Foiled is over for another year.
It’s odd because, of course, Foiled has yet to begin for most of you. The broadcast dates are lined up in August, but all our work is done and we’re already looking ahead to what’s next.
Tom and Dave have finished editing episode one and say that it sounds like the best thing they’ve ever produced. Certainly from the writing side, I feel like – somehow – Beth and I have delivered on our grandiose ambition of writing our own (more modest) version of Radiohead’s OK Computer.
Which brings us to the cheerful faces of those sprightly actors in the photo above. Our guests for this last episode were Sir Derek Jacobi – so good they knighted him twice – and his partner Richard Clifford.
Sitting in the rehearsal room with these two grandees of British stage and screen was a pinch-yourself moment. All the actors were stealing glances at Sir Derek as if they couldn’t believe what was happening – but also to learn from a master of their craft.
Every single one of Derek’s choices was spot on. He took the lines and lifted them beyond wherever they deserved to be.
In all the knight-of-the-realm kerfuffle, Richard Clifford could be overlooked. But that would be a serious mistake. An equally fine actor, although undecorated, Richard brought relish and gravitas to his role as Professor of Celtic Studies from the University of Monmouth.
And, so I’m told, the actors we know and love from Foileds past, raised their game to match theirs. I can’t wait to hear the finished audio.
This episode was written inside three weeks – only 30 hours of scriptwriting compared to the 50 or so for the other three episodes.
With no writers rooms, we had only ourselves and a little assistance from producer Tom Price on story, and from comedian Ed Easton for a few lovely gags here and there.
Everyone has said maybe we should write all our episodes with a three week deadline. Maybe they’d be right, but that method leaves no leeway for mistakes.
In three weeks, we could afford course correction, but no full rewrites. If we’d fucked up too badly, then who knows what would’ve happened. Maybe it would’ve ben fine; maybe Sir Derek might have politely declined. Who knows?
People like Sir Derek get fifty offers a day. He has no need for a job on Radio Wales. No need whatsoever. This is a man who has played Hamlet at Elsinor Castle.
Derek and Richard only do passion plays now and it’s down to my wonderful writing partner that they felt this project was worth their time and creativity.
As they rushed off home to get back to their dog, Derek chortled: ‘Let’s get this on TV, shall we?’
What a day.