The Scapegoat

Synopsis: As England is preparing for the coronation of Elizabeth II, schoolmaster John Standing comes face to face with Johnny Spence, his exact double in appearance. After a night of drinking, Standing awakes to find Spence has stolen his identity. Unsuccessful at explaining the unusual situation, Standing settles into the vacancy left by Johnny Spence. Yet with his new life comes numerous problems, including trying to juggle a wife and two mistresses and family secrets that could prove deadly...
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Charles Sturridge
Production: ITV-Island Pictures
  1 nomination.
108 min

- Good afternoon, miss.

- Good afternoon.

- Is that it?

- That's it right enough, miss.

Granny calls it the devil's work.

Well, I can't say I've ever heard it called that before.

Stand back, now.

Did you know, if you touch it,

your hair stands on end?

You are not going anywhere near it,

young lady.

Come on.

Is it true you've been sacked, sir?

No, it's not true, Fenton.

Tuck that shirt in, please.

So why are you leaving

before the end of term, sir?

That is for me and the headmaster to know

and for you to wonder at, Smith.

- Well, there's definitely no more Greek.

- Correct, Johnson, there is no more Greek.

The headmaster, in his wisdom,

has decided there are more useful subjects.

Come on, hurry up, all of you.

Classes start in one minute.

- Where would you like it, Mrs Spence?

- Where do people usually put it?

- It would normally go in the sitting room.

- That's not entirely helpful in a house like this.

What do you think, library, drawing room,

morning room, stamp room, old parlour?

Let's put it in the drawing room for now.

This way.

Is it easy to work?

I would suggest that I discuss

the technical details with Mr Spence.

He's in London.

Besides, my brother-in-law can barely boil a kettle.

I don't think he'll be much use.

Do you need any help, sir?

No, thank you, Seaton.

I think I can manage. Run along.

I'm glad there are no hard feelings,


It was a difficult decision,

but Major Hulton has a young family.

Yes, of course, Headmaster, and French conversation

is a more practical subject for the boys.

I see that.

- Is that all you're taking?

- It's all I need.

- So, a walking tour?

- Yes. Thought I'd see a bit of the world, what's left of it.

- I've always wanted to visit...

- Quite.

- The romance of the road and all that.

- Yes.

Are you sure I can't

call you a taxi? Thank you. I thought I'd start

as I mean to go on. My train isn't till six.

- Mmm. Well...

- Ah. Au revoir.

Excuse me...

'Scuse me. Could I...

Here's your change, sir,

and your room's ready whenever you are.

I... I... I don't think this is...



Bloody hell...

You're not the devil by any chance,

are you?


But I think this might be

your change.

Thank you.

Come into the light,

where I can get a proper look at you.

The landlord thought that I...

Well, you can hardly blame

the poor chap.

That is incredible, don't you think?

I mean, who the hell are you?

Er...John. John Standing.

Who are you?

Er... Johnny Spence.

Pleased to meet...

No, completely astonished to meet you.

You got time for a quick one?

Come on, my shout.

We'll probably discover we've got

dozens of cousins in common.

- Do you have many cousins?

- No, not really.

I have a herd of them. Don't get on

with a single one. Scroungers, the lot.

- Thank you. That's for you.

- Thank you, Mr Spence.

This should keep us going.

You're not rich by any chance,

are you?

Er... no, not at all.

I was in a brothel once in Paris.

Had a set of twins that cost 1,000 francs an hour.

I don't think we're quite in that league yet. Circus,

maybe, cabaret. What do you think? Cheers, anyway.

- So, where are you from?

- Wales.


- Father?

- Dead now. Worked down the mines all his life.

Oh, you don't sound like a Taff.

My dad wanted me to go to university.

It was his dream.

I went up before the war,

got my degree

and came back talking like a bishop,

as he used to say.

Well, then, we're definitely not related.

I can't remember passing an exam in my life.

- Smoke?

- Thank you.

- So, what about family? Married?

- No. No, I'm not.

You must have some relations?

- Just a maiden aunt in Fishguard.

- Mmm.

- You lucky dog.

- You haven't met her.

What I wouldn't give to be in your position.

To your freedom. Long may it last.

- Is there enough?

- There's plenty.

But there's still no word from him?

- No.

- Something's happened. I know it.

This'll stop you worrying.

- Mrs Paul thinks that he's missed the train.

- Oh, what would she know?

Nobody in this house

understands my son except me.

Johnny doesn't like to fail.

They're happy about the booze...

as long as we drink out of these.

I've spoken to the kitchen. Ordered two large steaks,

very well done, mashed potato and gravy.

- Cheers.

- Cheers.

Mmm... So, a walking tour?

- The open road is your oyster and all that?

- Yes. I have a few ideas. How about you?

Oh, a funk, a complete funk.

Had a bugger of a day in town.

I was on the train on the way back,

and I thought,

"What the hell am I doing, going home like

a lamb to the slaughter?" so off I got.

Here I am.

What about your family?

Won't they be worried?

About me? Never.

About themselves, definitely.

Waiter! More of your delicious tea.

No, greed.

That's what makes the world go round.

Men, women, children... Whatever you do,

it's never enough, is it? No-one's ever satisfied.

- It doesn't take much to satisfy me.

- Well, you're lucky. The world's your playground.

Mine hangs round my neck

like a rope.

Ignore me. It's not every day you get to talk to

yourself without being carted off to the funny farm.

I'm actually rather enjoying it.

I'll do this.

- It is extraordinary, us meeting like this, isn't it?

- Yes, I suppose it is.

Don't you think there's something

special about now,

this moment between the death of one monarch

and the coronation of the next?

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Daphne Du Maurier

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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