The Hippopotamus (2017) Script

'T. S. Eliot said that

'the purpose of literature was to turn blood into ink.

'Well, I tried that.

'I published five collections of poetry in eight years

'and I bled like a hemophiliac.

'Then, somewhere along the way, the blood finally clotted.

'Over time, the scab became a scar

'and now I can scarcely feel the wound.

'All the arteries and veins are dried out.

'I no longer turn blood into ink.

'These days, I turn whiskey into journalism.

'I haven't written a poem since 1987.'

Ah-ah-ah! Ah! Ah!


Ah! Ah!

Ah-ah-ah! Ah! Ah!

Ah-ah-ah! Ah! Ah!






Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!


Noble patricians, patrons of my right, defend the justice of my cause with arms...

And, countrymen, my loving followers...

If ever Bassianus, Caesar's son, were gracious in the eyes of royal Rome, take then this passage to the Capitol...

Complete and utter crap.


You're not defending this fecal matter, are you?

To justice! Continence. Huargh! Huargh!

And nobility. Huargh!

Princes, that strive by factions and by friends...

ambitiously. Oh, fuck off.

Will you keep your opinions to yourself?

Goes rather against the grain, being a critic, doesn't it?

Know that the people of Rome, for whom we stand a special party, have for... for... By common voice.

Have, by common voice, in election for the Roman empery...

Chosen Andronicus. Chosen Andronicus...

Right, that's it. Surnamed Pius for many...

Get off the stage and find new representation!

Is this part of the performance?

On the contrary, madam, this is an intervention.

Where is the man responsible for this theatrical audia?

Where is Matthew Lake?

Throw him out! Not me, madam.

It is the director who should be ejected, then tarred and feathered, for inflicting such loose-stooled effluent upon the paying public.

Say that again.

Loose... stooled... effluent.

Oh, do you need the line again?

Sun got it.

'Oh, come on!

'Get your fucking hands off me!

'I haven't seen such a load of shit on the stage

'since "Copraphilia", the musical!

'Get off me! Get off.

'You should be ashamed of yourselves.'

We need to put up a strong front, but first we have to check you in for some rehab.

I can hold my drink.

Ted, I'm trying to help you.

This... this all... all just needs management.

Needs management!

The war cry of the brown-trousered.

You know I venerate your work.

I know no such thing.

I know you've been told by people cleverer than you that I'm a feather in your greasy cap.

I know my writing for you makes you feel successful.

I know you know I could walk into any job and spark grateful tears from the illiterate pricks in charge.

I also know you took culture because you couldn't get the news desk.

You would censure me?

You're the one bringing down the tone with your mealy-mouthed mummery and your prostration before the gods of public approval.

I bet you never had a wank that wasn't focus-grouped, you sexually craven provincial nerd.

Why don't you take your freckled ass on a sabbatical and let a real man edit the paper?

You may have been the great hope for British poetry once upon a forever ago, but when did you last write anything?


When... when did you last do anything at all?

I have about as much need of you as I do a fucking fountain pen.

Is that all?


Get out. You're fired.


'No use denying the fact we all feel undervalued.

'To be told officially that we are off the case

'confirms our sense of being not fully appreciated

'by an insensitive world.

'Paradoxically, this increases our self-esteem

'because it proves that we were right all along, 'even when what we're proved right about

'is that everyone considers us a waste of skin.

'Finding myself at leisure, 'perhaps I shall have some time

'to craft the burning gems of literature

'that I was once famous for.

'It was unlikely a poem would come

'in such peaceful circumstances, 'but you won't get if you don't ask.

'So, I listed, as is my custom, 'such few words as my mood suggested.




'The rare words annoy the punter, 'but they never think about a poet's lot.

'A painter has oils, acrylics and pastels.

'Turpentine, linseed, canvas, sable and hog's hair.

'A musician has entire machines

'of wood, brass, gut and carbon fiber.

'The poet, though... Oh, yes, the poor poet.

'Pity the poor bloody poet.'


I'm afraid I can't extend your credit, Mr. Wallace.


It's on me.

One of the finest phrases in our language.

Your very good health, madam.

And yours.

You are Ted Wallace, aren't you?

You may not remember me.

We haven't done the deed, have we?

I'm Jane Swann.

Jane Swann. One of the Berkshire Swanns?

Cast your mind back to a small font, a baby and a rising poet.

I'm Jane Burrell, Rebecca's daughter.

Fuck my best boots!

I haven't seen you since your mother threw me out.

I know.

And I was always very proud of you.

Two of your poems were set text at school.

Oh, you should have written.

I would have come and gabbled at the sixth form.

Well, I hoped I'd find you here.

Where the last of the semi-famous get assholed.

More than semi-famous.

My friends adore your reviews.

That train has just pulled out, I'm afraid.


Sooth. You see before you a recently fired man.

That is simply the best news.

Is it?

Will you come home with me?

With pleasure.

'Jane's home lived up to my ripest expectations.

'As degrading a cocktail of over-priced cliches

'can be found outside Beverly Hills.

'Any given surface

'crammed with some mad medley of crystal flacons, 'miscellaneous fertility dildos, 'and a veritable "who's who" of international deities.'

You like?

Like isn't the word.

Some of the pieces are really special.

That thing on the sofa's a Kazakh placenta sheet.

'In the taxi over, Jane had mentioned she had a job for me.

'I demurred, of course, 'and asked to be let out somewhere in St. John's Wood.

'But she told the driver to keep driving

'and assured me I was going to simply love her terrific

'new idea, which she troubling referred to as "the project".'


Why are we here?

I have a proposition.

That's practically incest.

My doctor tells me I have three months to live.



That's a smeller.


Not anymore.

That's ballsy.

But it's a grotty age and a grotty world and we'll all be joining you soon enough.

Do you believe in miracles?

As in calming the storms and feeding the multitudes?

Give us a fag.

A marvelous and mysterious thing has happened to me, and I want you to investigate it.

I don't know what you have in mind, but I'm not exactly an investigative journalist.

You sure? No interest?

Well, it might be ungodfatherly of me to suggest, but it's a racing certainty you're not in your right mind.

Well, you're forgiven.

But it's a pity, because you know the people involved.

My Uncle Michael.

Michael Logan?

And I'd pay you handsomely.

25,000 now and the rest either later or left in my will.

I... I thought you said...

The doctors say I'm going to die. I don't believe I will.

Something happened to me at Swafford Hall.

I want you to go there and find the truth.

And if the truth is you're not cured?

Then I'm dying of leukemia.


A hundred, all told.

Jane, there must be 1,000 journalists who would do it for a tenth of that sum.

But you're the only one who'd get through Swaffords front door.

But Michael... You're godfather to his son.

Use him as your cover.

Delicious girl, since your mother and I parted ways, I've been as welcome at Swafford as a...

A godson is still a godson.

Write to David. Wangle an invitation.

And stay in touch.

I could be out of the house

'and filling in a deposit slip in ten minutes.

'Jane was mad, certainly, 'but her check was crossed and endearingly sane.

'I was perfectly happy to labor

'in the service of Jane's delusions, 'but what were those delusions?

'I envied those careless peasants

'tasked to find a needle in a haystack.

'Mine was a more elusive quarry, 'an unholy mating of wild goose and shaggy dog.

'My last visit to Swafford had been amusing enough, 'but hardly revealing of miracles.'

♪ Now the pale moon shining

♪ On the fields below

♪ The folks are crooning

♪ Soft and low

You needn't tell me, boy, I Because I know I When it's sleepy time down south...

Thanks for picking me up, Simon.

Davey wanted to come, but I thought you'd enjoy the two-seater more.

Built it myself.

Davey says you're a poet.

That's the rumor.

Do one.

Do one?

A poem.

There was a young man called Simon, who hated the art of rhyming.

He thought it a shame that his very own name could only be mated with "hymen."

Ha-ha-ha! Genius.

A limerick's the best I can do at 60 miles an hour.

♪ Hold your hats

The roof is 'bout to tumble in

♪ Holy cats

♪ The walls and floors are crumblin'

♪ Hellzapoppin'

♪ Hellzapoppin'

♪ Hellzapoppin'

♪ The whole gang's whoopin' up the whoop-de-doo ♪

'Swafford Hall.

'The home of the Logan family since 1984

'when globetrotting tycoon Michael Logan

'debased himself for love

'by marrying into the cash-strapped British aristocracy.

'After doing something sinister for Margaret Thatcher

'in the late 1980s, 'Michael was rebranded "Lord Logan of Swafford"

'and has since successfully managed the great house

'as a personal fiefdom, 'without compromising himself

'by running a wedding venue or boutique hotel

'or, god forbid, a safari park.'

Uncle Edward!

Uncle Edward!

Ah. Davey. Uncle Edward!

Uncle Edward! Uncle Edward! Davey.

Uncle Edward! Well met.

Hello, Uncle Edward. Hello, Uncle Edward!

Oh! Oh! Ha-ha! Just... just plain Ted.

Well, come on, Uncle Ted! We've got so much to talk about!

Uh! Ooh!

Oh. Uh!

Ah! Podmore, is it not?

Welcome back to Swafford, Mr. Wallace.


Oh, er... don't worry. I'll show Uncle Ted the house.

Oh, very well, Master David.

And then after dinner, I can take you round the east wing.

Oh. Whiskey's right, isn't it?


But first perhaps a bath.

Er... followed by, conceivably... a nap.

Well, um... when you've...

I'll be on the south lawn... in case you wanted a chat.


'Since becoming his godfather, 'I had exchanged a series of letters with young David.

'Mine, brief and infrequent

'and only occasionally freighted with a crumpled fiver.

'His, almost monthly, impossibly tedious

'and often in iambic pentameter.

'He looked up to his father, Michael, 'like a tiny daisy looks to the sky, 'wishing he'll grow up to be the blazing ball of the sun.

'The truth is, 'that men like Michael were never willowy teenage poets.

'They were the prep-school bullies

'punching the tuck money out of cretinous boys like David

'and blowing it on fags and jazz mags.

'Well, I'm here at least.

'How long I'll stay depends, I suppose, 'on the kind of reception Michael gives me.

'Michael and I were once the best of friends, 'but a lot of water has passed under that particular bridge.

'Then the bridge has been dynamited by a core of engineers

'and washed down river

'into a vast ocean of frosty indifference.

'It's a long story.'


My love.

Mwah! Mwah! Mm.

You're looking younger. Lost some of that fat.

And you're looking... wetter.



It is so good to see you. HM!

Where's Michael?

He wants to have a date with you.

Mm. Before dinner.

Ah, best get it over with.

Hm. The stock platitude of the untroubled mind.

I wish.

Oh, my love, what is it?

It's david. Tell his godfather.

He... he's doing very well at school, and he is a lovely boy.

It's just that he's a bit... odd with people.

Well, Roman's a goth.

He's a bit odd with people all the time.

Well, if only it was a matter of... of black eyeliner and clothes.

Give me a "for instance".

Well, at a dinner party last weekend, he asked the local MP, "Which animal do you think has the longest penis?"

She laughed and snapped the stem of her wine glass.

He persisted.

She said the sperm whale.

He said, "No, "the male rabbit flea's erect penis is two thirds the length of his body. Isn't that wonderful?"

Only if the female has a sufficiently elastic accommodation.

He's 16. He ought to know how to avoid flustering people.

Ah, teenagers are obsessed with sex.

He's pushing the boundaries, finding his space.

It's normal.

Would you just keep an eye?

Both eyes. That's why I'm here.

'You're late. I had to start my practice.'

I was sleuthing.

Jesus suffering fuck!

'Well, I expect you to be on time. What have you seen?'

Simon is the boring teen all-England trophy holder.

David is, well... I don't know what David is yet.

But I've seen no sign of anything even faintly miraculous.

'I'm not sure I'm getting value for money.'

Honey-munch, just tell me.

Don't tantalize. Tell me.

'If you're not objective, there's no point.'

You need to keep your eyes open and see what needs to be seen.

'Christ, she's absolutely fucking bat-infested.

'Right now, though, I have a pressing engagement

'to be the recipient

'of some of Michael's old-fashioned mafia boss disapproval.'

Humiliating her on television!

Late-night television.

'I told you it's a long story, 'a long and complicated story.'

Look, I cared about her too much to make her a future ex-wife.

So... So?

So, tell me your tale.

Your... your life is a mess, you've lost your job, and you've come to Swafford to...


Hang out with David.

You took your time, getting in touch.

Well, it's... it's been a few years, I... I admit, but, er... I bumped into Jane and... And that got me thinking.

Thinking? What?

Tell me why you're really here.

I... you know, er... after the job, I'd been looking for, er... something to do and I think you'd make an amazing subject for a biography.

You fucking journalist!

A... a tame one at... at the very worst.

No biography. No snooping. Nothing.

I promise you, it'd be no hatchet job.

Get out of my house.

Michael, I'm... I'm sorry.

For... forget I mentioned it.

I do not trust you.

No, I see that.

Look, Anne is worried about David.

There's no point denying I made an almighty mess with your sister, but to put courage into a clicé, all is fair in love and war.

But not when it's played out in public.

Yes, I understand.

And on that understanding, I'm supposed to... What?

Give you a second chance?

As a godfather.

I promise, I won't put so much as a look out of place.

I'll be watching.


Well, welcome back to Swafford.

'It's been more than a decade

'since Michael and I last crossed paths, 'although he crops up in the papers fairly frequently

'as the highly celebrated C.E.O.

'of this or that vast company.

'That stands for Chief Executive Officer

'and is, I believe, a sort of cross

'between a managing director and a cunt.

'When a man like Michael says he's watching you, 'you may as well be getting that news

'from a great white shark.'


Oh! Fuck.


'Assuming that whatever enticed David from the house

'at just shy of 5 A.M.

'was either fun or trouble, 'I followed his tracks in the dew, 'but discovered them to be a line of footprints

'leading nowhere.'

Ow! Oh!

'Feeling like 12 types of dick, 'I was suddenly struck by an image of David

'sprouting wings and flying away.

'Certainly, that would be a miracle worth investigating.'

Ow! Ow!

Fuck off! Shite!

Oh. Oh.



The things I do for money.


'How is a person supposed to investigate

'nothing in particular?

'It's like hiring Sherlock Holmes

'when no crime has been committed.

'I'm beginning to see why

'he spent so much time playing the fiddle

'and getting smashed out of his head on cocaine.' on the guest list.

Wants to check if we have a defibrillator.

There's quite a few dietary requirements.


Oh, may I help, Mr. Wallace?


Yes. Podmore.

Could someone fix the curtain rail in my room?

It seems to have come down in the night.

Of course, sir.

Much obliged. Oh, what's this? The weekend guest list?

This should be interesting.

May I?

Oliver Mills.

He's probably claiming a trendy intolerance.


'With its promise of aristocratic splendor, 'and a degree of luxury that approaches debauchery

'Swafford attracts a motley caravan

'of tight-assed bourgeois and nervous bohemians, 'who roll up the driveway, 'misusing the word "weekend" as a verb, 'and wondering how soon they might send an underling

'down into Swafford's world-class wine cellar.'

Madame Valerie Richmonde and Mademoiselle Clara.

'Well, who is this charmingly high-breasted

'and fiercely fuckable creature

'with an air of contemptuous indifference?'

Come along. 'Bonjour, Madame.'

Merci. My bags.

Ted Wallace.

Oh, I thought you were a servant.

No. A poet.


And Michael's oldest friend.

Of course.

Also David's godfather.

I'm responsible for his spiritual development.

You are?

This is my daughter Clara.

Maybe you and her can be friends.

Ah. And you must, of course, be David.

Jane has told me everything about you.

I have been looking forward to meeting you.

'From the presumably fragrant loin of Madame Valerie

'had sprung a daughter most woundingly plain.

'I had no sure knowledge of her paternal lineage, 'but I would hazard a guess

'that this snaggletoothed myopic hobbit

'may have been conceived on a visit to middle earth.

'Nature can be unbearably cruel.

'Regrettably, I was about to be thrust into my worst nightmare.'

'Having to spend an entire weekend

'with one of my oldest friends, 'the celebrated theater director and prolific buggerist Oliver Mills.'

I seldom find that... Oh!

Violence is the answer. Jesus! Jesus, Oliver!

Did Michael not attach a security memo to your invitation?

No. In fact, I'm probably on it.

Would you?

Oh, poor, pompous Hippopotamus.

Ha-ha! Ha.

Has His Lordship not made you the most welcome of guests?

Actually, I'm here to see David.

Oh. You know? Oh, dear, what is it? What ills you?

You can tell me.

Ills? He's my godson. What do you mean?

Ah. Oh, is that the clitter-clatter of cutlery on china? Let's not be late for lunch.

'Hopefully, it was the sound of the plot thickening.

'I was going to have to start making some meaningful

'progress or risk spending the entire summer

'in the company of these "camarades".'

Ahem! I hear you've had a particularly successful year with the stud?

Well, yes, finally, we had some good results at Hickstead.

Ah. Thanks to him.

I'm particularly proud of... of our woodlands.

All native species.

Well, it's the kind of green that only the British can bear.

Oh, if you don't like the countryside, what brings you to Swafford?

I am purchasing Li-lac for my daughter.

Li-lac? Lilac, our gray mare.

I've been taking riding lessons.

Yes, and we can go down and see her in the stables after lunch. Yes.

You could help me muck out, if you like.

Oh, I would like that very much.


A hunchback who now also shovels shit. Quelle fortune!

Don't slouch. Je m'excuse, Mére.

I'm dying for some of that.

Ha-ha, not just figuratively.

You know?

Pod more see-eth, Pod more heareth, Podmore telleth Ted Wallace.


Is that why you're here?

Ha-ha-ha-ha! No, no.

No, I've got a delicious new play which Michael is going to fund.

Am I?

Has anyone seen David?

'Child of trees and son of earth

'lies in wait for his rebirth

'beneath the trees he hides alone

'beneath your feet this boy unknown

'lies in his cradle hidden from sight

'buried like seed

'his seed so white

'he gives himself the kiss of peace

'his seed doth sprout with sweet release.'


'Fuck me.'


I... I'd like you to keep it.


Has Mummy spoken to you about me?

Why do you ask that?

I worry her. I can see it in her eyes.

Mothers worry. It's in their job description.

Well, I worry her more than Simon.

Simon doesn't treat strangers to nuggets of penile data.

He's safe. Meaning I'm unsafe?

I should bloody well hope so.

I'm not having a godson of mine running around the place, being anything other than wild and dangerous.

Why are people embarrassed about sexual things?

I'm not.

In my opinion, people are more embarrassed about love than sex.

What makes you think that?

They never talk about it.

It's all anyone ever talks about.

Love, love, love. Love is all you need.

Love makes the world go round.

90 per cent of the world's poetry is about love.

With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;

He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change; Praise Him.

Oh, god. Of course. You like Hopkins.

The greats know that poetry is how we allow nature to speak to us.

Wordsworth? No, you chump.

My heart leaps up.

On my couch I lie.

I wandered lonely as a cloud.

He's an egomaniacal onanist.

Wordsworth did not masturbate.

He's a fucking tea-towel writer!

Look, young pup, my heart rejoices that you want to be a poet, but I bet you can't name a profession with less use, less chance, less point, less status and fewer prospects.

Sewage engineer.

Ha! Alright.

Scenario one.

All the poets in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland go on strike.

Impact, nil.

Misery, nil. 14 years before anyone even notices.

Scenario two.

All the sewage engineers in London alone go on strike.

Impact, turds and tampons flopping out of your tap.

Scum and ooze where e'er you walk.

Misery. Hardship. Newsworthiness high.

You do still believe in poetry?

Its power to change the world. You do still care?

Oh, Christ. Not you as well.

Look, of course I do.

It... It's just...

Hard work.

You want gold, you break your back down a mine.

It doesn't just float from the sky in gleaming bars.



All this talk of poetry has awoken my appetite.

Time for a second stanza of your mother's cream cake.

I'll put the kettle on.




Another bath?

My center of gravity has shifted since my last time in a coxless pair.

You found David, then? Yes.

And read some of his poetry.

I've got some of it here, in fact.

He seems, in his own graceful way, to have been recording a wank in the woods.

Well, any good?

What, the poetry or the wank?


You know if he does it much? Oh, please.

Look, my love, you asked me to keep an eye on him and I have.

And if Wanking's what he's doing...

Certain things, a mother doesn't need to know about in full.

I understand, but I'm not being prurient just for the pleasure of it.

I've spent most of my life skipping after women, like a puppy trying to please his master.

And the rest, pleasing myself.

And that's fine. I'm a heartier fellow for it.

But if your son is writing metaphysical art spunk and not simply filling soft fabrics with human hand cream, then there is a problem.

Which is?

Mum, I think you should come to the stables quickly.

Lilac's sick.

Oh, shit.

Well, if the horse is sick, he must do something.

Yeah, well, I'm... I'm sure he will.

But first we have to find the little fellow.

Don't you have faith?

Faith's great, but it'd be nice to have a soupcon of proof.

This is a rather drastic course of action, don't you think?

She was fine yesterday. It's fast-acting.

She'll have complete renal failure.

There's no ragwort in her field.

Then do you have another explanation for the blood in her stool?

No, but it's not an explanation for the blood in her spittle.

I'm sorry, Clara.

I think we're going to have to put Lilac down.

But I didn't even get to ride her.

Come on. Let's go back to the house.

I'm so sorry, Valerie. This is just very bad timing.

But there is a chance that she will recover?

It's a sadness, yes, but Anne has a lot of experience.

We need time for a miracle.

'Hercule Poirot could probably take a cursory glance at this group

'and glean all sorts of useful ammunition

'for his denouements.

'But if any of this amounts to any sort of clue, 'it's absolutely wasted on me.'

I think you're being very premature.

Oh, mon Dieu! David.

Don't touch her. Don't.

A sick horse can be very dangerous.

Come on, come away. It's not right.

What happened? I'll explain in a moment.

'What was happening was the Logans discovering

'they had no stomach for mercy-killing a sickly horse

'and yet were possessed of a seemingly limitless capacity

'for procrastination and indecisiveness.'

Maybe you should come back tomorrow, and we'll reassess it and see...

Yes. Yes, my Lady. What she's like then.

Thank you.

Right. Perhaps some drinks before dinner.

Yes, perhaps several.

I got the idea from the playwright.

Met him in Venice on my last trip.

Is there a point?

Or are you merely recounting a selection of random events?

Ch, hush.

Now, where was I? Oh, yes.

Gianni had the most enormous...

Oh, my God.


And he was afraid he might hurt me.

"Gianni darling", I said. "Fear not.

"After what I've been through, "you'll be lucky if it touches the sides.

"It'll be like pushing a paper boat up the Grand Canal."

This is not language for when children are present.

Oh, prude la-la. They know.

There's two options.

One, we let Oliver rattle on home about his various exploits and the occasional ear gets singed.

Or, two, we let the kids work it out entirely for themselves.

I just don't understand every person obsession with sex.

It's not an obsession. It's the meaning of life.

Well, there is something that children can learn with help, and that is good manners.

David, help with the plates. Yes, Mummy.


Oh, mon Dieu.

Will you tell us a story, Oliver?

Oh, I thought you'd never ask, Michael.

Well, the story is about a down-on-his-luck gigolo who gets a job playing alto sax on a cruise ship.

But what he's really doing... Oliver, stop.

Not a chance. Oh.

Not a penny.

Well, if we can't drink to my play, let's drink to Lilac.

May she have her miracle.

'Yes, to Lilac.' To Lilac.

'The same toast they'll be making tomorrow night at the glue factory, 'as her bones render noxiously in the background.'

To miracles.

Unlike you to forsake a drink.

You don't seriously expect me to join you in a wine-soaked prayer for a miracle?

Is that so ridiculous?

It's fluff.

Miracles are phenomena that we're too frightened or, in my case, too lazy to understand.

But nothing miraculous ever actually happens, and certainly no-one is ever healed.

You don't believe in healing?

You can correct a mechanical fault, but nothing can be truly cured or made whole.

Everything rots.

And that's the beastly bloody end of it.

Would anyone like a comforting chamomile?

I think Tedward and I might have a chat over something a bit stronger.

'So, I was sent here to investigate miracles

'and have now been induced to refute their very existence.

'More than a coincidence, I fancy.

'I'm beginning to feel like doubting Thomas

'on a certain easter morning.'

What follows, you will never discuss with anyone.

My father came to this country from Massachusetts in 1936.

When the war came, he enlisted and trained as an engineering officer in the R.A.F.

Later that year, a young man came round the base.

His father had a metal splinter in his foot. It was gangrenous.

The boy knew the doctor would amputate and he asked my father for help.

My father touched the foot, the splinter came out, and the wound healed.

Instantly? Yes.

Well, I don't want to spoil the story, but that could have happened by chance.

That was just the first time.

A few more miracles, and people began to talk.

By the end of the war, he was being hounded. It was intolerable.

That was another time.

It was 70 years ago, Ted, not the Middle Ages.

I never had a gift. I... I guess it skipped a generation.

It's a childhood fairy tale.

Anne has asthma.

Do you remember that hot summer four or five years ago?

'David and I were out one afternoon

'and she suffered a terrible attack.'


'Simon was there, doing C.P.R. like he'd been taught, 'but it wasn't working.'

Five, six, seven, eight, nine...

We got back. David heard the commotion...

rushed in, pushed his brother aside, and placed his hands on his mother's chest, and she began to breathe.

You're saying David saved her life?

Healed. Not another attack since.

'It's like Stephen Hawking

'announcing he still believes in Santa Claus.

'I don't mind my old friends turning into venal assholes, 'but it's rather unnerving when they go crazy.'

Jane came to stay with us at Easter.

The leukemia had taken hold and the doctors had given her three weeks to live.

She wanted to spend them somewhere peaceful.

She took to her bed the moment she arrived.

The end of the first week, she began to look better.

'The second week, she thought she'd get up.

'The third week, entirely cured.

'David had been with her every day.'

There just must be a rational explanation.

David's hands heal. I've seen it with my own eyes.

But I'm at a loss.

We're private people. We don't make a fuss.

But this feels big, important.

Do I hide it like a curse or shout it from the rooftops?

Why, in the name of dysfunction, are you asking me?

Yesterday, you made a big fuss about being David's godfather.

Earn the title.


'There was an old poet called Ted

'who was in well over his head

'he struggled to think why he shouldn't just drink

'and collapse assholed into his bed.'

Hello, Lilac. I've brought you an apple.


Go away.

♪ Hallelujah!

♪ Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Hallelujah! ♪ Oh, what's got into you?

Lilac is well.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Tedatio.

You have heard?

♪ Ai bien entendu, ma vieille orange.

Oh, by all means, come in.

Why don't you ask Podmore too?

If Lilac is cured, then maybe Clara can be made beautiful.

Where are you off to now? To find David.

Lilac didn't cure herself.

Christ. Wait!

'There is nothing to put me in a foul mood more effectively

'than seeing Oliver happy.

'But the realization that I had slept through

'some kind of miraculous occurrence

'ran a close second.

'David was yet to claim Lilac's recovery as his handiwork, 'but the notion hung in the air above Swafford, 'like a piss-filled Hindenburg.'

I need to find your brother.

I haven't seen him. Er... but hop in.

We'll cover more ground.

What do you think happened with Lilac?

I always check her field. There isn't any ragwort.

Yes, I heard you with the vet.

No ragwort, no cure, no explanation.

Saint David of Swafford and his magic hands.


Stop this fucking motorized hairdryer!



Hi, David. Hello, Oliver.

What about this laying on of hands?


You're not in the miracle camp?


Have you ever seen him do it?

Once on Mum.

What happened?

David put his hands on her and she got better.

No flashing lights? Angelic chorus?

She just came to.

I need to see for myself.

Fucking Jane and her "seeing what needs to be seen".

There we go.

Where the hell have you been?

'Pull yourself together, Ted.

'Existential crises are for wankers

'and characters in Scandinavian films.'

I told you to look after David.

He's nowhere to be found.

That fucking horse has put the cat among the fucking pigeons!

It's my father all over again.

It's in hand. You have my word.

Which is worth what, exactly? Well, it's all I Oh, hello, boys.

You're looking well.

Mm... eugh! Eurgh!

Fucking magic.

Oh, forget him.

He's too jaded to feel wonder.

Whereas you... you have the power to change the world.

Clara's up next.

I'll find him.

'Oliver was gloating over his own cure.

'Now our fearless teenage leader

'was sneaking off to find Clara.'

'If young saint David

'could transform Valerie's unlovely offspring

'into some new-age Aphrodite, 'that was a miracle I had to see.'

David? It's uncle Ted.

'The steam whistle replaced by the turgid sound of diesel

'and now electric trains.'

Mr. Wallace? I'm looking for David.

Oh, one of the great undertakings of our age.

What the hell was that? I hear nothing, sir.

Don't tell me the last bastion of sanity of this house is abandoning his faculties too?

The greater the discretion, the larger the tip.

Do you know where David is? Oh, come on, John.

I know you see everything that goes on round here.

He's a bugger for hiding. Go on.

Frequently doesn't sleep in his bed.

Never leaves by the door when there's the option of a window.

In fact, he must spend most nights out in the grounds.

But where?

'I licked the grass, 'licked it clean.

'Clean grass is hay, 'gold hay for the flesh.

'I hugged the leaves, 'squeezed their green.

'Squeezed sap is blood

'and blood must be fresh.'

And sowed the seed, seed of my own.

Oh! Hello, Valerie!



Come on, Clara. Just up at the woods.

Oh, god.

Oh. Ooh!

Ow. Ah.


If you let the spirit in, it will heal you.

Feel the spirit surging through you. You must embrace it.

Drain it, yes.

That's right, drain it.

No! No, let her go! Yes. Fuck off!

Aaah! Aaah!

' Eurgh! Oh!

Come on. We can't have you going into the house, looking like this.

Let's get you cleaned up. Oh, she bit me.

Simon, you can't leave me!

Physicist, heal thyself.

'So much for the modern miracle.

'I don't recall Saint Francis of Assisi

'ejaculating into anybody's mouth.'


'Maybe they just left that part out.'

Uncle Ted, she... she bit me.

Are all your cures like that?

Don't talk. Don't say a word.

Can you stand?

Yeah, come on.

'It's easier for the old to judge the young.'

She bit me.

'And I'll admit it's been particularly hard

'to warm to David, 'with his cricket sweaters and soggy sonnets, 'but the truth is that this boy is my godson.

I may be unreliable when it comes to fonts and silver napkin rings, 'but when I saw him suffering a catastrophic sex disaster, 'I did feel a twinge of the old esprit de corps.

I never was a boy scout, 'and I certainly don't do a good deed every day, 'but one whopper every 15 years

'surely must earn me a badge of some kind.'

Mr. Lennox?

Mr. Lennox?

Oh. Yes.


Can you tell me the nature of your... relationship with David?

Some days good, some days bad.

You are the boy's father?

For my sins.

Then perhaps you can explain why David said to me, "The pain got much worse in the car, "partly because

"Uncle Ted is a terrible driver."

I'm glad to say it's rare for a child to be admitted with human bite marks to the penis.

Even rarer for the hysterical boy to be accompanied by a famous public figure.

Well, if you knew who I was, why didn't you say?

I think you'd better tell me who David's parents are.

I'd like to talk to David.

I don't think the police will allow you to do any such thing.


You're in a position of authority, Mr. Wallace.

Let's be grown-ups, shall we?

This is just a pair of lovers suffering an unfortunate mishap.

This may pass for acceptable in your bohemian world, but...

I have a boy David's age.

If this happened to him, do you think I'd kick up a stink?

It may interest you to know that I'm a magistrate.

And a member of Calvinists against cock-sucking and housewives against fellatio, no doubt?

The parents get involved, the... The guilt, the shame...

If I do not have the number of David's parents this minute, I shall call the police.

One, two...

All right, all right.

I suppose you want the girl's name too so two sets can be...

Girl? The girl.

The girl. The girl.

Did you think he was being sucked off by a giraffe?

I thought you were the... other party.

You thought what?

If there's been a mistake, I'm sorry.

It's my duty to... establish the facts.

'Oh, fabulous.

'I have chanced upon one of the very few people in the world

'to have my poetry on their shelf, 'who have examined the contents of my soul, 'and she thinks I'm a fucking pedophile.'

Well, I went down to the woods today, and I sure as hell had a big surprise.

I missed the sex offenders register by a whisker.

Sometimes the gift demands a sacrifice.

Perhaps it would help if you told me about the exact nature of your powers.

Stop the car.

No, I've done quite enough running around after you for one weekend.

I'll tell you, but not here.

I call it the gift, not my gift.

I can feel the power of nature.

I put my hand on a sick creature, and it courses through me like lightning.

But I also have human feelings.


And cold.

And all types of hunger.

The first time I had a wet dream was last year.

I know, which is late.

I knew that... that I couldn't allow such a terrible thing to happen, all that waste.

It's not just my hands, you see.

Every part of me can heal.

My blood and my seed.


I knew that if I only used it for good, and not to give myself pleasure, then that could be a powerful tool as well.

Which is why with Clara, you...

It started with Jane.

Her sickness was too powerful for my hand, but I knew that if I got my essence in, deep inside her, then it would work.

These powers.

Do you think they're inherited?

Anyone can have a pure spirit.

Even me?

Especially you.

When you were a poet, you were inspired to see the glory of the world.


You want poetry, you fight with paper and pencil.

You muck in with humanity.

You don't wait for inspiration to vomit bliss over you.

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.

It will flame out, like shining from shook foil...

Gerard Manley Hopkins worked.

He studied anglo-saxon rhythmic structure.

He learned Welsh.

But the genius was inside him.

Look at Simon.

We have the same genes, but he has an ordinary soul.

And your soul?

It's different and special.

Different and special.

Yes, and you should respect that.


'See what needs to be seen, my ass.

'Miracles, my cock and baggy balls.

'Sorry to piss on the parade, 'but we all see what we want to see and no-one is immune, 'be it the shabby chic of Zen

'or the wanton razzamatazz of high Catholicism, 'or merely sucking off

'some teenage Christ-come-lately

'in a bucolic woodland glade.

'It's all just a fun-house mirror, 'a means to see yourself happier, healthier, 'prettier, or less...

'well, less dying of leukemia.

'Poor old Jane. You senseless cow.

'Maybe I am just too jaded to be filled with wonder.

'Maybe I should sacrifice

'my every standard of wit and reason

'and throw my lot in with this imbecile cult.

'If any of us could use a miracle, 'it's Ted fucking Wallace.

'I wasn't always this bitter bin bag of custard, you know.

'Tune me up, Jesus.

'Make me whole, God's son.'

Pour me a gin, would you?

Yes, of course.

My God, look at the state of you.

If you're here, Rebecca, who's ruling over Narnia?

Fancy you having the gall to turn up here!

I bet Michael must have loved it, when you rang.

I wrote to David, as it happens.

Oh, course you did.

Got some godfathering to make up on.

'It appears we can evade the truth no longer

'and must finally confront the tangled story

'of my life with the Logans.

'Well, that story began

'with Michael's younger sister, Rebecca, 'with whom I dared to dally many moons ago.'

I'm joined this evening by one of this country's most celebrated poets, and now in the running...

'our little folie a deux came crashing to a conclusion

'after she invited me to perform some earnest chin-stroking

'on her tedious late-night poetry stroke-fest, "Stanza".'

Let us return to the reaction to comments that you made...

Women hate me... In a newspaper interview.

Because I'm brave enough to say what we both know to be true, that women don't enjoy sex.

Oh, maybe the women that you've had experience with, Ted.

They put up with it as the price they have to pay for having a man, for having a relationship.

I mean, if we're being absolutely frank, the only reason I come on this show is because I get to fuck you from time to time and indulging those kind of absurd whims is the highest compliment our sex can pay yours.

Thank you, Mr. Wallace.

Is... ls that it?

'This was just me spitting on my hands

'and getting down to work.'

'for the next five years, 'I made a pile of all my treasures and talents, 'clambered up on top

'and cheerfully self-immolated

'like a Laotian monk.

'Since then, Rebecca has performed diligently as my nemesis.

'We are the jangling skeletons in each other's closets.'

Jane told me you'd come down here, but I didn't actually believe that you would have the...

She asked me to investigate her recovery.

She has proved the doctors wrong, and that's good enough for me.

You're not interested in the how and the why?

Ignoring your goddaughter during her youth is one thing, but taking advantage of her is repugnant.

I am not exploiting your daughter.

Oh, of course not. You're just taking her money.

Of which she's got loads.

But what she needs is someone willing to get to the bottom of this cure.

And you're the man for that job?


And how's it going, this noble quest?

Come on, Ted Wallace.

The only thing you've ever got to the bottom of is a whiskey bottle.

Are you happy?


'Yes! Thank you.

'Isn't it wonderful?'

It's an impenetrable load of bollocks and I've got no way into it or through it or anything else.

Keep your money, Jane. I have done bugger all.

Be happy-

I can't discredit David's gift.

'Your cure is yours to have.'

Ted, you can have it too.

'Just open your heart.'

What if I don't want to?

You must.

'No, I mustn't.

'I don't have to do anything, 'or desperately cling to any of your ridiculous superstitions, 'because I'm not about to kick the bucket.'

Aah! Bugger!

'I'm not about to kick the bucket.

'Kick the bucket.'

Oh, Christ.

It's, "physician, heal thyself."

I need the vet's number.

Um... zero, double one, four, nine, six, zero, treble nine.

Is, um... is David very angry with me?

He'll be fine. You've done more for him than you realize.

'Mr. Ogden?' about the horse this morning, Lilac Logan.

Yeah, I know that's not her real name.

Late for dinner, Ted?

Er... I'll be dressed in a minute.

Go through without me.

I... I've just seen David. What is wrong with him?

Bit knocked about, but he'll be fine.

Oh. Annie?

Do you think he's a miracle worker?

Well, I, um...

You're his mother. If he is, you must sense something.

I... I think he's a magical boy.

But sometimes...

I still wheeze.

I've always known you are a wonder.

I think it's time for us to go public.

That's for me and Anne to decide.

Oh, for God's sake! It's not a guilty secret.

It's a wonderful, wonderful miracle that makes everyone happy!

I'm sorry to piss on your chips, Oliver, but I'm not happy.

Of course not. Sweet Jesus, you're a piece of work.

Sorry, Michael.

What's going on? Michael.

I've listened to the stories, but I don't believe in David's powers.

One chance to raise his eyes to heaven and what does he say?

It's a bit odd, isn't it, that a poet, of all people, should be the only one not convinced?

Not at all.

I'm a poet because I'm very mundane.

I'm only good with what I can taste and see and hear and smell and touch.

Oh, so you come to sneer at us up your snotty sleeve?

Jane asked me.

She told me there were miracles at Swafford which she wanted me to investigate.


And I think David is proud and sensitive.


Is that it?

Oliver, be quiet.

I... I would like to hear what Ted has to say.

No teenager is as clever as they'd like to be.

David is at the point where he has glimpsed ideas, but their true meaning lies beyond his reach.

Our culture rewards different and special.

The stories we tell our children are of superheroes and foundlings with undiscovered talents that soar to towering heights.

Michael told his son a story that any child would like to be the center of, and David decided it was true.

It's no story. I know what I've seen and felt.

You've seen and fed the delusions of an ordinary child.

Ted, what... Darling.

My father's gift. I've seen it work.

Alright. Yes.

Your father did have a gift and it was passed on.

Oh, he's off his head! He doesn't know what he's talking about!

Oliver, you will not interrupt again!

I'm sorry, Ted. Please continue.

Michael's father's gift was passed on to Simon. Simon?

A few summers ago, Anne suffered a terrible asthma attack.

'Simon kept his head... Mum? Mum.

And tried to get her breathing.'

'David broke past and put his hands on Anne's chest

'just as Simon's first aid started to work.

Oh, thank you, darling.


You saw your wife recover and you thought of your father, and then you told David that he had inherited a gift.

He told Jane and when she, too, got better, he let the bush telegraph do the rest.

So, you're claiming that Simon has been healing people?

Your father didn't have healing powers.

He had kindness, courage and sense, and that is what Simon has inherited.

David envisaged something far more grandiose.

He told himself that as long as he stayed pure, his semen would be a channel for healing.

And a far more powerful one than his hands could ever be.

Jane, beautiful, wonderful, desperate Jane, presented him with the ideal test case.

'I'm afraid it's probable

'he tried the same trick on Lilac.'

Oh, my God.

Only Oliver can say what technique was used.

How dare you?

You seduced my son?

It was a cure.

He cured me.

Go and get David. Yes, Mum.

But people are better, and none of this explains Lilac.

Lilac was my fault.

On my first morning here, I dropped a bottle of whiskey into this bucket.

And Lilac must have lapped and lapped.

She was drunk and then she was hung over.

Je was vomin.

God knows what you thought you were doing.

And what do you say to this?

Did you really throw away all your pills?

I don't need them.

I've never felt better.

Then why were you shouting in agony in your bedroom?

I don't know what's the matter with you all.


Jane, Jane, Jane, Jane.


Remissions occur.

Davey's not in his room. What?

But I found this. Darling.

The noise at the door.

If he overheard me... Christ.

Oh, wait till I find that little shit!

Five minutes ago, you thought he was the second coming.

' ' Davey!

Come on, Soda. Where's Davey?



Where are you?!






Darling! Davey!

Simon, bring Soda here!

What have you got, Ted? His pajamas.

Okay. Hey. Hey.

Huh? Go on, find Davey.

I think he's got something.

David! Find Davey, Soda.

David! David! Find Davey, Soda.

What the hell is he playing at?

We've got him! We've got him!

He's not breathing. Ted, let me.

Davey! Oh, God! Five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, 11, 12, 13...

ls he alright?

Help him! I'll call an ambulance.

Righto. Thank you, darling. Look, I'll go with him.

You follow with Simon. Okay, yes.

I love you.

Thank you, Ted.

You... you did very well.

It was nothing.

I've been a terrible father.

You got carried away with your own story.

Something we're all occasionally guilty of.

Would you look after things here?

Swafford Hall.

Yes, I'm her godfather.


Yes, I'll tell her.

Was that the hospital?


He could well have died out there.


But you couldn't help yourself.

Your pompous speech, tearing his ego to shreds.

And you do realize, if you're right, then my daughter is dying?

I know.

Can't resist grandstanding, can you?

Have to be the smartest person in the room.

I know.

No matter what damage it does to those around you.

I know.

I know.

I know.

My darling, I'm... I'm so sorry.

I... I have some terrible news.

It... It It's Jane. The... The phone call.

I am right.

She is...

You bastard. You fucking bastard.

You fucking bastard!


I We've no less days to sing God's praise

♪ Than when we'd first begun ♪

From the wreck of the past which hath perish'd, This much I at least may recall, It hath taught me that what I most cherish'd Deserved to be dearest of all:

In the desert a fountain is springing, In the wide waste there still is a tree...

It's alright, Dad.

And a bird in his solitude singing...

It's a fucking awful poem.

Which speaks to my spirit of thee.

Well read, young pup.

Thanks, Uncle Ted.

We'll make a poet of you yet.

How's the magic-free life going?

Normal life. It's a bit like hard work.

You'll get used to it.

So, you're the guy who hung out in an open grave?

This is my son Roman. Er... Yeah.

Huh. Cool.

'Where is Jane now?

'In heaven?


'Well, neither, obviously.

'She's just been chucked into the ground

'with all the many million Janes who have gone before.

'All the Toms and all the Dicks and Harrys, too.

'All the priests and poets and rock stars.

'All the fish and all the badgers and the beagles.

'Cucumbers and camels.

'Hello. Goodbye.

'Destination fucking nowhere.'


Ah, sod it.

'But if you're looking for a miracle, try this on for size.

'Last night I wrote five poems.

'That's five more than I've managed

'in the larger part of three decades.

'This morning, another two came tumbling out

'and I barely broke a sweat.

'How? Why?

'Inspiration from a clear blue sky.

'I may be jaded, I may be old, 'but, fuck my best boots, I'm filled with wonder.'

To miracles.

'Now will you all kindly fuck off?

'I have some writing to do.'