The Day of the Clown, part one

Original Airdate: Oct 6, 2008


(An impromptu football match, and the ball gets kicked into the woods.)
TONY: Sorry.
(He goes through the fence to retrieve it.)
FINNEY: Get a move on, Tony!
TONY: I can't find it!
(A figure flashes past him.)
TONY: Who's there?
(Laughter from somewhere.)
BOY: Tony? Tony? Tony? Tony?
(Tony finds the football. Someone runs past.)
TONY: Stu? Finney, is that you?
(A clown pops up in front of him.)


(Luke is reading an email while Sarah Jane packs a rucksack.)
MARIA [OC]: Hi Luke, how are you? How's everything back home? It seems like only yesterday I was saying goodbye, but time flies when you're having fun. I miss you all so much!
SARAH JANE: There are worse things than aliens. These children going missing, it's terrible.
(The Ealing Echo headline is Third Child Vanishes.)
SARAH JANE: How is she? Does she like Washington?
LUKE: She says it's awesome.
SARAH JANE: It sounds like Maria's going to fit in perfectly.
LUKE: Sounds like it.
SARAH JANE: Luke, I know it's hard when a really good friend, someone you really care about, moves out of your life. But you'll see Maria again. Well, she's coming back for her mum's wedding, isn't she? I'm sure we'll all meet up then.
LUKE: It won't be the same.
SARAH JANE: Maybe not, but, you know, that's not always so bad. One of the best things about life is it's always surprising us.
(Clyde bounces in.)
CLYDE: Morning people. This is Clyde Langer reporting live from Bannerman Road where, at this precise moment there's a new family moving in at number 36.

[Bannerman Road]

CLYDE: Boy, they have no idea what they're moving in over the road from.
SARAH JANE: No, and they're never going to find out, do you hear? Both of you. Promise me you'll never breathe a word about what we do, Mister Smith, any of it.
LUKE: Why would we? It's not like it's Maria, is it? Come on, we're going to be late.
CLYDE: Yeah, sure. Don't worry, we won't say anything. We'd just better hope Maria never left anything lying around when she went.
SARAH JANE: What do you mean?
CLYDE: Well, you know, we've been hanging with some pretty random intergalactic sorts. Who knows what might have rubbed off and still be over there?

[Park Vale locker room]

LUKE: I did not fancy Maria.
CLYDE: Boy, I taught you well, didn't I? Clyde's Cool Rule Number Two, deny all emotion, especially when involving girls.
LUKE: I just miss her, okay? Don't you?
CLYDE: Course I miss her, but people move on, Luke. Ask my mum and dad.
LUKE: I've never lost anyone before.
CLYDE: Well, it's not going to be the same without her, that's for sure. I mean, who am I going to have to save from Sontarans, the Slitheen and Gorgons now?
(A girl bumps into Clyde and drops her books.)
CLYDE: Hey! Watch where you're.
(Then he notices that she is pretty.)
CLYDE: Don't, don't mention it. It's no problem.
RANI: Sorry. I'm looking for Mister Cunningham's form.
LUKE: That's our class.
RANI: I start today.
CLYDE: And you run into me. Now that's what I call a start.
RANI: Yeah, like starting the hundred metres in the Olympics and tripping over your laces.
LUKE: This is Clyde. He thinks he's cool. I'm Luke.
CLYDE: Who isn't.
RANI: Rani. My family just moved in to Bannerman Road.
LUKE: Bannerman Road?
CLYDE: Of course. Where else? Sarah Jane's right, the universe never stops weirding you out.
RANI: Sarah who?
LUKE: Never mind. Come on, I'll take you to class.
(At then end of a corridor is a glimpse of very bright striped pajamas.)
RANI: Did you just see that?
CLYDE: See what?
RANI: Never mind. Come on, I'd better not be late.


CUNNINGHAM: So the football team has been knocked out of the Inter-Schools Challenge, by West Hill after a 4-0 mauling last night.
ALL: Boo!
CUNNINGHAM: Yeah, all right, settle down, settle down. So we'll be looking for better news in the National Schools Science Challenge. Anybody who wants to sign up for the team should see Miss Webster. I'll be expecting to see your name on the list, Luke.
CLYDE: Lukey!
ALL: Lukey! Lukey!
RANI: You a bit of a brain-box then, Luke?
CLYDE: They haven't got a box big enough.
HARESH: That's enough! Silence, the lot of you. This is a classroom, not the home end at Stamford Bridge.
CUNNINGHAM: Class, this is Mister Chandra, our new Head.
HARESH: This is a school. My school. And you come here to learn, not to play about. You, boy, sit up straight and pay attention! And that goes for all of you. I know it's been a while since your last head teacher, Mister Blakeman, disappeared, and it looks like standards around here vanished with him. But, listen up. Park Vale has a new captain on the bridge now.
CLYDE: (sotto) I'm getting a very serious sinking feeling.
HARESH: I'm a fair captain but believe me, I run a very tight ship.
CLYDE: Aye, aye, Skipper.
(The class giggle.)
HARESH: Ah, the joker in the pack.
CLYDE: I do my best.
HARESH: Well, Clyde Langer, I hope your classwork is as sharp as your wit.
(Rani sees a clown with a red balloon at the window.)
CLYDE: It takes brains to be this funny.
HARESH: No, Langer. It takes brains to know when to shut up and listen. Now, a third child has gone missing. I'm speaking to all classes today, reminding you all to be careful, and just as importantly, telling you all that if you see anything or anyone suspicious, to tell the police immediately.

[Outside the Chandra home]

(Sarah Jane rings the bell. She has a thermos and a plate of cup cakes with her.)
GITA: Yes? Hello?
SARAH JANE: Oh, hello. I live over the road. I saw you were moving in. Thought maybe you hadn't had time to find the kettle yet. 
GITA: Oh, tell me, do you save the world every day, or is it just on Mondays? Oh, come on in, come in.

[Chandra home]

GITA: Sorry it's such a state. I had a plan, a list, you know, of what was what and where it was going. But then you have to go and use removal men, don't you? And frankly my darling, you might as well give in to chaos. Oh, I'm Gita by the way.
SARAH JANE: Sarah Jane.
GITA: Well, I'm very pleased to meet you, Sarah.
GITA: Lovely. Shall I see if I can find some cups?
SARAH JANE: Perfect.
GITA: So, that's your house, is it? The big one right opposite?
(Sarah Jane does a quick scan with her watch.)
GITA: Do you have kids, Sarah?
SARAH JANE: Sarah Jane. All clear.
GITA: Sorry?
SARAH JANE: Oh, just my son, Luke. There's just the two of us.
GITA: Ah. We've got a girl, Rani. She's very clever.


RANI: So what were the last people like that lived in our house? Mister Jackson and his daughter.
LUKE: Nice. I miss Maria.
RANI: Oh, yeah?
LUKE: I mean, we were friends. Maria, Clyde and me.
RANI: We can be friends.
LUKE: Yeah. But it wouldn't be the same.
RANI: Oh. Sorry I suggested it.
LUKE: No, I didn't mean it like that. I can't explain. Inter-personal relationships is something I haven't mastered yet.
RANI: You know, I hope you don't mind me telling you, but you do know you're a bit weird, don't you? I mean, I think you're all right, just a bit strange.
LUKE: I'm not strange, I'm just different. There's a difference.
RANI: Yeah. I suppose. These kids going missing, though, that is weird. Three in two weeks. And the police just don't have a clue.
LUKE: Don't worry, statistically the chances of you being abducted are extremely remote.
RANI: I'm not worried. I'm interested, that's all. It's weird. I'm into weird. Have you ever seen anything strange? I mean around the school?
LUKE: Like what?
(Clyde thumps a red balloon, and it hits Mister Chandra.)
HARESH: Langer! My office, now!

[Chandra kitchen]

GITA: So what do you do for a living, Sarah?
SARAH JANE: I'm a freelance journalist.
GITA: A journalist? My Rani wants to be a journalist. What a coincidence. Perhaps she should come round? You could give her some tips.
SARAH JANE: Well, my work tends to be rather specialised. And I'm very busy. In fact, I really should be getting on now.
GITA: She'll be so excited. And she and your Luke are bound to be friends. Oh, you'll love her. She's very curious, wants to know everything about everybody.
SARAH JANE: Does she? Oh, good.

[Outside the Headmaster's office]

FINNEY: He still got you here? But it was an accident.
CLYDE: Yeah, well, we didn't exactly hit it off from the start. I think Mister Chandra's jealous of my popularity.
FINNEY: Your trouble is you don't know when to lay off.
CLYDE: Yeah? Being funny is a curse. It's like me and the Wolfman. Life's just one big shaggy dog story.
FINNEY: I need some stuff for art club.
(He goes into the Stationary cupboard. Clyde sees a clown reflected in the trophy cabinet.)
CLYDE: Dave? Finney, are you in there?
(Laughter from the cupboard.)

[Stationary cupboard]

(No one is in here. Laughter again.)
CLYDE: Finney, are you messing me around?

[Outside the Headmaster's office]

(Clyde sees a clown with a balloon standing at the end of the corridor.)
(Clyde runs toward him, but he waves a large handkerchief and vanishes. The male toilet door closes.)


(Clyde goes in and checks all the stalls are empty, then he sees the clown in the mirror.)
CLYDE: What are you?
ODD BOB: All I want to do is give you a balloon.
(The clown's arm comes out of the mirror.)
HARESH: Langer! I've been looking for you. Why aren't you outside my office?
(The clown has vanished.)

[Headmaster's office]

HARESH: A clown.
CLYDE: That's what I saw. Look, if I'm making this up, tell me, where is Finney? I mean Dave?
HARESH: He's been kidnapped by a clown from the stationery cupboard. Langer, I don't know what sort of game you're playing, but this is not the way to make an impression on me.
CLYDE: Yeah, I should've kept my mouth shut.
HARESH: Children are disappearing and you think that's something to joke about?
CLYDE: But you said, you told us, if we see anything suspicious to sing out. Well, I am. Look, I tell jokes, not lies, sir.
HARESH: David Finn has probably just bunked off school early.
CLYDE: He wouldn't. Ask anyone.
HARESH: So how come no one else has seen this clown? Not even our CCTV cameras?
CLYDE: Oh, what's the use? I knew I was wasting my time even talking to you. You're never going to believe me. It's a good thing there's someone else who will.


LUKE: So you think we should tell Mum?
CLYDE: What do you think? Mister Chandra's called the police in, but they're not exactly going to be looking for a clown that comes at you out of a mirror, are they?
LUKE: You didn't tell him that part, did you?
CLYDE: What am I? Mr Thicko from Thicksville? Course I didn't. But we know aliens have nabbed kids before. Do you remember Kudlak?
LUKE: Yes. Aliens. That was a clown. Why would an alien be dressed as a clown?
CLYDE: So you don't believe me, either. Thanks a lot, mate. 
LUKE: I do believe you. I just don't understand.
CLYDE: Well, there's a first.
(Clyde sees the clown in the park across the road.)
CLYDE: There it is!
LUKE: Where?
CLYDE: Oh, come on.


CLYDE: He's there!
(But not when Luke looks.)
CLYDE: Come on.
(They run after the now you see him now you don't clown.)
LUKE: Where is he?
CLYDE: Search me. But he was here. Look.
(The balloon is tied to a wheelie bin.)
RANI: Don't touch it!
RANI: I don't know why, just don't.
(The balloon bursts.)

[Bannerman Road]

LUKE: But you didn't tell anyone?
RANI: What am I supposed to say? Look, Mum and Dad, I don't want to worry you, but I'm seeing clowns that no one else can see?
LUKE: Why not?
RANI: Do you want them to get me locked up?
LUKE: Why would they do that?
RANI: What planet is he from?
CLYDE: Oh, Earth. Mostly.
RANI: Yeah. You're so funny, Clyde. No wonder the head teacher loves you.
CLYDE: Look, Rani, whatever this clown thing is, I think we should leave it to the police, don't you?
RANI: They don't even believe it exists. You know that.
LUKE: Clyde's right. It's nothing to do with us.
RANI: There's something happening here that doesn't make everyday sense. Maybe you can ignore it because it doesn't go with your MP3 player or your designer trainers, but I can't. I've got to know what's going on.
CLYDE: Sarah Jane's going to love this one.
RANI: Look, there's something I've got to tell you. Something about me you ought to know.
CLYDE: You're from another planet. I already guessed.
LUKE: Actually, Clyde, it's worse than that.
(Mister Chandra gets out of his car.)
CLYDE: Oh, no. Rani, please tell me there's a good reason why our new head just pulled up outside your house that doesn't involve the word dad.
RANI: Honestly, he's all right, really. It's just his job.
CLYDE: Yeah, that's what they said about Doctor Frankenstein.
RANI: Hi, Dad.
GITA: Haresh! Don't worry, there's still plenty of boxes for you to open. Rani, how was your first day at school? Did your dad go all Captain Bligh again?
HARESH: I do not go Captain Bligh.
RANI: Yeah, just a bit. This is Luke and Clyde.
LUKE: Luke Smith. Pleased to meet you.
HARESH: Luke Smith?
SARAH JANE: He's my son. I'm Sarah Jane Smith.
HARESH: I've been looking at his results for the past year. Very, very impressive. Remarkable, in fact.
SARAH JANE: Yes, well, he's very gifted.
GITA: Sarah's a journalist.
RANI: For real? I'm really interested in becoming a reporter. Maybe I can come over some time?
SARAH JANE: Oh, well, I really am rather busy.
CLYDE: Clyde Langer, the joker in the pack, apparently. Oh, and I see clowns that don't exist.


SARAH JANE: Of course your head teacher was never going to believe you, Clyde. Nor would the police. Children don't vanish out of closed rooms. It's impossible as far as they are concerned.
CLYDE: But what about the clown? If it's an alien taking these kids, a clown disguise isn't exactly low profile, is it?
LUKE: But it might know that kids are supposed to like clowns.
SARAH JANE: Personally, they always gave me nightmares.
LUKE: Coulrophobia. It's the fear of clowns. Johnny Depp has it.
CLYDE: What encyclopaedia did you find that in?
LUKE: Heat.
SARAH JANE: Now we need to talk to someone close to this boy that went missing today. Now, his parents will be too busy with the police by now. What about any of his other friends?
CLYDE: It's Monday, so they'll be at football training.
LUKE: What about Rani? She's seen the clown too.
SARAH JANE: I don't want her involved.
LUKE: But she seemed pretty determined to find out what's going on. And she might be in danger.
SARAH JANE: You're right. Someone should keep an eye on her.
CLYDE: Yeah. Yeah, I'll do that.
LUKE: I don't think her dad would let you go anywhere near her.

[Chandra kitchen]

HARESH: So, it looks as if the boy disappeared like the others.
GITA: His poor parents, must be going out of their minds. Urgh, makes me ill just thinking about it. You watch yourself, won't you, Rani?
HARESH: She'll be fine, as long as she stays away from that Langer boy.
RANI: David Finn is one of Clyde's best friends, Dad. He wasn't making it up. Clyde saw a clown. Why would he lie?
HARESH: I don't know. But a clown, it's ridiculous. I was thinking the police should take a look at Finn's school books. There's still a chance that something was worrying him and he ran away. If so, there may be a clue there.
GITA: Before that, you can help me move the bed. Those removal men didn't listen to a word I said.
HARESH: And they got out alive?
GITA: Come on, I'll show you.
(Haresh and Gita leave. Rani gets Finney's exercise books out of the bag and looks at them. There is the face of a clown drawn on the back of each of them, and that clown in peering in at the window. She shuts her eyes.)
RANI: No. You're not there.
(When she opens them, it is not at the window, it is standing next to her.)
GITA: Rani, you've got a visitor.
LUKE: Thought you might need a hand unpacking.

[Football practice]

STEVE: My dad says journalists are scum. They're like crows picking at road-kill.
CLYDE: Well, I guess he only buys a newspaper to look at the pictures then. Oh, come on, Steve. Sarah Jane's trying to help find Finney.
STEVE: I don't know anything.
SARAH JANE: Well, had he been acting strangely recently?
STEVE: No, not that I saw.
CLYDE: What about clowns? Did he ever say anything about clowns?
STEVE: No. Hang on. There was this clown handing out tickets by the station.
STEVE [memory]: Take a hike, Krusty.
SARAH JANE: So Tony Warner, the boy that went missing in the park, he took a ticket as well?
STEVE: Yeah. But they were just tickets from a clown. It doesn't mean anything, does it?
SARAH JANE: What were the tickets for?
CLYDE: Just a minute. I'd forgotten all about this. My mum picked it up for me at the shops.
(Clyde takes a crumpled ticked from his pocket.)
SARAH JANE: Spellman's Magical Museum of the Circus.
CLYDE: Like I'd want to go.

[Rani's bedroom]

RANI: It was in the kitchen, Luke. It's getting closer to me.
LUKE: Don't worry, it's gone now.
RANI: There's more. Look at this. Dad's taking Finney's books to the police. They're looking for clues, but I don't think they'll be looking for size twenty footprints.
LUKE: If they do take this seriously, there might not be anything they can do.
RANI: You see! This isn't natural. None of it. It's, it's supernatural!
LUKE: I doubt it's supernatural.
RANI: You've got such a closed mind. The supernatural is only science we don't know yet, like life on other planets.
LUKE: That's different.
RANI: I've got to do something, Luke. Look at those pictures. Finney was seeing the clown the same as I am.
(Then they find his ticket in Finney's sketch book.)
LUKE: Spellman's Magical Museum of the Circus?
(Rani gets hers out of her rucksack.)
RANI: People were handing these out by the Tube.
LUKE: I think you should talk to my mum.
RANI: I can't talk to anyone, Luke. Don't you get it? You haven't seen the clown. I think only kids that get one of these can see it, and then they disappear.
LUKE: Clyde saw it.
RANI: Then he must have a ticket.
LUKE: Believe me, Mum understands things like this.
RANI: Luke, whatever's going on here, no one understands things like this. But this ticket, it's got to be a clue. Are you coming?

[Outside the Museum of the Circus]

CLYDE: Welcome to the Circus of Horrors.
SARAH JANE: You know, Clyde, occasionally your sense of humour really leaves something to be desired.
CLYDE: Who said I was joking? Are you all right?
SARAH JANE: Clowns make my skin crawl. Come on.


(Laughing clowns in cases, stuffed bears and elephants, wall displays.)
CLYDE: Like, museums don't normally creep me out. All those stuffed animals, old bones and mummies. But this place doesn't just take the biscuit, this place gets the whole Christmas tin.
(A Ringmaster in traditional hunting pink, top hat, riding boots and whip appears. He has a slight Teutonic accent.)
SPELLMAN: Welcome, welcome to Spellman's Magical Museum of the Circus and the story of the most wondrous family entertainment in the world. From the tumblers and jugglers of Ancient Rome to the father of the modern circus, believe it or not, a Sergeant Major in the 15th Light Dragoons.
SARAH JANE: Mister Spellman, I presume.
SPELLMAN: Elijah Spellman at your service.
SARAH JANE: My name is Sarah Jane Smith. I'm a journalist. This is my friend, Clyde. We're here to talk to you about clowns.
SPELLMAN: Ah, the princes of the sawdust ring. This way, please.

[Clown room]

(Three shelves of painted eggs on one wall. Lots of mannequins dressed in various clown styles - whitefaces and various famous augustes like Coco.)
SPELLMAN: Mankind has always needed someone to make them laugh, slave or king.
CLYDE: Can you do me a favour and drop a note to my head teacher?
SPELLMAN: The Pharaohs had fools. So did the Native Americans. We had harlequins, and, in the Middle Ages, the jester.
SARAH JANE: It's not so much the clown's showbiz history that I'm interested in, as their reputation for scaring people.
SPELLMAN: The fear of the painted smile.
SARAH JANE: It's not as simple as that, Mister Spellman. They used to paint clowns on the walls of children's wards, but when they were asked, every child said the pictures scared them. Children sense things. I know.

[Outside the Museum of the Circus]

RANI: Come on!
LUKE: I really don't think we should be doing this.
RANI: Okay, we won't. I'll go in on my own.

[Clown room]

(Clyde is looking at a naive painting of a man in striped clothes playing a wind instrument.)
CLYDE: Sarah Jane, look at this. These are the same colours as the clown I saw. Red, yellow and blue.
SARAH JANE: This isn't a clown, this is the Pied Piper. The story goes he rid Hamelin of its plague of rats, then when the town refused to pay him he came back and took all their children.
SPELLMAN: The oldest, and most accurate picture of the Pied Piper. The colours of his costume signify he was a travelling entertainer. But, I'm afraid, even clowns have their dark days.
SARAH JANE: And that's exactly the sort of clown I'm interested in, Mister Spellman. One that makes children disappear.
CLYDE: But the Pied Piper was a fairy tale.
SARAH JANE: Myths, legends, fairy tales. Every story has its inspiration, Clyde. Mister Spellman?
CLYDE: Where did he go?
SARAH JANE: I don't know, but something tells me we should get out of here, too, quickly. Come on!
(Enter Luke and Rani.)
LUKE: Mum?
CLYDE: What are you doing here?
RANI: What are we doing here? What are YOU doing here?
LUKE: You told me to stay with her.
RANI: Am I missing something?
CLYDE: Yeah, and keep her out of the action.
RANI: What action?
(Rani screams as a clown grabs her arm.)
CLYDE: What's happening?
RANI: They're moving!
LUKE: Something's animating the clowns.
SARAH JANE: Look out, all of you.
RANI: They're alive!


CLYDE: What happened to Spellman?
SARAH JANE: He's controlling them. I think they're like puppets, probably under some sort of telekinetic control.
RANI: Walking puppets? Telekinetic control?
LUKE: He's controlling them with his mind.
RANI: I know what it means, Luke. Who's Spellman?
LUKE: Probably an alien.
(More clowns come to cut them off from the entrance.)
SARAH JANE: Stand back.
(Sarah Jane zaps them, and sparks fly.)
RANI: What was that?
SARAH JANE: Sonic lipstick. Never leave home without it. I've seized up their joints. Should hold them up while we get out of here.
(They walk a gauntlet of twitching clowns.)
RANI: Aliens. Luke said aliens.
CLYDE: Actually, he said alien.
SARAH JANE: And it could still be around here somewhere. Come on. There's no time for explanations.
CLYDE: She's right. And from what I've seen, one alien can be as much trouble as a whole invasion. Come on.

[Museum entrance]

(Sarah Jane can't get the street doors open.)
SARAH JANE: He's sealed the doors.
LUKE: Telekinesis. The same way he animated the clown mannequins.
SARAH JANE: Whatever we're dealing with here, it is extremely powerful.
CLYDE: What did I tell you?
RANI: And it's got us trapped.
SARAH JANE: No, Rani. It just thinks it has.
SPELLMAN: Oh no, Miss Smith. I'm convinced of it.
RANI: Are you really an alien?
SARAH JANE: Stay back, Rani. Leave this to me. Who are you? And what do you want?
(He transforms from Ring Master into - )
PIPER: I am the Pied Piper, who conjured away a whole town's infants, and has chilled the hearts of parents for more than seven centuries.
(Another change.)
ODD BOB: And now I am Odd Bob the Clown, who snatches children in the heartbeat their mother's back is turned. I am the thing that lives in the darkest corners. I am all these things and more. I am all that you fear the most. And you are mine to feed on!

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