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This ten-minute(ish) script was shortlisted for the 2018 BBC Radio Solent Search for New Playwrights competition . It was the very first script I had ever written and I was delighted that it made the final ten out of nearly 400 entries.

THE WINNERS

  • Searching by Gillian Palmer & Georgina Pitts
  • Sky Pilots by Stephen Connolly
  • The Family Way by Ben White

Congratulations also to our runners-up:

  • Development by Ben Sears
  • Fossils by Angie Johnson
  • Grey Watch by Dan Hobson & Jon Bridle
  • My Hero by Susan Byron
  • Planning by Julie Ferry
  • Saints by Terry Buss
  • The Cardinal Buoy by Philip Merivale

One of the caveats for the competition was that the play must be linked in some way to Dorset, Hampshire or the Isle of Wight. Having been born and bred in Poole, Dorset – I had plenty of points of reference.

P.S. – I’ve changed the title from ‘Development’ to ‘Developments’ since the competition. It’s just a better title!

DEVELOPMENTS

by

Ben Sears

SCENE 1

 

(CONSTRUCTION NOISE)

TWO PROPERTY DEVELOPERS ARE STOOD LOOKING AT THE LUXURY HOUSE THEY ARE BUILDING.

 

STEVE:                                  ‘Sea Breeze’.

GREG:                                   What?

STEVE:                                  ‘Sea Breeze’. (BEAT) That’s what we should call her.

GREG:                                   (SCOFFS) Isn’t that a type of fruity cocktail?

STEVE:                                  Is it? (BEAT) Well I like it anyway. It’s got class.

GREG:                                   Well whatever. It’s not going to be called anything and it certainly ain’t gonna be classy if we don’t get this frame up today. They’re forecasting another storm coming in tonight.

STEVE:                                  Another one?

GREG:                                   Yeah. ‘Pauline’. Reckon it’s going to be the biggest for a decade. (OFF) (SHOUTS) Dave, mate. Get the minidigger round here and shift that sand. (TURNS BACK TO STEVE) He’s a lazy git that one.

STEVE:                                  Say, Steve. Maybe it’ll bring down that bloody great big pine tree next door. It’d open the view right up. Probably add another fifty ‘K’ to the asking price you know.

GREG:                                   Doubt it. The tree survey guy reckoned it was pretty sturdy. He was well surprised the council hadn’t slapped a preservation order on it.

STEVE:                                  (PENSIVE) We’ll find a way to get rid of it, don’t you worry.

GREG:                                   (LOOKING OVER TO THE HOUSE NEXT DOOR) Steve, Look. There he is, the old boy. (OFF) (SHOUTS) Good morning Mr Simons. Lovely day for it, hey?

STEVE:                                  Ha! Here he comes. This could take a while.

MR SIMONS:                        Good morning gentlemen. How are you getting on? It…it’s certainly bigger than I was expecting.

GREG:                                   Yeah, it’s going to be the most sought after property in the whole of Sandbanks. It’ll add another hundred-grand to your place too you know? When are you going to sell up anyway, Mr Simons? There’s a lot of interest in that old house.

MR SIMONS:                        Me? I’ve lived in this house sixty years, son. I’ve got everything I need right here. The sea, the sand and the most beautiful view on the south coast. Besides, what would I do with a million pounds at my age?

GREG:                                   A million?! More like three, Mr Simons.

MR SIMONS:                        One million, three million. Makes no difference. I’d only take it to my grave with me. I’ve no family, and all my friends are long gone. I couldn’t exactly give it to little Charlie here, could I boy? (DOG BARKS PLAYFULLY).

STEVE:                                  Well, whatever makes you happy I suppose, Mr Simons.

GREG:                                   Say, this old pine tree looks a bit wonky, Mr Simons. Are you sure it’s safe? There’s another storm coming tonight you know. They’re talking about force ten gales. Biggest for a decade they’re saying.

MR SIMONS:                        Ha! This tree’s been here for three-hundred years. It got through the big one in 1987 without barely losing a twig. It’s as strong and stubborn as my dear wife Julia was.

GREG:                                   Yes, but that was thirty years ago Mr Simons. None of us are as sturdy as we were back then, hey? You sure you don’t want us to at least thin it out a bit? I could get one of the boys here to do it after lunch. We wouldn’t even charge you. It’s very close to your house. It could come crashing right down on your bedroom in the night.

MR SIMONS:                        It’ll be fine, lads. Besides, there’s a family of woodpeckers up there, been keeping me and Charlie company these last few years. We wouldn’t want to leave them homeless now would we boy? (DOG PANTING THEN BARKS EXCITEDLY). I know, I know, time for walkies. Right, well I must be off gentlemen.

GREG:                                   (CALLING AFTER HIM) Well, you know where we are if you change your mind Mr Simons.

STEVE:                                  Oh well, it was worth a try I suppose.

GREG:                                   Steve, I told you. I’ll find a way.

STEVE:                                  Nah, forget it, Greg. Let’s just focus on getting this bloody house built, shall we? (BEAT) Christ, is that the time? I told Sally I’d pick the kids up from school today. I’ll see you in the morning. (STRONG GUST OF WIND). Make sure these boys shut down properly tonight. It’s starting to pick up now.

GREG:                                   Will do. See you later mate. (BEAT. WHISTLES LOUDLY & CALLS OVER TO WORKMEN). Dave, Paul come here a minute (ENGINE NOISE CUTS OUT AND APPROACHING FOOTSTEPS CAN BE HEARD). Fancy a bit of overtime boys?

DAVE:                                    Yes boss.

PAUL:                                     Yeah, I could do with the extra cash n’all.

GREG:                                   Great. Meet me at The Crown tonight at seven. I’ve got a nice little earner for you two.

 

SCENE 2

(BACKGROUND NOISE OF A BUSY PUB)

DEVELOPER 2, DAVE AND PAUL ARE SAT AT A TABLE IN THE CORNER OF THE PUB.

 

GREG:                                   There you go boys (PLACES PINT GLASSES DOWN ON THE TABLE).

DAVE:                                    Cheers boss (THEY ALL TAKE A SIP OF THEIR DRINKS). Aah! Been gagging for that all day.

GREG:                                   No problem. You’ve both earned it. Been working your arses off these last few days. This is the least I can do.

PAUL:                                     So, what’s this job you’ve got for us, boss?

GREG:                                   Well, you’re my best men on that site, so I wanted to offer it to you two first.

DAVE:                                    Offer what?

GREG:                                   The chance to make a bit of extra wedge. I need something doing tonight. You both free for the evening?

DAVE/ PAUL:                       Yes boss.

GREG:                                   Excellent. Right, listen up (NOISE FADES OUT)

SCENE 3

HOWLING WINDS, TREES RUSTLING. CONTINUES THROUGHOUT THE SCENE. PAUL AND DAVE ARE OUTSIDE THE HOUSE.  

PAUL:                                    (SHOUTING LOUDLY TO EACH OTHER OVER THE NOISE OF THE WIND) Bloody hell! I can barely stand up straight.

DAVE:                                    Is that the beer or the wind?

PAUL:                                    Shut up. You got all the gear?

DAVE:                                    Yeah. You sure about this, mate?

PAUL:                                    You heard the boss. A grand each! We’ll be in and out in ten minutes.

DAVE:                                    Yeah alright. Let’s get it done.

PAUL:                                     Give us a leg up then.

(STRUGGLING SOUNDS FOLLOWED BY SOUND OF LANDING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FENCE).

Right, pass the kit up (BEAT). Here, grab my arm.

(MORE STRUGGLING AND EXERTION NOISES AS DAVE CLAMBERS OVER)

PAUL:                                    There it is. Come on, get over here (BEAT). Right, pass it. I’ve got this. You just check no one’s coming, alright?

(CHAINSAW STARTS UP AND WIND IS HOWLING. SOUND OF CHAINSAW CUTTING THROUGH TREE)

(DOG BEGINS BARKING AND GROWLING)

DAVE:                                    Get off me, you little rat! (GROWLING AND SNARLING) Go on, get lost! Paul, help!

PAUL:                                    Shut up! I’m nearly done. Just give it a boot!

(MORE STRUGGLING BETWEEN DAVE AND THE DOG. CHAINSAW NOISE AND WIND HOWLING LOUDLY)

PAUL:                                    Here it comes! Run Dave (SOUND OF TREE CRASHING DOWN. DOG YELPS)

MR SIMONS:                        (DOOR BANGS) What the hell’s going on? (BEAT) Charlie? Oh, Charlie my dear boy.

DAVE:                                    Jesus Christ, Paul! Quick, let’s get out of here.

SCENE 4

(ESTATE AGENT IS SHOWING A COUPLE ROUNDTHE LUXURY HOUSE)

ESTATE AGENT:                 And, as you can see, the master bedroom has all the features you’d expect and loads of storage space including this tailor-made walk-in wardrobe (SOUND OF DOOR OPENING) (BEAT).

MAN VIEWER:                     Very nice.

ESTATE AGENT:                 But now, the best feature of all (SOUND OF SLIDING BALCONY DOOR) – the view.

(SOUND OF SEAGULLS AND WAVES CRASHING)

WOMAN VIEWER:              Wow!

MAN VIEWER:                     (SURPRISED) Yeah, that’s pretty amazing.

WOMAN VIEWER:              Is that Brownsea Island over there?

ESTATE AGENT:                 Sure is. Perfect, isn’t it? There’s no better view in the whole of Sandbanks.

WOMAN VIEWER:              Stunning.

MAN VIEWER:                     Shame about the state of next door’s garden though. Who lives there?

ESTATE AGENT:                 No one at the moment. It’s just gone on the market.

MAN VIEWER:                     Well it certainly needs a bit of TLC.

ESTATE AGENT:                 An old guy lived there. Been there all his life he had. Sad story really. Had a heart attack the night of that big storm back in January. Builders found him and his dog in the morning. Just lying there, soaked through.

WOMAN VIEWER:              Poor guy!

MAN VIEWER:                     How much is it on for?

ESTATE AGENT:                 Three million.

MAN VIEWER:                     Developers will snap that up straight away.

ESTATE AGENT:                 There’s already plenty of interest. Places don’t hang around for long round here Gary, I can tell you.

MAN VIEWER:                     Well, we’d better get down to business then, hadn’t we?

(EXIT MUSIC)