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REPUBLIC

Episode One of Three

By

Blaise Hesselgren

Agent: Steven Russell Mr Blaise Hesselgren


steven@collectivetalent.co.uk Blaise.Hesselgren@gmail.com
www.collectivetalent.co.uk www.Hesselgren.co.uk
INT. ST STEPHEN'S HALL, HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT - NIGHT

Spotlights pick out the statues of dead old white men, a


line-up of privilege and prejudice that has made the world
what it is today - and will continue to do so for all our
tomorrows. Unless something changes...

In a dark corner below the statues, there's movement -

A well dressed BLACK MAN squats, facing the wall.

What's he doing?

There's a scratching sound as he pokes at something, utterly


absorbed by it.

So absorbed that he misses a torch beam LANCING down the


hall - and the accompanying footsteps.

MIKE, the security guard, is doing his rounds.

The beam sweeps over the black man and then SNAPS back -

MIKE
Who's there?

Mike's hand goes to his gun.

The black man turns in surprise. The beam finds his face,
blinding him.

Mike relaxes, lowering the torch.

He knows this one.

MIKE (CONT'D)
Mr Herbert? What are you doing?

JUSTIN HERBERT, Leader of the New Republican Party and Deputy


Prime Minister, smiles wryly and ambles over to Mike.

JUSTIN
Mike. Sorry, didn't mean to startle
you. And it's Justin.

Justin carries himself with the easy confidence of the


Oxbridge elite, his cut glass accent intimating a privileged
if not aristocratic background. He's a man for whom hearing
a no is just different way of getting a yes.

MIKE
Ok, sure. But what are you doing
here... Justin?
2.

JUSTIN
I needed some perspective.

Justin looks up at the statues.

JUSTIN (CONT'D)
Wonder what they'd make of today.

Mike goes with it - senses Justin wants to talk.

MIKE
They'd have a coronary, I reckon.
Might free up a spot for you.

Justin snorts.

JUSTIN
A black man, up there? Chance would
be a fine thing.
(but)
Maybe one day. I hope you voted?

Mike nods, a little uneasy.

MIKE
So.. shouldn't you be doing interviews
or something?

JUSTIN
Probably. But I just can't bear it
any more. Came here for some peace.
Actually, I just spotted another
crack over here -

Justin goes to where he was crouched down.

JUSTIN
Your professional opinion?

Mike shines his torch at the spot.

MIKE
I'm not a professional -

JUSTIN
Yet.

Mike relents and crouches before spot - Justin joins him

MIKE
More of the same - this place is
near collapse. It's falling apart.
3.

JUSTIN
We'll have to fix it up then.
(they stand)
You think I'm doing the right thing?

MIKE
I... - don't you?

JUSTIN
I - Yes. I did. I do. It's just - it
weighs heavy sometimes.
(he's said enough)
Sorry, that's unfair of me. Witching
hour and all. When's your final exam?

MIKE
Got a month or so.

JUSTIN
And you followed up on that job?

MIKE
Yeah. Thanks for that. I got it if I
score in the top ten percent.

JUSTIN
Please. I'm sure you'll ace it.

Justin looks around, uncomfortable, claustrophobic.

JUSTIN (CONT'D)
I need to walk.

He starts to walk away. Then remembers -

JUSTIN
Could you do me favour and report
that crack, Mike? I'll add it to my
case to put to the house.

MIKE
Sure thing, sir.

JUSTIN
And less of that sir malarkey. Good.
Well. Walking. Tomorrow, Mike.

Justin turns and walks to the exit. Mike calls after him.

MIKE
Tomorrow's a new day, Justin.

Justin raises his fist in the air as he departs.

Mike chuckles, then turns back to the crack in the wall.


4.

EXT. LONDON - NIGHT

SERIES OF SHOTS -

Justin exits Parliament, turning back to look up at it.

Justin stands on the Mall, looking at Buckingham Palace.

Justin passes a bar. A crowd watch a presenter on TV as he


flaps around the pie charts surrounding him.

A bus thunders past, displaying the Kings and Queens of


England. Caption - "They put the GREAT in Great Britain."

The bus passes, revealing a billboard behind it - of Prince


Charles. Caption - "Is this man fit to be King?"

A young woman exits the pub, reaching for a smoke - she


SHRIEKS as she spots Justin and runs across the road to him.
Before he can react she's planted a kiss on his cheek.

WOMAN
You got my vote, love.

JUSTIN
I.. I thank you.

Justin extricates himself and keeps walking.

Past a church with a board outside - POLLING STATION.

Down a residential street now, the occasional one lit by the


flickering light of a TV screen. Head down, deep in thought.

Flags hang from windows. The Union Jack and St George's flag
mixed evenly with as many Royal Standards.

An older man walking his dog stops as he spots Justin.

OLDER MAN
Herbert.

JUSTIN
Good evening, sir.

OLDER MAN
You're a disgrace. I fought for Queen
and country in the war, not for
this... treachery!

JUSTIN
I thank you for your service, sir,
but everyone's entitled to their
opinion. I hope you voted to make
yours clear.
5.

OLDER MAN
Oh, why don't you just clear off and
go back to where you came from.

Justin pauses, taking in the comment.

Then he notices the street sign - GROSVENOR SQUARE.

JUSTIN
I believe I just have.

The old man looks at him in confusion then walks off,


muttering to himself.

Justin smiles and walks up to one of the grand houses.

EXT. HERBERT'S PARENTS HOUSE - CONTINUOUS

He takes a deep breath and presses the bell.

A curtain twitches in the window.

From inside the house we hear the sound of a door opening


and closing and feet going up stairs.

The door opens to reveal an old white man, RAEPH HERBERT.

RAEPH
Justin.

JUSTIN
Dad.

INT. LIVING ROOM, HERBERT'S PARENTS HOUSE - NIGHT

Raeph leads Justin into the room and pours them a drink.

RAEPH
Shouldn't you be somewhere?

JUSTIN
Other than here? Surprisingly not.

Justin glances at the election coverage on TV.

RAEPH
Your mother went to bed - couldn't
bear to watch it.

Justin nods, finds the TV remote and turns it off.

JUSTIN
Neither can I.

Raeph hands Justin a whiskey.


6.

RAEPH
Too close to call apparently.

Justin nods.

JUSTIN
She still angry with me?

RAEPH
It's complicated, Justin.

JUSTIN
That's a yes then. And you?

Raeph just stays quiet. Justin takes a seat.

JUSTIN (CONT'D)
I'm sorry I lost my temper, but I
won't apologise for my politics.

RAEPH
Things were said on both sides.

Justin nods - that's the nearest he'll get to an apology.

Raeph sits down opposite him.

RAEPH (CONT'D)
But this - this feels personal - an
attack on everything we gave you.

JUSTIN
It isn't, dad. It's about what the
country needs.

RAEPH
The country doesn't need this, Justin.
This a distraction. What the country
needs is a vote on -

Justin closes his eyes. They've been here before.

JUSTIN
Dad, no one cares about the EU -

RAEPH
Well they bloody well should! It's a
much greater danger to the nation
than your precious inequality.

JUSTIN
OK. I just came to - I don't know.
I'm trying to do the right thing
here. I hope you realise that?
7.

RAEPH
Good intentions seldom survive contact
with reality.

JUSTIN
And evil thrives when left
unchallenged. The system's broken,
dad. It needs to change.

RAEPH
And you're one to do it? The country's
saviour? You rail against your
privilege so much, yet you embody it
more than any man I know.

JUSTIN
Nobody can chose their upbringing.
But we can choose how to use it.

Justin stands, annoyed, closing the conversation.

JUSTIN (CONT'D)
It's late. I shouldn't have come.
I'd better get back to Phoebe.

Raeph stands, nodding to a file on his desk - an olive branch.

RAEPH
I got those papers for you.

JUSTIN
I.. Thank you.

RAEPH
But your mother is.. Go easy, son.

Justin nods, then glances at the file. He grunts a laugh.

JUSTIN
Outside, some old white git told me
to go back where I came from.

RAEPH
You come from here, Justin. This is
your home, now and always.

Justin glances around the house, unconvinced.

JUSTIN
That's what I told him... It can
wait, dad - I'm a little distracted
at the moment.

Raeph nods gratefully. Justin heads to the door.


8.

JUSTIN (CONT'D)
And you can tell mum it's safe to
come back downstairs now.

As Justin exits Raeph speaks -

RAEPH
You're a clever man, Justin. But be
careful. Being clever does not make
you right. It often just makes you
better at being wrong.

Justin smiles and shakes his head as he leaves.

INT. UBER CAR - NIGHT

Justin is staring out of the window.

UBER DRIVER
Just about there boss - oh -

The road ahead is blocked by news vehicles, reporters,


cameramen, journalists all besieging a townhouse.

JUSTIN
I'll get out here thanks.

EXT. STREET - CONTINUOUS

Justin exits the car, which turns around and leaves.

He stares down the street at the media circus.

To his left is alley between two houses. He heads down it.

EXT. ALLEY - CONTINUOUS

Justin walks blindly down the dark alley, occasionally hitting


a low hanging tree or catching himself on a fence.

He keeps looking up to his right, trying to identify his


house - finally he finds it.

The gate is locked so he has to clumsily climb over it.

Safe in the back garden, he walks up to the back door.

Spies in to see the back of a woman, watching a TV.

Justin raises his hand as if to knock. Then stops.

He gets out his phone. 87 missed calls, 275 texts.

He ignores them and phones Phoebe.


9.

Inside, her phone goes off. She jumps, then answers it.

PHOEBE
Darling, where are you?

JUSTIN
Behind you.

PHOEBE
What?

JUSTIN
I sneaked in through the back. Can
you let me in?

Phoebe turns and sees Justin through the window.

INT. KITCHEN, JUSTIN'S HOUSE - NIGHT

Justin enters as Phoebe opens the door.

PHOEBE
Where have you been?

JUSTIN
Walking. I needed some space.

PHOEBE
Next time tell me. Half the country's
been trying to get hold of you. Got
some food for you.

JUSTIN
I.. I just need a few hours sleep.

Phoebe nods.

PHOEBE
I'll tell everyone you're alive.

Justin kisses her and walks tiredly out of the room.

INT. BEDROOM, JUSTIN'S HOUSE - DAWN

The room is stacked with all kinds of thought books, political


histories, memoirs and more.

Justin lies awake on the bed, staring into nothing, Phoebe


fast asleep beside him when -

BEEP BEEP BEEP

Justin hits the alarm. Phoebe rolls over, half asleep.

Justin quietly gets up and goes to look out the window.


10.

A mess of reporters and cameramen huddle outside his front


door, drinking coffee and chatting.

Justin lets the curtain drop back and heads to the bathroom
as Phoebe opens her eyes.

INT. KITCHEN, JUSTIN'S HOUSE - DAY

Justin enters, clean and dressed, pale, scared even.

Phoebe, still in a dressing gown, mutes the TV and hands


Justin a coffee, smiling.

PHOEBE
They're announcing in the next couple
of minutes. You sleep ok?

Justin shakes his head.

JUSTIN
Barely a wink.

PHOEBE
Get that coffee down you.

Justin nods and takes the cup - but doesn't drink.

JUSTIN
What if I win, Phoebs?

PHOEBE
Then we'll need a President.

JUSTIN
I.. No. But the vote. How can I -

PHOEBE
You did what you did, and you can't
undo it. You need to move on now, so
it doesn't undo you.

Justin nods as Phoebe glances at the screen.

PHOEBE (CONT'D)
The result!

Phoebe scrambles the remote and puts the volume in -

TV PRESENTER
...Republicans on 53% and the
Monarchists on 47%. It's a close
victory for the Republicans. A
completely unprecedented result...

Justin sits, stunned into silence. Phoebe clicks the TV off.


11.

PHOEBE
You did it.

Justin leans his head on the table.

PHOEBE (CONT'D)
Justin? Speak to me.

JUSTIN
(muffled, into table)
I won. Jesus. How?

BEEP BEEP - Phoebe glances at her phone.

PHOEBE
Krishna's waiting outside.

Justin raises his head.

JUSTIN
Now? I... ok.

PHOEBE
Take your time. You won.

JUSTIN
I can't believe it. The voters -
(beat)
What now?

PHOEBE
Whatever you want - you can parlay
this into anything.

JUSTIN
How about a good night's sleep?

Phoebe leans over and -

SLAPS him.

PHOEBE
Wake up! You just abolished the
Monarchy. Now get out there and lead
the country! Move it!

Justin shakes his head, smiles, downs his coffee and walks
out the room.