Sifting through some more floppy discs that I found in my loft…
…I discovered three scripts that I had forgotten entirely. Blanked from my memory, no doubt. This is because (when I began reading the opening lines) it all came flooding back. It was this proposed children’s animation that was the final straw that broke the metaphorical camel’s back. I now recall the boss of a leading children’s animation TV series provider liking it very much, but who couldn’t see how it would fit into a saturated market (at that time), what with Thomas the Tank Engine and Bob the Builder etc already well-ensconced. He also doubted that I could create enough story-lines for an entire series. He might or might not have been correct about the former; but, as I was to prove very quickly, he was absolutely on-the-money with the latter. I managed three episodes…and dried up. I had nothing. This (rather than the failure to sell my adult stuff) is what prompted me to finally give up. But, looking back at it now, almost twenty years later, it wasn’t half-bad. Check out this portion. Skidlid is the driver of a Swedish-built truck named Woden. Scooter is a truck-mountable forklift truck that rides on the rear of Woden. Farquar is a regular electric counter-balanced forklift truck at the factory for which they deliver ‘widgets’. Danny drives Farquar; and Binky works in the office.
As previously encountered, the formatting from Windows 95 means that the copy is slightly all-over-the-place…
SKIDLID & SCOOTER by Paul Nolan
EPISODE 01: WEATHER FOR DUCKS
1: EXT. DAY. LOGAN’S YARD.
WODEN is reversing across the yard into the loading bay of LOGANS PRESSED WIDGET COMPANY.
Although his ‘bleeper’ is sounding loudly, SCOOTER, who is still mounted on Woden’s rear, calls out a warning…
Mind yourselves. Mind yourselves. Woden is coming in.
WODEN: (Swedish accent)
Thankyou, Scooter, but everyone can hear my reversing beeper. You don’t need to worry.
2: INT. DAY. LOADING BAY.
Woden halts. SKIDLID, drops from the cab, then reaches back inside to retrieve his safety helmet – placing it upon his head.
FARQUAR, driven by DANNY, enters from the warehouse, and approaches the lorry.
SKIDLID: (calling to Danny)
Skidlid indicates his own helmet.
Come on Danny, you know the rules: You must wear a helmet when driving a forklift truck.
Sorry, Skidlid. I forgot.
Danny reaches back to fetch his helmet from the rear of Farquar.
You always forget. One of these day’s you’ll forget your head. Now what have you got for Woden to deliver today?
He doesn’t know. It’s too early; he hasn’t woken up yet.
That’s right. It’s too early; I haven’t woken up yet.
Mister Logan hasn’t given me the delivery sheets yet, either…
Skidlid and Danny make for the office
FARQUAR: (to Scooter)
Aren’t you coming down off of there?
Is it all right if I come down off of here?
No, it’s all right. You best stay there. We won’t be long.
Skidlid and Danny disappear inside the office.
Do you feel slightly superfluous – hanging around like that – like a metal monkey?
I don’t know. What does ‘superfluous’ mean?
It means something that isn’t really needed. Something extra that we could all do without.
That’s not a very nice thing to say. Of course I’m needed. Skidlid often uses me.
Well, when we go places where there’s no forklift trucks around.
You mean forklift trucks – like me?
But if there are forklift trucks like me around, he leaves you hanging onto the back of Woden – like a metal monkey?
Well…yes, I suppose so…
I thought so.
Skidlid and Danny return with BINKY – who carries a sheaf of paperwork.
She hands them to Skidlid one at a time.
Your first call is at the new bridge. They need a widget cruncher. Their widget cruncher broke down.
Thanks, Binky: We’ll get straight over there. Come on Danny – load us up.
3: EXT. DAY. LOGANS YARD.
Danny uses Farquar to place a huge, heavy box onto the rear of Woden – who sags under the weight.
Are you trying to burst my tyres, Farquar? This is very heavy.
Too heavy for Scooter, I think. Perhaps you should leave him behind. He will only slow you down.
No, I do not think so. Where I go, Scooter goes.
He is a very useful forklift truck.
O.K, Skidlid, all done: Off you go.
Woden pulls from the yard. Danny and Binky wave their farewell.
Fancy a cup of tea, Binky?
They depart. Farquar looks up at the darkening sky. The first raindrops to fall hit him.
I say, don’t forget me!
4: EXT. DAY. WODEN.
Scooter is becoming drenched by rain as Woden drives through the countryside. He is not enjoying it.
They pass a holiday camp, full of caravans.
Oh, those poor people. What horrid weather for a holiday.
5: EXT. DAY. RIVERSIDE ROAD.
Woden drives along beside the river – which is rising in the pouring rain.
That river looks awfully high.
It is all this rain. It is making the river rise so high I think it may flood.
That sounds like fun.
Not if you live near the river, and the river fills your home with water.
Oh, no, I suppose not.
6: EXT. DAY. UNFINISHED BRIDGE.
Several workmen and a large diesel forklift truck shelter from the rain beneath a canvas hut beside a partially built steel bridge.
Woden arrives. Skidlid drops from the cab.
Hello, I’ve just brought your new widget cruncher.
Lovely. Just drop it there, will you?
It’s weather for ducks out there, and we don’t want to get wet.
Do I have to take it off myself?
Very kind of you to offer. Just there will do.
But the load is very heavy…
I can do it, Skidlid. That’s why you brought me along.
But they have a much larger forklift truck here already…
Please, Skidlid; I don’t want to be superfluous…
But it’s really heavy. I don’t think…
O.K, Scooter, you can give it a try.
Woden begins lowering Scooter to the ground.
7: EXT. DAY. UNFINISHED BRIDGE.
With Skidlid driving, Scooter approaches the heavy load on the rear of Woden.
Are you sure you want to do this, Scooter?
Yes. The load only looks heavy. I’m sure Farquar made it look much harder than it really is.
Scooter strains to lift the load. He huffs and puffs. The load begins to rise, but his rear wheel will not remain upon the ground. It begins to spin as he tries to reverse.
The workmen rush from shelter, clambering upon Scooter – bringing his wheel back down.
No, no – it isn’t safe. Everyone off. This load is too heavy for this machine.
The workmen retreat to cover, and Skidlid lowers the load back onto Woden.
Well it was nice while it lasted.
Farquar was right: I am superfluous. No one has any need of me. You might as well throw me into the river.
Oh, no, Scooter, you’re not superfluous: It’s just that truck-mounted forklift trucks aren’t made to lift huge widget crunchers. It needs big counter-balanced forklifts like…
Well, yes – like Farquar. But Farquar would be no good on the back of Woden, would he? He would be too big. We’re all good at different things. There are times when you are very handy. Just not right now.
THE WORKMEN CRY OUT AN ALARM.
Skidlid notices that they are pointing to the river- upon which a caravan bobs in the current.
A family can be seen waving for help from the roof.
Oh, cripes, that mobile home is being swept away!
What are we going to do? If it hits the bridge, it’ll be torn apart!
Your big fork-lift truck: Perhaps it could go down to the bank – reach across – and stop the mobile home before it hits the bridge.
The diesel forklift truck roars into life – smoke billowing from its exhaust.
8: EXT. DAY. RIVERBANK.
The Workman eases the diesel forklift truck down the bank toward the fast-moving water.
Skidlid calls from the bridge…
Hurry – the mobile home is getting closer.
I can’t; it’s the mud: It’s too soft. My wheels are sinking. I can’t go backwards or forwards.
9: EXT. DAY. UNFINISHED BRIDGE.
Woden and Scooter look-on…
Things do not seem to be going well, Scooter.
That poor family; they’ll be here in just a few minutes. They’ll be dashed into the raging river.
Perhaps they are Olympic swimmers, and can swim easily to the bank.
What are the chances of that, Woden?
About a million-to-one.
That’s what I thought.
Skidlid – fetch out Woden’s towrope. Do it quickly!
© Paul Trevor Nolan 2003
Hmmm, wonder if this could be persuaded to morph into a children’s book…? Whatta ya think?