Notes on a Scandal (2006) Script

People have always trusted me with their secrets, but who do I trust with mine?

You. Only you.


The first day of a new term.

Here come the local pubescent proles, the future plumbers and shop assistants and doubtless the odd terrorist, too.

In the old days, we confiscated cigarettes and wank mags.

Now it's knives and crack cocaine.

And they call it progress.

Tony.

Mrs. Hart, art department.

In 1517 Martin Luther nails his 95 points to a church door in Wittenberg.

Poison granny.

Piss off, you prick.

Before we begin, for those of you who haven't delivered your reports, please lob them in my general direction. Thank you, Bill. Thank you, Mary.

Thank you, John. Thank you, Elaine.

Ah. Has everyone met our new art teacher, Sheba Hart?

I've asked Sheba to sit in on this meeting. As you all know, I regard the arts as absolutely essential to our policy of reform through nurture.

Thank you, Chris. Very good. Very good.

Thank you, Sue. I say, that's a big one, isn't it?

I'll be up till the crack of dawn!

Anyone else not handed in their homework? Right, and...

Thank you.

Lovely. Thank you.

Barbara?

This is your report? On the history department?

On its entire workings and your general thoughts for its future development?

You'll find it's quite thorough, Headmaster.

"The history department functions as one would expect for a school of this intake.

"Examination results have been consistent for 30 years, "below the national average but above the level of catastrophe."

"Recommendation, no change necessary."

It took me most of the summer to write it.

Hard to read the wispy novice.

Piss off, you prick.

Is she a sphinx, or simply stupid?

All right. Off the phone, please. Give me the phone.

Artfully dishevelled today.

The tweedy tramp coat is an abhorrence.

It seems to say, "I'm just like you."

But clearly she's not.

A fey person, I suspect.

Fey.

Come on, come on, pass it. Yes, I'm over here!

Yeah!

Put your shirt on. I got the winner.

Glory be. Shirt!

She has certainly rippled the waters of our stagnant pond.

They flock to her.

Even limp little Brian had a go. Oh, the horror.

Hiya. Oh, hello.

That's a lovely blouse. What? Oh!

And Fatty Hodge has pounced on her.

A dubious double act, the blonde and the pig in knickers.

I just went past the art studio. It's like bloody Lord of the Flies.

Have they gone for her?

Torn her posters down. There's a paint fight.

They're chanting, "Get your tits out for the lads." Girls, too. It's carnage.

How was madam?

Lost it. "Stop it, you little fucking bastards!"

You should have stepped in. He didn't want to patronise the lady.

This time next year she'll be headmistress.

Oh, Christ, will you shut up? Sorry. Sorry.

Char, anyone? Babs?

Milk, no sugar. Sweet enough?

Evidently. Didn't her father invent inflation?

You what? Wasn't her dad that academic?

Donald whatsit. Economics bloke. Invented the word "inflation".

Oh, yeah. I know who you mean.

I think you'll find that Mrs. Hart's father was Ronald Taylor.

He didn't invent inflation.

He devised a theory about the relationship between inflation and consumer expectation.

Davis, get off him! Stop it!

No, you're an arsehole. Stop it!

Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!

Stop it! Stop it immediately!

Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!

You're going to hurt one another! Now, stop it!

Davis, get off him!

Enough!

Outside! Now!

Fuck off! Absolute silence. Absolute!

Why were they fighting, Mrs. Hart? Their motive was unclear.

Davis, I know. You're a little thug. Who might you be?

Steven Connolly, Miss. What?

Steven Connolly, Miss. Year?

Year 10, Miss. You're the naked footballer.

Why were you fighting? It's a perfectly simple question.

Dunno, Miss. You don't know.

One minute you're inert, the next you're trying to castrate a pupil.

Nothing occurred between these two states?

No.

Don't play the hero with me, Connolly. Yes?

Brain, mouth, speak.

He was saying stuff about Miss. It was bang out of order.

What did you say? I never said nothing, Miss.

"I didn't say anything." What did he say? Come on!

He said she's a tart. He said he gave her one up the arse.

Did you, indeed?

Odious boy. Apologise at once.

Sorry, Miss. Deputy head in the morning.

Get back inside, both of you.

Little towers of testosterone. You'll soon get used to them.

Thank you so much.

I'd better... Oh, I'm sorry. We haven't met properly. I'm Sheba Hart.

Barbara Covett.

Her voice is pure, as if her mouth were empty and clean.

As if she'd never had a filling.

The complexion of a white peach.

One can almost see her veins.

Her trendy politics are similarly transparent.

We serve them best if we teach them to read, write and add.

They don't need to know about basket weavers.

Barbara's keen on the basics. When you started, didn't you want to give them a real education to help them overcome the poverty of their backgrounds?

Oh, yes, of course. But one soon learns that teaching is crowd control.

Come here. You know you're not supposed...

We're a branch of the social services. Put that back, you.

Console yourself with the gems.

That's when it's satisfying. You can make a real difference.

The rest is just cattle-prod and pray.

I can see why others are beguiled by her.

Oh, hello.

I wonder if she possesses the requisite heft?

Do you fancy a coffee? Yeah.

Sheba!

Sorry.

That's the year 11s. They're a nightmare.

Do you want to join us? We're going for a quick coffee.

I've got a bit of an announcement. You're leaving St George's?

No.

Oh, you're pregnant.

That's fantastic.

Oh, congratulations. When are you due?

June 7. A summer baby. How lovely.

I can't believe nobody's noticed. I'm 14 weeks.

Didn't you see how chunky I'm getting?

Didn't like to say. Where are you having it?

Homerton. It's really nice there.

Lovely, friendly nurses.

I'm going to find out at the next scan. 20 weeks.

Do you want to come to lunch on Sunday? Where?

To mine. To our house.

Won't you be with the family? Oh, yes, but you're very welcome.

It's no big deal. I'll just do a lasagne or something.

I adore lasagne.

Bliss. A merry flag on the Arctic wilderness of my calendar.

One must make an effort when one receives an invitation.

The art of it is seeming not to.

Lasagne tends to disagree with my bowels.

I'll ask for a small portion.


Oh, I think I've got the wrong house.

No, you're bang on. I'm Richard. Come in.

I'm sorry. I thought...

That I'd be 20 years younger and handsome.

Bash! The kitchen's on fire!

Sorry if you were there long. The bell's knackered.

Hi, Barbara. Hello.

Oh, what a splendid room.

What can I get you? We're semi-pro drinkers here. You name it.

A dry sherry, please.

I think we might have some apricot brandy knocking around.

A dry white wine? Done.

Have a seat.

You must be Polly. I'm Barbara.

Hi, Barbara.

Are you going somewhere? Excuse me?

You're all poshed up. Oh.

I have an appointment.

Later, in town.

Have you always lived here? Mum inherited it. It's her little joke.

I only married her for the property. Morning.

Did Pete go? Mm.

He was welcome to stay. He's not really into lunch.

Cheers.

Mm. Are you interested in wine?

Only the drinking part. You?

I spent the summer on the Amalfi coast...

Here's trouble. Now, now, now, now, now, now, easy, Rocky! Easy.

Easy, peasy. Wheezy.

I'd anticipated a suave young lawyer and two perfect poppets.

Not so. She's married some crumbling patriarch.

He's nearly as old as me.

And then there's the daughter, a pocket princess, and finally a somewhat tiresome court jester.

Ah, lovely. Thank you.

I'm going to be a wizard. Oh.

Is that when you're grown up? No. He's been cast in his school play.

I'm gonna wear a cape and my wand...

Amongst next year's cultural highlights, I greatly look forward to Benjamin Hart in the key role of "The Wizard", and I find myself beside myself with anticipation.

A rogue image swam through me, hubby's pruney old mouth pursed at Sheba's breast.

After lunch, a rather mortifying family tradition.

They do things differently in bourgeois bohemia.

Oh! Thank you.

Come on. Come on.

No.


You ready? Watch out.

Yes!

He took me away for our anniversary. It was years ago.

When we came back it was here, as if by magic.

Oh!

It was supposed to be my studio, but it's more of a refuge, really.

A room of one's own.

Is this you?

Mm.

It was.

Oh, I love these.

Such vibrant colours.

Take one. Take two. Have the lot, actually.

I couldn't possibly. Honestly, no one else wants them.

I'll treasure them.

It must be exhausting, running a family and teaching as well.

Oh, I can't wait for term to end.

Roll on Christmas and a month of sod all.

I shouldn't have kidded myself I could teach.

It's just that I've spent the last ten years looking after Ben and I was so desperate to get out and do something, and finally we get him into this great local school and I'm free to work and...

You're gonna be a terrific teacher. Thanks.

But I'm bloody hopeless, and everyone knows it.

Children are feral.

Don't let them sense your anxiety.

How do you cope? Oh, I'm just a battle-axe.

I'm not popular, but they respect me.

Well, you're popular with me. It's strange. I feel like I can talk to you.

She spoke of her vile mother, her grief over the death of her father, the glory days when Richard scooped her up and then jettisoned wife and children for what she called a nonstop fuckfest.

It's a peculiar trait of the privileged, immediate incautious intimacy.

But Sheba went well beyond the tendencies of her class.

She was utterly candid, a novice confessing to the mother superior.

You know, marriage and kids, I mean, it's wonderful, but it doesn't give you meaning.

It gives you an imperative but it doesn't help you...

My father always used to say, you know, on the tube, "Mind the gap."

I don't know. It's just the distance between life as you dream it and life as it is.

I know exactly what you mean.

A gold-star day.

I always knew we'd be friends.

Our mutual reserve inhibited us, but now it is manifest, a spiritual recognition.

Many of you will enjoy Christmas.

S and I share the ability to see through the quotidian awfulness of things.

In a different, better age, we would be ladies of leisure, lunching together, visiting galleries, travelling, putting the world to rights.

We would be companions.

Christ by highest heaven adored Christ the everlasting Lord Late in time behold him come Offspring of a virgin's womb It's taken. I'm saving it for Sheba.

Sorry.

Hail the incarnate Deity Pleased as man with man to dwell Jesus, Emmanuel Hark! The herald angels sing Glory to the newborn King


Very good. Well done.

Hark! The herald angels sing

"Glory to the newborn King"

Hark! The herald angels sing

"Glory to the newborn King"

Hark! The herald angels sing Glory to the newborn King


Ben, pop it in the car, sweetheart. Hello?

I need to speak to you about Steven Connolly.

Who? Let's not, shall we?

Doubtless you're aware you've committed a criminal of fence.

I'll be with you at five.

Let's go to the pub, OK?

When will you tell them?

I need to know the circumstances.

You must inform me of everything.

Actually, you were there when I first saw him.

I think you gave him a telling off.

I gave him a slight ticking off.

He dedicated his goal to me.

It amused me, nothing more.

Then a few days later he came to see me.

Would you have a look at me drawings?

I'll look in class. You do Art, don't you?

I'm not allowed. I'm special needs.

I gotta do extra reading instead.

Did you do these at home?

These are good.

You can draw.

If we pull strings for one child the whole system will unravel.

But he's talented. He's found something he believes in.

Well, they're all talented.

You found your gem, as Sue would say.

I said that I would teach him after school, but only if he felt like it.

It's our job, isn't it? Within specified hours and curriculum.

Barbara, he came every day for two weeks.

Yes, I was flattered, but more than that.

I was excited to find someone who wanted to learn.

And he imagined this sort of helicopter 500 years ago. it does your brain in.

But surely you must have suspected his motives?

I sensed he had a little crush on me, but so what?

It was innocent.

That's so much better. You've absolutely got that knuckle.

Nailed it.

Do that again, Miss. Don't be silly. Off you go.

What are you having for tea, Miss? Probably buy something on the way home.

Are you a good cook? Not really.

You suck?

Go home, Steven.

That's when you should have stopped it. I did.

I told him I wouldn't teach him any more.

But he refused to accept it. He just kept coming back.

Miss!

It began to feel like our secret, and secrets can be seductive.

D'you wanna come for a walk? Absolutely not.

I'm going home to my family. As should you.

Miss!

My dad's got the sack. He's been taking it out on me.

His father hit him. He didn't tell his mum because she was ill.

- Does your mother know? Kidney disease.

It's taking months for an operation. He was so vulnerable.

If he does it again, you tell me.

Thanks, Miss.

You're beautiful, Miss.

You don't know how beautiful you are.

I hadn't been pursued like this for years.

I knew it was wrong and immoral and completely ridiculous, but I don't know.

I just allowed it to happen.

The boy is 15!

But he's quite mature for his age. "But" is not a helpful word here.

This is going to sound sick but something in me felt entitled. You know, I've been good all my adult life.

I've been a decent wife, dutiful mother, coping with Ben.

This voice inside me kept saying, "Why shouldn't you be bad?

"You know, why shouldn't you transgress? You've earned the right."

I said get out, Denzel.

The rest of you get on with your work, please.

Hurry up.


Sue phoned. OK if I meet her for a drink?

Sure. I'll put bug-a-lugs to bed.

Evening, Miss.


Make yourself comfortable.

It's incredibly important we keep this secret.

Does anyone know you're here? No.

Miss.

I'm no genius, but I ain't a dickhead.

I won't tell no one.

You can trust me.

We'd both get into terrible trouble.


It was easy, like having another drink when you know you shouldn't.

Can I smoke, Miss?

You can do what you want, but enough of this "Miss".

Were you a model once?

Well, you should have been. You're well fit.

Gosh, but don't I know it.

You're into The Streets?

Well, my daughter is.

Is she the same age as me?

None of your beeswax.

Well, anyway, the point is you're fit.

Well, so are you.

You reckon? My sister thinks I look like a bollock with measles.

You've done my brain in.


You wanna do it again?

What?

Yes.

I wanna do it again.

I wanna do it again.

The day we met, it had already begun?

Yes.

Deputy head in the morning.

Noble sentiment, Connolly. Next time, words, not fists.

Get inside, both of you.

And you had further relations that day? We went to the art room.

Well, I'm glad I was such an aphrodisiac. I was trying to help you.

You did. I'm incredibly grateful.

You've been such a good friend.

Not reciprocated, it seems.

I desperately wanted to confess to you.

But how could I?

Barbara?

It would have put you in an impossible situation.

I so wish I had.

You would have made me see sense.

And then I realised my fury had blinded me.

There was a magnificent opportunity here.

Can we go inside? I'm absolutely freezing.

With stealth, I might secure the prize long term, forever in my debt.

I could gain everything by doing nothing.

Look...

I know you have to tell them. You know, the head, the school.

All I ask is that you wait till the New Year.

I'm begging you. Please let me have this Christmas with my family.

Oh, you poor thing.

You've got yourself into a state?

I'm not going to report you.

I want to help you, to support you through this.

You're not going to tell?

You won't tell anyone? Who would it benefit?

Not you or the boy, and certainly not the school.

No, this is a private matter, and we must keep it so.

Yes.

Maybe I should resign. Oh, no.

No, that might alert suspicion.

No, you must stay at the school, but the affair must end.

Your solemn promise.

I can't help you if you don't promise.

I promise.

So you'll tell him straight after Christmas?

It's all for the best. I know.

Thank you so much. You've been so brilliant.

And you'll tell me when it's done?

Oh! You never said.

Standard issue for spinsters.

She's been off her food. I'm worried about her.

There's a terrific vet up the road. He was great with Ben's rabbit.

Got many people coming tomorrow?

My lot, Richard's lot, including first wife.

Oh. And your mother?

Oh, yes.

Well, happy Christmas. Yeah. You, too.

Thank you so much.

Courage, mon brave.

And bon voyage to her little leprechaun.

Sheba and I share a deep understanding now.

No one can violate our magnificent complicity.

No! Wait till tomorrow! Stop.

You've been gone ages.

Oh.

Barbara was a little... Some school thing.

How's his nibs? Oh, still awake.

He's madly excited. I said he could stay up for you.

And Polly?

Depressed. Oh.

Pete phoned.

They had a row and he's not coming tomorrow.

D'you think he's bad news?

Well, these older men can be very dodgy.

Did Daddy tell you?

He's gonna bin me, I know it.

You're very lovely, darling.

He's clever enough to appreciate it.

I'm fat as fuck, Mum.

He'll be back.

I can't live without him.

Oh...

Her fetish for the boy was simply her snobbery manifested.

He's working class and he likes art, as if he were a monkey who just strolled out of a rainforest and asked for a gin and tonic.

Have you heard from that friend of yours, Barbara?

Bar? Wakey-wakey.

Lorraine was asking if you'd heard from that nice friend of yours.

Who? Jennifer Dodd.

Oh.

She left the school.

She's teaching in a primary at Stoke.

There's a chap, apparently. I heard they're engaged.

But it's true, it would be insane, wouldn't it?

It's the most ridiculous time for him to sell.

Well, that's what I said.

I know. He should give me a ring.

It's absolute madness for him. I'm happy to...

There you are, darling.

...Victorian parent or something. I'm nothing of the kind!

Darling, can we have gravy? There's no gravy. Sorry.

Why can't we just have...


God knows. But this is what she's like.

Ever since Ronald died, she's drifted inexorably.

You see, her father was an exceptional man. Exceptional.

Bathsheba's a loner, I'm afraid.

She's beautiful, thank God, and it's got her through, but it's not quite the same as possessing substance.

Happy Christmas.

What are you doing here? Everyone's inside.

Aren't you gonna open it?

It's made of real fake gold.

Thank you. What's up?

I haven't heard from you.

I can't see you any more.

I'm sorry. I...

I just can't. It's over.

Why? Bash?

Bash!

She's not here.

Was that your dad?

No.

He's an uncle.

Do you wanna end it? Please don't look at me like that.

Have you gone off me? No.

You should go. Please, don't make...

Just go.


She gave me what?

What colour are they? Is it Pete?


I long to phone S, but it's late.

Poor girl, all alone with her awful family.

Our lives are acutely similar in so many respects.

Sis?

Oh.

Writing the old diary? I can't imagine how you keep at it.

I'd have nothing to say.

Aw.

Hello.

You know you're welcome whenever you want, not just once a year.

It's just that I'm rather busy at the moment.

Your racy London life.

I'm glad it's so full.

I'm sorry about Jennifer. She was lovely.

Is there anyone else? Someone else who's special?

I don't know what you mean.

I... I didn't mean to pry.


Belated Christmas present.

Oh, thank you.

Oh, my word.

Asprey.

How is she?

You are the most wonderful friend.

Any good?

It's a masterpiece.

Don't they teach you anything?

We used to worship her.

Take it off. What's it for?

Just take it off, please. I'm still making it.

Yeah, but why?

It's for my son. But he's 12, isn't he?

He's got Dawn's syndrome.

You never said.

Right.

Sorry.

Oh...

Oh.

I'm sure she's had a very happy life.

Well, yes.

She has. Thank you.

We can make her more comfortable for the next few weeks, but it will be weeks rather than months.

You've had a terrible shock.

Where's Richard? I don't want to disturb you.

It's fine. Everyone's out.

Can they treat her?

He says it's just a matter of weeks.

She's only a pet. Oh, no.

I cried for weeks when our dog died. Weeks.

One does get so attached.

I should leave you in peace.

Yeah.

I like that top. It suits you. Oh. Thanks.

When I was at school if one of us had had some bad news or was a bit down, we used to stroke each other.

You know, someone would do one arm and someone else the other.

It was a wonderful sensation.

Did you do that at your school?

No.

It's incredibly relaxing for the giver and the receiver.

Close your eyes. No, no, really. Oh...

It doesn't work if you don't.


There's a good girl. That's enough.

No, close your eyes.

Look, I really think that's enough, Barbara.

There's someone in your garden! He came over the wall.

It's probably the neighbour's boy, lost his football.

No, he's going into the summer house!

It's just a kid from next door. Forget it.

Where are you? I've been dreaming about your hot, sweet cunt all morning.

Hello?

- Hello? Richard's on his way home.

No, I can't. No, I can't. I'll call you. Barbara! Barbara, I'm sorry! I'm sorry!

I'm so sorry. Bar.

I tried to end it, honestly. I just couldn't.

I risked everything for you, and in return you humiliate me.

I didn't mean to upset you. I need your help more than ever. Please don't go like this.

You promised to end it. Why didn't you? Because I...

What? You're in love?

And the child, do you imagine he reciprocates your soppy feelings?

I dare say he's fascinated by the neurotic compulsions of a middle-class lady with marital problems. Bar...

There's nothing crueller than boys.

Once he's had his fill he'll discard you like an old rag.

You're not young!

I say this to help you. End it now.

Yeah. I'm thinking. Don't think. Do.

Do, do, do, do! Or shall I sit here doing my nails till your husband returns?

No, no, no! Please. I'll do it. Well, what are you waiting for?


Mr. Connolly.

I'm Mrs. Hart from St George's. Steven's not in trouble.

I need to talk to him about an art project...

Oh, yeah. Come in. Come in.

Thank you. It's just upstairs there.

It's good of you to give him extra lessons. It's the first on your left.

It's probably best to knock.

So that's your vicious father?

You wanted a sob story, I gave it to you.

You lied to me. Oh, sorry, Miss!

You prefer it if I live in a shithole?

And your mother?

I think she's gonna pull through.

What do you want? What are you doing here?

They're gonna expel me now!

No, they won't. I'll get the blame if she tells.

As if she won't!

She likes me. She might not.

Likes you how? Like that? You giving her one and all?

Why are you being so cruel?

Why, Steven?

I really like you. You're a nice person and you've been cool and it's been great, OK?

But it was supposed to be fun, and now it's a serious thing.

Whatever shit you're working out, you know, your husband, your kid, you...

I don't know.

I can't help you.


As my mother would have said, the boy done her like a kipper.

She has nowhere to turn but trusty old Bar.

She mopes and mourns for her pubescent paramour

but she knows my interventions have saved her life and she is sweetly grateful.

Her betrayal hurt me more than I dare show, but I will forgive her and heal myself in private.

She's worth it, this one.

She's the one I've waited for.

She's beginning to understand that her dalliance with Master Connolly was a consequence of her dead marriage.

It's a sham fuelled only by the memory of former glories.

Whereas we are going through the fire, forging our friendship with a stronger bond each day.

In fact, we are now entering a delicate new phase.

We are silently and stealthily negotiating the terms of a life lived together.

Now more than ever, we are bound by the secrets we share.

I'm invited to drop in on them this summer at their house in the Dordogne.

I might just do that.

I once sat here discussing Elgar for three hours.

God, who with? Oh, just a friend.

Jennifer. This was our haunt.

We were quite chummy for a while, but poor thing, she suffered from a terrible depression. Oh.

I tried to help, but she rather unravelled.

She became alarmingly deluded.

Did she go to hospital?

No.

No, she got a job in Stoke.

When was this? Last summer.

But I feel I should have done more. I'm sure she knows you did your best.

Such a sensitive person.

One conceals it, of course.

People languish for years with partners who are clearly from another planet.

We want so much to believe that we've found our other.

It takes courage to recognise the real as opposed to the convenient.

When I was young I had such a vision of myself.

I dreamed I'd be someone to be reckoned with, you know, in the world.

But one learns one's scale.

I've such a dread of ending my days alone.

Yes. I... We all do.

But recently I've allowed myself to think that I may not be.

Am I wrong?

No.

Do you want to stay?

Sometimes people find it comforting to see them at peace.

Would you like to come back in 20 minutes to say goodbye?

Have you got your seat belt on? Oh, no. What the fuck?

Oh, God, not her! Shut up. I won't be a minute.

Mum, don't get out of the car! Is it Portia? Oh, no.

I've got to go back to the vet's after it's done.

Will you come with me? I can't on my own.

Of course I would. It's just that Ben's doing his play at his school...

Play? We're all going. We're late, actually.

Someone has died! I... I know.

And it's terribly sad. You owe me this!

Ben, can't you make her vanish? Use your wand.

He's doing a show for the first time in his life.

That's your choice, is it?

Why don't you come?

I thought you understood what friendship means.

He's my child. He's my son.

He's just a little boy. Don't play the good mother with me.

Could you tell me what's going on? Is this some kind of coven?

I can explain perfectly.

Barbara's had some bad news about her cat.

My condolences. Poor pussy. Now, can I have my wife back, please?

I don't like your tone. Why is she here?

What kind of fucking spell has she cast on you?

Ben is getting stressed. He's gonna blow! Oh, for God's sake. Get in the car!

Give me a minute, will you? I can handle this.

I'm to be handled, am I? Like toxic waste?

You see me on sufferance. I'm an imposition to be tolerated.

No, of course not. I love our time together. I'm your good, good friend.

Then stay with me.

I would if I could.

I'm desperately sorry about Portia, but you can see, I have to go.

Think very carefully, madam. Be aware of the consequences.

Don't make this mean any more than it is.

Stay with me.

I don't know what I'll do. Let's go!

Look, I'll call you, I promise. Come on!

They always let you down in the end.

Jennifer said I was too intense.

Meaning what, exactly?

That I am loyal in my friendships?

That I will go to the ends of the earth for someone I admire?

Shazam!


Not disturbing you, am I?

It's just...

I need to talk to you about Mrs. Hart.

Sheba. Ah.

It's a bit delicate.

Can I come in?

Tea? Oh, lovely, thanks.

You haven't got a biscuit?

Cheers.

Would you like me to take your hat? Ah. Been up the Lane.

White Hart Lane, home of the mighty Spurs.

Were you victorious? Three-nil. Jermain Defoe. Get in there!

My father was a supporter of Charlton Athletic.

Never seemed to give him any pleasure.

Where's the moggy?

She's dead.

Oh, dear.

Oh, my condolences. Aw.

Oh, is this not a good time?

It's a very good time.

Mrs. Hart. Yeah.

It's just...

Anything you tell me will be in strictest confidence.

Well, the thing is, I was wondering if she's ever mentioned me.

Does she ever mention me?

Let me think. No, never.

Actually, yes.

She mentioned you had invested in a new shirt last term.

Splashed out at Nicole Farhi.

Thing is, over the last few months... Well, ever since I met her, really, I've...

Brian, are you in love?

I've been a bit bloody obvious, haven't I?

You've been utterly clandestine.

So she mentioned the shirt? You do know she's married?

Yeah, but she's quite flirty, and you never know with people, do you?

Indeed you don't. But...

I wouldn't wanna make a move if I'm just gonna get knocked back.

What with staff politics and the head being such a stickler, you have to be careful.

It's a minefield.

So would...

I mean, do you think you could have a word with her and just suss the lie of the land?

You'd like me to ask Mrs. Hart if she's inclined to commit adultery with you?

I don't want you to suffer more than is necessary. No one should.

I couldn't possibly speak for Mrs. Hart, but instinct tells me you might not be her type.

She's got a type, then?

Oh, it's no reflection on your attractiveness.

But my impression is that her preference is for the younger man.

Surprisingly young.

Boys, I'm told.

Naturally, she doesn't discuss any of this with me.

But I've been hearing some rather alarming rumours about one in particular.

Playground gossip, staff room whispers and so on.

You might know the boy in question.

Steven Connolly.

Year 10?

I think the kettle's boiled.

You say the words and it's done.

Easy.

Judas had the grace to hang himself, but only according to Matthew, the most sentimental of the apostles.

Is this the last night of her old life?

I wonder how long my messenger will take.

Thank you.

People like Sheba think they know what it is to be lonely, but of the drip, drip of long-haul, no-end-in-sight solitude, they know nothing.

What it's like to construct an entire weekend around a visit to the launderette or to be so chronically untouched that the accidental brush of a bus conductor's hand sends a jolt of longing straight to your groin.

Of this, Sheba and her like have no clue.

Bar, I'm so sorry about today.

It was an impossible situation.

Richard's really sorry too.

Poor you.

But why not come for supper?

Actually, I write quite quickly.

It's the thinking that takes an eternity.

But you're never satisfied. When you're lecturing, you long for time to write, and when you've got it, you yearn to be back with your students.

More coffee, anyone? I'll have a slug.

Barbara?

No, thank you.

Yes? Are you her husband?

What? Whose? Don't you dick with me, mister!

Don't you dick me around! Where is she?

Tell her Steven Connolly's mother wants to see her now!

Excuse me! Maggie!

You slut! You fucking whore! Maggie!

How could you? How could you? Maggie! Maggie!

He's only a child! A wee boy! He's a child!

What the hell is going on?

You ask your wife what's going on! Ask her!

You perverted bitch! Bitch! Maggie!

Come on. Leave them alone! Come on, Maggie. Leave them alone.

Bitch! You fucking... Leave them alone, Maggie.

Come on. Leave them alone, eh?

There's nothing for us here.

It happened. It just happened.

People make things happen.

You think you're the only one who's wanted someone young?

Everyone sometimes, everyone thinks about...

But they deal with it!

By the time I took my seat in the gods, the opera was well into its final act.

You're his teacher! And you were mine!

I'm not justifying. I'm not trying to justify it!

You are so full of shit!

It's totally different! You were 20.

He's 16 in May. He's not some innocent...

Of course he's innocent!

He's fucking 15!

Are you insane?

If you meant to destroy us, why not do it with an adult? That's the convention.

It's worked for centuries. It wasn't about us. It...

Why? I just wanted him.

Why? I don't know!

Well, find out!

Sheba? And... No! Yep. Connolly, yes. Yes, honestly.

My guilt is tempered with relief.

She assumes the boy cracked and told his mother all.

Who am I to disabuse her?

Oh, Brian. Brian.

Brian.

Brian, do stop a minute, please.

Today, St George's School is a solemn place.

A source close to the school has indicated another member of staff may have known of the relationship.

This, however, is categorically denied by the local authority.

Had I known anything, I would have informed you immediately.

My loyalty is to the school.

Brian thinks you've known for months. Brian!

Then there is Sue... Will you run through the entire staff?

If you knew and turned a blind eye, you have enabled a crime.

I didn't, so I haven't. You're due for retirement next year.

I think it would benefit everyone if you take it early.

So it's a witch hunt. Salem comes to Islington.

The stress of the job, radical new ideas not to your taste...

I've a radical idea. Your school, your disaster. Why don't you resign?

Because I am not the confidante of a criminal!

Now, tell me about your friendship with Mrs. Hart.

I think you'll find a close friendship between consenting adults is legal, even under your regime.

My record is beyond reproach. The majority of the staff regard me as a moral guardian.

I've just spoken to an ex-member of our staff, another of your "close" friends.

Jennifer Dodd.

As you are aware, Jennifer became unwell. That's why she had to leave the school.

Jennifer threatened you with a restraining order.

That's nonsense.

A fax from her solicitor. She didn't want you within 500 yards of her by law!

You call that a friendship?

She told me that you sent her fiancé a wreath!

Now, we wouldn't want all this to come out, would we?

A lifetime of dedicated service ending in shame and humiliation?

It's your choice, Barbara.


He knows it was me.

Does she know, too?

More than I can bear. Is that why she's not returned my calls?

Barbara, have you spoken to Sheba Hart yet?

Why are you friends with a paedophile? Did you teach the boy at all?

Barbara, how's Sheba's husband taking all this?

Barbarians.

Sorry about your job.

You see, the headmaster thought I knew.

No!

Where is she?

In her lair.

Your boyfriend is younger than mine!

He's not my boyfriend.

You slept with a child!

Oh, Jesus wept! The spectre at the feast.

You watch your tongue, madam. Frigging freak!

Oh, there, there.

Thanks for coming.

I'm so sorry about school.

Was he... Thank you. Was he awful to you?

Listen, you could say no, I'd completely understand, but Richard...

He needs some time alone. He's asked me to leave.

Can I come and stay with you, just for a few days?

You're welcome for as long as you like.

When's she coming out?

Is Ben at school?

Does he know what's happening?

It's really none of your business.

What about the kids?


I knew who you were when we met.

You were young, and I knew it might get tough but I was prepared.

You're a good mother, but at times you've been a fucking lousy wife.

Why didn't you come to me?

You could have told me how lonely you were.

You never trusted me to help you.

I'm not saying I was so fucking fabulous, but I was here.

There she is! There she is!

This last month has been the most delicious time of my life.

Of course, we've had our ups and downs.

The pressure is intense when two women share their lives.

But, oh, what marvelous intensity it is!

It's the crone!

Barbara! Barbara! Barbara!

Is Sheba coming out?

Circumstances are not always ideal.

The swinish press, the stringent bail terms, meetings with lawyers and so on.

But all things considered, we 're coping admirably.

In fact, gold stars abundant.

The cuckold permits her to see their children once a week.

There are usually tears and fits of teenage tantrums, too.

In time, she'll recognise she's just not the mothering kind, and then Barbara will be there to comfort her.

Nurse, beloved friend, and wise counsel.


The crone returneth!

Were you pushed or did you jump?

If you jumped, was it into a dyke?

Is Sheba alive? What have you done with her?

How's the family coping, Barbara?

Barbara! Barbara! Barbara!

Sheba?

What you say about me, about Richard...

You're not fit to shine his shoes.

And Ben and Polly, that I'd be happier without them?

Why did you do it?

Because I didn't help you collect your cat?

You've cost me my family!

Take some responsibility!

I gave you exactly what you wanted. You'd still be stuck in that marriage without me.

What? You can't accept it yet...

You think I wanted to be here with you? You need me! I'm your friend!

You've put me in prison! I could get two years!

They'll fly by. I'll visit you every week. We've so much life to live together.

You think this is a love affair?

A relationship?

What, sticky gold stars and a strand of my hair?

And a receipt from Pizza Express?

It's a flat in the Archway Road and you think you're Virginia frigging Woolf!

Where did you get my hair?

Did you pluck it from the bath with fucking tweezers?

Don't you know it's rude to read a person's diary?

We're not companions. We're not friends. You don't like me!

That's not true. I only have tender feelings for you, only love!

You're barking, fucking mad. You don't know how to love.

You have never your whole life. Me, Jennifer Dodd...

You're nothing but waste and disappointment, you bitter old virgin!

You're lonely for a reason. They loathed you at school, all of them.

I was the idiot who bothered, but only because no one told me you're a vampire!

So what is it, Bar? You wanna roll around the floor like lovers?

You wanna fuck me? Please don't diminish our...

Our what? What? No! Give it back.

I... I know you. Selfish and vain, you think you have a divine right.

You don't belong in the world, you belong here! You big baby!

Here I am!

Here I am!


We never invited you to the fucking Dordogne.

I'm sorry, but you specifically said if I happened to be in France I should drop in.

We didn't mean it.

Well, fine.

I won't come, then.

I asked you to lunch because I liked you.

I would have been your friend.

I need more than a friend.


I knew her.

Sorry?

I knew her. Really?

Mm.

We taught at the same school. God.

What was she like?

A bit chilly.

A touch furtive.

A sort of absent person.

Oh, but I didn't know her well. May I?

Mm-hm.

Do you still teach? No, no.

Retired.

Thank goodness.

You... Oh.

Here. Thanks.

I love it here. Mm.

It's spectacular at dusk.

I'm Barbara.

Annabel.

I wonder, Annabel, do you like music? Oh, yes.

It's just that I've got tickets for Handel's Water Music at the Albert Hall on Saturday night.

You could bring a friend if there's someone...

Oh, no. Oh, no. There isn't.