01x03 - Episode 3

All episode transcripts for this 2015 3-part mini-series.
Adaptation of Julian Barnes' novel about Arthur Conan Doyle's attempt to clear the name of George Edalji; a half-Indian, vicar's son who was wrongly convicted of a bizarre crime in the 1800s.
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01x03 - Episode 3

Post by bunniefuu »

We must act, Inspector.

We must act or the good people of Staffordshire will not forgive us.

George Edalji, you have been found guilty of some of the most depraved and bizarre crimes I've ever encountered.

Brookes the blacksmith. He received letters, too.



That's William Brookes.

I was just with him less than an hour ago.

This is our doing. It's our meddling.

The man is d*ad.

Yes, and we shall avenge his death by unmasking the true Ripper.

This is no time to lose our nerve, Woodie.

I would like to ask for your hand in marriage.


That's Heydon Price. Heydon Price is the worst kind of criminal.

Perhaps I got it wrong.

What, Sir Arthur?


He's up there.

Thank you.

Sir Arthur.

Look me in the eye and tell me you're innocent.

I'm innocent.

Show me your boots. And your shoes, all your footwear.

Is this it?


What size do you take?


I have small feet relative to my height.

Who is Heydon Price to you?


There was a warden at Pentonville, by the name of Clough.

Often he'd ask me the same question - would I like a dry bath.

A dry bath?

A full inspection in the washroom.

When I'd answer, "No, sir", he'd accuse me of having something to hide.

"A dry bath it is then, Edalji."


Until one day... I refused.

Come on.


Down you come.




Heydon Price saved me from that man.


Leave him be.

Mr Clough... leave him be.

But he must have asked for something in return.

To teach him to read and write.

Now he asks that I complete his education.

Two hours a week, it's no hardship.

Tell him the conditions of your parole are prohibited.

He saved my life. How can I refuse him?

What my father would call "fair play."

You'll be a solicitor again and a fine one.

"I will see you grovel in the lake of f*re.

I am as sharp as sharp can be."

Lake of f*re...

Milton. Milton, Milton, Milton...

"They will soon resume new courage and revive, though now they lie grovelling prostrate in your lake of f*re..."

Good God, Woodie. Knock, would you?

Woodie, what shoe size do I take?

11, sir.

11. When we found those bootprints in the mud, I set my shoe against the imprint and the dimension was much the same.

George Edalji takes a smaller size?

A nine.

In other words, Woodie... in other words, gentlemen of the jury, despite the commonality of the bulked right heel, George Edalji did not leave those prints, but rather someone trying very hard to make us think he did.

Why are you looking dubious, gentlemen of the jury?

I'm just listening, Sir Arthur.

You're not, you're looking dubious. I know dubiety when I see it.

Raise your objection.

I have no objection.

Yes, you do. You're wondering is George wily enough to make us think somebody's trying to implicate him by wearing over-sized shoes?

It had crossed my mind.

Yes, it's a possibility we can't discount.

But on balance I'd say it points more to his innocence than his guilt. Fair?


Now, George was at school at Great Wyrley here.

Fred Brookes, you remember, was at school in Cannock.

What was God Satan's first missive to the Edaljis?

The key on the front step.

And the key was a key to the school at Cannock.

And William Brookes was the blacksmith at Wyrley but he was Cannock born-and-bred.

And the reason his son Fred did not know George Edalji was...

Was because he stayed at Cannock school even though his family had moved to Wyrley.

What's your conclusion?

It might be instructive to speak to Fred Brookes.

You're right, it might.


"The grace of our Lord Jesus.

The love of God... the fellowship of the Holy Ghost be with us always... Amen."

Thank you, Reverend.

Sir Arthur.

Good to see you again, Harry.

This is my mother.

Miriam Bostock.

Pleasure to meet you.

Harry, I appreciate it's awkward but if there's any way you could arrange an introduction to Fred Brookes...

It could not be more important.

I'll try.

Thank you very much.

We'll make ourselves scarce.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in our midst... and soliciting my son's help.


Erm... I'll catch up with you both in a minute.

Go on! Go on, girl!

Harry says you want to talk to me.

I appreciate you sparing us a moment at what must be a very difficult time.

I'm not stopping. Got work in the morning.

Can't miss my train.

Would you mind if I accompany you to the station?

If you think I'm a hard bastard, you should have met my dad.

I did. I liked him. Plain-speaking.

He was. And a few other things besides.

So, what do you want from me?

I want to find out who k*lled your father.

If what you're saying is true, why aren't the police asking questions?

Because they're afraid of the answers.

The letters your father received -

For the last time, I never saw them.

Never showed them to me.

Did you ever have any dealings with George Edalji?

The vicar's lad?


No, never. Why?

The letters sent to the Edaljis were addressed to the Reverend, but their focus was his son.

What of it?

You were the focus of the letters sent to your father and one of them accused you of throwing stones at a pregnant woman near Cannock town hall.

If you say so.

It's a very specific, very particular accusation, Fred.

You're saying it were true?


But I'm curious to know if parts of it were true.

The details, and if so, who else knew those details?


When we make up a story we don't invent all of it.

Cast your mind back. A pregnant woman, someone throwing stones.

It weren't stones.

It were nowhere near the town hall.

It was a train carriage.

I think I was 12.

There was a pregnant lady on there and... and Speck, this lad, got on the train.

Hello, Speck.


What are you doing, Speck?


Please, no!


Stop it! I've got a baby!




He just went wild. s*ab the seats with a knife, the woman was petrified.


I always wondered what happened to him.

Were the police involved?

They came to school, asking who did it.

Speck said it were me, I said it were him.

They believed me. Speck got a terrible hiding off his dad.

And what was Speck's real name?

Raymond or... Royden.


Just called him Speck.

We think his first name is Royden but his nickname is something like Speck.

Oh, this is my wife.

Mrs Bostock.

So, Royden?

He's a Cannock lad?


Can't say it rings a bell. We didn't have much to do with them.

Were they a rough lot?

Wyrley school weren't exactly Eton College, but Cannock was the pits.

It could not be more urgent that we identify him.

Hm... give me a minute and we'll head over to Cannock.

I know some people who'll put you onto your Speck.

Thank you.

So you're baking. That's good.

Sir Arthur?

Mrs Bostock.

We're very honoured to have such august company.

My late husband was an avid reader of your books.

There are one or two up there.

He really wanted to be a writer himself.

The ambition of many a schoolteacher I'm sure.

May I?

Of course.

She's not getting you to autograph books, is she?

It's not one of mine, alas.

Shall we?

Mrs Bostock. Mrs Bostock.

Guard: Cannock! Cannock!

I'm just gonna go in here and see if someone knows him.

These are the men.

Excuse me. Excuse me. I wonder if you know where someone called Royden lives?

Oh, him.

Up above Greatorix farm, turn left, over the back.

Very good, thanks very much.

The old mason's cottage above Greatorix farm.

Is it far?

No, we can walk.

There's no lock.

What are we waiting for?

Sir Arthur, I really think -


From the wounds on the animals I'd say we're not looking for an ordinary knife or blade.

Rather something unusual and specific.

Cuts only the skin and not the gut.

I'll er, go check upstairs.

No, no, no. Sir Arthur... Sir Arthur, why don't I conduct this search?


What on earth for, Woodie?

We are trespassing.

I have less to lose.

At the very least, someone should keep watch.

Good idea. You're volunteering.


You found nothing?


"Prostrate upon your lake of f*re..."

Is there anything in that wardrobe?

Don't know.

(CLATTERING) What was that?

Here, Harry, can you help me?

"As sharp as sharp can be..."





Who are you? And what are you doing on my land?

We're looking for Royden Sharp.

Who, I wager, you are not.

You are, I'm guessing, Mr John Greatorix?

His employer and landlord?

And who might you be?

Sir Arthur.

Good God!

Royden's the son of my old tenant farmer, Peter Sharp.

They lived up here together for years.

When Peter died, I should have thrown Royden out.

But I didn't have the heart.

What sort of boy was Royden?

Strange. Wild.

Nothing like his dad. Peter was a God-fearing man and he tried to b*at that fear into his son.

One time he walloped Royden so bad he almost k*lled him.

What had Royden done to warrant that?

I don't recall precisely.

Smashed up a train carriage or summat.

Does the name George Edalji mean anything to you?

Of course. The vicar's son. The Wyrley Ripper.

No, no. Does the name mean anything to you in connection with Royden Sharp?

Dad! Dad!

We found Royden.

Just up here.

For God's sake, cut him down, Robert.

Oh, good God...

I saw someone lurking at the funeral. It was him.

I'm sure of it.

The spectre at the feast.

During the rippings were any of your livestock maimed or k*lled?


What about your neighbours?

Frank Williams lost five cattle.

But all of your animals were unharmed?


The absence of evidence is as telling as its presence.

We found this in his cottage.


He got rid of Brookes and he must have known we were near him.

We've found our man.

Royden Sharp? I didn't know him.

Why would he wish to harm me?

That's what prejudice is, George.

It means I don't have to know you to dislike you.

We can no more explain his antipathy to you than we can his bloodlust for maiming cattle and horses.

I see your point.

And still I've yet to convince you that race prejudice lay behind this?

Forgive me, Sir Arthur.

It is not that I am less than immensely grateful to you, it's only perhaps that I am a solicitor.

Ah, of course, of course.

And thinking as a solicitor, if Royden Sharp is d*ad and left no confession...

The truth will out, George.

I'll see to it personally.


By shaking every bureaucratic tree tainted with this travesty until a free pardon and compensation drops into our laps.

It's only when they pay you know they're truly sorry.

Sir Arthur, I'm not sure that the chief constable is going to be overjoyed at your efforts to denigrate his force.

(SCOFFS) Woodie...

The Great Detective is almost upon us.

What's that, dear?

I expect he'll examine the driveway for the footprints of an enormous hound.


Shall we?

All the way down to the bottom of the slope without his skis and he tore a huge hole in his knickerbockers.


Well, thank you both for this luncheon.

It's most gracious of you.

It was no trouble at all.

Yes. Blanche, could you show Mr Wood the gardens now?

Yes, my dear.

I believe Sir Arthur has an important matter he would wish to discuss with me.

We'll go through to the study.
You've read my statement?

A deplorable business, it must be said.

A series of mistakes.

It could all have been nipped in the bud so much earlier.

I'm very pleased to hear you say that.

What mistakes did you have in mind?

Families, that's where it all went wrong. Brandy?

Er, no, thank you. The families?

The wife's family. Whatever took it into their heads.

Your daughter insists upon marrying a Parsee, can't be talked out of it.

And what do you do? You give the fellow a living in deepest Staffordshire.

And no doubt his patrons saw it to demonstrate the universality of the Anglican Church.

Hm. Please. And then to introduce two half-caste children into the neighbourhood.

George and Maude.

Two half-caste children.

George and Maude.

George and Maude Edalji.

You've read my analysis?

I have read your... story.

And I admire your tenacity and passion.

I also promise to keep your amateur speculations to myself.

To broadcast them would do your reputation no good.

You'll have to let me be the judge of that.

Blanche was reading to me the other day an interview you gave in The Strand.

You described how when you wrote your tales it was always the conclusion that first preoccupied you.

Beginning with the ending, yes.

You cannot know which path to take unless you know your destination.

And you have described in your... analysis how when you met young Edalji for the first time, at your club I believe, you were instantly convinced of his innocence.

Indeed. For the reasons clearly set out.

For the reasons clearly FELT.

And everything you've written proceeds from that feeling.

Once you became convinced of the wretched youth's innocence, everything fell into place.

And once you became convinced of his guilt, everything fell into place.

My conclusion was based not upon some intuition but on a mass of police reports compiled over three years.

So in your view, the boy's father, a minister in the Church of England, perjured himself?

Well, my view as you call it, is the view not just of myself but of the Staffordshire Constabulary, prosecuting counsel, a properly-sworn English jury, and the justices of the Quarter Sessions.

I attended every day of the trial and I can assure you of two things.

The jury did not believe the evidence of the Edalji family, but they did believe the evidence of Dr Butter, the police surgeon who found hairs from the d*ad pit pony on George Edalji's coat.

Yes, but -

An English jury sitting round a table considering its verdict is a solemn business.

They weigh evidence, they examine character.

They do not sit there waiting for a sign from above like table-turners at a seance.

Answer me this - Why? Why would a respectable young man with no previous history of violent nature suddenly sneak out in the night and att*ck a pit pony in the most cruel and violent fashion?

You are the one with the paid imagination, Doyle.

Answer the question - Why?

Why does human society everywhere abhor the half-caste?

Because his soul is torn between the impulse to civilisation and the pull of barbarism.

Is it his Scottish or his Parsee blood that you hold liable for this barbarism?

You're being facetious.

I've never been more serious.

You're saying he slit the bellies of horses because that's what his ancestors did five centuries ago in Persia?

It may be Edalji did not know what impelled him to act as he did.

An atavistic urge, brought to the surface by this sudden and deplorable miscegenation.

Do you truly believe that?

Something like it, yes.

And you liken me to a table-turner at a seance.

Listen, Doyle, your fellow has been released from prison.

He is a freed man. What is the point of your campaign?

You want the Home Office to look at his case again?

You want a committee? Fine.

What makes you think it will yield what you hope for?

We will get our committee and we will get a free pardon and compensation -

You want him to be completely innocent, don't you?

Not just innocent, but completely innocent.

Furthermore, we will prove beyond doubt the guilt of Royden Sharp.

And by extension the incompetence and malfeasance of your constabulary.

In my experience, no-one's completely innocent and no-one's completely guilty.

Not even your Royden Sharp.

Royden Sharp was serving a prison sentence for as*ault when the last three rippings occurred.

He had an accomplice, Woodie.

Well, we thought the letters might bear two sets of handwriting.

Precisely. We thought they might but we did not get them assessed by an expert and we were nothing like thorough.


He called my statement a story, Woodie.

And while he is a vile and prejudiced man... I can't fault him on that.

What do you want to do, Sir Arthur?

Prepare a statement worthy of the word.

Cold, empirical, impregnable.

And then, Woodie... we find the accomplice.

Take this 'H' here and here.

I see a conscious attempt to avoid one consistent style.

Within that disguised writing I find a number of peculiarities that suggest two different authors.

Possibly three, but certainly two.

May I?

Yes, we suspected there were two.

Now try the fleur. We'll see how that compares with the others.

Depth and dimension of the wound.

Exactly as Dr Butter testified.

Just to clarify, Dr Butter, George Edalji was arrested at 11:00 in the morning.

You took receipt of the coat with the hairs attached to it at 9:00pm that evening.

That's correct.

And were you given it at the vicarage.

No. It was brought to me at my office.

Look, Sergeant. A hair.

By a police officer?

By the Wyrley sergeant.

Sergeant Upton?

That's him.

What of it?

What was Sergeant Upton's exact words to the best of your recollection?

He said that "being a clever young monkey..."

.. and intending to be a solicitor, you'll know that a pair of gloves is known as "going equipped."

Won't you?

Was this before or after you wrote to the chief constable?


I wrote to him again complaining of Sergeant Upton's behaviour.


But I received no reply.

That was when it started, the watching and the lurking.

Yes. There were constables outside the vicarage at all hours.

In the woods, the lane... the old barn across the way.


Hello, George.

Reverend Shapurji.


I told him, Sir Arthur, I did.

I said to wait until you'd taken your pictures.

Sir Arthur. I should like to accompany you.

Yes, by all means. Come on.

Well, I'm sorry, but I've got new tenants moving in.

I couldn't leave it like it was.


That's your son, isn't it?


Did you have much to do with Royden when you were growing up?

Not much. He were a good ten year younger than me.

Did he have any friends you recall?

People he might have got into trouble with?

People mostly thought him strange.

And if he were up to mischief he'd go somewhere his dad wouldn't catch him and birch him.


What, Mr Greatorix?

I remember speaking to his dad once.

He was worried about Royden. More than usual, I mean.


A lad at school.

Cannock school?

Peter felt this boy... he had a hold over Royden.

MAN APPROACHING: Whoa there, whoa!

He brought out things in him that might otherwise have stayed hidden.

Who was this boy?

I couldn't say. I don't think he was local, I think he joined the school late.

At what age would Royden have been?

12, 13?

Let's find another way in.

No. Come on.

We're looking for the register books for the years '88 and '89.

Any reference to a boy starting school later in the year.


Take a seat at the back. Next to Royden Sharp.

There you are, Harry. You found the registers.

Is that the one?

It's '88.

"Sharp, Royden... Bostock."

Woodie! It's Harry!

George! Get out the front!

Woodie. George, you go through there.


Man: Right, here comes one. Brace yourself.

He's up there.







(GROANS) Bastard!


Thank you, Woodie.

Not at all, sir.

What? What are you looking at?

You want to know why? (LAUGHS)

Do you really need to ask?

Yes. Yes, I do.

Once you erm... once you got moved up to the front of the class... you became teacher's pet.

Which gives us a grand total of...?


11 and three-quarters, sir.


After that I was invisible.

He'd talk about him at home, over dinner.

Discuss him. With my mother.

"I rather think George would make a good solicitor.

Or even a doctor.

Such an ordered brain, such a disciplined mind."

It was frightening. I didn't exist.

Like I'd fallen off the face of the earth.

So you rebelled.

And he sent me off to school with the sons of Cannock farmhands.

And you blame me for that? Not your father?

No, I blamed both of you.

Did you k*ll your father, Harry?

That's between me and him.

And William Brookes?

I'll give you that one.


The letters we sent him. Royden sent most of them.

He erm... he did like I told him right to the end, but he was sloppy. Putting things that could identify us.

So you just told him to put his head in a noose?


You know, when you took George's case I was relieved in a way.

I wanted it to be over.

And at the same time...

At the same time what?

I thought wouldn't it be something to outwit the man who invented Sherlock Holmes?

Wouldn't Dad be proud?

And all the time I was in prison did your conscience never trouble you?

Did you ever consider turning yourself in?

(SCOFFS) You did three years in prison.

I did four years at Cannock school.

I reckon that makes us even, you little mongrel.




Give me your hand!

Hang on there!

Little mongrel half-breed bastard!

Reach out! Reach!


Oh, God...


Hurry up, hurry up...

I've got you. Get him, Woodie.

That's it, good lad.


Harry Bostock. Who would have thought?

See to the body.

Yes, sir.



He was clever. Audacious.

He flattered me into thinking I was making progress.

Whilst all the while he was leading me by the nose.

Keeping us close to keep us at bay.


And what of Royden Sharp?

He nursed a grudge against Fred Brookes.

Harry nursed one against you and together they went around settling their scores.

But Fred Brookes didn't serve a sentence of three years for a crime he didn't commit.

No, he didn't.

I think I need some air, Woodie. I'm gonna walk.

Very good, sir.

If you're sure?

Yeah, I am.

Waterloo, please.

WOMAN ON STREET: Fresh snowdrops and pansies...

How much for your snowdrops?

Half a penny.

Half a penny?


On my last visit you observed that I judged myself to be guilty and in need of redemption.

That was my impetus for seeking true justice for George Edalji.

I demurred, characterising the connection as fanciful.



And melodramatic.


Well, perhaps I did protest too much.

And perhaps I found that peace you spoke of.

It's one for every year we shall be married.

Providence permitting.

Providence be damned.

Thank you, Woodie.

Thank you, Woodie.

Thank you.

I look forward to meeting him.


Where is he? Here he is. George, I'm so sorry. We were detained.

This is Miss Jean Leckie.

We've been shopping.

No, Arthur, you were talking.

Well, I was talking to a shopkeeper.

He served in South Africa and it seemed only civil to ask -

That is still talking, not shopping. I'm very happy to meet you, George.

Very happy to meet you.

See, George, we're preparing for marriage and the power has already shifted quite dramatically to my disadvantage.

Congratulations to you both.

Thank you.

Thank you.

It's a happy outcome in which you had no small hand.

I did?

Certainly. And that's why we'd like to invite you to our wedding.

There's no person we'd be prouder to have there than you.

I would be honoured.


Well, I'll... leave you to it.

Goodbye, George.


Take a seat.

I have it on very good authority that within a fortnight a committee of enquiry will be announced by the Home Secretary.

Its purpose to consider various matters in the Edalji case that have given rise to public disquiet.

It is not a pardon.

No. No, it's not.

But it's a big step towards one.

I have other news.

As from next month, you'll be re-admitted to the roll of solicitors.

Thank you.

Your call-to-arms did me more good than you'll ever know.

We've still a fair way to go, though.

I know.

Well... I apologise, I've got to get going.

I've got a very tedious speaking engagement at the Royal Geographical Society.

Of course.

Thank you for everything, Sir Arthur.

You're very welcome.

Woodie. You should have come and said hello.

I don't think he likes me, Sir Arthur.

Ah, nonsense.

Mind you, you did actively seek to dissuade me from pursuing his case every step of the way.

Not every step.

You got it wrong, it's nothing to be ashamed of.

Thank you, Sir Arthur.

It's an honest mistake.

About which I'll never hear the end.

I wouldn't say never.
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