Monday, 16 November 2009

Unlucky for Some

You can listen to the latest episode of Hut 33 here. It's called Unlucky for Some, and it was a very enjoyable script to write, albeit a very pressured one. The Big Machine episode took ages - and so the time I had to spend on Unlucky for Some (which I wrote last) was very short. It was an idea that I'd had for the show very very early on when considering storylines for Series 3. I considered lots of alternatives, including Mrs B telling Archie that he was going to be lucky in love, and Archie so determined to prove her wrong that he throws away a really good chance with a really lovely girl. I liked that storyline because Archie was paying the penalty for his own dogma and stubbornness - which is what you want on a sitcom. The characters have to be their own worst enemies, and sow the seeds of their own downfall. I rejected that storyline in the end, however, partly because it isn't very funny, and also because it did not bring him into conflict with Charles, which is very much the comic engine of the show.

The other reasons I was attracted to this plot was because of current discussions around science, religion and faith. Many are stridently opposed to religion because it appears to them at least to be irrational. Professor Dawkins and friends are furious that people still regard religion as important or worthwhile when, to them, there is simply no need for it. In fact, it is menace to society, they say. It seemed to me that Archie would espouse this view, since he is a Marxist and the Russian sympathiser. Stalin ran an atheistic regime (demonstrating that you don't have to be religious to destroying millions of lives, single-handedly killing more people than every crusade and the Spanish Inquisition combined).

(I hasten to add I don't agree with Archie in this. Christianity, at least, is not based on an irrational 'leap of faith' as many think. My understanding is that God comes to earth as a man and gives proof of himself, rising from the dead, so that no 'leap' is needed. But this is not the place to discuss theology.)

Charles however is religiously motivated, being a Roman Catholic, although his faith sometimes has the appearance of superstition. But maybe I would say that because I am a Protestant. The important thing, however, is that Charles' faith is believable and real. Gordon, the middle-man, would be an Anglican - in the worst sense of the word - trying to agree with everyone and be all things to all men. And Mrs B would naturally be superstitious and full of old wives tales.

And thus, Unlucky for Some was born. One of the advantages of writing the final episode of a third series is that you know who the characters are and how they would respond in any given situation. Take the subject of superstition and you immediately have attitudes from the characters forming in your mind. The trick of writing is to hear those characters talking to each other and trying and keep up with the voices in your head...