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Sunday, 4 August 2013

Historectomy script

A while ago I started working on a comedy script for a BAFTA screenwriting competition. I stopped when I saw the entry fee was ridiculous and I wasn't too keen on some of the rules and guidelines. What I'm considering is sending it to the BBC writers room, so if people want to critique and comment the hell out of this it'd be much appreciated.


Blight, misery, economic devastation, homelessness..ness, mass desolation on a scale far too shocking for man to comprehend. No, I'm not talking about a Nuclear Winter or a fire the size of Sweden, I'm talking about one of Earth's greatest foes, and one of History's most relentless fiends. An item so deadly it makes Joseph Stalin look like a wet blanket, damp with his own communist urine, a product of aforementioned terror.
I'm talking about Asbestos, all in this episode of Historectomy.

An overtly garish montage plays as the title sequence begins, scenes of destruction, chaos, and disasters en masse, a scene from the original Clash Of The Titans manages to sneak itself in.

The host is holding up a small vial of a white substance.
It's shocking isn't it? That some of the most important events in recent history have had this little substance play some role in it. It looks relatively safe and harmless, in fact I always carry some around with me to ward off Wood folk, but that's because it's safely contained in this vial, but what about when it isn' a vial. Where did it come from? What can it do? And what does it want?
To Explain more,
here's a historian and official 'science person' for the 2009 Thailand Technology/Irrigation Expo, Professor Steven Book face.

(As he talks, we cut between the interview and various graphics, images and pieces of VT)
Hello, I'm Professor Steven Bookface, a great deal of my historical research has been based on the effects Asbestos has had throughout history. Asbestos comes from many different places; the most common source is from the Japanese creature known as Mothra. When Mothra flaps his wings, it releases a deadly neurotoxin into the atmosphere.
When this chemical is released into the air it travels upwards into the atmosphere, latching onto clouds, before coming down in rain and gravitating towards the nearest attic or High school roof.
Of course, between 1958-1973 there was an absence of asbestos, following Mothra’s defeat at the hands of Godzilla and the Japanese armed forces. But, after returning in 1974, Mothra’s movements were so vigorous, that it released an untold amount of asbestos into the atmosphere, most of it still there. Scientists are unsure how long the specific amount will last, but have a rough estimate that it is between forty years, or seven hundred thousand. To put that in perspective, that’s enough asbestos to fill  238 Pringles tubes.

It really is a shocking substance isn't it? It's capacity for danger is unmatched throughout history. Here's a box full of string and copper shavings, I filled it with asbestos two hours ago and as you can see...[pulls out a handgun] it's created some fully loaded handguns. The French fed it to horses to create trebuchets & The Americans would mix it with Dr Pepper to create Napalam during the Vietnam War. And over here, I put some asbestos in a melting pot, alongside some spices and a second hand copy of Ulysses by James Joyce. It's been boiling for a while, and eventually will form a list of instructions on how to stage a successful coup of a small African nation. It's believed this is how Hitler staged the Munich Putsch, although Historians are debating on which book he used.

Cut to P. Bookface.

Asbestos was first discovered in the Capital of Europe, in a country called Finland, at the time known as Startland. It was discovered by a miner called Gelg Niffbogger, who inadvertently hit the first ‘asbestos pocket’ after some overzealous pickaxe work in one of the country’s marmite mines.
It was quickly bought to the attention of the government, who began selling it as an after dinner delicacy under orders from the king, a mentally retarded 11 year old boy.
It cost nearly 50 generic gold coins per spoonful, and was merely a status symbol amongst the elite. Noted for its unusual flavour, it began making the rounds throughout Europe and the rest of the world, apart from Austria where they hate dessert.
Because of social and cultural trends at the time, dessert was often served inside ivory thimbles, and as a result, diners did not ingest a dangerous amount of asbestos. Deaths only began when bowls replaced thimbles, as they were now required by order of the king, retarded, to build a giant stool in the centre of the sea (Painting shown). The inclusion of bowls, now meant a dangerous amount of Asbestos ingested, and during a party at Otto Von Bismarck's estate, twenty eight Germans dropped down dead in unison. The cause unknown, Bismarck nonplussed, famously exclaimed "Oh for fuck's sake. They didn't even try the fucking

Admiral Nelson took Asbestos at a dinner party and died 8 years later in a naval battle. Coincidence? Probably not.
A 12 year old in 1860s Manchester died after merely hearing the word ‘asbestos’. There’s no scientific truth for this, but we read it in a book, so it definitely happened.
The most high profile death caused by asbestos is undoubtedly that of ‘the gang’ out of Kool and the gang. In 1986 on a high profile tour of Japanese Orthodontist offices, their bus crashed into a giant cube of solid asbestos that had formed in the middle of the road, described as the size of ‘a really big fridge’. The gang were killed instantly, and Kool never recovered from this event, instead choosing to isolate himself from the media on IO, one of the moons of Jupiter.
Now, we're going to take a break from asbestos and go over to the wonderful human being who talks to you lot out there, resident knowledge trough, Suzanne. SUZIE. HELLO.

Cut to a young blonde woman on the other side of the studio.

Hello! It's me, Suzanne the human supercomputer! I've gotten loads of emails lately asking me questions, so I've been working as hard as a Victorian labourer, or as they called them, Children!
I've gotten an email from Andrea in Maryland, she asks "Suzanne, what does 'To Be or Not To Be?' mean? Thank you".
Well...Andrea, that's...that's an English question. So...I can't really answer that.
The next Email is from Lucy in York and Mindy, she asks "Suzanne, did Native Americans really use every part of the Buffalo?"
Good question! Now yes, actually they did! Some people might think, 'Hey, what exactly could you use a Buffalo knee joint for?' and you'd be surprised. [Various Pictures or props appear] Buffalo Eyes were used for marbles Ribcages were used to make exercise bikes, and even intestines were used for Christmas decorations by those not slaughtered for refusing to convert! How about you try it at home, murder a buffalo and see what you can make out of it, send us a list and you could be feature on our next episode, unless you've got a hideous face!
We've got an email here from Alexandra from Stokyo on Trent, she asks 'Suzanne, I really fancy the host, is he free for a pub lunch with me sometime?' Haha! Well are you?

Abrupt cut to the host.

(Furrows brow, look of contempt, mouthing)

Back to Suzanne

I'll take that as a yes Alexandra! Anyway, that's my email sack thoroughly...drained, thank you all for your questions! Those we didn't answer today, Propa soz innit!
Anyway, before I go, there's one final thing, the answer to the fiendish question I asked last show! I asked 'Which famous Britain was nicknamed, 'The Juggernaut'?'. The answer was in fact [Picture appears] Emmeline Pankhurst! So well done to 12 year old Lewis from London, you would win a prize but your address literally just said wasn't specific enough! Host.

Back to the Host

Thank you Suzie. [To Audience]Here's some history thingamybobs.

An old short clip from an informative video plays. Roughly around 1950. Grainy and jilted black and white footage is the background for a nasally, upper class narration.

Looked in the taps? Checked behind the boiler? How about behind the Garden shed? But what about the chimney? Ahh, there he is! Remember, always check your house for communists! This informational video bought to you by the Department of Socialist Shenanigan prevention.

Cut to a series of old photographs of mundane individuals doing nothing of note. Soft music plays, a gentle voice over.

Voice Over
People through time. Sepia Pictures over soft music. Boring photographs, but they're black and white. This one's zooming in a bit. Look. History. It's this.


Now it's time for a historical re-enactment with Lesperance. LESPERANCE. ENTHRALL ME.

Cut to, a dishevelled, warped and wiry individual. Unusual hair, be it head wise or facially. A model is behind him.

Thank you Host. Today I will be re-enacting the sacking of Rome, using lego bricks and frozen spheres made from hair.
Lesperance proceeds to hurl his frozen projectiles at the laughable lego model behind him. He does this for a bewildering and awkward 10 seconds.

Thank you.

Back to Host.

Haha, delightful. He has many convictions.

Various pictures of Charles De Gaulle appear on the screen, a punk rock backing plays behind it, his name bellowed repeatedly for an eternity compressed into 20 surreal seconds. CHARLES DE GAULLE. CHARLES DE GAULLE! CHARLES DE GAULLE!!

Now back to our short feature about the history of asbestos, well not all of it, that'd take bloody ages! (Immediately serious)

Asbestos featured a decline towards the late 19th century once people became aware of the dangers it caused. We don't actually know how it kills, it just does. Ok? Deal with it. Governments made the substance illegal, punishments varying from a hefty fine, to being impaled on your own spine, Denmark's weird like that. Certain groups smuggled it, still catering to certain groups and masses. It wasn't addictive, people were just idiots, deeming it a social symbol or bohemian expression of creativity and anarchy.


Now, it's time for an interview with an individual who witnessed a pivotal act in history. We call this section, History pervert.
Today's History pervert is former labour MP Turwold Rossington. Turwold was 4 years old when his father, on a business trip to Munich, observed an event at a local tavern. The event? The Munich Putsch. And the perpetrator? Racist motorway supremacist, Adolf Hitler.

CUT TO an interview scenario in a small room, THE HOST is there with a man in his 90s. Sharp suit, calm demeanour and a refined class to his overall persona.

Turowld Rossington, thank you for joining us. Now, as a young boy you witnessed an integral part of the build-up to the second world war.

TURWOLD (HOST interrupts off screen in []'s)
Yes, as a young man [Boy] I went to Munich with my father where we stumbled upon a very hectic event I then observed [Witnessed]. At the time, and many years later, I had no concept of how significant [an integral part] that this event actually was.

Because you had actually entered the scene of the munich putsch. Hitler's first attempt to take power.

The crowd was massive, and I remember he was so imposing, determined and passionate. I can still remember it to this day.

Because of the atmosphere? The historical magnitude?

I remember it clearly because I was eating a particularly delectable tart at the time, tantamount to a thousand joys. It was the perfect snack for a young boy at the time. My father bought it me from a vendor outside. A dirty man, considering how perfect his food was.

Lemon or Blackcurrant?

(An agonising pause, then heavy and pained). Lemon. Blessed God...nothing but lemon.

Do you know what if Hitler was eating anything?

Not that I know of.

Did he like tarts?

I can only assume he did.

Riveting stuff. What else do you remember?

There was a lot of yelling, frantic, chanting in unison. I recall thinking 'how did he get the lemon to set so perfectly in the middle of the pastry'. And then a single shot was fired.

Hitler, into the ceiling. (Winks at the camera) Did you know at the time how big of a shit Hitler was?

No, but then he fired the shot and it scared me. And I dropped my tart.

My God...I'm so sorry.

People ran and marched, about a hundred shoes...crushing it in the floor. Such didn't deserve that fate.

What happened next?

My Father dragged me outside, I begged, pleaded for him to get me another one but he didn't listen. I think that's why I grew up resenting him.

So for you, the Munich Putsch was really a cataclysmic moment in your life?

I feel...and I say this with every cell in my body, that nobody has been wronged by Hitler as much as I had that day, or in any period of time. Be they a particular ethnic, religious or political based group.

Well that's, frankly that's astounding. Thank you Turwold for talking with us.

You're welcome. (He bellows a guttural belch and raises his hands apropos of nothing)
Back to studio.

Sadly, Turwold Rossington died shortly before that interview was filmed.


So that's asbestos for you, it shows no sign of stopping its incessant reign of terror. Sucks to be us innit? BYE.

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