The Dust Diggers: Episode 2 Commentary

[posted 8:00 am, 6 November 2014]

The spectre of Mrs T looms even larger than usual.

(CONTENT WARNING: This story will deal with sexual violence and mental illness. See Help Links for more information about these issues.)

KATY: It’s the cliffhanger, and we’re going to be executed. Again.

MANDY: They think we’re scabs, but it’s all a misunderstanding.

KATY: I don’t think Bob liked the unions very much. He’s putting them in a very bad light.

MANDY: The real strikers did kill someone.

KATY: Yes, that was awful. But the police were very violent too.

MANDY: Oh, but they can’t kill us yet.

KATY: Thank you, Timothy. Of course, this argument about a ballot is very true to life. … Bloody hell. I fluffed again.

MANDY: Never mind. Where’s the yuppie off to?

KATY: I expect he’s up to no good. He didn’t save us.

MANDY: These caves look awfully good, don’t they?

KATY: Oh yes. The only thing I don’t like is the studio floor. You can always see smooth, shiny floor, and it spoils it a bit.

MANDY: There wasn’t much they could do about it, because they had to be able to move the cameras. … That policeman. I’m sure I know him. Wasn’t he in Porterhouse Blue?

KATY: Oh yes, it’s Harold Innocent. He did lots of things at the National. He was wonderful. But this other policeman. I can’t place him.

MANDY: Wasn’t he in Rita, Sue and Bob Too?

KATY: No, you’re thinking of George Costigan, aren’t you?

MANDY: Oh, of course. James loved that film. I thought it was terribly rude.

KATY: It was true to life.

MANDY: I don’t think Mary Tamm got up to that sort of thing.

KATY: Different times, Mandy. Of course, I took over from Mary at Birmingham Rep.

MANDY: Didn’t you know her from RADA?

KATY: Not very well. She was in the year above me. And she didn’t go to girls only parties.

MANDY: This bit is very funny. People are always complaining that the police have too much paperwork.

KATY: The police should do things properly, otherwise who knows what they might do.

MANDY: Bob had been a policeman before he was a writer, so I expect he knew what it was like.

KATY: (LAUGHING) What star sign are we? That’s a good one.

MANDY: The yuppie doesn’t seem to think it’s very funny.

KATY: He did very well not to corpse. Bob’s dialogue was hilarious.

MANDY: Now, this is a lovely scene that we did with Timothy.

KATY: Yes, he’s very expressive.

MANDY: This bit explains what everyone’s fighting about very well. Bob could paint a wonderful picture with a few words.

KATY: Yes, this sort of scene can be very boring, but this one isn’t.

MANDY: You’re being very feisty, as usual.

KATY: Yes, a bit too much nostril flaring. Gemma always wanted to fight. I expect you’ll calm her down. … All as bad as each other. That’s just like Bob.

MANDY: This bit didn’t go down very well with certain people.

KATY: They couldn’t really complain. Lots of policemen were caught taking bribes in the seventies.

MANDY: It’s a far cry from Heartbeat.

KATY: Heartbeat makes me feel sick. It’s so bloody cosy.

MANDY: I was in it once. Everyone was lovely.

KATY: I’m sure you were good.

MANDY: Maggie is wonderful at plotting and scheming. Such range.

KATY: Yes, when I think how upstanding she was in I Claudius. … I can see that what Bob did with these businessmen was very clever, but I don’t think they ought to have been Japanese.

MANDY: There were Japanese businessmen in everything in those days.

KATY: And they were always the same. Inscrutable.

MANDY: I suppose it was work for Japanese actors.

KATY: This is only one actor, though. They’ve copied him with that paintbox thing. It’s appalling.

MANDY: I think Equity did have something to say about it. In the end he got three fees. … Ooh, Maggie is up to her neck in it.

KATY: They were trying to get people to buy shares in everything in those days.

MANDY: We had some. Graham always knew a good investment.

KATY: Now I wish I’d been more sensible with my money.

MANDY: Oh my goodness! If only the miners knew where the charity money was coming from.

KATY: Now this wasn’t like real life. We worked very hard to collect money for the families.

MANDY: I felt very sorry for them. I gave privately, but you did a lot more in public, didn’t you?

KATY: I wasn’t very important, but I did help with some concerts.

MANDY: You have a lovely singing voice. Much nicer than the chap from Essex.

KATY: He was very committed. I admired him enormously. It wasn’t all singing either. Once I did a bit of Lady Macbeth dressed as you know who.

MANDY: Perhaps that was going a little too far.

KATY: It was great fun. The crowd were booing and hissing as if it were a panto.

MANDY: Knowing how some people felt about her, you were lucky to get out alive.

KATY: Oh look! It’s the robot. Was Tip Tipping inside it?

MANDY: No, he didn’t do this one because he got a big film.

KATY: I feel awful about teasing him now.

MANDY: You weren’t quite yourself, were you?

KATY: … It’s the other policeman again. I wish I could remember his name. Was he on That’s Life?

MANDY: No, I’m sure he wasn’t.

KATY: … That’s a real Bob Holmes line.

MANDY: Oh, more bureaucracy.

KATY: It is dangerous to let the police have guns too easily.

MANDY: (LAUGHING) Oh, I see what you mean.

KATY: (LAUGHING) That’s horrible! I love it!

MANDY: Trust Bob.

KATY: There’s just enough truth in it. The police and the army were a bit trigger happy.

MANDY: It’s good to see some women in the police. It’s a little bit of progress.

KATY: That one looks like Lynda Baron.

MANDY: I don’t think it is her.

KATY: No, just similar. Lynda did a party political broadcast not long after this. She was very good in it.

MANDY: They asked me to be in one, but in the end I decided not to.

KATY: Whyever not?

MANDY: Well, I’d already had my photo taken with the two Davids, and that caused some … comments. So I was in two minds. And my agent said I should be careful not to look like too much of a lefty.

KATY: That’s awful, Mandy. How could they?

MANDY: I know. I am a bit of a lefty, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

KATY: No. There isn’t. I couldn’t stand Mrs Thatcher. She was-

MANDY: Mrs Thatcher, of course … no longer with us.


MANDY: (STIFLING GIGGLES) Stop it, Katy! … Oh no, you’ll get us into terrible trouble. … Don’t! … I think we’ve missed the cliffhanger.

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