Alan Marshall Bella Edwards Bob Howourth Brian Davis Brenda Cook Carol Chilcott Claude Rimmer David Conn David Glover-Kirk David Parry-Jones David Scott David Talbot faustus group Jack Mundy Jacky Long Joan Clews Joan Goodyear John Vowles Kathy Stewart Kevin Hogan Lizzie Lane Lyn Martin Mary Lansdown Nicholas Selway Peter Sutton Richard Edwards Robert Chapman Robert Tooze Royston Tanner Sarah McGreevy Stephen Canaby This River Winding Tina Kelly Tom Hodson georgeT
more about the film cast & crew about the director planning script

camera shots stills

This is a full script of the film, scene by scene.


The script was created and used as part of the planning of the film and as often happens in post production, some scenes may have been omitted, shortened or changed slightly.


VO = voiceover, CU = close up

Start: Fade up from black:


voiceover symbolVO - Young Children

evy, ivy, over…winter, spring, summer fall, there are seasons four in all

CU of a vibrant purple iris – camera lingers


Children’s laughter and the sound of a skipping rope off screen.

CUT TO TITLE: (Petals over words on a stone  – Autumn: Hydrangea/Sage)


cut symbolCUT TO:


A garland of white irises form a frame around the camera, they create a frame of white lilies and winter flowers and twisted branches. Sat among the white lilies is Brenda Cook (contemporary).  Brenda is wearing a yellow dress the colour of daffodils. In her hands are purple irises – she looks into the camera.


I am wanting to be me, when I was small and picking the wrong flowers

The camera starts a small track towards Brenda, through the tangle of surreal white flowers and branches. Music plays softly underneath

voiceover symbolVO - Young Brenda

It’s too cold for plants to grow, because it is the winter snow

Off camera a young girl and an older woman’s laughter

cut symbolCUT TO TITLE: (Petals over words on stone – Winter: Heather / Alpines)


cut symbolCUT TO:


The rhyme starts again, children’s voices and the skipping rope.

A young Brenda watches through the fence of the schoolyard, around her wrist is a purple satin ribbon.  Her father’s hand on her shoulder (in a plain coat & scarf, not her school uniform) – she looks sadly through the fence at the other children playing in the schoolyard, wrapped against the cold.

voiceover symbolVO - Brenda

I thought I was doing no harm 

Music plays lightly

cut symbolCUT TO TITLE: (Petals on a stone – Spring/Summer: Anemones/Magnolia) 


cut symbolCUT TO CU of Brenda stood at the fence she closes her eyes tightly.


4. WOOD  FANTASY: Exterior day - SPRING

A bright spring morning in an open glade the camera tracks across the grass and rests on a carpet of surreal, white flowers creating a pathway to a flat grey stone. Around the stone lay a garland of bright purple irises and violets – it reminds us of a dream, fairy tale, a fantasy world. 

From behind a tree young Brenda appears in a purple dress, she is carrying a bunch of yellow daffodils and has a big smile on her face. She skips towards the camera and through the flowers - scattering them.

She repeats the words of the nursery rhyme

voiceover symbolVO - Young Brenda

Winter, spring, summer, fall, there are seasons four in all - weather changes, sun and rain and snow.  Leaves fall down and flowers grow

She starts to spin around laughing – the daffodils spinning.

The camera cuts to a mid-shot of the young Brenda; she continues to spin (in slow motion). Laughing she holds the daffodils to her face and speaks to the camera.

voiceover symbolVO - Young Brenda (repeated to fade)

I am wanting to be me – I am wanting to be me

cut symbolCUT TO:

5. LARGE GATE: Exterior day

A close up of a gate shutting again it echoes - a big sign with the words PRIVATE PROPERTY, we see a mass of vibrant purple behind the gate.

cut symbolCUT TO:

6.  MEADOW: Exterior day (pm) - SPRING

A wide shot in a wooded glade – spring flowers spread out over the floor, sunlight filters through the trees, birds singing.

An older man, Brenda’s father in a long brown overcoat, kneels down picking flowers; the young Brenda is beside him, picking white flowers. She is now dressed in a green school uniform and blazer, wellington boots, a beret on her head and an old battered satchel filled with paintings over her back – an old bike lies beside them.

Young Brenda

Why couldn’t I have the purple iris, dad?


Because they didn’t belong to you Brenda

They are happy and content to be together – the girl’s laughter rings out. The deep tranquility of the father & daughter is reflected in the colours of the woods and flowers.

Every now and again, as Brenda wanders from his side and makes to pick the beautiful purple flowers, her father beckons her away from them.

voiceover symbolVO - Brenda

I am wanting to be me, when I was small and picking the wrong flowers.
I thought I was doing no harm.
Stop picking, you’re on private land said my dad,
I’d rather I told you than them

Brenda looks longingly at the bright purple flowers.

Sound of the gate shutting.


7. LAKE IN WOODS: Exterior day (pm) – SPRING (as scene 6)

Brenda is walking next to her father holding his hand tightly, they walk past a lake pushing the old bike – a sprig of white flowers in Brenda’s hand.


8. 1940’s SCHOOLROOM: Interior day - AUTUMN

A large wooden clock ticking monotonously in the background.


Because their voices are sharp,


A 1940’s schoolroom, with old wooden desks, musty smells and colours – five children sit at their desks heads down – scribbling furiously.

voiceover symbolVO – Brenda

The sharper voices
Came from the other people
From the other side
of where I was living

Miss Thomas

Come on children, I told you to pick the white flowers
– now write out the four seasons

Brenda is sat at her desk sticking white flowers into a beautiful exercise book – writing the seasons slowly below each flower – she looks to her left at Maureen. Slowly she lifts the lid on her desk and slightly pulls out a large purple iris.

voiceover symbolVO - Brenda

They owned the land
They had the rights to tell me


9. GARDEN: Exterior day - SUMMER

A close up of Brenda – it is now summer. She is lying on her back in a garden; the sun shining strongly on her face - daisies and buttercups around her, she is making a daisy chain.

voiceover symbolVO – Authorative voice

You won’t grow
She will not get past this height

Young Brenda

Dad always called me his sunshine girl

voiceover symbolVO – Authoratative voice

She’ll always be little
Always small

Young Brenda

You are my sunshine girl

voiceover symbolVO – Authoratative voice

Always be little
Never grow

voiceover symbolVO - Dad

You are my sunshine girl 

A dark shadow crosses the young Brenda she looks up.

The sound of a gate shutting tight.

cut symbolCUT TO:


A close up of clear jam jars with white flowers in; they stand on the school windowsill – sun streams through the window.

Brenda is sat at her desk carefully painting her jam jar a bright iris purple.

voiceover symbolVO - Brenda

They owned the land
They had the rights to tell me

cut symbolCUT TO:

The large clock on schoolroom wall fills the frame – tick tock, tick tock,

voiceover symbolVO– Miss Thomas

Time to go
Time to leave

The sound of the gate shutting.

cut symbolCUT TO:


Brenda and Maureen are at the windowsill together – Brenda is placing her purple jam jar proudly on the windowsill among the other clear ones.  She places a white flower in the jar.

voiceover symbolVO - Brenda

They owned the land
They had the rights to tell me
But my dad thought I shouldn’t give them the chance
It would upset my lessons and it would put me back

cut symbolCUT TO:

12. SCHOOLROOM: Interior day - AUTUMN

Brenda is sat at her desk puzzling over sums – she looks to her left at Maureen perplexed, they quickly turn away from each other before Miss Thomas catches them.

voiceover symbolVO - Brenda

It would upset my lessons and it would put me back
Stop me getting on

A hand comes into the frame, a large watch on a thin white wrist – the owner starts to tap the watch.  Brenda looks up from her books, standing over her is Miss Thomas – a young woman with a stern face – she is wearing no make up or jewellery and is dressed in sombre browns and greens.

Miss Thomas (loud voice)

Are you tired Brenda, you are not doing very well
– this is taking you far longer than it should

cut symbolCUT TO:

The other children giggle behind their hands.

VO - Brenda

But I never got anywhere, anyway.

School bell rings

cut symbolCUT TO:


Children run out of the school shouting and laughing

voiceover symbolVO - Brenda

But I never got anywhere, anyway.


The playground at lunchtime, the children are playing around a skipping rope, Brenda and Maureen are in the middle jumping the rope. Brenda is holding the purple iris from her desk.

Everyone singing

“Blueberry, blackberry, raspberry jam.
Tell me the name of your young man! A, B, C, D..”

Suddenly two boys appear – they start to tease Brenda and call her names

2 Boys

You’re slow – you can’t do your sums – you’re different.
You’re slow

Brenda runs off, tearful toward a caretakers shed, Maureen runs after her.

cut symbolCUT TO:

15. CARETAKER’S SHED: Interior studio

Maureen (outside the shed)

Brenda, Brenda, are you ok?

A chink of white light seeps into the corner of the blackness and lights Brenda’s pale face. She looks into camera and holds the purple iris to her face – she breathes in and closes her eyes.

voiceover symbolVO - Brenda

But I never got anywhere, anyway.

Dark, disjointed music plays softly  - the sound of the gate shutting again.

cut symbolCUT TO:

16. WOOD: Exterior day – FANTASY SPRING

The young Brenda in the purple dress (the colour of irises) – laughing and skipping through the trees.  She gathers up the brightest purple flowers.


17. WOOD: Exterior day – FANTASY SPRING

Close up of purple flower petals blowing away from a grey stone, there are words but they are not visible.

cut symbolCUT TO:

18. SCHOOLYARD: Exterior day – AUTUMN

Brenda is with her dad and Miss Thomas in the schoolyard – a tear-strewn face. Her father puts a protective arm around her.  In her small hands she is clutching the tall purple iris, her purple jam jar and a purple satin ribbon

Miss Thomas

I think Brenda would be better at a school more (beat) suited to her needs

Brenda’s dad looks down


Time to go Brenda, time to leave

cut symbolCUT TO:


voiceover symbolVO - children

Winter, spring, summer, fall, there are seasons four in all…The leaves are falling one by one, summer’s over, school's begun.

An autumn morning, in a school playground a young girl (Brenda’s best friend Maureen - hair held back with a purple satin ribbon) is playing with white flowers. The young Brenda approaches, looking sad and tearful, she sits down beside Maureen and plays with the flowers.

Young Brenda

I have to go I have to leave the school


Why, why do you have to go?

Young Brenda

I don’t know, Dad and Miss Thomas think it will be better for me,
better to go somewhere else.

They look at each other sadly, Maureen puts a protective arm around Brenda.

Whilst they are sat there, an older man, in a long brown overcoat and an old bike approaches the two girls; it is Brenda’s father. 

He beckons to her – reluctantly she gets up to go.

A close up of the white flowers lying discarded on the ground.

Sound of gate shutting


20. SUBURBAN AREA (near School): Exterior day (late) - SPRING

The Young Brenda skips happily through a field, this time in a dress covered in daisies – she looks a little older. Her hair is held back with the purple ribbon. Over her shoulder is a bag with the words Marlborough School, a bunch of white and purple flowers hang from the pocket of the bag.  In her arms a cluster of bright paintings.

She skips past the fence of the school and stops briefly.  She looks through the school fence – she smiles, knowing and then continues on happily singing to herself.

voiceover symbolVO - Brenda (lighter)

But I never got anywhere, anyway.


21. WOOD: Exterior day (am) – FANTASY SPRING

A close up of Brenda Cook (contemporary) sat at an easel painting ‘The Wrong Flowers’. The camera pulls back and Brenda is revealed to be wearing a bright yellow dress – the colour of daffodils, the fantasy-wooded glade is revealed.

Skipping around her is the young Brenda in the purple dress (the colour of irises) – as in the beginning of the film she is laughing and repeating the words.

Young Brenda (repeated)

I am wanting to be me - I am wanting to be me

A vibrant mass of flowers, whites, reds, yellows and purples cover the grass around them – the young Brenda only picks up the brightest purple flowers, she stops by a bright purple mass of petals and starts to brush the petals away.

cut symbolCUT TO:

A close up of Brenda as she looks towards the young Brenda

voiceover symbolVO - Brenda

It’s about your choices not being taken away

cut symbolCUT TO:

The young Brenda continues to brush the petals away and a grey stone is revealed.  There is a purple iris etched onto the stone and the words:


voiceover symbolVO - DAD

Consider the lilies in the fields and how they grow!
Even the little blades of grass, God takes care of.

cut symbolCUT TO:

The young Brenda approaches contemporary Brenda with the purple flowers she has picked, Brenda smiles accepting them.  The camera pulls out slightly and purple, white and yellow petals begin to fall around them and the young Brenda continues to play.

voiceover symbolVO - Brenda

There were flowers on the windowsill at school
And my days felt like I’d always been picking the wrong flowers


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