Script created with Final Draft by Final Draft, Inc.
THE LOST BOYS
A TRILOGY FOR
BASED ON MATERIAL
Published by the
British Broadcasting Corporation
35 Marylebone High Street
London WIN 4AA
First published in Great Britain 1980
Copyright © 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979 and 1980
by Andrew Birkin and Laurentic Film Productions Ltd
ISBN 0 563 17783 7
Reproduced from the author's original typescript and
originally printed by Whitstable Litho
Scanned and converted into Final Draft 2004
The project which eventually reached the screen as The
Lost Boys first came to me in the early summer of 1975
in the form of a six-page outline. Its author, Andrew
Birkin, was unknown to me, although I had heard that he
worked earlier that year as co-adaptor on the ATV musical
version of Peter Pan starring Mia Farrow and Danny
Kaye. Unfortunately his talents were not appreciated by the
producers and very little of his additional dialogue
survived, but while hanging round the studios Andrew had
begun reading about J M Barrie and had become fascinated by
the extraordinary little Scotsman from whose remarkable
imagination had sprung the idea of the boy who wouldn't
grow up. Andrew's fascination communicated itself to me
through his outline, and I too became hooked.
At this stage the shape of the project was vague. In his
outline Andrew had begun the story in Barrie's childhood at
the time of the death of his elder brother David in a
skating accident. Many biographers, including Barrie
himself in his semi-autobiographical Margaret
Ogilvy, have stressed the vital formative influence of
the emotional trauma associated with this tragic event, in
particular the little boy's pathetic attempts to replace
the favourite dead son in his mother's affections and the
sense of failure and rejection which resulted. Starting at
this point, the outline proceeded to trace biographically
Barrie's life, concentrating on his involvement with the
Llewelyn Davies family, but going beyond the point of
Clearly there was too much material to be contained in one
play, and Andrew had suggested various combinations of
episodes to cover the story. Knowing that I had available
to me in the 1976 production schedules three 50-minute
slots, I plumped for this as the most suitable shape,
partly from a sense of realism, but also not without some
liking for the trilogy as an effective form for television
drama. Andrew was commissioned in November 1975, and I
looked forward to receiving the first part early in 1976.
This would be in good time to set up the production in the
normal way for the autumn. But nothing about The Lost
Boys was to be normal.
My absolute deadline for receiving the finished trilogy of
scripts was June 1976. In May, Andrew finally delivered
Part One, and clearly we had a problem. Some scenes were
magic, like the one in which Barrie first visited the boys'
nursery and told them the story of the cough. This survived
unchanged to the final shooting script - as indeed did most
of the scenes in the trilogy involving the boys. But other
scenes were a producer's nightmare in terms of the number
of characters and reproduction of historical backgrounds.
More important, this first script used a full 50 minutes to
tell only half the story to be included in Episode One. At
this rate we would need six episodes, not three, and
clearly the chances of them being written in time to meet
the autumn production dates were remote. And if not then,
when? Studio slots not taken up have a habit of being taken
over by another production, and no one can ever guarantee
remounting a production at a later date when new projects
are already under way.
Andrew's problem was that he had hit a goldmine. During
that winter he had been introduced, through his co
researcher Sharon Goode, to the last surviving Llewelyn
Davies son, Nico, then in his seventies. At first
suspicious of anyone who might want to capitalise on his
family's tragic story or in any way misrepresent 'Uncle
Jim', Nico soon warmed to the project and made available a
wealth of material: dairies, hundreds of letters,
photographs, his late brother Peter's unpublished memoirs,
and, not least, his own memories. Some of this had been
used before in biographies of Barrie, but most had not. And
Andrew soon discovered that much of what had been used had
often been misunderstood or even mistranscribed.
What was being offered to Andrew through the generosity of
Nico Llewelyn Davies was a unique chance to reconstruct the
story of Barrie and the Llewelyn Davies family with an
unprecedented degree of detail and authenticity. I remember
many occasions at this time when he would come into my
office at the BBC bearing armfuls of material of the most
evocative and moving kind: George's pencil-written letters
from the trenches in the First World War, still in their
original envelopes with army field post office stamps;
Barrie's photographs of the boys playing games at Black
Lake and Egerton House; childish, clumsily scrawled notes
from the four-year old Michael to 'Uncle Jim' and his own
replies in backward mirror-writing; Sylvia's hand-written
Will; the 'Confession Book' kept by Michael and Nico.
So while half of me was impatiently awaiting the finished
scripts to meet production deadlines, the other half was
slowly realising that here was an opportunity to 'get it
right' not to be missed. Finally I faced the fact that the
autumn dates would have to be abandoned, and managed to
secure three more studios for the following spring. But
this was only part of the difficulty. With so much new
material,. would Andrew even in this extended time be able
to absorb it and work it effectively into good drama?
On Andrew's part there was no doubting. Now sensing the
possibility of being able to produce a work which would be
definitive, he and Sharon set out with seemingly
inexhaustible energy to research not only the Llewelyn
Davies material, but every surviving record of J M Barrie.
They tape-recorded, photostated, microfilmed, indexed,
until Andrew's study came to be a Barrie museum. But as the
mountains of material grew, so too did my fears. Drama,
after all, is selection.
More importantly it must be given life by a viewpoint, a
clear statement of attitude. In the last analysis what goes
onto the screen must be a play, a work of imagination,
however much that imagination feeds itself on factual
During the summer of 1976, these doubts were thrashed out
at numerous meetings between Andrew and myself. I remember
one entire week when we sat together daily wrestling with
the material, grappling with the dramatic necessities as
well as the needs of historical truth. During those
discussions, invigorating and infuriating by turns, I came
to know Andrew better and to appreciate something of why
this story of the lost boys was so important and personal
to him, almost to the point of obsession, and why it was so
vital for him to express himself and realise his own
fullest potential through it. And because he cared so
deeply for it there was never any danger that this would
end up as merely another tele-biography, of the kind to
which viewers have become so accustomed over recent years.
Incidentally, it was at this time too that Andrew hit on
the perfect solution to the problem of selection. The
television trilogy would represent the distillation, the
essence of the story told as a dramatic creation, but all
the other material, including the original photographs,
would go into the book which Andrew now felt impelled to
write. The book would in fact be the 'documentary', in
which the research material would be allowed to speak for
itself, while Andrew Birkin the dramatist would express
himself through the plays. The two works, taken together,
would be complimentary, rather than mirror images as is the
case in so many 'books of the film', and when J M Barrie
and the Lost Boys was eventually published in 1979, it
proved a major triumph in its own right, matching that of
the television trilogy and winning wide critical acclaim on
both sides of the Atlantic.
Far from heading for disaster, therefore, I realised that
the project was in fact growing into something much more
exciting and demanding than had at first seemed possible.
During the summer of 1976 I made the decision that there
was no way in which the potential could be realised within
the confines of three 50-minute episodes. More time, and -
more importantly - a bigger budget were essential. Andrew
and I both clung to the trilogy as the most suitable
overall shape, but each play should run for about 90
minutes. But to have any hope of obtaining such resources I
was told that I would have to wait until the following
financial year - well into 1977. It was doubtful if they
would be available even then.
In November 1976 Andrew delivered Part Two and set to work
on the last play while the fate of the series hung in the
balance. But before Part Three arrived on my desk in
February I learned that my own faith in what Andrew was
creating was matched by my superiors at the BBC and the
scheme was given the go-ahead.
Production was finally set for the summer of 1977 and the
end of the script process was in sight.
In the event this plan too had to be abandoned. Pre
production was well advanced when a sudden shortage of make
up artists and property buyers made it impossible for the
show to proceed. Again luck was on our side, since at the
time when we would have been filming the Black Lake scenes,
Ian Holm - whom we had been fortunate enough to cast as
Barrie - was suffering a severe bout of chicken-pox. Also
we were granted a further unlocked for award of that most
precious of all commodities - time.
Between the summer and early winter of 1977, the director -
Rodney Bennett - Andrew and myself were able to go through
the entire script again, clarifying details, solving
practical problems, learning from the aborted summer
production. (It was at this stage that some cuts were made
which are indicated in this printed script by a line
alongside the cut text. Some of these cuts were in fact
made when the taped programmes were finally edited, but it
was felt that readers might like to know exactly how the
original script read.)
By the time rehearsals eventually got under way in January
1978, we all felt a degree of confidence in the material
which was now echoed by the actors and everyone involved in
the production process. Rarely have I known a set of
scripts which evoked such dedication and commitment from
set and costume designers, make-up, cameramen, property
buyers, lighting engineers as well as the production team.
I believe it came to be as special an experience for them
as it had for three years been to me.
One last point about the scripts themselves. I have
stressed all along that The Lost Boys is a trilogy
of plays, a dramatic creation, not a documentary
compilation. Plays explore, probing the characters and
minds of their dramatis personae. For example, all the
scenes between Barrie and the boys are wholly invented,
though this does not mean they are untrue, since dramatic
truth often goes deeper than documentary truth - as a poem
is often truer than an Income Tax return. In the case of
Barrie's letters and notebook entries used in the script,
some of the text is verbatim, while other parts are
invented (notably Barrie's letters to Sylvia and Michael in
Part Three, the originals of which have been destroyed); in
other words they are the author's best perception of what
the truth might have been, blended with his own dramatic
licence. For those who want the literal truth, Andrew wrote
We Set Out To Be Wrecked
1 INT. TENEMENTS COTTAGE - PARLOUR. 1867. DAY
[A pre-credit title prologue in SEPIA, the CAMERA remaining
detached, the editing fragmentary, conveying the vagueness of
a childhood memory rather than a cohesive sequence. In the
event the sequence was never shot. All such sequences that
were cut before shooting started are printed in
A darkened room, the blinds drawn. In foreground, the dim
shape of an open coffin, standing on a table.
Presently a door opens and a shaft of light falls across the
coffin, revealing a dead child of twelve, DAVID Barrie. He is
a boy of wayward grace and beauty, with golden hair and a
soft, mocking smile, haunting and enigmatic.
A small six-year-old boy, JAMES BARRIE, approaches the coffin
from the open door, glancing cautiously over his shoulder to
make sure he is not being followed. In contrast to his dead
brother, Barrie is a somewhat ill-formed child: his body
squat, truncated, with a head too large for his wiry body,
his eyes baggy and puffed about the edges. He is wearing
"mourning blacks" and has a black arm-band on his sleeve.
Barrie climbs up on a chair and leans over the edge of the
coffin, staring at the dead boy's smile with a look of
Barrie leans forward, strokes the boy's hair, whispers to him
in a strong Scots' dialect -
I lain lee, David - I lain 'ee.
Someone calls from the passage beyond the room.
JANE ANN (O.S.)
Jimmie? Where are 'ee, Jimmie?
Barrie glances round, then hurriedly climbs down from the
chair and slides under the table. His elder sister, JANE ANN,
enters the room. She is about 17, her voice hushed in the
presence of her dead brother.
JANE ANN (O.S.)
Far hae ye gotten tae?
From Barrie's nervous POV, Jane Ann moves about the room,
looking for him.
JANE ANN (O.S.)
Are ve in here hoddin?
Barrie cowers, tries to suppress a cough, fails. Jane Ann
bends down and discovers him hiding under the table.
Jimmie! Coom out o' there at eence!
Barrie crawls out from under the table, and is dragged to his
feet by Jane Ann -
James Barrie, think black burnin'
shame o' yersel'! Does yer deed
brither no' mean naethin' tae ye
Barrie glances at the coffin, then looks down at the floor.
I wasna daein' nae hairm.
Why do he smile so?
Jane Ann falters a moment, then shoes Barrie towards the
Ben the hoose wi' ye before mither
Barrie pauses, suddenly bolts from the room. Jane Ann follows
him out, closing the door behind her.
CAMERA HOLDS on the dead boy in the foreground coffin, his
smile still glinting in the gloom.
2 EXT. TENEMENTS COTTAGE & WINDOW. 1867. DAY
[Sepia] FOUR MEN carry David's coffin from the cottage. As
they pass foreground, CAMERA HOLDS on Barrie's face, watching
them through a chink in the window blind beyond them.
Presently Barrie turns away, the blind falling back across
3 INT. TENEMENTS COTTAGE - STAIRS. 1867. DAY
[Sepia] Barrie sits huddled at the foot of a narrow
staircase, his head tucked between his knees. A door opens on
the landing above.
(O.C., barely audible)
Mak shure she taks thae ilka twa
hoors. Ye maur gar her tak a richt
JANE ANN (O.C.)
We've baith tried, my faither an'
me. But we canna win through till
her ava. We feels liksen she's
no' aiven there inside her ain
Barrie squeezes himself up tight against the wall as Jane Ann
and the DOCTOR pass him on the stairs.
Well that's nae uise ava. If she
keeps on brakkin' her hert,
there'll be nae betterment. Tell
her she maun puit a stoot hert till
a stey brae.
CAMERA remains on Barrie as the Doctor leaves the house,
closing the door behind him.
Jane Ann is about to walk back upstairs when she notices that
her brother is crying.
Fat's vrang, Jimmie?
She disna care a docken aboot me.
She minds aboot naebody but David.
Mither. She hes nae thocht for
naebody but David.
Jane Ann sits down on the stair beside him. A pause, then a
thought comes to her.
Ben ye gae tae her, Jimmie. Gae
ben. Gaeng ben an' tell her she has
anither laddie left.
Barrie looks up at his sister; she smiles reassuringly,
wiping away his tears.
Awa' ye gae noo ... Gaeng an' tell
her that. Gar her harken til ve,
Barrie hesitates a moment, then goes upstairs. He knocks
gently at a closed bedroom door. There is no reply. He
glances back down at Jane Ann, who waves him on -
Ben ye gae!
A pause, then Barrie timidly opens the door.
4 INT. TENEMENTS COTTAGE - BEDROOM. 1867. DAY
[Sepia] Barrie squeezes inside the door, shutting it fast
behind him. The room is in semi-darkness, lit only by the
thin rays of sunlight filtering in between the drawn
curtains. A long pause, then a thin, listless voice whispers
from the shadows -
Is that you?
[Sepia] Barrie peers into the darkness, dimly discerning the
figure of his mother, MARGARET OGILVY, lying in bed. She
gazes ahead of her as if in a trance, clutching at a small
white christening robe.
(an anxious whisper)
Is that you?
Margaret Ogilvy continues to gaze blankly at the void before
her, as if addressing someone else. Barrie is evidently hurt
by her question, and the tears brim in his eyes -
No, it's no' him - it's just me.
A pause, then Margaret Ogilvy turns to him, holding out her
Barrie runs to his mother's arms, sobbing his heart out.
Oh, Jimmie, Jimmie! Dinna ye ever
laive me! Ye maun never laive me,
my lief aliene. I canna dae wantin'
I'll never laive ye, mither - no'
ever! I'll gar ye laugh the way he
did, an' whustle the way he did,
an' plaise ye jeest like himsel'.
I'll be him to ye forever, I'll aye
Margaret Ogilvy clings to her son, rocking him back and
Aye, laddie - but no' forever.
Dae'd aye, mither!
No, Jimmie. One day ye maun grow up
an' become a man, but he'll stay my
Barrie responds with a look of anguish, slowly transforming
into one of grim, silent resolve.
5 EXT. KENSINGTON GARDENS. 1897. DAWN
[Normal colour] FADE UP on the deserted Kensington Gardens in
the autumn of 1897. The THEME MUSIC filters in over a series
of dawn images, a montage of anticipation, conveying the
mystery of the Gardens during Lock-Out Time: an elusive
sanctuary from the urban sprawl of London, devoid of human
intrusion. Each image lingers into the next, ending with the
MAIN TITLE over a pair of parish boundary markers: two worn
stones, said to mark the graves of two children who fell out
of their perambulators while their nurse was looking the
6 EXT. KENSINGTON GARDENS - MAIN GATES. 1897. DAY
The dawn tranquility ends with the unlocking of the park
gates, allowing patrons to enter the Gardens: morning
STROLLERS, NURSES wheeling perambulators, CHILDREN on their
way to school.
Conspicuous among the arrivals are two spectacularly
attractive young boys, GEORGE and JACK LLEWELYN DAVIES, aged
eight and seven respectively. They are dressed in white fur
coats and bright red tam-o'shanters, and both carry large
wooden hoops. Their eagerness to reach the Gardens is held in
check by their nurse, MARY HODGSON, who wheels their baby
brother Peter in an ornate perambulator.
7 EXT. KENSINGTON GARDENS. 1897. DAY
Once inside the Gardens, Mary Hodgson relinquishes her rein
on George and Jack, allowing them to join in with other
CHILDREN rolling hoops along the Broad Walk.
Watching the children from the other side of the Broad Walk
is a small pocket-size edition of a man - J M BARRIE. He is
barely five foot tall, and though now in his mid-thirties he
looks older, a gnomish creation huddled inside an overcoat
several sizes too big for him. His wife, MARY BARRIE,
accompanies him: a slight, attractive, irrelevant woman,
scarcely taller than her husband. They are both dwarfed by
the presence of their huge St Bernard dog, PORTHOS, who
bounds to and from Mary Barrie, fetching sticks. But Barrie's
attention is held by the children, particularly George, who
"strikes a hundred gallant poses in a day, and when he
tumbles, which is often, he comes to the ground like a Greek
George and Jack rejoin Mary Hodgson, who has been conversing
with another NURSE on the business of babies. As they turn to
leave, Barrie catches George's eye. The boy smiles at him,
then saunters off. Mary Barrie senses her husband's
preoccupation, but not the object of his gaze; he answers her
mild curiosity by pointing his stick at some inconsequential
diversion. Mary Barrie smiles, throws another stick for
8 EXT. KENSINGTON GARDENS - MAIN GATES. 1897. DAY
Mary Hodgson buys Jack a balloon from a portly BALLOON
WOMAN stationed outside the park gates; George stands
nearby, already equipped with a large blue one. His
attention is once again caught by the strange little man in
the large overcoat: Barrie, leaving the Gardens with Mary
Barrie on his arm and Porthos by his side. Barrie pauses a
moment in response, then slowly raises one eyebrow at him
while simultaneously lowering the other. Again George
smiles: the careless, faintly arrogant smile of one who
knows his own charm.
The others in both groups remain unaware of the silent
exchange: Mary Hodgson leads her two charges off down the
road in one direction while Mary Barrie accompanies her
husband and Porthos in the other.
9 INT. 31 KENSINGTON PARK GARDENS - HALLWAY. 1897. DAY
The hallway of a large, upper-middle class London house.
The CAMERA remains in LONG SHOT throughout the scene,
SHOOTING along the hall towards the closed front-door.
Presently George and Jack can be heard arguing in the street
outside as they approach the house.
I wanted the red one!
Well you can't, so snubs!
I'm the eldest, so it's mine!
I do. It's my mess of pottage,
that's what Miss Fairfax says -
George opens the front-door with an air of righteous
superiority, followed by Jack and Mary Hodgson, who hauls in
the pram from the pavement while the two boys continue to
squabble over their balloons -
She says the eldest always has a
(slight Northern accent)
That's enough, George. If you won't
talk sense, don't talk at all.
The boys' mother, SYLVIA LLEWELYN DAVIES, wanders out from
the adjoining morning-room. Formerly a Du Maurier before
her marriage, she is a woman of unconventional beauty. Her
mouth is quite crooked, her nose tip-tilted, her eyes grey,
searching, and very mischievous. There is something
wistful, almost tragic, in her expression, particularly
when she smiles, which is often, "as though the mystery and
sadness and serenity of the moon were in it".
Sylvia greets her boys with vague nonchalance -
'llo mother -
- so if you don't mind I'll have
my birthmark now...
George snatches the balloon from Jack, and Mary Hodgson hands
it back to him as promptly -
Any more of that, my young man, and
you'll get a smacked b.t.m.
Are these two being as plaguey as
(to George and Jack) )
Go and say hello to your father.
George and Jack disappear into the morning room where their
father, ARTHUR LLEWELYN DAVIES, is standing by the fireplace,
barely visible. He is a young barrister, recently called to
the Bar; his good looks are no less striking than those of
his wife and children, though his manner is inclined to be
stiff and a little severe. Arthur's background of intellect
ual austerity is in marked contrast to Sylvia's gay and
somewhat Bohemian upbringing, though they have both adapted
well to each other's nature, and are still very much in love.
While George and Jack pay their respects to Arthur, Sylvia
continues to talk to Mary Hodgson, the two conversations
being OVERLAPPED -
I'll be taking George and Jack
down to Ramsgate for the week
end, so will you be sure to have
their suitcases packed for Friday
Had a good day at school?
Very good, Mrs Arthur.
Passable. Did you get him off?
Thank you, Mary.
After a fashion.
You mean he's not going to swing?
No, my boy, he's not.
Sylvia goes into the morning-room, turning back to Mary
Hodgson on her way in -
Oh, and Mary I wish we didn't
have to leave the pram in the
hallway - there's no room for my
Very good, Mrs Arthur.
(to Sylvia, lightly)
I think the pram more beautiful
than the flowers.
Sylvia closes the morning-room door behind her.
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