Drama at the Big House

As none of my novels have been snapped up for serialisation on prime time television I decided to go straight to producing my own psychological drama. Here are some handy hints in case you want to do the same. First you have to remember how to spell cycalojical, then you have to find a big house.

If you wondered why the characters in modern dramas all seem to live in architect designed huge houses it is because directors and crew love having plenty of space to film and of course more room for DRAMA. As I will be filming only with my iPhone you might think I will not need the Big House, but with the huge home comes that vital feature, the staircase. Because the house is architect designed and the ceilings very high the staircase is tall and never has a banister or railing of any sort. The main character will inevitably fall down the stairs, perhaps within the first five minutes of episode one.

This provides the opportunity for confusing flash backs as the character lies in hospital or in the morgue. Did they fall, jump or were they pushed? You have six to ten episodes to work this out. The story starts, or rather ends, as it’s back to front, with the main characters moving in to a new house that no mere mortal could possibly afford. They are in a new town / city / rural Wales / remote spot on the Scottish coast making a new start. The divorced / widowed parent has a teenage son and a teenage daughter who did not want to move, even though they now each have a huge bedroom with ensuite bathroom and their own home cinema and indoor swimming pool.

The family eats breakfast in an open plan kitchen the size of a mainline station concourse. The table is as long as the one used by Putin to speak to Western leaders. Everyone is in a rush for the first day at the new school and the new job. Our main character is a detective / brilliant surgeon / amazing artist. Everyone rushes out the door with a piece of toast in their hand, nobody clears the table, loads the dishwasher, cleans their teeth or makes their bed.

 That’s okay because over the coming weeks the house remains immaculate despite no evidence that they employ a cleaner. They always have clean clothes to wear, though no one ever does any washing. Meals appear by magic; not so much as an onion graces the immaculate marble work tops and nobody ever goes shopping. The main character has more important things to worry about than doing a big shop at Sainsburys or going on line to do the Tesco order. Occasionally the new love interest will pose at the huge kitchen island and slice a red pepper, announcing that they are making a special celebratory meal.

Nobody turns up when the feast is ready because one of the teenagers has run away and the other one is in hospital after an overdose. The parent has not noticed they are having trouble settling in and has already been called away to deal with a murder / emergency brain surgery / trouble at the art gallery; they will have difficulty concentrating after the messages from / meeting with the mystery person plaguing their life.

As the wonderful meal dries up, new love interest has no idea where anybody is, but takes the opportunity to answer a mobile phone ringing from some remote part of the house / look out the huge picture window to see a stranger peering in / rifle through a locked drawer after finding a key in another drawer while searching for a wooden spoon…

There are now only three days and two episodes left before the main character is going to fall down the stairs, but you will have to wait till my new drama arrives on television in 2024 to find out why or how. If you can’t wait that long, why not dip into one of my dramatic novels?

30 thoughts on “Drama at the Big House

  1. Beautifully (and deliciously viciously) observed, Janet. Just don’t forget to do an Anne of Cleeves and scatter red herrings around liberally in the first few episodes to suck the punters into thinking they know who done it, a la my beloved Vera. 🙂

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  2. You had me with the first tumble down the stairs—haha—with the inevitable body crumpled like a sack of potatoes at the base of the stairs. Somehow no one ever hears them falling down the stairs, and inevitably no one finds the body until later, perhaps when someone goes down the same stairs to fix a sandwich. Then, quite naturally, the spouse took out an insurance policy last week.

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  3. “Cue back light, camera: close-up on beautiful redhead extra. Action!” Beautiful redhead extra smiles bemusedly and shakes her head. Turns and walks into the sunset. “Cut!”

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  4. I actually enjoy seeing those unrealistic psychological dramas that have little or no bearing on real life. That’s what I want to escape from when I watch them. 🙂
    (But like you, I also complain about ‘crazy’ houses that nobody but multi-millionaires could afford to live in)
    Best wishes, Pete.

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      1. I’m watching ‘Our House’ with Martin Compson this week. The house is not quite as grand, but the kitchen is almost the same size as our whole 3-bed bungalow. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes Pete, I’ve just caught up with the first episode, how on earth did that young couple afford that house in the first place and why did they decorate the whole house blue? One can only assume the owners of the real house love blue.


  5. The only life insurance I have is a $47,500 policy because it was a free company benefit. I am paranoid enough to not want any incentives on my death. Never carried an organ donor card either back when mine were worth something.

    Liked by 1 person

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