The Orchard End Murder (1980) - full transcript

Charthurst Green, Kent, 1966. Pauline Cox accompanies Mike Robins to a village cricket match in which he is playing, but becomes bored and wanders away. She fetches up at the local railway halt, where she is first entertained to tea by the garrulous, hunchbacked station keeper, then upset by the intrusion of the latter's assistant Ewen, who proceeds to kill a rabbit in her presence. Making her way back to the match, Pauline is waylaid by the simple-minded Ewen as she crosses an apple orchard; when his advances become violent, she tries to fight him off and he strangles her. That evening, the hunchback discovers Ewen with Pauline's body in the shack where he lives, and helps him to bury the corpse in the orchard. Later, however, Ewen inadvertently betrays himself: the body is disinterred by the police and Ewen breaks down hysterically. Years later, the hunchback, who has disavowed Ewen, encourages the friendship of another village youth. Peter Jessop's carefully textured camera work initially lends this mini-feature an edge of the picturesquely sinister. But the resolution of the anecdote is rather forced and anti-climactic, and some of the details (like the police searching the orchard at the dead of night) ring distractingly false. All the same, it represents a debut of some promise.

(Phone rings)

(Man) 'Hello, Bexley 2538.‘

(Woman) 'ls Mike Robins there, please?‘

- 'Speaking.‘
- 'This is Pauline.

'We met last Saturday night
down the Locarno. Remember?

'You gave me your number.’

(Mike) 'That's right. Pauline.

'l've been hoping you'd ring.
Er, look, I can't see you tonight.‘

(Pauline) 'Oh, I see.‘

(Mike) 'Why don't you come and
watch me play cricket tomorrow?‘

- (Pauline) 'Cricket?‘
- (Mike) 'At Charthurst Green in Kent.

'Lovely little place.
Right in the country.

'About 17 miles from here.‘

(Pauline) 'How would we get there?‘

(Mike) 'In my sports car. We could
go off and have some fun aftenNards.

'Just the two of us.’

(Pauline) 'You mean
pick up where we left off

'when they shone the headlamps
on us in the car park?‘

(Mike) 'That's what I've got in mind.‘

(Pauline) 'Mm, I'll bet you have.‘
(Mike) 'l'll pick you up at ten.

'Look, I don't know where
you live. Give me your address.‘

(Pauline) 'Erm, well, pick me up under
the clock in Sidcup High Street. OK?‘

(Mike) 'OK, about ten. I'll see you
tomorrow. Don't be late.

'Bye for now.‘

(Sound of leather ball
on willow bat)

(Umpire) Up one.
(Player) Six.


- (Players) Out!
- (Spectators applaud)

Oh, good luck. Do your best.

They're thrashing us hollow.

Yeah, I suppose
it's cos they're on home ground.

- Christ, it's muggy.
- Where the hell's Robins?

He's supposed to be next in.

(Player) Unlucky.

(Heavy breathing)

(Players exclaim)

Hey, look, we'll have to be going.

Oh, no.
Do you have to go back to the match?

Can't we spend the whole day
alone together?

I can't let the team down.

- But I'll tell you what...
- (Bird screeches)

(Heavy breathing)

What's the matter?

My blood just seemed
to turn to water.

I think we're being watched.

It's probablyjust some wild animal.

- It gave me a horrible feeling.
- Come on.

Like somebody just walked
over my grave.

(Rector) I've just been baptising
my youngest parishioner.

The poor little thing.
It was a very sad case.

He was the son of that unfortunate girl,
you know.

She wanted him to be called, er...
Oh, such a selection of names.

Adam Faith Cliff Richard.

Can you imagine?

I suppose Richard
was the name of the father.

That seems alright.
That's very common.

But, erm... Adam is alright, of course.
The old Adam, he's in us all, I fear.

Faith, we know all about that.
But Cliff?

Have you ever heard
of anyone called Cliff?

(Sighs heavily)

(Background conversation drones on)


(Player) Yes!

Oh, don't worry. Jolly good one.


(Umpire) 34 for 6.

(Children muttering)

- Run, run!
- (Dog barks)

(Bell rings)

(Bell rings)

Why don't you come in
and have a look round?

I've got the kettle on.

Alright. I don't mind if I do.

Come on in, then.
I'll be down in a jiffy.

Proper little gnomes' fairy land,

Everybody who comes by here
has to stop and have a look at 'em.

Been the beginning
of ever so many friendships.

- I've never seen so many.
- They're all my little friends.

Every one.

Of course, we have our little talks,
little discussions.

Like when people talk
to their plants?

Yes, yes, yes,
in a manner of speaking, yes.

Where's the harm?

What's it matter if me
and my friends, we do have our...

our secrets, eh?

(Bell chimes)

It's all so pretty.

Well, I've always loved
everything pretty.

Always loved flowers.

Mm. Do you know, it's strange.

That reminds me of something.

But I can't quite seem to catch
what it is.

It's like when you go to a place
for the very first time

and you get a sort of dreamy feeling
you've been there before.

Sort of.

- Only...
- (Buzzing)

Oh, never mind.

Look where your sweet tooth
has got you now.

Ooh, I can't bear 'em
with their natty little stripes,

titchy little waists
and nasty throbbing little stingers.

Well, the, er, tour
of the estate's over now,

so it's time for tea.

Normally we have it in the garden,
but it looks thundery

and I don't want us to get headaches,
so it's tea in my parlour.

Now come on in, then.
I won't bite, you know.

That's right. Go on in, my dear.

Take the weight off your feet.

You make yourself comfy.
I'll go and make us a nice cuppa.


It's very nice. Very countrified.

Mm. Wasn't so nice when | first
come here, I can tell you.

The cottage was a virtual ruin

and the garden, oh, dear me,
it was a jungle.

How they can have lived like that
I just don't know.

Still, takes all sorts.

What were they like, then?
The people that lived here before.

They was 'ere for years.
But nobody ever knew 'em.

Used to keep themselves
to themselves.

You know what I mean?

Then one fine day,
without so much as a by—your—leave,

they lay down, side by side,
like a pair of nice flounders,

with their heads on the railway line.

And along come the 3.19
from Ashford...

Oh, how horrible.

- Sugar?
- Thanks.

And their headless bodies were
found against the garden fence

under the old fruit tree.

- And you know what?
- What?

They were still holding hands.

- Tea sweet enough for you?
- Mm, thanks.

They must've been very much in love.

Mm, that's as maybe.

And that old apple tree produces
the sourest fruit you ever tasted.

- And where do you live, my dear?
- Well, I've got a flat.

- Hm?
- It's a bedsit, really. In Sidcup.

- You live alone? Piece of cake?
- Yes, please.

- I like my freedom.
- Mm.

No one to mind
when you come and go, eh?

- That's right. I lead my own life.
- Independent.

- Right.
- Course, er, I'm past all that.

Mind you, I like my little pleasures.

Well, everyone's entitled
to their pleasures.

So you, er, you hail from suburbia,
as it were?

It's a different world. I could never
live anywhere but in the country.

Round here, I know everybody
and everybody knows me by name.

That's the virtue of village life.

Course, I still have my privacy.

Of course.

For all that familiarity,
it amuses me to think

that they have no idea what I think.

And what I do.

Now, strangers...

Strangers can be very cruel.


Make unpleasant remarks about my... little deformity.

Tell me, my dear,
do you find it repulsive?

Of course not.

In olden times...
In olden times, it was, er,

thought to be a sign of potency.

It was considered
to be very beneficial...

to touch.

Go on, dear. It's nothing.


- There.
- (Footsteps)

Oh look, Ewen, we've got a lovely visitor.

Oh, aren't you lovely?

Ewen was living in the old
gangers' shed across the line.

I started by asking him
over for meals

and then I found myself
washing his clothes.

Well, it seemed silly not to, really.

So he's shacked up with me here, now.

Ewen, Ewen!
I got your favourite, look.

Fruit cake.

(She screams)

(She gasps)

I‘ll take it out and skin it.

(She sobs)

He's a...
He's a very mixed up young man.

Erm, look, try putting your head
between your knees.

- I'll be alright.
- Oh, that's a good girl. Here.

Here. Give your nose a good blow.

- Here, are you better?
- (Man) Ewen? Ewen!

- Ah, there you are, old chap.
- Who's this?

Myxomatosis, of course,
reduced their numbers.

Oh, it's Mr Wickstead.

Now, look here, old chap.

You have a positive
genius for topiary.

I want you to come up to my garden
tomorrow night to do mine.

Is that clear?

He's come to get Ewen
to do some part-time gardening.

Ah, you're getting quite an expert
at this, aren't you? Eh.

Well, I never.

Yes, I've seen them do it
in butcher's shops, of course,

but I've never actually been
quite as close as this.

Yes, it's a nasty business, isn't it?

There we are, Ewen.
Come tomorrow night, then.

He's... He's very posh.
He's a stockbroker.

Lives up at Elm Lodge.
A magnificent place. Lovely garden.

He travels up to the city from
the halt every morning on the 8.51.

(She sniffles)

First-class, of course.

Look, I really ought to be
getting along now.

The match will soon be over.
My boyfriend will wonder where I am.

Oh, well, we can't have that.

The weather's breaking.
We'll have some rain soon.

Thanks for the lovely tea,
but I must be going.

Well, now you know where we are,
you can drop in again.

- OK, bye. Thanks ever so much.
- Yeah, mind how you go.

(Squeaking and growling)

(Whining and yelping)

(Growling and snarling)

(She screams)

Oh, you gave me quite a turn.

- What do you want?
- I don't want to frighten you.

Just give you these. Say sorry.

I should think so,
cutting up that poor animal.

- It never did any harm to anyone.
- It was 'im. He gets me so wild.

That's no excuse.
You can't go around blaming others.

You should control yourself.

I can't. I never could.

That's what's wrong.


Thanks. That's nice.

No! Oh, wipe them first.

Like this.

Got the farmer's spray on 'em.


Oh, pick what you like.
There's plenty.


My, you really mean it.

Ah, I have to get back
to my boyfriend now.

Look, I really must go now.

Let's get out of 'ere.
I'll show you the short way.

We're not supposed to be 'ere.

Cor, what a place.

This is Bunny's Hole.
It's a nickname, like.

Whatever are all those apples?

That's where they dump 'em
when they grow too many.

And everything else,
by the look of it.

I've heard of
some strange places, but...

You've gotta be joking.

Look, erm...

Let's just find some nice...


If you think I'll get on that fleabag
with you, you've gotta be kidding.

(She pants)

(She whimpers)

(Phone rings)

(Man) 'Hello, Bexley 2538.‘

(Woman) 'ls Mike Robins there, please?‘

- 'Speaking.‘
- 'This is Pauline.

'We met last Saturday night
down the Locarno. Remember?

'You gave me your number.’

(Mike) 'That's right. Pauline.

'l've been hoping you'd ring.
Er, look, I can't see you tonight.‘

(Pauline) 'Oh, I see.‘

(Mike) 'Why don't you come and
watch me play cricket tomorrow?‘

Here, tuck her in, tuck her in.

Oh, nothing we can't touch up.

Right, get some tools to put on her.
A fork and a spade.

If anyone stops us, we'll say
you're taking 'em over to Mr Wickstead's.

- (Glass bottles topple)
- God!

- Uh...

Look, you might be able
to help me.

Station's closed.
No more trains tonight.

I was wondering if you saw a girl.

I want to know if she caught
the train to town.

Ah, yes, well, booking office
would've been closed,

but she still could've
caught the train.

- Then you did see her?
- No, no, no. I'm not saying that.

Matter of fact, I did see a girl,
but whether she went to the station,

I really couldn't say. Sorry.

Oh, I guess she must have.
Sorry to have disturbed you.

Quite alright.

They're gonna fetch police down 'ere
by the coach-load,

turn over every inch of the parish,

interview everyone
in a five-mile radius.

What'll you have to say for yourself
when they come knocking at this door?

And what am I gonna say,
for that matter?


You don't have to worry
your head too much.

Let's get her in the cart, then.

Come on, get a move on.

Oh, dear. I don't think
Brown Owl would approve of this.

Come on, get a move on.

I can save you.

But you have to put yourself
in my hands.

My plan is so simple.

It all boils down to what's to be
done with, or rather, where to hide,

your...loved one.

We'll keep her here.

We'll let 'em search the orchards,

and while they're interviewing
all our good neighbours of the parish

and prying into their little secrets,

and raking through the muck
behind every cottage door,

we'll just pop out one fine night
and slip her into the ground

where they've already searched.

(Bell chimes)

(Bicycle bell ringing)

Watch what you're doing. We don't
want another body on our hands.

Lovely night.

I say, Ewen, just the man
I want to talk to.

He's come to say he'll be here
tomorrow night, Mr Wickstead, sir.

Can't he speak for himself?

Is this true, old chap?

Yes, I'll be along tomorrow night, sir,
after I have my tea.

- Good man.
- (Dog barks)

- Pleasant evening again.
- The evenings are drawing in now.

Putting the clocks back soon.

Yes, been a very pleasant summer.

(Dog barks)

Shame about this business
with the girl, though.

Hey, Ben. Away. Bad boy.

What's the matter?
You afraid of dogs?

Oh, no, sir. I love 'em,
only I find they gives me hay fever.

- Well, I shan't keep you.
- (Dog barks)

Come along, Ben. Come on, Ben.
Come along.

Good boy.

Come on, come on.

No more walks tonight.

And then you and me will be
the only ones will ever know

about your little love affair.


Come on, eat your eggs.

(She screams)



(Muffled screaming)

(He grunts)


If anybody stops us,
I'll do the talking, alright?


(Train approaching)

Never talked with anyone
like this before.

Never had the chance.

No family.

Brought up in foster homes,
an' the like.

(Train whistle blasts)

I used to think about girls a lot.

Know what I mean?

I never got the chance to know any.

At Borstal...

...the boys used to tell me,
they used to show me pictures.

And then I couldn't stop thinking about...
Couldn't get it off me mind.

And when I left...

...and I met girls,

I found I had it for the takin'.

But it's different with you.

You... You cheat...

You cheated me!

You didn't tell me!
You been hiding from me!

Why didn't you tell me?

Look what you done!

You don't care about me.

You don't care about me
and my flowers.

You even stole my flowers
out of my garden. stole my flowers for this!

(Radio) 'Here are
the news headlines at 5.00am.

'In America, President Johnson
has gone on television

'asking for greater support
for the war in Vietnam.

'And in Washington,
his civil rights bill

'relating to housing and immigration

'has been defeated in the Senate.

'ln Milwaukee, a sniper
with a high-velocity hunting rifle

'has barricaded himself
on a water tower,

'firing random shots
into the street,

'kiIIing 11
and seriously injuring two.

'In South Africa, a white
South African is being held

'for the assassination
of Dr Venuoerd...‘

Here you are.

(Radio) 'Britain's independent
nuclear deterrent,

'the first Polaris submarine,
is to be launched today.

'Late last night in London,

'a spy ring was believed
to have been discovered

'after the arrest
of two Soviet trade delegates

'found in possession
of top secret defence documents.

'They're thought to be undercover
agents employed by the KGB.

'Kent County Constabulary
are to mount a massive search

'for 22-year-old Pauline Cox,

'who disappeared
while attending a cricket match,

'at the village of Charthurst Green,
a well-known beauty spot.

'Lewisham-born Pauline,
a former cinema usherette,

'was first reported missing
by Bexley accountant Michael Robins

'on Tuesday, when he found
she had not returned to her Sidcup home.

'The search, involving 20 constables
and tracker dogs,

'will comb the surrounding farmland

'and there will be
a house-to-house enquiry.

'According to a British Rail report,

'commuter trains
in the southern region will be subject

'to delays caused by unusually
heavy fog in the area.

'ln central London, fog has made
the roads extremely hazard...‘

(Radio off)

Did you hear that?

Oh, you've done it this time.

You've really done it.


(Vehicle approaches)

(Engine revs)

(Farmer whistles tune)

(Birds caw and tweet)

(Lively chatter and laughter)

(Man) Mike?

- Did you find her then?
- No, has she turned up here?


But some of the locals saw her go
to the railway station about 3.30.

Don't worry.

She's probably gone back to Wapping
or Hackney to find a real man.

- She already has.
- While you were dropping catches.

- I'm going to drive down there.
- I'll get you a Babycham in.

- If you give me the money.
- Oh, shut up.

(Beeps horn)

I think we may as well chance it.

(Dogs barking)

(Whistle blows)

(Policeman) Come on!

This should do nicely.

Hey, these roots'll grow through her.

They should get some bloody
funny apples on this tree.


Lay her in. Go on.

Come on, come on.

For heaven's sake,
leave her alone.


- Ain't you got no respect?
- I got plenty of respect.

There's policemen down the bottom
of the orchard. Keep your voice down.

Now look what you've gone and done.
Just lay on top of her.

Don't make no noise.

Oh, good evening, officer.
I was coming to assist in the search,

when I dropped my silver watch.

You can't have a railway gate keeper
without his time piece, can you?

- You're from the crossing.
- That's right.

- Yes, I've seen you.
- In my garden.

Everyone has to stop
to have a look at that.

It's been the beginning
of ever so many friendships.

We could do with all the help
we can get.

The orchard‘s clear,

but I've got a funny feeling
she's not too far away.

Oh, no more looking
in this orchard then?

No, I've come down to get the tea urn,

but I can spare a few minutes.

Where do you think
you lost that watch?

Ooh, over here somewhere.

I think it was over in this row 'ere.

- What you doing here?
- On ticket duty this morning.


They called off the search yesterday.

Well, if they'd come to me
in the first place,

I'd have told them the little I know
and saved them all that trouble.

What was it?

She come up here to the halt in time
to catch the 5.14 train to London.

Which is where
they're looking for her now.

So they won't come bothering us
no more, Miss Hampton.

Us who lives in a nice,
quiet, sleepy, little village.

And leads respectable lives.

Well, mostly respectable,
eh, Miss Hampton?

There we are.

Oh, the train's just coming in now,
Mr Wickstead.

- Tell Ewen I wish to see him.
- Oh, yes, sir.

(Whispering and laughter)


You didn't appear
to cut my topiary last night.

- I'll come tonight, sir.
- See to it that you do.

By the way, old chap, I see you're
sprouting a hedge round your chin.

Better be careful. People round here
may conclude you're the murderer.

- You alright? You've gone quite pale.
- (Whistle blows)

'By the way, old chap, I see you're
sprouting a hedge round your chin.

'Better be careful. People round here
might conclude you're the murderer.

'People round here might
conclude you're the murderer.

'Conclude you're the murderer.
You're the murderer, murderer.’

(Police radio chatter)


Alright, leave him.

No, leave him.

(Ewen moans)

Come back.

Come back.


Get off me!

- Get off me!
- Hold him.

No, leave her.
No, leave her alone.

Leave her alone. Leave her alone.

- Leave her with me.
- Pull him away.

Leave her with me!

- Hold him.
- Leave her alone. Leave.

- Get him away.
- Leave her with me. Leave her.

Leave her with me. Get off me.

He's lived under my roof
for three months now.

I done my best to protect him,
but I never dreamed of this.

It's a shock,

but now I come to think of it,
he has been acting strange lately.

Now... Now! can see it.
It's all come clear, so to speak.

I think I can be a big help
to you, Inspector.

I think you better had.

(Groaning and sobbing)

(Scream echoes)

90p? To Tunbridge? Tsk!

Seems like yesterday
it was only1 shilling and 11 pence.

(Gatekeeper) Oh, Mrs Trowel?

I wonder if you'd mind telling
your young Stanley,

I won the inter-station garden
competition again this year.

I'll tell my boy.

If he's that interested,

he may look over your garden fence
on his way home from work one night.

Oh, I'll be waiting for him,
Mrs Trowel, yes.

Yeah, I'll be waiting for him.