The Child in Time (2017) Script

Sir? Do you want me to stay with you? Sir?

Er... no. No, thank you.

Once we get to your home, I'll give it 15 minutes and I'll follow you inside. Yeah.

You took your time, didn't you?

I was about to send out a search party.

Where is she? She was there. She was there.

Stephen, where is she? She was just there.

She was right there.

What do you mean? I don't know.

What do you mean? Where is she?

Where is she now?

Oh, I hope you don't mind me saying, but you're telling the world you're not at home.

Your note. People see your note and they know you're out.

People? I'm just saying.

Why advertise you're out?

Fucking because.


Just keep going, ploughing on.

You write reams of the stuff if you feel the need 'cause, hey, your editor will edit.

Look, trust me, Stephen, there are hundreds of thousands of children out there.

They're all eagerly awaiting the next Stephen Lewis masterpiece.

I wish.

It's true, you know it is, myself included.

That's excellent. Thank you.

But what I don't want you to be doing, right, is sitting up there, with your thumb up your arse, waiting for the news. I'm having the duck.

Yep, me too. And a fizzy water, please, Paul.

I feel like getting drunk.

I'm afraid I can't, but don't let that stop you.

Work? Reading and an early night.

I'll have a good drink with you, Stephen.

Thank you, Thelma.

So, how's the committee work progressing?

It's fine.

Are you managing to stay awake?

I am riveted.

Drop it if it's not for you, although you are the poster boy.

Not really.

Believe me, when the brave new report is finally published, they are going to trumpet your involvement.

Minimal involvement.

Then drop it. I only asked you to get you out of yourself.

Er... you should also know that I'm... I'm leaving the government and my sideline in publishing, so there.

Why would you want to do that? Retiring.

Retreating to the countryside.

It's something we've been wrestling with for some time.

The decision's made.

I don't mind you giving up running the country, but why the books? Why me?

20 years of 18-hour days have made Charles a very dull boy.

You adore 18-hour days.

He hasn't even told the Prime Minister yet. You're very privileged.

I'm sorry. I really do have to take this. It's New York.

George? Yeah, all right, ten seconds.

We'll find some privacy.

He really does need to stop everything.

He's not ill, is he? No.

He's just tired, that's all, of being Charles, of being responsible.

Hey, you can visit, you know. We're not leaving the country.

Yeah, but who's gonna look after me?

Who's gonna take me out for nice expensive dinners and get me drunk?

You'll have to find another companion.

Perhaps the person who asks me on a weekly basis how you are.

You talk to Julie every week?

Well, you should go and see her.

I'm waiting for the invitation. Maybe she's waiting for a call.

Or are you planning on avoiding each other till the end of days?

Call her.

Hey, don't look now, but the table behind are having jam roly-poly.

I said not to look. I'm having it.

How was New York? Rude. Yeah, very rude.

No longer my problem.

To another life. I'll drink to that.

Tight hold.

You're not too warm in that jacket, are you?

No, that's okay.

Good. Silly Daddy thought it was gonna rain.

Daddy, are we going fast?

How fast? Very, very fast?


Stupidly, ridiculously, illegally fast?


Hair-flying-in-the-wind fast? Yes.

All right. Well, there's no one around.

Now, ready, steady, go. Hold on.

Kate, darling, stand still.

Wait for Daddy.

That's 53.76 pounds. Are you collecting the school vouchers?


Do you have a points card? No.

Cashback? No, no, thank you.

And PIN number, please. Mm.

Okay, and remove your card. Thank you.

Thanks. Yeah, thank you.

Right, thank you. Bye-bye. Okay.

Oh, shit.

Kate? Sorry.


Kate? Has anyone seen a little girl, a four-year-old girl?

She was wearing a yellow coat. She was... she's called Kate.

She... No? Please? Kate?



Please! Has anyone seen a four-year-old girl?

She... she was wearing a yellow coat. Her name's Kate.

Please? Please, you must have seen her.

She was standing just there when I was paying. No?



We'll find her.

I promise you.


Hi. It's me.

We seem to have sleepwalked our way into a situation where we are apparently quite happy to hand over our children to complete strangers.

Parenting is being outsourced.

Parents have more important things to do, essential things to do, like earn money to pay for housing and food and childcare.

It used to be that Granny would help, but Granny is now miles away and so childcare is being contracted to a faux extended family of police-checked strangers, agency workers, whose major qualification is a willingness to work for as little as is legal and often less.

Financial pressures are eroding family life and threatening the welfare of our children.

Families need help.

Financial help.

'Young families need...'


'Hey, it's me. You're still coming, aren't you?'

Yeah, definitely, yeah.

'Good. Would you mind bringing my old music sheets?

'They're in the sideboard, I think.' Okay.

'You don't mind?' No, no problem.

'Thank you. Kettle's on.'

Now I've got some top tips 'on how you can take charge of selling your own home

'and save thousands of pounds in bargains.

'Single mum Lily Spencer wants to live in a smaller house...'

She's not a cat.

I know she's not a fucking cat.

I'm trying to find her. Well, you lost her.

'You might buy a nice car...'

'...and have shops and schools nearby.'

I didn't mean that.

Why don't I just sit on my arse all day and watch TV as well?

'But everywhere there's clutter and this makes your house...'

Morning, morning. Prime Minister.

Morning. How are we? Prime Minister.

Morning. Morning.


Let me read to you an extract.

It's from the first draft of what I'll be personally recommending to be "The Authorised Childcare Handbook.

Now, there's this one line.

"We could do worse than conclude, as many have before us, "that from respect for school and home

"we derive our deepest loyalties for nation."

Simple and profound.

Sorry. Am I being dim here? What does it mean?

Discipline. Respect.

Doesn't it have a hint of ultra?

Am I the only one hearing this? I mean, it sounds harsh.

Like parents, it's the responsibility of the government to create boundaries.

Families and schools who operate within these boundaries will be rewarded.

Those who don't... The naughty step.

The naughty step. Hm? Ha-ha.


I love you.

I love you more.

I'm so competitive.

Not find her, then?

Play your piano.

What is it you want? You want me to give up?


I want you to give up.

Because you always let me down.

You never bring her home and you're drinking too much.

I'm supposed to drink too much.

I can't live here anymore!


Oh, fuck.

Oh, for fuck's sake.

Hi. I'm... I'm here.


I... I'm in the village.

'I think I turned right instead of left.'

Oh, you prick.

Er... no, well, I'll... I'll be with you soon.

How far is it?

About ten minutes. Everything all right?

Hm? Yeah.

Yeah, no, yeah, I'm just, er... I'm being a prick.

'Kettle's on.'


Oh, my goodness.


What happened to you?

I swear, when I left the flat this morning, I was spotless.

You never said there'd be mud.

You're covered in it. You'd best get out of those clothes.

I'll put them through the wash. Thank you. Shoes off here?



You can wear my dressing gown, which fortunately used to be your dressing gown.

Yeah, for all of a week.

You never wore it. Never had the chance.

This is nice. It's lovely.

I like it.

Thank you.

Been working out? Being funny?

Er... have I... have I been here before, the village?

Not that I know, not with me. Why?

I don't know really. It looks familiar. I thought I had.

Part familiar.

I'd lose the socks if I were you.


You look nice, by the way.

You look well. Well?

You... lovely. You look lovely.

Well fit.

How long's it been now? Almost a year.

Hm. Christ.

Beautiful is the word I was looking for. You look beautiful.

Thank you.

You could use a wash. Yeah.

It's all in your hair.

Mucky pup.

You've lost weight.

Just a little.

You smell like you.

That's because I am me.


I've been here for almost an hour and you haven't even offered me so much as a cup of tea.

Oh, bugger. What?

Need the loo. Don't wanna move.


Mummy? When are we going to the shops?

My turn. Then I'll make you that tea.

It can wait.

You must be hungry?

I teach a few hours at a few schools locally.

I play Saturdays at a hotel about five miles from here and I give lessons.

I make ends meet. What else is there?

Sounds good.

It's nice, I like it, and the train is just a muddy field away.

The village, ten minutes' walk.

So, how did you manage to turn right instead of left?


Disoriented by my fall.

And how did you manage to fall?

Er... I was running because I thought I'd seen her.

There was a girl in a yellow raincoat.

I turned the corner out of the station and I...

She went towards the village so I followed her.

You followed her? I'm an idiot.

I'm still looking for her.

Not actively, just out of the corner of my eye.

I am a little bit better.

Have you still got your private detective?

No. No, he gave up. I think he got bored of taking my money.

So, that was good of him.

After he'd finished paying off his mortgage.


If it's any consolation, I see her too.

But I make sure I'm doing other things as well.

She's out there.


Are you busy... writing?

Yeah, yeah, er...

I'm writing a story about a boy who wants to become a fish.

Why does he want to become a fish?

I can't tell you that. It's top, top secret.

Why not a dog? It's been done before.

And dogs sniff other dogs' balls. Arses.

Who'd want to do that? It's gross. Kids would love it.

Yeah. Yeah, they would.

I'll just check on your clothes.

Wouldn't want them to shrink.

What time's your train?

At four o'clock and... and there's another at six-ish, I think.

Dry as a bone. Thank you.

Are you finished with that? Yeah, yes.

Are we gonna talk about what happened just now?

Did I miss something?

It was very nice and that's all I have to say on the matter.

I'm surprised I remembered what to do.

Which is my way of saying there hasn't been anyone else.

Same. There's no-one else.

Just me. Good.

I mean... if you're happy.

I know what you mean.

Hello? 'It's me.'

Question. What would you say if I asked to stay the night?

'Not a good idea?' Not really.

What if I threw myself in another puddle?

It seemed to make me irresistible last time.

Still not a good idea.

Sorry. 'Thought I'd ask, but you're right.'

Is it always gonna be like this... between us?

Yes, of course it is. It's... it has to be.

Yes. It will always be like this.

But maybe that doesn't have to be a bad thing.

A bad thing happened and we've got to live with it.

Move on?

Is that possible?

Do we want to do that?

'Still there?' Yeah, still here.

'It was lovely to see you.'

And you.

'I'll call you.'


It has been shown, proven, that we use but a fraction of our intellectual, emotional and intuitive resource.

Now, it's clear we get by on very little of our grey matter.

Members of the committee, we have undernourished our capacity for empathic and magical participation in creation.

'We are preventing the growing mind of a child

'from receiving...'

By forcing literacy onto children between the ages of five and seven, we are shattering the unity of the child's world view.

Madam Chairman, literacy should not be introduced to a child until the ages of 11 or 12, corresponding with the brain's natural and...

11 or 12?

You're saying that we shouldn't introduce the written word to children until they're 11 or 12?

Correct. I don't think that's correct.

That's most definitely incorrect.

Based on what evidence?

Well, experience.

An anecdote, then?

There have been trials in Sweden that have proven...

Based on the joy of a three-year-old child when she almost writes her name for the first time, or the joy of a four-year-old when she picks words or parts of words from a sign or a poster, which then in turn leads to the most wonderful, wondrous conversations.

Or imagine the child sitting on a parent's knee when it's having a story read aloud to it and... and tracing all the words on the page quite wrongly and...

...marvelling at those meaningless black splodges which... somehow enable closeness, bring... warmth, happiness and comfort and... ease the separation at night.

I suggest that you are looking at the scenario from the adult's perspective and not the child...

You can suggest what you want, but I know what I saw and I know how she felt so that's how I know for certain that you're talking complete bollocks.

What a brilliant way to finish the day. Well done, you.

I wasn't too rude, was I?

Not at all. And if you were, he deserved it.

I've never heard such tripe.

Could I treat you to a coffee?

Er... yeah. Why not?


Are you writing at the moment? Yes, yes, I am.

A book? Yes.

Of course a book. About what?

Can you tell me or would you have to kill me?

No, it's... it's about a boy who wants to become a fish.

Ah, what kind of fish?

Er... well, a colourful fish, tropical fish, actually.

How lovely. How far have you got?

He holds his breath under the water for about 43 seconds in the bathtub so...

Excuse me, Mr Lewis.

My name's Joanna Buckley. I work at Number 10.

The Prime Minister would like to see you, please.

Prime Minister? Yes.

What, here? Now? Yes, he's not far.

Er... Looks like I'm outranked.

Another time maybe? Yes, definitely another time.

That would be nice.

You address him as Prime Minister unless he tells you differently.

Right. It's just here.

Mr Lewis. Thank you so much for sparing the time.

Prime Minister. It's the Home Secretary.

His children are avid readers of yours.

Thank you. It's nothing to do with me.

It's their nanny.

Important work happening on your committee.

Well, I hope so, hopefully.

It's vital that someone like yourself is involved.

Now, we've a mutual good friend, I believe?

Charles Darke. Yes.

When did you see him last?

Oh, er... some time ago. We had dinner.

How was he?

He was Charles.

Er... can I ask why?

Did he mention discontent at all?

No, no, he... he was in good form.

Er... we talked books and...

Well, he was himself.

Will you be seeing him any time soon?

I'm... sure.

Yes, I'll... I'll visit him once he's settled in.

I'd like to know how he is, in... in himself.

In... in confidence. Could you do that?

I can't... I can't spy on him, no.

And we wouldn't dream of asking.

But you can let concerned colleagues know how he is.

Can't you?

Charles is important to me personally and, I believe, to the country.

Okay. Good man.

As soon as you can manage.

I'd very much appreciate your opinion.


Charles, don't bolt your food.

You'll give yourself indigestion.


Had a good day? Mm.

Very. Got blisters on my hands, look.

Oh. Well, don't do too much.

It doesn't hurt.

I'm building a shelter. It's like a den.

I thought about... like a tree house.

But then you'd need ropes, pulleys, tools, none of which you're gonna find on a desert island or a jungle forest.

Yes, well, you'll have to watch out for wildcats.


I mean, you don't have to force it.

Is it forced at all? Your behaviour?

Or is it natural?



What are you looking at? You.

What you gonna do about it?

What's that?

No, it's Mum. I was just, er...

She's doing five things at once, as usual, making dinner.

Oh, I met the PM the other week, the Prime Minister.

He's an arsehole. Very charming arsehole.

Aren't they all? What did he want you for?

Charles Darke, my publisher, ex-publisher, is also retiring from government and the Prime Minister wants to know if I can find out why.

Well, maybe he's developed a conscience, taken an anti-twat pill.

I want to see him. Charles, I mean.

But I feel like now, if I do, I'd be spying on him.

If you wanna see Charles, you should go and see him.

Don't let some ponce dictate when you should go and see a friend.

That's it, all done.

It's nice, very nice.

I think we can be pretty bullish on the asking price.

Can you not say how much it's worth, not out loud?

Could you write it down, please?

Yeah, if that's what you'd like, sure.

That's my card.

If you do decide to go with us, we can send a photographer round any time.

Thank you.

I'm sorry, can I just say that I'm sorry?

But you're the writer and wife.

I remember you from the news and when I saw the bedroom...

I don't know where you get your strength from.

My wife cried buckets, and those fuckers on social media.

Excuse my French, but "trolls" doesn't quite cover it.

Thank you.

Anyway, don't for a second blame yourselves, not for a nanosecond.

Thank you.

I went to see Julie.

Saw her when? Where?

At her cottage.

It's just outside a village called Stanton Lowe in Kent.

Nice? Very nice. Peaceful.

Mm. How's she doing?

Oh, she's doing well. She's doing bits and bobs.

We just had a cup of tea. She sends her love.

Will you be seeing her again? As and when, yeah.


The village was really familiar.

Er... there's a pub there called The Bell.

Did we ever go there before?

Together, I mean, when I was little, younger.

Stanton Lowe? Yeah.


No, I remember a pub called The Bell, but from years ago.

Remember our one and only bike ride, Geoff?

We stopped off at a pub. Stanton Lowe?

I don't remember the name of the village.

When did we go on a bike ride?

Before we were married. Christ.

We borrowed the bikes from your shifty friend Paul and we stopped off at a pub called The Bell.


Did you give her our love?

Julie. Stephen?

Did you tell Julie we're always thinking about her?

Yeah. Yes.


I feel for that girl.

"It was not always the case that a large minority, "comprising the weakest members of society, "were able to devote much of their time to play.

"It should be remembered that childhood is not a natural occurrence.

"Childhood is an invention

"and above all childhood is a privilege, "albeit a necessary privilege."

Prime Minister, I say childhood is a right.

Prime Minister?

Hey, what brings you to the big city?

You do.

It was a very nice surprise to get your call.

I needed provisions and I have a proposition.

Intriguing. Mm. Mm-hm.

Is this you pausing for effect? Is it working?

This way.


So, how would you like to learn to play piano?

Piano? Why?

I mean, do you think I need to learn to play the piano?

You don't need to, no, but it might be something you'd enjoy.

Do you want to give it a try? Er... I don't know.

You don't have to. You always threatened to.

It's your call.

Are you suggesting it would be therapeutic?

It's just something for us to do, maybe, together.

I'd teach you and if you hate it, we stop.

No pressure. If you're too busy...


No, not at all.


We'll make a start, shall we?

Now you.

Nice and slowly at first. There's no rush.

Try not to hit the keys so hard.

That's not bad.

That's good.

Am I a natural?

You could say that. If you were a liar.

Charles? What on earth are you doing?

I don't like it, the fuzz. Some of it's old-man grey.

Well, be careful with those scissors.

One false move...

Oh, yeah, I wouldn't wanna chop off Mr Thing.

Ah, you found us. Eventually. You're well hidden.

You didn't see the yellow ribbon I tied around the tree?

Oh, it's so good to see you. Have you lost weight?

Of course I have. You buggered off and stopped feeding me.

Where is he? He's, er... out, in the woods.

He loves it. Ah, lord of the manor.

You're to find him, go to him, after you've eaten.


He was so pleased to hear you were coming.

He's changed.

So have you. Is that a twinkle in your eye?

No, no, it's just conjunctivitis.

She's started to teach me how to play the piano and I'm finding myself desperate to impress her.

Why's that, I wonder.

Who knows? What's your news?

Oh, reading, mostly.

You know, books I've always wanted to read.

Mm. Bit of writing.

While Charles is, er... off enjoying himself.

How long is it gonna be, his exile?

Oh, I wish I knew.

Well, the PM, no less, wants to know.

The PM can go fuck himself. It's none of his business.

Though they... they've been here snooping.

I've asked them not to.

Is there anything I can do?

You're here.






Over here. Oh.

You walked straight past me. Good to see you.

You too. Ha-ha-ha!


Well, look at you. "Boys in da wood".

Do you want to see my place, my den?

You've got a den? This way.

Keep up.

It's amazing. I've been building it for weeks.

Could be worse. Could easily say he was out jogging.

But he's not out jogging. He's out playing.

Could be worse.

Could destroy the report, if it continues.

Well, then put a stop to it.

Tell him he's grounded.

Oh, for...

Oh, for...

You're not very good at this sort of thing, are you?

I used to be. We're here. Come on.

Big on the inside, like the thingy. Come on.

Wow. Yeah, it's got everything.

Call box, tool box. It's a full box.

Full box? Yeah, games, puzzles. Drink?

Er... no, thanks. I just had a cup of tea with Thelma.

Try some. I made it myself.

Okay. Go on.

Guess what's in it.

Lemons and piss, going by the taste.

Half right.

Oh, my God.

When the weather improves, I'm gonna sleep out.

Did she tell you I've written a book?

Any good? Not really.

Might even become a joke book.

Climb a tree? In these shoes? No, thanks.

You can see for miles. I think I'll give it a miss.

You'll love it.

No, I won't.

Are you chicken? Chicken.

Chicken. What's going on?

What is it that you're doing here?

I'm just having fun.

I'm being myself.

This is you? Yeah, it's a part of me, yeah.

It's mixed up. I mean, it's complicated.

At the same time, you know, it's really easy and I understand it.

And I expect you'll get it, easy.

I'm searching for a child.

And he wasn't taken. I mean, he was, sort of.

He... was forbidden.

He was denied and...

...I need to find him.

You understand that, don't you?

I don't have a fucking clue what you're going on about.

Are you angry with me?

Can you even hear yourself, sitting there with your bottle of piss and talking about searching for a child?

Are you disgusted by me? Yeah.

Yeah, I'm disgusted, I'm disappointed, I'm... disillusioned.

Every "dis" under the sun.

Why? Why do you think?

You need a shave, Charles. You have a man's stubble.

Look down the front of your pants and you have a hairy pair of bollocks.

Yeah, well, that is where you're wrong. So there.

Where are you going now?

Climb a tree!



This is ridiculous.

Charles! Fuck's sake.

Be careful!

It's easy with practice!

Charles! Charles, that's high enough!


Where does all this leave you now, Thelma?

What are you? Are you his wife?

Yes, I'm his wife. Course I'm his wife.

It's why I'm still here.

Putting up with it?


Thank you.

Every day, I remind myself that it's what he wants.

And he's out of time. And that's all.

Not out of his mind? Why can't it be real?

I mean, we all look older but how many of us actually grow up?

Look at the books you write. He's a grown man.

He's a brilliant and sophisticated man.

And you want him back.

He'll be disappointed that you won't stay longer.

Oh, well, I'm sure he'll get over it.

Sorry. I really am being an arsehole.

Yes, you are.

Well, you're right. I just... I want him back, and you, and I'm feeling very sorry for myself.

So, there you go. I'm being childish.

Must be contagious.


I was... I was a bit of a bully to him out in the woods.

I should tell him I'm sorry. You are the grown-up.


Charles? Busy.

Charles, look, I'm... I'm sorry.

When we were in the den, and you were talking about finding a missing child, all I could do was think of Kate and...

I thought you were comparing.

I would never do that. No, I know. I know.

It's my fault. I'm sorry.

It's okay.

It's fine.

Shall I come in? Er...

I betrayed you. What?

No, you haven't. I have.

You'll see. Bollocks. Hairy or otherwise.

I should walk the plank.

You think you'll ever find Kate?

Well, I hope I will.

I'll never believe that I'll never find her so...

She'll have grown.


If you find her ten years from now, she'll be a young woman, almost.

Yes, but she'll still be Kate.

She'll still be my little girl.

You wanna take her to the park and to the slide and swings and just...

...just catch up on all those things you missed.

I'm not comparing, you understand? No, I understand.

And, er...

...I'll try to understand. I...


Thanks for coming, Stephen.

You're my best friend.





Stop, stop the car. What?

Stop the car. I can't, mate. I'm on a red route.

Stop! Mate, there's cameras.

Stop the car! Stop it.

Too young, too young.

Good morning, Mrs Forrester.

Right, show me this one.

And this one. And where did we see this one?

So, your creative writing exercise is to write about your day at the zoo.

So, if you can get to your tables, please.

Thank you, everyone.

And you can do some pictures too.

Hello. Do you know who I am?

Excuse me. Can I help you?

What are you doing? I'm saying hello.

Now's not the time or place.

No, I don't think you understand. I'm her...

I'm sorry. Can I speak to you in private, please, outside?


Children, on with our work, please.

Er... look, I might... I might as well just say it.

The girl that I was just talking to just now, that girl sitting right there, she's my daughter.

Ruth? No, her name's Kate.

Her real name is Kate and... she's my daughter.

I think I should call the Head.

She's my daughter and she was abducted three years ago, which is probably why she doesn't recognise me.

But she will, she will. I know she will, because it's her.


It's Kate.

Mr Lewis.

I do remember your daughter going missing.

The girl you say is your daughter is Ruth Lyle.

If that's what they've called her, yes.

Can I say I know who they are?

I've known Ruth's father Jason Lyle for many years.

He's a parent governor.

I know my daughter and I know that that little girl out there is my daughter.

Now, look. I'm not gonna shout. I'm not gonna make a fuss.

I just want her back.

If I bring Ruth into this office, you're not going to make a scene or interrupt.

I'd rather not involve the police.

No, by... by all means, involve the police.

But, no, I'm not gonna make a fuss.

Come in, Mrs Forrester.

Come in, Ruth.

We won't keep you a moment and then you can get back to class.

And if you could stay, Mrs Forrester.

Ruth, I wonder if you could tell me your full name, please.

Ruth Elspeth Lyle.

And how old are you?

Eight, miss.

And what's the name of your older sister at this school?

Chloe. She's ten, miss.

And when did you first come to St Edward's?

To the school or to nursery?


When I was two.

Mrs Forrester? And how long have you known Ruth?

Since nursery.

No. No, no, that's not right. That's not right.

Thank you, Mrs Forrester. Thank you, Ruth.

We have school records.

School photographs.

Would you like to see?

I'm good friends with Ruth's family.

I remember her mother Jaclyn being pregnant with Ruthie.

That's what they call her...

...and have always called her.

Is there going to be a problem, Mr Lewis?


Sit here as long as you need.

Oh, Kate! Oh!

Taxi for Julie? Yes.

Yeah, almost there.

Okay, no rush. I'm a bit early anyway.

For five minutes or more, I thought I'd found her.

Five minutes at least of euphoria.

I thought, "I've done it" and I thought of you and telling you.

Lucky I wasn't arrested.

I think she might have to be the one to find us.

Can't give up.

Can't give up hope, no.

How certain are you that she's alive?

I know that if she wasn't, I'd feel it.


I would too.

I know that she's out there.

But I've no idea where or where to begin looking.

It's hard to accept that we're helpless, but we are.

And all we can do is be here, ready...

...and sane.

You should know I'm going away for a while, a few months.

Going where?


Somewhere warm. Somewhere I can get to by train.

France? Not sure.

Why? Why now?

I want to.

What if I asked you to stay? A while, a while longer, I mean.

I need to.

You want me to send a postcard?

You'd better.

Dinner's almost ready. Just waiting on the potatoes.

Why don't you wait in the warm?

Oh, I am warm. Besides, I need to tell you something.

Hm, ominous.

I took a trip out to that pub, The Bell.

When? A few weeks ago.

Had to. Couldn't get it out of my head.

You have been there before, in a way.

In... in what way?

You... were with me, love.

Very much with me.

I remember it so well, because that was the day I told your father I was pregnant.

You weren't planned and you know we weren't married.

I was dreading telling him, but... turned out to be a wonderful day.

It was the first time I saw you.

It's true.

I was sick with nerves.

I wasn't sure how your father would react.

Being pregnant was bad news, really.

We'd made plans.

And then...

...I saw you.


...beautiful child at the window looking in.

This... face.

I knew it was you.

That's why I remember.

I'm not mad and it wasn't the lights or hormones or...

No, no, no, no.

No, I believe you.

I do.

Oh. Oh, I am glad, because... made me think, and this is important...

...if it was you that I saw...

...if you were actually there before you were even born...

...then Kate must be somewhere.

But you have to keep on loving her.

Loving her is different to missing her.

It will find her.

She is... somewhere.

If you're in a bookshop, do you ever sneak a peak at your own books?

Oh, yeah, every time.

Do you? Yes, course I do.

If they're hidden, I make them more visible and cover up the competition.

How long have you been a teacher?

I've already asked that question. I'm sorry.

You have. Er... the answer is forever.

Sorry. No, I'm good at it.

I made the mistake of becoming head of department a few years back.

Mistake? Well, that can be hard work.

The staff are more difficult than the children.

Oh, I can believe it.

So, how's your boy who wants to be a fish doing?

How long can he hold his breath for now?

51 seconds.

What's funny? You were so certain.

It's a fact. Last bath time, he held his breath for 51 seconds.

I look forward to reading it.

If I ever finish it.

Do you not think you will? Hopefully.

But it can happen.

It's, er... train time.

It's been nice. Yes, it has been nice.

I'll walk you. I know the way.

Er... I'll see you at the next meeting.


Bye. Bye.

'"What's your name?"

'said the curly-haired boy in the red T-shirt.

'"Fish," said Fish.

'"Cool," said Boy.

'"Why Fish?

'"What's it short for?"

'"I forget," said Fish.

'"I forget everything.

'"Every day I wake up is like a brand-new life."

'He was telling lies, of course, 'big fat lies, 'but he wanted it to be true.

'Fish had so many memories that he wanted to forget, 'even the good ones.'

That's fucking perverse.

Said the almost middle-aged man.

Who wouldn't climb a tree, due to unsuitable footwear?

Are you working, Daddy?

Does it look like I'm working?

I want to remember everything about you.


Hi. I'm so sorry to be bothering you like this.

You're bleeding.

I'm sorry. Do you have a cloth or a flannel?

Yeah, of course I do. Come in. What happened?

Oh, I tripped and fell.

Not looking where I was going.

Useless on dance floors and pavement.

You might need a trip to A&E. No, no, no, no. No hospitals.

I'll reconsider in the morning.

You weren't at the committee meeting.

Er... no, no.

Well, that's what I came to see you about.

It's all a waste of time. Well, probably.

No, no. No, it is. It's a sham. It's already written.

"The Authorised Childcare Handbook."

It doesn't matter what we recommend.

It's already been written.

Authorised by who? Government.

Not that we have a government. We have a politburo.

Have you read it? It's a love letter to the past.

It's impossible to implement.

I mean, pass it to the press, they'll lap it up like matrons on the ward.

Nothing will change. It's a fucking joke.

I... I didn't know who else to come to.


Er... can I...

Can I use your bathroom?

Yeah, sure, of course. It's just first on the left.

Thank you.

No, it's not... it's not Watergate, but it's still a sham and with children.

Oh, my Lord.

Why can't they get on with doing something worthwhile, instead of all this posturing?

Why go into politics in the first place?

I'm not going mad.

It's just... something that got out of control.

I'm sorry. I... I saw the lights and had to look.

I... I shouldn't have.

No, don't worry about it.

It's me, self-harming.

It looks very lovely.

She'd have been ecstatic, seeing this.

Yeah, she would.

How long has it been? Three years.


She'll be seven somewhere.


I like that. She could be somewhere.

She could be loved. She is loved.

Of course she is.

Are you able to... think of anything else?

Besides her?

I must and I do, yes.

Although I do live in a rare world.


I think I know who wrote the joke book, the report.

Who? He's a friend.

Best friend.



Charles! I'm not leaving the track!


Okay, game's over! You win!




Charles! Show yourself!

Come on!

Please. Please, please, please, please, please.


Oh, sweet Jesus, no.

Oh. Oh, shit.

Oh, shit.

Charles George Andrew Darke was...

...quite simply, too good a man to be a man in this world...

...because what he had managed to hold onto was the honesty and the purity that we are all born with...

I'm sorry.

...but that in time we lose, without noticing and often without caring...

...and, like a child, he was without cynicism.

First and foremost, he would always see the good in people.

He would place his trust in them.

He would care.

His love was his ever-loving wife Thelma...

...and his passion was literature, and in particular children's literature.

He recognised how precious those early years are...

...and he often spoke of the importance of a, er... a supportive, stimulating, caring and loving environment.

The very last time I saw him, in fact, he... he told me he had written a book himself.

A joke book, he called it.

I've often wondered about finding that joke book and if...

...if I did, if there would be any clues in there as to why he took his own life.

Something we have all pondered, I'm sure.

But I won't do that. I have decided... remember Charles as I loved him.

For his warmth, his smile, his generosity...

...and his brilliance, his...

...his ability to make my world appear to be a better place.

I will remember him as my friend.

My best friend.


The end.

Dad to Kate.

'Dad to Kate. Ha.'

'We just wanted to tell you that we...

' you very much...

'...and we miss you.'

And that we hope to see you very, very soon...

...for lots of hugs and games.


Take your time.

We'll be here.

'Daddy, Daddy, I'm here!

'Look at me. I'm here with Mummy.'

Julie? Oh.

'How are you doing?

'I'm so sorry about Charles.'

Oh, I'm... I'm okay. Thank you. I'm okay.

I saw you yesterday at the church.

Well, glimpsed you briefly and then you were gone. How are you?

'I'm good. I'm fine. I've not been back for long.

'I've been wanting to call you for a while.'

Where are you? Are you at the cottage?

Then I'll come.

'I'm in town. There's nothing to worry about.

'Er... but I'm in the hospital. I was hoping you would come.'

Which hospital? Are you hurt?

No. I'm fine.

Really. I'm good.

I'm in ward 17.

'The Alexandra Wing.

'You will come, won't you?'

That's it, that's it.

You're doing really well.



My husband.

You took your time, Mr Lewis.

We're having a baby.

A brother.

The baby's nearly here. Just breathe.

Okay, it's okay. It's all right. You're doing well, Julie.

It's okay. It's okay. Nearly there. Nearly there.

Keep breathing. Keep breathing.

Keep breathing.