Roald Dahl's Esio Trot

Synopsis: Lonely, ageing bachelor Mr Hoppy lives in a London flat and has two loves in his life - his balcony garden and Mrs Silver, the widow in the flat below. Sadly Mrs Silver is too fond of her tortoise Alfie to respond. Noting that Mrs Silver is perturbed that Alfie never seems to grow Mr Hoppy hatches a plan to show her how much he cares. This involves buying dozens of tortoises of increasing sizes to gradually substitute for Alfire, leading Mrs Silver to believe that a Bedouin chant - Esio Trot - is making her pet grow. However he is rumbled when one of the tortoises escapes. And, with another, brash resident vying for Mrs Silver's affections, will Mr Hoppy find happiness with the woman he loves?
Director(s): Dearbhla Walsh
  1 win & 1 nomination.
88 min

I don't know about you,

but to me there's something

a bit funny about tortoises.

The way even

the teenagers are wrinkly.

I bet that leads to some

awkward moments.

"Oh, Brian, I love you so much.

How old are you?"

"I'm 17. How old are you, Janet?"

"I'm 86." "Goodness me. You're old

enough to be my grandmother."

"Yeah, actually, Brian,

"I... AM... your grandmother."

But the story I want to tell you,

although it does involve tortoises,

it doesn't begin with a tortoise.

It begins with a man

called Mr Hoppy.

'Mr Hoppy, the hero of our story,

'lived in a nice flat

in an apartment block in London.

'There are three things

you should know about Mr Hoppy.

'He's kind...

'he's shy...

'and most importantly -

he's not that guy in the hat.'

Oh, are you OK,

Mr Mavrokoukoudopolous?

'He's the man in the lift.'

No rush, Mr Mavrokoukoudopolous.

I'm holding the door.

- Take your ti...

- Whoa!


You care for a crisp, Mr Pringle?

Ah, yes.


'And don't worry if he doesn't look

the flashiest of fellows.

'I've learnt

that very often in life,

'it's the quiet, unassuming ones

'who turn out to be

the most interesting.'

I'll have to fix that.

Give me

a kiss to build a dream on...

'I think we can safely say

Mr Hoppy lives alone.

'Either that or his family

are very small eaters

'and all having a sleep

at the moment.'

Bom bom bom...

'No. He lives alone.'

Give me a kiss

before you leave me...

'But don't worry,

'this isn't going to be one of

those stories where a lonely bloke

'wanders around a flat for two hours

'and then dies alone

of a horrible disease.

'It's going to be full of passion

and surprises -

'as indeed is our Mr Hoppy.'

Raspberry Cream,

meet Wisley Vanilla.

Oh, give me your lips

for just a moment

And my imagination

Will make that moment live

Oh, give me what you alone can give

A kiss to build a dream on.

The truth is there were

two loves in Mr Hoppy's life.

One was his flowers

and the other was a secret love

he kept all to himself.

And like so many secrets,

it was the most important thing

of all about him.

Because Mr Hoppy was in love...

with the girl downstairs.

Good morning, Mr Hoppy.


Mrs Silver.



By the way, our story

is mainly concerned with this -

the second love.

If you want to find out about the

flowers, watch Gardeners' World.

I mean, I like plants as much as the

next bloke, but this is very much

not a "will or won't the dahlias

blossom before the frost kicks in?"

type of thing.

Oh, wait, I think that's mine. Hey!


Another absolutely gorgeous morning.

Yes. Gorgeous. Absolutely.

Another one of them.

The sort of weather that makes me

want to just

take off all my clothes and

dive naked into the nearest lake.

Don't you think, Mr Hoppy?

- Mr Hoppy?

- Yes.

Yes, yes.

Perfect weather for jumping

into lakes

wearing very little.

'Sadly, Mr Hoppy was so shy,

'he couldn't even ask Mrs Silver

round for a cup of tea...'

let alone dive stark naked

into a lake with her.

But he loved her.

And he remembered the precise moment

he'd fallen in love.

'Which happened to be

the first moment he ever met her -

'five years ago.'

Hold that lift!

Oh, thank you so much,

you darling man.

Oh, they won't be long.

- What floor are you?

- Four.

Oh, isn't that lucky?

I'm moving in on three, below you.

I hope you're not

one of those rowdy types,

keeping me up all night

with your hip-hop stylings.

No. But my name is Mr Hoppy,

in fact.

Hoppy. Oh, what a gorgeous name!

And do I detect a little

American accent there?

Well, yes, I am an American.

Oh, how divine.

Oh, you're a gorgeous bunch.

From Cary Grant to Paul Newman,

I can't keep my hands

off the lot of you!

Oh, I'm Mrs Silver. Lavinia.

Facebook status - widowed.

Ah. My Facebook status is

"I'm not in the Facebook".

No. Too busy living, I expect.

Oh, come in, boys.

We've held the lift.

Come in.

Would it be easier

if I maybe took the next one,

give you a little more room?

No, no, it's just getting cosy!

Wonderfully quiet lift.

- That's very good news.

- Yes.

I don't think anyone's

actually pushed a button yet.


I'm such a silly sausage sometimes.


You're four. I'm three.

Perhaps I should press two

and one as well and give us

more time to get to know each other.

'He never forgot

that first brief encounter'

and every time

he met her from then on

just made him love her even more.


Don't you just love it

when summer finally comes?



Always such a relief

when summer's over.



This is so much

my favourite time of year.



Spring at last!

Doing something special tonight,

Mrs Silver?

Us midwives are going out

for a good old knees-up.

Funny when you think of it -

when we spent our entire careers

extracting babies from women

lying with their knees up.

Oh... I...

I didn't know you were a midwife.


I just thought

if I can't have kids myself,

I might as well just help others

to have them.

How wonderful.

Well, perhaps you could come with me,

Mr Hoppy?

- You could waltz me off my feet.

- Oh, no. I... I...

- I'm not a dancer.

- Nonsense.

There's no such thing

as "not a dancer" -

just a person who's never found

the right girl to dance with.

You're American, for heaven's sake -

the land that brought us

Fred Astaire and John Travolta

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Richard Curtis

Richard Whalley Anthony Curtis, CBE (born 8 November 1956) is a New Zealand-born English screenwriter, producer and film director. One of Britain's most successful comedy screenwriters, he is known primarily for romantic comedy films such as Four Weddings and a Funeral, Bridget Jones's Diary, Notting Hill, and Love Actually, as well as the hit sitcoms Blackadder, Mr. Bean and The Vicar of Dibley. He is also the co-founder of the British charity Comic Relief along with Lenny Henry. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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