We’re going to stick to a strict nine-panel
grid for this story, because we’ve only got five pages and the grid
should give us a nice rhythm throughout.
Doctor O’s manservant, Pathe, is going
about his business around the mansion when he’s interrupted by a couple
of sightseers wanting to have a look around the premises. It’s the
National Heritage Open Day, when all registered Heritage houses are
required to open their doors to the public, and since Doctor O receives
Heritage funding for his home, that goes for his place too. Pathe
decides he’ll have a bit of fun and lets the couple in, showing them
the extraordinary and often-impossible secrets the house holds. These
become more and more incredible, until the couple call a halt, having
reached the conclusion this is all a massive Candid Camera-style prank.
At which point a crazed telekinetic villainess called Oestrogen bursts
in confirms that this is all too real. The end.
Establishing shot of the O Men’s stately home. Viewpoint is from the
edge of the trees, looking towards the front of the house (see O Men
1 for reference). It’s late summer, around 5 o’clock, so still plenty
of light left in the day, although the trees’ shadows are getting
long, stretching towards the house. The important thing here is we
can see the windows of the house, and in particular the first floor
centre window. If possible, can we see the top half of a figure in
the window, indistinct, but obviously in profile, bending over slightly
to our right? Not sure how possible this will be, but if you can do
We’re now in the house, looking out through that same first floor
middle window, POV slightly raised above head height. In front of
the window is the figure (this is Pathe, but we won’t see him clearly
until page 2), partly silhouetted against the light coming through
the glass. As with previous panel, he’s bending over slightly (to
our left now, obviously), and now we can see he’s doing something
to the table that’s to the left of the window (dusting, as will become
clear next panel). As the light is coming in through this window,
everything inside is naturally somewhat dark, but you can make out
the drapes, the shape of the table, that there’s a spray can resting
on it, and what looks like a carriage clock. Through the window, past
Pathe, we can see the lawn and trees out front of the house.
Close up on Pathe’s arm, dust-cloth in hand, polishing the table.
Now we can see that the spray can is a can of polish, and that is
indeed a carriage clock, with the time at about 10 to 5. Pathe’s arm
PANEL 4: CAPTION PANEL
This is the first of two caption panels on this page, which should
be the same size as the rest of the panels in this 9-panel grid. They
should be all white, with just centred words in them, and maybe an
Edwardian-looking twirly-but-simple design in each corner.
CAPTION: “Open Day”
Close up of Pathe’s arms and hands holding a figurine – a small Michaelangelo’s
David – and polishing it with his cloth. Maybe we can see some of
his torso too – his shirt and jacket lapels and bowtie.
Long shot: Pathe’s still upstairs, now with his back to us, adjusting
a large oil painting hanging on the far wall. At his feet there’s
a hoover, one of those smiley-faced ones, its long neck propped against
the wall. In the foreground we can see the top of the stairs, which
descend to our left.
Very tight on the hoover, and Pathe’s hand, his forefinger just about
to press the ‘on’ button.
PANEL 8: CAPTION PANEL
As with the other caption panel, this should be white, maybe with
borders as suggested, and centred text.
CAPTION: An O Men Interlude
Pathe hoovering in profile halfway down the stairs, which descend
to our right, with a banister on the side of the stairs nearest to
us and a wall on the far side. Renaissance-looking paintings adorn
the wall – these will crop up again later in the story, so it’s important
they’re there. The doorbell is ringing, but Pathe’s not reacting to
SFX (top of panel): DING-DONG! PAGE
We’re now just outside the front door of the house. Viewpoint is looking
at the heavy wooden door, which is being opened by Pathe (it’s hinged
on our right), with two people standing in front of it, facing towards
it. From the back of their heads you can tell that on our right is
a woman, and on our left is a man. She’s slightly shorter than him,
with dyed blonde shoulder-length hair, and he has short, dark hair.
Pathe is raised slightly above these two, so you can see from his
chest to his head. He has a blank, disinterested, aloof look on his
A switch in viewpoints: we’re now seeing from Pathe’s perspective,
looking straight at the two people, both of whom are looking up towards
us. She is pretty, in her early 30s, average weight, and smiling as
she speaks. Her name is Sarah. He’s not bad looking, same sort of
age, with a modern, fairly trendy haircut and sideburns, and he’s
also smiling pleasantly. His name is Martin. They’re typical of the
kinds of lower middle class couples who go roaming the English countryside
in search of things to do in their spare time, treating this country’s
heritage like an extended theme park. Ahem.
SARAH: Er… ha ha. Hello!
SARAH: Is the… owner in?
Back to the Panel 1 POV. The door is nearly open, though Pathe is
clearly blocking the way and holding onto the doorknob on his side
of the door. He has the same disinterested look on his face, as he
looks down on the couple.
Switch to Pathe’s POV again. The couple are in the same positions,
both still smiling, and again she is speaking.
SARAH: Is this your property? Only
we were hoping… Is it too late to have a look around?
SARAH: For the Open Day? The English
Heritage thing…? We are members. I’ve got my card if you’d like to
Repeat panel 3.
Back to Pathe’s POV. Same positions as before, except the smile has
now somewhat dropped off Sarah’s face, though there’s still the hint
of it – she’s looking more mystified now. Her boyfriend has also stopped
smiling, and is actually one step away from being a bit pissed off,
which he will be next panel.
SARAH: Uh… Did you—? Sorry, can you
Pathe’s POV again. Same positions, but now the couple are both looking
slightly cross and exasperated.
MARTIN: Look, mate, I don’t mean to
be a pain, but it took us ages to find this place and, y’know, you’re
required by law to open your doors to the public. Especially today.
It is the national Open Day…
Repeat panel 3.
Same as panel 3, except now Pathe has backed away and to the right,
and we can see his right arm is sweeping in towards the house, welcoming
the couple in. He’s also lost the blank expression and is now smiling
pleasantly. Basically, from this point on, Pathe’s decided to brighten
his usual boring day by having some fun at this lower middle class
couple’s expense and showing them of the wonders contained in the
PATHE: Quite so. Do come in.
We’re now inside the main hall. I’d suggest a long raised view looking
down and towards the front door, which is now closed. Pathe is to
the left of the door, not far from the wall, watching the couple.
They have moved in to the hall and apart slightly – Sarah further
to the right than Pathe, Martin further forward and again to the right
of her – and are both looking up and around them. The house should
look like a typical 18th century country manor house, but you can
litter it with much older furniture and fittings if you like, though
if you see walls there should be paintings on them.
Tight on Sarah, who’s turned round to talk to Pathe. She’s got a pleasant,
polite look on her face again, and now she’s seen Pathe’s penguin
suit get-up in full, she’s more sure he’s not actually the owner.
But she’s still not entirely certain, hence the pause in her question.
Anyway, we can see Martin behind and to the right of her, and he’s
looking to the right, actually at the paintings on the wall, as we
SARAH: So. Um… How long has the— owner’s—
family lived here?
We need to focus on two things in this panel: Sarah and Pathe’s conversation,
and Martin, who’s walked over to the wall to study the paintings,
in particular one large one. I guess if we go for a mid-distance shot,
with Sarah and Pathe in profile in the foreground, we’d be able to
see Martin between them looking at the paintings. Or we might only
need to see part of Sarah and Pathe, so that the visual focus is on
Martin. Up to you.
PATHE: Doctor O has no family, ma’am.
But he has lived here all his life — as have I.
SARAH: Oh, okay. But before that?
I mean, it’s quite a grand house, and the English Heritage guide doesn’t
really tell you anything — not even how to get here really! Is there
anyone, you know, titled or… historically important linked to it?
Tight on Martin, who’s bending over to look at the corner of one of
the paintings. We can see his face – he’s examining a signature and
his brow is furrowed. Meanwhile, Pathe’s telling Sarah all about the
house’s fabulous former residents.
PATHE (from off left): Oh, indeed,
ma’am. This house has played host to a number of interesting characters
over the years. Winston Churchill resided here for a period; JMW Turner
was a frequent guest; Jane Austen stayed briefly; both Oliver Cromwell
and Charles I were guests – separately, of course; Sir Francis Drake;
Sarah’s reaction to Pathe’s bizarre revelation: she looks stunned
SARAH: Oh. God. Right. That’s… I’m
sorry, did you¬— Oliver Cromwell? But… this house is only a few
hundred years old. How can—?
MARTIN (from off left): Bloody hell!
This is a Titian!
Switch to adjacent to Martin, who’s turned around and is now looking
towards Pathe and Sarah. Sarah has gone from looking stunned and confused
to dazed and confused. Pathe is looking pleased with how this is all
unfolding. Maybe we can see the side of Martin’s face – if we can,
he’ll be somewhat slack-jawed.
PATHE: Mm? Ah: quite so, sir. A late
Tiziano Vecellio, painted around 1575 – a companion piece to ‘The
Flaying of Marsyas’, I believe.
Reverse angle from previous panel, looking back from Pathe and Sarah
towards Martin. Martin’s turned back to the paintings and is pointing
at one of them.
MARTIN: But… I’ve never seen it before.
I’ve never seen any of these paintings before. I mean, I recognise
the artists: that’s a Rembrandt… that’s a Vermeer. But I’ve never
heard of, or— or even seen plates of the paintings.
PATHE: Mm. The Doctor does have an…
Martin is stalking back to where Sarah is, whilst looking at Pathe.
He’s angry, in the sense that he doesn’t know what’s going on here
and doesn’t like that fact.
MARTIN: Idiosyncratic? It’s fucking
SARAH: Shh, Martin! Please!
MARTIN: Sorry Sarah, but— I know enough
about art to know these paintings don’t exist!
On Pathe, who is chuckling to himself. He rarely gets any unexpected
visitors, and he’s going to enjoy this. There’s a fair chunk of dialogue
in this panel – I hope you can fit it all in as it’s pretty important,
but let me know if you have problems.
PATHE: A-heh. Heh. Sir. Madam. Might
I say, you’ve shown admirable determination in finding your way here.
It is no accident that this residence is so difficult to locate, although
our generous Heritage funding necessitates us assenting to at least
a perfunctory mention in the available literature. So, having succeeded
in tracking us down, it seems only proper you be rewarded with the
PATHE: In other words, to use the
vernacular: you ain’t seen nothing yet.
We’re now in a medium size room with Martin, Sarah and Pathe, who
are all looking at a large waste-height chunk of rock close to one
wall. There’s a tall glass dome on top of it, and inside the glass
is a sword, stuck in the rock. Guess what the sword is. Weapons of
every sort adorn the walls – axes, swords, maces, bows and arrows,
pistols (from flintlocks to automatics), rifles, machine guns, and
PATHE: The Armoury. Much of the weaponry
on display here is of a functional as well as decorative nature.
MARTIN: Is that—?
PATHE: Excalibur, yes. Arthur’s fabled
sword. Break glass in case of emergency.
Our group is now in a much, much larger room than the last one, too
large for the size of the house really – this’ll need to be established
in a long shot to make the jump from the last panel. This is the library,
with thousands of books on shelves that go all the way up to the ceiling,
plus various ladders, desks, chairs etc. Prominently on display on
a plinth is a very large open book, which Pathe is gesturing towards.
PATHE: The Great Library.
PATHE: Over there is the little-seen
third Domesday Book, this one detailing the religious persuasion,
political leanings and sexual proclivities of the population of Great
Britain, circa 1086.
A smaller room again. POV is just outside the room looking in through
the open doorway. Shelves on all walls, this time loaded down with
box files and scrapbooks and albums of newspaper clipping and photographs.
There’s a reading desk in the room too. Pathe is further into room
than Sarah and Martin, and he’s reaching up and pulling down an album.
PATHE And here we are in the Archive
Room. Let me see… Ah. This album might be of particular interest to
the layman. 20th Century classics, as I like to call them…
This and the next panel are two halves of the same picture. The album
Pathe has selected is open on the reading desk, and our POV is looking
down at it. In this panel we can see the left hand page, and in the
left/lower part of the panel we can see Martin’s head and right shoulder.
He’s looking to our right – actually at Sarah, who’s mirroring his
position in the next panel. He’s got an expression on his face as
if to ask, ‘Is this for real?’ On the album page is a photograph of
a flying saucer sitting in a hangar. In front of the saucer is a US
general, grinning at the camera and shaking the hand of, well, an
alien. A short alien, a ‘Grey’ basically. The Grey’s other arm is
raised. He’s waving at the camera. Underneath the photo in handwriting
on the album page is:
ROSWELL, NEW MEXICO, JULY 1947
Here we see the right hand page of the open book. In the right/lower
part of the panel, looking to our left (at Martin) is Sarah. The expression
on her face is, ‘Don’t ask me!’ On the page she’s overlooking is another
photo, same sort of size as the one in the last panel. This photo
is of a sound stage, taken from the edge of the backdrop, pretty much
centred in the photo so we can see the scaffolding holding the backdrop
up. In front of the backdrop (which is a black starfield) on the right
of the photo is the familiar sight of the 1969 lunar landing, with
the module and an astronaut on the surface of the Moon. Round the
back of the backdrop, leaning against the scaffolding, is a male cleaner.
He’s in his fifties, and is smoking a fag. Underneath the photo in
the same handwriting as the facing page is:
TEXAS, JULY 1969
PATHE (from off right): Moving on
to the Study…
We’re now in a large-ish room, certainly bigger than the archive room.
POV is from behind a glass display cabinet, about stomach-height,
inside of which is a very large tooth, like a dinosaur’s tooth, except
with a bit of gum and root at the base of it. On the far side of the
cabinet, over the top of it, we can see Pathe, who is looking at the
tooth and explaining what it is. Behind and either next to him or
either side of him are Martin and Sarah, and we can see they’re looking
at each other as if to say, ‘OK, this guy’s definitely pulling our
PATHE: …and the undoubted highlight
of the Trophy Room: a frontal tooth from the legendary monster of
Loch Ness — extracted at great risk, I might add. Nessie was still
alive at the time.
We’re now out in the main hall of the house, but towards the back
of the place, and facing that way too. We’re focussed on a large,
strange object sitting on the floor, a roundish contraption topped
by a glass dome, with four seats in it and lots of rather dated-looking
electronic equipment. It’s quite seriously bashed and rent on its
left side. We can’t see our group – all we can see is Pathe’s shadow
at the bottom of the panel, pointing towards (and maybe running over)
PATHE (from off below): Here we see
the time-dilating dimension pod used by the UK Ultra-Knights during
their battle with the notorious Chrono-Killer from Reality Z. Note
the extensive damage to the left side of the capsule, the result of—
MARTIN (from off right, overlapping?):
Oh come on!
On Martin, who’s pissed off, but in a good-natured way. Like he accepts
this has all been an amusing charade, but still doesn’t quite understand
what’s going on. On the wall behind him (not directly behind though)
is a large mirror, in which we can see Pathe, who’s looking slightly
affronted that his credibility is being questioned.
MARTIN: This is getting ridiculous.
I mean, I could maybe buy the ‘never-before-seen’ written English
constitution, or that photo of the camouflaged CIA ‘wetwork’ team
on the grassy knoll. But the Loch Ness Monster? The, what’d you say,
Chrono-Killer from Dimension Z? It’s just nonsense!
PATHE: Reality Z, sir. And I can assure
you, all of the artefacts I’ve shown you are completely genuine.
Pull back for a long, raised shot. We can see Sarah standing with
Martin to her left (our right), facing in our direction. They’re near
the back wall of the house, which is again adorned with pictures (and
the mirror we saw Pathe in). Pathe has his back to us, and is looking
at Martin and Sarah, so he’s facing the wall. To the left of them
all is the time pod, and whatever other fixtures and fitting you want
to put in. We need a long/wide shot here because the first panel on
page 5 will be from the same POV, except with a section of the wall
exploding in to the room. Sarah has her arms away from her side as
she speaks and is coming to the (mistaken) conclusion that this is
all a prank, so she’s a little cross but smiling, and looking around
for hidden cameras. Martin now has his hands on his hips and has a
similar expression on his face to Sarah.
SARAH: You don’t really expect us
to believe that, do you? I mean, granted it’s a pretty elaborate prank…
Come to think of it, it’s hard to imagine anyone going to such extraordinary
lengths just to fool a few sightseers. Unless…
SARAH: This is a set-up, isn’t it?
Has someone put you up to this? Where are the hidden cameras?!
MARTIN: That’s it, isn’t it? It’s
all a set-up! I knew it!
MARTIN: Fnhh. UK Ultra-Wipes. It’s
like some stupid comic or something…
Same set-up as panel 9, page 4, except now there’s an almighty crash,
as a section of the wall nearest our protagonists explodes into the
house. Sarah and Martin are shrinking from the noise, instinctively
throwing their arms up to protect themselves. Pathe, on the other
hand, is showing no outward reaction. Through the smoke and dust of
the explosion we can see a figure seemingly floating in the air, obviously
the cause of the devastation. This is Oestrogen, our villainess, though
no one apart from me, you and Mr Eden will ever know her name. Her
dialogue should be lettered differently to everyone else’s: caps I
should think, and maybe jagged letters (her voice sounds like nails
scraping down a blackboard).
OESTROGEN: DOCTOR O!
Full figure shot of Oestrogen floating through the massive hole in
the wall she’s created, with maybe a the backs of some of our other
protagonists’ heads in the foreground – leave that up to you. We can
see Oestrogen clearly now, though there’s still a lot of masonry dust
in the air. She’s a wiry, aged, furious, naked old hag, with straggly
black hair that moves round her head like Medusa’s snakes or like
she’s being electrocuted, given a life of its own by her psychic energy.
In fact, she’s crackling with energy all over. Her legs are together
and her arms are slightly away from her body – not full on ‘crucifixion’
pose but certainly getting on for that.
OESTROGEN: WHERE IS DOCTOR O?! KILL
HIM! I’LL KILL HIM! SUCK HIS EYES OUT! STRIP THE FLESH FROM HIS BONES!
FUCKING KILL! HIM!
We’re now looking at Sarah and Martin reacting to Oestrogen. Basically
they both look shit scared, mouths open, arms still raised to ward
her off. To the right and slightly behind them, however, is Pathe,
who has a look of irritation/determination on his face, and round
him are the funny shiny lines that denote he’s using his teleportation
OESTROGEN (from off): KILLHIM! KILLHIM!
Cut back to a very similar shot to panel 2, except now there’s a bit
less dust and Oestrogen’s head is missing, with again those funny
shiny lines around where it once was. She’s also lost her crucifixion
pose, like she’s been jolted a bit, and there’s no sense of crackling
energy around her anymore. What’s happened is Pathe has teleported
her head off.
OESTROGEN: (empty speech bubble)
Oestrogen’s headless corpse hits the ground in the foreground, watched
by a stunned Martin and Sarah in the background – with a now once
again emotionless Pathe again at their elbow to the right.
Sarah has grabbed Martin’s arm and is dragging him off towards the
big hole in the wall. She is desperate to escape. Martin is looking
shocked as he’s pulled away.
SARAH: Get out! Go—
SARAH: Run! RUUUNNN!!!
From behind Pathe, as he watches Sarah and Martin, who’ve gone through
the hole and are running off into the distance.
DOCTOR O (from off): Pathe!
DOCTOR O (from off): What the bloody
hell’s going on?!
We’re looking straight at an expressionless Pathe, who’s looking through
the hole and past our POV to where Sarah and Martin must be disappearing
into the distance. We can see the edges of the hole and the edges
of the panel. Doctor O is just joining Pathe, and he also is looking
out past us, but he’s angry and not a little confused about why there’s
a huge great hole in his wall.
PATHE: Haven’t you heard, sir?
Pull back from last panel, so we can see more of the house and the
grass outside. Pathe in same position, Doctor O standing alongside
him, now with his hands on his hips.
PATHE: Today is Open Day.