Brother George

EXT. MIDDLEHAM CASTLE - DAY.
Richard and Anne come out from inside the keep. Richard’s train, waiting in the courtyard to leave for London, is large, decked with banners and the colours of England, as well as the white boar. Lovel, Ratcliffe and Robert Percy are already on horseback. Tyrell waits holding Richard's mount.
Edward escapes from his nurse and runs out to grab hold of his father who again lifts him high.
ANNE
Careful, Richard.

Richard lowers Edward to the ground and ruffles his hair. He watches smiling as his parents say their farewell, another of Richard and Anne’s private in public farewells.

RICHARD
Let us hope Clarence has been behaving himself.

He leaps onto his horse which rears up into the sky.

EXT. A COUNTRY COTTAGE - DUSK

As the horse comes back down we realise it is now Clarence on horseback here.

CLARENCE is watching as THOMAS BURDETT smashes down the door of the cottage. This is the home of ANKHARETTE TWYNHOE, the Duchess of CLARENCE'S one time maid. Burdett drags the poor, complaining old woman and an old man, her husband, out and throws them to the ground in front of Clarence's horse. Seeing her former master she thinks she is safe

ANKHARETTE
Oh, your grace! Thank the Lord. I am safe. This man has..

Her thoughts of safety are soon dispatched.

CLARENCE
(shouting orders)
Burdett. Torch the cottage!

ANKHARETTE
Your grace! What have we done to deserve this?

CLARENCE
Done woman? Done? Poisoned my wife that is what you have done!

AnkHARETTE
I was your late wife’s faithful nurse for years! I would not do anything to harm her!

CLARENCE
Thomas!

He screams at Burdett.

Hang this witch!

Clarence drinks from a flagon a servant offers him, the old man grabs his leg
TWYNHOE
(screaming in terror)
Mercy My Lord. Mercy! I beg you!
My wife has done nothing to deserve this.

CLARENCE

Why not join your wife in her dance of death?

He watches the barbaric scene of these gentle old  people being strung up on the nearest oak, kicking, screaming, protesting their innocence. The man dies first. Not until Ankharette has ceased her cries and hangs lifeless does CLARENCE throw away the wine flask and gallop away. The cottage burns brightly against the darkening sky.

                                                     MIX TO:

EXT. THE RIVER THAMES NEAR WINDSOR CASTLE - DAY
The ripples of the water in the River. The image is suddenly invaded by the prow, then the oars of a barge. Camera pulls back rapidly to show there are a number of boats on the river.

CLOSE: The King is in the leading boat with Hastings and a group of male courtiers.

ANGLES: The Queen, Rivers, and Dorset are in the boat following him, or rather chasing, as it swiftly becomes apparent this is what she is doing, particularly as she screams across the water at her husband who shouts back at her to be quiet.

The royal couple are fighting, or rather the Queen is screaming across the water, about Clarence.

King Edward is furious at her for her public display.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
Oh it's all right for your drunken brother to go about hanging innocent people is it? But not for me, your Queen, to protest about it!

KING EDWARD
(screaming back at her)
Leave my brother for me to deal with.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
Leave it to you? What will you do this time Edward? Pat him on the back and give him a years supply of Malmsey wine to swim in?

KING EDWARD
Shut up woman. Shut the fuck up!

He directs the oarsmen to get him back to the shore, but that does not silence the Queen who continues her haranguing. Her boat turns to continue her chase.

EXT. THE RIVER BANK NEAR WINDSOR CASTLE. DAY.

In a field near the river's bank, there is a frozen tableau of mediaeval pageantry.
Pavilions covered with rich, colourful, heraldic adornments,have been set up, and are dotted about on the close cropped grass of the field. Wooden trestles groaning with food and flagons of wine are set up in front of the pavilions.
The flapping banners that cap these tents are all that moves as the scattered groups of lords, a few ladies, men at arms, servants, even horses, are all frozen, amazed, as they watch the horrendous royal screaming match on the river.

Nearest to the water one group is centred about the Duke of Buckingham who, unlike his companions, appears mildly amused.

Buckingham hardly reacts as the tableau suddenly comes back to life, its attention caught by the arrival on horseback of Richard with his henchmen, Richard Ratcliffe, James Tyrell, and the ever present Francis Lovel.

This breaks the spell and the servants and lesser mortals suddenly discover urgent matters to attend to.

TRACKING SHOT: Richard and Lovel dismount. There is a look between them as Tyrell and Ratcliffe see to the horses.

Richard points out Buckingham to Lovel and they walk across to join his group. He is the only member of his entourage not hiding the fact that his attention is totally on the river battle. His eyes only flicker long enough to acknowledge Richard.

BUCKINGHAM
My lord of Gloucester! Come to watch the fun?

RICHARD
Cut the crap Harry! What's going on?

BUCKINGHAM
They're arguing about your beloved brother George - again. What else?

RICHARD
(not surprised)
Jesu! Now what's he done?

BUCKINGHAM
You haven't heard in Yorkshire? I didn't realise it was quite so remote. Should we have business in the future, you and I, I must remember to have swift horses to hand.

Richard gives him an impatient growl.

STEADICAM: Buckingham moves in closer, puts his arm about Richard’s shoulder leading him slowly towards the river bank. The other members of his group melt away.

BUCKINGHAM (CONT’D)
This time is serious Richard. Having wanted to marry the heiress of Burgundy and finally get his hands on a crown...

RICHARD
(impatiently)
Yes, yes, I know all that. Of course Ned wouldn't let him marry our niece.

He shakes Buckingham’s arm off. Buckingham pretends not to notice.

BUCKINGHAM
Your sister Margaret was in favour,

RICHARD
Margaret has a blind spot where George is concerned.

He accepts a cup of wine from a servant.

BUCKINGHAM
Yes. Well, George saw the King's refusal as having been engineered by the Queen, who put her brother Rivers forward in his place.

RICHARD
Yes, Anthony, ridiculous suggestion too!

He drains his cup and tosses it aside. A servant appears out of nowhere to catch it.

BUCKINGHAM
I grant you that one, yes, but for Clarence a small crown is better than none. His theory anyway. So he put out the story that his wife was poisoned by one of her maids at the instigation of the Queen.

RICHARD
(stops dead in his tracks)
Nonsense! Isabel was sick for months before she died. Everybody knows it!

BUCKINGHAM
Of course, but Clarence rode off to find the old woman, dragged her from her fireside, and hanged her...

RICHARD
(staring aghast)
Dear God! Taking the King's law into his own hands.

BUCKINGHAM
Yes, Richard. Treason!

He pauses for a moment before dropping the next bombshell.

BUCKINGHAM (CONT’D)
Since then he's also been mumbling stories of Edward's bastardy.

RICHARD
Not that one again!

BUCKINGHAM
Both Edwards this time Richard, King and prince!

RICHARD (shocked)
I can see Elizabeth's point for once! Will George never learn?

More screams and shouts carry across from the river.
Richard looks behind him, where the servants and other members of the court are stood gaping at the boats again.

RICHARD (CONT’D)
What are you lot staring at?

They all suddenly find things to do when they see who is shouting at them.

Richard turns back to look at the river scene.

RICHARD (CONT’D)
I suppose I’ll be asked to clear up the mess as usual!

BUCKINGHAM
The house of York! What fun and games they play to divert us!

RICHARD
Good God Harry! This ugly display can hardly be called fun! Not the picture of kingship I hoped to find in so public a place. Nor in private either, for that matter. My family must be able to hear the screams in Yorkshire!

BUCKINGHAM
(shrugs)
It’s been going on for more than an hour now. The king took to the river to try and escape the Queen, but you know Elizabeth. Once she starts she will not give up easily. Dorset found her another boat and the chase was on!

RICHARD
Will George never stop his stupid games?

Thomas Vaughan, a member of Buckingham’s group earlier, approaches closer and interrupts, having been ear wigging but not succeeding in hearing all of the conversation

VAUGHAN
No game this time, your grace. This time it is really serious! Treason!

Buckingham gives the man a withering look. It is not this creatures place to discuss such things with the Duke of Gloucester. Richard just looks at him as if he has never seen him before, then turns away. Vaughan duly slinks off. Buckingham is about to speak again when the kings boat arrives at the pier.

EXT. THE RIVERSIDE - DAY - STEADICAM  SHOT

STEADICAM: King Edward leaps from the boat and marches up the river bank into the centre of the field of tents.
All he passes sink to their knees.

His face full of rage he grabs a goblet of wine from a page and drinks it down in one gulp. The boy offers him the flagon and the King takes it. The boy, expecting only to pour, loses his balance, and falls onto his back.

King Edward ignores him and marches on, drinking as he goes. He spots Richard and charges across to him. Richard alone does not bow. The only one allowed this privilege. The King takes another gulp from the flagon. Wine escapes his mouth and stains his clothes. He doesn't care.

KING EDWARD
Make her shut up, Richard, or I swear I'll do her some damage.

RICHARD
Harry, get up!

Buckingham is kneeling next to him, head down, but listening intently. He jumps to his feet at Richard’s command.

RICHARD (CONT’D)
Try to keep the Queen at bay, Harry. Do anything.

Buckingham rushes off towards the river, not looking confident of success. Richard follows the King who is already moving up the field. Halfway Edward notices the musicians standing gaping at him.

KING EDWARD
And what the fuck are you staring at? Gods wounds! Play something, anything,loud enough to drown out that bitch’s voice!

The musicians react as if scalded by hot water, and music miraculously begins. One of the players bangs loudly on the drum, completely out of kilter with the rest of the group, but this the King likes and actually manages a smile.

KING EDWARD (CONT’D)
That's it! That's the way!

(He starts waving his arms about as if conducting)
Drown her out! Drown her out!

He throws his already empty flagon away and grabs a cup another servant offers him. Richard stiffly refuses the one he is offered.

RICHARD
Drowning yourself with wine won't do any good Ned! For Christ's sake pull yourself together! Harry will take care of the Queen. Trust me.

KING EDWARD
Oh yes. You I do trust. The only one I ever can trust! Look at those fawning popinjays! What a fiasco this has turned into!

He points in the direction of the shore where Buckingham is having great problems keeping Queen Elizabeth from continuing up the field after her husband. Only Howard has come to his aid, and he is restraining Dorset for Buckingham in order to allow him to concentrate on the Queen. The other Woodvilles crowd around, flapping like a flock of birds, all noise and feathers!

KING EDWARD (CONT’D)
And this is all our beloved brother George's fault. He’s gone too far this time, acting as though he were King, not I.

Elizabeth is screaming across the field at the King, somehow having heard her husband's words.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
The King's justice is of little significance in comparison with the charge he used to murder those two poor people! He accuses me Edward, me, your queen, of poisoning his wife, using them as my instruments. You have not seen him sitting at court refusing meat and drink while staring accusingly at me as if he expects me to poison him as well! And some days I bloody well want to!

Rivers joins in the shouting.

RIVERS
And do not forget the rising he stirred up last year to 'right the wrongs done to him by brother Gloucester'.

Richard moves forward between the King and the shouting figures of the Woodvilles.

RICHARD
A gesture, nothing more. A gesture
(he turns back to his brother)
To shout his jealousy of the favour you show me to the world. Nothing more.

KING EDWARD
And trust, Richard, do not forget the trust. He has never seen that you have earned it through the years, while his recurring treacheries to us have not! And people are now dying Richard.

King Edward stops pacing at last and puts his cup down on a table. A servant rushes up with another flagon, but the King only wants the cup refilled this time and leaves the jug with the servant, who bows and backs away. Richard takes his brothers arm.

RICHARD
(gently)
I came to wish you farewell. I have to return to the north. But listen to me, Ned, before I go, and forgive him. Just forgive George, again, for my sake. Keep him close. Give him a stern warning, but punish him no more. He is, will always remain, our brother. No amount of treason can ever alter that, nor make us forget the love we have for him. Forgive him Ned. Please.

King Edward seems calmed a little, although the naivete of Richard's sentiments, concern him. But he closes his eyes for a moment, and sighs.

KING EDWARD
But only this one more time. And that on condition he makes true submission to me.
(a pause)
And because you ask it of me. Again.

The brothers smile at each other. Then Edward looks across to the group who stand silently watching them, Elizabeth full of hate, knowing that Richard is calling on brotherly love again to rescue Clarence.

ANGLES: Buckingham moves between the Queen and her viewpoint before she can explode again into a stream of abuse. He signals to her to remain silent for the moment, in a way that only she can see. She looks at him questioningly, then, seeing the smile that comes over his face, appears to understand and nods.

Richard grasps his brother’s arm and the king hugs him. Richard wishes him farewell. He looks across at Elizabeth, moves across to her, and bows.

RICHARD
Madame. Sister. Have no fear of Clarence. He simply dreams too often of things that will never be.

Elizabeth smiles through her teeth, but says nothing. Richard nods to her again then to Buckingham and Dorset.

RICHARD (CONT’D)
Farewell, Harry. Thomas.

He turns again to King Edward who is watching him across the field, and nods. Then turning on his heels walks quickly from the field to where Tyrell, Ratcliffe, and Lovel wait with the horses. All watch as he mounts his horse and rides away.
As soon as he is out of eye shot, Elizabeth rushes round Buckingham and across to her husband.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
(very sarcastic)
Forgive Clarence once again dear Ned. Have no fear of Clarence, sister! He simply dreams a lot it seems and we should ignore him when he hangs my servants!

Icily changing her method of attack.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
His dreams are of the crown you wear. And innocent people, as you told your brother Richard, are dying!
Your patience astounds me Edward!

BUCKINGHAM
(gently and warmly, full of charm)
Cousin George, his grace the duke of Clarence, remembers how a Lancastrian parliament once named him heir after King Henry and his son. And as they are now both dead his grace's logic tells him King George should reign in King Edward's place.

King Edward laughs at this notion and begins to walk away.

KING EDWARD
The matter is closed

QUEEN ELIZABETH
(Raising herself to her full queenly height.)
Then King Edward's offspring will never come to the throne.

There is a pause. The King slowly turns back, walks up to her, and looms above her.

KING EDWARD
(quietly, severely)
Madame, enough!

QUEEN ELIZABETH
(In his face)
I have proof of his intentions.

At this moment Lord Stanley comes running from the direction of the castle, accompanied by Bishop Morton and Hastings. King Edward, like the Queen, appears surprised.

KING EDWARD
Dear God! Now what?

Hastings rushes up to the king

HASTINGS
The Duke of Clarence, Edward, once again defies your royal power and..

He is forced to stop as the King howls out in despair. The Queen, Rivers, and Buckingham smile triumphantly at each other. Hastings turns to Buckingham, bewildered at King Edward's reaction.

BUCKINGHAM
(softly so the King cannot hear)
Your timing, my lord, is perfect. Had the Queen arranged it herself, you could not have brought such news at a better time. The King has heard much of his brother today, and only just promised Gloucester he will forgive his transgressions, reluctantly this time, I think.

HASTINGS
He’ll soon change his mind!

He turns to King Edward, who stands, hands over ears, eyes closed, his face an image of mental pain.

HASTINGS
Your grace. You must hear me out!

King Edward doesn't move, so Hastings speaks on.

HASTINGS
Since you will not give me your permission I must speak without it.

He looks anxiously about. The Woodvilles silently encourage him with gestures.

HASTINGS
It concerns the treason of his retainer Thomas Burdett.

At the mention of this name King Edward's face relaxes, and he drops his hands and opens his eyes to look at Hastings. His expression is now stony, for the brother has sunk himself in the King.

KING EDWARD
What of Burdett?

Flashback: Burdett in the dock, then protesting his innocence as he is hanged.
HASTINGS (AS VOICE OVER)
Found guilty of attempting to procure your death by witchcraft, Burdett was executed yesterday. This morning the Duke of Clarence burst in  on your council at Westminster with a priest to bear witness that Burdett died protesting his innocence.

INT. COUNCIL CHAMBER WESTMINSTER - DAY
FLASHBACK: Dr. John Goddard being dragged into kings council at Westminster by Clarence and being forced to read Burdett’s protests of innocence. Then Goddard is forced to speak.

DR GODDARD
His grace asked me to remind the council that a recent parliament supported the claim of the Duke to the throne after the deaths of King Henry and his son Prince Edward.

There is uproar in the room. One voice is heard loudly shouting

MAN
A Lancastrian parliament and therefore illegal.

CLARENCE
My brother is not my brother and therefore has no legitimate claim. Furthermore his marriage is illegal, so his children too are illegitimate!

Uproar.

EXT. THE RIVERSIDE - DAY.

KING EDWARD
(his anger returning)
Is George so blind he cannot see Burdett's death was intended as a warning?

The Queen cannot now resist joining in. She is calm for once as she speaks, like a bird of prey about to swoop to the kill.

QUEEN ELIZABETH
My proof comes in the form of letters from the King of France, whose spies in Burgundy report that Clarence wished to marry its heiress only as a means of seizing the English crown!

KING EDWARD
France? Of course. Louis always did enjoy making me miserable.

Pause

He is certain?

The Queen nods. Buckingham moves closer to the King and speaks softly.

BUCKINGHAM
And the Duke has spoken often to me of the proof he has of your grace's bastardy, and of the er invalidity of your marriage to the Queen.

KING EDWARD
And you believe this nonsense?

BUCKINGHAM
No, your grace, else I would have told you. But others may.

King Edward looks askance at Buckingham, as if just seeing the awful possibilities for the first time. He looks at the Queen, who proudly returns his gaze, then at Hastings. The King begins to tremble with anger.

KING EDWARD
William, Lord Hastings. You will summon the Duke of Clarence to appear before me at Westminster tomorrow! The time has come to close George's mouth for once and for all.

The Queen and Rivers smile triumphantly at each other, and puff up their chests like peacocks.

HUGE CLOSE UP: King Edward has tears in his eyes as he slowly walks towards the castle.

EXT. LONDON - THE ROAD NORTH -  DAY

Helicopter shot. Long shot into close up Richard. Richard and a small retinue are riding slowly along a road in open country.

Ratcliffe turns to look behind and sees a cloud of dust pursuing them at a rapid pace and points this out to Richard who calls a halt. They wait as a single horseman rides out of the cloud, and gallops up to a halt in front of Richard.
It is Howard’s young son, Thomas. He jumps to the ground in front of Richard and kneels.

RICHARD
Howard? What is so urgent that you chase me in this manner? You look like you've spent a week in the saddle.

THOMAS HOWARD
Almost your grace. It feels like a week, but has been but one day and one night. I have taken little rest.

He is breathing hard and sweating

THOMAS HOWARD
My father wanted you to know as soon as possible. The morning after you left, the King accused your brother Clarence of subverting the laws of the realm, and, without allowing him to answer the charge, called the guard and arrested the duke. The king intends to convene a parliament after the Christmas season, and try your brother on a bill of attainder. The charge is high treason!

Richard is stunned and takes a moment to recover.

RICHARD
Where have they taken him?

THOMAS HOWARD
The Tower, your grace, and to an ordinary cell, not the royal apartments.

This galvanises Richard into action.

RICHARD
Like a common felon! Ratcliffe and Tyrell, ride on to Middleham and bring the lady Anne and my son to London. Tell the Duchess what has happened, and that I ask her to join me so that Gloucester may be strong, as the house of York rends it's own flesh in public! Take all but two of my men with you, and make haste. The remaining two, and you Thomas, if you are not too tired, ride back with me to London. Perhaps I can change the King's mind and stop this appalling spectacle before it has gone too far. Four horsemen riding alone have a chance of reaching the capital in a day!

He moves his horse out of the line, turns it, and with two men at arms who separate themselves from the group, gallops back in the direction from which he has just come. Howard reluctantly follows.

EXT. TOWER OF LONDON - EARLY EVENING

The Tower of London on the river Thames, looms high into the sky, threatening, but majestic. The camera moves up the walls from the river, then cranes over to look down at the activity within. Inside the walls it appears as a small city, full of bustling life, as well as a prison for some who are waiting judgment or death.

The camera moves in on, and through, a window, more a slit in the wall than anything.

INT. TOWER OF LONDON - CLARENCE'S CELL - EARLY EVENING
This is an ordinary prison cell. Rushes are strewn across the floor. The furniture is sparse, a table, a stool, a simple cot for a bed. In one corner stands a large wooden barrel. The window admits little daylight, while a single tallow candle on the table, smokes more than lightens, makes the whole room dusky and sombre.

Clarence is laid across his cot. He stirs himself and sits unsteadily up. Grabs a cup from the floor and drains it. It is empty so he pushes himself up and wobbles across to the barrel which he staggers against. As he dips his cup into the liquid it contains he hears footsteps in the corridor outside. He is not that interested as he drinks deep from his cup and leans in again to refill it. As he does so the keys jangle in the lock. Clarence hardly reacts as the door swings open and Richard ducks into the room.

CLOSE: Richard reacts to what he finds with visible disgust, appalled at the state of the cell his royal brother has been reduced to. At first he does not see Clarence so he calls back into the corridor for light.

RICHARD
Gaoler! Bring me some light!

A gaoler, rough looking creature in dirty clothes, brings a torch in and brackets it onto the wall.

GAOLER
Your grace.

He bows to Richard, then seeing his confusion nods at the corner and Clarence leaning against the barrel.

GAOLER
He's over there.

CLARENCE
Discovered!
(Chuckles as he spots his brother.)
What are you doing here, Richard?

RICHARD
(to the gaoler)
Leave us.

GAOLER
(he bows)

Your grace.

He pulls the door to behind him as he goes. The brothers stare at each other while the sound of the footsteps disappear. In the ensuing silence only noises from the outside world can be heard, distant, almost unreal.
Richard slowly pulls his gloves off, as he adjusts to the light. Clarence smiles, lifts his cup and toasts his brother.

CLARENCE
Come to gloat?
(Realises his mistake as soon as the words are out his mouth)
Sorry.
(He waves an arm around)
This is all I get, treason being the charge. Edward is mightily displeased this time. Although he did send me the Malmsey....
(he drinks)
To keep me company!

He staggers back across to his cot and collapses onto it.

RICHARD
And drunk!

CLARENCE
No lectures Richard, please. The Malmsey eases the solitude. Time does not hang too heavy on my hands. Have a seat. Not much to choose from but beggars cannot be choosers.

He finds this amusing for some reason.

Richard doesn’t really know what to do. He doesn’t sit, but again looks around the cell.

RICHARD
This cell is disgusting.

CLARENCE
By the time they get around to executing me, I shall probably be quite used to it. My very own little kingdom eh?

RICHARD
But it is Edward’s kingdom, not yours! And that’s why you’re here. When on earth will you learn?

CLARENCE
I said no lecture!

RICHARD
Why not think of a defence! If there is one. Killing those two old people, innocent people! How could you?

CLARENCE
I said no fucking lecture little brother!

RICHARD
(finally sitting on the stool pulling it up close to the cot)
Why George? Why?

Clarence stares at his brother, as if he suddenly realises that he really doesn’t know. He sighs deeply.

ClARENCE
After the excitement of the wars, everything seemed a little dull. Fobbed off with meaningless tasks about the court, watching that Woodville bitch get richer and richer, and her relatives more and more noble! If only you knew how funny that is!

RICHARD
Funny?

CLARENCE
(looks directly at Richard for the first time since he started speaking)
Perhaps ironic is a better word. I just thought I'd stir things up a bit, make the court more lively!

Richard opens his mouth to speak, then thinks better of it and waits for his brother to continue. Eventually Clarence grabs Richard’s arm.

CLARENCE
Richard, I think I’m losing my mind.
Crowns and coronets shimmer in the air before me, but they’re always just out of reach. I dream of them, yet when I wake there is only the pain of failure, another hangover, another “if only” hanging in the air. So I drink again to wash away the dreams.
And you know the worse thing of all? The drink often washes them back, only bigger and more real than they were before. All I think of are the ‘what might have beens’ for George.

RICHARD
You were never any good at playing politics George.

CLARENCE
I am already dead Richard. The games are over. You will soon have it all.
But beware. They will not want you to keep it. It will make you too much of a threat.

RICHARD
If you mean the Neville lands, I do not have them, and you are not yet dead. There is still time. Ned will listen to reason, to me. He will pardon you.

CLARENCE
Wake up Richard! He will not forgive. Not this time little brother. Not this time. I have ruined my life more than once, and it is easier to ruin a life twice than save it once.  The Duke of Clarence has finally thrown himself away!
(a long pause then very softly when he speaks again)
Bury me with Isabel, at Tewkesbury. Perhaps the only place I was ever truly loyal to the House of York.

RICHARD
I never expected you to wallow in self pity!

CLARENCE
(After another long pause)
I did love her you know. Isabel. Very much. Even if I didn't always show it.

RICHARD
Ned will pardon you again. We are brothers. We all have so much in common.

CLARENCE
(annoyed)
Like what Richard? Apart from the same parents we have nothing in common.
(He angrily sits up and challenges Richard)
You were never the "almost King" I was.
Parliament has never said you are heir to the crown like they did me. After Henry and his son are dead you will be King, George. You! Well they are both dead, yet I am not King. I was so close I could actually feel the crown on my head.

His now free arm he swings around to hold Richard's shoulders. His mouth he presses to Richard's ear.

CLARENCE
(soft and low, full of the Clarence charm)
Richard. Why you of all should take my part I do not understand.

RICHARD
You are my brother. No matter what you do I will always love you, always forgive you.

CLARENCE
For the safety of our house I tell you this. Alive I shall never give Edward a single day of peace as I seek out my vengeance on the Woodvilles and the world that made me take second place to their glory. So I must die. I have reached for the moon one time too often now and I see that I shall never capture it and hold it for myself.

He clasps his hands behind Richard's neck, pulls him close and hugs him tightly. Emotion creeps into his voice.

CLARENCE
Farewell brother of Gloucester.
Do not stay to see me die. Fly back north and build yourself a strong and mighty nest. You alone take my part against the Woodvilles. They will not forget that when their day to settle old accounts arrives, and you will have need of all the strength the north can give you to fight them. Farewell. I do not wish to see you again.

Clarence smiles gently at Richard, a childlike smile of warmth and love. Richard stands, eyes full of pain. Clarence falls back onto the pallet from where, without looking at his brother, softly calls out, in a strangled voice, one word, the childhood name that he has recently used laced with sarcasm. But this time it is the sound of his youth that Richard hears.

CLARENCE
Dickon.

It is a very long time since Clarence has called him that name with such affection. Richard freezes on the spot. As he does so the keys jangle in the lock and the gaoler enters. He starts to speak but Richard lifts his head and the look on his face silences the man.

The man looks past Richard at Clarence, then back at him, and is dismissed without words. The door closes. Richard turns, fighting back tears.

Clarence turns to face Richard, lifting himself up onto his elbow in a movement that will later be echoed in the deathbed scene of King Edward.
Richard moves to comfort him, but this angers Clarence.

CLARENCE
No, Richard. No self pity you said.

He falls back on the pallet.

CLARENCE
I’m sorry.

He reaches out his hand

CLARENCE
Come here.

Richard sits on the edge of the bed, taking George's hand in his own.

CLARENCE
Little brother. Smaller in size yet forever bigger. In loyalty, in heart. And you always do what you promise. Promise me something now. Take a message to Edward and see he carries out the request?

RICHARD
If I can.

CLARENCE
Tell Ned it must be quick. An experienced headsman. I never could stand a lot of pain.

RICHARD
George. Please.

CLARENCE
An experienced headsman, remember. Early, one morning - and - I want to be very drunk. Very. I can drown in Malmsey first! They can use the barrel for my coffin afterwards. Bury me with Isabel at Tewkesbury.

RICHARD
If only you could stay loyal....

CLARENCE
It was never easy for me like it was for you.

Pause.

CLARENCE
Go home to Yorkshire Richard, as soon as you hear I am sent the wine. Edward alone of our family must be seen to kill me. No one else. Ask Anne to forgive me, for treating her so badly. And fighting so fiercely for her lands. I really did think you were just after her inheritance. Had I known then  that you really loved each other, I may have acted differently.
(He smiles)
But I doubt it.

Oh and ask mother to visit me today. There is something I must tell her before I die.

Big close up of George on the left of screen, Richard on the right.

                                                          MIX


INT. WESTMINSTER PALACE - BANQUETING HALL - NIGHT

Huge close up of Richard. The image of Clarence hangs and shimmers.

Richard's image fades as the camera pulls back to reveal the light and colour of a Christmas celebration in full swing. In soft focus, silent, the figures dance slowly in front of our eyes. Then the silence of the cell is replaced with the noise and music of the court, as the figures come into sharp relief and dance at normal speed.
These Christmas celebrations are being genuinely enjoyed by few.
The family of the Queen, the Woodvilles, are laughing, dancing, enjoying themselves hugely, but they are alone in the throng.

SUPERIMPOSE TITLE
                    CHRISTMAS 1477

There is a pall flung over the festivities, for few do not think of the Duke of Clarence in his small cold cell in the Tower, hardly any distance away from the noisy, light, bedecked hall.

The image of Clarence finally fades.

King Edward presides, dressed in his usual kingly fashion but sloppily finished this time, and he doesn’t care, for he is getting drunk as fast as he can.

Queen Elizabeth close by, ignores him, watching and enjoying the dancing and antics of her brother Rivers and son Dorset with the women of the court.

Richard and Anne sit to one side with the Duchess of York. They pick at their food, sober and still, their thoughts on the Tower.
Only the children seem totally unaware of the atmosphere. The kings eldest son, and Richard’s son Edward, laugh and  run around at play. Richard moves to stop him, but Anne gently puts her hand on his arm and silently begs him to let the children play. Richard resignedly sits back in his chair and looks at his mother who forces a smile.

Hastings moves back and forth between tables trying to keep up some pretence of joyful celebration and unity to the house of York. He is failing miserably. The scene is predominantly one of strain, hollow and empty. Most minds are drifting back to the Tower and it's sad royal prisoner, the shadowy image of whom begins to appear again as we
                                                       MIX

INT. A ROOM NEAR WESTMINSTER HALL. DAY.

To Clarence handsomely standing in the shadows of a round chamber in the palace of Westminster. The camera circles slowly around the room during this scene, getting closer and closer in to Clarence.
Through a skylight window the sun streaks in to fall in a pool of golden light at the centre of the room.

Clarence steps forward into the shaft of light and stops. His face turns up into the light, pale and drawn, his eyes bloodshot, tired. He preens himself, picks at his hose, brushes his doublet. He listens to the noise that comes in from off screen, the sounds of a crowd reacting to arguments being put forward in the nearby court of Westminster Hall.

King Edward's voice can be heard, but not the words.

Other voices are raised in response.

Richard’s is heard.

Crowd reactions come and go like waves on a beach.

Clarence tries to hear what is said. He slowly paces back and forth, in and out of the pool of light, a medieval icon of a haloed saint. There is a shadow of the splendid younger prince. But only a shadow, for present too is also a chilling vision of the spectre at the feast.

King Edward's voice is heard shouting again, being greeted by a roar of disapproval?

Then there is silence. The edge of doom.

The camera is now very close on Clarence’s face.
Clarence realises he has no chance to win, and the small light in his eyes goes out.

The camera suddenly pulls away from him into shadow like a rat scuttling frightened into the safety of the darkness.
                                                    CUT TO:

INT. WESTMINSTER HALL - DAY.

King Edward sits in state on the throne, surrounded by the law lords, the dukes and earls of England all in magnificent red robes.

The trial is over.

Richard stands apart, his face wracked with the pain he feels for both Edward and George.

Clarence is brought into the hall. The crowd murmurs.

Clarence touches Richard’s arm as he passes, and smiles.

Otherwise he does not react. A few feet in front of the King's dais a bar has been set up across the hall. Clarence moves to it and, recalling some pride, pulls himself up to stand tall and straight before he looks up at King Edward.

The Duke of Buckingham unfurls a scroll and reads.

BUCKINGHAM
As Lord Marshal of England I step forward to read out the verdict of this court. George, Duke of Clarence is found guilty of high treason. Sentence of the court is the only one possible for a traitor.

KING EDWARD
Death.

Clarence's face does not change. He stares impassively up at the King, nods. His eyes then flit across Buckingham's stony, haughty, proud face, onto Richard, who cannot hide his sadness. Clarence shrugs his shoulders in an 'I told you so' gesture, and smiles another smile.

BUCKINGHAM
Take the prisoner down!

Clarence is lead out of court, back to the Tower. As soon as the door is closed behind him King Edward stands, and without any ceremony at all, storms out in the opposite direction.

Hastings rushes after. There is uproar in the court. Richard tries to follow the king, but is restrained by Buckingham.

BUCKINGHAM
Leave it for a day or two, Richard. Let him calm himself a little.

Richard, plainly upset, shakes his hand away and leaves.

Buckingham's face betrays some emotion as he watches Richard go. He turns to look in the direction Clarence has taken and a smile almost crosses his face. But he controls it so that his pleasure stays inside for none to see and comment on.
                                                     SLOW MIX

EXT. WESTMINSTER PALACE - DAY

Establishing shot from the river. Camera suddenly moves into a window.

INT. WESTMINSTER PALACE - PRIVATE CHAMBERS OF THE KING - DAY.

King Edward is sitting in a cushioned chair by a window. He stares out of the window down river in the direction of the Tower. He wears a velvet dressing gown over a nightshirt. He does not appear to have slept for some time.

Superimpose title:
                     TEN DAYS LATER

Richard is pacing up and down the room behind him, pleading for Clarence's life. It is apparent that this has been going on for some time too. Richard is dishevelled, at the end of his tether. He will not give up on either of his brothers.

RICHARD
Brother killing brother? What is more grotesque? Cain killed his brother Abel, and the Lord banished him from Eden. There must be blood loyalty, family loyalty, and even though Clarence has abused both more than once, forgive him. Teach by example, Ned.

KING EDWARD
That is what I do in punishing him, making an example of my own brother, teaching all who may think to rebel.

RICHARD
You’re going to kill him Edward! Fratricide is a mortal sin.

KING EDWARD
Not for kings Richard!

George strikes at the very foundations of the House of York, and if I do not stop him, he will bring it crashing down around our ears. He is the dark heart of our family.

RICHARD
Remember the past Ned, our days of hardship and exile together. The cold when we three were the only friends we had! Barnet and Tewkesbury Fields when George came back to the Yorkist fold.

KING EDWARD
Only thanks to you Richard.

RICHARD
Why can you not forgive him again Ned? Why?

KING EDWARD
Because this time he has gone far too far.

RICHARD
(near to desperation)
What makes it so impossible this time?

King Edward refuses to answer, he is becoming increasingly upset while Richard, near to tears, begins to get irrational.

RICHARD
It's the Queen’s family, it’s something he’s done to Elizabeth or her brood? It is, isn't it? Tell me. Tell me!

The king finally stands, and looms over Richard.

KING EDWARD
Enough Richard! I say again, this time I cannot pardon him. George has thrown his life away, not I!

At that moment the door opens and an usher enters

KING EDWARD
(angrily)
What?

Nervously the usher kneels and looks up at the king. Then at Richard, back and forth.

USHER
Sire. A delegation from the House of Lords has arrived to speak with you regarding the execution of the duke of Clarence.

Richard stares at him, frozen with fear.

KING EDWARD
Send them in.

Richard looks at his brother who ignores him as he moves to his throne and settles onto it, visibly shaking off the mood of earlier.

KING EDWARD
The brother must sink himself in the king.

Richard admits defeat, and storms out of the room.

INT. PALACE OF WESTMINSTER. A CORRIDOR. DAY

In the corridor a group of lords, led by Buckingham, are waiting. Richard stops by Buckingham and leans against him, turning his now tear stained face to his. Buckingham puts his own hand gently over Richards in a gesture of understanding. Behind Richard the King summons the group into the presence.

KING EDWARD
I said to come in gentlemen.

Richard stiffens, wipes his sleeve across his face, takes a deep breath, and with a cursory nod to Buckingham continues on his way.

Buckingham’s gaze follows him. Again there is almost a smile, before his face turns to stone. He is being forced to do this deed because of his position as Chamberlain. He leads the group into the chamber. There is a crash that echoes around the palace as the doors close behind them.

Alone at the other end of the corridor Richard hears the echo of the door. It is the sound of Clarence's doom, and now standing still, Richard finally breaks down.                         
                                                     CUT TO
EXT. TOWER OF LONDON. EVENING.
Ghastly images of the Tower, weird distorted angles.

INT. TOWER OF LONDON - THE NEXT DAY - CLARENCE'S CELL - EVENING
Clarence is sitting on his cot, sober yet drinking. No amountof  alcohol can make him drunk enough to miss his own execution. Bishop Stillington, Bishop of Bath and Wells, stands in a corner, his duties still not done. He is nervous, uneasy.
BISHOP STILLINGTON
George. Your grace. Please.

The duke puts down the cup and kneels on the floor in front of the bishop who mumbles a prayer. He makes a sign of the cross over George's head. Clarence crosses himself, looks up at the bishop and smiles. It is a gentle smile, full of appreciation.

CLARENCE
Thank you Robert.

He stands and puts a hand on the bishops shoulder.

CLARENCE
Be careful after I am gone.

BISHOP STILLINGTON
I shall not breathe a word while King Edward lives. I have sworn it on the bones of Our Lady of Walsingham. Nothing will make me forswear. And I shall doubtless follow you long before the king.

Clarence seems relieved. He smiles again, picks up his cup and goes to the corner, where the large barrel of wine still stands. Clarence takes the lid off and leans over to look in.

CLARENCE
Still some left.

He reaches down to the tap and fills his cup. Draining it he refills it and stands again, looks at Stillington.

CLARENCE
No matter how much I drink today I cannot seem to get drunk. I used to find it so easy.

The sound of approaching footsteps is heard outside.

CLARENCE
The grave beckons Robert.

Keys jangle in the lock, and the door swings open. The gaoler ducks into the room, followed by Buckingham, Hastings, John Howard, and Dorset. Then two masked men, one carrying a block of wood. Clarence angers when he sees Dorset.

CLARENCE
Not him! I will have no Woodville watch me pass into Heaven. Get him out!

DORSET

So sure it will be Heaven George?

CLARENCE
St. Peter would not refuse such a sinner.

STILLINGTON
Especially one so contrite in his confession.

Dorset laughs. Buckingham turns angrily towards him.

BUCKINGHAM
Better if you left Thomas. We have enough witnesses. Now!

Dorset reluctantly ducks back out through the door.

CLARENCE
Get on with it Harry. I have been ready for some time.

He drains the wine from his cup and tosses it at the bishop.

CLARENCE
Souvenir Robert?

The bishop is pale, shaken by Clarence's apparent calm. He nods and cradles the cup. Clarence points to the barrel.

CLARENCE
I have tried hard to drink it all Harry, but I’ve failed. Not like me, is it? You can use what is left to wash my corpse, then bury me inside. That way St. Peter will know it’s me by the smell!

BUCKINGHAM
(uneasy too now)
Come now cousin. As you said, best not tarry any longer.

He signals to the executioners who place the block in the middle of the cell. Clarence turns on Buckingham.

CLARENCE
Am I not to see the day for the last time?

BUCKINGHAM
Your brother's orders were for the execution to be in private.

CLARENCE
Ah. I see. As little public shame for our house as possible. Where is my brother Richard?

HASTINGS
The Duke left London for the north yesterday evening.

CLARENCE
(nods)
Good. He listened to me for once.

HASTINGS
He was in much distress.

Clarence nods and thinks for a moment. Then he sighs.

CLARENCE
Come on then. Lets get on with it.

Buckingham signals to the masked men. One of them ducks back into the corridor and reappears seconds later with the axe. Clarence has his back to this, kneeling in the centre of the room above the block. Stillington is praying over him one last time. The assistant pulls Clarence shirt back, away from his neck.
Clarence finishes praying.

CLARENCE (CONT’D)
(whispering)
I come now Isabel. Welcome me with your forgiveness.

He crosses himself, places his neck on the block. His hands move out into the sign of the cross. The axe rises and falls.

ANGLE: Stillington' gasps as his robes are splashed with blood. His eyes close in horror, his lips move in silent prayer.

Buckingham rapidly leaves the cell, calling over his shoulder to the executioners.

BUCKINGHAM
See to the disposal of the body gentlemen.

He kicks the door closed behind him with a bang. Inside the cell Hastings and Stillington stare at each other, speechless. Both jump as the executioners suddenly pull the barrel over with a crash and the remaining Malmsey wine washes Clarence‘s blood away into the drain.