Tipping the Velvet (2002) s01e01 Episode Script

Episode 1

Did you ever go to Whitstable and see the oyster parlors there? My father kept one.
I was born in it.
That's my sister Alice.
She was a good girl, Alice, and my best friend as well as my big sister.
That's my father.
Best Whitstable natives you'll ever taste.
Right you are, sir.
Coming.
But this isn't about him or Alice or my brother Davy or my mother.
It's about me, Nan Astley, and I was nothing then.
I was barely 18.
My life had hardly started.
But open an oyster, and it's like a secret world in there, and that's how it was with me.
I didn't see how my life could have any surprises waiting in it.
I suppose I was content with my oyster girl's existence.
All right then, Nan.
Hello, Freddy.
Go for a little walk, then? Yes, all right, then.
I don't mind.
That was our little routine.
I'd meet him when they brought the boat in, and we'd go for a little walk and a little spooning.
We weren't what you'd call "fast.
" It was expected, really, but I never knew how I was supposed to feel.
Tony Reeves was sweet on Alice.
He was undermanager at the Canterbury Palace of Varieties.
Mother thought him a bit rapid, but you couldn't not like him.
Ding-dong, ding-dong! I heard that from Gully Sutherland himself.
Hey, you mustn't miss his show next week.
It's a stunner! I'll get you in the circle for gallery price.
That's very kind of you, Mr.
Reeves.
Tony! Tony! We know each other well enough by now.
Well, we should love to come.
Is it all right if Nan's Freddy comes along, too? Of course.
The more the merrier.
He's not "my" Freddy, Mother.
He isn't yet, but he'd like to be.
Is that about the shape of it? And now, ladies and gentlemen, a very special treat.
For those of you who are connoisseurs of elegance and top class Miss Kitty Butler! What do you think? Pretty smart? Not half bad, I should say.
I'm following in Father's footsteps, Following me dear, old dad.
He's just in front with a fine, big gal, So I thought I'd have one as well.
Oh, Rosie.
Dear Rosie.
There's a rose in my heart for you.
Catch.
Good-bye! Good-bye! Come again! Miss Kitty Butler! And now, ladies and gentlemen, the one and only Mr.
Gully "He'll tickle your fancy" Sutherland! Hey, ladies and gentlemen! What's up? Just a bit Do you want me to come? No.
Are you all right, Nan? Nan? I've seen that face somewhere before.
Hello? You what? She did! I'm all right now, really.
Why don't you go back then? Come on, now.
Keep me company.
Oh, it must be wonderful to work here.
Aye, some of the time it is.
Enjoying the show? Oh, yes! Anything in particular? Kitty Butler.
I've never, ever seen a girl like her.
She's got it off, hasn't she? Like a proper boy.
All the walk, all the business.
But then she's not.
You've got to remember that, Nancy.
Well, of course I know that.
Well, that's all right, then.
Oh, I wish I could come and see her every night.
Well, there's no reason why you shouldn't.
I can put you up in one of the boxes, if you like.
They're hardly ever taken on a weeknight.
Really? Alice.
Alice.
How do you feel when you're with Tony? What a question.
Same as you when you're with Freddy, I suppose.
I don't feel anything much when I'm with Freddy.
Well, perhaps you should be showing him what to do.
If you don't like him, chuck him then.
Plenty more fish in the sea.
It's not I don't like him.
Yeah, I know.
He's just not "the one.
" You'll find someone you really like, Nan.
Promise? You wait.
You'll meet someone who'll have your head spinning and your legs turning to jelly and And what? You'll find out.
Now shut your eyes and go to sleep.
Oh, Rosie.
Dear Rosie.
There's a rose in my heart for you.
But now I come to look around, there's a lot of pretty girls down here as well.
Put out the lights, Lymsman.
Let's have a look at you.
Well, we're spoiled for choice this evening, gents.
Catch.
Good-bye! Come again! Here she comes then.
How was she tonight, Nancy? Just as good, if not better.
She's not a real boy, you know.
I know she's not.
You ask me, I think there might be some young chap in the orchestra pit she's got her eye on.
I just hope young Freddy don't catch on! I wish you'd all mind your own business! When I see her, it's like Oh, I don't know what it's like.
When she walks on stage, she makes me want to smile and weep at once.
She makes me sore, here.
I never, ever saw a girl like her before.
I never knew that there were girls like her.
I don't know what it is.
I don't know what's the matter with me, Alice.
Do you think I'm cracked? I don't think you should get too keen on that girl, Nan.
Why ever not? They're not like us, people like that.
They don't lead natural lives, you know.
I think you should forget about her, Nan.
You don't understand, Alice.
I don't want to talk about it anymore.
It wasn't any use, telling me to forget about Kitty Butler.
As if I could.
And I didn't see why I should.
Nancy, you can go as far as you like.
Don't worry.
I'll tell you if it hurts.
No! I don't want to.
What's the matter? Nothing.
I just don't want that, Freddy.
I'm serious, you know, Nan.
We can be engaged.
Well, then it would be all right, wouldn't it? Can't we just go on as we are? You don't really care for me at all.
I do, though.
No, you don't.
You just like to keep me there, tagging along like.
If you really cared for me, you'd let me do it.
Well, then I don't care for you.
Oh, Nan! Oh, don't take it like that, Nan! I didn't really mean it! But I did.
I meant it! And if what Freddy wanted was only human nature, so was what I wanted! But what was it I wanted? I didn't know, but I knew it had something to do with Kitty Butler.
We said good-bye with a tear and a sigh And whispered all the pretty things that sweethearts say.
You promised you'd never forget me.
I promised I'd always be true.
Oh, Rosie.
Dear Rosie.
There's a rose in my heart for you.
Miss Kitty Butler, ladies and gentlemen! Good-bye! Come again! And now, ladies and gentlemen, the one you've all been waiting to see Hey, ladies and gentlemen! as a friend would, and knocks on door.
Sorry, um No, no, no, no.
Nothing to be sorry about.
You're just the person I wanted.
I've got a message for you.
Someone wants to see you.
Who? Shh, shh, shh.
Come in! Here she is, Miss Nancy Astley.
Miss Butler, I'll take up no more of your valuable time.
May I say again, a delightful evening, a rare treat.
Miss Astley, a pleasure to make your acquaintance.
Walter Bliss at your service.
Good night, ladies.
Mr.
Reeves.
I'm very pleased to meet you, Miss Astley.
Do have a chair.
So you're "my" mystery admirer.
I thought it was Gully you came to see very night.
Then somebody told me you always went out after I had finished.
Is it really me you stay for? Yes.
I'm sorry.
Now I'm here, I can't think of what to say.
Well, it was me who sent for you, so you needn't say anything if you don't want to.
But I do wish you'd tell me what it is you like so much.
I'm very vain, you see.
I do love to hear nice things about myself.
I like everything.
Your costumes and your songs and the way you sing them.
And the way you move and the way you smile and your voice.
You seem so very gay and bold.
It makes me happy just to hear you.
And I think your hair is beautiful.
Truly? Gully says it's like guinea pigs' fur.
Well, he's wrong.
Well, I'll tell him you said so.
Do you mind if I clean my makeup off while we talk? So what about you? I know that you're a friend of Tony's.
Is he your sweetheart? No.
No, he's courting my sister Alice.
Is he? Hmm.
So, what about you? Have you got a sweetheart? No.
Nor have I.
So, where do you come from and where do you work at? Whitstable.
I work in an oyster house.
An oyster house? Like the song.
As I was going down Bishop's Gate Street, An oyster girl I happened to meet.
Into her basket, I happened to peep To see if she had any oysters.
I do hope I haven't offended you, Miss Astley.
No! No.
There's nothing wrong with oyster girls.
I think they're rather nice, if you're an example of them.
Miss Butler Oh, call me Kitty, do.
And what can I call you? Nan.
Thank you.
You're very kind.
I was going to ask Kitty why did you think of it in the first place? Dressing like a boy and cutting your hair short and everything? Oh, wouldn't you if you had the chance? Men have all the fun.
Besides, there's too many girls in this business.
Most of them would do anything to please the manager, and you won't find me playing those games, Nan.
And I love my costumes and being able to stride about and give them a bit of cheek.
Don't get me wrong I do like being a girl as well, you know.
Well what do you think? Pretty smart or a bit of a letdown? I should say so.
No.
Oh, no.
You're a dear girl! But I can't stop and talk any longer this evening, Nan.
Gully's taking us all out for supper, and what Gully wants, Gully gets.
But you'll come and see me again, won't you? You could come before the show and help me dress, if you'd like.
Really? Of course really.
Then I shall.
Starting next Monday.
And now we shall have to say good night.
Miss Astley.
You smell like I know.
Like a herring.
Not a bit like a herring.
Like a mermaid.
I told myself to be sensible.
Perhaps she hadn't meant it, or she might think better of it.
Like a mermaid.
Like a mermaid.
And so I became Kitty Butler's dresser, and her best pal, too.
And we were together all that season.
Good-bye! Come again! Miss Kitty Butler! Careful, Kitty.
Don't turn that poor girl's head.
What would she think if she knew the part she played in my fierce dreamings? You hold it like this, flat shell on top.
Then, you put the point of the knife in the hinge, see? Hold it steady.
Mustn't waste any of the liquor.
That's the best bit, some say.
That's the flesh.
You cut that loose.
And now you may eat it.
Well done, Miss Butler.
Thank you.
Thank you, Nan.
And this is your room.
Very cozy.
Oh, it feels funny, you being here.
Come.
Sit by me.
I'm sure your mother would disapprove.
I am just about dying for a smoke.
You're lucky to have a proper family.
Such a nice one, too.
I've never had a proper family.
How do you mean? Oh, you don't want to know.
Let's just talk about happy things.
Now, I think, if I had a family like yours, I'd never want to leave home.
Nan I have something to tell you.
It's a piece of good news, and you must promise to be happy for me.
Do you remember the man who was with me the first night you came 'round? Mr.
Bliss? Well he's offered me a contract in London working in the halls there! He says I'm too good for the provinces.
He says London needs to see me, and I need to be seen there.
He thinks I could be one of the really big names, Nan.
I've got to take it.
Oh, yes.
I say that you have.
I am happy for you, Kitty.
You don't look it.
Well I'm selfish.
I'd be unhappy to see you go.
And I'll be unhappy to leave you behind.
Truly? Would you come with me, Nan? Come with you? If your mother and father will let you, of course.
I mean, you you'll have a proper wage, not much, but enough if we share a room.
Yes! Do you really think you might? And do you think they'll let you? I suppose you could always come back home if you didn't like it.
Didn't like it? I'd do anything to go with you! I'd go even if they said I wasn't to! They could lock me in my room, and I'd climb out the window and walk all the way to London to be with you! I love you more than anyone or anything! I do! Remember when you gave me this? When you picked me out of all the others? You did, didn't you? You chose me.
Yes.
Yes, I did.
And I didn't know then I was choosing the very best friend I've ever had.
They didn't try to lock me in.
They could see my heart was set on going to London with Kitty, and they couldn't bear to see me grieve.
There.
Don't spend it all in the same shop.
You will write us, won't you, Nan? Of course I will.
Well, visit when you can.
Good-bye, Mother.
Nancy, what am I going to do without you? Take care now.
I shall.
Miss Butler! What a pleasure! Welcome to the gay metropolis.
And Miss Astley, late of Whitstable.
Off goes his bonnet to an oyster girl.
You're very welcome, my dear, more so than I can say.
Go on, Nan.
And Miss Butler! Follow me, porter! Come along! Keep up, man! Make way! Mr.
Bliss kindly took us to our new home, Mrs.
Dendy's Theatrical Lodging House Miss Butler, allow me.
In Brixton.
There we are.
Well, we'll be safe here, ladies.
Oh, I've always loved theatricals, and my mother before me.
himself once fell down these stairs.
Here is Signor Corelli.
You'll get no trouble from him.
He loves those doves.
Ready to go for you ladies.
Oh, they're very nice gents.
No trouble at all.
3 more up here, Signor Corelli! One more to go.
Come on up now.
This will be yours.
Got a little entrance hall as well as the bedroom.
Won't mind doubling up, I hope.
Not at all.
We're a bit close to the railway.
You'll get used to that after a while.
Are you asleep? No.
Are you homesick, Nan? Do you miss Alice? Not really.
How your heart beats.
Do you like this, Nan? Mmm.
If you knew how I'd longed for a sister.
You'll be my sister now, won't you? I didn't want to be her sister.
I do love you, Nan.
I wanted to be her sweetheart.
Night-night.
Ladies and gentlemen.
I give for your pleasure this evening, Miss Kitty Butler.
Hello.
I've just come down from Brighton.
There's a lot of pretty girls down there, you know.
But now I come to look around, There's a lot of pretty girls down here Following in your father's footsteps Is a matter for each boy.
And following in your father's footsteps Is a thing I much enjoy.
My mother caught me out one evening Up the West End, on a spree.
She said, "Where are you going?" And I answered, "Don't ask me" I'm following in my father's footsteps.
Following my dear old dad.
Who's just in front with a fine, big gal, So I thought I'd have one as well.
They don't like me, Nan.
They don't like me.
My dear, your first night in the capital.
They were warming to you.
Give the word a chance to spread.
They'll be eating out of your hand by the end of the week.
Do you really think so? I'd stake my life on it, Kitty.
I promise you, I swear to you, there is no match to your act in town.
I promise you.
You promised you'd never forget me.
I promised I'd always be true.
Oh, Rosie.
Dear Rosie.
There's a rose in my heart for you.
But he was right.
It didn't happen by the end of the week, but after a few months, they couldn't get enough of her.
A triumph! Oh, a triumph! Now we've got them.
Now, Kitty, get changed quickly.
The manager of the Alhambra wants to meet you.
The Alhambra? Yes.
You won't mind, will you, Nan? It'll all be business talk.
Your chance for an early night.
I did mind, but what could I do? I was proud of her success, but terrified it would take her away from me.
I wanted to keep her close, as close as my own skin.
I've just been down to the seaside.
There's a lot of pretty girls down there, you know.
Come to think of it, There's a lot of pretty girls down here, too.
I'm following in Father's footsteps.
Following me dear old dad.
He's just in front with a fine, big girl, So I thought I'd have one as well.
I got talking to an oyster girl.
She could suck an oyster rather well.
Oh, Kitty.
I love you.
Love you.
Love you.
Oh, it's you.
I'm sorry.
I don't know what came over me.
Well, don't be sorry, Nan.
You're the very thing.
You look more like a boy than I do.
Give us a turn.
Go on.
No.
I'm shy.
I could quite fall for a boy like you.
Come here and give me a kiss.
What a handsome fellow.
I can't resist him.
Just wait till Walter sees you.
I don't want him to.
Well, I think it could be just the thing he's looking for.
They're talking about developing my repertoire, Nan, and, well, to go on with a pal might be just the very thing.
Help me, Nan.
We'll show him first thing tomorrow.
But all I could think was that she had kissed me on the lips, and yet I was no nearer to declaring myself.
Was it possible that she felt as I did? I couldn't risk it.
Ready? Uh-uh.
My God, that's it.
Why didn't I see it before? Oh, this could be sensational.
Didn't I tell you? Doesn't she look quite the bobby-dazzler? It's as if she was born to it.
Let's try a little song.
No, no.
I couldn't.
Yes, you could.
You know all the words to all the songs.
Come on, Walter.
"Father's Footsteps.
" To follow in your father's footsteps Is a matter for each boy.
Good.
And following in Father's footsteps Is a thing I much enjoy.
My mother caught me out one evening Up the West End, on a spree.
She said "Where are you going?" But I answered, "Don't ask me.
" We're following in Father's footsteps.
Following me dear old dad.
He's just in front with a fine, big gal, So I thought I'd have one as well.
We don't know where we're going.
But when he gets there, I'll be glad.
We're following in Father's footsteps.
Yes, we're following me dear old dad.
Bill from Bowbells and his shy brother Bob.
How about that? We'll get some songs to suit you, Suits made to measure And we should do something about that hair.
There we are, Miss.
Or perhaps I should say, "Sir.
" Remarkable.
Now I'm like you.
Ladies and gents, Your very own favorite with a special treat, For the first time in this or any other hall, It's 2 for the price of 1, It's Kitty Butler and Nan King.
I'm rather shy.
I'm rather shy.
I'm rather shy.
I'm rather shy.
I'm rather shy.
All right.
Come on, Bob.
They won't eat you.
Oh, I don't know, Bill.
I'm rather shy.
Oh, I don't know what I'm going to do with him.
He's the best partner anybody could wish for, But he's a little bit backward in coming forward, if you know what I mean.
Listen, and I'll tell you.
Come on, Bob.
Last Sunday was a holiday.
We scrubbed up nice and clean.
And took a little stroll about Around the village green.
We saw a couple of pretty girls As they were passing by.
I say the was spiffing.
And I'm sure one winked her eye.
Oh, I don't know, Bill.
You better leave me out.
But it's very easy, Bob.
You never know until you try.
Oh, I don't know, Bill.
I'm rather shy.
Come on, Bob.
You're not funking it.
Well, I don't know what to do, Bill.
Leave the stage! Come here and I'll show you.
Sorry.
You come up very softly And you take her by the hand.
Like this? That's right.
Look tenderly into her eyes.
And she will understand.
Like this.
Then lean a little closer And steal a little kiss.
Oh, I can't.
I'm too shy.
No Oh, just try it.
What? Like this? I think he's been taking private lessons.
What do you think? Should we ask him? Now, Bob.
Mm-hmm? Own up.
Where did you learn to kiss like that? I couldn't tell you, Bill.
I'm rather shy.
- He's rather shy.
- I'm rather shy.
He's rather shy.
I'm rather shy.
He's taking free lessons In giving girls the eye.
Where did you go last Friday When you sky? I'm going to tell you, Bill.
2, 3.
Come on! I'm rather shy! Thank you, thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you very much.
Well done, Kitty.
It's all for you, Nan.
Thank you.
Bravo.
Congratulations, my dear.
You've done well for yourself, there, Bliss.
I'll give these 2 a booking anytime you like.
Oh, that's very good of you.
Charlie Frobisher.
The Empire.
Here we are, girls.
Best table in the place.
Well.
Here's to Bill and his shy brother Bob.
How does it feel to be a star, eh, Nan? All right.
It feels all right.
Come and have a dance, Kitty.
Go ahead.
It would be a pleasure to watch you.
All right.
I will.
Hello.
Well, don't you know me? Jimmy Burns.
I was in the pit this evening, doubling up here for a bit of pocket money.
Well, I don't know how I like you best, in skirts or trousers, and that's a fact.
I don't know how I like myself best.
Well, then, it's nice to have the choice, ain't it? Would you fancy standing up with me, for a little twirl around? Oh, go on.
Say you will.
I don't think I could.
I've had too much cham.
Well, that's all the better.
Up you come.
That's it.
Now.
Who's going to lead, then? You or me? You can, if you like.
Oh! Oh, I'm getting You've spoiled my dress.
Soon put that right.
No, get off.
Get off.
I'm going.
You can come or not, as you like.
I'd better go.
But Kitty! Kitty, wait.
What's the matter? What did you think you were doing making a fool of yourself with that horn player? We were only larking about.
Larking about? His hands were all over you.
Sometimes I don't think you care about my feelings at all, Nan.
Oh, Kitty.
If you knew I hate the way you make me feel.
May I really touch you? Oh, Nan.
I think I shall die if you don't.
I do love you, Nan.
So very much.
Good morning.
Good morning.
I drank too much last night.
We both did.
But don't say you want to unsay what we said or undo what we did.
I think I'd die.
No.
No.
It has to be a secret our secret.
I wish I'd had the nerve to tell you before.
Couldn't you see how I felt about you? I wasn't sure.
It's easier to be friends.
I didn't know it was possible.
You know, for 2 girls to be sweethearts, and to to go all the way.
I'd never heard of it.
Had you? Well, that's true.
I've never cared for any other girl the way I care for you, Nan.
Oh.
But the fact was, I loved her too much to fret long over the other girls she might have loved before me, for she loved me best, and she loved me now.
To Butler and King, the toast of London.
And I was happier than I had ever been, and I wished I could tell the whole world, but Kitty insisted we kept it a secret, even from Walter, for no one else would ever understand, and it was the happiest, most magical 6 months of my life.
Miss Kitty Butler and Miss Nan King.
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! It's only human nature after all! Oh.
Walter arranged us a few days off.
He needed Kitty for some business meetings, and I thought it was time I visited my parents.
I felt strange like a ghost.
Nancy! Is it really you? Hey.
We shall have to mind our manners, shan't we, Davy, with such a fine lady in our parlor? Don't be silly, Father.
I haven't changed.
I'm just the same as I always was.
She's gone all la-di-da.
Don't be rude, Davy.
I don't mind, Mother.
Must be the company I've been keeping.
So, how have you been keeping? Have you got yourself a young man yet? No, no time for anything like that.
I'm far too busy.
Look, I've got presents for you all from London, and I hope you like them, for I've spent half my wages on them.
That's for you, Mother.
That's for you, Pop.
That's for you, Davy.
And this is for you, Alice.
My word, Nancy.
You've done us proud.
I shall look quite the thing in this, now, shan't I? Look at these, Ma.
Look how they're soft as butter.
I shall be the best-shod bloke in Kent now.
Oh, Nancy.
You shouldn't have.
Well, what else would I do with my money? Oh, you are a good girl, Nancy.
Aren't you going to open it, Alice? Oh, what a stunner.
Don't you like it, Alice? Well, when would I ever wear a thing like that? It seems so strange to be back here, in our room.
I hope you don't mind being invaded, Alice.
Wouldn't make any difference if I did, would it? Oh, Alice.
Please don't be like this with me.
I can't bear it.
What's the matter? Was it the hat? I thought you'd like it.
I thought you could wear it when you went out with Tony.
I bet you anything he would like you in it.
I'm finished with Tony.
Oh, Alice.
I'm sorry.
What happened? I don't want to talk about it.
Hurry up.
Oh, that's better.
What's the matter? I wrote and told you I'm part of the act now.
You didn't think I went on as a girl, did you? I wouldn't get much work like that.
But I make a very good boy.
You'd be surprised.
I don't know how you can show yourself like that.
Kitty can do it.
Why shouldn't I? Kitty.
Are you two as close as you ever were? Yes, we are.
Closer, if you'd like to know.
I'm in love with her, Alice.
Please let me tell you.
We never used to have no secrets from each other.
Come on, then, if you must.
Well, she's just everything to me, and I am to her as well.
Remember how I used to feel like there was something wrong with me? How I never felt anything much when I was with Freddy? Well, it turns out there's nothing wrong with me at all.
She only has to touch me or sometimes even just to lo I don't want to hear anymore.
You're disgusting.
I thought you'd understand.
I don't want to understand.
I hate anything like that, all those Alice.
If you want to know, that's why I broke up with Tony, when I found out he liked men as much as he liked girls.
He made me feel dirty, and you make me feel dirty.
I don't wish you any harm, Nan, but I don't want to know about your life, and I don't like you near me.
And please don't try talking to Mother and Father about your dirty life, because it'll break their hearts.
Alice, please, don't be like this.
It's still me.
I'm still the same as I ever was.
Just get into bed.
Keep to your own side.
My own sister couldn't bear to have me lying next to her.
I'd lost her, and all I could think of was getting away as quick as I could, back to London and my dearest, dearest Kitty, my lover and my only friend.
I didn't belong there anymore.
If they couldn't love me as I am, then I should go where I would be loved.
My life was in London now, with Kitty.
Oh, Miss Astley.
You're back already.
Hello.
I'm back early.
Ahem.
Acorn Media Captioned by the National Captioning Institute Oh, some, they like it this way And some, they like it that.
The lady dips a curtsy, and the gentleman tips his hat.
And some, they like 'em big and fat And others meek and small.
But whatever they say, It's only human nature after all.
Last Sunday I went out the park Just to take the air.
I saw a girl upon the swings, And she was pretty fair.
I said, "Now, shall I give a push And catch you if you fall?" "Push on, " she said.
"It's only human nature after all" Oh, some, they like a nightingale.
And some, they like a lark.
And some, they like a pretty girl To cuddle in the dark.
Some, they like a pansy.
And some they like a ball.
But whatever you say, It's only human nature after all.