes on in every room of the house and a radio can be heard blaring away in every one, each tuned to a different station!

CUT TO:


2. INT. MALCOLM'S BATHROOM. NIGHT.

Malcolm, dressed only in his underpants and a T-shirt, both of which were once white, is shambling about performing his ablutions. He knocks the precariously balanced bathroom radio off of the window sill and into the sink. It gives a drowning wail. Unperturbed he opens the bathroom cabinet and produces another radio which he cheerfully proceeds to turn on and tune in.

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3. INT. THE DOBSONS' BEDROOM. NIGHT.

Randall and Melitta are lying in bed. The multitudinous sound of radios can be heard in the distance.

Melitta: Isn't it amazing how well sound carries at night?

Randall: That's the whole bloody point. It's not even light yet. And all you can say is how miraculous it all is.

Melitta: I said it was amazing actually.

Randall: Amazing, miraculous, it's all the bloody same.

Melitta: No it's not I did learn about Marconi at school you know.

Randall: Rubbish. You can't tell one type of pasta from another.

Melitta: We'll be getting up soon anyway.

Randall: As if we could lie here oblivious to that din.

Their conversation is interrupted by the vastly amplified sound ofa cock crowing. Melitta jumps out of her skin.

Melitta: I know that you believe in traditional methods, but don't you think that is a bit extreme?

Randall: Nonsense. And surely this little innovation serves to proves how flexible I am; that I am more than capable of integrating and exploiting modern technology to our own benefit.

Melitta: But isn't a whole 6K rather excessive?

Randall: I'm going to have it out with him once and for all.

Randall gets out of bed, puts on his dressing gown and sits on the edge of the bed.

CAMERA PULLS BACK TO SHOW ENTIRE ROOM.

In the far corners of the room are huge speaker stacks. Randall picks up the bedside phone and proceeds to dial.

CLOSE SHOT OF SPEAKERS FOLLOWING CABLES WHICH TRACE BACK INTO AN AMPLIFIERAND THEN OUT OF THE BEDROOM WINDOW.

CUT TO:


4. EXT. THE DOBSONS' YARD. NIGHT.

A cockerel is standing of a fence crowing into a microphone. The amplified
sound can be heard blaring away in the bedroom.

CUT TO:


5. INT. MALCOLM'S KITCHEN. NIGHT.

In the filth and squalor that is his kitchen, Malcolm is attempting to fry an egg. The fat in the pan is far too hot. Black smoke belches from a nearby electric toaster and a kettle boils away furiously, a radio blares away, with several more heard in the background. He switches off the toaster and extracts a worse for wear bit of toast and places it on a nearby plate. The phone rings.

Malcolm: Oh blast.

He goes to answer the phone. Stops and turns round.

Now you keep an eye on my breakfast till I get back Sammy.

CLOSE SHOT OF SAMMY.

A down at heel cat sits patiently by an empty food dish, staring at Malcolm, quite oblivious to chaos all around.

CUT TO:


6. INT. MALCOLM'S HALLWAY. NIGHT.

Malcolm walks to the phone and answers it.

Malcolm: Hello. I'm sorry, but you'll have to speak a bit louder. No, no, I can't make out what you're trying to say.

SPLIT SCREEN REVEALS A DISGRUNTLED RANDALL ON THE OTHER END OF THE LINE.

Randall: (Raising his voice.) Of course you bloody well can't. I'd be surprised if you could even hear yourself think, should you ever do so, which I doubt very much indeed. I'm sick and tired of this daily rigmarole.

Melitta: (In the background.) Why don't you simply stop keep ringing then?

Randall: I like things kept to a routine the same as everyone else but— (To Melitta.) Because..oh! (He shakes his head. To Malcolm.) Look do you know what time it is?

Malcolm looks at his watch. He appears confused and he shakes his wrist and holds the watch up to his ear before checking its face again.

Malcolm: It's Six twenty-three.

Randall: Precisely.

Malcolm: Why are you phoning so early? Can't it wait, I'm trying to cook my breakfast?

Randall: No it cannot. I'm fed up with your infernal racket disturbing my beauty sleep every morning.

Malcolm smells something burning he places the receiver down.

SCREEN CUTS OUT RANDALL AS MALCOLM RETURNS TO KITCHEN.

CUT TO:


7 INT. MALCOLM'S KITCHEN. NIGHT.

The frying pan has burst into flames. Malcolm douses the Blaze.

Malcolm: Oh Sammy, can't I ever trust you? You make a poor watch dog you know.

Malcolm picks up a fish slice and rescues the cremated egg from his pan. He places it on top of the toast on the plate and throws the pan into the sink, which is already filled to the brim with similarly blackened pans. He contemplates his breakfast and ponders.

I think we'll skip breakfast again today Sammy.

He has an idea.

I don't know though.

He opens a cupboard door and produces a jar of ketchup with which he smothers the burnt offerings. The plate is transformed into a supremely fried egg on a platter of golden toast.

There you go.

CUT TO:


8. INT. THE DOBSONS' BEDROOM. NIGHT.

Randall: (Still on the phone.) Hello. Hello.

Melitta: Perhaps he's rung off dear.

Randall: No I can still his wretched racket.

He moves the receiver to and from his ear, whilst also listening to the faint din through the window.

My God, it's in stereo now!

He hangs up.

Melitta: What would you like for breakfast dear?

Randall: Oh I don't care. Even a bit of snap, crackle and pop would sound like a soothing symphony after that racket.

CUT TO:


9. EXT. THE DOBSONS' DRIVEWAY. DAY.

Melitta is sitting in the passenger seat of their suitably respectable, nondescript car. Randall emerges, flustered, from the house. He gets into the car and proceeds to drive rather too fast out of their drive and into a narrow country lane.

CUT TO:


10. INT. THE DOBSONS' CAR. DAY.

Melitta: Honestly all that fuss about being up early and you're still late.

Randall: I was looking for my—

Melitta: I had already brought it out to the car so that you would not forget it.

Randall: That was the conclusion at which I eventually arrived.

Melitta: For the sake of the company I can only hope your mind moves a sight faster when engaged in these important business deals. Though from the recounts which never cease to fill my weekends with boredom I somehow doubt it.

Randall: I am certainly not going senile if that's what your insinuating. I feel that my best years are still ahead of me.

Melitta: All I can say is that the exceptionally slow realisation of your potential could be seen as the only rival to the crescendo of snail foreplay in its long-windedness. We could well be living in what in years to come will be known as the Randall Dobson epoch.

Randall: I just cannot concentrate when I've been thrown all out of kilter. I'm going to miss my train if I don't hurry.

He accelerates hard.

Melitta: I don't care. Just drive with a little more caution.

Randall: I must be to be on time today. The new boss is putting in an appearance some when. And you can bet your last yen that it will be first thing if I'm not there.

CUT TO:


11. INT. MALCOLM'S CAR. DAY.

Malcolm is driving his car. Only his head is visible.

Malcolm: Here we go. Spot on time and there's nothing like a nice leisurely drive through the countryside to start the day. What say you Sammy?

CLOSE SHOT OF SAMMY SITTING ON CAR SEAT. BACK TO MALCOLM, THEN CAMERAPULLS BACK TO REVEAL THAT HE IS DRIVING A BUBBLE-CAR.

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12. EXT. COUNTRY LANE. DAY.

Malcolm approaches a tractor coming slowly in the opposite direction. The sound of an irate car horn can be heard from behind the tractor.

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13. EXT. BEHIND TRACTOR. DAY.

The Dobsons are stuck behind the tractor. Randall toots the car horn furiously and gestures to the tractor driver.

Randall: Get out of the bloody way. Some of haven't got all day. We're not all subsidised you know.

Melitta: I don't know why we live so far out in the country. You hate all its foibles.

Randall: I like a little peace and quiet that's why.

Melitta: Then why do you spend all your time disrupting it? It's just people you can't abide and they crop up everywhere.

Randall: The Christmas you present me with a neutron bomb we'll move straight back to city central. Until then I'll content myself with dwelling where the population is akin to a Tom Cruise sperm count. Oh I can't wait any longer.

He screeches off to overtake the tractor. The driver of which vainly tries to wave him down.

CUT TO:


14. EXT. IN FRONT OF TRACTOR. DAY.

Malcolm is confronted by the maniacally driven Dobson vehicle and is forced to take evasive action which results in his swerving into the ditch.

CUT TO:


15. EXT. COUNTRY LANE. DAY.

The tactor driver is seen shrugging despairingly.

CUT TO:


16. INT. THE DOBSONS' CAR. DAY.

Randall: Bloody road-hogs.

CUT TO:


17. EXT. RAILWAY STATION FORECOURT. DAY.

The Dobsons pull up outside the station. Several potential passengers have to dive for cover to prevent their being run down. Leaving the car parked haphazardly, Randall gives Melitta a peck on the cheek, retrieves a briefcase from the back seat and bounds into the station.

CUT TO:


18. INT. STATION ENTERANCE. DAY.

Randall frantically waves his season ticket under the noses of bewildered station staff and hurries towards the platform as his train pulls in.

CUT TO:


19. INT. THE DOBSONS' CAR. DAY.

CLOSE SHOT OF MELITTA SHAKING HER HEAD.

There is the sound of another car horn.

CAMERA PULLS BACK TO REVEAL THAT ANOTHER CAR HAS PULLED UP BEHIND.

CUT TO:


20. EXT. COUNTRY LANE TELEPHONE BOX. DAY.

Malcolm is briefly seen inside the phone box, making a call.

CUT TO:


21. INT. TRAIN CARRIAGE. DAY.

Randall is grumpily standing squeezed like a sardine between two men, both of whom are reading papers and dig him in the ribs every time they turn a page. He then sniffs the air and focuses his wrathful glare in a particular direction.

Randall: Do you mind? This is a no smoking carriage and I would greatly appreciate it if the little air I can force into my lungs in this present contortion were free from the spread of your cancer inducing toxins.

CUT TO:


22. EXT. COUNTRY LANE. DAY.

Melitta drives past a tow truck. The driver flags her down. Melitta winds down her window.

Tow-truck driver: Excuse me love, do you happen to know the location of a Harper's Lane hereabouts.

Melitta sighs.

CUT TO:


23. INT. RANDALL'S OFFICE. DAY.

Randall: (Pacing about the room.) I knew it, I bloody knew it. Get here in good time they said. New boss dropping in today they said. I knew he wouldn't be early. At least he's not Japa-blooody-nese. Haven't you done it yet?

Another man, obvoiusly junior in status to Randall, gets up from behind the desk. Randall goes to his briefcase and produces a telescopic putter, which he extends and some golf balls which he proceeds to aim at a paper cup which the other man has been carefully wedging on the floor between two piles of books.

Miles: Do you really think this is appropriate at this time?

Randall: I've got to relax somehow Miles. I've had a very stressful week so far. Once this visit is over I hope things can get back to normal.

Miles: But it's only Monday, Sir.

There is a knock at the door, which then opens, banging into Randall, who pulls his shot, putting the ball through the office window.

Randall: Hell's bells and Grimalkin!

Davis: (Poking his head round door.) Look sharp the big cheese is on the prowl.

Randall: About time too. As if we haven't got more important things to do.

Randall goes to the window to survey the damage.

CUT TO:


24. EXT. COMPANY PARKING LOT. DAY.

Amongst the cars is Malcolm's bubble-car.

CUT TO:


25. INT. RANDALL'S OFFICE. DAY.

CLOSE SHOT OF RANDALL LOOKING PUZZLED.

He rubs the remaining glass in the window and peers through again.

CUT TO:


26. EXT. COMPANY'S PARKING LOT. DAY.

CLOSE SHOT OF MALCOLM'S CAR.

CUT TO:


27. INT. RANDALL'S OFFICE. DAY.

Randall pulls away from the window, cutting his hand as he does so.

Randall: Bloody hell.

Miles: They're here.

Randall goes to the office door.

CUT TO:


28. INT. CORRIDOR OUTSIDE RANDALL'S OFFICE. DAY.

An attractive female executive type stands in the door way of Randall's office. Randall goes to greet her. He offers his hand.

Randall: It is a great pleasure to meet you Madam Chairman.

Woman: I'm only the Chairman's personal assistant.

Randall notices that his hand is bleeding and hastily withdraws it. Malcolm can be heard off.

Malcolm: Yes, I would have been here earlier only I had a bit of a motering mishap this morning.

Woman: Here he is.

Randall is suddenly confronted by Malcolm and his worst fears are realised.

Malcolm: (Offering his hand.) Hello I'm Mr. Malcolm, your new Chairman. So pleased to meet you. I've heard so much about your efforts.

Randall offers his good hand, but realises that it is the wrong one.

Randall: (Incredulous). Pleased to meet you Sir.

Malcolm exaggerates his hand gesture. Randall is compelled to shake hands with Malcolm using his bloodied hand.

CUT TO:


29. INT. RANDALL'S OFFICE. DAY.

Randall shrinks back into his office, wiping the blood from his hand with his handkerchief. He sighs.

Miles: What's up?

Randall: What's up? What's bloody up? Twenty years of service for this company, incorporating the best years of my life, my prime time, has been swept away in one cruel twist of fate. My career is in tatters. This time tomorrow I will be clearing my desk and will be reduced to spending the remainder of my days sweeping the streets for a stale crust.

Miles: Don't be ridiculous. You're far too old to get a job doing that.

Randall: That's it then, I'm ruined.

He wipes his brow with his handkerchief, then recoils in disgust as he realises how bloodied it now is.

CUT TO:


30. INT. FOYER OF OFFICE BUILDING. DAY.

Randall exits the building. He waves a parting gesture to the commissionaire. Revealing his blood stained handkerchief wrapped around his hand.

CUT TO:


31. EXT. COMPANY PARKING LOT. DAY.

Randall spots Malcolm's car is still in the parking lot and tries to leave the premises in as low key a manner as possible.

Malcolm: (Calling off.) Hello Randall!

Randall tries to ignore Malcolm.

Hello there.

Randall but decides that this course of action will draw even more attention to himself. He goes over to Malcolm.

I hope you weren't trying to avoid me.

Randall: Good Heavens no. Perish the thought.

They continue walking towards Malcolm's car.

Malcolm: You see, I know that I was a bit cool earlier on and all that, but I had no idea that you worked here.

Randall: (Sarcastically). Yes It must have come as quite a shock to you.

Malcolm: I could hardly acknowledge the fact that I knew you. It might have compromised your position. You know teacher's pet so to speak. I had to respect the high esteem with which your colleagues hold you. The whole fabric of the company could have been rent asunder.

Randall: Yes, yes I understand Sir. But if will excuse me, I must go. I work late enough as it is. My wife will be expecting me.

Malcolm: Please there's no need to call me Sir, everyone else has gone home. And you can't rely on public transport these days. Why don't I give you a lift, what with us being neighbours and everything.

Randall: No, no it's alright.

Malcolm: I insist. It can be the beginning of a better understanding for us both. I've had a lot to come to terms with recently, what with Mother passing away and all.

They arrive at Malcolm's car. Malcolm opens the canopy for Randall to get in. As Randall struggles in, Malcolm notices a hole in one of his car windows.

Malcolm: I wonder how that happened? I hope that Sammy's okay.

There is a screech from inside the vehicle as Randall sits on Sammy.

CUT TO:


32. INT MALCOLM'S CAR. DAY.

Randall hastily retrieves Sammy from under his bottom. Malcolm looks in.

Malcolm: Oh he's okay. Look he's found something to play with. What's that he's got?

Malcolm investigates and finds that Sammy is playing with a golf ball. Randall looks very sheepish.

CREDITS.


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This page © Kevin Mitchell, 1998.