Lots: Episode 7

This post is in a series: please start at Episode 1

After a few months, not only did I stop fretting about my BBC non-commission but I grew lazy about retrieving script copies I had distributed to potential lovers of the Next Thing in Television. At some point I released a copy to a producer friend who gave it to some other producers. For some reason that is probably uncomfortably seated in issues of personal psychology I contrived not to realise that the master copy of ‘Lots’ was now out of my possession. A few years later I started, as I often do with pieces of my writing that I’m fond of, running through scenes from ‘Lots’ in an idle manner in my head.

My recollections were, perforce, approximate. I recalled writing a scene in which a character wishes that she had had a brother. Moments later there is a knock at the door. It is her brother. They embrace exultantly. That night they curl up together in bed, in a nice way. I also remembered Max and Jean and Anna driving through America in a car they had been given (everything they needed came to them – their desire was all). They had been driving at night and had not been able, therefore, to examine the car. When day broke, Max said “The car is red.” I liked that line very much. I remembered other things in the script and even had vague recollections of the second script, ‘Jean Pool’, the one I wrote because I was told to. I realised that I would very much like to see these scripts again but I could not remember where they had gone.

I wanted to see them, in part, because I regarded them as a link between two worlds of writing. Before ‘Lots’, written in 1983, I had written almost exclusively for Lumiere & Son. Because the company was ‘on the fringe’, ‘experimental’, ‘small scale’ and modestly funded, we could do what we wanted. Nobody cared. At the point of writing ‘Lots’ I was in transition. I had started doing some journalism for papers and magazines and I was drawn thereby to the idea that my plays might achieve, as broadcast events, the national exposure that some of my journalism had, relatively effortlessly, received. While this never really happened, I still felt that ‘Lost’ – as it begs to be anagrammatised – was the riskiest thing I had essayed for some years. As far as I was concerned, in its lack of compromise, ‘Lots’ was pure. When I thought about it I felt pure too.

Despite the fact that Hilary (see Episode 1) and I had enjoyed a long and close relationship, frequently characterised by the exchange of meaningful goods, I had no recollection whatsoever of giving her a copy of the script. In retrospect, considering that she is one of the more assiduous archivists of my acquaintance, I should, at least, have, perhaps, just mentioned the loss of ‘Lost’.