The time I came runner-up in a BBC sitcom award (part 2)

If you haven’t read yesterday’s post yet, please do that first.

To recap: I’d written a script called Hyde & Sikh for a BBC sitcom writing contest, aged 21. My sassy Asian main character Leila has just been told by her very traditional Indian dad that he’s found a suitor for her. She is outraged and determined never to have an arranged marriage. To make matters worse, a sexist builder called Darren has just chatted her up at the bus stop…

Here’s the next part:

 

SCENE 3:  INT. GRIMP & GRIMP SOLICITORS’ OFFICE (DAY)

 LEILA ENTERS WORK AND WALKS INTO HER OFFICE, WHICH SHE SHARES WITH HER COLLEAGUE AMRIT. LEILA’S HALF OF THE OFFICE IS TIDY AND SPOTLESS, WHILE AMRIT’S IS BURIED UNDER MOUNTAINS OF PAPERWORK. AMRIT IS SHORT AND VERY OVERWEIGHT, AND WEARS GARISH CLOTHES THAT EXPOSE HER HUGE BOSOM TO FULL EFFECT. SHE IS SLUMPED OVER HER DESK, LOOKING THE WORSE FOR WEAR, GROPING BLINDLY AMONGST THE PAPERS.

LEILA:

Amrit! What happened to you?

AMRIT: (SLURRING)

Lasnite. Drunk too mush.

LEILA:

Look at the state of you! You’re meant to be a paralegal, not paralytic.

AMRIT: (LOOKING UP BLEARILY)

Got a hangover, innit?

LEILA:

Innit? Isn’t it what? Shocking that you’ve failed to grasp basic English?

AMRIT:

What d’you mean?

LEILA: (SLOWLY AND LOUDLY)

Where’s your grammar?

AMRIT:

She’s in Nottingham. Mr Grimp’s gonna kill me – I can’t find that bloody affidavit. I know it’s here somewhere.

LEILA:

Of course it is, everything’s here somewhere. You could probably find Bin Laden in here somewhere if you looked hard enough! [Very topical joke in 2002, sadly not in 2019.]

AMRIT:

Mmm. Come to think of it, he’s quite fit.

LEILA:

Amrit! Ugh!

AMRIT:

You hate all blokes though. (SUDDENLY LOOKS ALERT.) Which reminds me – who was that hunky bloke you were with this morning?

LEILA: (FEIGNING INNOCENCE)

Who?

AMRIT:

Oh, you don’t have to lie to me. Auntiegee gave me a lift into work and we passed the bus stop. We both saw you talking to him.

LEILA:

You appear to have confused ‘talking’ with ‘pest control’. You could have stopped to rescue me.

AMRIT:

I didn’t want to disturb you. So you didn’t fancy him then?

LEILA:

No, he was a total Newark.

AMRIT: (BEMUSED)

But he’s gorgeous, isn’t he? If you aren’t interested, I am. Marks out of two?  I’d give him one!

LEILA:

Amrit! You wouldn’t like it if some sexist idiot said that about you.

AMRIT:

I would. Well, I’d like the chance to find out. What was his name?

LEILA:

Darren, I think.

AMRIT: (MAKING A MENTAL NOTE)

Darren. So you definitely don’t fancy him?

LEILA:

No! (COUGHS). I mean, he’s not totally unattractive, but… no, of course not.

AMRIT:

That’s good – you’d be in for so much hassle if you did.

LEILA:

Yeah. Speaking of which, my Dad started making some noises about arrangements this morning. I couldn’t believe it. After all I’ve said…

AMRIT: (SITTING BOLT UPRIGHT, GOGGLE-EYED)

Seriously? What did you do?

LEILA:

What do you think I did? Said ‘alright then’? I told him where to go!

AMRIT:

I just don’t understand you sometimes. You don’t even want to meet anyone.  And I can’t believe you’re not curious about sex.

LEILA:

Of course I’m not. Sex involves men – it’s bound to be crap.

AMRIT:

You’re turning into the Asian Ann Widdecombe. Next you’ll be saying you’d prefer a nice cup of Darjeeling.

LEILA:

It’s better than alcohol. You shouldn’t drink so much. Alcohol only exists so ugly men can have sex.

AMRIT:

And ugly girls. It’s alright for you, you can have anyone you want. I only get introduced to old men, guys with BO and blokes who want a passport.

LEILA:

Amrit! You haven’t been dating the clients!

 

SCENE 4: EXT. THE BUILDING SITE (DAY)

 DARREN AND HIS WORKMATES DEAN AND WAYNE ARE ON THEIR LUNCH BREAK, SITTING ON A WALL DRINKING CUPS OF TEA AND SMOKING. A GIRL IN A SHORT SKIRT WALKS PAST AND DEAN AND WAYNE WOLF WHISTLE APPRECIATIVELY. THE GIRL SMILES AT DARREN, BUT HE TAKES NO NOTICE.

DEAN [to DARREN]:

What’s up with you? You haven’t leered at a single bird today.

WAYNE:

Or a married one, come to that. You could have been in there. Are you not feeling well or something?

DARREN:

Don’t laugh fellas, but I think I’m in love. I met this gorgeous Asian bird today, absolutely stunning. Her name’s Leila, and she’s all I can think about. But I don’t think she’s allowed to see blokes who aren’t Sikh.

WAYNE:

Why, is she a doctor?

DARREN:

Nah mate, seek, seek. You know, she’s one of them girls who’s got hair down to their arse.

WAYNE:

Oh, right. Just as long as it’s not growing down her back.

DEAN:

Where did you meet her?

DARREN:

At the bus stop outside her house. She lives at number 48.

DEAN:

Well, be there again same time tomorrow morning. Tell her she’s beautiful and ask her what she’s doing Saturday night. The worst she can do is say no.

DARREN:

That’s the least she’ll do. People must ask her out all the time. It’ll take a lot more than that to win her over.

WAYNE:

Tell you what, give me them crisps and I’ll let you in on some of my fail-safe chat up lines.

DARREN: (UNSURE)

Mmm. Go on then. (TOSSES WAYNE THE CRISPS.)

WAYNE OPENS THE PACKET AND PUTS ONE IN HIS MOUTH.

WAYNE: (LOOKING DOUBTFULLY AT THE PACKET)

Curry flavour?

DARREN: (SHRUGGING)

It’s a start…

 

SCENE 5:  EXT. STREET LEADING UP TO ITALIAN CAFE (DAY)

AMRIT AND LEILA LEAVE THE OFFICE AND WALK DOWN THE STREET IN ORDER TO GET LUNCH. THEY ENTER A CAFE, WHICH IS A GRUBBY ITALIAN WITH BOOTHS AND FORMICA TABLES. A WAITER STANDS BEHIND THE TILL.

WAITER: (TO LEILA)

Ciao, bella!

LEILA ROLLS HER EYES UPWARDS.

AMRIT:

Her name’s Leila, not Bella.

WAITER: (TRYING TO EXPLAIN TO AMRIT IN BROKEN ENGLISH)

No, I say… ‘You’re beautiful.’

AMRIT: (BEAMING AND PULLING DOWN HER TOP TO SHOW MORE CLEAVAGE)

Ooh, thank you!

WAITER LOOKS A BIT FRIGHTENED.

LEILA:

I’ll have a prawn mayonnaise ciabatta please.

AMRIT:

Egg and chips for me.

SUDDENLY LEILA SPIES DARREN IN ONE OF THE BOOTHS AND FLATTENS HERSELF AGAINST THE SWING DOORS SO HE CAN’T SEE HER.

LEILA: (HISSING)

I have to leave!

AMRIT:

Give it a chance. You probably won’t get food poisoning.

LEILA:

No – I’ve just seen Darren over there!

AMRIT:

Where? Where? 

 SHE STARTS CRANING HER NECK ROUND TO SEE IF SHE CAN SPOT HIM.

LEILA:

Shut up and stop it! Don’t look at him. And don’t you dare talk to him. I’m going back to the office now – you get the food and come straight back, okay?  Promise?

AMRIT: (PUTTING ON AN INNOCENT, WIDE-EYED LOOK)

Of course. What else would I do?

 LEILA LEAVES.  AMRIT MAKES COMPLETELY SURE THAT SHE’S GONE, THEN MARCHES STRAIGHT OVER TO THE BOYS’ TABLE AND EYES UP DARREN HOPEFULLY FROM A DISTANCE OF ABOUT TWO METRES. THEY STARE AT HER GARISH TOP AND MAKEUP IN DISBELIEF.

WAYNE: (SARCASTICALLY, NOT LOUDLY ENOUGH FOR AMRIT TO HEAR)

Phwoarr! Another eight pints and I’ll be right in there!

DARREN:

Don’t be so horrible.  She’s probably very nice inside.

WAYNE: (SURVEYING AMRIT’S RATHER EXPANSIVE GIRTH)

Yeah, but you’d have to dig through a lot to get there. Is that Leila? Don’t fancy yours much!

AMRIT HEARS HIM AND TURNS BRIGHT RED.

AMRIT: (HOTLY)

I’m Leila’s best friend actually, so anything you say can and might well get back to her.

DARREN SITS BOLT UPRIGHT, SHOCKED.

DARREN: (HASTILY)

Oh, Wayne’s only joking. He always says the opposite of what he means. I’m Darren, Darren Hyde, this is Dean and this is Wayne (GESTICULATES AT THEM RESPECTIVELY.) You’re Leila’s best friend then?

AMRIT:

Yeah, known her since primary school.

WAYNE:

Then maybe you can tell us why she’s so up herself.

AMRIT GIGGLES DISLOYALLY.

DEAN:

He means, why was she so snarky with Darren when he asked her out?

AMRIT:

God, did he? Oh, she’d never go out with an English boy, her father wouldn’t let her.

DARREN:

If she did, would he send her back where she came from?

AMRIT:

What, Newark General Hospital?

DARREN:

Eh? No, um, Asia.

AMRIT: (SHAKES HER HEAD PITYINGLY)

You clearly don’t understand much about our background, do you? But I’d be happy to teach you about it over coffee sometime. (SHE WINKS IN WHAT SHE HOPES IS A SEXY FASHION.)

DARREN: (RECOILING IN HORROR)

Er, no you’re alright.

AMRIT: (SHRUGS, CLEARLY PUT OUT)

Suit yourself.

DEAN: (LEANS OVER TO DARREN AND HISSES INTO HIS EAR)

What are you doing, man? If she’s Leila’s best mate, she can fill you in on her background and parents a bit, and you can work out the best plan of attack.

DARREN: (HISSING BACK TO DEAN)

Alright, if I have to. (NOW SPEAKS TO AMRIT.) Er, actually, coffee sounds… good.

AMRIT: (BEAMING ONCE MORE)

Brilliant. My name’s Amrit by the way, and you can meet me here tomorrow at 1pm, just you and me (GLARES AT WAYNE). Then we can have a nice long chat.

AMRIT WADDLES OFF, COLLECTS THE TAKEAWAY AND LEAVES, AS DEAN AND WAYNE START LAUGHING AGAIN.

WAYNE:

I think you’re in there, mate.

DARREN: (PUTTING HIS HEAD IN HIS HANDS)

Oh God.

 

SCENE 6: INT. LEILA’S HOUSE (EVENING)

LEILA ARRIVES HOME FROM WORK TO HAVE HER FATHER GREET HER EXCITEDLY AT THE DOOR.

DAD:

Hello Leila.  How was work?

LEILA:

Oh, wildly exciting. I had a Mr. P. Niss wanting to change his name by deed poll, a 93-year-old demanding a divorce so he could marry an 18-year-old, and a couple fighting over custody of a hamster.

DAD: (SMILING, NOT UNDERSTANDING)

Very nice. And did you make much money?

LEILA: (SIGHING)

No Dad, we have this conversation every day. I make money for the company, not for myself.

DAD:

Well, soon you could have more money than you ever thought. (HE SMILES A PROUD, KNOWING SMILE AND PRODUCES A PHOTO OF A VERY LARGE, UGLY ELDERLY ASIAN MAN, WHICH HE HOLDS UP IN FRONT OF LEILA.)

LEILA:

Great. It’s the Sikh Jabba the Hut.

DAD:

Nay, nay, Leila. Do you not know him? He is a very successful businessman, millionaire, very educated. His name is Devinder Brar, he is a music mogul, and he wants to be introduced to you! He is coming to meet you on Saturday.

LEILA: (DISBELIEVINGLY)

Sorry, is it April Fools’ Day? Or am I merely hallucinating? Forgive me, but I thought you just said you were setting me up on a blind date with some fat old man.

DAD:

Yes, I know – I cannot believe how lucky we are either!

LEILA:

Dad, have you forgotten all those conversations we had? You know, the ones where I told you I was never, ever getting paired off with some random bloke, no matter what people are going to think? You said you understood.

DAD:

But you are older now, and back then there wasn’t anybody suitable.

LEILA:

You mean, there wasn’t anybody rich. You know yourself that the scriptures say you’re not supposed to even consider money.

DAD:

No, I know, but… Leila, since business has been so bad, you know how much we’ve had to struggle. And now if it all goes well with Devinder, we can all be secure.

LEILA SIGHS AND FLOUNCES OUT.

 

SCENE 7: EXT. THE BUS STOP (DAY)

DARREN IS WAITING AT THE BUS STOP WHEN LEILA ARRIVES.

DARREN:

Leila! How’s tricks?

LEILA:

Sadly I haven’t yet figured out the one where I make you disappear.

DARREN:

Er, right. Listen, you look amazing, but a bit tired. That could be because you’ve been running through my mind all night.

LEILA:

Couldn’t find any signs of life though.

DARREN:

I know you probably don’t have dreams about me, but I wanted you to know –

LEILA: (INTERRUPTING)

On the contrary, I had a fantastic dream about you just last night. You were standing right there…

(SHE POINTS INTO THE ROAD)

…and the bus came.

DARREN: (EARNESTLY)

Seriously Leila, jokes aside, I really like you. I know you’re Sikh and I’m not. I know you’re brown and I’m white, but I wouldn’t care if we were green and purple. I have a very open mind.

LEILA:

That must be how your intelligence left your brain.

DARREN:

I know I’m not the smartest and am quite ignorant about your religion. But I’m going to learn more about it. Do you speak Indian?

LEILA:

I don’t know. Do you speak British?

DARREN: (LOOKING VERY CONFUSED)

I suppose so. But what I really want to know is, what are you doing on Saturday night?

LEILA: (PUTTING HER HEAD IN HER HANDS)

If you ‘really want to know’, my potential husband is coming round. He’s never met me before. He is old and fat. As you can imagine, this does not fill me with joy.  However, my parents are really hard-up. My dad’s business isn’t going well, my mum’s disabled and we’re not doing too well on just my salary, and this man’s a millionaire and would sort all that out. Any ideas, Einstein?

DARREN:

You could have kids with me. I’d even wear a beard and turban, I’d learn Indian and convert.

LEILA:

I don’t think my religion would have you.

DARREN:

How do you find out? Is there an application form?

LEILA: (ROLLING EYES)

Darren, I commend your persistence, but I really don’t want a man.

DARREN: (PERPLEXED)

But Leila, I’ve waited all my life to meet you.I’m prepared to wait for you forever.

LEILA:

That’s fortunate, as that’s exactly what you’ll have to do. Isn’t this your bus?

BUS NUMBER 2 PULLS UP TO LET PASSENGERS OFF

DARREN: (SHRUGS)

Yeah, but I want to stay here and talk to you. It’s the highlight of my day.

BUS NUMBER 2 DEPARTS

LEILA:

What, above mixing concrete and laying bricks? Oh look, you should have taken your bus, ‘cause here’s mine. Goodbye.

SHE GETS ON THE BUS, LEAVING A DEJECTED LOOKING DARREN STANDING FORLORNLY AT THE BUS STOP.

Continued in part 3 tomorrow…

THE GREAT WEIGHT LOSS CHALLENGE!

Day 36

Me: 12st 5lbs (total loss in 35 days: 9.2lbs)

I went to a book launch with amazing catering last night and didn’t eat a thing. This makes me both sad and happy.

John: 14st 3.5lbs (total loss in 36 days: 4lbs)

John is stealthily plugging a book he wrote.

This post has been made possible by my awesome Patreon supporters Peter Weilgony, Ricky Steer, Marc Alexander, Chris Birkett, John Fleming, Mary Clarke, Matthew Sylvester, Brian Engler, Jack Scanlan, Dave Nattriss, Musical Comedy Guide, Mark White, Lucy Spencer, Shane Jarvis, Graham Nunn, Emily Hill and Marcus P Knight.

They receive a whole host of exciting rewards in addition to this credit, including my secret never-published fiction and top secret photos! If you enjoyed this post, please support me on Patreon. 

Rewards start from just $1 a month, which is 85p in real money and gets you access to my weekly Patreon email. It’s like this blog, but EVEN BETTER!