“We’re trying to make the series a lot darker and more edgy – like Primeval!”
Heartbeat 2012 is a spin-off from the popular-with-the-elderly ITV hit series Heartbeat. The writers and producers of the Heartbeat series hoped that dragging the series out of the sixties and into the near future would give it a new lease of life and hopefully “get with” the next generation audience they needed to survive. Unfortunately the series was axed last minute after the real residents of Ashfordly (rather fiecely) deemed it “unrealistic” and “too exciting”. What follows is the script from episode three (of six), the only thing salvageable from the recently torched studio.
Scene 1: Int. Police Station – day.
The police station is very quiet as the camera pans across an empty desk revealing NATHAN SOFTWOOD, a young policeman, listlessly drawing knobs in the margin of a report. The phone rings and Nathan jumps sending his pencil clattering to the floor. He looks at the phone like he’s unsure wither or not to bother answering. Eventually he picks up the receiver.
- Nathan: Hello?... You need everyone down there immediately? There’s a RIOT!? FANTASTIC – I’ll be right there! I, mean yes, sir, it’s awful. Right away, sir.
Nathan hangs up.
- (Cut to)
Scene 2: Ext. Ashfordly Village Square – day.
There are seven late-middle-aged people gathered outside the village hall holding banners that read “We don’t want your cancer!” and “Whatever happened to shouting?” Nathan marches towards the police cordon in full riot gear. At the police cordon are, FEMALE POLICE OFFICER and (twice retired) OSCAR BLAKETON. Nathan looks at the “riot”, disappointed.
- Nathan: (to Oscar) What’s going on?
- Oscar: Them lot up the hill are trying to give us mobile telephone coverage.
- Nathan: That’s a bad thing…?
- Oscar: (looking stern) I hope you know that as soon as I’m off duty, I’ll be joining them in protest.
- Nathan: Well, obviously it’s flipin’ awful. I mean nobody will want to come to “Ashfordly: the last place to get mobile coverage” will they? We’ll loose our tourist trade!
- Oscar: Don’t get me started on those fucking tourists. Coming here with their Scottish money and their ideas. Bloody madmen all of ‘um.
- Nathan: Yes, of course, The Inn will be fine without the passers through, I’ll stay the night every now and then to make sure.
In the back ground one of the rioters throws a rock in the vague direction of the half-built telephone mast.
- Female Police Officer: (timid) I haven’t—
- Oscar: (interrupting) I haven’t seen them this agitated since BT tried to install dial-up last year. That was a fucking disaster that was. The lampost had to be repainted! They've got no fucking idea how much that costs!
Nathan nods in resigned agreement.
- Oscar: Well anyway, now you’re here I can go up the hill and try and reason with those halfwit bastards.
- Female Police Officer: Try-
- Nathan: (Interupting) Try not to kill them this time!
- (Cut to)
Scene 3: Ext. Ashfordly Hill (Mast Erection Site) – day.
Two construction workers are smoking by the gate.
- Worker #1: That’s what she said!
They laugh. Oscar is panting as he finally crests the hill, he glares at the two men but remains calm as he squares up to Worker #1.
- Oscar: I want to speak to your supervisor.
- Worker #1: He’s not here right now, unfortunately. What are you after, perhaps I can help?
- Oscar: I want you to stop building this abomination. Not only is it causing all sorts of chaos in the village I would rather not contract cancer from it - thank you very much!
- Worker #2: Oh yeah he warned us this might happen. Look here’s the paper work, there’s just nothing we can do, sorry.
Worker #2 pulls out a piece of paper from his pocket and hands it to Oscar. Oscar looks it over in disgust.
- Worker #1: Yeah, we’d love to help you but we need to eat too, you know?
Worker one drops his fag butt apparently to stub it out. Oscar flicks out his asp and smashes it against Worker #1’s leg.
- Oscar: Is it not enough that you’re fucking up our scenery with this monstrosity now you have to be littering too!? That is a criminal offence! You as well.
Oscar hits Worker #2’s arm with the asp causing him to drop his fag.
- Oscar: You're nicked!
- (Fade to)
Scene 4: Int. Police Station – night.
Nathan and Female Police Officer are sitting behind the reception desk.
- Female Police Officer: Can I just-
- Nathan: (Interrupting) if you want my opinion, Oscar’s just a bit of a throwback, you know? It’s not you personally he just doesn’t like women.
Female Police Officer opens her mouth about to reply when Oscar enters the station, dragging the two construction workers behind him.
- Oscar: I resent that accusation, woman! I am not a homosexual, I would just rather not waste my time looking after the women in the police force.
Oscar takes the criminals off set.
- Female Police Officer: But-
- Nathan: (Interrupting) See? He’s only got your best interests at heart.
Nathan pats Female Police Officer’s shoulder and smiles, her nostrils flare. Oscar walks back into the room.
- Oscar: Right I need one of you to fill out an arrest report for me.
- Female Police Officer: Yeah I-
- Nathan: (Interrupting) Sure thing, I just need to know what they were arrested for. Well, not me personally, my shift ended five minutes ago. But I’m sure She can fix something for you.
- Oscar: Defilement of the countryside and accessory to the defilement of the countryside.
- Nathan: (As he puts on his coat) Ok, She’ll get that done for you by tomorrow.
- Oscar: Good.
- (Cut to)
Scene 5: Int. Ashfordly Inn – night.
The bar is full of similar looking male farmers and there is a heavy smoke mist hanging in the air. Behind the bar is the only woman, cleaning a glass. Nathan walks up to the bar.
- Nathan: I am ravenous, see that riot earlier? Been on my feet all day!
- Barmaid: Be wanting a pie then, Nathan?
Beside him one of the farmers speaks.
- Farmer #1: Ooor, the lady asked if you wanted a pie.
- Nathan: Yeah, I heard her thanks.
- Farmer #1: (nods) Ooor.
- Nathan: Could you tell her that I do, yeah. With chips?
- Farmer #1: Ooor, the man wants a pie. And he wants it with chips.
- Barmaid: (with a smile) Coming right up.
- Farmer #1: Ooor, she said it would be done soon, ooor.
- Nathan: Thanks.
- Farmer #1: Ooor, he said thanks.
A second farmer’s voice can be heard.
- Farmer #2: …Ooor I used my spare diesel ooor to create a bomb. Ooor, left it at the base of that mast. They’re not gonna be giving us any cancer anytime sooorn.
There is a small cheer from the crowd he's talking to. Nathan cringes and pretends he didn’t hear.
- Nathan: (looking at his watch) after my pie.
- (Fade to)
Scene 6: Ext. Ashfordly Hill (Mast Erection Site) – night.
Nathan reaches the construction site and heads to the bottom of the mast to corroborate Farmer #2’s story. Behind a toolbox he finds a can of diesel with a smouldering rag hanging out of the spout. He reaches for his radio.
- Nathan: This is officer Softwood we have a 10-79, can you get bomb-squad-
He realises he has forgotten his radio.
- Nathan: Oh crumbs!
He looks at the hill.
- Nathan: No way am I doing that again!
- (Cut to)
Scene 7: Int. Police Station – night.
Female Police Officer is doing some paper work while Oscar supervises. From off stage they hear Nathan shouting.
- Nathan: Female Police Officer! Oscar! There’s a bomb! I need back up!
- Female Police Officer: Is th-
- Oscar: (Interrupting) What the fuck does he want now? Honestly is it not possible to get any fucking work done around here?
He gets up and leaves. Female Police Officer follows him, grabbing his jacket on her way.
- (Cut to)
Scene 8: Ext. Ashfordly Hill (Mast Erection Site) – night.
Oscar and Female Police Officer reach the top of the hill. They walk towards Nathan.
- Female Police Officer: …Concerned!
- Oscar: Christ on a fucking crutch, woman! All you ever do is talk and talk and talk – it’s infuriating - I’ve got a good mind to fire you! And if I wanted your concern I’d have fucking married you!
- Nathan: Erm, sir? The bomb…?
- Oscar: Yeah I know where the fucking bomb is, it should have gone of by now, fucking modern timers, Fucking useless farmers! Can’t put any fucking trust in machines! You two stay here.
Oscar walks over to the bomb and picks it up. He looks at it with disdain and then pokes the smouldering cloth into the can a bit further.
The action slows down as the bomb starts to explode. Nathan and Female Police Officer do a run and dive away from the flames. The night sky is lit up. As the action moves back into real time there is a groan of twisting metal as the mast falls over.
Cheers erupt from the village below But they don't yet know the cost of their victory. At the bottom of the hill, soot-covered Nathan and Female Police Officer address the crowd.
- Female Police Officer: (crying) He’s- Oscar, he’s-
She is too choked up to speak further.
- Nathan: He’s-
Oscar appears in silhouette at the top of the hill.
- Oscar: (Interrupting) I’m not fucking dead! Kids today, always jumping to fucking conclusions. Worthless cunts!
- (Fade out)