You know what it’s like when you meet new people, after chatting for a while the subject comes up – “And what do you do for a living?” (Though now, it’s more likely to be – “What did you do in a former life?”)

Now this was always a difficult one for me to answer. Why? I could start with the writing bits, interviews and research and then the planning for pre-production, and directing on shoot, and helping to carry gear, and then sitting in on edit (I didn’t know how to twiddle all those little knobs), and then there was the still photography side and overall producing and making countless cups of coffee. I hope you get the general idea.

So to simplify matters I would simply murmur that I was a scriptwriter – and the conversation would go something like this:

“Goodness, how brave, I’ve never had a head for heights.”

“Excuse me?” (I had visions of working behind a desk so large I needed a ladder to climb onto the chair). “Uh, I don’t use ladders, why did you think…?”

“Well don’t you paint all those neat signs over the shop doorways?”

“Er, no.”

Or we would have the following.

“You too! That’s amazing, I bought my son a set of calligraphy pens for Christmas, if you have a spare moment could you show him how to use them properly?”

“Uh, no. Not fancy script writing, I am a scriptwriter – I write scripts for radio and television and corporates and documentaries.”

Puzzled look on person’s face. “But, what are those for? How do you mean…?”

Deep breath. “When you see people on television, say a presenter talking to the camera about seagulls, or street children, or healthy diets, or how electricity works…!”

(Interruption at this point to remind me of a wonderful programme with Soandso they had watched.).

“Exactly, well I write the words they say – all those words are in the script.”

“They are? Not their own words?”

“Not usually no – unless they insert swear words we have to edit out. They are just delivering the words written by a scriptwriter, someone like me, the same way an actor reads the lines of a play. In theory they are supposed to learn their lines too, but often they are so lazy they don’t even read the script before coming on set, or out on location. Then they want an idiot board or a portable tele-prompt – another piece of heavy and bulky piece of equipment to cart about. It boils down to the production secretary / director / producer, very often me, who gives them the words sentence by sentence which they then repeat to the camera like a parrot.”

Sad look on other face, I have now shattered their dreams that their favourite presenter is not much more than a talking parrot and may not have the faintest idea about the topic before they begin to tell the nation at large all about it.  Still that’s life I guess.

However it wasn’t life for long for poor Jane. (Don’t you just love that smooth transition, which I’ve now spoiled by pointing it out). I’m practicing for the books I am going to write one day in real literature form, and I understand they must have beautiful prose and written so that no one can understand them – so the judges can be clever and mysterious pretending they do – understand them that is).


We left Mary fast approaching the Tower with lots of men who she had picked up on the way. Most of them had been lounging around outside various pubs and frankly had nothing better to do.

Luckily for Mary, Jane was already in the Tower and all her supporters had left. Jane hardly noticed that Mary was on her way, can you imagine how long it was taking her to clean a place that size? She had already gone through three crates of Handy Andy and she’d only done the Chapel and the Beauchamp Tower.

To add insult to injury, Jane’s Daddy went and said he supported Queen Mary, and then poor Jane and her husband were locked up. Not together of course, as Mary did not approve of such goings on among prisoners, even if they were married.


To cut a long story short, Jane was tried, found guilty and after a gloriously long reign of just nine days, when all she did was sign a couple of memos (they were very long in those days) she was condemned to death. and had her head chopped off.


So sad, especially as she didn’t want to be a queen in the first place. Not long after, Daddy was also put to death, but her Mummy and her two sisters had a lovely life at court, with Mummy marrying her toy boy, the one who mastered her horses

JANES PRISONThis picture shows the very nice lawn in the Tower of London, part of the green belt I believe.

5 thoughts on “WHAT DO YOU DO? – AND THE END OF JANE

    • Oh that is it exactly! I used to tell my students if they wanted to be famous, to leave the scriptwriting/video production course and make for the drama department. No one cares who wrote the play, made the costumes, lit the set, made the set, checked the sound etc etc. They are putting the cat out, making for the loo or putting the kettle on as the credits roll. People even think the presenters on TV write their own words!!!!!


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