The History Boys: The Film

Alan Bennett; With an Introduction by Nicholas Hytner

Faber and Faber, Inc.

The History Boys: The Film
THE HISTORY BOYS: THE FILM
This shooting script includes some scenesthat were cut from the screenplay in the editing
 
EXT. STREET. DAY.
 
Posner, a seventeen-year-old boy, is cycling towards school, headphones on, listening to some Ivor Novello ('I can give you the moon', say). It is summer, mid-1980s.
 
He stops outside a church, where there is another bike in the porch. He waits.
 
 
INT. CHURCH. DAY.
 
Inside the church Scripps, also seventeen or eighteen, is just taking Communion, the only other communicants a couple of old ladies. Scripps frowning in prayer.
 
 
EXT. CHURCH PORCH. DAY.
 
Posner waiting in the porch as Scripps comes out.
POSNER
Will that do the trick, do you think?
Scripps pulls a face and gets on his bike.
SCRIPPS
We're about to find out.
EXT. SCHOOL. DAY.
 
A large city grammar school in Yorkshire (boys only, ages eleven to eighteen), possibly on the outskirts of the city, with its own playing fields, tennis courts, etc.
 
A milk float waits outside the entrance.
 
Posner and Scripps cycle up as an old car pulls up. Scripps stops by the milk float, which is driven by Lockwood.
SCRIPPS
Let's get it over with.
As they go towards the school buildings Akhtar gets out of the car, which we see has his father and mother and various brothers and sisters in it too.
 
 
INT. CORRIDOR OUTSIDE HEADMASTER'S STUDY. DAY.
 
Various boys (and their parents) standing around, none of them in school uniform. They are all seventeen or eighteen, and they are waiting for their A-level results.
 
Posner, Scripps and Lockwood are joined by the other History Boys - eight of them in all. They are all very bright, with the possible exception of Rudge, who compensates for his inarticulacy by excelling on the rugby pitch. Posner is Jewish, a late developer. Scripps is a budding writer, wry and articulate. Lockwood is loud and good-natured. Joining them are Timms, who is a merciless piss-taker; Akhtar, who is seriously clever, small and bright-eyed; and Crowther -- reserved and easygoing.
 
Fiona comes out of the headmaster's office with the list, which she pins up. She is the Headmaster's secretary, an object of almost universal desire.
 
Some rush but with an attempt at cool. All the Boys are pleased, with Rudge showing it less than the others. Dakin saunters up, the last of the History Boys. He is supremely self-confident, and seems to be intimate with Fiona.
SCRIPPS
Are you not going to look?
 
DAKIN
I got mine last night.
 
He smirks at Fiona.
 
SCRIPPS
 
I bet you did.
 
TIMMS
Jammy sod.
The Headmaster appears as Akhtar goes to tell his family.
HEADMASTER
Lockwood. Why are you dressed as a milkman?
 
LOCKWOOD
Working, sir, for the holidays.
 
HEADMASTER
 
As a milkman?
He looks pained.
After the holidays you will be coming back to try for Oxford and Cambridge. Meanwhile try and do something fitting.
 
POSNER
I'm in a bookshop, sir.
 
HEADMASTER
Good, good.
 
CROWTHER
I'm on the bins, sir.
 
TIMMS
Bouncer, sir.
 
AKHTAR
Lavatory attendant, sir.
 
DAKIN
Gigolo, sir.
The Headmaster winces and retires.
 
Hector has meanwhile come up behind the group at the noticeboard with Mrs Lintott. Hector is the staff-room maverick, fifty-five and portly. He teaches English. Mrs Lintott (Dorothy) is a history teacher, also in her mid-fifties.
HECTOR
Dorothy. Boys, well done! So. We shall be meeting again after all.
 
BOYS
(affecting resignation)
Yes, sir.
HECTOR
At school, you see, Dakin, you don't get parole. Good behaviour just brings a longer sentence. You poor boys.
The Boys disappear down the corridor. Hector looks after them.
'The happiest youth, viewing his progress through What perils past, what crosses to ensue Would shut the book and sit him down and die.'
 
Congratulations, Dorothy. You must be very pleased.
EXT. SCHOOL. DAY.
 
Titles and credits.
 
As the autumn term begins, boys of all ages arrive; teachers get out of their cars; the History Boys, now in uniform, greet each other. Hector roars through the school gates on his motorbike.
 
 
INT. MRS LINTOTT'S CLASSROOM. DAY.
 
The first lesson of the new term. Mrs Lintott and the eight Boys.
MRS LINTOTT
You are entitled, though only for five minutes, Dakin, to feel pleased with yourselves. No one has done as well -- not in English, not in Science, not even dare I say it, in Media Studies. And you alone are up for Oxford and Cambridge. So. To work. First essay this term will be the Church on the eve of the Reformation.
 
TIMMS
Not again, miss.
 
MRS LINTOTT
This is Oxford and Cambridge.You don't just need to know it. You need to know it backwards. Facts, facts, facts.
With a groan, pulling textbooks from their bags, they set to work.
INT. HEADMASTER'S STUDY. DAY.
 
The Headmaster is talking to Mrs Lintott.
HEADMASTER
They're clever but they're crass, and were it Bristol or York I would have no worries. But Oxford and Cambridge. We need a strategy, Dorothy, a game plan.
MRS LINTOTT
They know their stuff.
 
HEADMASTER
But they lack flair. Culture they can get from Hector, and history from you ... but (I'm thinking aloud now) is there something else ...
 
MRS LINTOTT
Properly organised facts are ...
 
HEADMASTER
This is Oxford and Cambridge, Dorothy. Facts are just the beginning.
Fiona has come in.
Think charm. Think polish. Think Renaissance Man. Leave it with me, Dorothy. Leave it with me.
He goes back to his desk and takes out Irwin's application with his photograph from beneath his blotter.
 
A knock at the door.
Come.
Wilkes is in gym shoes, tracksuit bottoms: plainly the PE master.
Wilkes, ah yes. An innovation to the timetable. PE.
 
WILKES
Yes, Headmaster.
 
HEADMASTER
For the Oxbridge set. Surely not, you say. But why not? This is the biggest hurdle of their lives and I want them galvanised.
 
WILKES
Galvanised, yes, Headmaster.
Headmaster leads Wilkes out of the office.
 
 
EXT. SCHOOL. DAY.
HEADMASTER
Holistic ... is that the word I'm groping for? Mind, body, body, mind. An edge to the body, an edge to the mind. Some of them smoke. They deserve to take exercise.
Headmaster jumps on a boy.
Crisps, boy, crisps. This is what we do with crisps.
He leads the boy to a bin, scrunches up the packet and chucks them away. Behind him, we see, emerging from his old car, Irwin, the supply History teacher whose application the Headmaster has earlier inspected. He is twenty five or so.
 
 
INT. HECTOR'S CLASSROOM. DAY.
 
Most of the Boys' lessons will be in History, but now they are with Hector whose assignment is to prepare them for the General Studies paper that all Oxbridge entrants have to take.
HECTOR
On the timetable our esteemed Headmaster gives these periods the dubious title of General Studies. I will let you into a secret, boys. There is no such thing as General Studies. General Studies is a waste of time. Knowledge is not general. It is specific - and - (He lowers his voice.) --it has nothing to do with getting on.
As he talks he walks behind Posner, who looks directly at the camera, which stays with him.
POSNER
(to camera)
This was always Hector's way. He made learning a conspiracy, a plot between us and him. I loved it.
 
RUDGE
(to Posner)
I didn't. What was the fucking point?
 
HECTOR
But remember, open quotation marks, 'All knowledge is precious whether or not it serves the slightest human use,' close quotation marks.
Who said? Lockwood? Crowther? Timms? Akhtar?
Pause
'Loveliest of trees, the cherry now -'
 
AKHTAR
A. E. Housman, sir.
 
TIMMS
Wasn't he a nancy, sir?
 
HECTOR
Foul, festering grubby-minded little trollop. Do not use that word.
He hits him with a book.
TIMMS
 
You use it, sir.
 
HECTOR
I do, sir, I know but I am far gone in age and decrepitude.
 
CROWTHER
You're not supposed to hit us, sir. We could report you, sir.
 
HECTOR
(despair)
I know, I know.
An elaborate pantomime, all this.
DAKIN
Remember, sir, we're scholarship candidates now. We're all going in for Oxford and Cambridge, sir.
HECTOR
Oxford and Cambridge, what for?
 
LOCKWOOD
Old, sir. Tried and tested.
 
HECTOR
No, sir. It's because other boys want to go there. The hot ticket. Standing room only.
 
CROWTHER
(winking)
Where did you go, sir?
 
HECTOR
Sheffield. I was very happy.
 
'Happy is England, sweet her artless daughters. Enough her simple loveliness for me.'
Keats.
 
CROWTHER
We won't be examined on that, will we, sir?
 
HECTOR
Keats?
 
CROWTHER
Happiness.
He hits them.
DAKIN
You're hitting us again, sir.
 
HECTOR
Child, I am your teacher. Whatever I do in this room is a token of my trust.
 
I am in your hands. It is a pact. Bread eaten in secret.
 
'I have put before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.' Oxford and Cambridge!
INT. CORRIDOR OUTSIDE HEADMASTER'S STUDY. DAY.
 
Irwin is waiting outside the study. Scripps is passing by when the Headmaster appears.
HEADMASTER
You are?
 
IRWIN
Irwin.
 
HEADMASTER
Irwin?
 
IRWIN
The supply teacher.
 
HEADMASTER
Quite so.
Scripps has watched this and turns to camera.
SCRIPPS
Hector had said that if I wanted to write I should keep a notebook and there must have been something furtive about Irwin's arrival because I wrote it down. I called it clandestine, a word I'd just learnt and wasn't sure how to pronounce.
INT. HEADMASTER'S STUDY. DAY.
 
Irwin is now sitting with the Headmaster.
HEADMASTER
The examinations are at the end of term, which gives us three months at the outside. Well, you were at Cambridge, you know the form.
 
IRWIN
Oxford, Jesus.
 
HEADMASTER
I thought of going, but this was the fifties. Change was in the air. A spirit of adventure.
IRWIN
So, where did you go?
 
HEADMASTER
I was a geographer. I went to Hull.
An awkward pause.
They are a likely lot, the boys. All keen. One oddity. Rudge. Determined to try for Oxford, and Christ Church of all places. No hope. Might get in at Loughborough in a bad year. Otherwise all bright. But they need finish. Edge. Your job. We are low in the league. I want to see us up there with Manchester Grammar School, Haberdashers' Aske's, Leighton Park. Or is that an open prison? No matter.
Pause.
There is a vacancy in History.
 
IRWIN
That's very true. (thoughtfully)
That's very true.
 
HEADMASTER
In the school.
 
IRWIN
Ah.
 
HEADMASTER
Get me scholarships, Irwin, pull us up the table and it is yours. I am corseted by the curriculum, but I can find you three lessons a week.
 
IRWIN
Not enough.
Headmaster looks at the wall timetable.
HEADMASTER
Ye-es. I think I know where we can filch an hour. You are very young. Grow a moustache. I am thinking classroom control.
INT. HECTOR'S CLASSROOM. DAY.
 
Posner is singing an Edith Piaf song, 'L'Accordioniste', accompanied by Scripps. Hector's disdain for anything like a curriculum is indulged by the Boys. When the song finishes --
HECTOR
Ou voudriez-vous travailler cet après-midi?
Groans.
 
DAKIN
Je voudrais travailler ... dans une maison de passe.
 
HECTOR
Oo la la.
 
Boys -
 
Qu'est-ce que c'est?
 
Qu'est-ce qu'une maison de passe?
 
POSNER
A brothel.
 
HECTOR
Très bien. Mais une maison de passe où tous les clients utilisent le subjonctif, ou le conditionnel, oui?
He motions to Dakin, who goes out of the classroom, and knocks on the door.
POSNER
Entrez, s'il vous plaît.
Voilà votre lit and voici votre prostituée.
Posner indicates Timms.
 
DAKIN
Je veux m'étendre sur le lit.
HECTOR
Je voudrais ... I would like to stretch out on the bed in the conditional or the subjunctive. Continuez, mes enfants.
Dakin makes to lie down on some chairs.
POSNER
Mais les chaussures, monsieur, pas sur le lit.
 
DAKIN
Excusez moi, Mademoiselle.
 
POSNER
Et votre pantalon s'il vous plaît.
Dakin takes off trousers.
Oh. Quelles belles jambes.
Dakin examines his own legs with approval.
Et maintenant ... Claudine.
Timms does a passable impression of Catherine Deneuve.
DAKIN
Oui, la prostituée, s'il vous plaît.
 
CLAUDINE (TIMMS)
A quel prix?
 
DAKIN
Dix francs.
 
CLAUDINE
Pour dix francs je peux vous montrer ma prodigieuse poitrine.
There is a knock at the door.
POSNER
Un autre client.
Posner opens the door. The Boys freeze in horror. Hector is unperturbed.
HECTOR
Ah, cher Monsieur le Directeur --
The Headmaster comes in with Irwin. Dakin stands trouserless in front of them.
HEADMASTER
Mr Hector, what on earth is happening ...
Hector holds up an admonitory finger.
HECTOR
L'anglais, c'est interdit. Ici on ne parle que français, en accordant une importance particulière au subjonctif.
The Headmaster is cornered.
HEADMASTER
Oh, ah.
 
Et qu'est-ce qui se passe ici?
 
Pourquoi cet garçon ... Dakin isn't it? ... est sans ses ... trousers?
HECTOR
Quelqu'un? Ne sois pas timide. Dites à cher Monsieur le Directeur ce que nous faisons.
The Boys are frozen. Hector beams at them.
DAKIN
Je suis un homme qui ...
 
HECTOR
Vous n'êtes pas un homme. Vous êtes un soldat ... un soldat blessé, vous comprenez cher Monsieur le Directeur ... soldat blessé?
 
HEADMASTER
Wounded soldier, of course, yes.
 
HECTOR
Ici c'est un hôpital en Belgique.
 
HEADMASTER
Belgique? Pourquoi Belgique?
 
AKHTAR
Ypres, sir. Ypres. Pendant la Guerre Mondiale Numéro Un.
 
HECTOR
C'est ça. Dakin est un soldat blessé, un mutilé de guerre et les autres sont des médecins, infirmiéres et tout le personnel d'un grand établissement médical et thérapeutique.
 
Continuez, mes enfants.
HEADMASTER
Mais ...
Lockwood begins to moan. The others follow suit. Screams, groans, an over-the-top portrayal of a field hospital.
AKHTAR
Qu'il souffre!
 
HECTOR
Il est distrait.
 
IRWIN
Il est commotionné, peut être?
 
HECTOR
Comment?
 
IRWIN
Commotionné. Shell-shocked.
There is a perceptible moment.
HECTOR
C'est possible. Commotionné. Oui, c'est le mot juste.
 
HEADMASTER
Permettez-moi d'introduire M. Irwin, notre nouveau professeur.
 
HECTOR
Enchanté.
 
HEADMASTER
Enough of this ... silliness. Not silliness, no ... but ... Mr Hector, you are aware that these pupils are Oxbridge candidates.
 
HECTOR
Are they? Are you sure? Nobody has told me.
 
HEADMASTER
Mr Irwin will be coaching them, but it's a question of time. I have found him three lessons a week and I was wondering ...
 
HECTOR
No, Headmaster. (He covers his ears.)
 
HEADMASTER
Purely on a temporary basis. It will be the last time, I promise.
 
HECTOR
Last time was the last time also.
 
HEADMASTER
I am thinking of the boys.
 
HECTOR
I, too. Non. Absolument non. Non. Non. Non. C'est hors de question. Et puis, si vous voulez m'excuser, je dois continuer le leçon. A tout à l'heure.
Headmaster looks at Irwin.
HEADMASTER
Fuck.
They go as the bell goes. Hector picks up helmet.
RUDGE
It's true, though, sir. We don't have much time.
 
AKHTAR
We don't even have to do French.
 
HECTOR
Now, who goes home?
There are no offers.
Surely I can give someone a lift?
 
Who's on pillion duty?
 
Dakin?
 
DAKIN
Not me, sir. Going into town.
 
HECTOR
Crowther?
 
CROWTHER
Off for a run, sir.
 
HECTOR
Akhtar?
 
AKHTAR
Computer club, sir.
 
POSNER
I'll come, sir.
 
HECTOR
No. No. Never mind.
 
SCRIPPS
(resignedly)
I'll come, sir.
 
HECTOR
Ah, Scripps.
 
SCRIPPS
The things I do for Jesus.
Hector and Scripps go.
POSNER
It's never me.
 
LOCKWOOD
You're too young, still.
 
DAKIN
Though it will happen. Now that you have achieved puberty ...
 
LOCKWOOD
If rather late in the day ...
DAKIN
Mr Hector is likely at some point to put his hand on your knee. This is because Mr Hector is a homosexual and a sad fuck. The drill is to look at the hand and say, 'And what does Mr Hector want?' He has no answer to this and so will desist.
EXT. SCHOOL CAR PARK. DAY.
HECTOR (crash-helmeted and on the bike).
Thrutch up.
Scripps, also in helmet and on the pillion, grips Hector tighter. They roar off.
 
 
EXT. STREET. DAY.
 
They pass a woman, who notices something and looks back.
 
 
EXT. ROAD. DAY.
 
The bike cruises along. Scripps' patient, bored face, hands on his helmeted head.
 
 
INT. SCHOOL CORRIDOR. DAY.
 
Mrs Lintott and the Headmaster.
MRS LINTOTT
I just think I should have been told.
 
HEADMASTER
He comes highly recommended.
 
MRS LINTOTT
So did Anne of Cleves.
 
HEADMASTER
Who? He's up-to-the-minute, Dorothy. More now.
 
MRS LINTOTT
Now? I thought history was then.
INT. CANTEEN. DAY.
 
Headmaster approaches Akhtar and Timms as they queue for lunch.
HEADMASTER
Anne of Cleves? Remind me.
 
AKHTAR
Fourth wife of Henry VIII, sir.
 
HEADMASTER
Of course.
 
TIMMS
She was the one they told him was Miss Dish, only when she turned up she had a face like the wrong end of a camel's turd.
 
HEADMASTER
Quite so.
INT. HEADMASTER'S STUDY. DAY.
 
After his rebuff in the French class, the Headmaster is scanning the timetable. Irwin stands waiting.
HEADMASTER
Fiona!
She comes in.
 
 
INT. CHANGING ROOMS. DAY.
 
Class of around twenty-five or so, including the History Boys.
TIMMS
I've brought a note, sir.
 
WILKES
How much for?
 
I don't do notes. Get changed.
 
TIMMS
Sir ...
 
WILKES
God doesn't do notes either. Did Jesus say, 'Can I be excused the crucifixion?'
 
No.
SCRIPPS
Actually, sir, I think he did.
 
WILKES
Change.
INT. GYMNASIUM. DAY.
 
Posner is struggling on the wall-bars.
WILKES
Frame yourself, boy. Oxford and Cambridge won't want a boy that can't hang upside down on the wall-bars.
After some failure to get over the horse or whatever.
You're letting yourself down. You're letting God down.
 
LOCKWOOD
What's God got to do with it?
 
WILKES
Listen, boy. This isn't your body.
 
LOCKWOOD
No?
 
WILKES
This body is on loan to you from God.
 
LOCKWOOD
Fuck me.
 
WILKES
I heard that. Give me five.
 
LOCKWOOD
Five what? Hail Marys?
 
WILKES
Do it.
He is doing them when Irwin's shoes come into shot.
You're late.
 
Get your kit off.
 
IRWIN
I'm on the staff.
 
WILKES
I've never seen you. What's this?
Irwin hands him a note, which he studies.
TIMMS
Do you want any help, sir?
 
AKHTAR
Is it joined-up writing?
Wilkes fumes and then begins to read out the names of the History Boys.
 
 
INT. IRWIN'S CLASSROOM. DAY.
 
Irwin waiting. The Boys struggle in, some still half-dressed.
LOCKWOOD
That was ace, sir.
 
SCRIPPS
Yeah. Great stuff.
 
IRWIN
Don't thank me. Thank the Headmaster, or his secretary. Mrs Lintott has given me a sight of your latest essays. The experience was interesting, the essays not.
Irwin has a pile of the History Boys' essays. He distributes them.
Dull.
 
Dull.
 
Abysmally dull.
 
A triumph ... the dullest of the lot.
 
DAKIN
I got all the points.
 
IRWIN
I didn't say it was wrong. I said it was dull. Its sheer competence was staggering.
DAKIN
Actually, sir, I know tradition requires it of the eccentric schoolmaster, but do you mind not throwing the books? They tend to fall apart.
Irwin regards them for a moment or two in silence.
IRWIN
At the time of the Reformation there were fourteen foreskins of Christ preserved, but it was thought that the church of St John Lateran in Rome had the authentic prepuce.
 
DAKIN
Don't think we're shocked by your mention of the word foreskin, sir.
 
CROWTHER
No, sir. Some of us even have them.
 
LOCKWOOD
Not Posner, though, sir. Posner's like, you know, Jewish.
 
It's one of several things Posner doesn't have.
Posner mouths 'Fuck off.'
That's not racist, though, sir.
 
CROWTHER
Isn't it?
 
LOCKWOOD
It's race-related, but it's not racist.
Another pause while Irwin regards the class.
IRWIN
Has anybody been to Rome? Venice? Florence? Well, the other candidates will have been and done courses on it, most likely, so when they get an essay like this on the Church at the time of the Reformation they will know that some silly nonsense on the foreskins of Christ will come in handy so that their essays, unlike yours, will not be dull. They're not even bad. They're just boring. You haven't got a hope.
 
CROWTHER
So why are we bothering?
 
IRWIN
You tell me. You want it. Your parents want it. Me, I'd go to Newcastle and be happy.
Long pause.
Of course, there is another way.
 
CROWTHER
How?
 
TIMMS
Cheat?
 
IRWIN
Possibly. And Dakin ...?
 
DAKIN
Yes, sir?
 
IRWIN
Don't take the piss.
 
There isn't time.
INT. HISTORY CORRIDOR, LOCKER AREA. DAY.
 
They are leaving school for the day.
TIMMS
What a wanker.
 
DAKIN
They all have to do it, don't they?
 
CROWTHER
Do what?
 
DAKIN
Show you they're still in the game. Foreskins and stuff. Sir, you devil!
 
SCRIPPS
Have a heart. He's only five minutes older than we are.
 
DAKIN
What happened with Hector on the bike?
 
SCRIPPS
As per. (He demonstrates.) I think he thought he'd got me going. In fact it was my Tudor Economic Documents, Volume Two.
They stop talking as Posner comes up.
POSNER (to camera)
Because I was late growing up I am not included in this kind of conversation. I'm not that sort of boy. That's probably why I'm clever.
INT. SCHOOL LIBRARY. DAY.
 
 
A montage, to music, of all the Boys feverishly studying, taking books from the shelves, books particularly about the First World War.
 
 
EXT. PLAYING FIELDS. DAY.
 
Rudge teeing up a rugger ball then addressing the camera before kicking a perfect goal.
RUDGE
Nobody thinks I have a hope in this exam. Well, fuck 'em.
EXT. SCHOOL GROUNDS. DAY.
 
Irwin and his class are sitting outside in the sun.
IRWIN
So, let's summarise. The First World War. What points do we make?
 
CROWTHER
Trench warfare.
 
LOCKWOOD
Mountains of dead.
 
POSNER
On both sides.
 
DAKIN
Generals stupid.
 
POSNER
On both sides.
 
AKHTAR
Armistice. Germany humiliated.
 
IRWIN
Keep it coming.
 
CROWTHER
Mass unemployment.
 
AKHTAR
Inflation.
 
TIMMS
Collapse of the Weimar Republic. Internal disorder and the rise of Hitler.
 
IRWIN
So. Our overall conclusion is that the origins of the Second War lie in the unsatisfactory outcome of the First.
 
TIMMS
Yes. (Doubtfully.) Yes. (As they make to leave.)
Others nod.
IRWIN
First class. Bristol welcomes you with open arms. Manchester longs to have you. You can walk into Leeds. But I am a fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford and I have just read seventy papers all saying the same thing and I am asleep ...
 
SCRIPPS
But it's all true.
 
IRWIN
What's truth got to do with it?
What's truth got to do with anything?
INT. MRS LINTOTT'S CLASSROOM. DAY.
 
Hector and Mrs Lintott are watching Irwin and his class from a window.
MRS LINTOTT
The new man seems clever.
 
HECTOR
He does. Depressingly so.
 
MRS LINTOTT
Men are at history, of course.
 
HECTOR
Why history particularly?
 
MRS LINTOTT
Storytelling, so much of it, which is what men do naturally.
 
HECTOR
Dakin's a good-looking boy, though somehow sad.
 
MRS LINTOTT
You always think they're sad, Hector, every, every time. Actually, I wouldn't have said he was sad. I would have said he was cunt-struck.
 
HECTOR
Dorothy.
 
MRS LINTOTT
I'd have thought you'd have liked that. It's a compound adjective. You like compound adjectives.
 
Oh. Going walkabout.
Irwin and his class have taken off and he is leading them out of the school.
EXT. MUNICIPAL PARK/WAR MEMORIAL. DAY.
 
They are walking through a municipal park.
IRWIN
The truth was, in 1914 Germany does now want war. Yes, there is an arms race, but it is Britain who is leading it. (He stops.) Why does no one admit this?
They turn the corner and see the war memorial.
That's why. The dead. The body count. We don't like to admit the war was even partly our fault because so many of our people died. And all the mourning has veiled the truth. It's not lest we forget, but lest we remember. That's what this is about ... the memorials, the Cenotaph, the Two Minutes' Silence. Because there's no better way of forgetting something than by commemorating it.
He turns to Scripps.
And as for the truth, Scripps, which you were worrying about, forget it. In an examination, truth is not at issue.
 
DAKIN
Do you really believe that, sir, or are you just trying to make us think?
 
SCRIPPS
You can't explain away the poetry, sir.
 
LOCKWOOD
No, sir. Art wins in the end.
 
SCRIPPS
What about this, sir?
 
'Those long uneven lines Standing as patiently As if they were stretched outside The Oval or Villa Park, The crowns of hats, the sun On moustached archaic faces Grinning as if it were all An August Bank Holiday lark ...
The others take up the lines of Larkin's poem, maybe saying a couple of lines each through to the end, as they go -- but matter of factly.
LOCKWOOD
'Never such innocence, Never before or since, As changed itself to past Without a word -
 
AKHTAR
'-- the men
Leaving the gardens tidy,
 
POSNER
'The thousands of marriages Lasting a little while longer:
 
TIMMS
'Never such innocence again.'
 
IRWIN
How come you know all this by heart? (Baffled, shouts.) Not that it answers the question.
EXT. BUS STOP. DAY.
 
Scripps, Posner and Dakin are waiting for a bus.
SCRIPPS
So much for our glorious dead.
 
DAKIN
Quite. Actually, Fiona's my Western Front. Last night, for instance, I thought it might be the big push so, encountering only token resistance, I reconnoitred the ground as far as the actual place.
 
SCRIPPS
Shit.
 
DAKIN
I mean, not onto it and certainly not into it. But up to it.
Cut to:
 
INT. A BEDROOM. NIGHT.
 
Dakin and Fiona snogging, Dakin rummaging.
DAKIN
(voice-over)
The beauty of it is, the metaphor really fits. I mean, moving up to the front you presumably had to pass the sites of previous battles, like her tits, which actually only surrendered about three weeks ago, but to which I now have immediate access and which were indeed the start line for a determined thrust southwards.
 
What's the matter?
 
FIONA
(signifying it's over)
No man's land.
 
DAKIN
Aw, fuck. So what do I do with this?
 
FIONA
(sweetly)
Carry out a controlled explosion?
Cut to:
 
INT./EXT. BUS. DAY.
 
Scripps, Posner and Dakin are on the top deck of the bus home.
DAKIN
Still, at least I'm doing better than Felix.
 
POSNER
Felix?
 
SCRIPPS
No!
 
DAKIN
Tries to.
 
POSNER
Actually, the metaphor isn't exact. Because what Fiona is presumably carrying out is a planned withdrawal. You're not forcing her. She's not being overwhelmed by superior forces. Does she like you?
 
DAKIN
Course she likes me.
 
POSNER
Then you're not disputing the territory. You're just negotiating over the pace of the occupation.
 
SCRIPPS
Just let us know when you get to Berlin.
 
DAKIN
I'm beginning to like him more.
 
POSNER
Who? Me?
 
DAKIN
Irwin. Though he hates me.
Dakin gets off the bus.
SCRIPPS
Cheer up. At least he speaks to you. Most guys wouldn't even speak to you. Love can be very irritating.
 
POSNER
How do you know?
 
SCRIPPS
It's what I always think about God. He must get so pissed off, everybody adoring him all the time.
 
POSNER
Yes, only you don't catch God poncing about in his underpants.
Posner looks out of the window: Dakin is walking up the street with Fiona. Posner looks miserably after them, as, in voice-over, he sings the first verse of Rodgers and Hart's 'Bewitched'.
INT. HECTOR'S CLASSROOM. DAY.
 
Posner, accompanied by Scripps, is singing 'Bewitched' to Dakin. General discontent at the music and at the waste of time.
HECTOR
Well done, Posner. Anybody know who it's by?
 
CROWTHER
Who cares?
 
POSNER
Rodgers and Hart, sir.
 
HECTOR
And sung best by?
 
CROWTHER
Oh, for Christ's sake.
 
POSNER
Ella Fitzgerald.
 
HECTOR
That was the lyric. Now for poetry of a more traditional sort.
Timms groans.
What is this?
 
TIMMS
Sir. I don't always understand poetry.
 
HECTOR
You don't always understand it? Timms, I never understand it. But learn it now, know it now and you'll understand it whenever.
 
TIMMS
I don't see how we can understand it. Most of the stuff poetry's about hasn't happened to us yet.
 
HECTOR
But it will, Timms. It will. And then you will have the antidote ready! Grief. Happiness. Even when you're dying. Smile! We're making your deathbeds here, boys.
 
LOCKWOOD
Fucking Ada!
 
TIMMS
But we've got an ending, sir.
 
HECTOR
Really? Well, be sharp! Fetch the tin.
General relief. Someone takes a large tin down from a shelf. Timms and Lockwood are at the front of the class.
TIMMS
We have to smoke, sir.
 
LOCKWOOD
I happen to have one, sir.
 
HECTOR
Very well.
Timms and Lockwood suddenly snap into an elaborate charade, both making startlingly effective jobs of assuming the voices and postures of the actors from Hollywood's golden age (another of Hector's enthusiasms).
TIMMS
Gerry, please help me.
 
LOCKWOOD
Shall we just have a cigarette on it?
 
TIMMS
Yes.
 
LOCKWOOD
May I sometimes come here?
 
TIMMS
Whenever you like. It's your home, too. There are people here who love you.
 
LOCKWOOD
And will you be happy, Charlotte?
 
TIMMS
Oh Gerry. Don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars.
Hector pretends puzzlement, looks in the tin to count the kitty. It's clear what the game is: if he can't identify the movie, the kitty goes to the Boys.
HECTOR
Could it be Paul Henreid and Bette Davis in Now, Voyager?
 
TIMMS
Aw, sir.
 
HECTOR
It's famous, you ignorant little tarts.
 
LOCKWOOD
We'd never heard of it, sir.
 
HECTOR
Walt Whitman. Leaves of Grass.
 
'The untold want, by life and land ne'er granted, Now, Voyager, sail thou forth, to seek and find.'
 
Fifty p. Pay up.
 
LOCKWOOD
Shit.
Lockwood and Timms pay up.
 
 
INT. SCHOOL LIBRARY. DAY.
 
Rudge is looking through the books on film. Mrs Lintott appears behind him.
RUDGE
There's nothing on the Carry On films.
 
MRS LINTOTT
Why should there be?
 
RUDGE
The exam. Mr Irwin said the Carry Ons would be good films to talk about.
 
MRS LINTOTT
Really? How peculiar. Does he like them, do you think?
 
RUDGE
Probably not, miss. You never know with him.
 
MRS LINTOTT
I'm now wondering if there's something there that I've missed.
 
RUDGE
Mr Irwin says that, 'While they have no intrinsic artistic merit -- (He is reading from his notes.) -- they achieve some of the permanence of art simply by persisting and acquire an incremental significance if only as social history.'
 
MRS LINTOTT
Dear me. What fun you must all have.
 
RUDGE
It's not like your stuff, miss, it's cutting-edge. It really is.
 
MRS LINTOTT
Can I say something to you?
 
RUDGE
Miss?
 
MRS LINTOTT
Other people have lives. That's what education is about.
 
RUDGE
If you say so, miss.
INT. HISTORY CORRIDOR. DAY.
 
The Boys and Irwin are heading for the classroom.
TIMMS
Where do you live, sir?
 
IRWIN
Horsforth.
 
DAKIN
Oh. Not far from Mr Hector, sir. He might even give you a lift if you asked him.
 
TIMMS
It's not a loft, is it, sir?
 
AKHTAR
Do you exist on an unhealthy diet of takeaway food, sir, or do you whisk up gourmet meals for one?
 
TIMMS
Or is it a lonely pizza, sir?
INT. IRWIN'S CLASSROOM. DAY.
IRWIN
I manage. No questions from you, Dakin?
 
DAKIN
What they want to know, sir, is 'Do you have a life?' Or are we it?
 
Are we your life?
 
IRWIN
Pretty dismal if you are. Because these are as - (Giving out books.) -- dreary as ever. You get a question, you know the answer - but so does everyone else. So say something different, say the opposite. Take Stalin. Generally agreed to be a monster, and rightly. So dissent. Find something, anything, to say in his defence.
 
SCRIPPS (to camera)
When Irwin became well-known as a TV historian this was his technique ... find an assumption, then turn it on its head. Those who were caught napping at Pearl Harbour were the Japanese, the real culprit was President Roosevelt. Find a proposition, invert it, then look round for proof ... the technique was as formal as the disciplines of the medieval schoolmen.
 
IRWIN
A question is about what you know, not about what you don't know. A question about Rembrandt, for instance, might prompt an answer about Degas.
 
RUDGE
Is Degas an Old Master, sir?
 
TIMMS
About suffering, they were never wrong, sir. The Old Masters. How it takes place while someone is eating or opening a window.
 
IRWIN
Have you done that with Mr Hector?
 
TIMMS
Done what, sir?
 
IRWIN
The poem. You were quoting somebody. Auden.
 
TIMMS
Was I, sir? Sometimes it just flows out. Brims over.
 
IRWIN
Why does he lock the door?
They turn to each other in mock surprise.
AKHTAR
Lock the door? Does he lock the door?
 
IRWIN
Does he have a programme? Or is it just at random?
 
AKHTAR
It's just knowledge, sir.
 
TIMMS
The pursuit of it for its own sake, sir.
 
AKHTAR
Breaking bread with the dead, sir. That's what we do.
 
LOCKWOOD
It's higher than your stuff, sir. Nobler.
 
POSNER
Only not useful, sir. Mr Hector's not as focused.
 
TIMMS
No, not focused at all, sir. Blurred, sir, more.
 
AKHTAR
You're much more focused, sir.
 
CROWTHER
And we know what we're doing with you, sir. Half the time with him we don't know what we're doing at all. (He mimes being mystified.)
 
TIMMS
We're poor little sheep that have lost our way, sir. Where are we?
 
AKHTAR
You're very young, sir. This isn't your gap year, is it, sir?
 
IRWIN
I wish it was.
 
LOCKWOOD
Why, sir? Do you not like teaching us, sir? We're not just a hiccup between the end of university and the beginning of life, like Auden, are we, sir?
Dakin has been silent till now. He suddenly joins in.
DAKIN
Do you like Auden's poetry, sir?
 
IRWIN
Some.
 
DAKIN
Mr Hector does. We know about Auden. He was a schoolmaster for a bit.
 
IRWIN
I believe he was, yes.
 
DAKIN
He was. Do you think he was more like you or more like Mr Hector?
 
IRWIN
I've no idea. Why should he be like either of us?
 
DAKIN
I think he was more like Mr Hector.
 
A bit of a shambles. He snogged his pupils. Auden, sir. Not Mr Hector.
 
IRWIN
You know more about him than I do.
 
DAKIN
'Lay your sleeping head, my love, Human on my faithless arm.'
That was a pupil, sir. Shocking, isn't it?
 
IRWIN
So you could answer a question on Auden, then?
 
VARIOUS BOYS
How, sir?
 
No, sir.
 
That's in the exam, sir.
 
TIMMS
Mr Hector's stuff's not meant for the exam, sir. It's to make us more rounded human beings.
 
IRWIN
Listen. Don't piss on your chips. This examination will be about everything and anything you know and are. If there's a question about Auden or whoever and you know about it, you must answer it.
 
AKHTAR
We couldn't do that, sir.
 
That would be a betrayal of trust.
 
LOCKWOOD
Is nothing sacred, sir?
 
We're shocked.
 
POSNER
I would. Sir. And they would. They're taking the piss.
 
LOCKWOOD
'England, you have been here too long And the songs you sing are the songs you sung On a braver day. Now they are wrong.'
 
IRWIN
Who's that?
 
LOCKWOOD
Don't you know, sir?
 
IRWIN
No.
 
LOCKWOOD
Sir! It's Stevie Smith, sir. Of 'Not Waving but Drowning' fame.
 
IRWIN
Well, don't tell me that is useless knowledge. You get an essay on post-imperial decline, losing an empire and finding a role, all that stuff, and a gobbet like that is the perfect way to end it.
 
LOCKWOOD
A what, sir?
 
IRWIN
A gobbet, a quotation. How much more stuff like that have you got up your sleeves?
 
LOCKWOOD
We've got all sorts, sir. The train! The train!
And immediately Posner and Scripps are on their feet. Posner is an uncannily accurate Celia Johnson, Scripps a tight-lipped Cyril Raymond. Scripps even manages to play Rachmaninov to accompany the first part of the scene.
POSNER (CELIA JOHNSON)
I really meant to do it. I stood there right on the edge. But I couldn't. I wasn't brave enough. I would like to be able to say it was the thought of you and the children that prevented me but it wasn't.
I had no thoughts at all.
 
Only an overwhelming desire not to feel anything at all ever again.
 
Not to be unhappy any more.
 
I went back into the refreshment room. That's when I nearly fainted.
 
IRWIN
What is all this?
 
SCRIPPS (CYRIL RAYMOND)
Laura.
 
POSNER (CELIA JOHNSON)
Yes, dear.
 
SCRIPPS (CYRIL RAYMOND)
Whatever your dream was, it wasn't a very happy one, was it?
 
POSNER (CELIA JOHNSON)
No.
 
SCRIPPS (CYRIL RAYMOND)
Is there anything I can do to help?
 
POSNER (CELIA JOHNSON)
You always help, dear.
 
SCRIPPS (CYRIL RAYMOND)
You've been a long way away.
Thank you for coming back to me.
She cries and he embraces her.
IRWIN
God knows why you've learned Brief Encounter.
The Boys applaud fulsomely.
BOYS
Oh very good, sir. Full marks sir.
 
IRWIN
But I think you ought to know this lesson has been a complete waste of time.
 
DAKIN
Like Mr Hector's lessons then, sir. They're a waste of time, too.
 
IRWIN
Yes, you little smartarse, but he's not trying to get you through an exam.
INT. STAFF ROOM. DAY.
 
Hector, who has been sitting reading a racing paper, gets up to leave and on his way whispers to Wilkes, who is pinning up a NO SMOKING notice.
HECTOR
French Kiss?
 
WILKES
I beg your pardon?
 
HECTOR
Three o'clock at Chepstow.
Hector leaves. Mrs Lintott and Irwin are at the tea trolley.
MRS LINTOTT
How're you finding them?
Irwin shrugs.
IRWIN
You've taught them too well. They can't see it's a game.
 
MRS LINTOTT
History? Is it a game?
 
IRWIN
For an exam like this, yes.
She is lighting up.
WILKES
Dorothy.
He indicates the notice.
MRS LINTOTT
Fuck.
She and Irwin leave, passing the Headmaster as they are going out.
 
 
INT. CORRIDOR. DAY.
 
They are on their way out.
MRS LINTOTT
(of the Headmaster)
I call him the Awful Warning. If you don't watch out he's what you turn into. If this were a film in the forties he'd be played by Raymond Huntley.
 
IRWIN
Who?
 
MRS LINTOTT
He made a speciality of sour-faced judges and vinegary schoolmasters.
 
IRWIN
Who would I be played by?
 
MRS LINTOTT
Dirk Bogarde?
IRWIN
I'm not sure I like that.
As they turn the corner, Hector comes down the corridor. Mrs Bibby, the art teacher, stops him.
MRS BIBBY
Hector: the very man!
 
HECTOR
Oh, stink. Hello, Hazel.
 
MRS BIBBY
Our lord and master having grudgingly conceded that art may have its uses, I gather I am supposed to give your Oxford and Cambridge boys a smattering of art history.
 
HECTOR
Not my bag, Hazel. Irwin's your man.
 
IRWIN
(heading off)
It's really just the icing on the cake.
 
MRS BIBBY
Was art ever anything else?
She hurries away down the corridor.
 
 
INT. ART ROOM. DAY.
 
The Boys are examining art books. Mrs Bibby sees Timms with Michelangelo.
MRS BIBBY
Michelangelo. We-ell. I suppose.
 
TIMMS
(to Akhtar)
Who've you got?
Akhtar shows him Caravaggio.
Both nancies.
 
AKHTAR
Are they?
 
TIMMS
Well, these aren't women.
He shows him the Michelangelo.
They're just men with tits. And the tits look as if they've been put on with an ice-cream scoop.
Back at the tables Mrs Bibby is with Lockwood.
MRS BIBBY
Do you like Turner, then?
 
LOCKWOOD
They're all right.
 
MRS BIBBY
Well, choose somebody you do like. Art is meant to be enjoyed.
 
LOCKWOOD
In the long term, miss, maybe. But with us, enjoyment doesn't come into it. We haven't got time to read the books. We haven't got time to look at the pictures. What we really want is lessons in acting, because that's what this whole scholarship thing is ... an acting job.
All the Boys are gone. Mrs Bibby is talking to herself pretty much, as she shelves some books.
MRS BIBBY
The best way to teach art would be to ban it. Put it out of bounds. That way they'd be sneaking in here all the time. Art is furtive, unofficial; it's something on the side.
She puts a bowl of hyacinths back on the table.
The mistake is to put it on the syllabus. Yes, Hazel, thank you very much.
EXT. SCHOOL GROUNDS. DAY.
 
Mrs Lintott and Irwin outside, smoking at last.
MRS LINTOTT
So have the boys given you a nickname?
 
IRWIN
Not that I'm aware of.
 
MRS LINTOTT
A nickname is an achievement ... both in the sense of something won and also in its armorial sense of a badge, a blazon. Unsurprisingly I am Tot or Totty. Some irony there, one feels.
 
IRWIN
Hector has no nickname.
 
MRS LINTOTT
Yes he has. Hector.
 
IRWIN
But he's called Hector.
 
MRS LINTOTT
And that's his nickname too. He isn't called Hector. His name's Douglas, though the only person I've ever heard address him as such is his somewhat unexpected wife.
In the distance, Dakin and Scripps are out for a run. Irwin is reminded of something.
IRWIN
Posner came to see me yesterday. He has a problem.
 
MRS LINTOTT
No nickname, but at least you get their problems. I seldom do.
INT. IRWIN'S CLASSROOM. DAY.
 
Posner and Irwin are alone in the classroom.
POSNER
Sir, I think I may be homosexual.
EXT. SCHOOL GROUNDS. DAY.
IRWIN
'Posner,' I wanted to say, 'you are not yet in a position to be anything.'
 
MRS LINTOTT
You're young, of course. I never had that advantage.
INT. IRWIN'S CLASSROOM. DAY.
POSNER
I love Dakin.
 
IRWIN
Does Dakin know?
 
POSNER
Yes. He doesn't think it's surprising. Though Dakin likes girls basically.
EXT. SCHOOL GROUNDS. DAY.
IRWIN
I sympathised, though not so much as to suggest I might be in the same boat.
 
MRS LINTOTT
With Dakin?
 
IRWIN
With anybody.
Maybe Irwin has been looking at Dakin, still running with Scripps.
MRS LINTOTT
That's sensible. One of the hardest things for boys to learn is that a teacher is human. One of the hardest things for a teacher to learn is not to try and tell them.
INT. IRWIN'S CLASSROOM. DAY.
POSNER
Is it a phase, sir?
 
IRWIN
Do you think it's a phase?
 
POSNER
Some of the literature says it will pass.
 
IRWIN
(voice-over)
I wanted to say that the literature may say that, but that literature doesn't.
 
POSNER
I'm not sure I want it to pass.
 
But I want to get into Cambridge, sir. If I do, Dakin might love me.
 
Or I might stop caring. Do you look at your life, sir?
 
IRWIN
I thought everyone did.
 
POSNER
I'm a Jew.
 
I'm small.
 
I'm homosexual.
 
And I live in Sheffield.
 
I'm fucked.
EXT. SCHOOL GROUNDS. DAY.
MRS LINTOTT
Did you let that go?
 
IRWIN
'Fucked'?Yes, I did, I'm afraid.
 
MRS LINTOTT
It's a test. A way of finding out if you've ceased to be a teacher and become a friend. He's a bright boy. You'll see. Next time he'll go further. What else did you talk about?
 
IRWIN
Nothing. No. Nothing.
She goes back inside.
 
 
INT. IRWIN'S CLASSROOM. DAY.
IRWIN
Posner? Why didn't you ask Mr Hector about Dakin?
Pause.
POSNER
I wanted advice, sir. Mr Hector would just have given me a quotation. Housman, sir, probably. Literature is medicine, wisdom, elastoplast. Everything. It isn't, though, is it, sir?
 
IRWIN
It will pass.
 
POSNER
Will it, sir? How do you know?
EXT. SCHOOL GROUNDS. DAY.
 
Dakin and Scripps finish their run. Dakin waves at Irwin. Irwin goes.
 
 
INT. CHANGING ROOMS. DAY.
 
They are changing.
DAKIN
So all this religion, what do you do?
 
SCRIPPS
Go to church. Pray.
 
DAKIN
Yes?
 
SCRIPPS
It's so time-consuming. You've no idea.
 
DAKIN
What else?
 
SCRIPPS
It's what you don't do.
 
DAKIN
You don't not wank? Jesus. You're headed for the bin.
 
SCRIPPS
It's not for ever.
 
DAKIN
Yeah? Just tell me on the big day and I'll stand well back.
INT. CHANGING ROOMS. DAY - A LITTLE LATER.
 
Dakin is fixing his hair, or whatever.
DAKIN
What bothers me, though, is the more you read the more you see that literature is about losers.
SCRIPPS
No.
 
DAKIN
It is. Consolation. All literature is consolation.
 
I don't care what Hector says, I find literature really lowering.
 
SCRIPPS
This is Irwin, isn't it? A line of stuff for the exam.
 
DAKIN
No.
As they make to leave, he takes a book from his sports bag.
Actually it isn't wholly my idea.
 
I've been reading this book by Kneeshaw.
 
SCRIPPS
Who?
 
DAKIN
(shows him book)
Kneeshaw. He's a philosopher. Frederick Kneeshaw.
 
SCRIPPS
I think that's pronounced Nietzsche.
 
DAKIN
Shit. Shit. Shit.
INT. CORRIDOR OUTSIDE HEADMASTER'S STUDY. DAY.
 
Dakin still furious as they pass Fiona.
SCRIPPS
What's the matter?
 
DAKIN
I talked to Irwin about it. He didn't correct me. He let me call him Kneeshaw. He'll think I'm a right fool. Shit.
 
FIONA
What have I done?
 
DAKIN
Nothing. You have done nothing. The world doesn't revolve around you, you know.
Dakin goes angrily into the classroom, as Irwin turns the corner, bumping into the Headmaster.
HEADMASTER
How are our young men doing? Are they 'on stream'?
 
IRWIN
I think so.
 
HEADMASTER
You think so? Are they or aren't they?
 
IRWIN
It must always be something of a lottery.
 
HEADMASTER
A lottery? I don't like the sound of that. Irwin. I don't want you to fuck up. We have been down that road too many times before.
EXT. ROAD NEAR THE SCHOOL. DAY.
 
Hector and Dakin on the motorbike, Hector with his hand behind him. A Lollipop Lady steps out and stops the traffic. Hector stops the bike (with both hands) but then attempts to rest his hand back on Dakin's bored crotch. Hector never gets very far, and none of the Boys who accept lifts from him seem remotely bothered by his helpless fumbling on their thighs.
 
The Lollipop Lady, ferrying children across the road, sees this.
 
Coming back across the road she has a second look. Hector's hand is still where it was.
 
Dakin taps Hector on the shoulder, indicating he can go. Hector zooms off, the Lollipop Lady looking at the number plate.
 
 
EXT. SCHOOL. DAY.
 
A minibus waiting. Irwin counting the class in.
 
Mrs Lintott comes out and gets in.
MRS LINTOTT
He's coming.
Cut to:
 
INT. CORRIDOR OUTSIDE HEADMASTER'S STUDY. DAY.
 
Hector with his picnic basket, hurrying along the corridor past the Headmaster's study door.
 
There is a lollipop sign leaning against the wall by the study door.
 
 
EXT. SCHOOL. DAY.
 
Hector gets in a minibus with Irwin, Mrs Lintott and the Boys. It leaves the school.
 
 
EXT. RUINS OF FOUNTAINS ABBEY. DAY.
 
Minibus parked. Irwin with some Boys striding through. Hector and Mrs Lintott idly strolling about.
IRWIN
They took the lead off the roofs, used the timbers to melt it down and time did the rest. All thanks to Henry VIII. If you want to learn about Stalin, study Henry VIII. If you want to learn about Mrs Thatcher, study Henry VIII. If you want to learn about Hollywood, study Henry VIII.
 
HECTOR
While you and Dorothy are taking them through the history, I'll pitch camp here.
He settles down.
Though, Irwin, I am available in a consultative capacity for the provision of useful quotations. 'Gobbets -- (He bows to Irwin.) -- on request.' 'Bare ruin'd choirs where late the sweet birds sang.'
Irwin and the Boys go on as Hector shouts after them.
Remember, boys. Festoon your answers with 'gobbets' and you won't go far wrong.
IRWIN
(to the Boys and a bored Mrs Lintott)
Actually, singing was the least of it. The monks were farmers,clothiers, tanners, tailors. They mined for lead. They were captains of industry.
EXT. RUINS OF ABBEY. A DITCH. DAY.
TIMMS
This was the shithouse.
 
IRWIN
No, Timms, up there was the shithouse. This was the drain.
 
CROWTHER
They sat up there and the stuff dropped down here?
 
TIMMS
Bit draughty on the bum, sir.
 
AKHTAR
This wasn't a thoroughfare was it, sir?
 
IRWIN
Cistercian abbeys all over Europe were built on much the same plan.
EXT. RUINS OF ABBEY. DAY.
 
Lockwood and Timms smoking somewhere. Hector is asleep under the Sporting Life.
 
 
EXT. RUINS OF ABBEY. CLOISTERS. DAY.
 
Irwin and Dakin observed by Posner and Scripps.
IRWIN
This was where they socialised.
 
DAKIN
Yes?
 
IRWIN
Sat in the sun and read. This - (He indicates an alcove.) -- was where they kept the library.
 
DAKIN
You know it all, don't you?
 
IRWIN
(apologetically)
It interests me.
 
DAKIN
No, that's good.
It's as if he's the master and Irwin the pupil.
 
 
EXT. ABBEY CHANCEL. DAY.
 
Crowther break-dancing on the altar. Hector and Mrs Lintott settle down for their lunch, with a bottle of wine.
 
 
EXT. ELSEWHERE IN THE ABBEY. DAY.
TIMMS
All-male community, was it, sir?
 
IRWIN
Of course. They were monks.
 
TIMMS
Bit of that, you think?
 
IRWIN
What?
 
TIMMS
Same-sex stuff?
 
AKHTAR
You've blushed, sir.
 
IRWIN
Have I fuck blushed.
 
CROWTHER
Sir. This is consecrated ground.
 
AKHTAR
Not to me, sir. To me, it's a pagan temple. Only you did blush a bit, sir.
 
LOCKWOOD
Is that why Henry VIII put the boot in, sir? Because of them bunking up?
 
IRWIN
He said.
 
LOCKWOOD
Not much else for them to do, was there, sir? I mean in their time off.
 
POSNER
Pray.
 
LOCKWOOD
Posner would make a good monk, except he's Jewish.
CROWTHER
Do Jews have monks?
POSNER
Yes, I'm one now.
Hector and Mrs Lintott clink glasses as Irwin and the class arrive.
 
AKHTAR
That looks good, sir.
HECTOR
It is. It is.
EXT. ABBEY. HIGH ALTAR. DAY.
 
Akhtar arranges them into a group for a photograph.
HECTOR
 
(going towards the high altar)
Pass the parcel. That's sometimes all you can do. Take it, feel it and pass it on.
Shouts of 'Come on, sir!'
Not for me. Not for you. But for someone, somewhere, one day.
He rejoins the group for the picture.
Pass it on, boys. That's the game I want you to learn. Pass it on.
Akhtar presses the time-delay button and joins the group. A very happy picture.
 
 
EXT. SCHOOL. DAY.
 
The minibus arrives back at the school. They all get out.
 
 
INT. CORRIDOR OUTSIDE HEADMASTER'S STUDY. DAY.
 
Hector and Mrs Lintott trundling rather wearily, possibly with some of the Boys, past the door of the Headmaster's study.
Door opens.
 
HEADMASTER
Hector. A word.
Hector pulls a face at Mrs Lintott and, if Dakin is there, we maybe see Fiona hovering in the doorway of the office.
 
 
INT. HEADMASTER'S STUDY. DAY.
 
Hector sitting impassively.
HEADMASTER
This is not the first time, apparently, but on this occasion she managed to make a note of the number. For the moment I propose to say nothing about this but fortunately it is not long before you are due to retire. In the circumstances I propose we bring that forward. I think we should be looking at the end of term. Have you nothing to say?
HECTOR
'Then 'twas the Roman; now 'tis I.'
HEADMASTER
This is no time for poetry. I am assuming your wife doesn't know.
HECTOR
I have no idea. What women know or don't know has always been a mystery to me.
HEADMASTER
And are you going to tell her?
HECTOR
I don't know. I'm not sure she'd be interested.
HEADMASTER
Well, there's another thing. Strange how even the most tragic turn of events generally resolve themselves into questions about the timetable. Irwin has been badgering me for more lessons. In the circumstances a concession might be in order. In the future, I think you and he might share.
HECTOR
Share?
HEADMASTER
Share. In the meantime you must consider your position. I do not want to sack you. People talk and it's so untidy. It would be easier for all concerned if you retired early.
Hector is going.
HECTOR
Nothing happened.
HEADMASTER
A hand on a boy's genitals at fifty miles an hour and you call it nothing.
HECTOR
The transmission of knowledge is in itself an erotic act. In the Renaissance ...
HEADMASTER
Fuck the Renaissance. And fuck literature and Plato and Michelangelo and Oscar Wilde and all the other shrunken violets you people line up. This is a school and it isn't normal.
INT. SCHOOL CORRIDOR. DAY.
 
Hector wanders through the school.
 
INT. HECTOR'S CLASSROOM. DAY.
 
Posner waiting in a classroom. Hector pushes the door open.
HECTOR
Still here?
POSNER
It is Wednesday, sir.
HECTOR
Yes, but I thought with the trip to Fountains for the day ...
POSNER
It's only half past four.
HECTOR
In which case, where is Dakin?
POSNER
With Mr Irwin, sir.
HECTOR
Of course he is.
POSNER
He's showing him some old exam questions.
HECTOR
With the appropriate gobbets, no doubt. No matter. We must carry on the fight without him. What have we learned this week?
POSNER
'Drummer Hodge', sir. Hardy.
HECTOR
Oh. Nice.
Posner says the poem off by heart. At first, Hector's heart doesn't seem to be in listening to it, but Posner draws him in.
POSNER
'They throw in Drummer Hodge, to rest Uncoffined -- just as found: His landmark is the kopje crest That breaks the veldt around; And foreign constellations west Each night above his mound.
 
'Young Hodge the Drummer never knew - Fresh from his Wessex home - The meaning of the broad Karoo, The bush, the dusty loam And why uprose to nightly view Strange stars amid the gloam.
 
'Yet portion of that unknown plain Will Hodge for ever be; His homely Northern breast and brain Grow to some Southern tree, And strange-eyed constellations reign His stars eternally.'
HECTOR
Good. Very good. Any thoughts?
Posner sits next to him.
 
POSNER
I wondered, sir if this 'Portion of that unknown plain will Hodge for ever be' is like Rupert Brooke, sir. 'There's some corner of a foreign field.' 'In that dust a richer dust concealed.'
HECTOR
It is. It is. It's the same thought ... though Hardy's is better,
I think ... more ... more, well, down to earth. Quite literally, yes, down to earth. Anything about his name?
POSNER
Hodge?
It is as if Hector has forgotten everything else except the need to pass it on.
HECTOR
Mmm ... The important thing is that he has a name. Say Hardy is writing about the Zulu Wars, or later or the Boer War possibly, and these were the first campaigns when soldiers ... or common soldiers ... were commemorated, the names of the dead recorded and inscribed on war memorials. Before this soldiers - private soldiers anyway -- were all unknown soldiers and, so far from being revered, there was a firm in the nineteenth century, in Yorkshire of course, which swept up their bones from the battlefields of Europe in order to grind them into fertiliser. So, thrown into a common grave though he may be, he is still Hodge the drummer. Lost boy though he is on the other side of the world, he still has a name.
POSNER
How old was he?
HECTOR
If he's a drummer he would be a young soldier, not even as old as you probably.
POSNER
No. Hardy.
HECTOR
Oh, how old was Hardy? When he wrote this, about sixty. My age, I suppose. Saddish life, though not unappreciated. Uncoffined is a typical Hardy usage. A compound adjective, formed by putting un- in front of the noun. Or verb, of course. Un-kissed. Un-rejoicing. Un-confessed. Un-embraced.
 
It's a turn of phrase that brings with it a sense of not sharing, of being out of it. Whether because of diffidence or shyness, but a holding back. Not being in the swim. Can you see that?
POSNER
Yes, sir. I felt that a bit.
A pause.
HECTOR
The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - whichyou had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours. Shall we just have the last verse again, and I'll let you go.
With true understanding, Posner recites again the last verse.
POSNER
'Yet portion of that unknown plain Will Hodge for ever be; His homely Northern breast and brain Grow to some Southern tree, And strange-eyed constellations reign His stars eternally.'
Dakin comes in.
 
HECTOR
And now, having thrown in Drummer Hodge as found, here reporting for duty, helmet in hand, is young Lieutenant Dakin.
DAKIN
I'm sorry, sir.
HECTOR
No, no. You were more gainfully employed, I'm sure. Why the helmet?
DAKIN
My turn on the bike. It's Wednesday, sir.
HECTOR
Is it? So it is. But no. Not today. No. Today I go a different way.
 
'The words of Mercury are harsh after the songs of Apollo. You that way, we this way.'
Hector goes briskly off, leaving Dakin and Posner.
 
 
EXT. ROAD. DAY.
 
Hector, for once alone on his bike, rides by.
EXT. EDGE OF A SUBURBAN WOOD. DAY.
 
Bikes lean against the wall, both Boys and Girls en route home from their respective schools.
Lockwood is passionately snogging Stephanie, a grammar school girl, while Timms is saddled with her plain friend, Janice.
Janice and Timms watching Lockwood and Stephanie without much interest.
 
JANICE
What are you doing about the general paper?
LOCKWOOD
 
(briefly breaking off)
What're we not doing about it?
TIMMS
 
Yeah. Literature, politics, current affairs. We just bat ideas around the way you do. You can't plan for these things.
 
JANICE
Oh, we do, don't we, Stephanie? Mock papers, questionnaires, interviews ...
TIMMS
How do you mean, interviews?
JANICE
'Self-presentation in the interview set-up'. Miss Harman's got it all worked out.
TIMMS
Yeah?
JANICE
General Studies isn't just literature. It's current affairs, sociology, literature as it reflects society. Our school's been sending people to Oxford and Cambridge for years. Stephanie, come on. We'll miss Timewatch. It's on the Black Death. What with there being a famine in Ethiopia Miss Harman thinks there might be a comparison question.
Stephanie reluctantly breaks away from Lockwood and she and Janice cycle off.
LOCKWOOD
Why do they always have a fucking friend?
TIMMS
Tony.
LOCKWOOD
 
(zipping up his flies)
What?
TIMMS
 
(looking after the girls)
We're doomed.
INT. HECTOR'S CLASSROOM. DAY.
 
A somnolent class, the Boys reading, Hector staring into the distance at his desk. Timms looks across to Lockwood and mouths 'Go on' (and one or two of the others seem to know what's coming too).
LOCKWOOD
Sir? Can I say something, sir? We've got this exam coming up, sir, the most important exam of our lives, sir, and we're just sitting here, reading literature.
Hector would normally be fired up by mention of the exam, but isn't.
HECTOR
So?
TIMMS
We've talked it over, sir, and what we think we ought to be doing is like how literature affects society.
LOCKWOOD
Like Jane Austen and the slave trade, sir.
AKHTAR
And interviews, sir. We want to do interviews.
HECTOR
 
(who doesn't understand)
Leaving that aside for the moment, I have something to tell you.
AKHTAR
We know all that, sir.
HECTOR
How do you know?
AKHTAR
About sharing classes with Mr Irwin, sir.
HECTOR
No, no. Not that.
LOCKWOOD
Why is that, sir?
HECTOR
It's just a question of the timetable, apparently. No, this is something else.
AKHTAR
Does that mean your lessons will be more like Mr Irwin's, sir?
CROWTHER
More use, sir?
TIMMS
Less farting about?
HECTOR
Hush, boys, hush. Can't you see I'm not in the mood?
DAKIN
What mood is that, sir? The subjunctive? The mood of possibility?
HECTOR
Get on with some work. Read.
LOCKWOOD
That's what we're saying, sir. There's no time for reading now.
TIMMS
Can't you just give us the gist, sir?
AKHTAR
Precis it, sir, like Mr Irwin does.
CROWTHER
Just the outlines, sir, then we can pretend.
HECTOR
Pretend? No, no.
TIMMS
Nobody'll know, sir. That's what exams are for.
HECTOR
Shut up about exams. Shut up the lot of you. You mindless fools. What made me piss my life away in this god-forsaken place? There's nothing of me left. Go away. Class dismissed. Go.
He puts his head down on the desk. There are some giggles and facepullings before they realise it's serious. Now they're nonplussed and embarrassed. One Boy looks and indicates to the others that Hector is crying. Scripps is nearest to him and ought to touch him but doesn't, and nor does Dakin. Posner is the one who comes and after some hesitation pats Hector rather awkwardly on the back, saying 'Sir.' Then he starts, still very awkwardly, to rub his back.
SCRIPPS (to camera)
I was the nearest. I ought to have been the one to reach out and touch him. But I just watched. Dakin did nothing either. Neither of us did.
He looks at Dakin who looks away.
Later I wrote it all down.
Hector weeping still.
 
 
INT. HEADMASTER'S STUDY. DAY.
 
HEADMASTER
Did he say why he was going?
MRS LINTOTT
More or less.
HEADMASTER
I am surprised. I have said nothing to anyone.
MRS LINTOTT
He would like to stay. To work out his time. That's what I wanted to ask.
HEADMASTER
Shall I tell you what is wrong with Hector as a teacher? It isn't that he doesn't produce results. He does. But they are unpredictable and unquantifiable and in the current educational climate that is no use. He may well be doing his job but there is no method that I know of that enables me to assess the job that he is doing. There is inspiration, certainly, but how do I quantify that? I happened to hear one child singing yesterday morning and on enquiry I find his pupils know all the words of 'When I'm Cleaning Windows'. George Formby. And Gracie Fields. Dorothy, what has Gracie Fields got to do with anything? So the upshot is I am glad he handled his pupils' balls because that at least I can categorise. It is a reason for his going no one can dispute.
Mrs Lintott says nothing.
You didn't know.
MRS LINTOTT
Not that, no.
HEADMASTER
I assumed you knew.
MRS LINTOTT
He handled the boys' balls?
HEADMASTER
I don't want to spell it out. You've been married yourself, you know the form. And while on the motorbike. He, as it were, cradled them. To be fair it was I think more appreciative than investigatory, but it is inexcusable nevertheless. Think of the gulf of years. And the speed! One knows that road well. No, no. It's to everyone's benefit that he should go as soon as possible.
Mrs Lintott leaves the office.
EXT. CORRIDOR. DAY.
 
Mrs Lintott walking alone in the corridor. Small boys stream past her.
MRS LINTOTT
 
(to camera)
I have not hitherto been allotted an inner voice, my role a patient and not unamused sufferance of the predilections and preoccupations of men. They kick their particular stone along the street and I watch. I am, it is true, confided in by all parties, my gender some sort of safeguard against the onward transmission of information ... though that I should be assumed to be so discreet is in itself condescending. I'm what men would call a safe pair of hands.
She bumps into Irwin.
Our headmaster is a twat. An impermissible word nowadays but the only one suited to my purpose. A twat. And to go further down the same proscribed path, a condescending cunt. Do you think Hector is a good teacher?
IRWIN
Yes, I suppose ... but what do I know?
MRS LINTOTT
When I taught in London in the seventies there was a myth that not very bright children could always become artists. Droves of the half-educated left school with the notion that art was a viable option. It's by the same well-meaning token that every third person in prison is a potential Van Gogh. There's a bit of that to Hector or else what's all his learning by heart for, except as an insurance against ultimate failure? Not that it matters now, one way or another.
They have reached Hector's classroom.
IRWIN
Why? What's happened?
Her reputation for discretion in jeopardy, the cat nearly out of the bag, Mrs Lintott hastily hits reverse.
MRS LINTOTT
Nothing. Nothing. Isn't this his lesson?
IRWIN
It is. But we're sharing, hadn't you heard?
MRS LINTOTT
Sharing? Whose cockeyed idea was that? Don't tell me. Twat, twat, twat.
TIMMS
(in doorway)
Yes, miss.
Mrs Lintott goes.
 
 
INT. HECTOR'S CLASSROOM. DAY.
 
Hector, Irwin, the Boys
IRWIN
Would you like to start?
HECTOR
I don't mind.
IRWIN
How do you normally start? It is your lesson. General Studies.
HECTOR
The boys decide. Ask them.
IRWIN
Anybody? The floor is open.
The Boys don't respond.
HECTOR
Come along, boys. Don't sulk.
DAKIN
We don't know who we are, sir. Your class or Mr Irwin's.
IRWIN
Does it matter?
TIMMS
Oh yes, sir. It depends if you want us thoughtful. Or smart.
HECTOR
He wants you civil, you rancid little turd.
Hits him.
 
TIMMS
Look, sir. You're a witness. Hitting us, sir. He could be sacked.
IRWIN
I thought we might talk about the Holocaust.
HECTOR
Good gracious. But how can you teach the Holocaust?
IRWIN
Well, that would do as a question. Can you ... should you ... teach the Holocaust? Anybody?
AKHTAR
It has origins. It has consequences. It's a subject like any other.
SCRIPPS
Not like any other, surely. Not like any other at all.
AKHTAR
No, but it's a topic.
HECTOR
They go on school trips nowadays, don't they? Auschwitz. Dachau. What has always concerned me is where do they eat their sandwiches? Drink their Coke?
CROWTHER
The visitors' centre. It's like anywhere else.
HECTOR
Do they take pictures of each other there? Are they smiling? Do they hold hands? Nothing is appropriate.
LOCKWOOD
What if you were to write that this was so far beyond one's experience silence is the only proper response?
DAKIN
That would be Mr Hector's answer to lots of questions, though, wouldn't it, sir?
HECTOR
Yes. Yes, Dakin, it would.
DAKIN
Whereof one cannot speak thereof one must be silent.
Hector groans and puts his head in his hands.
That's right, isn't it, sir? Wittgenstein.
IRWIN
Yes. That's good.
HECTOR
No, it's not good. It's ... flip. It's ... glib. It's journalism.
DAKIN
But it's you that taught us it.
HECTOR
I didn't teach you and Wittgenstein didn't screw it out of his very guts in order for you to turn it into a dinky formula. Why can you not simply condemn the camps outright as an unprecedented horror?
There is slight embarrassment.
LOCKWOOD
No point, sir. Everybody will do that ... the camps an event unlike any other, the evil unprecedented, etc., etc.
HECTOR
No. Can't you see that even to say etcetera is monstrous? Etcetera is what the Nazis would have said, the dead reduced to a mere verbal abbreviation.
LOCKWOOD
All right, not etcetera. But given that the death camps are generally thought of as unique, wouldn't another approach be to show what precedents there were and put them ... well ... in proportion?
SCRIPPS
Proportion!
DAKIN
Not proportion then, but putting them in context.
POSNER
But to put something in context is a step towards saying it can be understood and that it can be explained. And if it can be explained then it can be explained away.
RUDGE
'Tout comprendre c'est tout pardonner.'
Hector groans.
IRWIN
That's good, Posner.
POSNER
It isn't 'good'. I mean it, sir.
DAKIN
But when we talk about putting them in context it's only the same as the Dissolution of the Monasteries. After all, monasteries had been dissolved before Henry VIII, dozens of them.
POSNER
Yes, but the difference is, I didn't lose any relatives in the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
IRWIN
Good point.
SCRIPPS
You keep saying, 'Good point.' Not 'good point', sir. True. To you the Holocaust is just another topic on which we may get a question.
IRWIN
No. But this is history. Distance yourselves. Our perspective on the past alters. Looking back, immediately in front of us is dead ground. We don't see it and because we don't see it this meansthat there is no period so remote as the recent past and one of the historian's jobs is to anticipate what our perspective of that period will be ... even on the Holocaust.
INT. CORRIDOR OUTSIDE HEADMASTER'S STUDY. DAY.
 
Irwin finds himself overtaken by Dakin and Scripps.
DAKIN
Won the argument there, sir.
IRWIN
What?
DAKIN
The Holocaust. Oh yes. You showed him.
Irwin goes.
SCRIPPS
You flirt.
DAKIN
I don't understand it. I have never wanted to please anybody the way I do him, girls not excepted.
Dakin spots Hector walking disconsolately down the corridor.
He's going, you know.
SCRIPPS
The big man?
DAKIN
Don't let on. Fiona says.
At some point in this scene we see the Posner parents waiting to see the Headmaster, observed without comment by Dakin and Scripps. Then the Headmaster says, 'Mr and Mrs Posner? Come in.'
SCRIPPS
Sacked? Who complained?
Dakin shrugs.
That's why the lifts have stopped.
DAKIN
Poor sod. Though in some ways I'm not sorry.
SCRIPPS
No. No more genital massage as one speeds along leafy suburban roads. No more the bike's melancholy long withdrawing roar as he dropped you at the corner, your honour still intact.
Fiona hurries by, carrying files. A look between her and Dakin.
DAKIN
Lecher though one is, or aspires to be, it occurs to me that the lot of woman cannot be easy, who must suffer such inexpert male fumblings virtually on a daily basis. Are we scarred for life, do you think?
SCRIPPS
We must hope so.
Scripps has stopped by the French Department noticeboard. Proust's photograph in a prominent position.
Perhaps it will turn me into Proust.
INT. HEADMASTER'S STUDY. DAY.
 
The Headmaster and Irwin.
 
HEADMASTER
Charming couple, the Posners. Jewish of course.
IRWIN
The boy is clever.
HEADMASTER
Jewish boys often are, though nowadays it's the Asian boys who're out in front, intelligence to some degree the fruit of discrimination. It was apropos the Holocaust.
IRWIN
 
We did discuss how the Holocaust should be tackled if they got a question on it.
HEADMASTER
 
And you seem to have said that it should be kept in proportion.
IRWIN
Well, the boys were asking.
HEADMASTER
I'm not concerned with what the boys were asking. What concerns me is what you were telling them.
IRWIN
I was telling them that there were ways of discussing it that went beyond mere lamentation. The risk the historian ...
HEADMASTER
Mr Irwin. Fuck the historian. These are two angry Jewish parents. I have told them you are young and inexperienced. You will write them a letter of apology on much the same lines. They also complain that Hector has had the boy singing hymns.
IRWIN
Posner likes singing.
HEADMASTER
Hymns?
IRWIN
Anything.
HEADMASTER
Not ... Gracie Fields?
IRWIN
Possibly.
INT. IRWIN'S CLASSROOM. DAY.
 
Irwin and Posner.
 
IRWIN
Do you tell them everything that goes on at school?
POSNER
He's old, my father. He's interested. I just said the Holocaust was a historical fact like other historical facts. It was my uncle who hit me.
Pause.
 
IRWIN
No more singing, too, I gather?
POSNER
Not hymns. They're fine with Barbra Streisand.
INT. SCHOOL LIBRARY. DAY.
 
 
Montage to music: books disappearing from shelves.
 
 
INT. VARIOUS SHEFFIELD HOUSES. NIGHT.
 
 
At desks, at kitchen tables, the Boys write essays. Close-up on their work as they write.
 
 
INT. IRWIN'S CLASSROOM. DAY.
 
Irwin returns their essays to them.
 
 
INT. HISTORY CORRIDOR, LOCKER AREA. DAY.
 
Dakin, Posner and Scripps are reading what Irwin has written about their latest essays.
DAKIN
Shit. He never gives an inch, does he? 'Lucid and up to a point compelling but if you reach a conclusion it escaped me.'
SCRIPPS
Have you looked at your handwriting recently?
DAKIN
Why?
SCRIPPS
You're beginning to write like him.
DAKIN
I'm not trying to, honestly.
SCRIPPS
You're writing like him, too.
POSNER
No I'm not. Dakin writes like him. I write like Dakin.
DAKIN
It's done wonders for the sex life. Apparently I talk about him so much Fiona gets really pissed off. Doing it is about the only time I shut up.
SCRIPPS
Would you do it with him?
DAKIN
I wondered about that. I might. Bring a little sunshine into his life. It's only a wank, after all.
SCRIPPS
What makes you think he'd do it with you?
Dakin smiles. He is changing his shirt, or otherwise preening himself.
You complacent fuck.
DAKIN
Does the Archbishop of Canterbury know you talk like this?
 
I like him. I just wish I thought he liked me.
Dakin goes.
POSNER
Irwin does like him. He seldom looks at anyone else.
SCRIPPS
How do you know?
POSNER
Because nor do I. Our eyes meet, looking at Dakin.
SCRIPPS
Oh Poz, with your spaniel heart, it will pass.
POSNER
Yes, it's only a phase. Who says I want it to pass? But the pain. The pain.
SCRIPPS
Hector would say it's the only education worth having.
POSNER
I just wish there were marks for it.
INT. FIONA'S BEDROOM. NIGHT.
 
Fiona lying on a bed, virtually naked.
Dakin stands by the bed without his jacket but otherwise fully clothed. Bad atmosphere. Silence.
FIONA
Do you love him?
DAKIN
Don't be stupid.
FIONA
Well, I don't know, do I?
DAKIN
What do you think this is?
FIONA
Not much, so far.
He starts to get undressed.
 
 
Cut to:
 
Them in bed. She is lying down, him sitting up, hands clasped behind his head. No sex so far, plainly.
DAKIN
I don't fancy him. I just want his approbation, you know. I want him to rate me.
FIONA
Rape you?
DAKIN
Rate. Rate.
Pause.
Fiona?
FIONA
I'm asleep.
Cut to:
 
Later, when Dakin is asleep.
FIONA
 
(sits up and speaks to camera)
I've an awful feeling this is what life is going to be like, a man talking about things I don't know or am not interested in, stopping for a bit while he fucks me then going back to talking again.
Looks down at Dakin.
Why don't you sleep with him? Have done with it.
Dakin's eyes are open.
 
 
INT. MRS LINTOTT'S OR IRWIN'S CLASSROOM. DAY.
 
Irwin, Hector and Mrs Lintott, conducting mock interviews. Each boy in turn sits in the hot seat. The rest look on.
 
IRWIN
You're sitting the papers here so there's no need for nerves on that score. It will be the interviews that decide it. Anything provocative in your papers and they may question you on that. Otherwise they are likely to be the usual, 'What are your hobbies?' type questions.
Crowther is in the hot seat. Mrs Lintott looks at his file.
MRS LINTOTT
Now, Mr Crowther. One of your interests is the theatre. Tell us about that.
CROWTHER
I'm keen on acting. I've done various parts, favourite being ...
IRWIN
Can I stop you? Don't mention the theatre.
CROWTHER
It's what I'm interested in.
IRWIN
Then soft-pedal it, the acting side of it anyway. Dons ... most dons ... think the theatre is a waste of time.
POSNER
Music is all right though, isn't it, sir? They don't frown on that?
HECTOR
No. You should just say what you enjoy.
POSNER
Mozart.
IRWIN
No, no. Everyone likes Mozart. Somebody more off the beaten track. Tippett, say, or Bruckner.
POSNER
But I don't know them.
HECTOR
I have a silly suggestion to make. Why can they not all just tell the truth?
All the Boys react in horror.
MRS LINTOTT
I hesitate to mention this, lest it occasion a sophisticated groan, but it may not have crossed your minds that one of the dons who interviews you may be a woman. I'm reluctant at this stage in the game to expose you to new ideas, but having taught you all history on a strictly non-gender-orientated basis, I just wonder whether it occurs to any of you how dispiriting it is for me to teach five centuries of masculine ineptitude? Am I embarrassing you?
TIMMS
A bit, miss. I mean it's not our fault. It's just the way it is. 'The world is everything that is the case,' miss. Wittgenstein, miss.
MRS LINTOTT
I know it's Wittgenstein, thank you. Why do you think there are no women historians on TV?
TIMMS
No tits?
HECTOR
Hit that boy. Hit him.
TIMMS
Sir! You can't, sir.
HECTOR
I'm not hitting you. He is. And besides, you're not supposed to say tits. Hit him again!
MRS LINTOTT
I'll tell you why. It's because history's not such a frolic for women as it is for men. Why should it be? They never get round the conference table. In 1919, for instance, they just arranged the flowers and then gracefully retired. History is a commentary on the various and continuing incapabilities of men. What is history? History is women following behind with the bucket.
An awkward pause.
IRWIN
Rudge?
Rudge is interviewed.
 
MRS LINTOTT
Now. How do you define history, Mr Rudge?
RUDGE
Can I speak freely, miss? Without being hit.
MRS LINTOTT
I will protect you.
RUDGE
How do I define history? It's just one fucking thing after another.
Hector makes a moves to hit him but is forestalled.
MRS LINTOTT
I see. And why do you want to come to Christ Church?
RUDGE
It's the one I thought I might get into.
IRWIN
No other reason?
Rudge shakes his head.
MRS LINTOTT
Do you like the architecture, for instance?
RUDGE
They'll ask me about sport, won't they?
MRS LINTOTT
If you're as uncommunicative as this they may be forced to.
HECTOR
The point is, Rudge, that even if they want to take you on the basis of your prowess on the field you have to help them to pretend at least that there are other considerations.
RUDGE
Look, I'm shit at all this. Sorry.
 
If they like me and they want to take me they'll take me because I'm dull and ordinary. I'm no good in interviews but I've got enough chat to take me round the golf course and maybe there'll be someone on the board who wants to go round the golf course. I may not know much about Jean-Paul Sartre but I've got a handicap of four.
MRS LINTOTT
Where have you heard about Sartre?
RUDGE
He was a good golfer.
HECTOR
Really? I never knew that. Interesting.
INT. HISTORY CORRIDOR. DAY - LATER.
 
The Boys coming away from the mock-interviews.
LOCKWOOD
How did you know Sartre was a golfer?
RUDGE
I don't know that he was. How could I? I don't even know who the fuck he is. Well, they keep telling us you have to lie.
CROWTHER
I've a feeling Kafka was good at table tennis.
AKHTAR
Yes?
CROWTHER
I'll be glad when we can be shot of all this shit.
EXT. SCHOOL CAR PARK. DAY.
 
 
Dakin catches up with Irwin, who is heading for his car. Boys and teachers are going home at the end of the day. Dakin gives Irwin an essay.
DAKIN
Sir, I never gave you my essay.
Irwin takes it. Dakin walks with him.
What degree did you get, sir?You've never said.
IRWIN
A second.
DAKIN
Boring. Didn't the old magic work?
IRWIN
I hadn't perfected the technique.
Dakin offers him a cigarette.
No!
DAKIN
Well, it's after four. I'm going to.
He lights up, smokes.
What college were you at?
IRWIN
Corpus.
DAKIN
That's not one anybody is going in for.
IRWIN
No.
DAKIN
You happy?
IRWIN
There? Yes. Yes, I was quite.
This is quite a pausy conversation with Dakin more master than pupil, and Irwin occasionally having a drag on a cigarette.
DAKIN
Do you think we'll be happy ... say we get in?
IRWIN
You'll be happy, anyway.
DAKIN
I'm not sure I like that. Why?
Irwin shrugs.
Uncomplicated, is that what you mean? Outgoing? Straight?
IRWIN
None of them bad things to be.
DAKIN
Depends. Nice to be a bit more complicated.
IRWIN
Or to be thought so.
The Headmaster appears, walking towards his car. Dakin pulls Irwin out of sight, round a corner.
DAKIN
You're not very bright.
IRWIN
Am I not?
DAKIN
No, sir.
IRWIN
How's Posner?
DAKIN
Why?
IRWIN
He likes you, doesn't he?
DAKIN
It's his age. He's growing up.
IRWIN
Hard for him.
DAKIN
Boring for me.You're not suggesting I do something about it? It happens. I wouldn't anyway. Too young.
Irwin says nothing.
You still look quite young.
IRWIN
That's because I am, I suppose.
There is an interminable pause.
DAKIN
How do you think history happens?
IRWIN
What?
DAKIN
How does stuff happen, do you think? People decide to do stuff. Make moves. Alter things.
IRWIN
I'm not sure what you're talking about.
DAKIN
No?
He smiles.
Think about it.
IRWIN
Some do ... make moves, I suppose.
 
Others react to events. In 1939 Hitler made a move on Poland.
Poland / defended itself.
DAKIN
 
(overlapping)
-- gave in.
IRWIN
Is that what you mean?
DAKIN
 
(unperturbed)
No. Not Poland anyway. Was Poland taken by surprise?
Dakin should have Irwin practically cornered at this point so that he has to duck out. He heads back to his car.
 
IRWIN
To some extent. Though they knew something was up. What was your essay about?
DAKIN
Turning points.
IRWIN
Oh yes. Moments when history rattles over the points. Shall I tell you what you've written? Dunkirk?
DAKIN
Yes.
IRWIN
Hitler turning on Russia?
DAKIN
Yes.
IRWIN
Alamein?
DAKIN
Yeah, all those.
IRWIN
More? Oh, that's good.
DAKIN
When Chamberlain resigned as Prime Minister in 1940 Churchill wasn't the first thought; Halifax more generally acceptable. But on the afternoon when the decision was taken Halifax chose to go to the dentist. If Halifax had had better teeth we might have lost the war.
IRWIN
That's terrific.
DAKIN
Yeah. It's subjunctive history.
IRWIN
Come again.
DAKIN
The subjunctive is the mood you use when something might or might not have happened, when it's imagined.
Hector is crazy about the subjunctive. Why are you smiling?
IRWIN
Nothing. Good luck.
Irwin gets into his car, drives off. Dakin leaves school, on top of the world.
 
 
INT. SCHOOL HALL. DAY.
 
Fiona brings in a sealed envelope. Irwin or Mrs Lintott opens it, distributes the papers.
Rudge looks through the paper, turning it over to check there are questions on the other side. There are not.
 
RUDGE
Shit.
Some of the others have already begun to write.
 
 
INT. SCHOOL HALL. DAY. LATER.
 
Mrs Lintott collecting papers, the exam over.
MRS LINTOTT
 
(as they leave)
Yes?
TIMMS
A bit hit-and-miss ... miss.
POSNER
(ironically)
I was so nice about Hitler. 'A much misunderstood man.'
AKHTAR
(to Mrs Lintott)
Queen Elizabeth, miss, less remarkable for her abilities than the fact that, unlike so many of her sisters, she got a chance to exercise them.
MRS LINTOTT
That's the stuff.
Mrs Lintott hands the papers to Fiona, who puts them in a large envelope, ready to be posted off. Scripps crosses himself.
 
 
EXT. SCHOOL. DAY.
 
A few days later, two minibuses parked outside the school, one marked OXFORD, one CAMBRIDGE. The Boys are climbing in. Hector, Irwin, Mrs Lintott and the Headmaster and several other teachers and boys are there to wave them off. Lockwood, Timms and Crowther are going to Cambridge, the rest to Oxford.
LOCKWOOD
I hope they don't mind about trainers. They're all I've got.
TIMMS
It's not an examination in footwear.
POSNER
Somebody told me when you go to the bogs it's about four miles.
TIMMS
Listen. Do you want to go to Oxford or do you want somewhere with a shit degree but with toilets en suite?
RUDGE
What I say is, if they don't like me, then fuck 'em.
TIMMS
Oh Peter, I wish I had your philosophy.
SCRIPPS
And what will you do? Flutter the eyelashes as usual?
DAKIN
No. I think in the circumstances it's the half-smile. A hint of sadness.
Scripps reckons to throw up. As the minibus pulls out, Posner starts to sing 'Wish Me Luck As You Wave Me Goodbye', the old Gracie Fields number.
The other Boys join in. The Headmaster glares at Hector.
 
 
INT. WAITING ROOM/FIONA'S OFFICE. DAY.
 
Irwin and Mrs Lintott are waiting. Fiona isn't there.
IRWIN
What's he want us for?
MRS LINTOTT
No idea.
IRWIN
Pep talk?
MRS LINTOTT
Bit late for that, it's probably about Hector.
IRWIN
I sort of know.
MRS LINTOTT
I imagine everyone sort of knows.
IRWIN
Does his wife?
MRS LINTOTT
He doesn't think so, apparently, but I imagine she's another one who's sort of known all along. A husband on a low light, that's what they want these supposedly unsuspecting wives, the husband's lukewarm attentions just what they married them for. He's a fool. He was also unlucky. The lollipop lady is only on duty a couple of hours. Five minutes later she'd have gone off. And what if there had been no children coming or if the lights had been green? This smallest of incidents, the junction of a dizzying range of alternatives any one of which could have had a different outcome. If I was a bold teacher ... if I was you, even ... I could spend a lesson dissecting what the Headmaster insists on calling 'this unfortunate incident' and it would teach the boys more about history and the utter randomness of things than ... well, than I've ever managed to do so far.
The Headmaster comes in with Hector.
 
HEADMASTER
Dorothy, a word?
They go.
HECTOR
Trouble at t'mill. That's the news he's aching to impart. My ... marching orders.
IRWIN
I sort of knew.
HECTOR
Ah.
IRWIN
Dakin told me.
HECTOR
Did he tell you why?
Irwin nods.
I've got this idea of buying a van, filling it with books and taking it round country markets ... Shropshire, Herefordshire. 'The open road, the dusty highway. Travel, change, interest, excitement. Poop, poop.'
Pause.
I didn't want to turn out boys who in later life had a deep love of literature, or who would talk in middle age of the lure of language and their love of words. Words said in that reverential way that is somehow Welsh. That's what the tosh is for. Brief Encounter, Gracie Fields, Ivor Novello - it's an antidote. Sheer calculated silliness.
IRWIN
Has a boy ever made you unhappy?
The waiting room should be lined with school photographs, teams etc.
 
HECTOR
They used to do. See it as an inoculation, rather. Briefly painful but providing immunity for however long it takes. With the occasional booster ... another face, a reminder of the pain ... it can last you half a lifetime.
IRWIN
Love.
HECTOR
Who could love me? I talk too much.
IRWIN
Do they know?
HECTOR
They know everything. Don't touch him. He'll think you're a fool.
 
That's what they think about me.
Mrs Lintott appears.
I gather you knew, too.
Mrs Lintott smiles.
And the boys knew.
MRS LINTOTT
Well, of course the boys knew. They had it at first hand.
HECTOR
I didn't actually do anything. It was a laying on of hands, I don't deny that, but more in benediction than gratification or anything else.
MRS LINTOTT
Hector, darling, love you as I do, that is the most colossal balls.
HECTOR
Is it?
MRS LINTOTT
A grope is a grope. It is not the Annunciation. You ... twerp. Anyway, what Felix wanted to tell me is that when I finish next year he's hoping he can persuade you to step into my shoes.
The Headmaster appears.
HEADMASTER
Irwin.
MRS LINTOTT
For your information, they're a size-seven court shoe, broad fitting.
She kisses Hector.
 
 
EXT. OXFORD. DAY.
 
Dakin, Scripps, Posner, Akhtar at the Radcliffe Camera exploring Oxford, walking down Broad Street etc.
 
Scripps coming out of a college chapel, noted by two dons.
 
Rudge in Tom Quad.
EXT. CAMBRIDGE. DAY.
 
 
Lockwood, Timms, Crowther walking on The Backs, exploring Cambridge, on King's Parade etc.
A row of boys and girls waiting in the court of one of the colleges, Lockwood's trainers singling him out.
 
 
INT. CAMBRIDGE DON'S ROOM. DAY.
 
Four dons in a book-lined room. One of them goes to the door, calls 'Mr Lockwood'. Lockwood comes in.
 
INT. OXFORD, CORPUS PORTERS' LODGE. DAY.
 
Dakin in a college lodge. A Porter looking down a list, shaking his head.
PORTER
No. No Irwin here.
EXT. OXFORD, CORPUS PORTERS' LODGE. DAY.
 
Dakin comes out, Scripps is waiting.
DAKIN
This is Corpus, isn't it?
SCRIPPS
 
(who is taking photographs)
Yes.
Dakin looks thoughtful.
 
 
EXT. OXFORD COLLEGE. DAY.
 
 
Posner and Akhtar, say, at Magdalen New Buildings.
POSNER
They liked my Hitler answer. Praised what they called my sense of detachment. They said it was the foundation of writing history. My parents would love it, it's like a stately home.
AKHTAR
So would mine. They'll never be away. They're already coming down with fourteen relatives and I haven't even got in.
INT. OXFORD DON'S ROOM. DAY.
 
Rudge facing an unencouraging board of Dons and a Sleeping Clergyman.
DON
This is Mr Rudge who, if he comes up, is hoping to read History.
The Sleeping Clergyman mutters to his Neighbour.
NEIGHBOUR
Rudge.
The Sleeping Clergyman looks at Rudge with vague interest.
 
 
INTS. VARIOUS SHEFFIELD HOUSES. DAY.
 
Envelopes on doormats, say. Scripps, Timms, Crowther opening envelopes, maybe with their parents in attendance.
A tiny Asian child bearing an envelope away.
A stick pokes another envelope within reach of the aged Mr Posner.
Lockwood, astride his bike, opening a mailbox in the entrance to some council flats.
 
 
INT. HEADMASTER'S STUDY. DAY.
 
All Boys, except Rudge, celebrating with the teachers.
HEADMASTER
Splendid news! Posner a scholarship, Dakin an exhibition and places for everyone else. It's more than one could ever have hoped for. Irwin, you are to be congratulated, a remarkable achievement. And you too, Dorothy, of course, who laid the foundations.
MRS LINTOTT
Not Rudge, Headmaster.
HEADMASTER
Not Rudge? Oh dear.
IRWIN
He has said nothing. The others have all had letters.
HEADMASTER
It was always an outside chance. A pity. It would have been good to have a clean sweep. Still, it's like I said all along, you can't polish a turd.
Rudge comes in, sees the carry-on and goes out again. Mrs Lintott goes after him.
 
 
INT. CORRIDOR OUTSIDE HEADMASTER'S STUDY. DAY.
 
MRS LINTOTT
You haven't heard from Oxford?
Rudge shakes his head.
Perhaps you'll hear tomorrow.
RUDGE
Why should I? They told me when I was there.
MRS LINTOTT
I'm sorry.
RUDGE
What for? I got in.
MRS LINTOTT
How come?
RUDGE
How come they told me or how come they took a thick sod like me? I had family connections.
MRS LINTOTT
Somebody in your family went to Christ Church?
RUDGE
In a manner of speaking. My dad. Before he got married he was a college servant there. This old parson who was just sitting there for most of the interview suddenly said was I related to Bill Rudge who'd been a scout on Staircase 7 in the 1950s. So I said he was my dad, and they said I was just the kind of candidate they were looking for. Mind you, I did all the other stuff like Stalin was a sweetie and Wilfred Owen was a wuss. They said I was plainly someone who thought for himself and just what the college rugger team needed.
MRS LINTOTT
Are you not pleased?
RUDGE
It's not like winning a match.
She is turning away.
You see, miss, I want to do stuff I want to do. This, I only wanted it because the others did. And my dad. Now I've got in I just feel like telling the college to stuff it.
MRS LINTOTT
I think that's Mr Hector.
RUDGE
No, it isn't, miss. It's me.
INT. IRWIN'S CLASSROOM. DAY.
 
Dakin comes in. Irwin is working.
DAKIN
I went round to your college.
IRWIN
I'm surprised you were interested.
DAKIN
I was kind of lonely. I wanted to see where you'd been. Only nobody'd heard of you at Corpus.
IRWIN
I said I was at Jesus.
DAKIN
Corpus.
IRWIN
Corpus, Jesus. What does it matter?
Pause.
I never got in. I was at Bristol.
 
I did go to Oxford, but it was just to do a teaching diploma. Does that make a difference?
DAKIN
To what? To me? (He shrugs.) At least you lied. And lying's good, isn't it? We've established that. Lying works. Except you ought to learn to do it properly.
Pause.
Anybody else, I'd say we could have a drink.
Irwin doesn't respond.
Is that a euphemism? Saying a drink when you actually mean something else?
IRWIN
It is, yes.
DAKIN
Actually, forget the euphemism.
I'm just kicking the tyres on this one but, further to the drink, what I was really wondering was whether there were any circumstances in which there was any chance of your sucking me off.
Pause.
Or something similar.
Pause.
Actually, that would please Hector.
IRWIN
What?
DAKIN
'Your sucking me off.' It's a gerund. He likes gerunds. And your being scared shitless, that's another gerund.
IRWIN
I didn't know you were that way inclined.
DAKIN
I'm not, but it's the end of term; I've got in to Oxford; I thought we might push the boat out.
Pause.
Anyway I'll leave it on the table.
He is ready to go but turns back.
I don't understand this.
 
Reckless; impulsive; immoral ... how come there's such a difference between the way you teach and the way you live? Why are you so bold in argument and talking, but when it comes to something that's actually happening, I mean now, you're so fucking careful? Is it because you're a teacher and I'm ... a boy?
IRWIN
Obviously that ...
DAKIN
Why? Who cares? I don't.
IRWIN
You've already had to cope with one master who touches you up. I don't ...
DAKIN
Is that what it is? Is it that you don't want to be like Hector?
You won't be. You can't be. How can you be? Hector's a joke.
IRWIN
No, he isn't. He isn't.
DAKIN
That side of him is.
IRWIN
This ... it's ... it's such a cliche.
DAKIN
Not to me, it isn't. Go on. Be a devil.
Irwin takes out his diary.
No. Don't take out your sodding diary. God, we've got a long way to go. Do you ever take your glasses off?
IRWIN
Why?
DAKIN
It's a start.
IRWIN
Not with me. Taking off my glasses is the last thing I do.
DAKIN
Yes? I'll look forward to it.
 
What do you do on a Sunday afternoon? What are you doing this Sunday afternoon?
Dakin opens Irwin's shirt. Maybe puts a hand inside.
IRWIN
Well, I was going to go through the accounts of Roche Abbey. It was a Cistercian house just to the south of Doncaster.
DAKIN
Oh yes? What about Monday? Monday's kind of a dumb night, but it'll do. Only remember --
And here he fastens Irwin's shirt button again as if Irwin's a child.
- we're not in the subjunctive any more either. It's going to happen.
Cut to:
INT. CORRIDOR OUTSIDE THE HEADMASTER'S STUDY. DAY.
 
Dakin and a horrified Scripps.
DAKIN
I just wanted to say thank you.
SCRIPPS
So? Give him a subscription to the Spectator or a box of Black Magic. Just because you've got a scholarship doesn't mean you've got to give him unfettered access to your dick.
DAKIN
So how would you say thank you?
SCRIPPS
The same probably. On my knees.
I shall want a full report.
DAKIN
Are you jealous?You are, aren't you?
SCRIPPS
Not of the sex. Just of your being up for it. Me ... I'm ...
DAKIN
Write it down.
They are passing the Headmaster's study and Dakin suddenly knocks at the door.
Wish me luck.
SCRIPPS
What for?
Dakin draws his finger across his throat as the Headmaster says 'Come in.'
 
 
INT. HEADMASTER'S STUDY. DAY.
 
HEADMASTER
Now, Dakin, how can I help?
INT. FIONA'S OFFICE. DAY.
 
Fiona listening, hands half over her eyes.
 
INT. HEADMASTER'S STUDY. DAY.
 
HEADMASTER
I've never known such impertinence.
Your scholarship seems to have gone to your head.
DAKIN
The point I'm making, sir ...
HEADMASTER
I know the point you're making.
DAKIN
I'm just curious, sir. What is the difference between Mr Hector feeling us up on a motorbike and your touching up Fiona? Or trying to. A comparable situation historically would be the dismissal of Cardinal Wolsey.
HEADMASTER
Don't give me that Cardinal Wolsey shit. Who else knows about this?
INT. FIONA'S OFFICE. DAY.
 
Dakin is coming out of the study. The Headmaster behind him.
HEADMASTER
Fiona ... Miss Proctor. Mr Hector to my study please.
EXT. SCHOOL. DAY.
 
Dakin and Scripps coming through one of the school entrances.
DAKIN
What else could he do? I had him by the scrotum. Fiona's not pleased, of course. 'It puts me in an awkward position.'
SCRIPPS
(to camera)
I remember saying, 'So everybody's happy,' and the exact placewhere I said it, and knowing, even at eighteen, that this was an unwise thing to say. Because, sure enough, after that things began to unravel pretty quickly.
EXT. SCHOOL CAR PARK. DAY.
 
 
The Boys are leaving.
LOCKWOOD
I might try the army.
TIMMS
You?You're a shambles.
LOCKWOOD
I know, but they put you through college apparently. Fees, everything.
AKHTAR
Yeah, provided you kill people afterwards.
LOCKWOOD
We won't go to war again. Who is there to fight?
SCRIPPS
I don't know about a career. I've got to get fucking out of the way first.
CROWTHER
That goes on.
POSNER
Or doesn't.
Dakin arrives.
 
DAKIN
Now look, everybody. This is known as Posner's reward.
He hugs Posner.
POSNER
Is that it? The longed-for moment?
DAKIN
What's wrong with it?
POSNER
Too fucking brief. I was looking for something more ... lingering.
Dakin does it again. They are parted, Dakin is carrying the motorbike helmet.
And what's this, Hector's reward?
DAKIN
I thought I would. It's only polite. Just for old time's sake.
SCRIPPS
Just don't let him go past the lollipop lady.
Hector comes by in his leathers, beaming.
 
DAKIN
(helmet on)
Ready, sir?
HECTOR
Oh, Dakin ...
DAKIN
Think of it as a gesture, sir.
HECTOR
But I'm not leaving, I shall be back next year ...
Headmaster arrives.
 
HEADMASTER
What is this? A boy in a motorcycle helmet? Who is it? Dakin?
No, no, no. Under no circumstances.
Hector, I thought I'd made this plain.
Hector (whose fault it isn't, after all) just shrugs.
Take somebody else ... take -
Irwin has arrived.
Take Irwin.
HECTOR
Irwin?
IRWIN
Sure, why not?
Dakin gives him the helmet.
DAKIN
Do you want my Tudor Economic Documents?
IRWIN
Fuck. Off. Fuck right off.
EXT. ROAD. DAY.
 
The bike roars by, Hector and Irwin on it.
 
 
EXT. SCHOOL. DAY.
 
 
SCRIPPS
 
(to camera)
They hadn't gone far. If you'd been listening you might have heard it.
INT. MRS LINTOTT'S CLASSROOM. DAY.
 
Mrs Lintott looks up from some marking, then goes back to her books.
 
 
EXT. SCHOOL. DAY.
 
Rudge, teeing up a rugger ball, say, looks up, then kicks the ball. Some of the other Boys, unlocking bikes, vaguely register something.
An ambulance siren.
 
SCRIPPS
 
(to camera)
There are various theories about what happened, why he came off. It's inconceivable he ever touched Irwin who would in any case have been clutching his briefcase. Or it may be Hector was so used to driving with one hand while the other was busy behind him that driving with two made him put on speed.
EXT. ROAD. DAY.
 
 
The bike on its side. An ambulance, police cars. A small crowd.
 
SCRIPPS
 
(voice-over)
These explanations are a touch obvious which, if he taught us anything, Irwin taught us not to be. So I think that, since Irwin had never been on the back of a bike before, going round the corner he leaned out instead of in and so unbalanced Hector. That would be appropriate, too. Trust Irwin to lean the opposite way to everyone else.
INT. SCHOOL HALL. DAY.
 
 
Hector's memorial service. A full house of boys, teachers and parents taking their places. The History Boys are in the front row. Irwin hobbles to his place beside them, leg in plaster, on crutches.
IRWIN
 
(to camera)
With no memory of what happened I am of no help. I only know what I have been told, my last memory Dakin asking me for a drink. Something we never did, incidentally.
He has taken his place not far from Dakin.
 
DAKIN
 
(to camera)
Still. At least I asked him. And barring accidents it would have happened.
RUDGE
Listen, you stupid cunt, there is no barring accidents. It's what I said. History is just one fucking thing after another.
SCRIPPS
Someone dies at school and you remember it all your life.
INT. SCHOOL HALL. DAY.
 
 
Later. The History Boys are on stage, singing 'Bye Bye Blackbird'. Behind them a large screen: images of Hector in youth and middle age are projected onto it.
INT. SCHOOL HALL. DAY.
 
 
The Headmaster is now at the lectern.
 
HEADMASTER
If I speak of Hector it is of enthusiasm shared, passion conveyed and seeds sown of future harvest. He loved language. He loved words. For each and every one of you, his pupils, he opened a deposit account in the bank of literature and made you all shareholders in that wonderful world of words.
During his speech the camera finds Mrs Lintott, sitting with the History Boys, who are now seated again.
MRS LINTOTT
 
(to camera)
Will they come to my funeral, I wonder? And what will they be?
She turns to Akhtar.
Akhtar, what are you?
AKHTAR
Headmaster, miss. In Keighley, near Bradford.
MRS LINTOTT
One of you is a magistrate, I know.
Crowther raises a weary hand. The hall is now empty except for the History Boys, Mrs Lintott and Irwin. The light has changed.
And Timms, what are you?
TIMMS
Chain of dry cleaners, miss. And I take drugs at the weekend.
MRS LINTOTT
And are you all happy?
They look at one another, shrug and with some diffidence, and the odd abstention, acknowledge that they are, pretty much.
TIMMS
Kids don't help, though, miss.
MRS LINTOTT
Dakin, you're happy, I'm sure.
DAKIN
Of course, miss, I'm a tax lawyer. The money's incredible.
MRS LINTOTT
Despite knowing with Wittgenstein that the world is everything that is the case, Lieutenant Anthony Lockwood of the York and Lancaster Regiment is wounded by friendly fire and dies on his way to hospital. He is twenty-eight.
Lockwood puts both hands up.
RUDGE
'Tout comprendre c'est tout pardonner.'
MRS LINTOTT
Ah, Rudge, I'd forgotten you.
RUDGE
As usual, miss.
MRS LINTOTT
You're a builder, carpeting the dales in handy homes.
RUDGE
Rudge Homes are affordable homes for the first-time buyer. I take wives round the Show House. I tell them I was at Oxford and I get fucks galore.
MRS LINTOTT
There is one journalist, though on a better class of paper, a career he is always threatening to abandon in order, as he puts it, 'really to write'.
Scripps puts up his hand. Irwin, now without his crutches, rises.
IRWIN
Hector always said I was a journalist.
MRS LINTOTT
And so you were. School was just an apprenticeship for television. I enjoy your programmes, but they're more journalism than history.
She has moved towards Posner.
Of all Hector's boys there is only one who truly took everything to heart, remembers everything he was ever taught ... thesongs, the poems, the sayings, the endings - the words of Hector never forgotten.
POSNER
Slightly to my surprise I've ended up, like you, a teacher. I'm a bit of a stock figure ... I do a wonderful school play, for instance ... and though I never touch the boys, it's always a struggle, but maybe that's why I'm a good teacher. I'm not happy, but I'm not unhappy about it.
MRS LINTOTT
So why do you teach?
POSNER
I ... share.
Hector is there, but nobody can see him. He talks to Mrs Lintott.
 
HECTOR
Finish, good lady, the bright day is done and we are for the dark.
IRWIN
He was a good man but I do not think there is time for his kind of teaching any more.
SCRIPPS
No. Love apart, it is the only education worth having.
They all start slowly to leave the hall, leaving behind the unseeable Hector.
 
HECTOR
Pass the parcel. That's sometimes all you can do. Take it, feel it and pass it on. Not for me, not for you but for someone, somewhere, one day.
EXT. ABBEY, HIGH ALTAR. DAY.
 
They are back at the ruined abbey, on the day of the class outing, in position for the happy group photograph. Shouts of 'Come on, sir!'
Pass it on, boys. That's the game I wanted you to learn. Pass it on.
End.
Screenplay and journal copyright © 2006 by Forelake Ltd. Other text and illustrations copyright © 2006 by The History Boys Ltd. All rights reservedPrinted in the United States of America Originally published in 2006 by Faber and Faber Limited, Great Britain Published in the United States by Faber and Faber, Inc.