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Thursday 27th February 2003

My manager rang me early with exciting news. I have been asked to do a polish on the new Magic Roundabout movie script. That is to say they want me to take an existing script and work on it for a couple of days, in the hope of making it better and funnier.
Unfortunately my other work commitments mean it is impossible for me to take the job. Which is a terrible shame. As sarcasm doesn’t always work in print I think I should point out that I am being sarcastic.
Don’t get me wrong, I used to love the Magic Roundabout. I think Eric Thompson did a fine job of taking a French animation and then adding his own random and slightly subversive English script to images that he had no control over. I suspect the live action version (actually I’m not sure whether they are using the original puppets or actors dressed up or morphed through computer technology. I hope, at least it is the former) will not have the same subtlety and nuances. How can it? Unless they get a French bloke to make it and then get an English writer to make up a new script. Even if I was starting from scratch I would be hard pushed to think of a way of creating a fitting homage, but in 48 hours with someone else’s script it would be a fool’s errand.
What interests me is why did they come to me? All these years never having been asked to polish a movie and suddenly out of nowhere the powers that be decide that I am the man to work on the Magic Roundabout project. Oh obviously, anything with a combination of necromancy and fairground equipment in the title, then Herring is your man.
Fair enough, that makes sense, so given those unique credentials, why didn’t they come to me in the first place? Why did they get someone else with no interest in the occult or complicated machinery designed to spin you around for a couple of minutes for no particular reason to have a go at a script that had my name written all over it? Clearly they are regretting cutting corners (not something that is even possible on even the most magical roundabout) now, because they’ve been forced to come to me with their tails between their legs and say “Yeah, the other fella wasn’t up to it. Could you give it a spin…so to speak? Ha ha ha ha ha. We should use that in the film.”

Doubtless the finished product will, against all obvious logic, go on to be a massive success and the person they get to polish the script will be snapped up and taken to Hollywood to write movies about all manner of enchanted carousels. But you won’t catch me in thirty years time, sitting on a park bench, drinking meths, shouting “That should have been me”. Oh no. I have more pride than that. If the Magic Roundabout is a successful film I will simply kill myself.
You have my word on that.

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