The Tichborne Claimant

Note: TV script .  Not original format – alignment of speech etc (altered when copied onto the site). 

 

 

The Tichborne Claimant

By

Jeremy Barron

 

 

Episode 1

 

 

 

Dramatis Personae

 

Tom Castro

Ebenezer Bogle

Hetty Pendergast

Fanny Du Pre

Angry man

Girl

Local drinker

Old woman

Boy

Arthur Cubitt

Lady Tichborne

Father Chatillon

Parkes

John Holmes

Henry Seymour

 

 

 

01 INT. WAGGA WAGGA HOTEL, 1865 – NIGHT

     TITLES: WAGGA WAGGA, AUSTRALIA, 1865

The sound of merry-making; of laughter, chinking glasses and drinks being poured. A piano is playing in the background. The bar is wooden; Victorian in design. A wide staircase leads to balconies on the first floor. We focus on three tumblers being filled with whisky, which are handed to a man sat between two well-dressed, made-up ladies of a mature age and figure. They are both giggling and seem to be vying for the attention of the man, who is well built, of African origin and dressed in fashionable attire. Despite his ethnic appearance, he is incredibly well-spoken with an aristocratic English accent.

 

EBENEZER

              Ladies! Another drink!

 

MRS PENDERGAST

(Tittering and sassy)

Why, Mr Bogle, Fanny and I may start to question your intentions.

 

EBENEZER

              I can assure you, Mrs Pendergast, my

              intentions are entirely honourable.

              It is not every day one gets to meet two

              ladies of such…

 

He glances at her rather fulsome bosom as she squeezes closer into him.

 

              …pedigree.  

 

He is the first to neck his drink and the ladies follow suit.

 

MRS DU PRE

Goodness, I feel a little queer, Hetty.

 

EBENEZER

(Showing concern)

My dear Mrs Du Pre, shall I order

              you another drink?

 

MRS DU PRE

(looking rather dizzy)

              Yes, yes, no, no. I mean, of course,

              Mr Bogle, but first, please, continue

               with your proposition.

 

EBENEZER

              Ah, my proposition.

 

MRS PENDERGAST

              Yes, Mr Bogle, you were telling

              us about an opportunity that we

              would be mad to ignore.

 

EBENEZER

              And indeed you would be Mrs Pendergast.

              Barman!

 

He signals three more drinks. The barman looks unimpressed.  

 

              As soon as I heard that two ladies

              of such standing had arrived from that

blessed isle of my birth, I just knew

I had to act.

 

Both ladies exchange brief, quizzical glances.

 

MRS PENDERGAST

              Were you… born in England, Mr Bogle?

 

EBENEZER

              Oh yes, Mrs Pendergast, grew up on

The smokey streets of London Town

itself with nothing but a hoop and

a stick to keep me entertained.

 

Pause.  

 

              My father, a successful merchant, was

              rarely home. I was left to care for

              my mother, who was always very ill.

 

 

MRS DU PRE

              Always?

 

EBENEZER

              I’m sorry?

 

MRS DU PRE

              Your mother. Was she always very ill?

 

EBENEZER

              Oh, yes, yes, she was always very

              ill. The whole time.

 

MRS PENDERGAST

              You poor, poor dear.

 

EBENEZER

Mrs Pendergast, you are so kindly,

You remind me of her so much.

 

MRS PENDERGAST

              I remind you of your mother?

 

EBENEZER

              Sister! You remind me of my sister,

she had the same gentle heart and soft complexion as your sweet self.

 

He gently kisses her hand.

 

MRS PENDERGAST

              Oh, Mr Bogle.

 

MRS DU PRE

              What about me?

 

EBENEZER

              I’m sorry?

 

MRS DU PRE

              Who do I remind you of, Mr Bogle?

 

Pause.

 

EBENEZER

              Er, my other sister, Mrs Du Pre.

              They were twins. Anyway, as soon as

I heard you had sailed straight from

England, it just seemed like a sign

from the heavens themselves.

 

MRS DU PRE

What did, Mr Bogle?

 

He pauses as the drinks arrive.

 

EBENEZER

Tell me ladies, do you believe

in coincidences? In fate? In divine

intervention? Do you believe in a

righteous God; ever guiding, ever

leading?

 

Both ladies are silent and look mesmerised.

 

              Because I do. And I believe there

              is a very good reason why our paths have

crossed, here, today, in Wagga Wagga –

a most vile and uncivilised backwater of

this new nation we find ourselves in.

 

Both ladies take a sip of their whisky, without averting their gaze from Ebenezer.  

 

              Only yesterday my associate and I

              received some news.

 

MRS PENDERGAST

News?

 

MRS DU PRE

Associate?

 

EBENEZER

(looking around, drawing them closer)

Mrs Pendergast, Mrs Du Pre, my associate,

a Mr Tom Castro – widely respected and

travelled businessman – received news of a lucrative expedition far to the north of the country.

 

MRS PENDERGAST

What sort of expedition?

 

EBENEZER

(whispers)

     For gold, Mrs Pendergast. Gold.

 

MRS DU PRE

              But I thought all the gold was in the

              south of the country, Mr Bogle.

 

MRS PENDERGAST

              Yes, in fact we are on our way to

              Victoria. It had been arranged before

              the untimely deaths of both our husbands.

 

MRS DU PRE

              Looking for gold, Mr Bogle.

 

Bogle looks flustered. He pauses to sip his whisky.

 

EBENEZER

              Of course you are, that is where everyone

              is flocking. In fact Victoria is over-run

              with gold-diggers at this present time.

              Emancipists, mainly.

 

MRS PENDERGAST

              What – criminals?

 

EBENEZER

And the Chinese.  

 

MRS DU PRE

              Oh.

 

EBENEZER

Yes, I am afraid so, Mrs Pendergast.

Victoria is full of them. And that is

what makes this expedition so appealing.

 

MRS PENDERGAST

              How so?

 

EBENEZER

              Mr Castro has secured a deal with a

              very famous exploring company – you may

              have heard of them – Burke and Willis.

 

Both ladies have blank faces.

 

              Well, anyway, Burke and Willis are known

              throughout this vast island as the number

              one discoverers of gold. Their latest

              venture – far away from the common crowd –

              is in the Northern Territories.

 

MRS PENDERGAST & MRS DU PRE

              Ooh!

 

EBENEZER

              Not only that, they have found new, fertile

              land – grass so green you could

              mistake it for the patchwork beauty of

              England!

 

MRS DU PRE

(nestling even closer to Ebenezer)

              Mmm, goodness!

 

There is some sort of commotion in one of the rooms off the first floor balcony. All three are distracted momentarily, before continuing their discussion.

 

EBENEZER

              Burke and Willis have agreed to

              include Mr Castro and any associated

             backers into the deal! This could

              be worth thousands, ladies! Just imagine

              claiming new land in the name of your

              late husbands. Land literally filled

              with gold!  

 

MRS PENDERGAST

              Oh, how wonderful!

 

MRS DU PRE

              Though my second husband was Belgian. Will

              That matter, Mr Bogle?

 

EBENEZER

              Not at all, Mrs Du Pre. But be mindful

              not to advertise the fact. Now, Mr Castro

has more than enough capital to fund this venture.

 

MRS PENDERGAST

              Oh.

 

EBENEZER

              …Had he not got it all tied up with

              building the first school, here in

              Wagga Wagga. It’s his gift to the

              Community. An attempt to educate

              The uncivilised.

 

 

MRS DU PRE

              Oh, how generous.

 

                          EBENEZER

              For orphans, you see. Yes, Mr Castro

              is highly, highly regarded in these parts.

 

The commotion is starting to get louder. There is muffled shouting as the argument appears to have moved from one of the rooms to the balcony. They look up. Ebenezer battles to regain the ladies’ attention.

 

EBENEZER

(louder and more urgently)

              Thing is, ladies, with Mr Castro’s

              money tied up, this could be a fantastic

              opportunity for a second backer to

              fund the expedition.

 

The disagreement on the first floor has made its way to the top of the stairs where a rather large middle-aged man is standing in his underwear with his trousers round his ankles. He is holding some of his clothes while a young woman and an older man, presumably her father, are shouting obscenities at him.

 

MRS PENDERGAST

(distracted)

              I see, Mr Bogle.

 

EBENEZER

              All we need is £500 – from two willing

              parties… there is… there is a bank across

              the street. We could… ladies…

 

The piano stops playing. All attention is now on the argument at the top of the stairs. In fact, the entire hotel appears to be watching the events unfold.

 

TOM

              I’m sorry, I hope you can accept that

              it was a… mistake…

 

ANGRY MAN

              Mistake?! You’ve got your trousers round

              your ankles!

 

Ebenezer puts his head into his hands.

 

                             TOM

              Now hang on… no need to get excited…

 

GIRL

              He told me he was a Count, Pa, told me

              he would change my life for ever!

 

ANGRY MAN

              Did he now?

 

TOM

              Nein! I said I could teach you to count.

 

GIRL

              You said your name was Count Victor Von

              Schmitt and that you owned a castle in Germany!

 

LOCAL DRINKER

              Von Schmitt?! That’s Tom Castro the local

              butcher!

 

Angry man looks even angrier.

Tom offers a smile. He is still standing in his underwear.

 

Mrs Pendergast turns to Ebenezer.

 

MRS PENDERGAST

              Tom Castro? Isn’t that your associate?

 

EBENEZER

              Who? No, no, that’s not him.

 

The angry man runs across the balcony landing to attack Tom.

 

MRS DU PRE

              Yes, Tom Castro, I’m sure that’s what

              the girl called him.

 

EBENEZER

              No, no, that’s not Tom Castro…

(laughs)

              Don’t be silly…

 

Ebenezer sighs and closes his eyes, apparently unable to continue watching.

 

At this stage, the angry man has got Tom in a headlock at the top of the stairs. All we can hear are muffled gasps of “Help me” and “Arrggghh”.

 

MRS PENDERGAST

               There are two Tom Castros. How queer,

              Fanny.

 

MRS DU PRE

              Extraordinary.

 

After a lot of grappling and grunting, Tom loses balance and trips over his trousers. Both men fall down the stairs, with the angry man taking the brunt of the knocks. Tom, legs astride and on top, virtually ‘rides’ him over every step until they come to a crashing end at the bottom.

 

GIRL

              Pa!

 

Silence. Both men don’t move for a moment.

 

MRS PENDERGAST

              What a large man.

 

Slowly, Tom rises. He struggles to get to his feet, but eventually manages it. He brushes himself down, looks sheepishly around and walks off, with one hand on his trousers which are now half-way pulled up. He passes Ebenezer on his way. He stops and turns round to look at him.

 

TOM

              Coming?

 

Pause.

 

EBENEZER

              Ladies, it has been a delight. I bid you

              farewell.

 

They both look aghast.

 

MRS DU PRE

              But what about the expedition?

 

MRS PENDERGAST

              And the other Tom Castro?

 

LOCAL DRINKER

               He’s Tom Castro!

 

MRS DU PRE

              She means the other one.

 

LOCAL DRINKER

              Other one?

 

Whispers ripple through the hotel, which builds to heckling and shouting about Tom Castro. The ladies look bemused.

 

Ebenezer catches up with Tom, pauses, then turns round.

 

EBENEZER

              Ladies… and gentleman… this

              man!

 

He points to Tom, and pauses. The hotel quietens.

 

              This man is not Tom Castro!

 

Pause.

 

              Good night!

 

Tom and Ebenezer exit the hotel and the piano begins to play again.

 

 

 

 

02 EXT. T.CASTRO BUTCHERS, MORNING

 

It is a bright morning. We find Tom, unshaven and unkempt, slumped snoring against the counter of the butchers shop, which is also the shop window. The shutters are open, so Tom effectively has his head outside. The building is in fact an old shack comprised of what looks like discarded driftwood. There are signs of some brickwork – notably a rather wide chimney. The entire structure looks a mess. The shop is set on its own in the Australian outback – the landscape is sparse, save for the occasional bush or tree.

 

Aside from the natural sounds of the outback, there is a constant buzzing of flies as they mingle and dart amongst the many carcasses hanging from the canopy of the shop.

One of the flies lands on Tom’s lips as he sleeps. His mouth is agape, with saliva drooling out.  

 

A horse and cart draw up with a teenage boy (16 or 17) and an old lady. The woman is dressed in typical 1860s clothes – long dress, petticoat etc, and the boy has ragged clothes, knee length trousers which are frayed around the edges etc. He is barefooted.

 

The boy gets down and slowly approaches the counter.

 

He stops and turns back to the old lady.

 

OLD LADY

              Go on, boy!

 

The boy reaches Tom and watches him sleeping, apparently unsure what to do. He pauses, then slowly extends his finger and pokes Tom in his cheek rather violently. Tom wakes with a start.

 

TOM

              Wha..? Aagh!

 

The boys says nothing and waits for Tom to focus and gain his senses.

 

              Wasser… what. What do you want?

 

The boy doesn’t speak.

 

              You here for some rabbit? No? Sheep?

              Got plenty of sheep meat. Oh, dear…

 

Tom holds his head. His hangover is kicking in. After a few moments he realise the boy is still there.

 

              Yes? Wasser matter, can’t you speak?

 

BOY

              Kan roo ron.

 

Pause.

TOM

              …What?

 

BOY

              Kan roo ron.

 

TOM

              Can I what?

 

BOY

              Ron.

 

TOM

              Ron?

 

BOY

              Re.

 

Pause.

 

TOM

(sleepily)

              Here’s the problem. Had a run in with

              a prostitute and her ever-so angry pimp

              last night. Mistook my charming banter  

              for a request for a certain service.

              Truth is, I only wanted to use her room

              to take a shit… Plus…

(almost falling back to sleep)

              …I have no idea what you are saying.

 

OLD LADY

              He says the kangaroo meat you sold us

              was rotten!

 

Tom jumps.

 

TOM

Bloody hell! Where did you come from?!

 

OLD LADY

              The whole thing was covered in maggots!

 

TOM

(wearily)

              Maggots? No, no, we only sell the finest

              meats in this establishment.

 

Tom extends his arms to present the carcasses hanging on the canopy. They are rancid and infested with flies. Every now and then a maggot flops to the floor.

 

              Well, yeah… these are the off cuts.

              The best bits are inside. Getting a

              whole new stock today actually, including

              our new line… horse.

 

Pause. Tom notices the old lady’s horse.

 

              Or camel?

 

OLD LADY

              We want our money back!

 

BOY

              Re, ree won ar mon ba.

 

TOM

              What?

 

BOY

              Kan roo ron.

 

TOM

(rubbing his eyes)

              Yes, yes, we’ve been through that.

 

Tom stares at the boy.

 

TOM

              What’s wrong with him?

 

OLD LADY

              Ain’t nothing wrong with Coby-Lee!

              May have had a few knocks when he was

              a baby, but you know how to look after

              Mama, don’t ‘cha, boy?!

 

TOM

              Your mama?

 

The boy stares straight at Tom. His eyelids are half closed and he produces a creepy, rather late smile.

 

BOY

              Re.

 

Tom looks at the boy, then the old woman, and shudders.

 

OLD WOMAN

              We want our money! Now you going to

              hand it over, or do we need to bring

              Coby-Lee Senior?

 

TOM

              Who?

 

OLD WOMAN

              The boy’s father.

 

TOM

              Oh.

 

OLD WOMAN

              My son.

 

Tom looks slightly sick.

 

BOY

              Ee pith.

 

TOM

              Ee pith?

 

OLD WOMAN

              He’s pissed!

 

Ebenezer appears from the side of the shop. He is immaculately dressed, with a brief case in one hand and a scroll of paper in the other.

 

EBENEZER

              Goodness, a customer.

 

Ebenezer has lost his English accent and sounds distinctively West African. He spots the horse and shudders.  

 

BOY

              Kan roo ron.

 

EBENEZER

              I beg your pardon?

 

TOM

              He says the kangaroo is rotten.

 

EBENEZER

              Oh, what a shame.

 

OLD LADY

              And we want our money back! Hurry

up about it. Don’t care to spend my time

talking to folk like you.

 

 

TOM

(very ‘matter-of-fact’)

              That’s his mama. Her son is

              the boy’s father. Apparently he is

              pissed and he wants their

              money back.

 

EBENEZER

(smiling)

              I see.

 

Pause.

 

              Well, I don’t see a problem in that.

 

TOM

(surprised)

              You don’t?

 

EBENEZER

              I’ll get the money now.

 

Ebenezer moves to enter the shop, then stops.

 

              Ah. Just remembered. I banked the

              money last night.

 

Both the old woman and the boy look confused. Tom continues to look ill.

 

              Tell you what… come back tomorrow

              morning. Not only will I have the

              money ready, I’ll increase it by

              twenty percent to cover your troubles.

 

OLD WOMAN

              Fifty.

 

EBENEZER

              Thirty. And as an act of good faith you

can go away today with two of these fine rabbits, free of charge.

 

Everyone looks at the dismal looking meat hanging from the canopy.

 

OLD WOMAN

               They don’t look so good.  

 

EBENEZER

               Madam, my offer stands. Besides,

              everyone knows rabbit tastes better

              once properly aired.

 

A few more dangling maggots drop off.

 

OLD WOMAN

              Coby-Lee! Grab hold of them r‘bits!

 

 

The boy takes the rabbits and mounts the cart.

 

                             BOY

              I irsty!

 

OLD WOMAN

              Thirsty?! Coby-Lee! You know Mama’s

              all dried up! Wait till we get home,

              boy!

 

The boy looks excited as they head off.

 

              We’ll be back tomorrow! There’ll be

              trouble if you’re fooling with me!

 

Once out of earshot, Tom turns to Ebenezer.

 

TOM

              Are you mad? We don’t have any money!

              We’re bankrupt, remember?

 

Ebenezer stands there, presumably thinking. There is a wild glint in his eyes.

 

EBENEZER

              Right. Get packed.

 

TOM

              Packed?

 

EBENEZER

              I was hoping to get money for the train

              from Mrs Dumb and Dumber, last night.

 

 

TOM

              Train?

 

EBENEZER

              Still, looks like Gibbes is going to

              front us the money for now.

 

TOM

              Who’s Gibbes?

 

Ebenezer looks distracted.

 

EBENEZER

              Come on! We haven’t got all day! If we

              play this right, Tom, this could be our

              ticket out of here.

 

 

Tom offers a shrug as he looks at Ebenezer blankly.

Ebenezer appears to lose patience and storms into the shop. He grabs Tom by his shoulders.

 

EBENEZER

(trying to control his voice)

              Gibbes is a solicitor. Specifically, he

              is your solicitor.

 

TOM

              Mine?

EBENEZER

              Yours, Tom. Except, like I said

              last night, you are not Tom.

 

TOM

              I’m not?

 

EBENEZER

              No.

 

TOM

              Right.

 

EBENEZER

              Your name is now Roger.

 

TOM

              Roger.

 

EBENEZER

              Roger.

 

TOM

              I don’t like ‘Roger’.

 

EBENEZER

              You are Sir Roger Charles Doughty

              Tichborne. Eldest son of the late Sir

              James Tichborne, heir to the family’s

              ancient estates in Hampshire. And all

              their fortune!

 

TOM

              Hampshire?

 

EBENEZER

              England!

 

TOM

              Fortune?

 

EBENEZER

              Thousands!

 

TOM

              Sir Roger?

 

EBENEZER

              Sir.

 

TOM

              I like Sir Roger.

 

Ebenezer proceeds to unravel the paper scroll in his hand. It is a cut-out from The Daily Advertiser newspaper. The advert details how Lady Tichborne – Sir Roger’s mother – is seeking any news of the whereabouts of her missing son. There is a financial reward for anyone who does so. There is also a large picture of Sir Roger at the top of the advert. He is tall, slim and attractive. He looks nothing like Tom.

 

              Who is he?

 

EBENEZER

              That’s you.

 

TOM

              Right. Do you think people will notice?

 

EBENEZER

              Listen, it’s been years since Sir Roger

              was last seen. He would have changed. His

              boat was sunk sailing from South America.

He’s dead. But his crazy mother won’t accept it. She is convinced he is still alive.

 

TOM

              Do you think she will recognise me now

              I’m a different man?

 

Ebenezer avoids eye contact. Tom stares hard at the picture.

 

              Mind you, he has my nose.

 

EBENEZER

              Listen, Tom…

(he straightens Tom’s collar)

              …You do not even remotely look like

              the man in this picture.  

 

TOM

              Well, the nose.

 

EBENEZER

              In fact, in all the history of mankind,

I cannot think of a single face with less resemblance than your own.

 

Pause.

 

              I mean, look at you.

 

Tom looks down at himself shamefully.

 

              Enormously fat. What are you? Eighteen

              stone?

 

TOM

              Seventeen and a half, actually.

              Possum diet.

 

EBENEZER

              You are short.

 

TOM

              Timothy Copperstone was shorter. Exact

              same birthdays and everything. Lived on

              my street in Wapping. Tiny.

 

EBENEZER

You have freckles, receding hair, you

waddle, have bad breath, even when you

are awake you look half asleep. And your

face is so disagreeable it is beyond words.

 

Pause.

 

TOM

              Bit rude.  

 

EBENEZER

              That’s why this plan is so perfect!

 

TOM

              It is?

 

EBENEZER

              Who would be mad enough to claim he

              were the real Sir Roger Tichborne

              looking like you?

 

TOM

              Er.

 

EBENEZER

              Answer: No-one. That’s why this is

              going to work.

 

 

He gathers the scroll and briefcase and checks his watch.

 

EBENEZER

              Come on, Sir Roger, we’ve got a train to

              catch.  

 

 

  1. EXT, AUSTRALIAN OUTBACK – DAY

 

A steam train is travelling through the countryside.  

 

 

 

  1. INT, TRAIN CARRIAGE – DAY

 

Tom and Ebenezer are sat opposite each other, either side of a small table in a pokey carriage. The sliding doors are shut. Ebenezer’s briefcase is open. There are notes, papers and newspaper cuttings strewn across the carriage table. Tom is dressed in his best clothes.

 

TOM

              I feel sick.

 

EBENEZER

(ignoring him)

              First thing we do when we get to Sydney

              is to buy you a proper suit.

 

 

Tom looks hurt.

 

TOM

              This used to be my Father’s.

 

EBENEZER

              Which one?

 

TOM

              Oh, the Chilean one. From Valparaiso.

 

EBENEZER

              Tom, he wasn’t really your father.

 

TOM

              I share his name don’t I?

 

EBENEZER

              Stole. You stole his name, Tom.

              Much like his suit, I imagine.

 

TOM

              Borrowed. Thomas Castro! A fine name.

              Much better than Arthur Orton.

 

EBENEZER

              Why did you change it?

 

TOM

              Same as always. Money problems.

              A plan. A way out…

 

EBENEZER

              And here you are.

 

TOM

              Here I am.

 

EBENEZER

              A different man, but nothing changed.  

 

 

A pensive moment.

 

              Now, our first problem is going to be

              trying to convince Cubitt that you are

              the real Sir Roger Tichborne.

 

TOM

              Right. Who’s Cubitt?

 

EBENEZER

              The man Gibbes has been in contact with

              in Sydney. He’s the one who placed the

              ad in the paper. Convincing him guarantees

us a passage to Europe. Here is all the information I could find about Sir Roger.

 

They look at the papers on the table.

 

              Now, aside from the obvious problem

              with your looks, there are one or

              two other things that we need to crack.

 

TOM

              Ok.

 

EBENEZER

              Such as his education.

 

TOM

              I’m educated.

 

EBENEZER

              Well, he can read for starters.

 

TOM

              Bugger!

 

EBENEZER

              And write.

 

TOM

              What is he? A machine?

 

EBENEZER

              And he can speak fluent French.

 

TOM

              Bonjour.

 

EBENEZER

              Yes, that will help at the beginning

              of a conversation.

 

TOM

              Au Revoir.

 

EBENEZER

              …And the end. Trouble is, what about the

              middle?

 

Tom shrugs.

 

              Good, good, that’s not bad. Bring the

              shoulders slightly higher.

 

Tom shrugs with higher shoulders.

 

              And pout more.

 

Tom pouts more.

 

              That will do for starters. Now, I’ll

              do all the reading and writing, so…

              that’s it I think.

 

TOM

              That wasn’t too difficult.

 

 

The train hoots and Ebenezer glances outside.

 

EBENEZER

              Ok, here we are. Oh, I am your

              manservant, by the way.

 

TOM

              Manservant?            

 

Tom raises his eyebrows.

 

EBENEZER

              Don’t get any ideas.

 

TOM

              And my driver?

 

There is blind panic in Ebenezer’s eyes.

 

EBENEZER

              Don’t cross that boundary, Tom.

              You know how I feel about horses.

 

TOM

              What will I call you?

 

EBENEZER

              Call me?

 

TOM

              Your name? What will your name be?

 

EBENEZER

              Why do I need to change my name?

 

TOM

              Well, I’ve got to.

 

EBENEZER

              That is the person you are claiming to

              be! You could hardly do that calling

              yourself Tom, could you!

 

TOM

              Andrew.

 

EBENEZER

              What?

 

TOM

              I’ll call you Andrew.

 

Ebenezer looks exasperated between glances out of the window as the train begins to slow down.

 

EBENEZER

              Ok, fine. I’ll be Andrew. Now come on,

              I don’t want us to be late.

 

They gather their things together and prepare to leave the train.

 

 

 

 

05 EXT. STREETS OF SYDNEY – DAY

 

Sights of Sydney, people busying themselves, markets, shops, hotels etc…

 

 

 

 

06 EXT. MISSING FRIENDS AGENCY – DAY

 

External view of the Missing Friends Agency building.

 

 

 

 

07 INT. MISSING FRIENDS AGENCY OFFICE – DAY

 

Tom is sitting, rather uncomfortably, at a large table in a first floor office. Ebenezer is stood behind him. They have been waiting for some time. The office is quite large. It is excruciatingly hot. All the windows are open. There is another room adjacent that Tom and Ebenezer can see into through a wooden/glassed dividing wall. They can see all sorts of people sitting and lying around. Some are moaning loudly. Tom is dressed in new, tailored clothing and is sweating profusely. A man enters. He has a thick bush of blonde curly hair – wet in patches – that bounces as he walks. His sleeves are rolled up. There are huge sweat marks under his armpits. In fact, he generally just looks wet.

 

ARTHUR CUBITT

              Good Lord, it’s hot.

 

He slumps into a chair opposite. He looks exhausted and is breathing heavily.

 

Silence. Ebenezer and Tom exchange glances.

 

              “AND THROW THEM INTO THE FIERY FURNACE,

              WHERE THERE WILL BE WEEPING AND GNASHING

              OF TEETH”!

 

Pause.

Ebenezer nudges Tom to speak.

 

TOM

(trying to sound posh)

              Oh, yes, quite.

 

ARTHUR CUBITT

It makes me sick. These

drifters, vagrants mainly – devil

lovers – nothing but cold-eyed

fraudsters.

 

Tom’s knee starts to quiver nervously. Sweat is simply pouring off him.

 

              Had one in today, answering an ad

              for a merchant’s missing seventeen

              year old daughter. Miserable looking

              wench. At least thirty five. Kept

              showing me her knickers.

 

Pause. Arthur stares into space. He then jumps abruptly to him feet.

 

(shouting)

“BUT AS FOR THE SEXUALLY IMMORAL, SORCERERS, IDOLATERS, AND ALL LIARS, THEIR PORTION WILL

BE IN THE LAKE THAT BURNS WITH FIRE AND SULPHUR, WHICH IS THE SECOND DEATH”!  

 

Pause.

 

TOM

              Amen.

 

ARTHUR CUBITT

              Revelations twenty-one eight. People

              Simply will do anything for money.

              You must be Sir Roger. Arthur Cubitt.

              I run the Missing Friends Agency.

 

He extends a hand to shake.  

 

TOM

              Good afternoon.

 

                        ARTHUR CUBITT

              Water?  

 

TOM

              Um, yes please.

 

Arthur pours out two glasses of water from a jug on the table and hands one to Tom. He then throws the rest of the jug over his own head. Ebenezer and Tom don’t quite know where to look.

 

ARTHUR CUBITT

              You know, your mother has been worried

              for quite some time.

 

TOM

              Yes, it has been rather remiss of me

              not to keep in touch.

 

ARTHUR CUBITT

              Remiss? She thinks you have been dead

              For eleven years!    

 

TOM

              Heavens, that long? I had no idea.

              Time really does fly.

 

ARTHUR CUBITT

(smiling)

              But the Lord delivereth.

 

TOM

              Yes he does… Did.

 

ARTHUR CUBITT

              So, you really are him.

 

TOM

              Yes I am.

 

ARTHUR CUBITT

              After all these years.

 

TOM

              Eleven, long years.

 

ARTHUR CUBITT

              So, what happened?

 

TOM

              Happened?

 

ARTHUR CUBITT

              The day you died.

 

Pause.

 

TOM

              Well…

 

ARTHUR CUBITT

              You were sailing from Rio.

 

TOM

              Rio! Yes, that’s right. Goodness, how

              that brings back memories.

 

ARTHUR CUBITT

              And The Bella, it… what? Capsized?

 

TOM

               The Bella. Yes, yes it did.

 

 

ARTHUR CUBITT

              All hands lost.

 

TOM

              All hands. Well, apart from me!

(meek laughter)

 

Pause. Arthur starts stroking his hair repeatedly.

 

ARTHUR CUBITT

              They say the Lord moves in mysterious

              ways, Sir Roger.

 

TOM

              Indeed he does, Mr Cubitt.

 

There is an awkward silence.

 

ARTHUR CUBITT

              Your mother is very keen to find you

              alive.

 

He stares almost right through Tom.

 

              Very keen.

 

Pause.

 

              Are you a religious man, Sir Roger?

 

TOM

              I, er, yes, I think I am.

 

ARTHUR CUBITT

              But of course you are. You come from

              a strong catholic family.

 

TOM

              “Thou shalt not steal”.

 

ARTHUR CUBITT

              Very good, Sir Roger. How about “Honour

              thy mother and father”?

 

Pause. Tom glances nervously to Ebenezer.

 

              Or how about Corinthians?

 

Arthur then turns to Ebenezer.

 

              Chapter fifteen, verse thirty-three:

              “Do not be deceived: bad company ruins

              good morals”.

 

EBENEZER

              You know your bible well, Mr Cubitt.  

 

ARTHUR CUBITT

              Sirs, let me be frank, Lady Tichborne

              and I have been corresponding

              together for some time now. She is…

incredibly eager to find her dead son.

She is also incredibly eager to pay

someone a ridiculous sum of money to say

they have found him.

 

Pause.

 

EBENEZER

              Mr Cubitt, let me assure you…

 

ARTHUR CUBITT

(cutting in)

              …I don’t know who you really are, and,

              in truth, I don’t care. You say you are

              the living breathing Sir Roger Tichborne,

              yet you bare next to no resemblance of

              him – both in appearance and intellect.

 

Pause.

 

              However, I have here a letter signed

              from Lady Tichborne herself. In it

              she expresses her unadulterated

              delight at having heard news that her

              beloved son is alive and well. She

              has also attached my rather ample

              payment for services rendered. Oh, and

              two tickets to France – where she is

              currently residing.

 

He hands the tickets to Tom and stands up.

 

              Good day, gentlemen.

 

Arthur rise from his seat and moves towards the door, leaving a dumbfounded Ebenezer and Tom in stunned silence. He opens the door, but turns round before he leaves.

 

              “Then Jesus said to him, “Put your

              sword back into its place. For all

              who take the sword will perish by the

              sword”.”

 

EBENEZER

              Matthew.

 

Arthur nods solemnly.

 

ARTHUR CUBITT

              Be careful what you wish for, gentlemen.

 

Arthur leaves.

 

                             TOM

              That went well.

 

There is a foreboding look on Ebenezer’s face.

 

EBENEZER

              Come on, let’s go and meet your mother.

 

 

 

 

08 EXT. PARIS STREETS – DAY

 

     TITLES: FOUR MONTHS LATER

 

Views of a busy, snowy Paris in January – shops, markets, cafes, horse and carts etc.

 

 

 

09 EXT. HOTEL DE LILLE – DAY

 

The Hotel de Lille. Doormen, rich-looking guests. Lots of people milling in and out.

 

 

 

10 INT. LADY TICHBORNE’S ROOM, HOTEL DE LILLE – DAY

 

The room is opulent and large, but dark and cold-looking. Full length curtains are half drawn allowing only a small amount of wintry light in. Everything in the room seems silhouetted. An old lady dressed in a black dress is sat in an upright armchair. Her hair is tied back and her posture is stiff. There is no discernible emotion showing on her face. It is Lady Tichborne. To her right is Father Chatillon – a stern looking man in his latter years. He is bearded and conservatively attired. He is leaning on a stick. They are not talking. There is the sound of shuffling feet and muffled voices from beyond the double-doors. The doors open and four men enter: The first appears to be Lady Tichborne’s butler. Then there is Tom and Ebenezer. Both are immaculately dressed. The fourth man seems more flustered and unorganised with an untidy suit. He is clutching a brief case that won’t close.

 

PARKES

              Your Lady, Mr John Holmes, solicitor,

              and clients.

 

LADY TICHBORNE

(finding it hard to speak)

              Very good, Parkes. Come in, come in.

 

Parkes shows the guests in, then closes the doors leaving him outside. Ebenezer, Tom and Holmes walk silently across the room.

 

HOLMES

              Lady, Lady Tichborne… wonderful to

              finally meet you…

 

As Tom moves closer, Lady Tichborne edges forwards.

 

LADY TICHBORNE

(barely audible)

              Is that… is that really you?

 

The three men stop six or seven feet from her chair. Lady Tichborne strains her eyes, then slowly rises from her chair.

 

CHATILLON

(French accent)

              Lady Tichborne…

 

She ignores him and approached Tom. She stares wildly into his eyes, and face. Then, tentatively, starts to feel his arms and mouth.

 

LADY TICHBORNE

(addressing Chatillon)

              He has his father’s face. His ears… they

              are his uncle’s.

 

HOLMES

              Er, my client; Sir Roger Doughty

              Tichborne.

 

Tears well in Lady Tichborne’s eyes. Her legs begin to wobble.

 

LADY TICHBORNE

              ROGER!

 

TOM

              Mother.

 

She flings her arms around him and begins to wail loudly. Her legs give way and Tom struggles to keep them both from falling. Ebenezer and Holmes help Tom move Lady Tichborne back to her chair.

 

LADY TICHBORNE

              I always knew you would return. I read

              all of your letters.

 

TOM

              Letters?

 

Tom eyes Ebenezer.

 

LADY TICHBORNE

              And, yes, now I do remember.

 

TOM

              Oh, um, good.

 

LADY TICHBORNE

              When you first wrote about getting

              stung by all those nasty hornets when

              you were little I… I could not quite

              locate the memory. But now you are here,

              now I can see you with my own eyes,

              somehow… somehow now I remember.

 

Pause.

 

CHATILLON

              Lady Tichborne, please, how can you

              sure this is Roger?

 

LADY TICHBORNE

              A mother will always know her own

              son.

 

CHATILLON

              But his… form, his likeness, is not

              in keeping with the man I remember.

 

TOM

              Remember? And who might you be, Sir?

 

CHATILLON

              Father Chatillon.

 

TOM

              You say you remember me, yet all you

              have seen is a picture in an advert.

 

CHATILLON

              Advert? I have known Sir Roger ever since

              he was a boy.

 

Pause.

 

TOM

              Oh, right. I thought the only person

              from my past was the mother. Sorry,

              got confused. Right. Start again. Name?

 

CHATILLON

              Father Chatillon.

 

TOM

              Father! Of course. My father.

 

CHATILLON

              I am not your father.

 

Pause.

 

TOM

              Yes you are, Father. I am the real Sir

              Roger. Even your wife can see it. Open

              your heart.

 

CHATILLON

              My wife? Lady Tichborne is not my wife!

 

TOM

              She’s not?

 

CHATILLON

              Sir James Tichborne died many years

              ago.

 

TOM

              Sir James! Yes, that’s Father. Damn!

              Sorry, got confused when you said

              ‘father’. So you are…?

 

CHATILLON

              I am Father Chatillon.

 

TOM

              Yes, yes, got that bit.

 

CHATILLON

              I was Sir Roger’s tutor for many years.

 

TOM

              Oh, now I remember! Father Chatty-On.

              Yes, the beard threw me.

 

 

CHATILLON

              Lady Tichborne, are you really going

               to stand for this outrageous imposter?

              …He is fat!

 

TOM

              Fatter.

 

CHATILLON

              He is smaller!

 

TOM

              Debateable.

 

CHATILLON

              He does not look like Roger, he does not

              move like Roger… he does not

              even sound like him!

 

Ebenezer looks uneasy and steps forward, but Holmes beats him to it.

 

HOLMES

              Yes, er, I am sure there will be time for

              all the necessary documentation to confirm

              my client is the genuine Sir Roger. Please,

              er, excuse his wandering memory. It has

              been a long time.

 

 

All parties look tense except for Lady Tichborne who looks like the happiest woman in the world.

 

LADY TICHBORNE

              My dear Father Chatillon, thank you for

              supporting me today. Mr Holmes, I would

              very much appreciate it if you were to

              prepare a statement on my behalf for The

              Times newspaper in London.

 

CHATILLON

              But…

 

                       LADY TICHBORNE

              Not another word. Mr Holmes, please

              express my delight in welcoming my

              son back home. Tell them… tell them

              Sir Roger Tichborne is alive!

 

She embraces Tom. Ebenezer smiles.

 

 

 

11 FX – NEWSPAPERS

 

Various newspapers running with the news of the lost Sir Roger Tichborne being found after eleven years.

 

 

 

12 INT. TICHBORNE FAMILY HOME, DAY

 

We see a newspaper with the headline LONG LOST SON RETURNS. We focus on: “Sir Roger will now take the requisite steps to obtain possession of his estates.”

 

Sat reading the broadsheet is a dashing young man in his mid-twenties. It is Sir Rogers’ nephew, Henry Seymour. He is at a breakfast table beside Chatillon.

 

CHATILLON

              I fear he will take everything.

 

Henry looks pensive. There is a steely determination in his eyes.

 

HENRY SEYMOUR

              The game is afoot.

 

He smiles.

 

              Get me Henry Hawkins.

 

 

END

 

 

 

 

 

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