INT. BROTHEL. NIGHT.
The office of the Madame. It has a kind of sleazy glamour. Gaslamps with pink tinged mantels cast a rosy glow over flocked wallpapers, hung with framed pictures of erotica, gilded statuettes of naked girls, nymphs in various states of undress etc, an ornate gold mirror, velvet curtains drawn tight, an oppressive airless subterranean feeling. A young girl, eleven or twelve, HETTY... We’ve met her before. She is beautifully, expensively dressed, ringletted hair. The very epitome of adored Victorian girlhood. Her eyes are downcast, shoulders miserably hunched as The MADAME of the brothel, a woman for whom nothing is surprising or shocking, (though nor is anything wondrous) appraises her with a professional eye, turns her this way and that, tilts her chin, feels the flesh of her arm, her shoulder. While this is going on we see a male finger caressing one of the statuettes, tracing the line of the face, the throat, the shoulder, trailing down to the breast...
And how does she come to be in your care?
The finger stops on the point of the statuettes breast, a beat and then the finger flicks at the breast, a curiously contemptuous and cruel gesture...And on HERRICK, frockcoated and formal. The blandly innocent face, the malicious glint in the eye. Smiles, all sulphur and honey.
You mean, is anyone going to come looking for her?
Caption: LONDON 1890.
No-one left to look. She’s the ward of one of our more eccentric and reclusive clients. Dead in a fire. Intestate. Meaning that she is alone and completely penniless. I am charged with taking her to the workhouse, like I don’t have enough to do. I thought I’d bring her to you instead.
MADAME She’s thin.
Grief and shock. A few square meals she’ll be all creamy and dimpled. She’s educated. Read, write, daub a watercolour, dance, play the piano. And she has several languages. French, Italian and some..
(WAVES A HAND DISMISSIVELY) obscure Oriental tongues.
I don’t hold with educating girls. Gives them ideas. Makes them argumentative.
Indeed. But her, with all her pretty accomplishments, why, she could be a foreign princess in exile. Just think, Madame, your very own virgin Tzarina in Shoreditch. You could sell that treasure to the highest bidder. And sell it over and over again.
The Madame is doing mental calculations, a flash on her face, acquisitive, greedy thrill.
MADAME I know how to run my business, Mr Herrick. (BEAT) How much.
HERRICK Fifty guineas.
The Madame snorts. Herrick stands.
HERRICK (CONT’D) Come, Hetty. (TO MADAME) I shall
take her to one of your competitors. Let your punters go flocking to them.
A moment of stand off, then the Madame goes to take Hetty.
MADAME I’ll have her.
(STOPS HER) Money first. All of it. I know you have it salted away somewhere. Trot along.
The Madame leaves. Herrick smiles to himself, pleased. A tear rolls down Hetty’s cheek. Herrick turns to her, that barbed kindness.
HERRICK (CONT’D) Oh, come now. We’ll have none of
that. If your guardian had loved you that much, he’d have made a will, made provision for you, not thrown you onto the mercy of strangers. Because there is no mercy in this world, child. None at all.
He gets out his handkerchief and kindly wipes Hetty’s cheek for her, it’s not sexual at all, paternal, gentle.
HERRICK (CONT’D) There is only what we make of the
bare bones that’s tossed to us. Do you think I want to be a legal clerk? All ledgers and dust and ink? Overlooked and ignored, a drudge, a drone, do you think I want that? (CONSPIRATORIAL) I would like to smash their buildings and crack their stones and melt their bricks to glass, I would like them all to tremble at the mention of my name!
And stops himself as if he has just voiced something he keeps to himself, blinks a little, adopts a more appropriate tone.
But I have to make what I can and so do you. You’re uncertain now but in a few years, there will be no dark and private secret of human desire you will not know and understand intimately. Do you know how powerful that will make you? And that’s what it’s all about, Hetty. (SOFT) Power. Power is the blood pulse. Nothing else matters.
Herrick stands, goes to the mirror to tuck his handkerchief back in, adjust his collar.
One day, you’ll look back at this moment and you’ll thank me-
And he stops, for in the mirror, where there should be Hetty behind him, there is no-one, just the bare carpet in the rosy light.. Frowning, Herrick turns-
And suddenly Hetty is there, black eyes and lips drawn back from fangs, he doesn’t even have time to scream out as she fastens herself to his neck! And go out on those eyes wide with pain and terror-
The script could be found here (however it isn't available anymore): http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/beinghuman/herricks_recruitment.pdf