This page contains most of the content from the main 'story line' characters. It is designed to allow an easy way of keeping up with the story on slow connections (or for reading later). It is, of course, no substitute for the real thing!
Come on in, donít be shy. Martin is up and about, so youíre not disturbing him. Let me just put the kettle on. John bought us this nice electric one, so I can have a cuppa without having to get up. Well, itís for Martin really, but itís ever so convenient.
The old boy is doing better, thank you. Not that they know what was really wrong with him. One specialist said something about his heart, and another one said something about his kidneys, but in the end everything seems to be working again. Thatís all that really matters, isnít it?
Heís gone and gotten a part in the film. My Martin, a star at his age! Heís going to be the gardener. Imagine that! Not a big part, but Irene, Frankís new friend, told me that it was quite symbolic.
The cast and crew are all here, you know. Well you would have seen then, wouldnít you? Bit of a to-do the other day when the director said he was quitting. Seems they have everything sorted though, and heís back at it. Too high strung for this line of work, he is. Bit of a big head. Now Mr. Willeyóheís playing Reginaldóis a real looker. If I were twenty years younger, all right, thirtyóIíd be thinking about doing a little acting myself. That Miss Toussand is a lucky girl. She walked by my door yesterday wearing a negligee just like one I used to have. I have to say, it suited me better. Sheís just a little bit of a thing. They had to hire some stranger to do her bosomsócan you imagine that? I mean really, if you have to pay people to be your body parts, youíre not much of an actress, are you?
Still, Iíll be glad when theyíre all out of here and we can go back to the way things were. Not that theyíll ever really be the same. Life changes, doesnít it? Simon and Ann have set a date, so thereíll be a wedding here come summer. Itís nice when young people settle down. I wish my John would think about things more seriously. Not with that Emma, of course, but Iíd like a great-grandchild before I go.
Iíve put a few more bits in the shop down the village, so if you have a chance, pop in and look around. When I have some time, Iíd like to do some redecoratingóthe wallpaper is getting old.
Ah, the kettle has boiled. Help yourself to a biscuitótheyíre in the tin.
What the hell has happened? I spent an hour on the phone last night with a hysterical woman who turned out to be your mother. It took me most of the conversation--if you could call it that-- to figure out what was going on, and finally she managed to spit it out --your wedding is off. I have to say I was less shocked than she was. What has Simon done this time? I always said that he was no good for you. I guess you're lucky that you didn't get any further and have to start canceling things. Well, if you're leaving town again, you know you're always welcome here.
Let me know
Ann and Simon,
And so nice to be welcoming both of you back in August. You can never guarantee the weather but I'm sure it will be a blessed event.
To: Philip Porkridge, Chief Accountant, Stoney Grove Trust
Blimey, what a couple of weeks. Sometimes you just need to write down your thoughts, don't you? So I'm sending a note to my best man, officially telling him, in writing, that the wedding is August 11, 2001 in the Upper Puckering church and don't forget the ring.
Actually I'm glad it's settled. Nice to think of Ann and I together, forever and things getting back to normal. But I guess we'll have to put up with months more insanity before we get there. As if the wedding arrangements weren't enough I'm feeling like an extra in my own home, the film people are just taking over. Maybe we should slip away for a few days, just the two of us for a pre-bachelor party. Let the women organize things.
We should bring Frank! Can you believe him? I mean he looks like a good wind would knock him over, he's got that earnest thing going and his hair's everywhere. Yet somehow, not only is he seemingly doing the horizontal mambo with the production assistant girl (who's really quite tasty), but he's got Suzanne bloody Toussand coming over for tea and she won't even give me the time of day. I really don't understand women.
Anyway put what you like in your speech, the only thing off limits is our stag party!
Alan: We went through this before with the production of Fire and Spit. I cannot have interference in what I am trying to do. I know there are compromises, I know we have to adjust to budgets, but when the camera rolls I am in charge and it's my vision that is on the screen. Mine. Not yours. Not the boardís. Mine.
Arthur: Absolutely, Alan.
Alan: The cast is with me on this. Did you hear them? Did they not cheer when I stood up for the art of the actor against the suits that try to run this business? They don't usually like me, Arthur. Respect yes, fear even, but they were with me today.
Arthur: This isn't like you, Alan, we're not trying to interfere. There's no disagreement here, you can handle the love scenes any way that you want. It's just that with the advance word out and with a lovely new star like SuzanneÖ well there are expectations.
Alan: I'll not have her exploited. She's a jewel, Arthur. I tell you she shines on the screen.
Arthur: And we should use that. Give her the range, let her show the public what she can do.
Alan: No, I've quit. I told the cast, I told the crew, it's over. If I go back now I will have no integrity.
Cynthia: Can I come in? Alan, the cast wants to know if we're done for the day. Suzanne's standing around in a silk dress and Peter's down to a shirt, and it is still March.
Alan: Didn't they hear me quit? They applauded me!
Cynthia: Oh, were you serious? I mean, I think they appreciated the sentiment and all that, but I don't think that they actually thought you'd quit.
Alan: I can't put Suzanne through the scenes with that old hack Willey. And then tomorrow putting her with Archer. I'm just not sure he has the range to match her passion.
Suzanne: Alan, I cannot be left like this. Oh, hello Mr. Daily, Cynthia.
Alan: I know, I know. We'll change the script. We'll do the scenes with Gary and Peter off-camera or something.
Suzanne: Are you kidding? This is my career! Those scenes are in, or I'm out!
Arthur: Look, I'll go and explain to the cast that you're in charge and we'll carry on.
Alan: That's all I wanted. Ms. Toussand, let us continue.
Ann: This place is like Grand Central Station!
Ann: Donít be sorryóit was easy to fix. Be happyóweíre getting married in one, two, three, four, five months!
Simon: Iím just a bit stressed. Not about the wedding, though. Really. It just seems things are getting away from me. Look, I probably should talk to you about the guest list.
Ann: Tomorrow. Enjoy life while you can, Tinsley. Itís all going to get more hectic. What have you been doing that's so stressful?
Simon: Well, Iíve been stuck in the office helping them with the fax machine.
Ann: So Iíve heard.
Ann: I have an idea. Do I need a double?
Womanís Voice: Sheís not happy, you know. All this talk about nipples and demographics, whatever that means. She just wanted someone to tell her story.
Frank: Well, they are telling her story. Just making it a bit more, um, up-to-date.
Womanís Voice: Thatís not what they called it in my day! Have you seen the shameful goings on in this house?
Frank: Well, they were rehearsing the love scenes this week. Between Loretta and Reginald, and Loretta and Arthur. She can hardly objectóshe wrote them herself.
Womanís Voice [indignantly]: She most certainly can! I wasnít born yesterday, young man! I know the difference between make-believe and the real thing. There are people here carrying on that have nothing to do with your motherís silly book. And some combinations of characters she never envisioned, I can tell you that!
Frank: Weíre all adults. Times do change.
Womanís Voice: Thatís not the way she sees it. She blames you, you know.
Frank: What did I do?
Womanís Voice: You could have stopped it. You still can. You own the rights.
Frank: No, I canít stop it.
Womanís Voice: Why not?
Frank: Because I think Iím in love.
Woman [snorts]: And that is relevant becauseÖ.?
Frank: She's helping shoot the film. I canít interfere with her job. Itís important to her.
Woman [snorts again].
Frank: Are you still there?
Irene: Frank, is that you?
Frank: Irene? Hello. You lookÖquite beautiful today.
Irene: Thank you. So do you.
Frank: The poem you read to me last night was glorious.
Irene; Iíve written another if youíd like to hear it. Why donít we go back to the Hermitage--that is, if youíre done here?
Frank: I guess I am.
Womanís voice [snorts]
Shirley: Martin, what are you doing up?
Shirley: Donít be daft. You donít need to be sitting
around listening to this load of rubbish. Go lie down.
Shirley: You donít have your strength back.
Martin: Thatís not what I remember hearing from last night.
Shirley: For goodness sake, man, go back to bed.
Martin: Save your breath, Shirley, Iím going.
Cynthia: Everything all right then, Suzanne?
Suzanne: Hardly. Iím frozen. I probably already have influenza, Iím just too cold to know it yet.
Cynthia: You both did a nice job with that scene. Alan was really pleased.
Suzanne: Well he bloody well should have been. If I had to kiss that old lech again, I was going to throw up. His breath is disgusting. Poor Karen.
Cynthia: Donít worry about her. Sheís just glad to have the work.
Suzanne: Well, Iím glad my body-double days are behind me. Itís so much more fulfilling to be a serious actor.
Peter: So you think Iím disgusting, do you? How refreshing! Most women find me irresistible.
Suzanne: Which women would those be, Peter? The grannies that come to watch you perform? Oh, I seem to recall that even they stayed away from your last effort. What was the name of it, Cynthia? You know, the one that closed after three weeks?
Peter: Are you ready for the scene with Gary tomorrow? I
suppose you two didnít need much rehearsing, did you? No, wait. Gary
said that you might need more practice. Bit of a cold fish and all of
Suzanne: I was just leaving. Iíve got to go get some clothes on.
Frank: Let me make you some tea. You donít look well.
Suzanne: Forget the tea. Can you get me some Scotch?
Frank: Iíll see what I can do.