The Devil of Winterborne, by Mark Gatiss
A BBV Productions Video, released January 1995 with the warning not suitable for viewers under the age of 15.
(Under a waning moon, near a busy motorway, a man is walking his dog by the woods.)
MAN: Come on, Monty.
(He lets the dog off the lead. Then we are shown two men on the path ahead. They are joined by a third, who attacks one of the men. We are then given a long stare at an portrait of a man in 18th Century clothes. Next morning, the area is taped off while SoCOs in their white paper suits examine the scene. Liz Shaw arrives in her car and the Detective Inspector in charge goes to meet her.)
BURKE: Miss Shaw. Sorry to hear about your father.
LIZ: Thank you.
(They go to the covered body.)
LIZ: What happened here?
BURKE: Old fellow called Wittaker. Skull smashed in.
LIZ: Heavy presence by the boys in blue. Why'd you want me here?
BURKE: I don't.
(They uncover the victim for Liz to look at.)
LIZ: It's not a routine death.
BURKE: Remains to be seen. There is something else, you see. Haggard seemed to think it was your kind of thing.
LIZ: I see.
BURKE: It's over here.
(Something smaller covered in red plastic.)
LIZ: What's this?
(Burke shows her, and she flinches.)
LIZ: A dog?
BURKE: Could be. It's hard to tell.
(Liz looks at a patch of ground with the grass removed.)
LIZ: Any idea what all these symbols are?
BURKE: I was rather hoping you might tell us. That is why you were called in, after all.
(Walking back to Liz's car.)
LIZ: Did the man, Wittaker, is it? Did he have any family?
BURKE: Not as far as we know.
LIZ: Maybe that's where we should start.
LIZ: That's the general idea in an investigation, Inspector Burke. Cooperation.
BURKE: Probably the best place to start would be the school.
LIZ: The school?
BURKE: Up to six months ago, Wittaker used to be headmaster up at that place up the road. You must have passed it on the way.
(Liz walks and talks with Peter Davison, who is wearing an old-style teacher's gown.)
PURCELL: No, as I say, I hardly knew him. He kept himself very much to himself. To tell you the truth, I always found him a bit of a cold fish. It's dreadful though, dreadful, poor man.
LIZ: When did you take over as Head, Mister
PURCELL: Oh, as soon as Mister Wittaker retired. The governors had been, well, grooming me, I suppose. I knew him on a professional basis, but er
PURCELL: Well, I don't think he really wanted to leave. He loved this place. Must have been a wrench after all these years.
LIZ: Do you know if he had any family?
PURCELL: Not that I know of, no. You might ask our Head of History, Barbara Taploe. She's been here since before the Ark.
LIZ: Well, thank you for your time, Mister Purcell.
(They shake hands.)
PURCELL: Yes, well, anything we can do.
(Purcell walks away, checks his watch, looks back briefly then continues on into the main building.)
(DI Burke is on his mobile phone. Very useful weapons in a handbag, those original brick-sized ones.)
BURKE: Yeah, right. Okay. (call ends) Any joy?
LIZ: No, not really. There's another teacher who seems to have known Wittake better. I might come back this afternoon.
BURKE: I should check with Miss Haggard about that.
BURKE: You're wanted. At Whitehall.
(Is is just my memory playing tricks, or does Geoffrey Beevers sound very like the late Patrick Troughton?)
RUTHERFORD: As I was explaining to Miss Haggard the other day, Doctor Shaw, I'm the new boy in town. It may take me a little time to get the hang of this er Preternatural Research Bureau of yours.
LIZ: Your predecessor was always most helpful.
RUTHERFORD: Ah, the estimable Sir Richard. Yes. Yes, well, he was er, how shall I put it, a little more old school than myself. However, I should like to think I'm every bit as open to persuasion as he.
LIZ: Open to persuasion?
RUTHERFORD: These are difficult times. Money is tight. Each and every department needs to prove its worth.
PATRICIA: Including PROBE?
RUTHERFORD: Naturally. Preternatural Research Bureau isn't called out terribly often, is it?
LIZ: That's not the point.
RUTHERFORD: I'm rather afraid that it is, Doctor Shaw.
LIZ: What about the files?
LIZ: PROBE's records. Surely they demonstrate the importance of our department? You've read them, of course.
RUTHERFORD: I've glanced at them, yes.
LIZ: And you're still not convinced?
RUTHERFORD: Put it this way. I need to be.
PATRICIA: What exactly are you proposing?
RUTHERFORD: Nothing. For now. Just go about your usual business.
LIZ: But you'll be watching us.
RUTHERFORD: I'll be seeing you. That's all.
LIZ: That man. I can't believe they replaced Stevenson with him. It's like putting King Herod in charge of Barnardo's.
PATRICIA: He's got a point, though.
LIZ: Whose side are you on? Honestly, I'm away for a few weeks. Does Lou Bayliss know? What is it?
PATRICIA: We need to have a talk, Liz.
LIZ: What do you mean?
PATRICIA: He's moved her on.
LIZ: What? Is this it, Patsy? Is Rutherford really out to get us?
PATRICIA: I honestly don't know.
LIZ: Oh, come on!
PATRICIA: Look, I would tell you if I knew. I think Rutherford is just trying to stamp his mark on the department. Things will settle down.
LIZ: I'm on a case now, at your behest. A murder, in case you've forgotten. How am I supposed to manage?
PATRICIA: It's your problem, Liz, not mine.
(Two boys are playing football. One puts the ball wide of the goal marked by their satchels.)
CHRISTIAN: Oh, what a miss! I'm glad you're staying, Luke.
LUKE: I don't mind. It sounded like a laugh.
CHRISTIAN: It will be.
(He takes the kick again, and scores.)
CHRISTIAN: Oh, and the crowd go wild.
LUKE: (retrieves the ball) So why do you stay here during the holidays?
CHRISTIAN: I don't know. Going, going away reminds me of before.
LUKE: Oh, your parents.
CHRISTIAN: It's all right. They died before I was old enough to miss them. I just didn't have many friends, you see. That's why I like it here.
(A third boy runs in and kicks the ball.)
ANDREW: All right, you two?
(Purcell watches from a window.)
CHRISTIAN: So, when do you get over the wall, then?
ANDREW: A week, with good behaviour.
CHRISTIAN: Brilliant. I thought I'd be pretty much by myself. Apart from Luke, of course.
ANDREW: What happened to you anyway, Luke?
LUKE: Oh, I waited for my parents to turn up, but it was just like Christmas again.
ANDREW: I'm sure there's a reason.
LUKE: Oh yeah, there is. They don't give a toss about me. Never have. I'll get a fat cheque and a hasty apology scrawled on Claridge's note paper, and that'll be it.
ANDREW: Oh, Christian? Purcell was looking for you.
LUKE: You know he was supposed to be going to America. Turned it down.
ANDREW: You stupid bastard.
CHRISTIAN: I'd better go. See you later.
(Christian runs off towards the main building.)
ANDREW: I don't understand him at all. He always stays, doesn't he? Christ, I'd give anything to get out of here. All right, Georgie?
(He waves at the simple gardener with the speech impediment, weeding nearby, who waves back. Mark Gatiss.)
ANDREW: Poor sod.
(Luke imitates Georgie's stutter.)
ANDREW: Shut up, he'll hear.
LUKE: Come on, Georgie, let's have a game.
(A few kicks, then Georgie scores a goal. Andrew shakes his hand.)
ANDREW: Yes! Well done, Georgie. Georgie! Georgie! Georgie! Georgie's best! Go on, Luke.
(Luke sees Christian and Purcell at the window.)
ANDREW: The ball!
[By the river]
(The three boys, with Georgie tagging along, are strolling by the river.)
ANDREW: You're kidding.
CHRISTIAN: No. I found his body last night.
ANDREW: Poor old Wittaker.
CHRISTIAN: Muggers, they say.
ANDREW: Is that what Purcell wanted to see you about?
CHRISTIAN: More or less. He thought it would be a good idea I told everyone who was staying. I used to know Mister Wittaker quite well.
CHRISTIAN: It's your birthday, isn't it, Luke?
CHRISTIAN: End of the week, your birthday.
LUKE: Who told you that?
CHRISTIAN: I dunno. Someone.
LUKE: Well, yes. I'll be eighteen.
CHRISTIAN: Hey, we can have a party.
ANDREW: What's that?
(Something in white cloth fastened to a tree trunk, with a dead dog's head.)
(Meanwhile, a woman puts up a poster for her lost dog, sandy coloured, answers to the name of Badger.)
PURCELL: Still no sign of her?
BARBARA: I'm afraid not, Headmaster.
PURCELL: Gavin. Call me Gavin.
BARBARA: If you'll excuse me, Headmaster.
PURCELL: Actually, do you have a moment, Barbara? I'm afraid I've a bit of bad news.
ANDREW: Bloody hell. What'd you reckon it is?
CHRISTIAN: I dunno. It's weird, isn't it?
LUKE: What's that?
(Andrew uses a stick to prod the ground.)
ANDREW: It looks like. It is, it's blood.
CHRISTIAN: Do you know anything about this, Georgie? Are you sure?
ANDREW: It's an animal's head.
(Georgie tries to speak.)
ANDREW: What is it, Georgie?
GEORGIE: B. B.
CHRISTIAN: Spit it out.
GEORGIE: Ba. Ba.
LUKE: What is he, a bloody sheep? Shut up.
CHRISTIAN: What are you trying to say, Georgie?
(The boys laugh.)
CHRISTIAN: It's not a badger, you spastic.
(Georgie runs off.)
ANDREW: Georgie, I'm sorry. We didn't mean to. Where's Luke?
BARBARA: Hello, Georgie. What is it?
(He gestures for her to follow him.)
BARBARA: What is all this?
BARBARA: Andrew, what's going on?
CHRISTIAN: I think you should see this, Miss.
(A little way from the effigy are mangled bits of fur and blood.)
BARBARA: It's my dog. It's Badger. It's my dog!
(And that portrait again, only now three images merge into the one.)
(The remains are being removed.)
BURKE: A vendetta? Who against?
LIZ: I don't know. Someone at the school. Particular teachers.
BURKE: Any obvious candidates?
LIZ: I'm looking into it. It's the sort of work my assistant did very well.
LIZ: Nothing. All we can say for sure is that someone spent a great deal of effort decapitating Mrs Taploe's dog, and that Wittaker's dog was killed in a very similar way. The animal remains have been sent for analysis.
BURKE: Essentially, the connection is to this place, to the school.
LIZ: Yeah. Strange thing is, it's all rather familiar.
(Burke walks off, chuckling. Liz rolls her eyes.)
ANDREW: I don't see what any of that's got to do with Taploe's dog.
CHRISTIAN: You don't listen, do you.
ANDREW: History's my least favourite subject. Taploe's the grumpiest bitch I know. Does that answer your question?
CHRISTIAN: The way her dog was killed. Those patterns on the ground. It's all happened before.
ANDREW: Where? Winterborne?
CHRISTIAN: What did Taploe tell you about the school?
ANDREW: I don't know. Not much. It's about two hundred years old, isn't it?
CHRISTIAN: It was built in 1764 by Sir Isaac Greatorex.
ANDREW: How do you know that?
CHRISTIAN: I looked it up. Greatorex spent his fortune helping the poor.
ANDREW: What have the poor got to do with a school like Winterborne?
CHRISTIAN: Well, that's just it. It started as a charity school.
ANDREW: Did it?
CHRISTIAN: Mmm. Greatorex got into all sort of debt, though, and had to sell it off. The new owners opened it as a public school.
ANDREW: Yeah, minor public school.
CHRISTIAN: A very minor public school. It did well, earned itself laurels to rest on, and here we are two hundred odd years later.
ANDREW: Aye, and they've been odd years all right.
(A pillow fight degenerates into Christian tickling Andrew, before Andrew pushes him off. Luke enters.)
CHRISTIAN: Where did you get to?
LUKE: Oh, I remembered that Taploe wanted an essay off me before we broke up. I'd finished it but it was still in my locker.
ANDREW: Hmm. You did right. Taploe'd have gone mental if you'd have forgotten.
LUKE: Did you find out about that
CHRISTIAN: Scarecrow? Yeah, it was Taploe's bloody dog.
CHRISTIAN: We reckon mad Georgie did it to scare us off his precious gardens.
LUKE: (Georgie) Ge, ge, get off my l-land. (normal) God, that's horrible.
CHRISTIAN: What's the time?
ANDREW: Not late. You were telling me about this Greatorex bloke.
ANDREW: What, you've heard of him as well?
LUKE: Founder of the school, wasn't he?
ANDREW: Why do I suddenly feel very ignorant?
CHRISTIAN: Because you are, you prick. Do you want to hear this or not?
ANDREW: Sorry, go on.
CHRISTIAN: Right. Greatorex pumped his money into the school, helping the disadvantaged, all that sort of stuff.
LUKE: Oh, I know this. Taploe told us the first week we were here.
CHRISTIAN: Bear with me. Greatorex lost his money and the school went private. And what happened to him after that?
ANDREW: Well, tell us, then.
CHRISTIAN: Well, that's just it. Nobody knows for sure what happened. He was put on trial in secret.
LUKE: What for?
CHRISTIAN: There was some sort of scandal. A lot of people think he was forced to give up control of Winterborne.
ANDREW: Who by?
CHRISTIAN: By whom.
ANDREW: By whom, then.
CHRISTIAN: Well, no one knows for sure, but Greatorex was a really strange man. They used to call him the Devil of Winterborne. He was involved in some sort of religious sect, like, oh, you know, what's his name. Electricity, scientist.
CHRISTIAN: Yeah, Faraday. Only it was much more weird than that. Greatorex's lot had science and alchemy all mixed up. They had all kinds of theories.
LUKE: Turning lead into gold?
ANDREW: And turning PE teachers into human beings?
CHRISTIAN: I'm serious. There was a lot of talk of sacrifices, strange things being seen in the woods.
LUKE: What kind of things?
ANDREW: Devil worship and all that?
LUKE: Do you think that scarecrow had anything to do with it?
ANDREW: Hang on, Luke. This is over two hundred years ago.
CHRISTIAN: I only know what I've read, and what my uncle told me. He was born just down the road.
LUKE: What does he say?
CHRISTIAN: He says there's a Grey Man of Winterborne.
ANDREW: A what?
CHRISTIAN: A ghost. Isaac Greatorex's, probably, come back to claim his school.
ANDREW: Oh, you've done it now, Christian. You've scared the shit out of him.
LUKE: No, it's okay. I'm just interested.
ANDREW: Well, did he get off?
CHRISTIAN: Greatorex? No, they hanged him, and buried him under the gallows.
(Twilight Zone theme sung by Andrew.)
CHRISTIAN: But guess where the site of the gallows is now. Only the bridge where they found Mister Wittaker.
BARBARA: I've always thought the Whitsun holiday too short to bother about going away, Miss Shaw. Much better to get your battle plan ready for the new term. Catch the little beggars unawares.
LIZ: How long have you been at the school, Mrs Taploe?
BARBARA: I've forgotten. Winterborne School, Winterborne bricks consigned to history by the new regime.
LIZ: Sounds rather obscene.
BARBARA: I wouldn't be at all surprised.
LIZ: How well did you know Mister Wittaker?
BARBARA: Oh, he was here much longer than me, but I never really felt I knew him.
LIZ: The headmaster says he was very proud of the school.
BARBARA: That's one word for it.
LIZ: What do you mean?
BARBARA: It bordered on obsession. I think that's why the governors persuaded him to retire. He wasn't too happy, but he had other things to occupy him.
LIZ: His family?
BARBARA: His dog.
(Night. Andrew is woken by sounds of movement.)
(Luke's bed is empty. Andrew gets up and opens the door to see Luke putting his shoes on in the corridor before going slowly up an old flight of stairs to meet someone. Andrew follows.)
(He sees a figure in a sheet, and throws his arms up in front of his face.)
(Next morning, Luke's bed is still empty, and so is Christian's.)
(The portrait again.)
(One in the school, for pupil's use.)
ANDREW: No. I don't know. Look, can you come? Well, I don't care who you send, just. Look, I've got to go. All right. Yes, thanks. Thanks. Bye.
PURCELL: Up with the larks, Andrew?
ANDREW: Sir, have you seen Luke anywhere?
(A woman in a white lab coat hands Liz an envelope.)
LIZ: Oh, thank you.
(She opens it and reads, then her mobile phone rings.)
LIZ: Hello. Doctor Shaw speaking.
PURCELL: You saw what?
ANDREW: I followed Luke, sir. I saw him leaving our room. He went up into the loft. I saw it, sir. It came after me!
PURCELL: All right, Andrew, calm down. Now what exactly came after you?
ANDREW: The ghost, sir.
PURCELL: The ghost?
ANDREW: The Grey Man of Winterborne.
PURCELL: I see. Has someone been telling you stories?
ANDREW: Christian was talking about
PURCELL: Yes, Christian. I might have known. So my nephew told you a few ghost stories, you had a nightmare, and your imagination did the rest.
ANDREW: I'm not a child, sir.
PURCELL: Well, whatever you saw, I think that a day in bed wouldn't do you any harm, young man.
ANDREW: But sir, you don't understand. I can't find Luke. His bed's not been slept in. I think it's got him!
PURCELL: Now Andrew, that's enough. I forbid you to spread this nonsense around the rest of the school. If young Luke isn't in his room, then there's bound to be a perfectly logical reason. Perhaps he went for a walk, couldn't sleep, who knows? Now, I'm sure he'll turn up sooner or later. I understand your concern for your friend, and it's very noble of you, but don't tie yourself into knots about it, okay?
PURCELL: That's the chap. Off you go now.
(In the dormitory, Christian is sitting on Luke's bed. Purcell enters. Christian follows him out.
[Outside the main building]
(Liz Shaw and DI Burke arrive at the school. Andrew comes out to meet them.)
BURKE: Andrew Powell? DI Burke, Doctor Shaw.
LIZ: You definitely saw him come up into the loft.
ANDREW: Yes. I was right behind him. There was nowhere else he could have gone.
BURKE: There's plenty of places to hide, in't there?
ANDREW: Oh, Christ, don't you start saying I imagined it. I know what I saw.
BURKE: All right, son.
ANDREW: What about you?
LIZ: Oh, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, Andrew. Believe me, I've seen some pretty odd things in my time. You say this ghost has been seen before?
ANDREW: Oh, I don't know. Christian reckons
ANDREW: He's Mister Purcell's nephew. He says people think it's the ghost of the school's founder.
LIZ: Every home should have one.
ANDREW: He says it's known as the Grey Man of Winterborne.
ANDREW: Yeah, well, look, whether you believe me or not, Luke's still missing, isn't he?
LIZ: Don't worry, Andrew. That's something tangible at least. Now we've got the police here, we can file a missing persons
(Liz finds a stash of papers and magazines.)
BURKE: What's that?
(With a medallion on a chain underneath one of them. Liz picks it up with a pencil.)
ANDREW: That's his. That's Luke's.
(And lowers it into Burke's handkerchief.)
PURCELL: Just explain it to me, Christian. I don't understand you.
CHRISTIAN: I've told you.
PURCELL: You haven't told me anything. What on Earth did you say to Andrew Powell? You're nearly eighteen. You're grown up.
CHRISTIAN: But it's just a game, isn't it? And games are meant to be fun, aren't they?
PURCELL: Of course.
(Knock on door.)
PURCELL: You'll be the death of me. Come in.
LIZ: Could I have a word, Mister Purcell?
(Christian leaves, and finds Andrew looking out of a window. They are joined by Burke.)
PURCELL: Really, Doctor Shaw, you'll forgive me if I say all this sounds a trifle alarmist.
LIZ: Well, there've now been two brutal attacks on animals, both with a direct connection to your school.
PURCELL: Yes, you've made that very clear. The late Mister Wittaker's dog.
LIZ: And Mrs Taploe's.
PURCELL: Yes. Poor Barbara. She was devoted to that mutt.
LIZ: Both had been horribly mutilated, and the surrounding area inscribed with certain patterns. I've just been given a report on the animal remains. Both had been partially drained of blood.
PURCELL: How dreadful. And you thought this might have something to do with Mister Wittaker's death?
LIZ: I'm not sure, but now we have a missing boy.
PURCELL: Missing? Oh yes, of course. Well, as I explained to young Mister Powell
(Voices arguing outside the door.)
PURCELL: Would you excuse me a moment.
(He opens the door to reveal Luke.)
PURCELL: I'm sorry, Miss Shaw. You were saying?
[Outside the main building]
ANDREW: I'm sorry for getting you out for nothing.
LIZ: That's okay.
(Liz and Burke walk away.)
BURKE: At least that's over.
LIZ: Is it?
BURKE: What do you mean?
LIZ: Nobody's explained away Andrew's ghost, and we're still left with two dead animals.
BURKE: Ghost my arse. Lad got an over-active imagination.
LIZ: And Wittaker?
BURKE: Bungled mugging.
LIZ: Ever thought of transferring to Whitehall, Inspector? There's a Minister there I think you'd get on very well with.
BURKE: I'm just relieved the lad got back all right.
LIZ: Me too.
(She gasps as the boys go back inside.)
BURKE: You okay?
LIZ: Someone just walked over my grave.
(Luke sits on his bed and starts reading a book. Christian enters.)
CHRISTIAN: All right? Oh, I had a word with my uncle. He says it's fine to use the dining hall for your birthday.
LUKE: That's nice.
CHRISTIAN: Don't you trust me, Luke?
LUKE: I told you, my dad came
(Christian shakes his head.)
LUKE: I, I just wanted to get away from here.
CHRISTIAN: You've got to trust me.
(Christian kisses Luke. Andrew sees them.)
(Liz changes the flowers on the new grave.)
LIZ: How did you find me?
PATRICIA: I used to be in surveillance, remember?
PATRICIA: I know we've not really had a chance to speak. I'm very sorry about your dad.
PATRICIA: Liz, this morning
LIZ: Forget it.
LIZ: It's not important.
PATRICIA: I'm trying to apologise. Please? I know how important this is for PROBE, and for you.
LIZ: But why move Lou Bayliss?
PATRICIA: The powers that be, Liz.
LIZ: I thought you were the powers that be.
PATRICIA: Oh, I sometimes wonder what I am nowadays. In the beginning it was so simple. Everything was black and white. I don't know, people were prepared to give a little.
LIZ: There just isn't the imagination any more, Patsy, let's face it.
PATRICIA: I was just beginning to win Stevenson round and now we're stuck with this stuffed shirt what's his face, Rutherford. It's one step forward and two back all the bloody time.
LIZ: Is it just me, or are we both turning into a couple of miserable old sods?
(Later, on the sofa, sharing a bottle of wine and sounding a bit drunk.)
LIZ: I was so afraid of that place, you know, when I was little.
PATRICIA: The cemetery?
LIZ: I hated everything about it. The rusty watering cans, the stand pipe, and the smell of decayed flowers.
PATRICIA: And those bloody awful marble chippings.
LIZ: Yes. But there was one thing in particular. I kept it to myself for years. Oh, the nightmares it used to give me. We used to go and visit my Gran's grave, and there was an old door laid out on the grass. Oh, just a broken big door taken off its hinges and left there on the ground. It was painted a funny dark green colour that everything used to be painted then. I got it into my head that the door covered a grave, and I remember thinking it was the grave of someone so poor that they couldn't afford to have it filled in. Well, it seems so ridiculous now, but I was petrified that I would somehow walk too close, and the door would fall into the hole, and I'd see whatever was there, or fall into it myself.
PATRICIA: How are you getting on with Burke?
LIZ: You know, the average, every day hate-hate relationship.
PATRICIA: Oh, get on. It's the sparks that keep you on your toes.
LIZ: Patsy, what are you playing at?
(A clock strikes one.)
LIZ: Lucky for you the spare bed's made up.
(Pat is woken by creaking floorboards. Liz enters.)
PATRICIA: Oh Liz, you gave me the fright
LIZ: I thought you might like some towels or something.
PATRICIA: Are you all right?
LIZ: Got a bit of a headache. It's where my Dad used to sleep.
PATRICIA: Oh, come on.
(Pat hugs Liz.)
(Christian lights the candles on Luke's birthday cake outside in the corridor, then he and Andrew enter.)
ANDREW: All right, you miserable sod, don't say we never give you anything.
(Purcell is standing over Luke, lying on his bed. There are marks around his neck and under his arms. Purcell is holding a rope in his hands.)
RUTHERFORD: You do understand what I'm saying, Patricia?
PATRICIA: Of course.
RUTHERFORD: You're a very valued member of this department. It would be a terrible shame to see a good career stunted because of a little matter like this.
PATRICIA: Is that a threat?
RUTHERFORD: Of course not.
RUTHERFORD: Of course not. Let's look at the facts. This case Doctor Shaw is investigating now. A lot of dead pets, by the look of it.
PATRICIA: Oh, and one dead man, I think.
RUTHERFORD: Almost certainly killed by muggers. Doesn't amount to much, does it?
PATRICIA: What do you want me to say?
RUTHERFORD: You know I can't shut down PROBE without your agreement. It's one of the more charming eccentricities of our system. We have to get rid of the dead wood, Patricia.
RUTHERFORD: Yes? Yes, she is. I see. Hang on. It's for you. It appears there's been another incident.
PATRICIA: Oh really? (takes handset) Yes?
CUMMINGS: Poor soul. Whole life before him. Want one?
CUMMINGS: Sausage roll, Miss. Wonderful for settling the stomach.
LIZ: I'd like to get on, if possible.
CUMMINGS: As you wish.
(He pulls back the sheet covering Luke.)
CUMMINGS: Subject was very efficiently throttled. You can see the contusions round the neck. Extensive damage to the trachea.
LIZ: Definitely the cause of death?
CUMMINGS: Oh, without a shadow of a doubt, Miss. Neck broken very cleanly.
LIZ: Thank you, Mister Cummings, you've been most kind.
CUMMINGS: There's a little something extra, Miss.
(Cummings raises Luke's right arm.)
CUMMINGS: You see that?
LIZ: It's some sort of wound.
CUMMINGS: Someone's tried to cut into him just underneath the arm. Done with a sharp instrument, long blade, slightly rusty, bent to the left.
LIZ: Why would anyone want to do that?
CUMMINGS: Stick a catheter in there and you get direct access to the heart.
LIZ: And the blood supply.
(He covers Luke up again.)
LIZ: Is it like the wounds on the animals?
CUMMINGS: It's not unlike them.
LIZ: Thank you.
CUMMINGS: My pleasure, Miss Shaw.
[Outside the interview room]
(Burke nods to Purcell and closes the door on him. Patricia and Liz walk up.)
BURKE: He's denying everything, of course. Says he just found the body of the boy.
LIZ: Oh, it's possible, isn't it?
BURKE: Certainly it's a possibility.
PATRICIA: But you don't think so?
BURKE: I've seen a lot of people come and go through that little room. Believe me, after a while you get to spot the guilty ones.
PATRICIA: Shall we get on?
(The time is 15:40.)
PATRICIA: Sit down, please. Would you state your full name.
PURCELL: Look, I've been through all this
PATRICIA: State your full name, please.
PURCELL: Gavin Alan Purcell, Winterborne School, Surrey.
PATRICIA: Mister Purcell, would you tell us how you found the body of Luke Pendrel?
PURCELL: My nephew, Christian, told me a few days ago that it was Luke's birthday. He asked if we might have some sort of party. In view of Luke's unhappy home life, I thought this might be a good idea. The lad needed cheering up. To be perfectly frank, I wasn't entirely convinced his father had picked him up from school the day before. He was obviously depressed. Anyway, I went up to his room to collect him. Christian had made a cake, I think, and Andrew had managed to get some of the other boys to contribute to some sort of present.
PATRICIA: What happened then?
PURCELL: I went into the room. I couldn't see him. Then I looked down. I didn't know what to do. I, oh God. I'm sorry. You can make me say it all a thousand times. I didn't kill Luke. Why should I?
LIZ: How well did you know Mister Wittaker?
LIZ: How well did you know him?
PURCELL: As I think I told you once before, not well. If you're trying to pin his murder
LIZ: When did you last see him?
BURKE: Doctor Shaw.
LIZ: It's a perfectly simply question, Mister Purcell. When did you last see Mister Wittaker?
PURCELL: I don't know. When he retired, I think.
LIZ: Say, six months ago.
PURCELL: I suppose so.
LIZ: Not recently.
LIZ: You didn't see him on the night he was killed?
PURCELL: Of course not.
PURCELL: Absolutely. Look, what is all this about?
(Liz produces an evidence bag containing a button that matches Purcell's jacket.)
LIZ: Exhibit G I think you'll find, Detective Inspector. Found underneath the body of Mister Wittaker.
BURKE: Well, Mister Purcell?
PURCELL: I have nothing to say.
BURKE: You do realise what conclusions we have to draw from that.
PURCELL: I have nothing to say.
[Outside the interview room]
BURKE: Well, I suppose you're feeling pretty pleased with yourself, eh?
LIZ: I'm sorry?
BURKE: Coming up with that button like that, making us look like a load of monkeys.
LIZ: I just used my eyes, Inspector. You've got your man, haven't you?
BURKE: This is a police case, Doctor Shaw. Don't you forget that. And until some bloody headless ghost says otherwise, it'll remain a police case.
PATRICIA: Will you excuse us, Doctor Shaw?
(Pat gives Liz a bundle of papers.)
PATRICIA: All right, all right. So we've got him at the scene of Wittaker's death and the boy's. What about a motive?
PATRICIA: Oh, please.
BURKE: Just a thought. Maybe Purcell's into little boys. Old man Wittaker found out, threatened to tell all, so Purcell killed him.
PATRICIA: Very neat.
BURKE: Do you have anything neater, ma'am?
PATRICIA: No. But I think Doctor Shaw might.
LIZ: Mister Purcell, I want to talk to you about Isaac Greatorex. Mister Purcell?
PURCELL: What did you say?
LIZ: Isaac Greatorex. Founder of Winterborne School.
PURCELL: I know who he was.
LIZ: The Founder of Winterborne School, and alchemist and black magician.
PURCELL: What on Earth are you talking about?
LIZ: Oh, I think you know. You see, I remembered what I'd heard about your school before, and why the way in which the dogs were killed was so familiar.
PURCELL: Oh yes?
LIZ: Yes, I'd read about it some time ago when I was setting up my department. The Devil of Winterborne, isn't that what they call Greatorex? You know what he did, and what happened to him?
PURCELL: Isaac Greatorex was tried, executed, and buried in secret for murder and witchcraft. Standard local history. I've been at the school some time, you know.
LIZ: Isaac Greatorex was the leader of some kind of cult, wasn't he? (reads) Fundamental to their beliefs is the dismemberment and subsequent bleeding of animals. Especially dogs.
PURCELL: I'm sorry, Miss Shaw, I thought we'd been introduced. I'm Gavin Purcell, not Dennis Wheatley. Well, I'll be honest with you. I am a magician. I can turn four hundred snotty little kids into decent human beings at the drop of a hat.
LIZ: Do you know what I think, Mister Purcell?
PURCELL: Go on, enlighten me.
LIZ: I think you revived Isaac Greatorex's cult.
PURCELL: Really. All on my lonesome?
LIZ: Well, you and others.
PURCELL: Like Wittaker, perhaps.
PURCELL: And that's why I killed him.
LIZ: Maybe he knew too much. Was he blackmailing you? (silence) Something went very wrong, didn't it, Gavin?
PURCELL: What do you mean?
LIZ: You didn't mean it to go this far.
PURCELL: Look, I
LIZ: The ritual, the ghost, that was all part of the fun, wasn't it? When did it stop being fun, Gavin?
PURCELL: I don't have to answer this.
LIZ: Why did you bleed the animals? What were you trying to do to Luke?
LIZ: Yes, we know all about that. You hid it very well, making the incision under the boy's arm. We nearly missed it. What were you trying to do, Gavin? What were you trying to do?
(Andrew closes his suitcase.)
CHRISTIAN: What's the matter?
ANDREW: I can't.
CHRISTIAN: What, believe it?
ANDREW: Poor Luke. Do you think it might be suicide?
CHRISTIAN: Well, it doesn't sound too horrible. I hope so. My uncle
ANDREW: They've taken him in? Oh Christ, what's going on?
CHRISTIAN: Gavin wouldn't kill anyone. It's unbelievable.
ANDREW: Luke's still dead. Who did it?
BARBARA: How are you two getting along?
PURCELL: You have to understand. It's all about fear. That's how we all function. That's how we get what we want. The boys at Winterborne, they're afraid of me. Of me. Have you ever known real fear, Miss Shaw? It's a beautiful thing. The power it gives you. To hold a human life in the palm of your hand and crush it. If that's what you want.
PURCELL: Mmm. I wanted him, so I took him. It's easy. You should have seen the terror in his eyes. I snuffed him out. You're right about Wittaker. He was a kindred spirit, but he didn't have the nerve to go the whole way, to complete Greatorex's work. He'd have ruined everything. I arranged to meet him at the bridge. The rest you know.
LIZ: Interview over, 5:52 pm.
BURKE: I knew he'd crack if we kept at him. Good police procedure, you see? Never fails.
PATRICIA: Liz, congratulations. I've just heard. Full confession?
BURKE: That's right.
PATRICIA: I think even Brian Rutherford will be impressed with PROBE's work on this one. Are you all right?
LIZ: Sorry, Patsy. There's something, I don't know, something not quite right.
BURKE: Oh, don't start that again, please. Look, we've got the evidence that puts Purcell at the scene of Wittaker's death. He was found standing over the body of the kid, and he's confessed. What more do you want?
LIZ: I want you to stop waving your police procedure in my face. It may seem very cut and dried to you, Inspector, but let me remind you we have two dead people to explain away. Someone had attempted to drain the lifeblood out of Luke Pendrell, just as they had out of the two dogs.
BURKE: Yes, Purcell. You got the confession.
LIZ: All right, I know!
LIZ: All I'm saying. Listen, this is far from being a normal police investigation, Patsy, and I would appreciate if you could get Dixon of bloody Dock Green off my back! Excuse me. I'll see you later.
ANDREW: You're sure you don't mind, Miss?
BARBARA: Least I can do, Andrew. You boys have had enough. Anyway, as I say, I'm driving down towards your neck of the woods.
CHRISTIAN: What will you do now, Mrs Taploe?
BARBARA: I'm to be Acting Head, keep things ticking over. Like Mister Chips himself, my hour seems to have come.
(Liz is thinking when a figure appears in the doorway.)
LIZ: Oh, hello there. It's Georgie, isn't it? It's a cold, draughty place, isn't it?
GEORGIE: Freeze the b,b
LIZ: Off a brass monkey. Quite. Did you want to speak to me, Georgie? (nod) What is it?
(Georgie reaches out and takes Liz's hand.)
(Christian's suitcase zipper gets stuck.)
CHRISTIAN: Right. Oh, damn.
BARBARA: Here, let me.
CHRISTIAN: No, it's okay, Miss.
BARBARA: Just let me.
CHRISTIAN: It's okay.
(He pulls the suitcase away, it falls open and a dog's collar falls out.)
BARBARA: That's Badger's collar.
ANDREW: What's going on?
CHRISTIAN: We found it. We'd found it near the scarecrow. Didn't we, Andrew? Tell her. Tell her we found it, Andrew.
BARBARA: Did you two have something to do with my dog's killing? Did you?
BARBARA: Did you!
LIZ: How long did this go on for?
GEORGIE: Dunno. Few years.
GEORGIE: W, Wittaker, at first, then others.
LIZ: Purcell, you mean?
GEORGIE: They was all dressed up. Masks and stuff. They come for me when I was asleep.
LIZ: It's all right, Georgie. Go on.
GEORGIE: They said if I told anyone about it, I'd be f-finished at the school. I knew they were after young Luke. He was a lovely kid. He wouldn't harm a f-f-fly. And I saw it when Mrs Taploe's dog got done too. I wanted to tell someone, Miss, you've got to believe me, please.
LIZ: I do. Go on.
GEORGIE: They've gone too far with Luke. Somebody's got to stop them.
LIZ: Purcell? Georgie, is there someone else? There is, isn't there. Not just Purcell or Wittaker. Someone else did this to you.
GEORGIE: I never saw him. He always wore a m-m-mask. But he was different to the others. They did anything he said.
LIZ: Georgie, I've got to go. Everything's going to be all right, okay?
LIZ: Mrs Taploe?
(Liz sits at the desk and starts going through the drawers. She finds a very old book in the bottom drawer, then looks up at the picture of (presumably) Isaac Greatorex on the wall. She shudders.
(Barbara Taploe is dead on a bed, with a bloodied knife on her chest. Liz makes a phone call.)
LIZ: Hello? This is Doctor Shaw. Get me DI Burke, would you? It's urgent.
(The knife is shown to Purcell.)
PURCELL: What's this?
LIZ: You tell me. I've just found your colleague, Mrs Taploe.
PURCELL: What do you mean, found her?
LIZ: She's dead, Gavin. She's been killed.
PURCELL: Oh, God.
BURKE: Look, why don't you tell us the truth?
PURCELL: The truth?
BURKE: Well, there's more to this. We know there is.
LIZ: There were others involved in the cult, weren't there, Gavin?
PURCELL: I told you that, yes. Wittaker, he was weak. He would have ruined everything. So I smashed his head in.
LIZ: I don't believe you. You didn't kill Wittaker, did you, Gavin.
PURCELL: Yes, of course. I've told you.
LIZ: Oh, you were there, involved, but it wasn't you who actually killed him, was it? And Luke, someone tried to drain his blood. It wasn't you, Gavin.
PURCELL: It was. I've told you. I had to kill Luke, for Greatorex, to show it can be done. The blood was strong in him.
LIZ: Other people are in danger. You are shielding your accomplice.
PURCELL: You must cut into him using the dagger of Asmodea and drink his blood.
LIZ: Who killed them, Gavin?
PURCELL: Why won't you listen? I've told you the truth!
LIZ: Yes, I think you have, but it's someone else's truth.
PURCELL: There was no one else.
BURKE: Ah, but there was. Someone senior in this cult of yours. Someone who everyone else looked up to, obeyed. Even you. Even you, Mister Purcell.
LIZ: You're frightened, aren't you, Gavin?
LIZ: Oh, yes. Everything you told me before about the power of fear, that was true. But it isn't you who's in control, is it? You asked me if I'd ever known real fear. Well, I have, and I can see it now in your eyes. Who are you afraid of, Gavin?
LIZ: Who are you afraid of?
PURCELL: You don't u
PURCELL: You don't understand! I'm nothing. I'm not the one.
BURKE: What do you mean, the one?
PURCELL: It was all a game to me. The trappings, the ritual. I didn't know what I was starting. It's too late now. You see, he thinks he is Isaac Greatorex.
LIZ: Who does?
(Cut to a shot of Andrew bound and gagged in the back of the school minibus, while Christian wears his glasses and smokes a cigarette. The portrait once more.)
PURCELL: When my brother and his wife were killed, I was left to look after Christian. I didn't mean it to happen the way it did, but I suppose it was inevitable. I introduced him to it all. They say a convert's the most zealous, don't they?
LIZ: Did you plan to kill Wittaker?
PURCELL: Christian was hiding there. He wasn't going to let anyone get in his way, least of all an old fool like Wittaker.
LIZ: And Luke?
PURCELL: I found Christian leaning over his body. He was lapping at Luke's blood. I panicked. All I could think of was that poor boy lying there, and I knew I had to stop him. I tried for so long to pretend it wasn't happening, that Christian wasn't becoming some kind of (pause) It is my fault, you see. It is. I was responsible for him. He's my monster.
CHRISTIAN: Hello, Andrew. Welcome back to the land of the living. I'm sorry about hitting you like that. You'll have quite a headache in the morning. Well, no, I tell a lie. You won't feel anything at all in the morning.
(Andrew struggles against his bonds. Christian grabs his hair.)
CHRISTIAN: Don't do that. It took me ages to learn how to tie those knots. It's nothing personal, Andrew. You're just in the right place at the right time.
(Christian kisses his forehead.)
CHRISTIAN: We're ready now.
(Burke is pacing, looking through the old book Liz found.)
BURKE: Can't make head nor tail of half of it.
LIZ: Right. Let's go through it again.
PURCELL: I can't.
LIZ: Listen to me, Purcell. Christian was seen driving out of the school with Andrew Powell. He's already killed three people, We have to find him. Now, take me through the ritual again.
PURCELL: If he is to find the true path to immortality, the subject must imbibe the lifeblood of the lower animals, afterwards arranging them in the manner described as offerings to the Dark Ones. When prepared, the subject must take in the blood of a young man in his eighteenth year, extinguishing said youth's life with a dagger of Asmodea in a special or holy place. The blood once thus imbibed
LIZ: Stop there. What did you mean by a special or holy place?
PURCELL: It's just the ritual.
LIZ: But Christian killed Luke in the school. Was that a special place?
PURCELL: Of course. It's Greatorex's school.
LIZ: So, if he hasn't taken Andrew back to Winterborne, where would he go? Is there anywhere even more important than the school?
BURKE: Where was he buried?
LIZ: Greatorex? I can't remember. Some gallows site, I think, like Tyburn. It's in the records.
PURCELL: Wait. It's the bridge.
(Andrew is panicking. Christian is shushing him. He removes the gag.)
ANDREW: You bastard, you stupid bastard. What do you think you're doing?
(Christian slaps Andrew.)
CHRISTIAN: Now Andrew, if you're going to be abusive.
(Christian gets a white garment from the back of the bus.)
CHRISTIAN: Remember this? I'm afraid I was the Grey Man of Winterborne. Sorry to give you such a fright, but it was necessary. Besides, there's nothing quite like dressing up, is there? It makes everything so much more fun.
BURKE: What about the book?
LIZ: Greatorex's? What about it?
BURKE: I was just wondering if there was anything in that we could use against him.
LIZ: What, you mean like some sort of spell?
BURKE: I don't know. A flaw. Some kind of flaw in the ritual. Anything like that we can use to get at Christian.
CHRISTIAN: It's really quite simple, but I don't expect you'll understand. You see, I am Isaac Greatorex.
ANDREW: You're a nutter!
CHRISTIAN: No, I am. I told them on the scaffold that I'd come back, and I have.
ANDREW: Why kill Mrs Taploe?
CHRISTIAN: Life's too precious to waste in one span.
ANDREW: You killed Luke!
CHRISTIAN: Christian's parents
ANDREW: You're Christian!
CHRISTIAN: They went too soon. They had no stamina. That's not going to happen to me. This time, it's going to be different.
(Christian leans in and kisses Andrew while strangling him.)
CHRISTIAN: I was ready for Luke, to be honest, but things didn't quite work out. It's probably better this way.
(Andrew is gagged again and tied to the railings in the middle of the bridge over the motorway, crucifixion style.)
CHRISTIAN: Luke was a bit of a sap, wasn't he? His blood was awfully thin.
(Christian cuts Andrew's cheek with a piece of broken bottle and drinks the blood. Liz arrives.)
CHRISTIAN: What do you want? You're not going to spoil it this time.
LIZ: Please, let Andrew go. We won't say anything about all this. We'll forget all about it. We'll just go home.
CHRISTIAN: She's good, isn't she?
LIZ: Listen to me. Are you really going to kill Andrew? What for? What do you think's going to happen, Christian? What Purcell did to you, it has nothing to do with all this. It was just part of the ritual. There's no truth in it.
CHRISTIAN: No, you're wrong. I am Isaac Greatorex. I always said I'd come back. Now I have. And this time I'm not going away ever again.
(Christian draws on Andrew's chest with the bottle.)
LIZ: For God's sake!
CHRISTIAN: For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten son, that we might not perish, but have eternal life.
(As Christian raises his arm to stab Andrew, Burke grabs him. They struggle, and Burke is stabbed. Liz rushes to Andrew but Christian has the sharp glass against his throat.)
LIZ: Listen to me, Christian. If you kill Andrew, you'll gain nothing. You can't live forever. No one can. Isaac Greatorex is
CHRISTIAN: I am Isaac Greatorex.
LIZ: No, no, no, you're not. You're a poor confused boy who's had his whole life bent out of shape by the only person he thought he could trust. Look, it doesn't have to be like this. The guilt isn't yours. Put it down, Christian. Let him live.
CHRISTIAN: My Uncle Gavin said. He always said. He promised.
LIZ: I'm sorry, Christian.
CHRISTIAN: I am Isaac Greatorex. This boy's life is mine.
LIZ: You must let him go, Greatorex.
CHRISTIAN: Must I?
LIZ: Yes. If you obey your own law.
CHRISTIAN: What are you talking about?
LIZ: You don't have the dagger. You know it's true. Without the dagger of Asmodea, the sacrifice will be worthless. When you killed Mrs Taploe, you left this in her body.
(Liz holds up the knife.)
CHRISTIAN: Give it. Give it to me. It's time now. Don't you understand?
LIZ: It doesn't have to be like this, Christian.
(He slowly steps back from Andrew, drops the bottle then walks away. Liz frees Andrew.)
PURCELL: I'm so sorry, Christian. It wasn't meant. It was just a game.
CHRISTIAN: A game?
PURCELL: I'm sorry. Please forgive me.
CHRISTIAN: A game. But games are meant to be fun, aren't they?
(Christian runs off down the path, chased by Purcell and a policeman. He climbs onto the fence overlooking the busy motorway, spreading his arms.)
(And jumps before anyone can reach him. But when they look down onto the motorway, there is no sign of him.)
(Patricia knocks and enters.)
RUTHERFORD: Ah, Patricia.
PATRICIA: Ah, Minister. My report.
(She hands him a file and leaves.)
LIZ: Inspector. How are you feeling?
BURKE: Oh, all right down the one side, as my old Dad used to say. Look, er, I know we didn't exactly hit it off on the right foot to begin with, but
LIZ: Apology accepted.
BURKE: What? Oh. Right. I've applied for a transfer.
LIZ: Traffic division?
BURKE: PROBE. (Liz laughs.) There were one or two things about this case we were unable to clear up.
LIZ: Or understand.
BURKE: Well, let's just say my eyes have been opened a little, shall we?
(They walk down the road.)
BURKE: What'd you think?
LIZ: About your joining PROBE? I think you'd better wait and see what miracles Patsy manages at the Ministry.
LIZ: In the meantime, I could murder a cup of tea. Coming?
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