Who Pays the Ferryman? (1977): Season 1, Episode 1 - Return to Yesterday - full transcript

Alan Haldane returns to Crete, where he spent World War II. He meets an old resistance comrade, Babis Spiridakis, and a beautiful woman, Annika. Babis reveals a secret from the past. Alan decides to stay on indefinitely.

'I was angry then.'

- And now?
- Well, at least I'm not sulking.

Just looking
for a small victory somewhere.

That's what life is made up of, isn't it?
Small victories and very big defeats.

You put up a hell of a fight,

but there was no other course
open to us, Alan.

We had to accept Sea Sports' offer.

My big mistake was not making sure

I had a majority shareholding
in the company when we formed it.

But then, of course, I always thought
I could rely upon my brother.

God knows why. Cain and
Abel, there's a precedent for you.

- Well, that's damned unfair.
- Is it? A bit extreme, perhaps.

All right, Jacob and his brother.
You sold me out.

And you said you weren't sulking.

I'm not! But that's a matter
of truth, just for the record.

I didn't sell you out.
Not just me, anyway.

Jack Hedges was in agreement.
You were outvoted.

That's business.
There was nothing personal in it.

And that is exactly my point.
There was nothing personal in it.

- Do you want one of these?
- No, thanks.

We couldn't have gone on
the way we were going.

Why not? We had a name, a reputation.

But too few customers and debts.

We'd priced ourselves
out of the market.

What you're trying to say is that
I priced us out of the market. Is that it?

If only you'd compromised
on materials.

I designed those boats to be carvel
made of wood, mahogany on oak,

the way boats should be built.

I didn't want to see them churned out
in fibreglass or ferro concrete.

Well, that's water under the bridge.

And you have to admit that
Sea Sports' bid was a good one.

You and Hedges seemed to think so.

Come on, Alan. You've done
very nicely out of the deal financially.

And you didn't have to sell.
You could have held onto your shares.

Yes, be a minority shareholder

in a company of which
I was once managing director?

And see that yard out there
pushing out plastic car top dinghies?

No, thank you.

So, what are you going to do?

I'm not sure.

It's all right for you. Haldane Marine
was never a full-time thing.

You always had your estate agency.

But me, I'm out on a limb.
I'm hardly the age to start all over again.

- And at what, for God's sake?
- Retire. You could afford to.

- No, thank you.
- Why not?

You've only got yourself to consider.
You've got no ties.

- That's true.
- I'm sorry. That was thoughtless.

That's all right.

By the way, Barbara and I are
giving a dinner party next Thursday.

Nothing special, just a few friends.
Why don't you come along?

Thanks for the offer,
but, er...I don't think so.

Lorna Matthews will be there.

- On her own.
- Are you matchmaking?

Maybe you ought to get married again.
It can be a full-time occupation.

Yes, well, give, er...Lorna my regards
and Barbara my regrets.

Well, if you're sure. If you change
your mind, just turn up anyway.

I've got to go.
I've got an appointment at five.

It looks like I've found a buyer
for the old Richmond place.

- Good for you.
- I'm glad there's no hard feelings.

I did not say that.
I just said I wasn't sulking.

I see. So, that's why
you won't come to dinner.

No, that's not it.

I'm going away for a while.
I won't be here.


No. Sort of stocktaking
for a few weeks.

Where are you going?


I am sorry, sir,
but Mr Spiridakis is in Athens.

He will be away for five,
maybe six days. I am not sure.

I see.

If you will give me your name
and tell me where you are staying,

I am sure he will telephone you
when he comes back.

That may be difficult. I'm not sure where
I'm going to be for the next few days.

But will you just tell him
that Alan Haldane called, please?

Alan Haldine?

- No, Haldane.
- Haldane, OK.

Say I'll be back later. Bye.


I'm...I'm sorry. Am I trespassing?

Not really.

What is it?

You remind me of someone.

Are you lost?

In a way, yes.

You know, I fought
in that olive grove during the war.

Men died there.

Men have died in battles all over Crete.

Women and children too.

This is an island of slaughter.
Our soil is the colour of blood.

And so is our best wine.

- The grove hasn't changed.
- Of course not.

And now it belongs to you.

Yes, or rather I hold it in trust.
For the past.

The scars we made have healed.

Some of them, perhaps.

Were you long in Crete?

- Er...I'm sorry?
- Were you long in Crete?

Yes, yes, I was.

Um...almost three years.

I was with the Andartes.

There were a lot of British
attached to the partisans.

Yes, I know.

Thank you.

And...and you haven't been back since?

- No.
- So, why now?

I don't know. I, er...
I think I'm looking for something.

Something you found here
and then you lost?



All these years later.

In search of what?

A memory? A sense of direction?
A purpose? I really don't know.

- It's all right. Come in, Matheos.

Er...this is...

I'm sorry.
My name's Haldane, Alan Haldane.

Annika Zeferis,
and this is Matheos Noukakis.

Matheos is my right hand. He manages
the olive groves and the factory for me.

- The kyrios was here during the war.
- Yes?

Now he searches,
but for what he's not sure.

I think I'll know when I find it.

Yes, that's a promise
we all make to ourselves

to insure against disappointment.

- Where do you go from here?
- To the monastery at Kera.

We often gathered there. It was
like a...a beacon to the Andartes.

And if I'm going to get there in good
time, I'm afraid I must go. I'm sorry.

So am I.

And thank you very much for the wine.

- Adio.
- Adio.

Whatever it is you are looking for,
I hope you find it.

I'll let you know.

- How long are you staying in Crete?
- Two, perhaps three weeks.

If you have time, then.

He interests you?

What did you want, Matheos?

The Kalogerides contract.
It requires your signature.


Er...leave it with me, will you?
I want to study it.

So, now the contract is in order.


The contract
with the amendments you asked for.

You are now happy with it, no?

Yes, but will Kalogerides be happy?
That's the question.

The answer is no.

He's not going to be happy
with the alterations you have made.

But he will accept them.

He needs us as much as we need
his business. So, he will agree.

The dates by which delivery
must be made still worry me.

Leave that to me.

I will see that they are met.
Have no fear.

My dear Matheos,
what would I do without you?

- In matters of work.
- And in other things.

- Friendship?
- That too.

- I would do more for you. Much more.
- Yes, I know.

Running a business such as yours
is a heavy responsibility.

- For a woman, you mean?
- For anyone.

Perhaps, but then I have you
to share the load, don't I?

And can we share nothing else?

Trust and friendship.
Are they not demands enough?

No, not for me.
I would share all your life with you.

Share, Matheos? Or control?

I love you.

With a man,
how often do the words "I love you"

so quickly come to mean "I own you".

Your heart. Your love.
That is all any man would wish to own.

By deed of right?
By what title, Matheos?


I have been married.

But my husband owned nothing of me.
Neither did he earn what I had to give.

Your husband was not a man.

You do not have the right to say this.

I am sorry.

He was a man, and a good one.

Just not the right one for me.

As I am also not the right man for you.

The mountain and the sea.

Once a mountain
fell in love with the sea.

And as a token of its love,
from the snow which covered its peaks,

it created a stream which became a
torrent and then a river to feed the sea.

And the sea took the fresh water
into itself and tainted it with salt.

And when the mountain saw this,
it said to the ocean,

"This crystal-clear river
is my gift to you, given with love.

"Why do you spoil it with salt?
Do you despise me?"

And the sea replied, "No, dear friend,
I do not despise you.

"Your gift honours me
and I accept it with gratitude.

"But you are a mountain
and I am the sea.

"Salt is necessary to me. It makes me
what I am. What I have to be.

"And salt is something
that you cannot give."

Adio, Matheos.

I was waiting. I was expecting you.

As I think I was expecting you

So, tell me. Did you find anything?

Memories. Ghosts.

They're always with us.

- There was nothing else.
- Of course not.

Not among phantoms.
You have to look elsewhere.

Amongst the living?

In today anyway. Not in yesterday.

You said you were expecting me.

Something, someone.

And then you arrived.

But this evening I knew
that it was you I was waiting for.

I had to come back. I, um...

I don't know why.

Yes, you do.

- You are married, of course?
- No.

I was but, er...

my wife was killed
six years ago in a car accident.

- And you?
- Divorced.

- Really?
- You are surprised.

But then of course you know
something of Cretan attitudes.

Well, little has changed.

In that respect at least.

Here a woman is not expected
to divorce her husband.

It offends his masculinity, his pride.

But I am one of those
who have broken that pattern.

That must have made
life difficult for you.

That's not important.

Only dignity's important.

And giving, when you can.

You have a family?

I have two children.

A boy and a girl.
They are both studying in France.

I have a mother and a brother.
So, I am not alone.

Aren't you?

Alone, I said.
You speak of loneliness.

They are different things.
I think you know that.

The man that was here
the first time I met you?

Matheos? A business associate,
a friend, nothing more.

I want you.

You need me, as I need you.

That's why you came back.

That's why I wanted you to come back.

But think about it, Englishman,
as I have.

What would it mean? What would it be?

An interlude? A holiday affair?

We are both too vulnerable.

We have spent
a pleasant evening together

and when you leave,
we will have that memory.

But neither of us will have
invested anything in our meeting.

And it's better that way
because there is no future in tonight.

And that's your real need.

And mine.

Hey, Babis!


Hello, Babis. You remember me, then.

Of course.

It's been a long time.

Yes, a long time.

Come in.

You don't seem
pleased to see me, Babis.

I have often wondered, "Is he alive
or is he dead, my English brother?

"He who fought alongside me
during the war."

Well, I meant to write but always
tomorrow. You know how it is.

And then as the years went by I thought,
"Perhaps Babis will have forgotten."


So, what have you
been doing with your life?

Too little, I think. Building boats
and losing money, lately anyway.

- You still build boats?
- No.

Well, that's a saving anyway.

And there must have been times recently

when life wouldn't
have been easy for you.

For all honest Greeks.

There are always barbarians
who would oppress other men.

Fighting them is never easy.
You should know that from the old days.

From the old days?

When we always met
we always embraced as friends.

As brothers.

Why am I no longer your brother, then?

You are. Nothing can ever change that.

But here we are all these years later
making polite conversation

like a couple of strangers.

What's wrong?



Do you ever think of her?

Often. A great deal, lately.

- How is she?
- She died four years ago.

So, Melina is dead.

A brain tumour. It was very sudden.

I can't believe it.

I wrote to her, you know,
when I got back to England, three times.

But...she never replied.

You wrote to her?

Yes, of course.

Well, if that is so, I can tell you
that those letters never reached her.

And she also wrote to you at least once,
because I helped her with the English.

Where did you send the letter?

To the War Office in London.
We had no other address.

They never forwarded it to me.

Or if they did, it followed me
from posting to posting.

- Either way, I never got it.
- Is that the truth?

Of course it's the truth.
Why would I lie about that?

So, you don't know about...

I don't know about what?

Now, come on, Babis, tell me.

I want to know. I don't know about what?

Sit down, Leandros.

After you were sent back
to England in 1944,

Melina discovered
that she was pregnant.

She was carrying your child.


That is what she wrote to tell you.

And she heard nothing from me?

She thought that
you had abandoned her.

I'd never have done that, Babis.
I loved her. You know how much.

I was coming back, but...

...when she didn't reply
to the letters, I thought...

I thought she'd changed her mind.
I thought that...

what she really wanted
was not to see me again.

I...I didn't...

I didn't know about the child,
Babis, believe me.

I do now.

And then what did you think?

It was wartime.

In a war, a man seeks consolation

and moments of forgetfulness
wherever he can find them.

- Then when the fighting is over...
- How did she manage, Babis?

Here alone on Crete of all places.

Fortunately she was not alone.

Do you remember Stelios Papadakis?

Er...yes, he was in the group.

Well, when he saw
how distressed she was,

he must have guessed the truth.

He realised the shame and disgrace
which she would suffer here on Crete,

if she had a baby and no husband,

so he asked her to marry him.

Melina accepted, of course.
She had little choice.

So, Papadakis went to her family

and took the blame
for what had happened.

Her parents, although they were angry,

were most anxious
to see them married and quickly.

- He must have loved her very much.
- Yes, he must.

And she was fond of him
and very grateful.

She was a good wife to him in
the little time which they had together.

Stelios was killed in 1949,
fighting with the army on the mainland.

And the child?

A girl. They called her Elena.

- Yes?

Excuse me, Leandros.
A client on urgent business.

There are so many questions,
Babis, so much I want to know.

Later. All that matters now is that you
are back, after so long, among friends.


As it should be with brothers.


Welcome home!

Tonight we celebrate?

I am grateful to you, Matheos,
for bringing the oil to me.

But you shouldn't have
bothered to come yourself.

You are a busy man.
You should have sent someone with it.

It was no trouble, Kyria Matakis.
I had to be here in Neapolis anyway.

And it always gives me
such pleasure to see you.

- You will take a glass of raki?
- Please.

And how is my daughter?

She is well, Kyria, as far as I know.

But I'm not sure that she would tell me
if things were otherwise.

She's a headstrong woman.
But she's free and you are a good man.

A woman is nothing without a husband.

Don't give up easily.

If you were to marry her, it would be
with my blessing. You know that.

Unfortunately at the moment,

there is someone who it seems
interests her much more than I do.

An Englishman.

An Englishman?


She entertained him to dinner
at her house last night.

They were alone together.

I will speak to her about that.
Not that she will listen, of course.

This Englishman, what is he like?

He did not impress me when I met him.

But, strangely, it as though Annika
had known him for many years.

Although I know that this is not possible.

He is here on holiday, a tourist.
His name is Alan Haldane.

Ho-ho! I'm out of condition.

It's a long time since
you danced the pentozali, my friend.

A long time. A long, long time.

Age is catching up with me, Babis.

It is the same with all of us
who were in the Andartes.

Our war was a long time ago.


Now that we have stopped,
the others won't be long.

It's just that nobody wanted
to be the first to give up.

- You see?


- Episis.

I see you have not
forgotten all your Greek.

See, Leandros. The bullets
which you took from my chest.

The day that you alone refused
to accept that I must die.

I keep them always on my komboloi
so that I shall never forget.

Well, I could hardly let you die.

You owed me 100 cigarettes.

Did I ever repay you?

I don't remember. Perhaps.

Yes, yes, of course you did.

So, you see,
you're no longer in my debt.

- Where's the child, Babis?
- Leandros.

Where's the child, Babis?

She's no longer a child.
She's married with a child of her own.

- Where does she live?
- In Elounda.

She and her husband Nikos
run a taverna and pension.

I must meet her.

But why?

As far as Elena is concerned,
Stelios Papadakis was her father.

After all these years, you cannot turn up,
a stranger from England,

and tell her the truth.

I wasn't going to tell her anything, but
I must meet her and I must talk to her.

No. It's a mistake. I promise.

- Believe me.
- Babis, don't you understand?

Just now I had to say
I had no children. But I do.

I have a child. I have a daughter,
and she's here in Crete.

And I must meet her
and I must talk to her.

That at least. Please.

- Do you speak English?
- Yes, a little.

- Are you English?
- Yes, I am.

When I saw you, I thought...
I thought you were not Greek.

Maybe German or French.

- Is this your place?
- Yes.

Then you must be Elena.


But how do you know?

Well, a friend of mine told me
about this place and about you.

Friend? What friend?

- Babis Spiridakis. Do you know him?
- Yes.

Yes, since I was a child.

He's got a house here.
He comes here very often.

- Is he a good friend of yours?
- Well, I knew him during the war.

You speak very good English.
Where did you learn?

School when I was a child.

As a matter of fact, I didn't want
to speak...I mean to learn English.

I'd rather speak French.

I think French is beautiful.
Don't you think so?

But my mother said, "No,
you learn English," and so I did.

But here, you know, it's not very easy.
I mean, you don't get much...

- How do you call it?
- Practice.

Elena? Elena!

The kyrios is English. We were talking.

- Excuse me.
- My husband.

- Hello.
- Hello.

- Sorry.


Yes, sadly, they have quarrelled
a great deal lately.

Are they in some sort of trouble?

- They have a problem.
- Money?

No, at least not the lack of it.

They have the taverna,
and Nikos owns three fishing boats

and some land, which he farms quite
profitably, so they make a good living.

- But they're not happy?
- They were. Very.

But now they disagree, and this
perhaps threatens their happiness.

What do they disagree about?

The future.

You see, the taverna belongs to Elena.

It was part of the inheritance
which she had from Melina.

She still retains the title to it.
It is hers, not theirs.

Now, this is something
which Nikos has always resented,

because in Crete it is normal
for the husband to control everything.

Yeah, but that's in the past. You said
they quarrelled about the future.

But now a development company
is most anxious to buy the taverna.

For them it's the ideal site
for a new hotel.

They've offered a great deal of money.

And Elena doesn't want to sell?


And this angers Nikos.

Nikos, you see, is very ambitious.

He thinks there's many things
they could do with the money.

And to hell with the village. I mean,
Elounda's a very beautiful place.

Perhaps Elena is worried
about keeping its character.

- Has she talked to you about it?
- They have both talked to me.

But it's difficult for me
to be objective.

As you say,
Elounda is a beautiful place.

I have a small house there
where I spend some time each year

so I don't want to see
the village changed

any more than it's changed already.

As long as Elena refuses to sell...

But for her
life will go on being difficult.

The quarrelling will continue

and finally Nikos will forsake
argument for an ultimatum.

The taverna or him.

Something like that.
And Elena loves her husband.

- So, she can't win?
- I doubt it.

What if she had some help?

But there's nothing one can do.
It's a family affair.

Yes, you're right.

It is a family affair.


Hello, it's Alan.

No, no, no, no, no.
I'm calling you from Crete.

Well, that's it. I'm not.

No, I'm staying here.

Don't know. It could be indefinitely.
No, something's come up.

Er...no, no, it's business.

Yeah, well, I may want to invest here.
That's why I'm ringing you.

Yes, I know. Will you get on
to John Bainbridge at the bank?

Find out what the form is. You know,
the Bank of England clearance and the...

Yeah, I know, I know. Yes.

Right. There's one other thing I want you
to do. Put my house on the market now.

Yeah, and get the best possible price
you can in the quickest possible time.

Yes, yes, yes, yes, David.
I have thought about it.

I am very involved.

- Kalispera.
- Kalispera.

You remember? This is the Englishman
that was here yesterday.

- Kalispera.
- Kalispera. A raki, please.

You like Elounda?

Yes, I do.
That's why I've come back to stay.

In fact, Babis Spiridakis
has lent me his house.

So, as you see,
we're going to be neighbours.

Good, then we shall
see much of you, yes?

- Yes, you will.
- I'm glad.

Excuse me.

- To welcome you to Elounda.
- Thank you very much.

- Yassou.
- Yamass.

- Hello.
- Hello.

I drove up to your house this morning
but you weren't there.

Why did you want to see me?

To tell you that I'm going to stay
some time in Crete. Perhaps forever.

I wanted you to know
it's no longer just a holiday for me.

I see. That is a big step to take.

I think I may have found
what I was looking for.

I was going to drive up again
tomorrow to see you.

It's quite a coincidence
meeting you here.

Not really. I come here often. You
see, the taverna belongs to my niece.

- Elena is your niece?
- Yes. Elena's mother was my sister.