Upstart Crow (2016) s03e07 Episode Script

A Crow Christmas Carol

In faith, I'm gonna say something, I really am gonna say something.
[SNORTS] There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune, and I am definitely gonna say something.
[HACKS] - Definitely! - [SPITS] Something needs to be said, and I'm gonna say it.
I'm gonna take that something and give it a blooming good say it.
Er, excuse me, I'm I'm awfully sorry, but do you mind? Done it, said it! Something was said! The quiet man roars, the sensible majority found its voice! I said that something for England! Of course, you should've said.
Help yourself, my friend.
Er, yes Thank you.
Very kind.
[SNORTS] Colin's my name.
I travel in in jingly hats.
It's a big time of year for me, with Christmas coming, you know.
It's very seasonal, my game.
Oh, God, it gets worse We've connected.
He thinks we're having a conversation.
I'm trapped! The abyss yawns beneath me.
The gates of hell spring open.
My only hope now is if I die of gastro from the bastable's chop.
What's your game? I must not tell him that I'm a playwright, for then will he regale me with jingly hat stories, ever certain that they're hilarious and I could use them in one of my plays.
Think Think I'm a playwright.
A playwright! Oh, I could tell you a few stories.
You will never believe the hilarious things that happen in the jingly hat game.
So many funny stories! I remember one year we were ordering jingly hats for Christmas, they only had [SOLEMNLY] You are sad, my friend.
You mourn your son and curse whatever God or faith it was that took him.
What? How? Your pain has turned to anger, but only love can heal a broken heart.
If you know me, stranger, you must know that my heart will never heal.
I will tell you a story to pass the journey.
A timeless tale for now and every Christmas about a lonely man who had let his heart grow flinty, hard and bitter.
The child was thin and starved and they rejected him, for he loved only money.
grave yawned open ghost came a-knocking "What vision is this, Spirit?" fat Christmas goose! all rejoiced and made most merry.
God bless us, everyone.
Goodness, sir, that is a wonderful story.
Where did you hear it? When was it written? I told you, it is timeless.
Maybe yesterday, perhaps a thousand years ago, perhaps it is not written and will not be for centuries.
Now, that is spooky.
What's spooky? But you were Where's the? You fell asleep.
I often find my stories have that effect.
I think it's because they're so hilarious that people get a bit overloaded and they just shut down.
Yes, I expect that's probably it.
WILL: Father is here and 'tis almost Advent.
Last trip home before the holiday.
Did you have a good journey, Dad? Well, astonishingly I might almost say spookily I did.
Goodness! Does that mean that the long-promised improvements to public transport have actually occurred more frequent and faster services? Cleaner, less-crowded coaches? Compensation paid out promptly for late arrivals and cancellations? - No, family, it does not.
- Oh.
Because, in fact, those are not promises at all, but jokes, told for the amusement of Her Majesty's ministers, wearied by luxury and power.
And like all good jokes, they will bear constant retelling and will, I imagine, still be being told even unto the next millennium.
So how come you did have a good journey, then, son? Did you catch the eye of some slapsome doxy and play flirty wirty footsie wootsie winky wonky with her all the way from Slough to Banbury, and then actually cop a proper feel behind the pie shop in Chipping Norton? Not that that's ever happened to me.
No, Father, I did not, but I did hear a most marvellous Christmas story A story of a soul redeemed.
And it made me think that perhaps, in this Christmas of our sadness, we we might redeem our own souls a little by doing some good in the world.
How do you mean, Dad? Well, we have suffered a heavy loss, and I confess that sometimes, in my grief, I have succumbed to anger and bitter rage at cruel fate.
Me too.
How come little Hamnet was taken while a wicked old goat like me is allowed to live? It ain't fair, makes no sense.
I'd have gone in his place a hundred times.
We all would.
But we can't.
Instead, we must try and heal, perchance through love, through charity.
You and Mum give quite a bit to the poor already, Dad.
Yes, daughter, 'tis true.
We We always take our turnip heads to the village foodbank and and we have our sponsored leper.
Also, as you know, I have funded a Cambridge research fellowship into male pattern baldness.
Although, for the avoidance of doubt, I personally am not going bald I have shy hair.
[DOOR CLOSES] Is that you, husband? I didn't hear the door.
My mind was wandering.
Yes, my sweet, 'tis I.
Last trip home before the Christmas hols.
We shan't do a lot this year.
Just church, I think.
I really couldn't do a big feast.
She's not getting any better, Dad.
I mean, we're all grieving, but Mum is just in bits.
It's like you said, love, grief fills the room up of my absent child.
And thus am I resolved.
Family, this Yuletide, we we will not focus on the love that we have lost but the love that we can make.
This house is filled with sadness, and so we will spend the season in London, where I intend to make of myself that which begins with what a good dinner will do for a man, is followed by the fourth of six, then that verb that will move a javelin, and finally Grandad after about four o'clock in the afternoon.
Er, what? Come now, daughter, a good dinner may fill a man.
The fourth of six is Anne of Cleves.
We throw a javelin Fill and throw And Grandad after four each day is? Pissed! Exactly! I intend to make of myself a true philanthropist.
Do you think, son, as a favour to us all, you might give up your linguistical poncing toggling for Christmas? Never, Father, for, as I think you know, linguistical poncing toggling is what I do.
The Christmas story has inspired me.
We have only now to find a soul in need of redemption.
Make haste with those ledgers, Scratchit.
I am owed many debts and would collect my monies or seize the goods and properties of any who default.
But 'tis Advent already, Mr Greene.
Do you mean to bankrupt family men at Christmas? Christmas? Christmas?! Shame on you, Job Scratchit.
Any man who would hide behind our Saviour's birth to renege on his debts deserves to starve.
God God did not send his only son that oafs and slatterns might gorge and quaff and rob honest men, just as no doubt you'll seek to rob me of a half day's work for the same reason.
Well, sir, begging your pardon, sir, but I was hoping to have Christmas afternoon off, so as to make the season full merrily with my family, sir.
"Full merrily"? On what I pay you? And you, with a wife and sick children in the house.
If you are stupid enough to make merry under those circumstances, then you deserve your poverty, sir.
We have love, Mr Greene, that makes us merry.
- [BELL RINGS] - I'll get the door, sir.
Love Love! Can a man eat love? Will it clothe him in princely silk and velvet? Will love buy medicine for his sick children? Of course not.
Love is worth nothing.
I will have none of it.
Good day to you, Mr Greene.
Miss Kate, what business brings you here? I am come collecting monies to bring comfort to the needy this Christmas.
Ha! Ha! Bah! Are there no prisons? No poorhouses? Let the poor go to them.
And if they cannot find a place, let them die and be quick about it, and so relieve the surplus population.
How can you be so mean and nasty? It's a gift.
Good day.
Can't say I'm looking forward to Crimble much this year, Botski.
I'm gonna skulk about disguised and cloaked, because "you're supposed to be dead" can really constrain a fella's roistering.
I thought you were pretending to be your own brother? Turns out, being a celebrity relative is a pretty tough gig.
At least it is if you wanna party.
Everyone thinks I'm trying to cash in on my bro's fame.
I mean, how craplington is that? I suppose Will will be off to Stratford.
I suppose so.
I reckon you're well out of it.
Stratford's so dull.
Yes, remember last year It was all a bit quiet.
Oh! Apart, of course, from Greene turning up with soldiers and carting me off to the Tower! What Stratford-on-Avon needs is some sort of notoriety or thing of interest to give it a reason to exist.
- Like that's ever gonna happen! - Yeah.
Bottom, prepare spare beds and order extra pie.
I've decided that the whole family will spend the season in London this year.
- Oh, good thought, that man! - Brilliant! Yeah, let's try and have a proper party.
I don't know if we could quite handle a party this year, Kit, but I have another plan, if you be willing.
Anything you like, mate, you know I'm here for you.
And me, I'm here for you, too.
Well, obviously You're hiding out in my house rent free, Kit, and I pay you to be here, Bottom.
Anyway, I was thinking that what we need this year is a sense of purpose, a noble project to help us rise above our own sorrows and honour the memory of our son.
I recently heard a lovely story of Christmas redemption, and thus do I seek a soul to save.
The only question is, whose soul? I can't believe it, I simply cannot believe it, the man literally has no soul.
He's a monster! - What up, lady? Who's a monster? - Mr Greene.
Greene, Kate? What about him? What about him? He is a heartless swine and a sanctimonious hypocrite, that's what.
Many a time and oft have we heard his claims to piety and a Christian conscience, and I am here to tell you that it's all utter utter Well, if I am to say what his claims to piety are, then, in order to spare my maidenly blushes, I must needs do as you do, Mr Shakespeare, and resort to linguistical poncing toggling.
Oh God, really, must you? Yeah, this could take a while, I'll get more ale.
[CLEARS THROAT] Intrigued am I, Kate.
If what you wish to say of Greene's claims to piety be indeed too coarse a thought for a delicate maid to utter, then by all means must you resort to linguistical poncing toggling.
Right, in that case, his claims to piety are what a bull leaves behind him, hot and steaming in a field, but which be not a deeply satisfied cow.
Ki Kind of feel in this case that the linguistical poncing toggling might actually feel a bit ruder than the phrase you're trying to toggle your way out of.
You mean he's talking bullshi Yes! He claims the moral high ground, and yet, when I asked him for monies for the poor at Christmas, he said they'd be better to die and decrease the surplus population.
Oh, that is grim.
I even heard him muttering that love was worthless.
What?! That's just potty! Love is the very reason to be alive, particularly at Christmas.
Exactly! And for all I despise Mr Greene for being a heartless brute and for talking a lot of hypocritical, sanctimonious what a bull leaves behind him, hot and steaming in a field, but which be not a deeply satisfied cow I actually feel sorry for him.
Me too Sort of.
I mean, it's terrible to be without love at Christmas.
He is rich and powerful, and yet his bitter heart and dead, empty soul make him poor indeed.
You're right, it is sad, but I can't worry about him now, I'm trying to find a dead, empty soul to save so that, through such a redemption, I may make some peace with my own sad loss.
Hang on.
Hang the futtock on! Christmas in London, such a treat! - We must do our best to enjoy ourselves.
- For Hamnet.
I shall perambulate the Dilly - like the gentleman what I am.
- Oh! And I shall go into every single shop on the Strand.
Both of them! Never forgetting, of course, that we have in mind a noble purpose.
Er, shopping is a noble purpose, Dad.
A nobler purpose.
I think he's talking about this soul he's been banging on about saving, Mary.
But how are we to do it, love? Well, we certainly can't do it alone.
We need a larger cast of characters than our small family can allow.
Kate will help, she's on her own again anyway because My mother is on yet another slap-and-ticklish winter break with her latest bit of saucy ruffington.
And Kit's up for it, being at a loose end, having Faked my own death for reasons too dark and disgraceful to discuss in delicate company.
- Bottom - Does what he's told.
Exactly.
And I think it's fair to say that we do it because we are your friends, Mr Shakespeare, and we love you all.
Which is very heart-warming, Kate, but even we happy band of brothers and sisters, are not sufficient for the plan I have in mind, and thus do I intend to enlist the services of Burbage and the acting company.
Oh, ouch! That's gonna cost you, Will.
Christmas rates for luvvie kisses are arse-watering! You'll be paying top groat.
I don't intend to pay them at all.
I'm offering an incentive that no actor can resist.
He wants us to work for nothing? At Christmas? Outrageous! Mad outrageous, I ain't doing it.
But, my dear fellows, you didn't let me finish.
Mr Shakespeare writes that this is for charity.
Oh! Oh, well, of course that changes things entirely.
I mean, being an actor, I do an enormous amount for charity.
Me too.
Like, loads.
But ironically, obviously, keeping my edge.
For instance, if I was raising money for lepers, I'd do gags about losing limbs.
So, "Oh, come on, let's give 'em a hand.
Ah!" Only a bit of armless fun.
Crr! Ah! Which would be deeply offensive.
Possibly, from a lesser comic, but from a genius like me Brave, confronting, taboo shattering! So Shut up, Kempe! As actors, we all have our causes about which we feel passionately.
As actors, our charity work is very important to us.
But we don't like to talk about it.
Oh, absolutely not, heaven forfend.
I hate talking about the enormous amount I do for charity.
- Oh, likewise.
- Same.
The simple fact is, I'm too busy doing an enormous amount for charity to have time to talk about the enormous amount I do for charity, and I make that very clear to people.
So, we are agreed.
We will lend our sublime talents and the vast wells of public affection we enjoy to Will and his charitable endeavour.
But we won't talk about it.
- Definitely not.
- I intend to make that very, very clear.
What's the plan, Will? How are we to redeem this soul, and whose soul is it anyway? That of mine own worst enemy, Anne, a man with the moral compass of Henry VIII's marriage guidance counsellor.
Robert Greene.
Dad, he hates your gutlings, why would you wanna help him? Because, daughter, it is Christmas.
And what is more, this isn't just about healing his soul, but healing ours.
To give to others is also to heal oneself.
That, I believe, is the message of the story the stranger told me.
But what is the story? What are we to do? How are we to save this wicked soul? Well, to begin with, Mr Greene is shortly to encounter a ghost, a ghost who will point him towards the error of his ways.
And how's that gonna work? Do you know any ghosts? Oh, most definitely.
I I live with one.
Don't I, Kit? - Woo! - [OTHERS GASP] And so the story begins.
Right, Susanna, Judith, you know what to do.
[KEYS JINGLE] Oh, sir, will you spare a coin for a hungry child at Christmas? Please, sir, it's so cold, and I have no shoes to wear.
Be off with you before I call the night's watch.
It'll mean we starve.
Well, if you must, you must, child, and I will do you the service of not prolonging your suffering with my hard-earned coppers.
Stingy, grotsome old arse-mongle! Bah! Sue, that last line was not in the script! I was improvising.
I thought it was brilliant, aren't you pleased? Judith, you're the daughter of a writer.
You of all people should understand that the last thing a writer ever wants from an actor, ever, is improvisation.
Next thing, Sue'll be claiming she basically wrote the scene.
Well, I sort of did.
My line was definitely the best bit.
How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless actor.
Don't be a bitter writer, Dad, it's not a good look.
All writers are bitter, Judy.
We do 90% of the work, and then the actors get given the best tables in restaurants.
It's just not blooming fair! KIT: Will! Shall we get back to the plan before Greene lets himself in? Yes, absolutely, Kit.
You're on.
GREENE: Starve! What care I if two children starve? KIT: Greene! Robert Greene! Do you know me? Marlowe, can it be you, with hair as white as snow? Absolutely, it's me, all right.
Although it's not white, more a platinum blond.
Be you not dead? Dead, but not at peace.
I am Marlowe's ghost, condemned to walk the night in chains as punishment for being such a legend of a bad boy while I lived.
I quaffed and gorged whilst the poor starved, which was definitely not cool.
Do not make the same mistake, Greene.
Remember me.
Remember me A dream, surely? Marlowe was dead to begin with, and yet and yet it was Marlowe.
A toast, to the successful first act in the battle to save Greene's soul.
- Oh! - Uh-uh.
Eh-eh, trying to save Mr Greene's soul is a fool's errand.
It is like the assegai spear which breaks in the thick hide of a raging bull elephant.
Whatever do you mean, girl? Pointless.
I applaud the vigour of your imagery, Miss Lucy, but I cannot agree.
The story the stranger told showed me that we're all redeemable, even Robert Greene.
Hm, if you believe that, then you are like the hunter who attempts to retrieve the broken spear from the thick hide of a raging bull elephant.
Slaughtered? Maimed? Stupid.
Miss Lucy's probably right, love.
Greene may be even too wicked to be redeemed.
Well, not by Marlowe pretending to be a ghost anyway.
Greene'll just think he ate some bad cheese.
Ah, but there's a lot more to this idea than Marlowe's ghost.
We've scarcely even started yet.
Now, Kit, you say that when you knew Greene at university he did love? Oh, yes, absolutely.
Little Bessie Watkins, the dean's daughter.
Pretty as a picture.
Then tomorrow night, Mr Greene will see his Bessie again.
Does she still live? Afraid she died, mate, but I've heard she had a daughter.
That'll do.
I'm Ephie Watkins, Mr Shakespeare, but 'tis said that so alike am I to my dear mother, it's almost as if she still lives.
But this is brilliant! Perfect! And did your mother ever speak of Robert Greene, Miss Ephie? He broke her heart.
She loved him and he loved her, but he loved power and money more.
Well, now you can help us show him what he lost.
We will conjure up a vision of a Cambridge Christmas from long ago, when Greene was merry and did love.
We will show him his Bessie in the full bloom of her youth, thus will he know what he has sacrificed for greed.
What a wonderful plan! And the fact that I am absolutely identical to my mother in every way makes it perfect.
Exactly, you can you can really show Mr Condell how to play her.
He's waiting in the antechamber.
Oh, Mr Condell? Miss Ephie, it will be an honour to play your mother.
Now, I take my character research very seriously and shall study your every glance and gesture.
See, I have your smile already.
I will also commission a new set of coconuts, the better to match your own.
Um, Mr Shakespeare, can't help feeling like we're missing a trick here.
As I mentioned, I am actually identical to my mother.
Such delicate beauty.
Isn't she exquisite? So maybe kind of I should play her.
Bitch! Money Fame Power! Lucky you can pick a lock, Botski.
Ah, I've got a lot of skills I've not shown you, master.
Yes, not least cooking a decent pie and sweeping the floor efficiently.
You can't be nice even at Christmas, can you? I am being nice, just not to you.
I'm saving a soul.
Ah, Miss Ephie, you look marvellous.
Mr Kempe, ready to give us your young Greene? Neh, zneh, bah, Bacon And Bungay.
Just keep your back to him and say nothing.
This is all about Miss Ephie.
Do you think I should kiss her? I reckon I should kiss her.
Since we're sweethearts, I should definitely kiss her.
May I remind you, Kempe, that this is a safe-space work environment with a rigid code of practice on harassment? Even if I claim later it was done ironically and in a spirit of banter? Touch me once and you'll be wearing your scroting sac as a cravat.
So no kiss, then? Probably better, leave it in the subtext.
Mr Condell, you ready? I suppose so, although I'm still not happy about having to play the Ghost of Christmas Past while you give the leading female role to an amateur, and worse a real girl! I've told you, Mr Condell, Bessie is just a support part.
The ghost is the lead female role.
But why must I wear this childish wig and silly dress? It's most unflattering! It's not a silly dress, it's a 14th-century nightgown.
You wear it and the childish wig because you're a ghost, and it is an absolute rule of every age that, unless otherwise stated, all ghosts are represented by spooky little girls dressed in antique night attire.
Don't know why, just is.
Now, get out there and get haunting! [HIGH-PITCHED] Mark me, Mr Greene, mark me.
What? Who are you, child? What want you with me? I am the Ghost of Christmas Past, come to show you the shadows of what has been.
[WHISPERS] And action.
Another Cambridge Christmas.
Ha-ha! Let all be merry, for I am master here, and I demand good ale, good vittles and good cheer for all.
Do you recognise this place? 'Tis mine old college.
And is that fezzie bezzie tezzie wezzie wig my old master? The light is dim, it's hard to see it, but, oh, how I wish 'twere true, such fun I had.
And what do you see now, Mr Greene? Why? Is it? Can it be my Bessie? How beautiful, how exquisite! Personally, I'm disappointed.
No character, no depth.
[WHISPERS] Stick to the script, Condell! But it's such a shame, and I'd so wanted her to be good.
See now, who is it sweet Bessie spurns? Be gone, you miserable miser.
Good day.
Why, 'tis mine own younger self.
She weeps.
My Bessie weeps.
Bessie has rejected you because you were cruel.
You lost her through your greed.
Well, actually, little bit more to it than that, very much faults on both sides.
I mean, I'll admit she did complain about me being ambitious, but I honestly think it was all about her wanting me to focus on her.
She was quite clingy like that, little bit needy, which at first I found endearing, but eventually became really suffocating.
Yeah, I mean, she'd be jealous if I went out with my mates, and she was always asking me what I was thinking, which which I hated.
I mean, if she was angry about something, instead of just having it out, she'd go into these long sulks, which was really draining.
Better wind it up, Mr Condell.
Yes, he is rather hogging the action.
The night grows dark, the vision fades, look you last upon your beloved Bessie and consider what you have lost.
Mm, no, I honestly think splitting up was the right thing.
We could've gone on torturing each other for a year or two, but it was never going to work long term.
Hm! Anyway, a great gig, I think.
We've definitely given him a scare.
And the Ghost of Christmas Present should really shake him up.
Yes, er, what's the plan for that, Will? Creating some half-glimpsed dreams of the past was possible with smoke and mirrors, but I can't see us pulling that off for Christmas Present.
W-We won't need to create anything this time The present is all too real.
Greene will witness the poverty of his own employee, his scrivener, Job Scratchit.
Mr Shakespeare, I really must protest against this appalling business of using real people instead of actors.
Yes, it's very worrisome, Will.
Where will it end? Will there be a day when actors are surplus to requirement to the entertainment industry? I've gone all cold.
A day when lush and expensive dramatic productions are forsaken in favour of some form of reality entertainment?! I admit, Burbage, that, as a writer, I-I do see the danger, but what if one day people gave up on tragedies and comedies in favour of simply watching groups of real people interacting in various locations? Ah, that's never going to happen, Mr Shakespeare.
I hope you're right, Miss Lucy.
There'd have to be at least the semblance of some extra idea to justify the exercise.
Oh-ho, pretending they all have to survive in a jungle together, for instance, or six pouting tarting slaps and six strutsome humping knaves roistering together on a sun-kissed island.
Actually, you know, I think that could work.
Money Power Being chased I'm falling! Taking an exam naked [BOOMING] Wake up, Greene.
And the compliments of the season! - [LAUGHS] - Another spirit come to haunt me? 'Tis I, the Ghost of Christmas Present, destined to live but one day, but such a day! Come, Greene! We're off to a party! [CHUCKLES] Why, this is the home of my scrivener, Job Scratchit.
They seem so happy.
Such peace and contentment on their faces, and yet their fire is meagre and their shelves so bare.
How can they be happy when they are so poor? It defies logic.
Surely, only money can bring happiness.
Look.
Such joy, husband.
Such happiness.
It is Christmas time and we're all together.
Aye, wife, we are poor, but we have love.
And tomorrow I shall order a fat sparrow for our Christmas feast.
A sparrow? A whole one? Yes! I've been saving up all year, and seasoned with the love that we shall each bring to the table, - it will taste like the finest goose.
- Oh! Mother, Father, it all looks so beautiful.
Tiny Todge, you should be in bed! I'm too excited thinking about Christmas.
Are we really to have a whole sparrow?! Yes, Tiny Todge, with half a potato and eight peas each, too.
Then, God bless Mr Greene, for without the coppers he pays Father, we could not afford such a feast.
Yes, God bless Mr Greene, for he has no love in his heart, so we must wish him a little of ours.
I'm finding these Scratchits a bit pukesome.
Yes, I will admit, I did find the similar family in the stranger's story to be a tad on the gooey side.
I think, if I ever write this up, I'll tone them down a bit.
No, let the Scratchit family stand forever as a symbol of simple faith and kindness.
You don't think maybe just an edge of social realism? Make the mum a depressive, the dad an alcoholic, the whole family locked in a cycle of poverty and dysfunction.
It's Christmas, Mr Shakespeare, keep it sugary.
Tell me, Spirit, will Tiny Todge live? I see an empty chair and an unused crutch leaning in the corner.
Can no-one help him? Are there no prisons? Are there no poorhouses? If Tiny Todge is like to die, then better surely he does it now and decreases the surplus population.
You turn my words against me, the very words I used God's bodykins, I smell a trick! Those words are exactly the ones I spoke to the girl Kate, Shakespeare's friend, when she came collecting alms.
And yet, this spirit claims to have been born but this morning.
And what is more, this spirit seems familiar.
The voice, the girth Can it be? I will test him.
Spirit, 'tis a goodly thing you do, walking the night a-saving souls.
A goodly charitable thing.
Perchance you do an awful lot for charity? Well, yes, I do, actually, but I don't like to talk about it.
Ha! Discovered! He is an actor.
This spirit is none but Burbage, who, like the girl Kate, is also Shakespeare's friend.
I smell a trick, a trick that began with yet another of Shakespeare's friends, Marlowe, who rumour has long had it still lives.
Ah, the Crow seeks to gull me with tricks.
Well The gull shall gull the guller.
Spirit, can I expect another ghost to visit tomorrow night, on Christmas Eve? You will, Greene, and mark him well, for 'twill be the most terrifying of all.
Remember me.
Remember me I will remember you, Mr Burbage, when I expose this trickery.
I will remember you all! Right, this is the big one, the final ghost.
In the story the stranger told me, - the antihero is shown a vision of the future.
- Oh! An old man has died, but none mourn him, all despise his memory.
Dad, you will play the nasty old undertaker.
And, Mum, - his wicked, avaricious wife.
- Woo! Anne, you are the landlady, stealing the pennies from the corpse's eyes.
Mr Condell and Burbage, you are sneering neighbours come to gloat.
- Gloat! - Sue and Judy, children come to laugh.
And, Mr Kempe, you will play the final spirit of all, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.
Top-billed ghost, obviously, so Mm, money Gold Title And yet, I only pretend to sleep.
I will make them rue the day they ever thought to make a fool of Robert Greene.
- [DOOR RATTLES] - Hark, the fools assemble.
Right, Kempe, do your stuff.
Greene, Robert Greene, I am the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.
Now, will I leap up and confront them.
Oh, Spirit, let me see thee! Robert Greene! Mark me! I am the Spirit of Christmas Yet to Come, here to show you shadows of the future, shadows of pain and sorrow.
No, be gone, Spirit! Do not haunt me so.
Be gone! I beg you! Do not torment me! Spare me these visions of horror.
Blimey! It's going even better than I thought! Come! Come with me.
I will show you visions of that which is yet to be.
I think he's fainted.
Job done, I reckon.
Let us hope Greene awakes a better person.
Merry Christmas, one and all.
Yes, a quiet one this year, I think, but merry Christmas just the same.
Aye, wife, and we shall have our feast just as Hamnet would wish.
- [DOOR RATTLES] - In fact, I hear Bottom now with our goose.
The biggest in the shop! - Oh! - Master! I couldn't get the biggest goose in the shop cos guess what Robert Greene had been earlier and nabbed it.
And you'll never guess why.
We've gotta get round to the Scratchits'.
Come on! 'Tis but a sparrow, but cooked with love.
So, God bless us, one and all.
- Ah, thank goodness I am not too late! - [CHURCH BELLS PEAL] Too late for what, Mr Greene? - Why, to bring you a happy Christmas.
- Oh! Here be roasted goose, and monies for your comfort, and medicine and care for Tiny Todge.
Goodness, Mr Greene! Are you ill? No, I am cured, for I have seen the future, and I must change it.
What future did you see? A spirit took me there, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.
He showed me a bare room with a coffin, but none mourned it.
All who had gathered did despise the deceased.
They cursed his memory and called him cruel.
Blimey! Our little tableau really did work well.
I mean, frankly, I'm gobble smacked.
Such a sad scene, Mr Greene, but who was this figure who none did mourn? I will tell thee, good Mrs Scratchit.
First, the spirit took my hand and guided me forward.
With him were two starving children who had leapt from a yawning grave.
Their names were Hunger and Ignorance.
We be finer actors than I thought! Yes, we do seem to have conjured a rather more complex image than we actually presented.
Ha, great acting, see? It's not what you do, it's what you don't do.
And thus did I know that I must make amends and bring you a happy Christmas.
Just this year, obviously, there's no point going mad.
And so, God bless you all and Tiny Todge.
Brilliant, what a result.
It actually worked.
We did it, husband.
On this, our saddest of Christmases, we did a bit of good in a cruel world.
Yes, I I think we did.
Come on, dinner won't eat itself.
I'm glad we came back here for the last ten days of Christmas, husband.
Life goes on, and you have a wonderful story to steal for next Christmas.
Although, frankly, I think I'd change the kid's name.
I mean, Tiny Todge? Really? Well, interestingly, in the stranger's tale, the boy's name was Tiny Tim.
Oh, that's definitely much better.
Pretty pukesome either way, if you ask me.
But not my problem because, in fact, I've decided that I will not write this story.
Why not, love? I think it's a cracker.
I have profited from it enough.
We've all healed a little, which I believe is what the stranger hoped when he told me it.
Besides, if I'm honest, it's not really me.
Not enough baffling minor characters and bewildering subplots for my taste.
And frankly, I find the complete absence of any cross-dressing very disappointing.
So I I think I'll leave it.
Perhaps in some other age, another great English writer, though not as great as me, obviously, will be searching for a Christmas story, and the stranger will visit him.
Let that future writer have it from me, as a Christmas gift.
Well, merry Christmas, husband.
Merry Christmas, wife.
God bless us every one.