As a script writer for hire, I’ve sometimes stolen lines from films that I like, and to cut a long story short, as a script writer on EastEnders back in the 2003 – I decided on one particular episode to pay tribute to one of my favourite films – Midnight Run.
To be completely honest, I hated writing EastEnders, and I haven’t watched an episode since I happily left the show. And again, prior to writing the show I hadn’t watched it for years – I took the job to pay the mortgage at the time (it was a Midnight Run).
I have a nice light touch as a writer, and EastEnders being pretty miserable, didn’t suit me at all. But at the time I was on the show, there was a lot of Alfie and Kat stuff going on, which I did enjoy writing and I loved the Trueman family too.
I can’t remember which exact episode it was, but at some point in a couple of scenes between Steve Macfadden (aka ColdWarSteve) and his mate Minty, I had a rush of blood and decided to pay tribute to Midnight Run.
Midnight Run is a treat of a film, very funny, touching and action packed. It’s a classic; it’s also ‘the buddy movie’ – a genre that was popular in the 80s.
This morning, Twitter has informed me that Midnight Run is 30 years old. And it reminded me of the time I stole two lines from the film and used them in an episode of Eastenders.
The lines I stole as I recall are:
“You have two emotions – silence and rage” – I think I had Minty say that to Phil Mitchell. (Lol – it’s even funnier to me now that I look back on it)
“How can I argue with this guy. I don’t know what the fuck he’s talking about.” Became something like-
“How can I argue with Ian Beale. I don’t even know what he’s talking about.”
When you do this sort of thievery as a TV soap writer, you worry that the script editor, or script producers, or the series producer, or later on, the director or even the actors will realise the lines are stolen from a classic film.
Nobody ever noticed – too busy turning this rubbish out to care…
I think the episode went out in the summer of 2003. I enjoyed sneaking a little tribute to Midnight Run into what was a pretty bog standard episode of a very dreary show. Although Phil Mitchell on crack – is a video that I return to on YouTube constantly – Steve’s finest hour (I’m glad I didn’t write any of this…)
Matthew Cooper has been a script writer for hire for over 20 years. He’s written for most of the UK soaps, including writing award winning episodes of Emmerdale, EastEnders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs and has been BAFTA shortlisted and Royal Television Society nominated as a script writer. He’s also a leading UK script consultant. You can find some of his broadcast credits on the IMDb. You can get in touch with Matthew on firstname.lastname@example.org or hire him on Peopleperhour