Woollyback by Alan Fleet | Script Revolution


An estranged son and his dying father have one last night together in which to make their peace; but can the son accept the enormous burden it places on his shoulders?



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Novel - Woollyback

Joe, estranged from his father Sam for the past thirty years, has been summoned under false pretences by his sister Rose to Sam’s deathbed. As he travels between the airport and the hospital, old familiar places remind Joe of the first of the beatings from Sam that would eventually drive him away. At the hospital Rose reveals that their mother died in the mugging in which Sam was critically injured. Rose hopes for reconciliation between the two men, but how, Sam has only hours to live and is not conscious, or is he?

In support of Rose, Joe, against all his instincts, enters Sam’s hospital room. As Joe and Rose speak we see through flashback the events in the 1980’s that led to Joe leaving home. It is a story of prejudice, intolerance and fighting. Their small Cheshire town had always been divided; by the river, the chapel and the church, the Grammar and Secondary Schools, and the rivalry between incoming Scousers, from the urban clearances of Liverpool, and the locals, the Woollybacks. Ultimately it is Joe’s love for a Scouser that precipitates the final breakdown between father and son.

Through the thoughts of Sam we see that their stories have parallels, but it is Sam’s prize-fighting background that proves his undoing, and whilst defending his family the only way he knows how, his violent temper is never under control.

As Sam’s condition deteriorates Joe and Rose are given the option to alleviate his suffering, but Rose is unable to go through with it, leaving Joe alone with Sam for the first time since he left home at the age of sixteen. Only now does Sam briefly open his eyes and let Joe know that he is conscious. At this Joe vents his anger and finally tells Sam why he was expelled from school, an expulsion that led Sam to hit Joe one final time. When the circumstances are known, Sam realises the true enormity of his mistake; his guilt is overwhelming and triggers his final relapse.

Seeing his father fighting for air yet unable to breathe Joe relents and administers the diamorphin, causing Sam to relax and die. It is now Joe’s body that heaves with emotion as he remembers a time when they were close.

Submitted: January 31, 2018
Last Updated: January 31, 2018

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The Writer: Alan Fleet

I started out as a novelist and Woollyback was my first novel to be published in July 2000. Two years later this was selected by the UK Film Council for a tutored adaptation at Bournemouth Film School which in turn led to me completing a Masters in Screenwriting in 2006. To date I have made twenty-three short films on a wide variety of topics with costs ranging from zero budget to £10K. Giri won four festival awards and all the films can be seen on YouTube at Alan Fleet Short Films. I have written eight novels, a four-part TV drama, and eight feature screenplays, one of which, Summerisle, is a spec sequel to The Wicker Man that Robin Hardy had expressed interest in directing through... Go to bio

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