Friday, 30 May 2008

John Barnes

I've really busy with various stupid things so in the meantime, here's a sketch I wrote which every major broadcaster has decided is unfilmable:

John Barnes


COLIN is standing at a water cooler in an average looking office. His friend GRAHAM approaches.

GRAHAM: All right Colin?

COLIN: Hello mate.

GRAHAM: How are things?

COLIN: Couldn’t be better. I’m off on holiday tomorrow.

GRAHAM: Lucky sod. Where you off to?

COLIN: Japan.

GRAHAM: Blimey, really? Bit exotic for you isn’t it?

COLIN: Suppose so.

GRAHAM: Why Japan?

COLIN: Dunno. Just always fancied going there.

GRAHAM: Not after a mail-order bride then?

COLIN: That’s Thailand.

GRAHAM: Oh yeah. Well, have a great time anyway. Let me know how it goes.

COLIN: Cheers.

Fade Out.


In the Tokyo airport arrivals lounge, passengers emerge from a door. A bleary eyed Colin appears. As he walks across the airport, several Japanese people stare at him open mouthed. A few smile, point and speak conspiratorially behind their hands. Colin checks his appearance to make sure there’s nothing untoward happening with his clothing.


Colin is waiting for his luggage to arrive. Again a few Japanese people grin at him, nod and try to catch his eye. Colin politely smiles back, and looks confused.


Colin jumps into a waiting cab in front of the airport. The CABBIE looks uninterested then breaks out into a broad smile when he has a good look at Colin.

COLIN: [Speaking clearly] Hotel Ok-ura please.

CABBIE: Yes, yes. Of course Mr Barnes.

Again Colin looks confused.

COLIN: I’m not Barnes. Not Barnes. We’re you supposed to be picking up someone else?

The Cabbie smiles at him.

CABBIE: No problem Mr Barnes. I understand.

Colin grows more perplexed as the cab pulls away.


Colin approaches the desk of his hotel. There is a RECEPIONIST behind the desk.

COLIN: Hello, I have a reservation.

The Receptionist looks up, sees him, and smiles broadly.

RECEPTIONIST: Oh yes, of course.

She looks at her register.

RECEPTIONIST: I don’t see your name here.

COLIN: I haven’t given you my name.

RECEPTIONIST: Mr. Barnes isn’t it? John Barnes?

COLIN: No, my name’s Planter. Colin Planter.

The Receptionist looks confused and then gives him a knowing look.

RECEPTIONIST: I think I understand Mr Barnes. Let me check. Yes your room is ready, [with emphasis] Mr Planter. I’ll make sure you are not disturbed and no one knows you are here.

COLIN: [Baffled] Thank you.

She hands him a key. A PORTER approaches. He spots Colin and begins to talk excitedly to the Receptionist in Japanese, nodding towards Colin. The Receptionist talks to him sharply and he looks cowed. He takes Colin’s luggage and leaves.

RECEPTIONIST: Don’t worry Mr Barnes, no one else will bother you.

A confused Colin follows the porter.


Colin is sightseeing, taking photos of street scenes and local life in Japan. Suddenly two young GIRLS approach him coyly.

GIRL: [Shyly] Mr Barnes?

COLIN: No, no.

GIRL: Please?

One hands Colin a piece of paper, wanting him to sign it.

COLIN: I think you’ve got me mixed up with someone else.

The other girl approaches and hands him a magazine featuring a full page picture of the footballer John Barnes in his playing days. She hands him a pen, wishing him to sign. Colin looks at the magazine, mystified.

COLIN: You think I’m him? This John Barnes? Look…

He holds up the magazine to his face.

COLIN: Do you think I look like that?

The girls ignore this and just encourage him to sign. Colin sighs and reluctantly signs the picture then quickly walks away. The girls both giggle excitedly.


A beleaguered Colin enters the hotel. A REPORTER with a notepad approaches him.

REPORTER: Mr Barnes. Mr Barnes. Can I quickly ask you something?

COLIN: I’m not John Barnes. I’m Colin. Colin Planter.

REPORTER: Is it true that you are here in Japan in connection with the vacant national team job?

COLIN: I’m not John Barnes. I don’t know where this is coming from?

REPORTER: If you could just confirm or deny it?

COLIN: No. Yes. Please. Leave me alone.

He hurries off towards the lifts.


Colin is sitting on the bed in his hotel trying to work out how to use the telephone. After extensive dialling he seems to have success.

COLIN: Hello…? Hello, mom. It’s Colin…Yes. Colin. [Pause] What? No, I am on holiday…I’m in Japan. [Pause] No, everything’s fine… [Pause] No, it’s fine, really… [Pause] No I’m just calling to see how you are… No there’s nothing wrong. Stop shouting, there’s nothing wrong… [Pause] It’s not…yes, yes. It’s lovely. Lovely country, nice people. [Pause] No, that’s Thailand. [Pause] I haven’t been out that much really… No, I’m not ill. Just haven’t been out of the hotel for a few days. No, its not my tummy… No, its not the water. They think I’m John Barnes… [Pause] John Barnes. John Barnes. John Barnes, the footballer. I don’t know. [Pause] Yes I know he is. No, everybody, all the Japanese think I’m him. [Pause] I can’t go anywhere. [Pause] I’ve told them that, they won’t listen. What? What are you saying? Maybe I’m John Barnes when I’m in Japan? How does that work? [Pause] Have you taken your pills…? [Pause] Have you taken too many pills?

There’s a knock on the door.

COLIN: [Shouting] Piss off, I’m not John Barnes. [Into phone] No, not you. How many have you had? [Pause] What colour were they? You can’t have had 40 you’d be dead. Call Dr Marsh…

Fade out.


A harassed looking Colin is dragging his suitcase through the airport as once more people stare and point at him. As he passes the bar a group of LADS spot him and start clapping and singing.

LADS: [Singing] We love you John Barnes, we do. We love you John Barnes we do.

Colin grins grimly and trudges on. Another fan runs up to him and wraps a Liverpool scarf around his neck and kisses his cheek. Someone else approaches and puts his arms around him as his friend takes his picture on a mobile phone. Photographers appears and start taking pictures, as the whole terminal turns to look at him and clap and cheer. Colin look thoroughly miserable.

Fade Out.


Colin is standing at the same water cooler. Graham approaches him again.

GRAHAM: Hey you’re back. You look well. So how was it, would you recommend it?

COLIN: [Angrily] No, its shit.

Colin storms off.


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