Eddie Fans the Flame – Episode One

This is the outline of a theoretical first episode of a sitcom……

We meet Eddie and Gilbert sitting on the bus sharing their mid morning break, chatting.  To cheer Eddie up, Gilbert tells him how lucky he is to have Lara as his fiancé.  Eddie agrees that Lara is a very special person, although he barely understands her.  Eddie thinks this is because Lara is a Russian bricklayer.  Gilbert knows it is because Lara is far better educated than Eddie.

They try to think of an alternative career for Eddie, but every one: DJ, film director, personal trainer with his own video, all require capital.  And Eddie has no money.  He never did find out what happened to the money the Flaming Trousers must have made.  Eddie flicks idly through a newspaper someone has left on the bus.  He is surprised and initially delighted to see a photo of Sam, also formerly of the Flaming Trousers, on page 11.  His pleasure turns to jealousy when he reads that Sam is now the foremost taxidermist in Swansea.  Eddie isn’t sure what a taxidermist is, but he knows it must be good to have got Sam into the papers.  Gilbert is worried that the journalist will come to complete the ‘How far have they fallen?’ piece by searching out Eddie.

The hooting of a car horn interrupts them.  Gilbert sits up to see who is at the gate, and when he sees the people carrier come to pick up Contrary Mary, the resident girl band, he reaches up to operate the remote control to open the gates.  He and Eddie fall into their routine and count as the ancient iron gates open agonisingly slowly.

Eddie reminisces about when he was on GMTV and met Lorraine Kelly who reminded him of his Mum.  Gilbert asks to know more about his experiences on the television, but Eddie cuts him short when he remembers that his Mum had videoed over all of the tapes of the group’s TV performances.  They count again as the gates open and close slowly again as the girl group leave.

Eddie goes home at lunchtime for a nap, but is disturbed by Lara who has come to make him a healthy lunch of borsht and black bread.  They argue about Eddie’s laziness and his desire to sing.  Eddie tells her about seeing Sam in the papers.  Lara is dismissive, and enraged when she sees that Eddie has still not changed the Flaming Trousers duvet, or ‘Pants on Fire’ as she calls them.

Inspired by the methods of his heroine Christine Cagney, Gilbert maintains a special level of vigilance looking for journalists pretending to be something else.  He challenges the Cable TV installer, the gas metre reader and a woman who stops to ask directions to the Tube station.

Gilbert tells Lara about the newspaper article, and about his fears that if the journalist comes looking for Eddie it will be to humiliate him.  Lara thinks this might do Eddie some good, but Gilbert persuades her that Eddie is too naïve to cope.

Eddie tells the passengers on the bus about the article, but has only one copy of the newspaper to show them.  The passengers look half-heartedly it and pass it on as soon as politeness will allow.  Eddie finds three discarded copies of the newspaper sticking out of the bin at the Tube station.  He straightens them out, and passes them around the bus on his next round trip. He fantasises about having his own photograph published again, even though he has ‘changed a bit’ in the last couple of years. He gets angry when he senses that his passengers are mocking him.

Eddie searches the bins for more copies of the paper, collecting a pile of them in his flat.  He remembers to change the duvet, opening a packet containing a brand new Flaming Trousers set of linen; he puts the pillow case bearing his face on Lara’s side of the bed, and takes the one of Sam for his side, but turns it face down. That evening Lara complains about the piles of old newspapers in the corner of the already cluttered flat.  Lara beats him around the head with her pillow when she sees the bed.

In the morning Gilbert is surprised when a scruffy looking youth approaches and introduces himself as Terry Gross, a journalist, asking for information about Eddie.  And offering money.   Gilbert feigns ignorance, but is flustered when Eddie drives through the gate and waves to Gilbert, in full sight of Terry.   The journalist doesn’t recognise Eddie, but senses that Gilbert is trying to hide something.

Terry hangs around the gate for the next couple of days trying to get some information out of Gilbert.  He tells Gilbert about the other members of the Flaming Trousers.  Matt is a successful choreographer, Jed is dead, and he’s not found Will yet, but he’s rumoured to be running an organic smallholding somewhere.  Eddie drives past them repeatedly.

Gilbert enlists Lara’s help to try to persuade Terry he is in the wrong place.  Gilbert tutors Lara in ‘good cop, bad cop’ questioning techniques.  Lara attempts to flirt with Terry, but he is frightened, likening her to an East German swimmer before the Wall came down.   Lara is insulted to be thought a German and storms off to work.  Terry settles down on his deckchair and prepares for a nap.

Lara reappears with a wheelbarrow full of bricks and a bucket of mortar, her bricklaying tools attached to her belt.  Quietly, not waking Terry, she builds a wall around him.  She stops when the tower is chest high and Terry is entirely obscured.  Terry wakes with a cry when she pours a bucket of sand down on top of him.  Shouting, and with some difficulty, he climbs out of his temporary prison.

Finally Eddie notices Terry and asks Gilbert who he is.  Gilbert tells Eddie that Terry is a devoted fan of Contrary Mary who has to be kept out of the Manor, because no one should know where they live.  He admits that he asked Lara for her help.

Eddie decides to give Terry information about Contrary Mary.  He’s been through their rubbish.  He has stories he could tell.  They don’t deserve their fame, or their fans.  But he knows he must do it in a way which won’t get Gilbert into trouble, and he hasn’t worked out how to do that.

Lara tries to dissuade Eddie from talking to Terry at all, but Eddie resolves to talk to Terry before Gilbert’s shift is due to start.  Gilbert, however, has arrived early, and as he sees Eddie approach, he calls out to him to stop.  Terry hears the name ‘Eddie’, and stares intently at him, recognising him as the bus driver, but not able to see the younger Eddie in the fatter, unshaven face.

Just as Gilbert is about to speak, the Contrary Mary people carrier pulls up to the gate with a screech.  One of the doors opens and a girl lurches out, short skirt hitched up to reveal her knickers, blouse undone, and she vomits all over Terry’s shoes.  Terry is delighted.  ‘Now that’s a story I can print,’ he says.

Leave a comment


  1. margaret nickels

     /  June 16, 2011

    I see Miranda Hart playing Lara .


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