EXT, DAY. HELICOPTER SHOT OF GEORGIAN MANOR, SET IN GREEN AND PLEASANT LAND
KEVIN MCCLOUD[VO]: For most of us, inheriting a manor house would be a dream come true, but for professionally inept couple, Theresa and David, it simply isn’t enough.
EXT, DAY. THERESA, DAVID AND KEVIN TALK OUTSIDE THE HOUSE
DAVID: Obviously, it’s a beautiful house and we love it deeply and want the best for it, but we feel that we can make more of it.
KEVIN: What do you hope to achieve with your design?
DAVID: To make it better.
KEVIN: Yes, but what’s your vision for the finished house?
DAVID: We can make it much bigger, but also reduce the running costs, get rid of some of the staff and make it a nicer place to live.
KEVIN: And how does Theresa feel about this?
DAVID: Well, she was against it at first, but she’s come around to my way of thinking
THERESA: Building means building.
EXT, DAY, PAN OF THE BUILDING
KEVIN[VO]: The house was constructed in 1890, and while much of it has been modernised there are still some areas which need updating. David and Theresa have rather more ambitious goals than a modest refresh, though, and have engaged local builder, Boris, to carry out the work.
EXT, DAY, BORIS AND KEVIN OUTSIDE OF BUILDING
BORIS: Obviously, one’s never tried one’s hand at this before, but how difficult can it be if people who haven’t even been to Oxford can manage it?
KEVIN: You’re not concerned by the lack of any sort of firm plan from David and Theresa?
BORIS: Cripes, no. Make it bigger, better, cheaper and freer. This is going to be the easiest build in history. I’m going to make a tremendous success of it. “Look upon my works, ye mighty”, eh?
INT, DAY, BORIS, WEARING A SUIT AND A HARD-HAT, BRAYS A SEEMINGLY RANDOM WALL WITH A SLEDGE-HAMMER
KEVIN[VO]: Over-optimism, even on a tightly managed build, can be ill-founded, and with David and Theresa’s build having no plan, no firm budget projections and inexperienced builders it seems to me that they’re heading for a fall.
THE SLEDGEHAMMER GOES THROUGH THE WALL. THERE IS A SHOWER OF SPARKS AND A TOILET FALLS THROUGH A SECTION OF THE CEILING SOME DISTANCE AWAY.
BORIS: We expected that to happen.
KEVIN[VO]: There have also been significant problems with the project management.
THERESA [TO CAMERA]: We found someone called Nigel, who really sounded like he had a plan for all of this, but we haven’t seen him since we decided to go ahead.
RADIO [BACKGROUND]: Good morning, pop-pickers, this is funky Uncle Farage playing you down to the midday news, and here’s With or without you by the always wonderful U2.
INT, DAY, LIAM STANDS IN THE SHELL OF THE HOUSE, CARRYING AN UMBRELLA, BECAUSE MOST OF THE ROOF HAS BEEN REMOVED
KEVIN[VO]: Meanwhile, interior designer, Liam, has been engaged, at a cost of nearly £12,000 a month.
LIAM [TO CAMERA]: Obviously, there’s very little interior design work I can do until the new structure starts to emerge, but I’m being kept very busy imagining how wonderful it’s all going to look. For example, there’s going to be a feature staircase affixed to that wall there.
A BULLDOZER, DRIVEN BY BORIS, CRASHES THROUGH THE INDICATED WALL
LIAM: Or a door. We’ll certainly need doors.
A WHOLE SECTION OF THE BUILDING COLLAPSES, AND THE DUST FLIES EVERYWHERE
LIAM [OBSCURED BY DUST CLOUD]: The important thing is that we’re all now absolutely clear what “load-bearing” means, and that was a crucial lesson.
EXT, DAY, HELICOPTER APPROACH TO THE SITE
KEVIN[VO]: Eighteen months into the build, and I’ve returned to see how Theresa and David are getting along.
EXT, DAY, SHOT OF THE MANOR, WHICH IS NOW MAINLY RUBBLE. ONE WING REMAINS STANDING, BUT IS ROOFLESS AND SEEMS TO BE LISTING TO THE RIGHT
KEVIN[VO]: With much of the house now in ruins and what remains poorly bodged…
SHOT OF WALL THAT IS BEING HELD UP WITH PLANKS OF 4×2 LEANED AGAINST IT
SHOT OF COLUMN MOUNTED ON A PILE OF SPECTATOR MAGAZINES
KEVIN[VO]: …Theresa and David are now reduced to living in a caravan in what was, until quite recently, the modernised west-wing of the original house.
INT, DAY, SMALL CARAVAN. DAVID AND KEVIN SIT AT THE TABLE
DAVID: We’re still very positive about the build. We always expected that there’d be a lengthy period of uncertainty and rebuilding, and we’re still confident that the finished building will meet and exceed all of our previous dreams.
KEVIN: When we last spoke you said that you had 58 detailed plans of the new build. Could I possibly have a look at them?
DAVID: While I did say that there were a number of plans, they may have less physical existence than my previous comments may have led you to believe.
SHOT OF CARAVAN BATHROOM DOOR
THERESA [OS]: Strong and stable, the new house will be strong and stable!
EXT, DAY, KEVIN STANDS IN FRONT OF THE RUBBLE OF THE HOUSE
KEVIN [TO CAMERA]: With no end in sight…with no end even envisaged, it seems that Theresa and David’s build is doomed. They really have hit rock bottom.
THERE IS A LOUD BANG IN THE BACKGROUND, AND A LARGE FIRE STARTS AMONGST THE RUBBLE.
BORIS [OS]: OH TESTICULIS!
EXT, DAY, OUTSIDE THE CARAVAN. KEVIN IS STANDING, THERESA IS SITTING IN A MUDDY PUDDLE
KEVIN: Do you feel at all that you’ve wrecked the house you inherited?
THERESA: Inherited? Oh no, we’re just renting.