One Bad Penny by David Smith | Script Revolution

One Bad Penny



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One Bad Penny by David Smith
An industrial catastrophe kills hundreds. One man is blamed. Years later will his son bring those truly guilty to book?

This is a 6 x 1 hour episode TV thriller, so the word count is per episode.


This story takes place in a small seaside town, Wightport, and is about an industrial disaster, a BLEVE (boiling liquid expanding vapour explosion). The story is set in two time periods, May 2010 and June 2016. The two are interlinked with flashbacks that tease out the truth about the cause of the disaster and who was to blame.

2010 - Gary David, an environment protection officer, is seen as a zealot by his superiors. He won’t bend the rules or turn a blind eye to dangers that could threaten people’s lives just to keep the town’s major employer, CN Chemicals, happy. Gary knows the CN plant is risky, old equipment kept running by cutting corners, but when a whistleblower tells him that a key piece of safety equipment has been compromised he has no choice but to try and close the factory. With his young female colleague in tow, he tries to carry out an unannounced inspection but is stopped and thrown out. Gary swears to come back and finish the job. Following this, CN’s top man, Roger Cook, complains to his friend, the local MP, that CN is being unfairly harassed. CN has been recently bought by a plundering multi-national and the pressure is on to maximize profits at any cost. Cook threatens to close the plant and lay off the large work force if not left alone.
Gary’s boss, a career politician, connives at every opportunity to get Gary fired. So, when she’s told by the MP to get rid of the meddlesome Gary or risk losing her job she delights in suspending him. A trumped-up accusation of trying to solicit a bribe from CN is given as the reason. Being suspended adds to Gary’s heap of personal problems. At home he is growing more and more estranged from his wife. Once so similar they are now world’s apart and in constant conflict. She is an entrepreneur with a hugely successful dot-com business which she is about to sell for £millions while Gary hasn’t moved on in his career. They will soon be very rich and she’s insisting he leaves work to take care of their children full time. He adores his son Sam (12) and daughter Jo (17) but loves his job, so has resisted her demands. But when he is suspended the pressure is on.
Gary learns from the whistleblower that a vital safety valve has been sealed on the CN production line. Now with no legitimate authority, he has no choice but to break into the plant and try to shut it down. He is caught before he can prevent a massive explosion. This kills hundreds. Following an investigation, Gary is blamed by the authorities for sabotage. Consequently he becomes the most hated man in the country. Sam is the only survivor from Gary David’s family.
In 2016 - Sam comes of age, inherits his mother’s fortune and sets out to clear his father’s name. Sam hires a special investigator and old family friend, Drew, but the deal includes working with Sam’s own man, Todd, a dark and sinister character. Together they track down all the key players involved in the disaster. Using Drew’s skills and Todd’s unorthodox methods they gradually piece together what really happened and who was to blame for all those lost lives. But will knowing the truth clear Gary’s name or underline his guilt? Also, after so many years, is the truth inconvenient? Will they re-open the case? If Sam is denied the justice he seeks so badly for his father, will he use Todd as his weapon of retribution? And finally will Drew be safe with what he now knows about what happened all those years ago and what could be about to happen now?

Submitted: May 4, 2017
Last Updated: May 4, 2017
Times Downloaded: 5
Last Downloaded: June 10, 2019

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The Writer: David Smith

I'm a pro writer that switched from writing novels to screenplays last year. I've written ten novels and since switching I've written a feature movie script, s set of TV thriller pilots based on my books, a near future sci-fi thriller series, two sitcom series and a sitcom pilot, and developed a TV concept called Peek-A-Boo. This is a sketch based TV programme using an eclectic mix of ghost & horror short stories. My 9Novels only) website is Go to bio

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