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ARENA - AUGUST, 2002
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Section 1 - Steve's Interview
EXCLUSIVE "Special Stuff"

As the pig-nosed, cross-dressing members of Royston Vasey limber up for the latest dose of The League Of Gentlemen, poor old Pauline is languishing at Her Majesty's pleasure. Here, writer and star Steve Pemberton (Pop, Tubbs, Herr Lipp) reveals Pauline's prison secrets - and the inspiration behind new character Dr Carlton - in these exclusive extracts from the third series...

We always had it in our minds to do a third series. After the Christmas Special we decided to do something with longer stories,
concentrating more on the characters, rather than treating it like a sketch show. We wanted to stay longer with one character and tell a proper story. We finished the live tour, had a break, brought houses and started writing the series in July last year.

I think we wrote the same as we always have; spending three or four hours on one joke or, on other days, we'd do two or three scenes in a session. I write with Reece [Shearsmith]; Mark [Gatiss] writes with Jeremy [Dyson, who still hasn't appeared in front of the camera in the series]. Reece lives about five minutes away from me - he almost bought a house directly opposite mine so it's very convenient.

We were worried, given that each story was based on the same half-hour period of time and show from different viewpoints, that there would be no momentum building up through the series. So, three-quarters of each episode is devoted to one character, but they all finish at the same point with a couple of sketches and a sub-plot at the end where we can feature new characters. The first week is about Pauline; the next is Lance Longthorne from the joke shop; the third is Geoff Tipps, the gun-wielding businessman who goes to London (to try and make his fortune as a stand-up comedian); then Alvin Steel from the B&B with his swingers' parties; the fifth one is all about Charlie Hull (of Charlie and Stella) and the sixth is an interesting mix of characters centred around the charity shop.

We've had to leave out some of the old favourites. We don't do the Dentons, there's no Hillary Briss the butcher or Local Shop - although Tubbs and Edward make an appearance. Papa Lazarou was very difficult because we wanted to bring him in, but with a character like that you can't imagine him having a normal life. I'll leave it ambiguous, by saying he doesn't take centre stage. A lot of the "big-hitters" have gone and that was quite deliberate - it was time to move things forward...

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Section 2 - Annotated Script from Pauline's Clitclink opening scene [Episode 1]
EXT: WOMEN'S PRISON. DAY. *1(See Steve's commentary)

Establisher of the prison. A sign reads:

HM Clitclink Women's Prison *2(See Steve's commentary)

INT. WOMEN'S PRISON – RECREATION ROOM. DAY.

Various boiler suited female prisoners are sitting in the rec' room, smoking, chatting and playing cards. A nervy EUNICE enters and looks around. She approaches BLACK GERALDINE, who is playing cards. *3(See Steve's commentary). We hear briefly the players arguing "No, Jacks are worth 10 – Kings are worth 3…". EUNICE whispers to GERALDINE who motions with her thumb. *4(See Steve's commentary)

EUNICE walks along, past a prisoner playing table tennis. As she walks the length of the table we see other prisoners eating at the same table, with another player at the end. EUNICE scurries over to FAT LAURA, a huge, greasy-faced dyke who is reading a porn mag called "Bulls behind bars". EUNICE whispers to FAT LAURA, who struggles up and approaches the pool table. As the title music ends, the balls smash apart. We see a fat ass leaning over the table and hear a familiar voice.

PAULINE: (OOV) Hokey cokey pig in a pokey. She's going for the pink.

PAULINE takes her shot then FAT LAURA taps her on the shoulder. As
PAULINE turns round we see that her hair is cropped shorter in a Deidre Rachid style. *5(See Steve's commentary) She has a short, plaited rat's tail at the back.

PAULINE: Ah look who we've got here! Eunice Evans the Royston Poisoner.
EUNICE: Pauline.
PAULINE: They've let you out of solitary have they? What you doing sniffing round my patch? I hope they've not put you on canteen duty!
FAT LAURA: She wants to borrow the Exocet *6(See Steve's commentary)
PAULINE: Hmm, I bet she does. All those lonely nights. Well it'll cost you.
EUNICE: How much?
PAULINE: Five.
EUNICE: I've only got three.
PAULINE: Let's see 'em.

EUNICE produces three pens.

PAULINE: Pathetic. Look at that one, only an inch left in it!
EUNICE: I've a promise of a Pink Pentel but I just need time.
PAULINE: Time's all you've got, sugarnips. You're lucky I'm in a good mood. I'll get it to you by light's out. (To FAT LAURA) You'd best give it a rinse first.
EUNICE: Thanks Pauline.
PAULINE: Of course, there are other ways you could pay me…
EUNICE: How do you mean?
PAULINE: It's nothing to be ashamed of Eunice. A lot of girls go pink in the inside.
EUNICE: I can't!
PAULINE: Course you can. Big girl like you. There's plenty of meat maids here, isn't that right Lozza?

FAT LAURA nods.

EUNICE: I just don't have it in me.
PAULINE: You will have tonight momma.

PAULINE holds up her hand and FAT LAURA gives her a high five.

EUNICE: I'm sorry but I've got a loving husband, Pauline, and you don't know what that's like. You just don't know what that's like.

EUNICE walks off. PAULINE stares after her, wounded. FAT LAURA puts her hand on her shoulder but PAULINE shrugs it off.

*1 I remember we didn't want to do a "Pauline in Prison" story as we thought it would be too obvious. Also, we didn't think there would be enough dyke and dildo jokes for us to sustain a whole episode. How wrong we were! As soon as we started writing this brief scene, we realised how much potential there was in the scenario, and we kept on expanding it. Reece and I would be crying with laughter as we added more and more characters to Pauline's posse of "bitches" – but most of it ended up being cut. We had already worked out a story for Pauline post-prison, so most of the scrubbers stuff was, well, scrubbed.

*2 We wanted to use the opening of this scene as our title sequence for the episode, which meant coming up with at least three visual gags, or "quickies". They happen pretty much in the background with the credits over them, which often helps because they are usually fairly lame gags. Calling the prison HM Clitclink is sheer comedy writer's desperation. Anyone got any better ideas?

*3 "Black Geraldine" is a reference to a character in Alan Bennett's superb Talking Heads monologue, "A Lady of Letters", performed by Patricia Routledge. A pretty pointless reference, as no one ever hears it. I think it was a joke we put in for Mark and Jeremy's benefit.

*4 We had the idea of drafting in all of our mums as the card-playing prisoners. They'd all been hankering after cameos for some time and this seemed the perfect opportunity. But then the location was switched from Leeds to Oxford, which made it more difficult. Still, the lure of the small screen was too much and they all duly arrived, jostling for position in the make-up truck and arguing over who had the biggest tattoos. After much waiting around while we filmed other scenes ("They've done this bit once, why are they doing it again?"), the moment arrived. It was decided that the card game wasn't going to work, so Mrs Dyson, Mrs Gatiss and Mrs Shearsmith were directed to eat their dinners on the table-tennis table, while my mum was to play pool with Pauline. Cabin fever soon set in after the first few takes (the shot was being done with a steadicam and so took a long time to rehearse and shoot) and Mrs Gatiss decided to "get things going" by flicking beans on to Mrs Dyson. All very Bad Girls.

*5 The change of hairstyle was a bit of a risk as short hair makes me look more like a man. But with the whole "bull of D-wing" feel to the scene, it felt right that she would have toughened-up her image.

*6 "The Exocet" was Rosemary West's pet name for her dildo. Makes several appearances throughout the series.

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Section 3 - Annotated Script from Dr Carlton's interview with Mrs Beasley [unknown episode, probably Episode 1]
DR CARLTON & MRS BEASLEY

INT. DOCTOR'S SURGERY. DAY. *(See Below)

DR CARLTON: Mr Beasley, you cannot buy my opinion as you would a used motor car. That is not the way we practice medicine in this country.
MRS BEASLEY: Could I see another Doctor?

DR CARLTON slams his hand on the desk. MRS BEASLEY jumps.

DR CARLTON: No. They won't take you. We'll do things properly if you don't mind. Come and see me again in twenty-two weeks. Now go out would you? **(See Below)

MRS BEASLEY begins to cry, DR CARLTON watches her impassively. ***(See below)

DR CARLTON: I am satisfied that your pain is genuine.
MRS BEASLEY: Thank you. Are you writing me a prescription?
DR CARLTON: No. This is my private address. You will come to me in two night's time and you may find I am willing to help you control your pain. ****(See Below)

DR CARLTON offers the address to MRS BEASLEY, then snatches it back.

DR CARLTON: Of course, as a private patient you will be expected to earn your treatment.

MRS BEASLEY nods.

DR CARLTON: Two further things, you will bring one large Hawaiian pizza and a bottle of brand-name cola.
MRS BEASLEY: Stuffed crust?
DR CARLTON: Yes, And bring some pyjamas. It may be necessary for you to stay overnight.

* Reece and I spent many agonising hours trying to create new characters - whatever we tried seemed so slight against the older ones, some of which we've been working on for seven years. We'd seen a great documentary featuring a monstrously unsympathetic doctor, and so based that idea around that. All that remained was to give him a League of Gentlemen-style twist and.... well, you'll see...

** "Go out would you" became one of our favourite catchphrases. The constant repetition kept us all in stitches. Jeremy cried with laughter when we first read it out. A good sign.

*** Here, Carlton takes a polo mint, pops it into his mouth and crunches it. I'd seen someone do this on a bus and thought it was quite revealing of the character. There's no enjoyment of the mint, no sucking, just immediate crunching. And the noise was so horrible. It seemed to fit the moment.

**** Whenever I get a laugh in a script read-through, Reece repeats the line until I can't remember how I'd ever got the laugh and it becomes totally stone-dead unfunny. We call this "asphyxing", after the spirit-sucking horror film, The Asphyx. Dr Carlton's "No" was funny when I first did it, honest...

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Section 4 - Annotated Script from a deleted Barbara/Pauline Scene [Episode 1]
DIRECTOR'S CUT

Pre-empting the DVD release by, ooh, months, here is a deleted scene that was hacked from the opening of the show

EXT. HIGH STREET. DAY. *(See below)

BARBARA's taxi is driving through town with PAULINE in the back.

INT. TAXI. DAY.

PAULINE stares out of the window.

BARBARA: Nice to be breathing fresh air again!
PAULINE: Not so fresh in here.
BARBARA: I know, I'm sorry about that. You've no control of your bladder when you're in my condition. Pass me another pair of them knickers would you? **(See below)

PAULINE looks on the back seat, but all she can see is a roll of
black bin-liners. She tears one off and passes it to BARBARA.

BARBARA: Ta.
PAULINE: Do you know the sex yet?
BARBARA: Well I've had all the scans but they still can't tell. I
mean, I'm sure I'm female, but...
PAULINE: No, of the baby.
BARBARA: Oh. No I want to keep it a surprise. I'm hoping for a
boy 'cause I've got so many lovely little dresses.

* The whole scene was cut during the editing process. We'd ended up with a 39-minutes episode and had to lose a quarter of what we'd filmed, which was agony. But some cuts made the episode pacier. For example, this scene of Pauline's ride from the prison to Royston Vasey is what we have come to call "shoe leather" - an unnecessary part of a journey. If a character says that they're going to the shops, you then see them at the shops: there's no point seeing them walk to the shops. Unless they can make jokes about incontinence, as we did here.

** Even though Barbara's wedding night had been rudely interrupted at the end of the second series, we decided it would be fun if she had become pregnant. Once we'd had the logic argument (since she's already complained that her monthly gave her "a bed like a butcher's slab", logic seemed to have little place), we set about writing some brief scenes to set this up. This was the first time she mentions it, but because we'd already seen her bump in the previous scene, we had no trouble losing it. I'm sure we can put it on the DVD...

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Painstakingly transcribed by Tara & Scans from Alli



 

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