"Judith Adams and Gaynor Macfarlane: two of the safest pairs of hands in radio" Radio Times Choice
LORD OF THE FLIES
BROADCAST 2013 BBC 4E
EPISODE ONE: FIRE ON THE MOUNTAIN
F/X: A SWEET VOICE SINGING FAR AWAY, AS IN THE HUGE, ECHOING SPACE OF A CATHEDRAL.
FROM THE GROUND
F/X: NIGHT. POV THE VOICE, WE ARE IN THE CENTRE OF A TYPHOON. A PLANE DRONES OVERHEAD, CHASED AND FIRED ON OTHER, SMALLER ONES, UNTIL WE HEAR A SHARP, SPLINTERING METALIC EXPLOSION.
THE VOICE WATCHES THINGS HAPPEN RATHER THAN DESCRIBING THEM.
VOICE Sky pod over the mountain. An orange burst. The pod splits. Silver shards spin down, piercing vines, clawing fruits, flowers, leaves. Sap oozes, sticky. Some seeds roll out – pink – and scream like pigs. Most are inside, burst to pieces. Blood oozes. Sticky.
These can’t grow, now. In the end the great wave comes and carries them, twisting, away: bobbing with the palms and palm-nuts. Flesh-fruit and silver shards churn, plunge, scour, until….
F/X: SIGH OF A HUGE SINGLE WAVE DRAWING BACK.
F/X: THE STORM DROPS.
F/X: DAY: IN THE DAMP FOREST UNDERGROWTH, BIRDS BEGIN TO SING. BEES HUM.
VOICE One seed lies alone. Twitches. Unfolds like a starfish. It has gold hair, just on the head. Inside the head, ghosts. Old ghosts.
F/X: SOFT SOUNDS OF RALPH CRYING IN HIS SLEEP
WOMAN (DREAM, SOFTLY) Ralph?
MAN (DREAM, BRISKLY) Well, Ralph, awake at last, my boy?
RALPH I’m thirsty….
MAN You’ve been dreaming. Fun and games, eh? Nobody killed I hope.
WOMAN You’ll be all right.
MAN Come to the window.
WOMAN See what happened in the night.
RALPH Snow. It’s snowing. The ponies have come to the wall! Can we feed them?
MAN They’re wild things, Ralph. It’s not good to interfere with -
RALPH And get water?
WOMAN Hush, dear. It’s time to listen to your story.
MAN Want to hear the next bit, now?
RALPH What are these snake things – round my legs? Mummy…..I can’t…
MAN Just lie still.
WOMAN We’re dead, dear, just/
SCENE 3 JUNGLE
RALPH WAKES IN TEARS. PIGGY IS AT A DISTANCE, APPROACHING RALPH AND GROWING INCREASINGLY BREATHLESS.
PIGGY (SHOUT) /Hey!
Hey! I see you!
F/X: A HEAVIER BODY IS CRASHING THROUGH THE UNDERGROWTH AND A SINGLE BIRD FLIES UP WITH A WITCH-LIKE, STARTLED SCREECH
Jeez! What…? Wait a minute. Hang on. Can’t move hardly with all these creeper things….
F/X: STRUGGLES FREE
What was that cackling d’you think? Some sort of bird? Sounded like a witch.
Have you seen any others? The pilot-man? The one talking over the speakers, when…
I mean: what happened?
Where are we? You ok? You look -
RALPH An island – I think it’s an island.
RALPH Tried climbing up the hill last night to see. Didn’t get far.
RALPH Too many creeper things. Had to lie down. Sleep.
PIGGY All those kids. Some of them will have made it. We did. I mean – look – we’re not hurt, hardly. Just scratches. Even my glasses aren’t broke. Amazing. (BEAT) Came down low, I s’pose, and the fall….. (NO ANSWER) Scattered about I s’pose. We should -
RALPH Your zip’s undone.
PIGGY Oh. (ZIPPING UP) My guts are bad. Aren’t yours? That fruit stuff – maybe it’s poisonous.
RALPH Haven’t eaten anything. Don’t feel…..
PIGGY What? (BEAT) What don’t you feel?
RALPH Right. In my head.
PIGGY That’ll be the falling and stuff.
F/X: RALPH MOVES AWAY
Where you going?
RALPH The sea. Need some water.
F/X: HE MOVES OFF, QUICKLY. PIGGY TRIES TO KEEP UP.
PIGGY You can’t drink it, you know. Not seawater. Salt makes you more thirsty. Like crisps. They put salt ‘n stuff in them to make you keep eating. Rots your kidneys. Kills you off, seawater.
PIGGY GROANS AND STOPS
Oh, God – (SHOUTS). Hey! Wait! (MUTTERS) That fruit’s…. (GROANS AGAIN, UNZIPS AND LOWERS HIS TROUSERS WITH A GRUNT, SQUATTING) I’ll come in a minute.
SCENE 4 - ON THE BEACH
VOICE The one with gold hair reaches the edge of the beach, where a spring runs across his feet. He scoops. Licks. Drinks. Trickles it over his small skull. Moving out under the sun he shimmers between sand and air, light-boned, like a bird. By the pink edge of the pool, he leans on a palm trunk.
RALPH …so strong…
PIGGY (COMING UP, ZIPPING UP HIS SHORTS) What you sayin’?
RALPH The sun’s so strong.
PIGGY Yeh. If there was no shade, we’d die. Like in the desert. Did you see that spring?
PIGGY Good thing. No fresh water - we’d die of thirst.
RALPH No air - we’d suffocate.
PIGGY Sometimes I do. I have asthma.
PIGGY The tubes in my chest get tight if I run, or – (BEAT) - you know – get upset. (BEAT, then PROUD) And I’ve been wearing glasses since I was three. Special prescription. If I didn’t have specs, I’d be/ (blind)
RALPH /No food - we’d starve. No land - we’d drown. No grown ups - we’d……..
SUDDENLY HE GIVES A WHOOP OF JOY
PIGGY What? Can you see someone?
RALPH No! Imagine! No grown-ups!
PIGGY Must be!
RALPH Might not be. We could – we could -
RALPH Do what we like, then! Anything!