Ethel & Ernest

Synopsis: In 1928 London milk-man Ernest Briggs courts and marries house-maid Ethel, their son Raymond being born in 1934. When World War II breaks out Ethel tearfully allows him to be evacuated to aunts in Dorset whilst Ernest joins the fire service, shocked by the carnage he sees. As hostilities end they celebrate Raymond's return and entry to grammar school and the birth of the welfare state though Ethel is mistrustful of socialism and progress in general. Raymond himself progresses from National Service to art college and a teaching post, worrying his mother by marrying schizophrenic Jean. However father and son console each other as Ethel slips away but before long Raymond is mourning his father too though both Ethel and Ernest will forever be immortalized by Raymond's touching account of their lives.
Director(s): Roger Mainwood
Production: Lupus Films
  3 wins & 6 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
94 min


There was nothing extraordinary

about my mum and dad,

nothing dramatic.

No divorce or anything,

but they were my parents

and I wanted to remember

them by doing a picture book.

It's a bit odd, really, having

a book about my parents up there

in the bestseller list among all

the football heroes and cook books.

They'd be proud of that, I suppose.

But probably rather embarrassed too.

I imagine they would say,

"It wasn't like that."

Or, "How can you talk about that?"

Well, I have.

And this is their story.

- Bye, Mum!

- Bye, dear.

- Ta ta, Ern, mate.

- Ta ta.

Ta ta.

Hurry up with that dusting, Ethel.

There's the fire to stoke

and the beds to make.

Yes, madam. I won't be long.

Ethel! Aren't you finished yet?

Yes, madam.

Sorry, madam.

Hey, hey!

Ethel! Where are you?

Coming, madam.




- Ethel?!!

- Oh.

Yes, yes, I'm coming!


Hello, duck.

Oh! Oh, it's you.

Thought I'd introduce myself.

You've waved that blooming

duster at me enough times.

Oh, no, I didn't mean

to. It was just that...

Name's Ernest.

- I'm Ethel.

- That's a nice name.

Well, Ethel, how about coming

to the pictures with me?

Oh, well, I...

They've got lots for me to do.

- What time you knock off?

- I finish about seven.

Perfect! They are showing

Hangman's House at the local.

- You mean, the Coronation?

- Yes.

- Starts at eight. I could meet you there.

- Thank you. That would...

- that would be very nice.

- Grand.

And these, they're for you.

They are... lovely.

- See you about a quarter to, then.

- Yes.

Yes, I'll be there!



Two, please.

- Victor McLaglen.

- Who's he?

- Him up there.

- Oh.

My favourite.


Oh, Ernest, doesn't it sound wonderful?

Cor! Blimey, yeah.

Five shillings to get in!

A bit posh if you ask me.

Tell you what, it's under a

shilling at our church hall

next Saturday.

- Are you on?

- Oh, Ernest!

- Lovely flowers, darling.

- Oh, that's Dad. He's potty about the garden.

- Did you all grow up here?

- Yes, 11 of us.

Bob, Beaty, Mag, Edie, me, Frank,

Flo, Jessie, George, Joe and Bill.

Cor, blimey!

Come and meet Mum and Dad.

Ernest, your tie.

- Want to make a good impression.

- Oh, yes, darling.

George was killed in the war,

Bob died as a baby and

Beaty died at two and a half.

- Poor little kiddies.

- Hm.

Hello, dear.

Mum, this is Ernest.

Very pleased to meet you, uh, Mrs. Bowyer.

You haven't asked me

to your home yet, dear.

Yeah, well, it's not as

nice as yours, darling.

What do you mean, not as nice?

Well, there's scrap

iron, rag-and-bone men,

there's fights outside the pubs. Women too.

The coppers won't go down there.

The last one that did

go, they bashed him up,

then sat on him and then blew him

up his whistle to fetch more coppers.

Oh! Ernest.

It's not your cuppa tea, darling.

Am I to understand that

you wish to leave us?

Yes, madam.

To get married?

Yes, madam.

To a man?!

Yes, madam.


...I hope you know what you're doing.

Ever so sorry, madam.

Give us your box, darling.


I don't like leaving

them, they're so helpless.

They can't do a thing for themselves.

Hm. Serve 'em right.

Bloated plutocrats!

There's no need to swear, Ernest.


Don't worry about them.

They'll soon get another skivvy.

I was not a skivvy!

I was a lady's maid and what's more,

I'm going to be married!

So am I!

Oh, it's lovely.

But 825? Can we afford

that mortgage business?

Yeah, it's easy. I'll be getting

three guineas a week soon.

Besides, we've got 25 years.

19... 55, it'll be ours.

A wrought iron gate, your ladyship.


Oh, and look, Ernest, a marble pillar.

Look at this.


Oh, Ernest. It's so much space.

- We could get those electric lights put in.

- Yeah, nice and modern.

Brother Fred's got a

wireless. He can hear Germany.

Whatever would you want

to hear Germany for?

Oh! A French window!

Oh, Ernest, there's the bathroom!

Blimey! The lav too.

Come along, Ernest.



Enormous bedroom! Four windows in one room!

It'll cost a fortune for curtains.

A bit different to home, eh, darling?

Lots of rooms for two people.

Perhaps they'll be more than two one day.

- What, lodgers you mean?

- No!

This could be our baby's room.

Nice and warm over the kitchen.

Let's get rid of this old range.

Ha! This boiler came out of the ark.

Hello, puss.

- Oh.

- A fair bit of garden.

More than down-home.

Oh, I've always wanted

my own bit of garden.

A little shed for my bike and workshop.

And mind you, keep it tidy.

Don't you start bossing me

about before we get married.

Oh, Ernest, I can't believe it.

- We'll have a kitchen and a scullery.

- A sitting room and a dining room.

- A garden and a shed.

- Don't forget the hall.

And the bathroom! Luxury!


Yes, that's it. Hold it. Hold

to that they are, if you could.

That's it, lovely. That's it,

Mrs. Briggs. Lovely. Very nice.

Now, hold there. Hold it there. Big smiles.

We'll have one more of those.

- Go on, Ern. Let's see a kiss for the bride.

- Go on, Ern.

Yeah, one more. One

more, please, everybody.

Isn't the bedroom huge?

We'll need some cases under

the bed for our clothes.

A wardrobe, Ernest!

Oh. Oh, yes. Of course.

Good morning, Madam.

How many today, please?

Just you keep off my clean step, young man.


Oh, Ernest.

I got a round that finishes

down our road, Ette.

That's nice, dear.

I should be done about 12 and then

I can get going on that old range.

I'll be glad to see the back of that thing.

It's a pig, duck.

One of those nice, new gas

cookers, that's what we need.


Careful, Ernest!


Any old iron, any old iron

Any, any, any old iron

You look neat, talk about a treat

You look dapper from your

napper to your feet...

Ernest, don't sing those

dreadful cockney songs.

Dressed in style, brand-new tile

And your father's old green tie on

But I wouldn't give you tuppence

for you old watch and chain

Old iron, old iron.

All right!



That's done the job.

That's it, smashing bed.

Nearly new. Mahogany, I think.


Good springs, look.

Newlyweds need good springs.

Come and try it out, darling.

Certainly not, Ernest.

It's broad daylight.

- I finished a new draining board, darling!

- Oh, lovely.

Fits over the edge.

Removable before cleaning.

What, with that and the new cooker...

We're in clover!

There. Bang on!

Ugh! It says here over

two million unemployed.

I'm lucky to be a milkman, Ette.

I hate coal under the stairs.

Coal dust gets everywhere

and it's so common.

Ha! I'll build a brick

bunker in the garden, then.

That'd be lovely.

What do you reckon,

Ette? Ho-ho-ho!

Oh, Ernest, it's far too big.

I'll make some nice loose covers.

Came out of a posh hotel. A bargain!

I've made a curtain for under

the tank. It'll hide the pipes.

I'll keep my outdoor clothes

there. The pipes will dry them off.

Oh, but your coats smell

of stale milk, Ernest.

Yeah, sorry.

Do you think you'll ever be promoted?

Rate this script:5.0 / 2 votes

Roger Mainwood

All Roger Mainwood scripts | Roger Mainwood Scripts

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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