The Sinking of the Laconia (2010) s01e01 Episode Script

Episode 1

This programme contains some strong language MEN SING DISTANTLY .
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Bessern findst du nit Die Trommel schlug zum Streite Er ging an meiner Seite In gleichem Schritt und Tritt In gleichem Schritt und Tritt Kann dir die Hand nicht geben Bleib du im ew'gen Leben Mein guter Kamerad Mein guter Kamerad.
ON RADIO: 'Any breach of a pact of non-aggression # MAN LAUGHS MAN: Whose birthday is it today? It's Mummy's birthday.
GIRL: My birthday.
THEY LAUGH Here.
Well, go on then.
One, two, three HE CHEERS Look at all the smoke! MUSIC: "Take The A Train" by Duke Ellington FOGHORN BLARES What are you looking for? Go on! THEY CLAMOUR EXCITEDLY You have missed the boat, madam.
No, I have just seen the boat.
But you have missed it, madam.
That's ridiculous.
Regulations.
Sir, please We were just shutting up shop, I'm afraid.
In fact, we have shut up shop.
I only want some sugar.
And tea.
Well, I hope you've got your ration book and your number.
In triplicate.
A boy or a girl? A girl.
Passport, madam? It's in the suitcase somewhere.
Feel free to open it.
Is she good? I'm very lucky.
She wakes up in the morning with a smile on her face and it stays there all day.
Despite everything.
Yes.
Despite everything.
I've got two girls at home, bit older than, er Ella.
Lovely name.
Well then, you are now free to board The Laconia, bound for Liverpool.
Mrs? Smith.
Hilda Smith.
And you are? Thomas Mortimer.
Junior Third Officer Mortimer.
Not a bad day for it, Jim.
Penny for them, Captain? A penny's too much.
What have we done to deserve this? 1,800 bloody Italians locked in the hold, and all those sodding Polish lumberjacks looking after them.
They won't want bread and jam! Not only that, we know the reason they're here ballast for the journey back.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, this ship was created for the rich, the idle, pink gins and sunsets over Sorrento.
And so was I! Oh, well I suppose it's better than a dinghy from Doha in the dead of night.
Do you think they'll have staff? Oh, Mother, it could be so much worse.
Those poor boys.
Look, there's one.
One what? A boxer.
Tough bastards, the Poles.
Hey! Look, there's another one.
I can always tell a boxer, you know.
Just by the way they walk and hold themselves, and hit people.
Hey, hey, hey! Here comes the cream.
You might consider your late father's views on foreigners, Sarah.
She'll look back, Billy, bet she will.
Told ya.
'How long have you known the captain, sir?' Trained together.
He was my best man.
I was his.
And the answer to your next question is "yes".
He's a worrier.
A botherer, always has been.
If he was religious, he'd never be off his knees.
But is he lucky? Oh, no.
Good God, no.
I take it you know what happened to our last ship? Best say your prayers.
WHOOPING AND CHEERING Restez-la, jolie, restez-la.
Practice round.
Load.
1,500 yards, target Coutts.
Captain Benjamin Coutts at your service, sir.
Thomas Mortimer.
Junior Third Officer.
So, what do you think? Honestly? I've seen worse protected ships but mainly in books on military history.
Basically, your guns are rather similar to my father.
A relic of the Great War.
Sir, it's, er Back on duty, Townes.
Now.
Right now.
No, II've got a toothache, sir, it's my wisdom tooth.
Unlikely, in your case.
And I've got a dicky tummy.
No, you haven't, you haven't.
Back on the guns.
Now! Rockaby baby, on the tree top When the wind blows the cradle will rock BOTH: # When the bough breaks the cradle will fall Down will come baby, cradle and all.
Dear God, the stories we tell our children.
I have to say, I've told mine those stories too.
And do you know what? They laughed.
We come in peace, bearing sweets, just please don't ask me to hold her.
She's five months old.
I love children, really I do, specially when Kodak are involved, and they come in black and white and neatly sealed in an envelope! You have a beautiful voice.
She certainly has.
Laura Ferguson, by the way.
Hilda Smith.
We have a problem, I think you need to come with me.
There the enemy go again, Mortimer.
Right then, Hilda Smith, what shall we do? Now, tell me, do you play cards at all? Gin rummy? Canasta? Poker? Snap? Snap? DISTANT HUBBUB MEN SHOUTING INAUDIBLE OVER DIN Can you help me? Can you help me? I can't hear you.
Hi, I'm Vincenzo Di Giovanni, and as you can tell, it is the great fear of the men that we are here, held captive, beneath the waterline, by these brutal bastards.
Many of our own men work beneath the waterline too.
There's no-one here can really be called safe.
Ah, well done, Mortimer.
Peace in our time, eh? But please, we vomit and wash in buckets of sea-water.
We have less privacy than a pig in a pen! I'm sure something can be arranged.
Soap, water, fresh air too on a short but daily basis, all right? Thank you.
I will report your complaints to the captain.
Hey, do you know Billy Hardacre, the boxer, Lieutenant? Yes, I do, everybody on board knows Billy Hardacre.
He was my hero.
I saw him fight.
And I am a boxer too.
GUARD LAUGHS Oh, really? Well, then I'll send Hardacre down and you can talk about boxing brutality, that sort of stuff, if it makes you happy.
What are they complaining about? Nothing much.
Their food is shit, the Poles are bastards, their pens are disgusting, dangerous and overcrowded.
Fair enough.
You fight? I box.
I fight.
I wouldn't I just fuckin' wouldn't.
PRISONERS CHEER The only question is, do you trust me? That's the only question you have to ask.
I trusted you straight away.
So? Most men I know would prefer dancing.
Or drinking.
Well, I often do, if it's any help.
You should see my slow waltz.
After several gin and tonics.
Look.
I'm off-duty and it's as simple as that.
I have four hours to do exactly as I want to do, within reason.
And this is what I want to do.
It reminds me.
She reminds me.
I think you could be the kind of man that needs no reminding.
SHE KNOCKS The moment she cries.
Promise me.
And thank you.
Right.
I have three children at home, Mortimer, if you ever fancy a holiday in the Scottish Highlands.
The concept of love at first sight.
No, no, that will not happen to me.
Oh, snap! The very idea that I walk into a room and there he'd be! Snap again! Oh, but it was.
It was as if As if you had known him all your life? Snap! That's exactly how I feel too about Ella's father.
Oh, he must be wonderful.
He was.
He was a wonderful man.
Brave to the point of foolishness.
I'm so sorry, Hilda.
I thought Well, I was hoping What in heaven's name has happened to him? He's seasick, madam.
Seasick my highland arse! This young man has been beaten.
Well, not by me, he hasn't.
I don't care if he's the bastard son of Mussolini himself, we do not behave in such a manner.
We leave that to the Germans.
Now wait, love, before you carry on kickin' off on me Why do you think I'm in the Merchant Navy and not duckin' bullets somewhere, hmm? It's because I WON'T fight any more.
Hmm.
And that is the problem, isn't it? Right SWINGING JAZZ PLAYS ON PIANO May I have the pleasure of this dance? Oh dear God, Mother, the Merry Widow.
May I have the pleasure of this dance, Miss? No.
Thank you.
Do you mind, Sarah? No.
Oh, Captain Coutts! It's embarrassing.
Your poor mother.
Had a good day? Yes, lovely.
You? May I? ELLA CRIES Come on, where's that little girl who wakes up with a smile on her face, huh? Sshhh.
Have a bit of this.
All right, all right, all right, sshhh Oh, dear me, here comes Captain Coutts.
Has he threatened to dance with you? He's threatened to dance with everyone.
Now be prepared, Hilda Smith.
The very next dance is mine.
Just think of it as your part of the war effort.
And what part of England would you be from, Mrs Smith? Your accent perplexes me.
I've gypsy blood, I suppose.
Always been a bit of a wanderer.
Never nailed your colours to the mast? But you must be from somewhere.
We're all from somewhere.
I know where I'm from.
And you'd be very surprised.
Do you know Oxfordshire, by any chance? Yes, I do, as a matter of fact.
Very well.
ELLA CRIES A mother's touch, I'm afraid.
Thank you, Mortimer.
That's all right.
Thank you so much.
I'll take her back to the cabin.
Are you all right? I will be.
A mother's touch indeed.
Do you know, I never heard my baby cry.
Your baby never cried? Oh, I cried! For attention, mainly.
I was just never there to hear you, darling.
Oh, the joy and bliss of nannies! That's all.
Herr Kapitan! Practice round.
Load.
Oh, for God's sake, is there nothing can be done about that smoke?! Poor quality fuel, sir.
Boilers in desperate need of an overhaul.
It's just a fact of this The war, I know, the bloody war.
Oh, I'm going to start smoking again before this thing's over.
"MY BONNIE LIES OVER THE OCEAN" PLAYS DISTANTLY All together now One, two, three.
My Bonnie lies over the sea My Bonnie lies over the ocean So bring back my Bonnie to me Last night as I lay on my pillow Last night as I lay on my bed Last night as I lay on my pillow I dreamed that my Bonnie was dead Bring back, bring back No riff-raff, Sarah.
Bring back, bring back Oh, bring back my Bonnie to me.
You do know that you missed out a whole chorus and a verse, don't you? Father doesn't mean it.
I will never understand the English.
Oh, give me a home Where the buffalo roam Where the deer and the antelope play Er, just had an order from the Captain, Hilda.
He, er He requires someone on stage who can hold a tune.
Youyou mean me? Bloody good idea.
Mrs Smith is going to sing.
Oh, no, I couldn't.
I just couldn't.
Not in public.
But you have, you know you have, a beautiful voice.
Oh, come on, Hilda.
Entertain the troops.
I would if I could.
Sing We'll Meet Again, you'll bring the house down.
I don't think I know the words to that song.
Every man, woman and child knows those words.
Tell you what, I'll even hold the baby.
It's not a long song, is it? And the skies are not cloudy all day.
We'll meet again Don't know where, don't know when AUDIENCE JOIN IN: # But I know we'll meet again some sunny day Keep smiling through Just like you always do My mother would kill me.
Oh, come on, Sarah.
I've always hated that song.
GUARD SINGS ALONG IN POLISH Keep smiling through Just like you always do Till the blue skies drive those dark clouds far away KNOCKING Sir.
Oh, no.
Do you want me to? Get him, I'll talk to him.
.
.
Some sunny day.
APPLAUSE AND CHEERING KNOCKING Come.
This was sent a few moments ago.
It isn't good news, is it, sir? No.
You might wish to sit down.
All of them, sir? What kind of a world is it when German bombers can come blindly in the night and murder innocent families? When bullets and blood are the only currency? Not the kind of world I wish to live in.
If you want, you can, er um .
.
well, sit here.
Why don't you just stay here? Tell nobody, sir.
Just, er nobody is to know, sir.
Fire! Load! 1,500 yards! Target! Fire! Done your rounds? Tinned ham and tongue tonight, sir.
Baby potatoes.
The crew menu? Meat pie, sir.
Meat pie? Hmmm.
Oh, come on, James.
Don't keep me waiting, there's a war on! HE WHISPERS: Funf, vier, drei, zwei, eins Munich.
June 1942.
A holiday snapshot, perhaps? Who has holidays in Germany these days, Hilda? Only Germans.
Mortimer Go on, now! SCREAMING Take the child to the lifeboat, all right? Stay here.
Keep calm, everyone.
Steadily make your way out.
Follow me, keep calm everyone.
Sir! I've ordered Abandon Ship and Man the Lifeboats.
Which naturally, there are not enough of.
Mortimer! You know what to do.
Jettison the confidential mail and codes, but before that, go to the radio room and find out what distress signals have transmitted.
I know, I know, your path may be somewhat blocked, but just do the best you can.
What are you doing? Up the stairs, up the stairs! GUNSHOTS Before you start, this isn't our fault, right? Main mast and wireless transmitter's fallen.
It's in bits on the deck.
We had no chance of sending an SOS that could have been heard.
What about an emergency set? We've been flashing signals saying we've been hit, warning of submarines.
We are doing our best, you know.
I know you are.
Mortimer When it's time to go, tell the Bridge we'd like to go too.
Poor bastard.
That way! Go up! Head for starboard! You stand a better chance! Stay on starboard! Starboard is that way! Sir, have you seen my children? I haven't.
They're blonde, six I know who they are, but I'm afraid I haven't seen them, all right? And then you'll proceed to your, your mustard station.
And crew members will be at hands to to assist.
Charlotte! Anthony! Charlotte! What are you doing? They're not here.
They'll be in a lifeboat.
You know they're here! No, I don't.
That is so unlucky.
Ready, sir.
Shall I chuck it in? We're fucked, aren't we? We've had it.
The ship's fucked.
We're not.
Come on.
The confidential mail? All gone, sir.
Over the side.
The men in the radio room, sir? They're scared.
Of course they are.
Shall I go down, sir? No, you shan't.
Shall I man the guns, sir? Right, you.
Stop being a bloody hero, you're making me ill.
You're a young man still.
And whatever's happened, there will be life after death, one day.
Do you understand? Do you understand?! Good.
Fine.
Sir.
SSS Laconia.
Keep the Italians out of the boats! Billy, help me! Oi! Leave him alone, he's one of ours! Billy! In fact, leave them all alone.
Kids! Kids, this is it.
The moment you've both been waiting for.
OK.
On the count of three.
A-one.
A-two.
A-three! Stand back, stand back.
Come on, man, help me! Follow me.
Just follow me.
Thank you, Mortimer.
The baby is why.
ELLA CRIES Shhhh Shhhh.
It's all right, don't worry.
Everything will be fine.
Ella! Ella! Ella! Ella! Ella! Ella! Ella! Ella! Over here! This way, kid, this way.
Come on! Keep your eyes on the boat, come on, that's it.
Keep your eyes on the boat.
Don't panic.
Come on! That's it, we've got you.
Come on.
It'll be that bloody black smoke, you know.
The bastards couldn't miss it.
I told you, didn't I? Many times.
And I told you I'd start smoking again before this voyage was over.
I knew I would.
Don't forget to cup your hand around the cigarette.
Don't want the enemy to see the glow.
Have you got enough there? Oh, I think so, somehow.
Anyone who thinks that war is somehow a good thing should be stood here tonight, George.
And what's more, I'll believe that to my dying day.
I don't know, this war fighting the Third Reich, Hitler, the Nazis, it's a good war, it's a good thing.
It has to be.
But only if we win it.
CREAKING Uh-oh.
Oh, dear God.
Here we go.
LOUD CREAKING No Ella? No.
No Ella.
Oh You will have to be brave for me now.
Brave.
Yes.
I need you to go to Scotland to find my husband, tell him what's happened here.
To me.
I'll borrow your bravery.
You might have to be even braver if you do what I want you to do.
If you I need you to Of course I'll find him.
He will know about your courage and your love.
Castle Scourie.
North West Highlands.
Three boys.
Nine, six, nearly five.
Zacharias, Wendell, Upjohn.
Family names, my husband's family names.
Go on.
Call me sentimental.
Over here.
This way, come on.
That's it, straight to me, come on.
Come on.
Got you.
There's room for two inside, you know.
No.
Only one.
Sure? WOMAN CRIES DISTANTLY Hold on, what's that? SCREAMING Get down! Oh, fuck a duck! Oh ey, girl, who do think you are? The Last of the Mohicans? Do you have your captain or any senior officers on board? He spoke that in English! Did you hear that? No officers.
But ladies.
English ladies.
I want nothing from you.
You have already given us far, far too much.
Such bravery is highly commendable, madam, but totally stupid.
We are 644 nautical miles from the coast of West Africa.
Sir.
Yes? Vincenzo Di Giovanni, Sir.
There were 1,800 of us Italian.
But there won't be any more, for that you can thank the Polish and some of the British too.
They had guns and they had oars and they beat us I think I get the point, young man.
Really I do.
This is very kind of you, Captain.
If you were English, you'd be a gentleman.
Germany has gentlemen too, madam.
Not recently, sir.
My Bonnie lies over the sea My Bonnie lies over the ocean So bring back my bonnie Hey! 31 biscuits, seven bars of chocolate, a lot of Horlicks tablets and, umthat's about it.
No heater.
No first aid kit.
No oil lamp.
No compass andno axe.
Look, it's not my fault, baby face.
I was just a wine waiter.
Er, I don't suppose we've got any flares, have we? No, we fuckin' well haven't! Why don't you look for the water casks? And I've told you, don't be looking at me as if it's my fault, pal.
I am no pal of yours, pal.
Hey! How are you, sir? Welcome aboard! I can't believe it either.
No swastikas, no Heil Hitlers, no torture, no propaganda.
And what's more .
.
there's fucking brandy in this coffee.
It is popular with both men and women in Germany.
Thank you very much.
Mmm! I don't suppose, erm No, no, silly of me.
Cold cream, you see here.
Good Lord.
I've never met a man yet who takes care of his skin.
We have to.
Under the sea it is always, erm Sweaty? If there is anything else you might want? When the, the, erm our ship sank, I'm afraid I became separated from my daughter.
If you see her when you search the sea She's 18.
Very pretty.
It runs in the family.
Your clothing will be returned as soon as it is dry.
And the clothing of your children too.
These are not my children.
Ah.
Well You and the children My child was a baby.
She was seven months old.
You killed her.
Well, regrettably This is war.
Wewe can offer you some eau de cologne.
I picked up 193 men, women and children, four degrees, 42 minutes south, 11 degrees, 26 minutes west, German submarine.
If any ship will assist the shipwrecked Laconia crew, I will not attack her.
I will not attack her.
What? Do the Americans know? Send a car.
Hey! What is the German for truth? Or for deception? Betrayal? This has all the aroma of a trap.
But what if it isn't a trap, sir? Ah, see, there you have it, young man, there you have it.
Cleared for take-off tomorrow morning 0700 hours.
Are you certain we shouldn't tell them about the German submarine? No, good God, no.
It's a submarine! They want to know what action to take.
Fire! Fucking fire at them!