The Iron Lady script
The Iron Lady (2011)
Synopsis: In her twilight years, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep) reflects on her life and career as she finally prepares to dispose of the belongings of her late husband, Denis (Jim Broadbent). Daughter of a Grantham grocer, she successfully broke through a double-paned glass ceiling of gender and class. Thatcher became the first female prime minister of the United Kingdom and remained as such for 11 consecutive years, until declining popularity forced her to resign.

1 EXT. BEACH. MARGATE. KENT. DAY. 1885. 1

The STEADY FOOTFALL OF A WOMAN’s BOOTS, sinking in wet

sand-

The RISE and FALL of a WOMAN’s breath-

MRS GEORGE WHARTON ROBINSON aka ‘NELLY’, head down consumed

by thought, etching a line across the sand, like charcoal

on paper until-

NELLY stops looking out at the endless grey Margate

coastline beyond, eyes dark and lost in some deep troubled

distraction, a sense she has walked as far as the landscape

will let her-

Heart beating, chest rising, she stands until-

She turns, head down, once more walking, as she picks up

her pace-

The swoop and call of gulls, skimming the pier,

overhead.

2 INT. SCHOOL HALL. SCHOOLHOUSE. MARGATE. DAY. 1885. 2

A school hall-

On a raised stage, a YOUNG SCHOOL BOY in fake

moustache dressed as a waiter, stands in waiting. Two

more SCHOOLBOYS, dressed in climbing costumes, sit at

a cafe table close by. A back cloth of the Swiss Alps

strung up behind. A young male teacher MR LAMBOURNE

[late 20’s] hovers distracted, clearly trying to

organise an errant backstage.

In the wings just visible, PROP MAKERS and STAGE MANAGERS

adjust collars on SCHOOLBOY ACTORS; An angelic LION [6 yrs]

waits with OTHERS, bored and tired in floormop wig and

painted nose, yawning as he peeks out to the auditorium

beyond to see-

REVEREND WILLIAM BENHAM [mid 50’s] sits, silently waiting,

in the makeshift stalls, reading through a playscript

entitled-

No Thoroughfare:
A Drama in Five Acts by Charles Dickens

and Wilkie Collins.

Beyond a small orchestra of SCHOOLBOYS just visible in a

makeshift orchestra pit; a JOLLY SCHOOLBOY PERCUSSIONIST

tightens a nut on a wide drum. A TEENAGE VIOLINIST waxes

the strings on a viola, a SCHOOLBOY OBOIST and PIANIST

quietly tune up, looking to the clock overhead.

The SENSE OF TIME TICKING ON-

Blue Revisions dated 11th June 2012 2.

DISTANT MURMUR OF VOICES PASSING

MR GEORGE WHARTON[early 30’s] headmaster, clergyman and

husband, just visible escorting a PORTLY PARENT along a

distant corridor.

GEORGE:

Here is the theatre. The boys

always perform a short play at the

end of term, highly popular with

the parents. Theatre is an abiding

interest of my wife’s. Which of

course I delight in!

He smiles at BENHAM, a shared look of quizzical concern, a

clock ticking overhead.

GEORGE (CONT’D)

Is she still not here?

BENHAM shrugs, smiles benignly.

GEORGE (CONT’D)

Mr and Mrs Featherstone may I

introduce Mr Benham. Mr Benham is

invaluable to the school. He

assists my wife with penny readings

and other charitable events. You

will often find them in corners

plotting their next money raising

venture.

The CAST, ORCHESTRA and BENHAM wait on-

GEORGE (CONT’D)

(moving on)

Shall we move on?

3 EXT. CLIFFS. OUTSIDE SCHOOL. MARGATE. DAY. 1885.3

NELLY clambering over sandy dune seeing a small town in the

distance. She hurries on.

3A EXT. PATH. NEAR SCHOOL. MARGATE. DAY. 1885 3A

NELLY ascends a small path in the town. She walks briskly

towards a schoolhouse and enters.

4 INT. HALLWAY. SCHOOLHOUSE. MARGATE. DAY. 1885. 4

MARY, the maid carrying a tray with oil lamps on

passing GEORGE and the PORTLY PARENT heading towards

the study-

Blue Revisions dated 11th June 2012 3.

GEORGE:

Mary, tea if you please.

MARY quietly disgruntled, slides the tray down,

turning to head back to the kitchen.

A shadowy figure just visible through the glass, NELLY on

the approach-

The SWING OF THE FRONT DOOR open, NELLY hurriedly pulling

off hat and scarf, just seeing GEORGE, closing the door of

his study-

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Abi Morgan

Abi Morgan (born 1968) is a British playwright and screenwriter known for her works for television, such as Sex Traffic and The Hour, and the films Brick Lane, The Iron Lady, Shame and Suffragette. more…

All Abi Morgan scripts | Abi Morgan Books

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