Wicked Little Letters (2023) Movie Script

What sort of person does this?
- I think we know.
- We don't know for sure, Father.
- How bad?
- As bad as the others.
But there are benefits to suffering,
don't forget.
We worship a messiah who suffered,
so, by my suffering,
do I not move closer to heaven?
Don't think so.
Oh, Edith...
Go and get the constable, please!
This'll be the death of me!
Don't need to tell me when to go and get
the bozzler. I was going anyway.
That woman will be off this street
as quick as a wink!
- You alright?
- I am. Are you?
Over my dead body
are you gonna be a cleaner.
- Fuck! The feckin' milk!
Oh! Actuary!
Nance, I thought you could be an actuary!
- What's an actuary?
- Well... Haven't a bloody clue.
Rich is what it is.
Rich and clever.
And they probably give you a quill.
Now, we won't be back late, love...
Actually, we might be back a wee bit late,
because Mammy's itching for a big one.
Oi! That's Bill's!
Nice girls don't play guitar.
- I don't care.
- Right, no...
Do you know what I was doing
when I was your age?
Helping Grandpa steal?
Well... yes, I was helping him
burgle houses off old people.
But I promise you now, Nancy Gooding,
you'll not be doing the same,
because you... are a queen.
And if you don't do your homework,
as sure as God made gooseberries,
I'll slit you from ear to ear.
And not a peep out of that guitar!
Get off that!
One of them, please.
- I can take your complaint, sir.
- One of them.
Smart as ever, Mr Swan.
Some values might survive the trenches,
- Another letter?
- It's wicked abuse, this!
Edith's not sleeping.
She's grizzling all the night, bless her.
In and out of bed.
Now, I know my law.
This is a prison offence.
So, you better do something about it
before there's a hurleyberloo.
- This is all of them.
- Right.
"Dear Edith.
You foxy-ass old whore."
- Holy heavens!
- No. Carry on.
Don't worry about me, Constable.
I rise above it.
"You really are a tricksy old fucker.
"You belong in hell probably,
"and you're a sad, stinky bitch as well."
In the end, I think it's just jealousy.
- What are you gonna do about it?
- I'll note it. I'll surely note it.
- You'll what?
- Note it.
As in, write it down on some paper there,
on a form.
Which we have.
In the station yonder.
You'll write it down on a form?
- A form?
- Yeah, alright...
Edith, do you feel certain-sure
Rose Gooding's guilty?
- Yes, hugely.
- Er, Edith?
Yes! I just said she does,
butter my wig!
It's not my place to judge anyone.
There's only one judge.
- We all await judgement equally.
- Especially that old strumpet!
- Well, no, that's not the point...
- Shh! Let the man speak.
Thank you.
- Well, we at the station...
- Alright, carry on.
We at the station think
it's Miss Gooding, too.
But is there enough for a court summons?
She'll be away to jail for these.
Easily enough!
She has it in for Edith.
A misunderstanding.
That woman curses like a fish.
She's got straggly hair all the time.
And she marches around on the Sabbath
with feet as bare as goose eggs!
- But, even so...
- Right!
"Her Majesty, Miss Swan,
sucks ten cocks a week minimum."
"Edith Swan takes it up the Swanee,
and she loves it more than Christmas Day."
- Edward!
- Only words, Mother.
"You foxy-arse old fucking mare, you want
spiking in the nose, you big smelly bitch!"
- Alright...
- "You great big fucking onion!"
Alright, man.
Edith would need to come in and personally
make the claim in an interview with me.
Which I know you'd struggle with, Edith,
cos of your moral misgivings in the area.
I should not cast the first stone.
- If I were without sin...
- She'll do it!
Edith, love, if you behave right,
as I know you will,
you could be an example to people.
You could be known in Littlehampton
for your virtue and your sacrifice.
Yes, if I could be of use to people...
- But is it not prideful?
- It's not prideful. I hate her!
God travels through the just.
We'll need a statement, then.
All the facts you have.
- Where are you going now?
- To arrest Miss Gooding.
Don't be nervous, Den.
I'll get you in the ball sack!
- Now, I have done this before!
- Have you actually?
Yes! It was different circumstances,
- Like how?
- Well, there wasn't a person underneath!
- Or a potato, nothing! Let's go!
Miss Gooding?
Can you come with me, please?
Can you give me five minutes?
I'm on the verge of making history here!
I don't know what you're doing, yoystering
in the pub at this hour, Miss Gooding,
but that's a pint rather than a half.
And it's time you owned up
to these letters to Miss Swan!
Are you fucking joking me?
You're gonna feel like
a right daft old twat.
- Why would I be doing that?
- So you know...
We knocked on your house
and woke up your girl,
but Mabel Alford's in with her now.
Nancy? Don't tell her what's happening,
Bill, please.
- No, course I won't.
- Yeah, I had to tell her.
- What did you say to her?
- Nothing bad.
Just that I was arresting her mother,
and it was great shame on the family
and the street as a whole.
Hey, Rose! Rose!
Just make sure Nancy's okay.
I'll be back in the morning.
This is a fucking joke!
Check her in, Gladys.
I'll, er... go tell Spedding.
- Name?
- Rose Gooding.
Are you the night cleaner?
Woman Police Officer Moss.
- Address?
- Fuck!
I've heard of them.
Undercover in the sewing circle, is it?
67, Western Road.
- Next of kin?
- What counts as next of kin?
- Closest adult blood relative.
- I haven't got anything for that one.
- You can put someone back home.
You don't even get handcuffs, do you?
Actually, that is at the discretion
of my superior.
And has your superior
exercised his discretion
hitherto in this particular circumstance?
- Come with me.
- Fuck!
Why would I send anonymous letters to
someone I've torn strips off in the street?
Do I look like the anonymous type to you?
You're not the first to say
they didn't do it.
Look, woman to woman,
I've got a daughter at home.
Do you?
Then perhaps you should avoid
breaking the law.
- Does it always smell like this?
- Like what?
Sorry, I'm just not used to the police.
Just tell us about Rose.
Woman Officer Moss joins in female ones
in case of hysteria and general tears.
What's she like?
Well, we're all God's creatures,
we're all deserving of his grace.
- Miss Swan?
- She's heinous.
And she's what we feared would come
after the war.
Love thy neighbour,
and I tried, but...
Well, back in the spring, when she first
moved here from the Emerald Isle,
it was clear that
she didn't rightly fit in.
Her husband died early in the war,
Nancy's father,
and Bill, her latest, well, he wasn't
the same after he came back either,
and they say he wasn't the first,
she'd had a few.
And, well, I can well imagine,
she seemed enthusiastic in that, er...
...particular area of expertise.
But she wanted a fresh start, she wanted
to become a respectable woman, so...
...I think I saw myself as a missionary,
helping someone to find a new path.
Oh, if I could just say two words to you:
floor crumbs.
Keep them in order,
and everything else follows.
My Auntie had a little ditty: "A woman
whose floors are messy and foul...
"Er... dee-dum, dee-dum, dee-dum..."
- Anyway, the point is, she was a whore.
- Right, I'll remember that.
Say, we should get you along
to the Christian Women's Whist Drive.
What the fuck is that?
- Applejack!
- Oh, shit!
- The language you just used out loud.
- Fuck me!
- Indoors, on a Wednesday.
- Jesus!
So, you got to know her, then?
A little. Erm...
Likable in many ways.
'We became friends.'
- Have you got a fella yourself?
- Ah, well...
- No. I was engaged, but...
- Oh.
- Christ, was he on the front?
- Oh, no, Sidney didn't die.
He just... went.
What a fucking bastard!
I bet he was pale.
Sidney's a pale, mangy, pitiful name.
- A bit pallid.
My father says I'm better off,
that he was un-Christian.
Well, I'll find you
a great big horse of a man,
who wakes you up with a fright,
if you know what I mean!
Sure, you deserve a good 'un.
You do, Edith.
So, what brought you here
after your husband...?
A fair breeze, Edie love.
I know you're not supposed to say it,
but sometimes it's just good
to get away from your fucking family.
Of course, she, er...
ruffled a few feathers.
I mean, not much goes unnoticed
in Western Road, as you know.
For instance...
- Oh, fuck!
Oh, Jesus! Oh!
- Oh! Oh!
Ah! Oh!
Er... for instance, we shared
a wash house and a bath,
and let's just say, neither were left
in the pristinest of conditions.
- Oh, God!
- Oh Jesus!
- Aargh! Oh, God! Oh, God!
Then it was my father's birthday
at St John Methodist's.
No, no, no, I'm joking.
Only hymns.
A few dirty jokes and hymns!
Might have to ask the vicar first.
Come on, Edith,
get the birthday boy some cake.
She's in the middle of a conversation.
She'll be with you when she's done.
No. I'd like it now.
Two moments.
- Good job her husband's not here.
- What did you say, Ray?
- Huh?
- Go on, tell us what you said.
Oh, leave it!
It's my birthday party.
It's your birthday party?
Who cares?
What, are you eight years old?
You won't speak to me
like I'm a nancy-boy.
I was saying,
what would your fucking husband think?
My husband isn't alive, Ray,
so he's not thinking a great deal.
He's probably thinking it's a shame
we're missing these shitty pasties.
Looks like he got away lightly!
Couldn't have that at Women's Whist.
I saw her the next day.
Oh... if you've come to apologise,
my father's inside.
I haven't come to apologise.
Sure, why would I apologise
outside a toilet?
- But, Rose, your behaviour last night.
- Oh, fucking Ray was a gobshite.
And your father needs
to loosen his chain, too.
In my opinion, that's not
how a proper lady behaves.
Oh, I'll know better than cosy up
to school ma'am next time.
Fucking mardy old clod!
I was just trying to be your friend!
Actually, I do really need to go!
Can you give me a second?
- And close your ears! Oh, shit!
And the next day,
the child protection services turned up.
- 'But, truly, I don't know why they came.'
We've been alerted
to some domestic disturbances.
Nancy, get over here.
Who told you that?
I don't think nice little girls play those,
do they, petal?
- Who says I'm fucking nice?
- Right, no. Inside now.
Gimme that. It's Bill's, anyway.
To have your household questioned like that
in public... there's no greater shame.
I didn't... Rose! No!
Rose! Rose, I didn't report you!
- And when did the letters start?
- Straight after that.
- We haven't spoken since.
- Well, when you put it like that...
All out of nothing.
- What's gonna happen to her?
Thank you, Miss Swan.
All pointing to Rose Gooding, sir,
as suspected.
Good job.
Well, it's hardly surprising.
Saw it ten miles off.
- You're charging her?
- Under libel. Not a small offence.
No, it isn't.
But what's the evidence?
Motive. Timeline.
You let me out of this fucking cell,
you aging fucking soft-cock streak of piss!
- Similarities in the language.
- Mm-hmm...
Everyone knows it's her, love. Ever since
she got off that boat, she's a thorn.
Rememer when she tried to climb
up the side of the pub on her birthday?
Fell on top of Ron Flowers.
Says he can still feel it in his neck
when he turns to the left,
which he says he does all the time,
as do we all.
Look, I'm doing it now.
Yeah, no, that is... very... compelling.
I know you're finding your feet,
and your father was a good copper,
but there's a hierarchy
in the police, love.
Yes, sir.
Rose Gooding,
you are charged
with writing these wicked little letters
to Edith Swan.
You had clear motive to do this,
and there's more than sufficient evidence
to believe that it was you.
You allegedly harassed
a pretty, young, Christian woman,
who suffered greatly at the abuse.
And therefore, you will be remanded
on a three-pound bail while you await trial.
Can you afford this?
Well, then, you will away to Portsmouth
Prison for two and a half months.
Hey, keep your chin up now, Nance.
They'll figure it out in the end, alright?
- How can you know that for sure?
- Cos Mammy's done nothing wrong.
Just do your homework
and keep off Bill's guitar.
You got anything saved?
If I need to work, I'll work.
I don't mind.
Yeah, I have. I've got a week's wage
due from Mrs Mills. You'll be grand.
A week? Rose, they wanna send you down.
What if you never come back?
Are you fucking thick, man?
Just look after her.
Do you want me to write
to your folks at home?
- No.
- Is it a nice prison, Mammy?
I bet it's darling.
- You fucking wankers!
- Shh, shh!
- Break it up! Break it up!
...it's after the game, and he's fucking her
on the floor quick as he can,
cos her uncle's upstairs,
and he says she's a saucy bitch,
knows all the tricks and...
- Miss Moss?
- Carry on. Sounds like a good one.
Well... don't think so.
It's not exactly a Sunday sermon,
not entirely.
- How can I help?
- Firstly, I need your signature, sir.
What is it?
Lad riding a motorcycle sidecar
on the esplanade without a helmet.
- Contrary to local byelaws.
- Are you alright? Must be shaken up.
Yes, it's a relief to be back here with you,
Constable Papperwick.
Oi! That's good police work.
Secondly, having examined
the letters to Edith Swan,
I believe we may have charged
an innocent.
- I've been looking at the handwriting...
- You're not on that case.
It does appear to be
a different person, sir.
University-educated chicken swill.
Oh, look at the curl on the 'F',
the dot on the...
- 'I'?
- Yeah. Exactly, 'I'.
Or 'J' as well. Lower case.
- So, two options.
- Your alphabet's really coming on.
Judges don't go for handwriting.
Follow orders
or the whole thing falls apart.
Yeah, women officers don't sleuth, love.
Where are you off to?
To check on the emotional wellbeing
of local woman affected by crime.
Which falls within my purview,
I believe.
Well... hope you weren't like them.
Woman Police Officer Moss.
Woman Police Officer Moss.
I'm Woman Police Officer Moss.
The whole thing's been a trial.
Trial is the word.
Of my strength, of my conscience.
And the press! It's been a whirlwind.
I don't want to be seen as a martyr,
Woman Officer Moss.
Oh, I don't think you'll be seen
as a martyr.
They're calling me
"The Upstanding Miss Swan".
It's a direct quote. But what do I know?
Do you want to read it?
Oh, I'm alright.
Well, you can take a copy with you
when you go, cos we've got spares.
Miss Gooding will have made it
to Portsmouth Prison by now.
- Yes, the idea haunts me.
- Why? Are you having doubts it's her?
Oh, if only. No.
I'm only haunted that
I didn't help her more. I liked her.
The only saving grace is that,
owing to Rose's character and way,
in prison Rose may find
some kindred spirits.
- In Portsmouth Prison?
- No, no, not the murderers or the rapists.
I'm thinking more the drunks
and the queers, maybe.
Just trying to find a bright side.
How about you, Mrs Swan?
Who else could've done this?
What do you think?
What do I think?
No, nothing.
- She's just here to check on Edith.
A woman police officer?
Oh, look, a flying pig!
- Ha-ha!
He's larking around. We just find
woman police officers quite funny.
I understand. It's an adjustment.
- I see you did well at school, Edith.
- The world's going to hell.
Oh, not really. You know, some prizes here,
the odd soprano solo there.
She was a modern-day genius.
The things she used to say at tea.
She had to be perfect.
And that comes from being
the eldest of eleven siblings, I reckon.
They've all gone now, but...
There's always one chick stays behind.
Not in nature, I don't think,
but in our family.
So, did you stay on at school
after you were twelve, then?
- What do you make of this, hmm?
- Do you mean equal suffrage?
Two of my boys, still in France.
What did they die for?
- I must get to Women's Whist.
- Oh, yes. Mind if I join?
Hello, girls.
This is Gladys.
Gladys, this is Kate and Mabel.
We played whist through the war,
it kept us all going.
- Got you a lardy-john.
- Oh!
I've read everything in the papers.
Congratulations... on your tragedy.
Thank you.
It's been a trial, it really has.
- Have you read everything, Mabel?
- Haven't had a chance yet, love.
I've been weeding.
I've offered to take in her uniform.
I could take the cuffs up for you at least.
- Thanks, Edie, I'm alright.
- Oh.
It was her husband's.
He was a postman, too.
He drowned in the Channel, so...
Her choice.
Mabel, it's just some newspaper stories.
Nothing really.
Just this outpouring of sympathy for me,
it seems... and love.
Waves and waves of love.
It's quite a humbling experience.
I think it's just an acknowledgement
that, yes, I've been through hell,
but I've survived
with my head held high.
I don't know, it's not for me to say,
but I think so, yes.
- Well, at least she's behind bars.
- Oh, hold on, dear, she's got a daughter.
Well, we've all got daughters,
it's not...
I mean, I don't, I've got a parakeet,
but she's a lot of work.
We don't know it was her for sure.
Doesn't strike me as Rose, really.
She was charged on my testimony, Mabel.
- Don't you think it was her?
- Well... no.
Are there other people who would do this
to Edith, do you think?
- Any other people with grudges?
- I shouldn't think so.
- No.
- Sorry I'm late. Andrew ran away.
- Who's Andrew?
- A pig.
- Oh. Right.
- Grudges? Oh-ho, God, yeah!
Against Edith?
I got four, just off the bat.
- Yes, I mean Marjorie Stones!
- Oh, five, then. Hadn't thought about her.
From the dairy?
I thought we had a good back-and-forth.
- Oh, no, dear.
- She says you got "a gloating air".
- Oh, what a lot I'm learning.
- I wouldn't bother about it.
- Interesting to find that out now...
Sorry, can everyone just stop
for a moment?
- Can everyone just stop?
- We have done.
Police woman, forget your name,
are you telling me it isn't Rose?
I'm not involved in the investigation,
but we have to examine everything
before sending a woman to jail.
Hark at you, ma'am.
And what next? Set her free?
If she hasn't done it,
let her roam the land at leisure?
Well... yes.
- The woman's a spider on legs!
- Spiders already have legs.
- As in a monster, is what I'm saying.
- Rose is a one, but she's not cruel.
Calling Edith a frigid, ugly old spinster,
who still lives at home,
with no life, is not cruel?
I don't think the letters have said
those particular things.
- Well, where have I got them from, then?
- Your brain, I think.
Right. Well...
Apologies, Edith. In that case.
We're friends with Edie, but we got
to know Rose, too, and we like her.
- Sorry, Edith.
- No need to say sorry.
Any kindness shown to anyone
gives me joy.
And if it isn't her, she's awaiting trial
in that wretched prison,
and her kin haven't even got a shilling,
let alone three pounds to bail her out.
What on God's earth can be done?
'Officer Moss, I'm not so stupid
I don't know my own reputation.
'A tart on the run from Ireland,
is what it boils down to.
'So your man there assumes it's me.
'But I didn't leave Ireland for my sake.
I left for Nancy.
'I mean, why would I risk it all
to write some letters to Edith Swan?
'You must know it wasn't me.
'You may not like me much,
but can't you help me?
'Yours, Rose Gooding.'
'Dear Miss Gooding.
I absolutely cannot help you.
'I'm a police officer,
and you are a suspect.
'To do so would be to violate
the most basic codes of service.
'It is beyond question.
'Yours, Woman Police Officer Moss.'
- Come on, then.
- What?
You're bailed until trial. Hurry up!
I'm not? Am I?
By who?
What? Why the fuck
have you done that?
I didn't need your help, I was fine.
I was enjoying myself.
How could you afford three pounds?
She sold one of her pigs.
- Did you really?
- Well, he was quite ill, so no loss.
Well, I can't believe you've done that.
No, honestly, don't tell anyone,
but he's dying from rot.
- Rot?
- Pig rot.
- What are you gonna do?
- Nothing.
I'm just gonna lie low until the trial.
I mean, I can't see
why they think it's me.
I was a bit roisterous once or twice.
That won't stand up in court, though.
I mean, people have to-dos all the time.
Why you and not anyone else?
- I mean, why not Sidney?
- Why Sidney?
Oh, Edith led him along something rotten,
and then dropped him.
What, she dropped him?
I thought it was the other way round.
Hmm... not how I remember it.
Why ain't anyone pointing
a finger at him?
He's decent, I'm not.
Well, nobody's perfect.
I'm a lovely lady,
but my hygiene habits are medieval.
They're alarming even to me.
Does that make me a criminal?
No, it doesn't.
And decent didn't matter
when we were working in their factories,
and driving their tractors.
Oh, we have to go back
to being decent, do we?
Well... fuck 'em!
I've got some rum.
Fuck 'em up the arse!
- ...with your cheeks alight
- Why you keep me waiting...
- Is that... is that Nance?
I'm hot and I'm steamy
I'm awake and I'm dreamy...
Nancy! What did I say
about playing guitar while I'm away?
Get in! And you're bloody smoking!
Do you want your lungs turn black?
I'm getting better! I'm sorry.
It's not good enough! I've been away
for a few months, and you already play...
Didn't I tell you I'd be back, hmm?
Don't let them fuck you up, hmm?
You shaved specially for me, admit it.
Ow! Fuck, are you trying
to boil me, man?
- How's Nance really been?
- She's been fine.
She loves you, you know.
I know. You both do.
- Hello, there. Daily Mail.
- No!
No, no, no... I'm not going to grill you
about the letters.
What, then?
No, that is what I'm going to do.
Why do they even care?
Cos people like to pick a side.
- And them letters are filth.
- They're fucking funny.
"Peculiar case of...
"...the Littlehampton letter victim,
Miss Edith Swan, speaks
"of her faith and forbearance
with grace and dignity..."
Give me fucking strength!
These houses are going to the dogs.
- Sorry, Father, I was onto that next.
Dazzled by the limelight, are you?
Head turned
by Madame and Monsieur Fame?
- Don't you get carried away.
- Oh, no, Father, I've sat down two seconds.
- Remember your place.
- Course.
Yes, Father.
What timing.
I've thought and prayed about what
I'd say to you the first time I saw you.
Oh, well... no hard feelings.
It was good to get away.
- I forgive you, Rose.
- Edith... I didn't do it.
Who's that?
Er... that's me. I'm sorry.
I thought this was
more of a private situation.
But also, I... didn't want to leave
in case of problems,
so I held position.
The Father and I have been discussing
a sermon I might give at St Catherine's.
We're all positively fizzing with the idea.
And I had a passage
I wanted to read to you, too.
- That's what I mean by "good timing".
- Twist of fate.
- No, thank you.
- No... thank you?
- It's very short, quite energising.
- You don't want me any more energised.
- Not unless you want a good bannicking.
- A physical threat?
It's like a trapdoor to hell opens up
everywhere you tread.
- I'm not actually evil, you know?
- No, but you've got evil in you.
No, no, it's not your fault,
but you were born with it...
I like you, Rose, and I'd like to bring you
to the light. For Nancy's sake.
You can keep your fucking light.
What are you doing?
What's all this for?
I'm just making the house nice.
- Like nice mothers do.
- Well, you're already a nice mother.
I just want it all to be
a bit better for Nancy.
It's too late for me, but I just wanted it
to be a bit... better, you know...
- Fuck!
- Hey, hey.
I'm fine!
If I just prove to people that I don't have
a demon residing inside my fucking abdomen,
- then maybe I wouldn't...
Explain this what just came
with the postman!
- Explain it! Soon as you're back!
- I didn't! I promise I...
- This'll be the death of me!
- "Dear Miss Swan.
"You bloody fucking old saggy sack
of chicken piss.
"You want fucking in the nose holes,
you old beetle!"
Edith, you honestly don't think
I've been doing this.
I don't know anymore.
Father, it mightn't be her.
It could be all kinds of people.
- She was my friend.
- No! She wasn't your friend.
- She's a lying slut!
- Hey, what did you just say?
You know she is.
Be a man, son!
Don't front up to me, old boy.
I used to box in bars for cash!
Don't tell people that, obviously.
- And you stink out the wash house, too.
- Bill!
Well, he does. I think you're ill, mate.
- My God, please!
Bill! Get inside! Get inside!
Get inside!
- No, I just want this to stop!
- Oi, oi, oi! Where is she?
Lizzie, what's the matter?
I've just had this,
saying I'm a middling hooker,
and my fella's having it off
with a tall governess!
Sending them to everyone now, are you?
What? No... Are you a fucking eejit?
Why would I...?
- More letters. Lizzie Bailey's just...
- We know. She's been fined a ha'penny.
Ha'penny? She could've killed her
with that shovel!
- How many have you got? Shut them blinds.
- Six just this morning on my rounds.
- All to people connected with Gooding?
- Yep.
- There or thereabout.
- I've filed four.
Two of mine alluded in a roundabout way
to sodomy, beg pardon there, Gladys.
One of them used a word
I've never even seen before.
Yeah. I actually think
it's Greek in origin.
- Really? How do you know that?
- Fascinating how language travels.
- It's horrific.
- So, that is eleven...
Doesn't it seem a bit queer to you
Rose would do that,
knowing she'd lose everything?
Gone soft for her. Christ!
She's just this moment out,
and here they all are.
She boozes, then she curses.
- So do you.
- Huh?
- Why's worse when she does it?
- Well...
- Yeah, go on, say it again...
- It's obvious she didn't do it.
Can you at least admit
there's a chance she didn't do it?
Definitely not. Christ, Glad,
that Gooding wench is done!
I've had one now,
calling my wife's voice too deep,
which she already knows,
thank you.
And it aches when she tries
to pitch-up anyway.
Gladys, can you get some tea on, please?
Milk and two sugars.
'On Tuesday, the Home Secretary
Mr Edward Shortt was compelled
'to answer a question in Parliament
'about the ever-growing scandal
of the Littlehampton letters.
'The poison-pen missives,
obscene and malicious in equal measure,
'are causing widespread distress
across the county.
'Now numbering over one hundred,
'Mr Shortt called them
a national embarrassment,
'but said he has immeasurable faith
in his exemplary police force
'to find the culprit in the end.
'The mystery of the letters
continues to captivate the nation,
'in which every household
has an opinion
'on whether Miss Rose Gooding
is innocent or guilty.'
It's German.
Oh. Hello.
Is Miss... Is Gladys in, please?
My niece. Wants to be an officer,
apparently. Off you go.
And be a good one, if you do,
Winnie, love.
I bally will.
- How can I help, Rose?
- You tepid fucking cow...
Ow! Fuck me! Don't break it now,
that's my letter-writing arm!
I want this on your fucking conscience.
I asked you for help!
I'm an officer.
Why would I help a suspect?
Because the police are horseshit!
If you want help, Rose, there are better ways
to go about it than cursing and fighting.
I don't need your fucking help.
I don't trust your fucking help!
- But would you help me?
- You don't need it, apparently.
- No. Are you offering?
- No, I'm not.
Right, then, fuck off!
I would like to interview you, though,
one more time.
In the spirit of rigour.
Rigour? Ha-ha!
If you'd like to step inside...
"While many of her gender
take to the streets in protest,
"Miss Swan might teach them
something of moral rectitude.
"The childless spinster is grim-looking
and by no means conventionally charming."
- Oh...
- Well, that's not true.
"Miss Swan refuses
to condemn her neighbour.
"'It is in the pardoning
that we are pardoned,' she says.
"She will give a sermon herself
at St Catherine's in the coming weeks."
Ooh, you are a treasure.
Now, you must be pleased with that.
Pride changes angels into devils.
Do you know what men will do
with this picture, hmm?
Pin it on the privy door, is what.
- It's disgusting.
- Father, it's nothing, it's...
It's... just a small interview.
It doesn't warrant...
I'm sorry.
I'm a...
- Am I being silly?
- Somewhat, Father.
A daft egg, am I?
- Edward!
No, you're right. I'll lower my voice.
Goodness knows
what the neighbours might think!
I won't be made a nancy-boy!
You might be trotting up the fucking pulpit,
but whose household is this?
- It's yours.
- Who's the captain of this ship?
- You.
- And what are you?
- I don't know.
- What are you?
- You're my little Edie.
And you always will be.
Proverbs, chapter three,
verses 11 and 12.
Two hundred times.
Do I have to count to three?
Apologies for the language.
I don't like the way you speak
or the way you act.
Rose, I should be clear,
this isn't about being friends.
Uh, good God, no, Gladys.
You got your career to think about.
Woman Police Officer Moss, please.
I'm not saying all that.
I will say Officer Moss.
- Woman Police Officer Moss!
- I can see you're a woman. Jesus!
I don't think you wrote these letters,
Miss Gooding.
Cos look.
This is a formal, educated hand.
Whereas yours is... I mean...
- Did you go to school?
- Yes, thank you!
- Because you capitalise your 'Fs'.
- Yeah, it looks better.
Is there some rule book that says
which letters you capitalise
and which ones you don't,
and when?
Yes, there is.
The writing in the letters is quite florid.
The 'S', the 'F', the 'G'...
Who's got time to write
fucking 'Gs' like that?
Up to them, I suppose.
The scope of the crime has widened
since we last spoke.
Now, the sentence could easily be
a year's hard labour, by my reckoning.
During which you would presumably
lose custody of your child.
There are ten days until the trial,
so let's get down to it.
Thank you for this.
Have you got a fella?
Lady police are forbidden marrying
or having children.
Fucking Jesus shat on the cross!
Then, why?
My dad did it.
Twenty-two years.
I think you've been set up, Rose.
Is there anyone who'd want to do
such a thing?
Have you got a pen and paper?
"My son, despise not..."
"...the chastening of the Lord.
"Neither be weary of his correction.
"Even as a father...
"...the son in whom he delighteth.
"My... son...
"Neither be weary of..."
"For whom the Lord... loveth."
"You big...
- Oh...
- Edith!
Edith... Edith!
- Oh, oh...
- Edith!
- Oh! What's happened? Oh!
- Mother...
- Go and get a doctor.
Alright, love?
Go and get a doctor, quick!
Are you alright there, Edith?
Oh, yes, yes.
What do I do again?
It's just a small amount of paperwork.
Someone will have to formally confirm
that it's her. I have to witness.
Right. My father's upstairs, so...
Let's, er... please.
It's just your name.
And then the signature.
She was so good.
She was good.
So sorry. Sorry.
I seem quite overcome.
We'll find who wrote these letters,
Miss Swan.
What do you mean?
I thought the police knew it was Rose.
That does appear to be the case, yes.
On behalf of the Swan family,
I would like to pay tribute
to Victoria Swan.
In a time when our morality
is threatened,
and women everywhere
are losing their decorum,
she was a woman who knew her role.
These recent crimes
must not cause despair.
Rather we must remember
that in God's eyes,
the guilty inform on themselves
with their own souls,
and the pure of heart...
are set free.
Let us pray
for Edward and Edith,
and all that Victoria leaves behind her.
- You're a bright button, aren't you?
- I just want to be a part of it, sir.
- I don't want anything special.
- Sir?
- Something major.
- Wait.
Everyone wants a part of it,
we got hacks from France,
a private investigator from Sweden,
all got theories.
Problem is, you've been asking
questions behind my back, ain't you?
- Well, not really.
- You don't have to lie. People talk.
You got a policeman's nose.
Maybe I asked
the odd innocent question, sir.
- Sir, could I quickly...?
- Not now.
Problem is, I asked you not to.
Do you think you're the first person
to suspect Edith?
I told you,
handwriting won't cut it in trial.
Especially coming from you.
- I'm a police officer...
- Woman Police Officer.
Don't have to say that every time,
people can see I'm a woman.
Home Secretary's in Parliament,
saying we need to catch the letter-writer,
so I fucking will, my God!
You'd need to catch her red-handed.
And how are you gonna do that?
We got a psychic.
From Toronto, Canada.
- Yes?
- Says he's got an amethyst.
- Sounds like a pretty powerful one.
- Get out of my office.
Will do.
You know I have to suspend you.
You know that.
Please, sir, I, er...
I think...
Please, sir.
You know what was good
about your father?
He knew the hierarchy,
and he did what he was told.
Look at these. Handcuffs.
They could be yours.
But if you meddle in my case again,
they'll be on your fucking wrists.
What are you doing?
"Dear Mrs Pagwell.
You arse sucker.
"Call that a chin?
There's nothing fucking there."
That wily higgler.
I don't believe it.
I think it's a kind of mania.
Well, Rose will kill her.
She's got the red mist.
She won't, because we won't tell her.
Not till we've proved it.
- We have a week.
- Police know you're doing this?
I'm not currently working
at the police, no.
You're got some plums.
Keep this between us.
Why me? I don't like secrets.
They actually give me a churny tum.
Cos your shed overlooks
their house, doesn't it?
- I'm gonna need some bran.
I'll take that as a yes.
Sorry for your troubles.
I mean it.
She was a good lady, your mother.
How have you been getting on?
Oh, I've been feeling grand,
thank you.
- How about you?
- I'm a wee bit preoccupied.
Yes. I see they trumpet me
in Parliament.
Well, there's a range of opinions.
- Where did you learn to read?
- A local priest taught me.
At least he said he was a priest.
Asked me to elope to Morocco in the end.
He was a fine tutor of letters.
How about yourself?
I used to help my father
with the signwriting from a very early age.
I did all the ones for Glimson's Dairy
when I was only eight.
Oh, would you return my patty pans
before the trial next week?
Just in case I don't see you
for a long while afterwards. Ta.
Fucking mardy old bitch!
What is the nature
of their conversation?
- Nature of the conversation is...
- Angry?
- Hostile.
- Where is Edith now?
- Edith's heading up the road.
- Heading up the road in which direction?
- North-by-northwest.
- North-by-northwest.
She has disappeared
around the corner at 9:26 and a half.
This way round...
- Oh, alright.
- Mr Francis Hill.
- 52, Sussex Terrace. That is...
- Mark there.
- 62, Windsor Street...
- That's all the way here.
- That's out of town, really, innit?
- Did she go all the way to 62, Windsor St.
Put that chicken down.
Come on, then, let's get an early start.
Now, my girls, you be good.
"Dear Gladys. Thank God
your dad got shot. You smelly bitch.
"You think you're so clever,
but you're fucking not."
Right, back to work.
'"You rank, foxy-arse measle.
You'll soon find yourselves in the dock.'
"The lot of you bloody fucking buggers."
- Linden Drive as well.
- Oh, what, two in Linden Drive? No?
"You foxy-arse, beetle-headed slut."
"You piss country whore."
'"To the old bastard Mitchells.
You elf-skinned country whores.'
"You belong in a cave."
"You foxy-arse rabbit-fuckers."
"You mouldy old tart."
"You belong in hell."
- Do we get the timings on how she goes...
- I've got all the timings.
"You dirty fucking sods."
We've got her!
Let's get the postie.
No. To her aunty in Worthing.
Saying she's very sorry she's ill.
Also correcting her spelling of "diabetes".
Thank you.
Oh! That's rude.
We're out of time.
'Trial's tomorrow.
Rose is gonna go down.'
Aye, we'll have one of them, please.
- Enjoy.
- Thank you.
- Thank you.
- Thank you.
- Is it nice?
- Mm-hmm.
Please don't do anything, Rose.
If the game's voided, we share the points,
and my winning streak's in tatters.
I'm civil.
Just never got my invite
to the whist, did I?
I don't even know who the fuck she is.
Would you like a game, then?
Your hands, ladies.
What was it?
Rose, you've turned up to Christian
Women's Whist without invitation,
carrying liquor, and I might add
with a general attitude of Ireland.
Isn't that terrible?
Isn't that just so damnably
fucking wicked of me?
Everyone is going to know...
what I know.
I'll pray for you.
I'll see you in court!
Step back!
- Order!
- Step back!
Please be seated
for Judge Maccleston.
Miss Gooding,
you know why you're here, I suppose.
- Is it the letters, by any chance?
Will you take a look
at this list of people,
and pick out any names
that you don't know?
I know all of them,
one way or another.
Did you know that
that is the list of all the people
- who've been sent poison-pen letters?
- It occurred to me, yes.
Isn't it an extraordinary coincidence
that you know them all?
- It would appear that way, yes.
- Thank you, m'lud.
You're a mother
to a darling daughter Nancy.
- Darling? Some of the time.
Erm... and your husband gave his life
for this nation in the war?
- Well, he wasn't the only one.
- That must've been unimaginably hard.
It was, yes. But you keep going,
and she's worth it, just about, anyway.
I suppose you'd miss your daughter,
if you went to jail.
So much.
So why would you send so many letters
that are so easily traceable back to you?
I wouldn't. That'd be insanity.
After all, you're known
for being somewhat direct.
Why would I send a letter,
when I can just say it?
Thank you, m'lud.
Thank you for joining us, Miss Swan,
at a time that must be filled
with grief and dismay.
Your mother was the treasurer
of the Christian Wives, wasn't she?
Yes, we're all humble servants to the CW
in our family, by the grace of God.
Can you please read this out,
Miss Swan?
No? Alright.
I'll do it.
"You fucking old steaming bag
of wet leaking shit!
"Your fucking arse is bigger
than the moon,
"and your cat wants
a good fucking burning, too,
- "I reckon, you stupid big stinker!"
- "You mangy old titler's turnip..."
- Order!
- Silence in the court!
- Thank you, m'lud.
- "You salty old sod."
How does this make you feel,
Miss Swan?
I don't know.
Not good, not good at all.
Is this your handwriting, Miss Swan?
It is.
And can you confirm that
that is the 'G' you normally write with?
I think so.
Not many people write 'Gs' like that,
do they?
I suppose not. I like to make an effort
in all my endeavours.
And can you examine the 'G'
in exhibit 4-C here?
Is that the same?
- Yes.
- Yes.
And can you examine the 'G'
in exhibit 4-D?
Is that the same?
No. 4-D is Rose Gooding's handwriting
from a letter to the bank.
And what would you say if I said
that the 'G' in 4-C,
the same as your 'G',
was in fact the 'G' that appears...
...in the Littlehampton letters?
Objection, m'lud! Handwriting
analysis is completely spurious!
- Please! Please!
- You...
- Silence!
Miss Swan?
I object, Your Honour.
Who is on trial here?
Trying to establish reasonable
doubt in the accusation of my client.
And the 'G' in this letter
is the same. Isn't it?
Isn't it?
Yes, but lots of people
probably do those 'Gs'.
You just said you didn't think
people would use...
- I don't know, I don't know.
- Why is it the same 'G', Miss Swan?
I can't explain it,
I can't explain any of it.
- M'lud, Miss Swan is recently bereaved...
- I never meant it to go to trial.
Really, I didn't. My father taught me
to do those 'Gs'...
Did you write the letters?
- My lord, this is harassing!
- Please don't... don't... don't worry.
Don't worry.
Cos none of it matters really.
- I beg your pardon?
- God's is the only justice.
All that happens, he makes it so.
All is well. All is well...
Right, er...
let us convene there... shall we?
Enough of this.
Just expose everything...
We would like to recall Miss... Gooding.
Miss Gooding... would you say that
the death of your husband at war...
...has affected your mind or sanity?
- We object!
- We will allow it.
No. I've always been like this.
Do get on to the line of enquiry,
Mr Treading.
Erm... Miss Gooding,
what was your late husband's name?
My husband?
What's that got to do with this?
- Just making sure we have all the facts.
- Why does it matter?
You... don't know his name?
- Of course I know his name.
- M'lud!
Er... go on.
Did your husband die in the war?
Then why, Miss Gooding,
is there no record whatever
of any marriage of you to anyone
in any record that we can find here,
or where you purport
to have come from?
- I don't know.
- Did you lie about this marriage?
- No.
- Did you lie to cover up...
...the illegitimate birth
of your daughter Nancy?
Don't you dare talk about Nancy
that way?
- Is that why you came to Littlehampton?
- No!
To cover up the sin
of a child born out of wedlock?
To fabricate a sympathetic story
of a fictitious husband
who happened to die in the Great War?
To trade off other people's heroism,
off their death?
- What would you do?
- Oh!
- Order!
I put it to you
that you are a serial liar.
A serial creator of falsehoods
and personas.
One: the upright mother.
One: the tart.
And one: the writer
of the Littlehampton letters!
What say you?
- Silence!
We will reconvene on Monday
for the giving of verdict by jury.
Good day.
Nancy's asleep upstairs.
I told you, it was for her sake, Bill.
You told my mother.
Told her about the moment
you got the news. You told everyone.
I had no choice, Bill.
You know I didn't. I had to say...
But you didn't have to say it to me!
I'm going...
I'm going to lose her, Bill.
Who's her father?
Don't... don't do that.
- Who's her father?
- He was no good to me.
I didn't want her seeing that.
I had to leave.
No, Bill, don't go! Please!
No... Nancy!
Nancy! What are you doing?
Give it here!
I don't want you! They all think
you're a loon! Look, just fuck off!
- What did you say?
- It's your fault, you're a freak!
You're a slut, and you're living in sin!
You belong in jail!
Nancy, no! I'm sorry!
I'm sorry.
Nearly there.
She won't survive all this.
You have to stay calm.
And then things'll get back to normal.
...almost, eh?
You don't like the idea
of me leaving this house, do you?
That's why you sent Sidney away,
isn't it?
I bet you called the CPS on Rose, and all.
I liked him.
I liked them both.
You don't know what you like.
Now, tidy up...
...and no more of this shit.
Turn around.
Alright, Dad... what would you do?
No, no, the other way.
Winnie, stay still.
- What?
- Are you busy?
- I'm just boiling an egg.
- Right, come on, then!
What? No, as in, "Yes, I'm busy,
I'm boiling an egg."
Hurry up! I've had an idea.
- Shh!
You don't still think
Rose is guilty, do you?
Were you at the trial?
Come on over to mine, then. Now.
We'll be boiling eggs.
- I'm not standing for it.
- I should think not.
Come on, then.
Rose is about to go down
for something she didn't do.
- Now, I have a plan...
- No, sorry. Fuck you, no.
I won't listen to another word
till my egg.
Can you really not wait?
You're such an energetic person usually.
That's the fucking eggs!
Hmm. Worth its weight in gold.
- Where were we?
- As I was saying...
I have a plan. And the first things
we need are salt...
'Red cabbage, ammonia,
lemon, vinegar.'
And baking soda.
I need to dissolve this.
Can I have some of yours?
Yeah, gimme a sec.
- There's a hair in there.
- That'll dissolve.
Shall I remove the hair
or keep it in?
- No, leave it in.
- Does that look alright?
While the judge
considers the sentence,
Edith has one more chance
of sending a letter,
and we'll catch her in the act.
"You foxy-arse rabbit-fucker.
"God will punish you,
you bloody, fucking, buggered fucks."
The letter must be incontrovertibly hers,
or it won't stick.
- Jesus, pass the dictionary.
- It means definitely.
Well, say "definitely" then, Gladys.
'Hence... the invisible ink.'
"Judge Maccleston,
22, Sea Street, Lewes."
I'd like to send this
to Lewes, please.
- Oh! Sorry, guys!
- Oh, really?
Sorry, sorry. I'll take over.
Thanks so much.
Where am I going, eh?
She's going in.
Oh, Edith!
What a nice surprise.
Hello, Kate.
One two-penny, please.
The offer still stands with those cuffs.
I think you should stop
asking me that now.
- Hey!
- Hmm?
Police are coming.
Go out the back.
- Go on, get out the back.
- Fuck it!
- Ready?
- Ready. You ready?
- I'm ready.
- Ready.
- Knock.
- Knock.
No, do the knock.
Yeah, I'll do the knock.
Miss Gooding's been judged
a risk of flight.
Spedding wants her in a cell
before the trial.
- Where is she?
- No idea, sir. Sorry.
She must be in there.
- Whoo!
- Oi!
- Well, get after her!
- You get after her, Papperwick!
And you! Get after her!
Get her now!
- Have you seen her?
- That way.
- Come on, keep up!
- Yes, sir!
Right behind you, sir!
Oh, fuck!
Go on, Edie.
Post it, won't you?
Oi! You gonna post that,
you daft old fucker?
- You fucking slippery old fucking dodger!
- What are you doing?
- I'm just teaching you how to swear proper.
- What are you gonna do?
Nothing. I just wanted to talk to you.
- I notice you say "foxy-arse" a lot.
- Yeah?
And "piss country whore".
What is that?
I thought you didn't mind
a bit of blue language.
- Bit too rough for you suddenly, is it?
- Nobody swears like that.
- Yes, they do.
- "Foxy-arse, piss country whore"?
- That's really peculiar.
- Well, what would you say?
I dunno, I'd have to sit down
and actually write it,
but to you, I'd probably say that you look
like fucking Queen Victoria shoved
a fucking nettle up her fucking pussy,
I don't know.
Well, I think you're a fucking foxy-arse...
- Does it always have to be foxy-arse?
- You stink of cum and shit!
And the cakes you make look like they've
fallen out of some sheep's fucking arsehole!
The baking didn't insult me, but...
You've had so many cocks
up your fanny
that they've set up a fucking stall
and they're selling iced fucking buns!
It's better to be a slut
than a lie, though, Edith.
No, cos I could post this letter right now,
and not a single person
in the entire British Empire
would believe someone like you over me.
- I doubt that very much.
- Do you?
Oh, fuck it.
I was actually beginning to enjoy that.
- Oh!
- Miss Gooding, you're coming with us!
- What's all this now, Woman Officer Moss?
- Oh, Mr Spedding!
- Thank goodness you're here.
- Wait! Did you get that, Winnie?
Yes, Aunty Gladys!
- Caught it as it came in.
- Well done.
- What the fuck?
- Could've been either of them.
Watch, as I develop the private mark
on this stamp.
We have a handful of witnesses
of Edith buying this stamp, sir.
- It is incontrovertibly hers.
- Means definitely.
I said if you meddled,
I'd be putting you in a cell myself.
You said we had to find the culprit,
catch her in the act.
Miss Swan...
I am Police Officer Moss.
I must caution you that anything you say
will be taken down in writing.
'How do you find
the defendant Rose Gooding?'
'Our verdict is "not guilty".'
- Silence!
Order! Quiet!
- Order in court!
- Justice! Justice!
Tell you what, come this way,
the crowds...
Can you tell me why now, Edith?
Don't think I can, no.
I wish it hadn't been you.
Once they started, I just couldn't stop.
And I thought if I could only be like you,
I'd be alright.
Good day to you, Rose.
I'll write to you.
I'll brace myself.
Oi! Come here.
- Not you, you feck!
- You alright?
- Yeah.
Close your eyes.
Open them.
You've got your own now,
Nancy Gooding.
Stand back!
Well, that was a knotty one,
but we got her in the end.
We did, we did.
Always had an inkling
it was her, actually.
Me, too. Me, too.
Suspected quite early.
I actually think I said on day dot...
Here she comes!
Miss Swan!
Edith! Edie! Edie!
- Edie!
- I know you didn't do it.
- Yes, I did.
- We'll get you bail.
- I did it, Father!
- When you get back...
- I'm not coming back.
- No, don't say that.
- I'm not coming back home to you ever!
- Where else are you gonna go?
- Anywhere!
- Edie, shut up, shut up.
- Anywhere! Anywhere!
Oh, fuck off, you pasty old shrivelled
old piss bastard fucking old cunt!