While the Men Are Away (2023) s01e01 Episode Script

Get Behind The Girl He Left Behind!

ANNOUNCER: Australia's at war again.
Germany's taking another swing,
this time with Japan and Italy.
But plucky Australians
are on high alert.
The enemy will never get past
our impenetrable defences.
Every man worth his
salt is joining the fray.
Harry loves his country so much
he left his apple farm only a few
months before harvest to enlist.
- Or did he?
With Harry gone, his brother
has the chance to prove himself.
But Des can't do all
that farm work alone.
He can barely do anything.
Here's the wife Harry left behind.
Francesca may not know
much about tending the land,
but she's not afraid of
getting her hands dirty.
(MOANING) That's it, Frankie.
Put your back into it.
Even entitled city girls like Gwen,
with no practical skills whatsoever
can help the war effort.
Dare to dream, girls -
take to the skies!
Oh, dear.
Must be that time of the month.
But it could be the time of your life.
We need women to fill in for the men.
Even a sheltered Jewish girl
like Esther can lend a hand.
Cheer up, Gwen.
The answer is plain for all to see.
Join the Women's Land Army.
Pick fruit, harvest crops
for far less money than a man earns.
Still, it's much more than
what our First Australians get.
Although it'll be years before fellows
like Murray are allowed to vote,
he's encouraged to leave
the Aboriginal Mission
and make the ultimate sacrifice.
Here comes Kathleen,
getting behind the wheel
to work the land that
was stolen from her.
- Good for you, Kathleen.
- Ooh-ho-ho!
If only she was as enthusiastic
about assimilation
but at least
she's giving it her all.
Unlike Robert.
He's one of those cowards who
are conscientious objectors.
He also likes stylish black
and white nude photographs.
- Need I say more?
So come on, women of Australia,
take advantage of this heady time
because all too soon
the men will return,
dose you up on anti-depressants
and send you back to the kitchen.
Don't pine for your husband,
Frankie, because the Land Army girls
will be here soon,
tackling your demanding
chores with a woman's touch,
while the men are away.
Can't believe we're the
only girls needed in Bush.
I don't think I like it here.
God forbid I try to
keep my daughter safe.
Statistically, there are
more ways to die on a farm.
You are literally sending
me to an early grave.
Oh, cheer up, Esther.
We'll be making a real difference.
We're very fortunate to be billeted
to Mr Harry Whitmore's farm.
He's one of the richest men in Bush.
Well, his wife is Italian
so technically the enemy.
But she has married well, which
is considered more important.
Whitmore girls?
Mr Harry Whitmore, so
pleased to meet you.
I am Gwyneth Mountjoy.
No need to lick my boots,
I'm not Harry. He's enlisted.
But agriculture is
an essential industry.
All I know is that he's gone.
His wife's in charge now.
Well, and why the heck not?
It's a brave new world
with the men away.
Sorry, are you ?
Esther's mother?
I'm just waiting for the
return train to Sydney.
And when are you
getting deployed, Mr ?
Robert. And I'm not.
Isn't it not obvious?
I'm essential.
Stay away from that man.
This is a stupid idea.
Stop talking about it.
I should have cancelled them.
Too late now.
I'm Gwen.
I'm Esther.
Careful of the guna.
I mean dung.
Sheep dung.
Oh, I'll be fine.
Upper strength from rowing.
- Oop-la!
- Mister, do you mind?!
That was completely on unwarr
(CHUCKLES) I'm sorry.
Don't be, Mrs Whitmore.
Very effective.
You can call me Frankie.
Let's go.
MAN: (SHOUTS) You are
brave young men of Bush.
Farewell, lads.
You're all heroes!
Don't worry, you'll be home soon.
Our country has never been invaded.
Let's keep it that way.
Oh, good morning, Mrs Whitmore.
Have you heard?
They're going to build
a prisoner-of-war camp.
Can't come soon enough.
- All those filthy Huns.
- Murderous Japs.
And shifty Itis.
Oh, not you, of course.
You're a Whitmore.
You won't be locked up
because you're doing
your best to assimilate.
Unlike some.
Do us Aussies proud.
MAN: Hear, hear, Mr Wong.
Ladies. Mrs Whitmore.
Mrs Gilbert.
- How are you coping?
- With Mr Whitmore gone?
Surprised he enlisted
before the harvest.
Because farming is such a big job.
I have Robert, of course.
And now, the Land Army girls.
(WHISPERS) Don't salute.
Well, I, for one, think
they'll make a good fist of it,
as you always do, Mrs Whitmore.
- MAYOR: Hip-hip
- CROWD: Hooray!
- Hip-hip
- Hooray!
- Hip-hip
- Hooray!
We'll miss you, Terry.
Why aren't you with
the other brave boys?
Coward. (SPITS)
GWEN: Oh, the farmhouse is delightful.
Which building do you live in, Kathleen?
KATHLEEN: I live down
the road on the mission,
with my two brothers.
Woo! That is rather
aromatic. (CHUCKLES)
(CHUCKLES) Is that the coach house?
This is where you sleep.
Welcome to the farm.
- Oh.
- I'm alright.
ESTHER: Those windows don't open.
It really is a firetrap.
Are you a communist?
Not sure yet.
I'm only in the first chapter.
What's this?
Aren't you a clever clogs?
Ah! Is this me from the train?
Do you have a boyfriend?
Well, of course.
What normal girl doesn't.
I'm marrying David Kleinberg.
Let me guess.
He's a doctor.
Oh, God, he is.
He's studying veterinary science.
But Mum says it's
practically the same thing.
He can't enlist because of his asthma.
When the war is over,
we'll start a family.
Well, yay you.
Us modern gals can choose any path,
even a well-trodden one that some women
are desperate to avoid.
Oh. Where are you in your cycle?
I say
where's my bag?
You didn't grab them?
I assumed you would.
Like a normal person.
What's a big adventure
without a setback?
I'll replace everything
with my first paycheque.
I trust everything is to your liking.
Yes. Spoilt for choice for beds.
The men slept here.
Not just slept.
Robert and I will show you around.
Dinner is at the main house.
- And the bathroom too?
- No, no. That's over there.
ROBERT: Oh, that's Churchill.
The spotted pig. He's harmless.
- Oh, gosh.
There really are animals
everywhere on a farm.
I won't lie, there's a bit to do
since my husband left for war.
- You'll be pruning
- Raking.
- burning lips
- Checking trunks for borer.
applying fungicide, pesticide
Oh, they're not the same?
Oh, fungicide won't kill spider mites.
And pesticide won't kill the apple scab.
We've got a contract with
Woolworths to deliver 10 tonnes
of apples each year.
It's what keeps the farm going.
Well, OK. Where do you want us to start?
Esther and I are keen to get stuck in.
We've had days of extensive training.
Oh, shit. It's Des.
Oh, hello.
Makes a welcome change to his ugly mug.
I'm Des Whitmore. On behalf
of my brother Harry, welcome.
- Welcome.
- Gwen.
- It's an honour to serve.
- Hmm.
I've heard wonderful things
about the lady helpers.
It's Women's Land Army.
Army. Adorable.
Harry's left very big shoes to fill.
Peculiar that he enlisted
with harvest so close.
Didn't even say goodbye.
Mother's very upset.
- Bella.
- Ciao, Des.
A quick word, if I may.
Not a bad time, is it?
- You mean never.
- Yeah, never.
In private, I'd prefer.
It's a serious matter.
Best kept between us.
Oh, of course.
There's something about the
farm that Harry might not have
We're fucked.
Des has no money.
He's got no money? He's rich.
He's not.
'Cause he planted mung beans.
Why are you laughing?
You'll be kicked out if
we can't make this work.
He told me that his farm and ours
are under the same family property,
which means we have to
be two times the success.
Now he has lost his crop
and won't let us go down on him.
- With him.
- With him.
Si. Basta.
All of those apples has
to make it to harvest.
Do not upset those useless
girls. We need them.
From now on, this farm
has to run like a clock.
We can give Des any reason
to put one foot on this land.
We can't let anyone know
what happened to Harry.
GWEN: Your husband enlisting,
do you know where
he's been deployed yet?
FRANKIE: Africa.
My brothers are in North Africa.
My father's a war correspondent.
He's in Zurich.
Let's hope, for his sake, the
pen is mightier than the sword.
The men in my family are risking
their lives to protect us all.
Fighting a war on the other side
of the world won't fix anything.
Are you a fascist?
I'll try anything twice.
How did you meet your husband?
On the boat from Europe.
How romantic.
Where in Italy are you from?
Who cares?
My home is here.
That was the Anderson Triplets
with Don't Roll Under The
Lantana Bush With Anyone -
You'll Get Prickles.
Today is my last day on
The National Broadcaster.
I'm off to do my bit.
My seat-warmer while I'm
gone is about to take over.
And, no, dear listeners, there's
no need to adjust your sets.
Good evening, Australia.
My name is Margaret, and
here is the evening news.
- Oh, my God!
- It's a woman!
On the wireless!
But first, the latest war news.
Good thing they chose
someone with a deep voice.
She'll never get a husband now.
Good for you, Margaret.
My aunt was a suffragette.
- To Margaret!
- OTHERS: To Margaret.
To Margaret.
MAN: (YELLS) He bloody deserves it!
I'm surprised the whole town
isn't lining up to spit on him.
Even Wong's son has
joined up. (SMASHING)
Don't give me that look,
woman. It is all your fault.
There you go.
No harm done.
Here's your brush.
Hello, sweetheart.
Robert's here.
I'll put the kettle on.
How are you, Father?
(CHUCKLES) Ciao, Rita.
Good evening, listeners.
It's Gweneth Mountjoy here,
Australia's first
female radio announcer
reporting to you from the front line
of the Women's Land Army where
Ew! Is that a leech?
No, of course not.
Don't be silly, Gwen.
Where conditions may be rudimentary,
but our plucky ladies are
willing to put comfort aside
to keep our country fed.
Ah! Ah! Argh! That's freezing!
Oh, for Pete's sake!
I have tried not to be entitled,
but these living
conditions are appalling.
How can I be an impressive
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no!
Gwen! Gwen!
Gwen! Gwen!
going for a walk.
Alright, alright. That's a lie.
I don't like it here.
Everything is so strange.
Robert is horrible.
I miss my mother.
Did you do this?
My mum.
I want to go home.
Me, too.
GWEN: Oh, yes, I agree.
It is all so strange.
My head is bursting with new sites,
and I was wandering aimlessly
all night, so I thought
I might as well get
on top of the jobs list
before the day started.
And then, I couldn't sleep, so
I'm awfully glad to have you back.
Train only comes once a week.
Good morning, Francesca.
Oh, now, we're still
going to need every apple.
But this will go a long way
towards settling that debt.
How good's a government contract?
Don't you worry, you'll be safe.
You're not Italian. You're
married to a Whitmore.
They're off to an
auspicious beginning, Reg.
Sun's rising on a glorious new venture
for Whitmore enterprises.
I got kicked off the mish.
Got caught with Murray in the church.
You can stay here.
As long as you need.
Won't be long.
I have to get back in there.
Brothers need me.
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