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Fake Show 1: Cross Keys Fair

From john_amend_all: "a supernatural espionage series set in the 1930s? Among the attractions at a travelling funfair is a sword in a stone: pay your ha'penny, and see if you can pull it out! Those who succeed find themselves enlisted in a secret organisation trying to police a fragile truce with the Fair Folk — as our heroine, a shopgirl enjoying her day at the fair, is about to discover..."

My first show, which came together fairly quickly, but stalled over my inability to cast current actors, especially for the lead character. Also it had fairies and Arthuriana, two things I try to avoid. However, it was fun and is definitely not a dreary studio-bound 1970s show, I promise.

"Where we touch your world, time and reality weaken. The air ripples, the ground shakes, just for a moment. And it cuts both ways. We need to undo the old ties, separate our two worlds before it's too late."

Emily Thornfield's decision to spend a day at Cross Keys Fair is one that's going to change her life. Trying to pull out (the obviously fake) sword from an (even more obviously fake) stone leads her to join a secret society who are working hard to save the world, or so they say. Because, as it turns out, Fairies and an awful lot of other strange creatures are real - and a centuries old truce between the Human and Fairy realms seems to be finally breaking down. The consequences for both could be disastrous...

Emily Thornfield (Sophie Rundle)
cross keys1
"You can't possibly mean that I'm the only one who's come in here who's got a bit of common sense, surely?"

Emily's soon to regret her decision about how to spend her day off as she finds herself embroiled in a very old dispute between a secret society of humans and a whole other world made up of things she'd class as figments of her imagination.

Mr Ambrose (Alun Armstrong)
cross keys2

"You see things as they are. You stop and look properly. That's important."

Mr Ambrose runs the King Arthur sideshow, where Emily has the good luck or the misfortune to be the one to pull the sword out of the stone. Of course, he's just the grouchy owner of said sideshow, and not Merlin at all. Unless he is... Whichever the case, he's the closest this odd little Round Table has to a leader, and he's decided that Emily is exactly what they need in a new recruit.

Mina / "Lady Nimue" (Laila Rouass)
 photo 6a01348361f24a970c0133f16055ac970b_zps1dd0945d.jpg

"It's a performance. That's what they pay for, and that's what I give them - but every so often something else creeps in..."

A fortune-teller whose act is affiliated with Mr Ambrose's sideshow. Behind the scenes, where Emily gets to know her, she's very down-to-earth and open about the tricks and illusions she uses, but sometimes the unearthly elements they're all dealing with will take any means they can to cross from one realm to another...

Ivy (David Bradley)
 photo Walder-Frey-David-Bradley-009_zpsb6f9c4bc.jpg

"It's your people brought us here, you know. Tied our lands together. Now, you've forgotten, and we're still here."

Nobody's sure whether or not Ivy can be trusted, but he's definitely on the Round Table's side about one thing - he wants the links between the Fair Folk and the humans severed for good even more than they do.

Arla (Lily James)
 photo lily-james-movies-1477697931_zpsfe415511.jpg

"I don't see why we should run away. We can ease your nightmares, and you can fight ours. Why not?"

Arla's another "fairy" who works with the Round Table (mostly), and makes particular friends with Emily. Indeed, she'd like to be more than friends, but sometimes their loyalties are very much divided.

Captain Rydell (Rupert Graves)
cross keys6
"Once they're here, they exist, and there's always something they don't take to. You work out what it is and you use that to stop them."

Military man who encountered some of the Fair Folk through some odd incidents in WWI (ask him about the Vanished Regiment). While Emily's not entirely sure they should trust him, either, he is very good at finding ways to fight the more malevolent things that steal out of the other realm and into this one.

Mrs Alice Montague (Penelope Wilton)
cross keys3

"We all have nightmares as well as daydreams, don't we? We draw them in, give them shapes and names. It's not altogether fair to blame them afterwards."

Mrs Montague's a retired explorer who's been looking for something to do. She's seen the activities of the Fair Folk world wide, and not just in the British Isles.

Archie Smith (Jacob Anderson)
cross keys4

Private detective who once followed the fair up from London. He and Jemima both have work back in the City, so can't be with the group all the time. (Jemima is also helping him find cases.)

Jemima Rollings (Emma Campbell-Jones)
cross keys5

She's a governess with excellent credentials who's worked in several excellent households. She's also partners in crime with Archie in more ways than one.

Jemima: "He found Lady Arlington's missing diamonds once. Down the back of the sofa, I think it was."
Archie: "Carefully stuffed down there by Miss Julia Arlington, who was supposed to be under the watchful eye of Miss Rollings. Strange that, isn't it?"
Jemima: "Now you're being terribly ungrateful."

Fairy Queen (Lara Pulver)
 photo Lara_Pulver_zps6c2689b7.jpg

The Fairy Queen wants the realms severed, too. In theory, at least. In practice, there are times when she seems to have her own aims that no one else understands. But then, the Fair Folk have always been supposed to be tricky to deal with...



1. The Sword in the Stone
Emily sets out for the fair and finds more than she bargained for. Suddenly she's privy to an ancient secret and working with Mr Ambrose (who probably isn't Merlin, but it's hard to be sure), Mina (who definitely can't see the future, except when it can see her), Captain Rydell (who doesn't mind shooting at figments of the imagination), Mrs Montague (all this keeps her from being bored at least, she says, and that's something) and a handful of others. Now she's finding fairies everywhere (although not yet at the bottom of the garden, possibly because she only has a backyard), especially Arla (who may be flirting with her). Oh, and the Mysterious Thing Emily dreamt about last night has turned up and started eating people, and it's up to her and her new-found friends to stop it.

2. Smoke and Mirrors
Emily continues to explore her new secret world, and meets more of the Fair Folk, including Ivy (who seems sinister, but probably isn't, unless he is) and even the Fairy Queen, who seems to have an inexplicable and personal interest in the latest nightmare that's crossed over from one realm to other: a phantom coach and four that's proving to be more deadly than a person could reasonably expect of an archaic and non-corporeal means of transport.

3. Treasure Hunt
Archie sets off a whole world of trouble when he recovers stolen jewellery (because some lost artefacts are meant to stay lost). The Queen is angry and the Fairy-Human truce was already growing shakier by the day. Arla's got dire warnings for Emily - and they both get a chance to see what might become of both realms if somebody can't come up with a solution to the problem.

4. What Did You Do In The War?
Human-Fairy relations are still falling apart, and Emily and Mr Ambrose and the Round Table Society are caught in the middle. Except now there's a Man from the Ministry who's come to sort everything out Officially (it seems to involve a lot of Impressive Documents and suchlike, including talk of a Vanished Regiment), and they need to find out who he is and if he's really sent by the Government. What's more, Captain Rydell finds out it's hunting season - for the Wild Hunt, that is, and he's got some ideas about that...

5. Visions & Dreams
Mina's (entirely-for-show, made-of-glass) crystal ball seems to be developing a mind of its own, and whether it's predicting the future or causing it, the group aren't sure, but whatever fairy creature it shows inside it inevitably then emerges into the real world to cause trouble. It looks as if the boundaries may be breaking down for good, and Ivy and others are emphatic: a line's got to drawn and the two realms separated before it's too late. Meanwhile, Mrs Montague's befriended a girl who may be half-human, half-fairy (Faye Marsay) which serves to prove several people's points, that it's only getting harder and harder to draw a line down the middle.

6. Can We Get There By Candlelight?
Time to find a way to seal off the fairy and human worlds from each other, forever. There are plenty of decisions and partings to be made first, not to mention a tiresome and Ominous Hound to be dealt with. However, it begins to seem as though this may not be the only solution, but is it worth taking the risk when the world might end if you're wrong?


Tragically, it was then cancelled because of the expense (period drama and fantasy combined?), leaving viewers frustrated, but letters left the BBC entirely unmoved, as ever. Still, there's a small but steady fanbase, so fanfic can take up the story from now on.


( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 17th, 2014 06:43 pm (UTC)
I would DEFINITELY watch that! Nice work! Well done.

(BUT - no David Collings?!)
Mar. 17th, 2014 07:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you! It could be a fun show, I think - I hope!

And :lol: I am trying to cast as realistically as possible for a fantasy meme; I don't put David Collings in everything! (Really! :lol:) He had to turn up and die in the 1970s show, because it was the 1970s; it was practically obligatory. I did have a lot of trouble reminding myself not to cast Matthew Macfadyen again, though, but I managed. ;-D
Mar. 17th, 2014 07:54 pm (UTC)
Why is casting DC unrealistic? He was in Sapphire and Steel... He's been in Jago & Litefoot. I am confuzzled by your logics.
Mar. 17th, 2014 07:57 pm (UTC)
I didn't have a suitable part for him, that's all, and he hasn't done any proper TV since 1995. But mainly, I am trying not to cast the same actors too much, and keep things interesting. It's fun to try and find people who fit the idea of the character - I've never seen at least one of these actors, but he seemed to fit very nicely. :-)
Mar. 17th, 2014 07:58 pm (UTC)
Okay, I now understand your logic - even if I don't entirely agree with it. Still, your show, your casting choices.
Mar. 17th, 2014 08:17 pm (UTC)
Yes, I am the all powerful creator and executive producer BWAHAHAHAHA!!!

(I'm sorry. I think the power might be going to my head. I'd better go and stand the right way round again or something...)

Mar. 17th, 2014 08:21 pm (UTC)
LOL Nut!
Mar. 17th, 2014 07:52 pm (UTC)
I think in the absence of further information, justice_turtle's theory from Heroes of the Revolution can be assumed to hold true: "He's a guest star. He dies."
Mar. 17th, 2014 07:54 pm (UTC)
Hmm, does seem likely.
Mar. 17th, 2014 07:54 pm (UTC)
He's not a guest star, and he doesn't die. ;-p

Mind, I suppose I can't prove that on the existing evidence...

Mar. 17th, 2014 07:49 pm (UTC)
Nice work! It's great to see what you did with the premise, even if I did manage to fill it with things you'd rather have avoided.
Mar. 17th, 2014 07:51 pm (UTC)
It was fun! I just have a sort of reaction of "NO, NOT MORE FAIRIES and NOT BLOODY KING ARTHUR AGAIN, so congratulations on combining them both... and making me enjoy the experience. :-)
Mar. 17th, 2014 09:51 pm (UTC)
I would totally watch this. Or read it as a book/series of books (cough cough).
Mar. 18th, 2014 08:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks! :lol: i don't think I could write it! fairies! And King Arthur! Still... *snaffles away just in case*
Mar. 17th, 2014 10:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much for sharing that. I agree with lostspook - managing to make a fresh and enjoyable King Arthur or fae series is a real accomplishment.

I especially like having it in the 1930s. A big plus.

some lost artefacts are meant to stay lost - great quote! As is crystal ball seems to be developing a mind of its own, and whether it's predicting the future or causing it.

I feel annoyed at the BBC for cancelling - they would!

Edited at 2014-03-17 10:21 pm (UTC)
Mar. 18th, 2014 08:44 pm (UTC)
Aw, well, thanks for commenting! And, yes, fairies and King Arthur have been done, really - but it is amazing how people do come up with new ways to use them. :-)

... and I feel slightly mean that you feel annoyed at the BBC when, after all, they didn't actually cancel the non-existent show. :lol: (Although *sigh* they are so squeezed on the budget front these days, they probably would.)
Mar. 17th, 2014 11:47 pm (UTC)
Bloody BBC! They keep cancelling these shows!

Still - Rupert Graves! I'm in. And Penelope Wilton too, who I can just see in that role. Perfect casting. I suddenly want to see her and Rupert Graves going after malevolent creatures together, probably armed with a slightly old-fashioned lamp and a revolver.

I vote we bombard the BBC with demands to have it released on DVD. :)
Mar. 18th, 2014 08:46 pm (UTC)
I know! Isn't it terrible? And such a strange coincidence that it saves showrunners from having to do more seasons?

I suddenly want to see her and Rupert Graves going after malevolent creatures together, probably armed with a slightly old-fashioned lamp and a revolver.

Ooh, yes! Lovely image! That, now, is exactly how Emily meets them, at night hunting something she doesn't really believe in and she doesn't know what to make of them. *nods* Canon now, I say so.

Do the BBC respond to demands to release imaginary shows on DVD? Because if they do... well... :lol:
Mar. 18th, 2014 03:19 am (UTC)
So far, both of your original series are really well thought out, imaginatively cast and plotted, and I love them both. Since I'm rather a sucker for faerie and its occasionally ambiguous relationship with us, I'm particularly drawn to this. Couldn't DC be an aging Oberon somewhere? Or a very wise second in command to our Mr. Ambrose? And not, you know, die?
Mar. 18th, 2014 08:50 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you!! I'm glad you've enjoyed looking at them. They really are strangely fun and addictive to do, so it's nice to know people also find them fun to look at it.

Couldn't DC be an aging Oberon somewhere? Or a very wise second in command to our Mr. Ambrose? And not, you know, die?

/o\ I suppose I brought this entirely on myself. Well, I still have Show No. 3 to do, and it will have various AI that will need voicing, so David Collings would be a natural, because he's at his very best as an audio actor, I think. I will bow to public demand and cast him. And I'll try not to kill him, although it's hard to make promises ahead of plotty stuff.
Mar. 19th, 2014 06:43 pm (UTC)
♥ \o/ ♥

My work here is done - (or rather the work of all the David Collings fans, of which you made me one) but I shall keep an eye on Collings' character in your next show, in hopes of keeping him alive as an AI.
Mar. 19th, 2014 08:38 pm (UTC)
:lol: Oh, dear, what have I done? ;-)

I did put him in as a guest star in one of my first three from ages ago, but he was secretly dead before he arrived in that one. But then, that show had several dead people in it and at least one and a half people who weren't sure if they were alive or dead, so it was hardly victimisation.
Mar. 18th, 2014 07:47 am (UTC)
Lovely. Can't imagine how I missed it.

Did the BBC by any chance put it out on dvd? No? Thought not.
Mar. 18th, 2014 08:51 pm (UTC)
I know! Still, I think the BBC will release it soon - or at least, I'm sure I saw an upcoming Region 2 release.

(Thanks! ;-D)
Mar. 18th, 2014 12:38 pm (UTC)
That is really interesting, but I can definitely see the BBC cancelling it.
Mar. 18th, 2014 08:53 pm (UTC)
Thanks! And, yes, sadly - anything that costs more than tuppence gets cancelled these days, or reduced to "series" of 3 episodes!! *sigh*
Mar. 18th, 2014 08:34 pm (UTC)
Hmm, a private detective you say? Yay, Laila Rouass. I can see Alun Armstrong as not Merlin. I could imagine 'Cross Keys Fair' as prestigious Sunday teatime family drama, until the Beeb realised it was cheaper to repeat old eps of 'countryfile' instead.

Mar. 18th, 2014 08:54 pm (UTC)
Yes, but not like Frank. There never was a private detective like Frank, except Frank. ;-D

I could imagine 'Cross Keys Fair' as prestigious Sunday teatime family drama, until the Beeb realised it was cheaper to repeat old eps of 'countryfile' instead.

:lol: And, no, it was prime time TV, honest - until then they realised it was cheaper to make yet another reality TV show and cancelled it.
Mar. 18th, 2014 09:13 pm (UTC)
Amazon Prime could be interested - they brought back 'Ripper Street';)
Mar. 18th, 2014 11:10 pm (UTC)
I love the "tragically" bit at the end. These series really don't last well, do they? And, unfortunately, they never get released on DVD.

I love the mix of characters you've got here, who may (or may not) be working towards the same ends. It really feels like this was inspired by Sapphire and Steel, and it'd probably have the same creepy effect on its watchers.
Mar. 19th, 2014 01:47 pm (UTC)
It is funny how that happens with imaginary TV series, yes. ;-)

And thank you! I never thought about S&S, or about it being creepy, but I suppose it would have to be a little bit creepy to work, wouldn't it?
Mar. 28th, 2014 02:56 pm (UTC)
Hm, I'm torn about whether I want to watch this. On one hand, I do love fairies, and I like all the divided loyalties and possibly untrustworthy people, but on the other hand, it seems to have a monster/mystery of the week thing (?), and I don't like those much.

Pity it's not a decision I have to make. I like this!
Mar. 28th, 2014 04:57 pm (UTC)
:loL: It is a fairy creature of the week? But yes. I like me some arc going on, but there's something freeing about story of the week as well. :-)

Thank you!
Apr. 10th, 2014 08:11 pm (UTC)
I did love reading the descriptions though; partly because it's fake, but I also really like reading short weekly descriptions of shows on tv magazines. Of shows I don't watch, that is. IDK. I really like story-bits.
Apr. 11th, 2014 04:34 pm (UTC)
Hee, made-up TV shows are ideal for you, then! :-)
( 35 comments — Leave a comment )


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