Father Brown (2013) s06e01 Episode Script

The Tree of Truth

1 Ding dong merrily on high.
In heav'n the bells are ringing Ding dong merrily on high.
- You are one cheeky madam! - Hmm.
Good to see nothing's changed.
- Sidney! - Hello, Sid! We weren't expecting you until tomorrow.
Yeah, I cadged a lift on the diplomatic flight, didn't I? How's Aunt Fliss? Yes, she's good.
Sends her love.
Oh, she's got news.
One for you.
One for you.
And this comes with strict instructions to open before Christmas.
I hope this will go perfectly with your sage twinset for the WI Committee dinner.
The Duchess of Windsor has an identical one.
Ghastly woman, but there's no denying she does have impeccable taste.
Ooooh! Oh! I don't know what they've been feeding you, but you're all skin and bones.
- It's good to be home.
- Sit down.
Sit down there.
Plans for the holiday, Sid? Oh, you know, Mrs M's home-cooked food, and a nice quiet Christmas.
Oh! Oh! That is Oh! Any idea who she is? Well, the money's on Scarlett Dreyfuss.
December 1946.
The papers called it the Red Riding Hood murder.
Did a Big Bad Wolf get her? She was leading lady in the Christmas pantomime.
Left after the dress rehearsal, and was never seen again.
Next day, the cleaning lady finds the bed unslept in.
And downstairs, there's blood and signs of a struggle.
How did they know it was murder? A local man confessed, though he wouldn't say what he did with the body.
Currently serving life in HMP Wynchurch.
Well, that's something.
What a waste.
Have I missed something? The pantomime's being held at the Haydock this year, so they need a much larger cast.
No chance.
Spend my holiday cooped up in a theatre? No, thank you.
Mind you, Mrs M, you're the old pro.
Well, I was roped in for Fairy Godmother while on tour with my late husband.
And I hear Father Brown is quite the thespian.
Pontius Pilate.
I think I gave a convincing performance.
The reviewer said it was murderous.
Speaking of which, remember this? I spy the honourable Penelope Windermere.
Quite the box office draw.
Let's pray she can sing and act.
They won't be coming to listen to her.
- I hope you don't expect me to audition.
- Douglas.
Douglas, shake a leg and let them in.
And may God have mercy on our souls.
Good afternoon.
I'm Prudence Bovary, the artistic director.
Leading players, Rose Marie Sturgess and Dr Eugene Cornelius.
And my son Douglas -- our stage manager, actor, and pianist.
Aren't there a lot of you? Right.
Douglas.
Who are you reading for? - Prince Charming! - It's played by a girl.
Next! Next! Bunty Windermere, auditioning for Cinderella.
I don't think so, dear.
Sleeping in the cinders.
That's how I got my name.
Ever since my father died, things haven't been the same.
Except mother bosses me around.
That's just the way it goes.
Like the ash in the fireplace, she does get up my nose.
Next! - Are you ready? One.
One, two, three.
- Next! This is Bridget McCarthy, auditioning for the Fairy Godmother.
At the stroke of midnight, please beware -- these things return to what they were.
Your gown returns to rags and cloak.
Your pumpkin is no more a coach.
But dance, be gay, perchance to meet -- a prince to sweep you off your feet.
Young man! How tall are you? - Six foot two, why? - Name? Sidney Carter.
Whoa, whoa, whoa -- I'm not auditioning.
No, I'm just here for moral support.
Next! Dear God! The lights turn blue.
It is dead midnight.
What do I fear? Myself? There is none else here.
Richard loves Richard.
That is, I am who I am.
Is there a murderer here? No.
Yes, I am.
Then fly.
Who from, myself? Thank you.
Yes, sir? Tell me about Benedict Clough.
Benny? Nice lad, but simple, if you get my drift.
Made a living making bicycle deliveries.
And Scarlett Dreyfuss? A newcomer, rather racy for these parts.
Two ex-husbands and a roving eye.
She must have ruffled a few feathers.
She ruffled Benny's, all right.
He followed her round like Mary's little lamb.
So when she went missing he was number one suspect? He was spotted bicycling home in the vicinity with scratches on his face.
When the police turned up to question him, he bolted.
And when apprehended, confessed his socks off.
"I did something bad to Miss Scarlett.
" Tried to assault her.
When she fought back, he panicked.
Caved her skull in with a doorstop.
Did he, now? Why all the interest in a closed case? Because according to the postmortem, Benedict Clough's confession was a pack of lies.
Fairy Godmother Bunty Windermere.
I know you had your heart set No, no, no, that's wonderful.
Don't you worry about me.
And you are Prompt.
An indispensable part of any production.
Yes, yes, of course it is.
And Father Brown is Daisy.
And so is Sid.
That's a mistake.
I didn't even audition.
And how can you have two Daisys? I think there is only one Daisy, but she's in two halves.
The house is all decorated.
Holly and ivy, and all the old decorations, except for the tree, which I'm saving for Christmas Eve.
Padre.
I'd say this was a nice surprise, but then I'd be lying on both counts.
Benny isn't very fond of the police, so they thought it best a chaperone was present.
Benny, this is Inspector Mallory.
He's not as scary as he looks.
Does he know when I'm going home? I'm afraid not, but I do have some questions.
In your confession, you said you hit Scarlett on the head with a doorstop, which you then buried with the body? We found the body.
And there's no signs of skull trauma.
Or a murder weapon.
When arrested, you said, "I did something bad to Miss Scarlett".
Can you explain what you meant? - She said I'd go to hell.
- Nonsense.
God forgives everyone who confesses their sins and tells the truth.
I had a delivery for Miss Scarlett.
I saw her car in the theatre.
So I went in - Bad boy! Playing Peeping Tom on naked ladies! - I wasn't.
You'll go to hell for that.
I brought your nerve powder from Dr Cornelius.
Was it worth it, Benny? Did you like what you saw? There was no mention of this in your statement.
Benny can't read.
The policeman wrote it and said if I signed it, then I'd be home in time for Christmas.
Lying's a Ten Commandment, isn't it, Father? Number nine.
Loud and clear.
What about in court? Why did you plead guilty? Ma said it was for the best.
Maybe I should have a word with your ma.
She doesn't like policemen.
I'll take a chaperone.
Buttons, beware Buttons, beware The tree of truth will hear a lie.
The tree of truth will hear a lie and drop an apple in your eye.
Good luck, Buttons.
Is there a girl you love, Buttons? No.
There is! Is she someone I know? No.
Ow I think you're fibbing, Buttons.
Who is she? It's it's Too early! Wait for the cue.
Again, please! Be a brick, Barbara, and gather up the apples.
Er, it's Bridg I was expecting something rather more festive.
If you mean the letters, I write what he wants to hear.
Benny loved Christmas.
This place would look like Santa's grotto.
When they took him away, I burnt the lot.
What's the point of Christmas without a child? Scarlett Dreyfuss.
Was a succubus.
- Two Cs, one B.
- Thank you.
Any male was fair game, even a child in a man's body like Benny.
Tell me about these other men? Ask that amateur dramatics lot.
And then ask yourself why the police didn't interview them at the time.
Mrs Clough.
As you clearly believe your son is innocent, why did you get him to plead guilty? To save him from the noose.
A guilty plea in return for a reduced charge of manslaughter.
Your DI Jones was very .
.
persuasive.
DI Jones passed away last year.
I'm on the case now and if there has been any irregularity, you have my word it will be investigated.
And you can keep your nose out.
This made you angry? Yes.
And did you express your anger? It's happening again! That's another fine mess you've got me into.
That's showbiz, Sid! If anyone sees a cloak with a hood, I need it for the forest scene.
- Ow! - Sidney! You look like a fairy tale! It's a bit big.
Well, a few alterations will soon fix that.
I read all about the Red Riding Hood murder.
I suppose she was a friend of yours? She was a piece of work.
Translation -- she stole the leading lady role from under your nose.
I meant poor Douglas.
He was engaged to a nice WAAF before she got her claws in him.
And that ghastly scene at the dress rehearsal! I can't.
Not here.
I can't.
Something tells me that you can.
You stupid, stupid boy.
You do know he's engaged to be married? Maybe he can make an honest woman out of me, instead.
Then the flash pot went off, and Douglas had one of his episodes and bolted.
He'll marry the likes of you over my dead body.
Episodes? He had a bad war.
I was treating him for shell shock, and he was responding well until Marvellous, we're a wardrobe mistress short.
Think you can double with prompt, Barbara? Well, I'm not sure I'm qualified, and it is Bridget.
That's the spirit.
You can start by sorting this lot out.
The police need to speak to us about Scarlett.
They're in the scene dock.
Well, you don't think any of us did it? I'm merely following up on some loose ends.
And as Miss Dreyfuss was last seen alive in the theatre Well, my husband will vouch for me.
He most certainly can.
- Sir.
- Superintendent.
At ease, lads.
It's plain Mr Sturgess now.
I wasn't aware.
This gorgeous creature's my wife.
And how's retirement treating you, sir Mr Sturgess? As you see, she's roped me in as Baron Hardup.
And why all the interest in the Dreyfuss case? A word in private.
Should I say something? Say what, exactly? You will say nothing to the police, Douglas.
And we discovered he may have been duped into signing it by DI Jones.
Who is unfortunately deceased and thus unable to defend himself.
- But, sir - It's a can of worms.
You want the public thinking we left a killer on the loose? I'd call that a catastrophic own goal for community relations.
Is that clear, son? Perfectly, Mr Sturgess.
On the subject of which, we're still short on cast, and I'm sure the public would appreciate a police involvement in such a community event.
Happy to oblige, sir.
Good man.
Good men.
Found you some volunteers, Pru Lucky for you, I've no intention of dropping anything.
We can do some sniffing around.
I'm sure we can manage seventh and eighth villager.
I'm sorry, sir.
Oh, you will be, Sergeant.
Oh, they're a lovely fit.
Here are your scripts, and we'll see you at rehearsals tomorrow.
And when you're finished with those, just hang them up on the rail.
Will you help me out of my dress, sir, please? I'm all a-quiver when the moonbeams dance That is the moment when I long to dance I can never close a sleepy eye When the moon comes creeping through the sky.
Is this what you were looking for? If you're a fairy, can you grant me three wishes? Ugh! Where did you find that? In one of the costume trunks.
Is something wrong? - Prompt! - Prompt! Who do you think I am? The genie of the lamp? Is something wrong? That's Red Riding Hood's cloak.
Dead woman's cloak.
She wore it on the day she died.
Very well.
One.
But be careful what you wish for, Buttons.
- The tree of truth hears everything.
- Exit stage right.
Lights down.
Something to share, Mrs McCarthy? If she wouldn't be seen dead in this, then I'm wondering why was her address found in the pocket? I think you're fibbing, Buttons.
Who is she? Oh, how wonderful! Oh, how wonderful, tickets for the royal ball.
Think of it as detention.
There might be something we missed.
And it's more productive than writing out 100 times, "I must not volunteer my superior officer for the part "of Ugly Sister".
Actually, sir, we did miss something -- or rather, something's missing.
Benny Clough made deliveries near Scarlett's house on the evening in question.
All were followed up and statements taken.
But there's one missing.
Made by a Peggy Semple.
And she is? No idea, sir.
There's no record of her locally.
- You sure it isn't just misfiled? - No, sir.
You can see where the staple has been taken out and where it's been re-stapled.
Quite the Dr Watson.
Good luck, Buttons.
Is there a girl you love, Buttons? No.
Ow.
There is! Is she someone I know? No.
Ow.
I think you're fibbing, Buttons.
Who is she? It's it's Vulgaria! What's the prognosis, Doctor? Sadly, I am a doctor of philosophy, not medicine.
I thought your clinic I practise psychodynamic therapy, - focusing on psychological functioning and change.
- Ah.
But I can tell you he's in a deep coma and not expected to wake up.
Silly boy.
It was his own fault.
He was in charge of numbering the ropes.
but his head's been all over the place since Since Scarlett's body was discovered.
Forgive me for eavesdropping, but I overheard him saying he wanted to go to the police.
The night Scarlett went missing .
.
he didn't come home after leaving the theatre.
Staggered back at dawn covered in mud and leaves.
Couldn't remember where he'd been or what he'd done, but .
.
when Benny confessed, I could see the relief in his eyes.
And then the police started questioning his conviction.
Douglas was getting flashbacks to the woods that night, and he was frightened.
Of what he might remember? I wouldn't have blamed him.
Douglas and Lizzie, his fiancee, were made for each other.
She was even prepared to forgive his blip with Scarlett.
Idiot boy broke it off anyway.
"I'm not worthy.
" Now I wonder if it's because he thought she'd be marrying a killer.
I will pray for him.
Shall I take this back to the theatre? I expect they'll be needing it.
Of course, Father.
The show must go on.
How are you planning on getting into heaven if you're scared of heights, Father? I'm sincerely hoping there's an escalator.
What can you see? They're all numbered and there's a list on the blackboard.
Line 3, apple bucket.
Yeah, you were right, Father.
Up here it says eight.
I wanted to ask if you recognise the name Peggy Semple? She always gave me milk and biscuits for the ride home.
You made a delivery to her the night Scarlett went missing.
Not to Peggy -- she's the maid.
To Miss Sturgess.
Peggy Semple is the Sturgess' maid? I had the wrong prescription from Dr Cornelius.
She got angry.
She hit me.
Hey, you, wait.
It's the wrong one.
Well, this isn't mine! Where's mine? Hmm? Is it in there? I ain't got anything else! There's no need to get in a tizz.
Let's get you inside, we can call the doctor and sort it out.
Thank you Benny.
That's very helpful.
Does it mean I can go home? I'm working on it, son.
Peggy left us years ago.
Got married to a drayman from Largs and was off without a by-your-leave.
Do you recollect her account of events on the evening that Scarlett Dreyfuss disappeared? Would you mind explaining where this is leading? The statement is missing, sir.
And for one thing, it could explain the scratches on Benny Clough's face.
I told you to stop flogging that dead horse.
- With respect, that isn't your prerogative any more, - Mr - Sturgess.
Friendly warning, boys.
I may be retired, but one phone call from me and you'll both spend the rest of your careers directing traffic.
Do I make myself clear? Good King Wenceslas looked out On the Feast of Stephen When the snow lay 'round about Deep and crisp and even Now what, sir? You heard the man.
Any more digging and we'll be on traffic duty.
There is something you could try.
You mean someone.
Think of it like Christmas Day on the Somme.
The German and British football match.
The German and British football match.
No-man's-land.
Different sides, but playing the same game.
Then on Boxing Day, it's back to knocking seven bells out of each other? Exactly.
Lad seems barely older than our John.
Perhaps you can get on the blower to him upstairs.
Ask for a miracle and get him home in time for Christmas.
You only had to ask.
Forgot my car keys.
Did no-one teach you to knock? Oh, you wouldn't believe the gaps in my education.
Toodle-oo.
I think Douglas saw someone in the woods.
And when his memory started to return they tampered with the rope numbers and - Oh, Sidney.
- Sorry.
And why did Scarlett have Rose Marie's address in her pocket? Which leads us back to the missing statement.
Retired Superintendent Sturgess is starting to look fishier than Billingsgate.
What is he hiding? I think I might hazard a guess.
Dandini, exit stage left.
Left! And thank you, Hernia.
Ooh, how wonderful.
Tickets for the royal ball.
Yes, and I hear the Prince has the largest balls in all the land.
Ooh, you are a one.
Can we have that a bit harder? Ooh, you are a one.
Right, there's going to be a change of cast.
I'm Hernia.
He's Vulgaria.
If that's all right with you, Sergeant? Now I suggest we start from Dandidini leaving, giving me the tickets for the ball, yes? Thank you, Prudence.
Ooh, you are a one.
Ow! Do that again and I'll I'll box your ears.
You can't box.
Can she, boys and girls? - Oh, yes, she can.
- Et cetera.
Then pick up from Hernia, "Show me, then.
" Show me, then.
White heroin is my guess.
You can't get that on prescription.
And that address label was identical to the one found in Scarlett's cloak.
- Benny delivered nerve powders to Scarlett.
- Yes, of course.
Care to share it? Benny can't read.
He mixed up the prescriptions.
Naughty Rose Marie.
But this isn't mine.
And Rose Marie got Scarlett's.
Where's mine? Is it in there? I haven't got anything else.
Cornelius isn't a physician.
He's a Doctor of Philosophy.
So the good doctor supplies Rose Marie with something rather more efficacious than nerve powders.
The Superintendent's junkie missus in possession of illegal drugs.
You can see why he'd want to keep that quiet.
It's all starting to make sense.
Scarlett found out about Rose Marie's dirty little secret and confronted her.
He'd be ruined if it got out.
That's one big motive for murder.
Speculation, though.
You can't actually prove it.
Which means we're back to square one.
There is a way.
But we'll have to wait till daylight.
Hello.
Well, then, is this our man? Hello, old chap.
You look like you've been in the wars.
Does this look like nerve powder to you? This is all very cloak-and-dagger.
The tree of truth.
I thought it rather apt.
Don't worry about another accident.
Although why would you, seeing as you planned it? I've heard you fancy yourself as the local Miss Marple.
Tell me why I would wish to harm someone as inoffensive as poor Douglas? Because he was in the woods the night Scarlett disappeared, and saw something he shouldn't.
I take it you mean me.
Fascinating.
So in addition to the attempted murder of Douglas, you are also accusing me of Scarlett's murder? No.
Not at all.
I think we both know she died by her own hand.
Pray go on.
Benny mixed up the prescriptions.
Rose Marie wasn't your only addict.
I'm reliably informed that this is cocaine -- intended for Scarlett.
But instead she received something far more deadly.
White heroin intended for Rose Marie.
Where did you find that? In Benny's saddlebag.
He was arrested before he could return it.
Benny made deliveries for the whole village.
There's nothing to connect that with me.
And if the police questioned you, you'd just deny it.
And sue you for slander for good measure.
Some would argue that the right man was punished for the crime.
An interesting perspective.
If Benny hadn't mixed up the packages Finally, someone with some sense.
Idiot boy got what he deserved.
Rose Marie alerted you to the switch? Scarlett was vapid and greedy.
Wouldn't think to check what it was.
And if she believed it to be cocaine and inhaled it -- the results would've been fatal.
When she didn't answer her telephone, I drove to her house.
I knew it would be traced back to me eventually.
It seemed expedient to dispose of the evidence.
And that was when you saw Douglas? I could see he was in a fugue state and would have no recollection.
When the simpleton confessed, it was karma.
The gods' way of telling me I wasn't to blame.
Easier to let an innocent go to jail.
Feed him and keep him warm, and I doubt he knows the difference.
A being of no function to society, whereas I You are a common drug peddler.
Condemning your victims to a long, slow death of body and soul.
Desperate wives in gilded cages.
I give these women a reason to live.
You give them a reason not to live.
Dr Cornelius, an admission would be the first step toward repentance and God's grace.
Fascinating as this has been, my only concern is with earthly repercussion.
And as none of it can be proved, at least I'll escape that.
Oh, no, you won't.
Behind you.
Did you get all that, Sergeant? Yes, sir, I did.
Good.
Eugene Cornelius ".
.
has been charged with attempted murder, unlawful burial "and supply of illegal drugs.
" Oh, and Rose Marie's in front of the bench, which is a five-minute wonder, but at least she's getting treatment.
The doctors say I should talk to him in case he can hear me.
I hope he can.
I don't want him to die thinking he was a murderer.
Have you come to pray? Not on this occasion.
No.
Come in.
Hello, Prudence.
Hello, Douglas.
Sometimes love is the most powerful prayer.
Fairy Godmother! Has anyone seen Fairy Godmother? We've half an hour till curtain and I call that cutting it fine.
Oh, nonsense.
Stage fright.
Honey and lemon will do the trick.
Disaster.
We can't do Cinderella without a fairy godmother! Who the blazes is Bridget? - I am.
- She is.
I can't possibly.
But I have nothing to wear.
Welcome, good folk one and all.
Let me be your guiding hand, and lead you through this magic land.
Phew, sis, that was close! It's behind you! It's what, sorry? Aargh! Ow! You do that again and I'll box your ears.
You can't box.
Can she, boys and girls? Oh, yes, she can! Oh, no, she can't.
Oh, yes, she can! Oh, no, she can't.
Oh, yes, she can! Right, come on, show me, then.
You said go left, you always go left! Mice medley, go! That's it.
Right to the other side of the stage.
Good news.
Benny's being released -- he'll be home tomorrow.
On Christmas Eve.
How mirac Back on your feet, Hernia! You've got the ballroom! - Not in this corset, I haven't.
- Come on, sir, up you get.
Laryngitis? I suppose you felt sorry for me.
Well, I do not need your pity.
Oh, typical.
It's all about you.
Well, you knew that I was worse than Pontius Pilate, but you would have let me go out there to the ruin of my reputation! Yes.
I mean, no.
you were making a great improvement.
Fairy Godmother! Transformation scene! Ask yourself this -- what would my aunt say? Chop, chop, Barbara! Nice work, Penelope.
Cinderella.
You shall go to the ball.
Let me fit my foot in the crystal slipper.
You couldn't fit your foot in Crystal Palace! My gift to you of joy and laughter, as you live happily ever after.
Mum? Oh, it's so good to have you home! I'm sorry I lied.
It just wasn't Christmas on my own.
But next year, I promise we'll make it the best one ever.
Yeah, next year.
The best one ever! Merry Christmas, Mrs Clough.
Do you mind moving aside? This thing's damn heavy.
Merry Christmas! We thought you could do with a transfusion of Christmas cheer.
One turkey, fully prepared.
So all you have to do is pop it in the oven tomorrow.
Merry Christmas! Merry Christmas! Ding dong merrily on high In heav'n the bells are ringing Ding dong verily the sky Is riv'n with angel singing.
Merry Christmas, everyone! Merry Christmas! Gloria Hosanna in excelsis! Pray you, dutifully prime Your matin chime, ye ringers.