John Finnemore’s Double Acts

Series One

1. A Flock of Tigers

Set on a train in 1934, Edmund is alone in a train compartment before Dolorosa enters to disturb the peace, wanting to start a conversation. Edmund being much more reserved attempts to prevent her rambling by telling her he is tired, but unfortunately he still has to tell her his journey to visit his son who attends a boarding school. Dolorosa’s continued probing finds that Edmund is unable to use his imagination having never been taught as a child and struggles to bond with his son Anthony. Dolorosa tries to get him to improve his pretending skills by imagining sheep in a field. Moving on, the field becomes full of tigers as Edmund struggles, while Dolorosa presses on with her wild tales. Eventually Edmund gets into the swing of things and manages to concoct a fantastical tale, with Dolorosa convincing him that he will now be able to enjoy his time with his son more readily. As they arrive into Oxford, Dolorosa tells him that she is a psychoanalyst and will be giving a talk that evening with which the events on the train will be central.

2. Wysinnwyg

In the managers office of Willard & Son Bath Suppliers, manager Adele is obstinate towards new underline Kerry. Kerry is left confused while trying to find out what her new job entails, but is left to feel very much a subordinate. Over the weeks, Adele continues to be difficult, with things coming to a head when Kerry requests Adele submit some sales figures for their senior manager who responds by quoting Sun Tzu and the Art of War. Adele goes on to show Kerry an appraisal she has written for ‘Useless Joel’ which is less than favourable. This causes problems the following day when Joel trashes Adele’s office and resigns having seen the appraisal, taking company sales data with him to a competitor. Several months pass and Kerry has been promoted to Liaison Manager which leads to Adele becoming increasingly hostile. More sales leads go missing, which Adele soon readily admits to, but manages to mess up when trying to pin the blame on someone else. Kerry takes the advantage by revealing she has been scheming to rise through the company ranks and has been ‘wearing a wire’ and recording her and Adele’s conversations.

3. Red-Handed

Recently divorced Joel has been fired from his job at the bath company, and returns home to find his house being burgled by older gentleman Henry. Stunned at a middle-class man stealing his belongings, he is delayed from calling the police as Henry reveals a number of details about how he came to choose Joel’s house including living opposite a cafe, being alone, and having a full-time job. Joel still attempts to call the police, but Henry again tries to persuade him not to saying it will take lots of Joel’s time up, and they may discover the contents of a box hidden in his drawers. Henry goes on to talk about his life working in insurance, before transferring his skills to burglary and him being a widower who needed a hobby before slipping a detail which reveals previous lies. About to ring for help, Joel soon realises he has been painted into a corner by Henry, as the police may find it suspicious that it took so long for Joel to call them. Henry has calculated a plan which puts Joel in a corner, before punching himself on the nose. Bargaining with Joel, Henry takes the suitcase and leaves with Joel realising he wasn’t a particularly nice man.

4. The Goliath Window

Set in 1820 in St Anne’s church in the village of Mayton Chennett, Mark has removed his clothes in preparation for his modelling for a stained glass window of David and Goliath. Luke convinces Mark to get dressed again as he does not need him naked to complete the work, and Mark wishes to simply get on with the modelling. Questioning where Luke’s apparatus is, Luke states he is only producing the drawing and not actually completing the staining process at this time. Mark soon launches into a tale about his lost arm while onboard a ship. Beginning the drawing, Luke attempts to progress while Mark struggles to maintain his posture. Stopping for a drink, Luke tells about how he became talented at drawing and joined the church. Luke makes reference to them being brothers, however Mark becomes angrier as he does not wish to discuss the situation. Getting back to the modelling, Luke suggests drawing Mark as David next however Mark does not want to be represented as the smaller man. Mark accidentally lets slip he was kicked out of the family through shame for becoming a sailor, though he did send letters which were never received by Luke. As the relationship improves, Luke considers them reconciled and shows where the stained glass window will go before beginning to smash the church windows.

5. English for Pony-Lovers

In a guest house in a German town, Elke waits for Lorna who is late to give her an English lesson. The conversation starts with confusion, before Lorna orders a Rum and Coke and attempts to have Elke pay for her dinner. Lorna also reveals her prices which are particularly high. As the lesson begins, Lorna’s lack of English-language knowledge soon becomes apparent. Elke also questions some phrases from fan-fiction about My Little Pony, written by her daughter Claudia, in which the horses are lesbian. She also talks about their relationship which is distant with Elke resorting to reading the fan-fiction on the internet and communicating with her own daughter through an altar-ego. As the pair are talking, Lorna reveals she is actually eighteen and has lied about her age repeatedly. Her story is that she was to take a gap year to Malawi, but ended up in Germany having failed her university application and not wanting to return home after not being able to face going to Malawi. Stating her plan is to wait until she was due to return, head to a tanning shop, and then use the story to get into university next year. Elke says that using her real story as that of a migrant worker would be better, and would make her stand out compared to other applicants. Elke also vows to stop using her altar-ego.

6. Hot Desk

At the reception of an office of Willard & Son Bath Suppliers, a security guard waits for the receptionist to arrive. When she does, the two exchange pleasantries before he leaves. The two make small talk on each shift change, and get to know each other through these small exchanges of dialogue. The security guard gets to know her as Sarah when her name is actually Griselda, but she is still unsure of his and feels uncomfortable about asking as well as correcting him. She enacts a plan to find out his name via other means, and discovers it is Barnaby. Barnaby begins to try to work up the courage to ask her out during their small switch-overs, though Sarah also misses her chances to reciprocate. She gets him a birthday present and discovers his first name is Mike, and Barnaby is his surname. Griselda also reveals her real name as the two try to come to terms with the new names. The relationship between the pair fluctuates up and down, before they get into an argument about not having gone on a date despite both wanting to. As the argument continues, they progress to asking each other out as Mike reveals he has made a present for her.

Series Two

1. The Queen’s Speech

2. The Mercy Dash

3. Rebel Alliance

4. Penguin Diplomacy

5. Here’s What We Do

6. The Wroxton Box