The Old Oak (2023) | Transcript

The Old Oak, the last pub in a declining English mining village, faces new challenges with Syrian refugees' arrival, sparking an unlikely friendship
The Old Oak (2023) by Ken Loach

Ken Loach‘s 2023 film, The Old Oak, is a poignant and timely drama that resonates deeply with audiences in these uncertain times. Set in a struggling former mining community in Northern England, the film explores themes of social decay, xenophobia, and the enduring power of human connection.

The Old Oak stands as the last bastion of camaraderie in a quaint Northeastern English village, once a bustling mining hub, now grappling with the harsh realities of a relentless thirty-year downturn. TJ Ballantyne, the pub’s beleaguered owner, clings to its survival by a thread. The plot thickens with the unexpected arrival of Syrian refugees, relocated to this struggling hamlet. Amidst these tides of change, TJ forges an unlikely bond with Yara, a young Syrian woman. Will this unusual alliance pave the way for a newfound understanding between the two communities?

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The Old Oak (2023)

[woman 1] Help you down?

[man 1] Can you manage there?

[woman 2] There we go.

[man 1] Can you manage OK?

[man 1] Grab that one?

[boy] I can manage this one.

[woman 1] Oh, that’s a heavy one!

[man 1] If you just follow me, we’ll go find your new homes.

[woman 1] Bring your bags. We’ll help you down.

[woman 3 speaks in Arabic]

[women and children speak in Arabic]

[man 1] That’s a bit heavy, that one.

[woman 2] Hey? Your jacket.

[man 1] Can you manage?

[woman 1] Gosh. Here we go.

[man 1] OK, guys, we’re gonna go…

[woman 1] Diala’s family, we’re gonna take you to your home.

[man 1] Bring that out the way.

[woman 1] If you get your bags, we can give you a hand.

[man 2] Where the fuck are they from?

[woman 1] Mind your language, sir.

[man 2] Answer me question. Who the fuck are they?

[woman 1] They’re from Syria.

[man 2] From Syria?

[man 3] Are you taking the fucking piss?

[man 4] More Muslims.

[woman 1] Mind your language.

There’s kids here. Let’s keep it calm.

[man 2] I’ve got me own kids to fucking worry about.

[woman 1] I understand, but let’s keep it calm till we get these kids in their homes.

[man 2] It’s not fair. It’s shit.

[woman 1] I’ll answer all your questions later, but let’s please get these kids in.

[woman 2] You all right?

[woman 3] No. No, not at all.

Yeah. Yeah.

Why didn’t you tell us these were coming?

[man 1] The council will explain to all the neighbours.

[woman 3] You’re gonna explain?

You didn’t tell us they were coming! When you gonna do that?

[man 1] We’ll be around…

[woman 2] But they’ve got a good point.

You’ve gotta admit they’ve a good point.

But listen, there’s bairns on the bus.

They’re tired, frightened.

[woman 3] Laura…

[Laura] We need to get them in. We’ll deal with it later.

[woman 3] How many more busfuls?

[Laura] We’ll just have to deal with it later.

[man 5, Scottish accent] You fucking ragheads, man!

You shot my mate in Iraq!

[Laura] All right, that’s out of order, now.

We need to keep calm.

[man 5] That is out of order!

[woman 4] She’s taking your fucking photo there!

Look at her! Her, there! Look!

[man 5] What?

[woman 4] She’s taking your fucking photo!

[man 5] Taking my photo without my say-so?

It’s a fucking disgrace, TJ!

[TJ] She’s a bairn. Howay.


You better delete that photo, right now!

Rocco, howay.

[Rocco] Delete that now!

[woman in Arabic]

[Rocco] That’s my picture! Delete it!

The size of youse, man! You’re terrifying them.

Mate, she’s taken my photo!

You can’t do that!

Look, right…

Can you manage? Watch your step as you’re coming off.

Try and stay together. Quickly, lads.

Quickly, lads. This way.

I’ll sort out the photograph, right?

I’ll sort the photograph, right? But they’re just kids, man.

Let them get in their house and get settled, man.

[indistinct chatter]

[men cheer]

Smile, boys!

Ooh! Belter! Right, come on, ladies!

Give me the camera. Give me the camera.

Right, OK.


Two more pictures.


Rocco, man. Rocco, man. Nah, man. Rocco. Rocco, man.

Please. Give me the camera.

[TJ] Rocco.

Give it her back.

The camera.

Stop messing.

Right, selfie!

Please, my camera.

[camera shatters]

[men laugh]

[Rocco] You better step back, wee man.

[TJ] Rocco.

[Rocco] She tried to grab it!

She shouldn’t’ve tried to grab it!

[TJ] Rocco, man, what the…

[Rocco] Wind your neck in.

[woman 1] We’ll deal with it once we get inside.

It’s all right.

[Rocco] It was a joke, man!

[speaks in Arabic, sobs]

Come on.

[TJ] Rocco, that’s…

Let’s go inside.

[speaks in Arabic]

[man 1] OK. Everybody in?



[man] I’m sorry.

I’m really sorry for that, guys.

OK, you’ve got your lounge here.

You’ve got your lounge.

Here. Here’s your bags.

I’m really sorry that happened and I hope you’re OK.


[man 1] OK. So we got a microwave.

We’ve got a fridge in the corner.

We’ve got the most important thing, a kettle, here.

OK. Everybody OK?

[dog barks]

[TJ laughs] Come on!

Marra! [clicks tongue]

Come on! Good girl!

Good girl, Marra.

Right, leave. Ah! Hey!

Leave it.

Come on! [clicks tongue]


Come on! Come on, Marra!

[clicks tongue]

Marra, leave it.

Hey! Leave it. Come on. Leave it.

Leave it!


Good girl, Marra. Good girl.

Go on, off you get.

[clicks tongue] Good girl, Marra.

Come on. Give you some water.

[water runs]

[packet rustles]

Come on. Good girl. Good girl.

There you go.

Good girl.

Fuck’s sake, man.

Ah, fuck’s sake!

Just put your mum in the car, Michelle.

I’m gonna have a word with that lad.

Dad, settle down.

Just put her in the car.

[drill whirs]

Oh, son, have you sold that house?

That’s commercially sensitive information, sir.

Look, I’ll give you sensitive. Have you sold it or not?

It was sold online at auction a couple of weeks ago, along with three others at the top of the village.

What, four houses without even a visit?

Who the fuck bought them, like?

I don’t know. Some company in Cyprus.

How much?

Eight grand each.

Fuck me, I am screwed!

We paid five times that for ours!

How the fuck am I gonna sell it now, eh?

Have you got a tenant? Have you done a background check?

None of that’s my department.

“Not my department.” I’ll “not my department” you!

You rented out the house next door to me to a fucking nutter!

They’ve been bought online, right, on an auction.

They’ve never been to the village to look at the houses.

They’ve never walked round the street, our streets, in our village, you know.

[murmurs of agreement]

Bought by some speculating greedy bastard who’ll rent them out to some fucking moron.

They’re fucking parasites.

They are.

All they do… They don’t even come to the village, they don’t come to the street, don’t see the fucking houses they’re buying.

Now, you heard this?

They’re advertising homes for rent in my street, right, in Durham fucking prison.

[all exclaim]

I’m not kidding you!

They’re shitting on me, man. Shitting on me, I tell you.

Seriously? Durham fucking jail?

Remember a few years ago, when Mary was first diagnosed, and we were thinking about selling up and moving so we could be closer to her sister?


Aye, I remember that.

We hummed and hawed for a bit, like, didn’t know what to do.

But we got the house valued. It was worth about 50 grand.

Bit more than we paid for, so that was all right.

Do you know how much…

Do you know how much that company in Cyprus paid for them houses?

Go on.

Eight grand each.

Fuck! For fuck’s sake!

I mean, we’re screwed.

Fucking eight grand!

Eight grand!

I mean, Mary cannot take it anymore, man, with that dick next door.

But we’re just trapped there.

This has now become a dumping ground, lads.

You’re right.

And lasses. A dumping ground!

Aye, you’re right, there.

Them people that are buying the places, they’re not bothered, they’re not doing the houses up.

And the people who are moving in, well, it’s not their property at the end of the day.

They’re not doing them up.

They’re just being left to rack and ruin.

I just don’t know what to say. I mean, me and Mary, we… we’ve been in this village all of our lives.

I know you have.

You know?

And is this gonna be it, like? The rest of our lives, living…


Howay, man.

[cries] I can’t take it anymore!

No, man.

Come on, marra.

Howay, Charlie. Look, mate, we’re gonna sort this out.

Give over, man.

We’ll sort this out.

[man] We all know Mary. Please give her our regards, will ya?

[man 2] We’re all rooting for her.

[woman] How is she, Charlie?

[man] At one time, owning your house was your pride.

It’s a fucking millstone now, though, innit?

[man] A fucking millstone, you’re right.

[man 2] It’s not worth nowt.

[man 3] It’s what we’ve become.

Here, she’s one of them from the bus.

Fucking hell. That’ll be a pint of Guinness, then!

[TJ] Morning. You OK? Hi, there. How can I help you?

I just came to say thank you for your kindness when we arrived.

No need. I didn’t do anything.

I really appreciate it.

No, I didn’t do anything. You’re all right.

And I need to ask you another question.

I am trying to find the man who broke my camera.

I need him to pay for it and to fix it.

[TJ] Right.

Yeah. So do you know him?

[TJ] No, I don’t really know who it was.

He wore a shirt with the black and white stripes.

That cuts it down!

[TJ] That’s popular here.

Those are the colours of a local football team, erm…

[Syrian woman] Y-Yeah. But you were talking to him.

Do you remember that?

Yeah, I remember talking to him. I… I know who he is.

He’s not… he’s not a friend of mine.

Erm, listen, I’m not the police.

Maybe if you see him, can you please let me know?

My name is Yara, by the way. What’s yours?

I’m, erm, Tommy Joe Ballantyne.

[Yara] Thank you, Mr Ballantyne. Can you do that?

I’ll… I’ll see what I can do. I’ll try. Yeah.

Thank you so much, Mr Ballantyne.

[TJ] OK.


[TJ] OK. Bye, now.

[man] What a fucking brass neck.

I thought they couldn’t come into the pubs where they sold alcohol.

Oh, man, they get up to all sorts when nobody’s looking.

I learnt that when I used to work out there.

She marched in here as if she owns the place.

What next?

Building a mosque.




Youse all right?

Solid ten out of ten, you know.

Pretty good, yeah.

You want some?

Ah, I’m still undecided.

[boys chatter indistinctly]

[phone beeps]

Morning, Linda.

Oh, morning. Hi!

Should you not be at school?

Yeah, but they could do a day without me, so… you know.

But don’t tell my nan. I’ll get another lecture.

[dogs bark]

[dogs bark]

Stop! Hey! Stop!

Fucking stop!

Jesus Christ, man. Lads, I nearly fucking shit meself.

[boy] TJ, man, stop overreacting.

They’re little soft shits, really.

Overreacting? You can put a saddle on that fucker!

Let’s be fair, TJ. We wouldn’t have them in the street if they weren’t good with kids.

[boy 2] Their bark’s worse than their bite.

[boy 3] They’re lovely.


[boy 1] They’re not that bad, mate.

They were viewing her as a bloody breakfast snack!

They’re not bad.

He’s cute.

We apologise, mate.

[TJ sighs]

[TJ] Lads… Fucking hell.

[indistinct arguing]

[Yara] Listen to me. This camera costs so much money.

You need to pay for it.

Well, you shouldn’t’ve tried to grab it!

[Yara] You shouldn’t take it from the bag!

[Rocco] You shouldn’t have taken my picture then!

You should pay for it.

What’s going on?

This is the man who broke my camera.

What are you banging on about, seriously?

[Yara] I don’t understand what you are saying.

You should pay for it.

If you don’t understand me, and you don’t understand Queen’s English, fuck off back to your own country.

[Yara] You fuck off! Don’t say that to me.

I can speak to you any way I want.

That’s rich coming from you.

You’re not exactly fucking local, are you?

Are you?

[Rocco] Right, I’m off-ski!

Have a good one. Bye!

So you know him.

Yeah, I do. Yeah.

You’ll not get any money out of him to fix the camera.

All his money goes on drink

[Yara sighs]

Do you have the camera on you?

[Yara] Yeah.

Can I please have a look?

Thank you.

If you’ve got a moment, and you’ll come to the pub with me,

I may be able to help you.

[Yara] Now?

If you’ve got a moment, yeah.

[indistinct chatter]

[TJ] Come on, Marra.

Good girl. Good girl.

Aye, off you go.

Er, Maggie, can I have the keys to the back room, please?

The back room?

Yeah, please.

Thank you.

Good morning.

Hiya, pet. You all right?

[Yara] Yeah, thank you.

If you’d just like to come this way.

You’ll have to excuse the mess, I’m afraid.

It’s been locked up for about 20 years, this room.

Back in the day, it used to be packed every night.

[TJ] There used to be a pit in the village. A coal mine.


[TJ] Every village around here had their own pit.

They’re long gone now, of course.

A whole way of life, just gone forever.

[blind draws up]

[blind draws up]


[TJ exhales]

[blind draws up]

[drawer opens]

Yara, this is what I wanted to show you.


Now, they’re not the same as yours, but I thought that possibly one might be of some use to you.

They were my uncle’s.

He took most of the photographs in here.

Well, this one looks really like my camera.

Thank you for thinking of me.

But my camera is… special to me.

[TJ] Right, well, there’s a shop in Durham where I can get your camera fixed for you.

Well, thank you, but erm… I have no money.

[TJ] Right, well…

What happens if I just trade two of these cameras in to that shop and that’ll get enough money to get your camera fixed?

Er, you can trust me with it.

I’ll get it fixed and I’ll keep an eye on it, don’t worry.

Thank you so much.

I’ll look after it, I promise.

[Yara] Thank you.

Do you mind me asking?

You speak very good English. Where did you learn?

Because I lived in a camp for two years and I volunteered there to help the foreign nurses, so they taught me a lot of English.


Also, in the first month, I decided that I am going to learn

20 new words of English every day.

That’s what I did, yeah.


[TJ] Yeah, Maggie?

I really need to go now.

[TJ] Right.

The regulars are in and there’s two that want serving.

Right, I’ll be out. Cheers, Maggie.

All right. See you later, pet.

Cheers now.

I’ll leave this with you, right?

[Yara] Mr Ballantyne?


[Yara] Can I take a look at the other pictures?

Yeah, course you can. Take as long as you want.

[Yara] Thank you.

I shouldn’t be too long, OK?

[door closes]

Ah, where have you been? I’m trying to get served, here!

Five minutes we’ve been waiting.

Five minutes…

Do you want a beer?

Aye, go on then.

I’ll get these.

Thank you very much.

So what’s going on, TJ?

[TJ] Not a lot, mate.

We know she’s in there.

Aye, TJ, this is the one place in the village where we can come and forget our worries, just be ourselves, man.

I hope you’re not slipping her a length next door!


That’ll be a trip down memory lane!

Been giving her a sob story about the poor fucking miners, have you, TJ?

[man] Our Vic, cut the fucker out now.

Look, we’ve just come in for a quiet pint, Archie, all right?

And, TJ, we don’t need ragheads in our boozer, yeah?

[Archie] Ragheads? Fucking ragheads, Gary, man?

Speak for yourself, lad.

Anyway, she’s doing you no harm whatso-fucking-ever.

[Gary] Ah, piss off, Joe.

Fucking hell.

You can tell your father was a fucking scab, cos you’re turning just like him.

The only regret my old man had is that he didn’t return to work earlier.

[Archie] Aye, he didn’t get in earlier, but he fucking went in.

And five years later, mate, the pit was fucking shut, and he was on the scrapheap like the fucking rest of us.


[footsteps approach]

Thought you might like a drink.

Thank you.

“When you eat together, you stick together.”

Yeah. Me mother always said that.

Yeah. We used to do the same before we left Syria.

We used to cook together, too, with our neighbours, and sleep under the stairs in case we were bombed.

That’s taken during the strike.

I was just a young lad. I’d just started down the pit.

And the government tried to starve us back to work, so we made sure that we ate together every day.

Yeah. And what’s that?

Ah, this is more of the strike.

You didn’t wanna be caught by those bastards.

[Yara] Yeah.

Oh, they look so strong.

[TJ] Yeah, we were. Me father always said, if the workers realised the power that they have, had the confidence to use it, we could change the world.

[sighs] But we never did.

[Laura] Hi! Salam alaykum!

[woman] Mama?

[Laura] Take it. Yeah? These for Mama.

Oh, OK!

[Laura] Yeah.

[Laura] Salam alaykum.

This one’s clothes.


[Laura] This one, yeah? And this, yeah?

Oh, come. I’ll show you.

You all right with that?

[TJ] Yeah, I’ve got it.

[woman speaks in Arabic]

[Laura] Hi! Salam alaykum! Wa alaykumu salam!

How are you doing? Good, good?

This one’s for you!

[child] Thank you.

Yeah? No problem.

[woman speaks in Arabic]

Mum say thank you.

Oh, no problem. No problem.

Because Jamila…


…kick me in bed.

[Laura gasps]

[Laura] No, Jamila!




[Laura] You?


[children argue in Arabic]

[Laura laughs]

[children argue in Arabic]



[children argue in Arabic]


[Laura] Ta.

Two seconds.


[Laura] You all right?

You know what?

[Laura] What?

Summat you’ll never learn.

[Laura] What’s that, then?

Charity begins at home.

Have you seen what I’ve got?

It’s nappies. There’s a baby. Aye.

[Laura] Salam alaykum.

[baby cries]

[Laura] You all right? Eh?


[Laura] I’ve got some clothes.


[Laura] A couple of shoes.

Thank you!

Can I put it inside?

[baby coos]

Yes! Shoes!

A couple of bits here.

Oh! Thanks!

[Laura] Yeah.

That good!

That Aisha’s dead canny, you know.

But they’re having, like, a proper nightmare.

The bairn won’t stop crying cos of his bad chest.

And that neighbour you saw?

[TJ] Aye.

Banging on the wall constantly, swearing his head off at them.

It’s a nightmare. Really, really stressful, like.

[TJ] I can’t say I’m surprised.

If you hear the stuff they come out with in the pub, man.

Jesus! Especially when they’ve had a few.

Yeah. And then they go home, they go online, and they just wind each other up.

Some of the stuff they come out with, it’s horrendous.

[Laura] Well, what do you say to them in the pub?

What can I say?

[Laura] Well, I don’t know, TJ. That’s why I’m asking you.

I say nowt. Just keep me mouth shut.

[Laura] Here.

Ta, thank you. [grunts]

[Laura] Erm… [sighs]

Laura] Hi!

Salam alaykum.

Salam alaykum. Salam alaykum.

For you, for the house. How are you doing?


Yeah. No problem.

And for you, guess what we’ve got.




[speaks in Arabic]

There you go! Happy?

[girl] Yeah.

[Laura] There you go!


[Laura] Yes!

Go, Rana!

[TJ] All right, lads?

How come they’re getting all that stuff?

It’s all been donated by local people.

It’s all second-hand stuff, lads. There’s nothing new.

I know, but they’ve been getting everything lately.

Aye, but they’ve lost everything.

That’s what you’ve gotta understand.

They came to this country and had absolutely nothing other than the clothes on their back.

[boy] Wish I could get a bike.

You know, maybe you should do something for the local kids.

Are you kidding us? Why don’t you do something?

Start the football up again! No?! Thought not.

Hey, man, I’m ran off me feet. I never stop.

I’ve got bairns at home. I’ve got work.

Me mam’s poorly. Our lad’s saying he never sees us.

You want us to do more?

There’s only a couple of us doing this, you know.

Me, a couple from the church…

Jesus Christ, man, TJ. You do something.

For fuck’s sake.

You used to be the one kicking our arses when something needed doing round here.

And now what? I’ve gotta beg you to give us a lift in the van to drop some stuff off?!

Are you kidding us? Howay, man!

On your marks, get set.

[whistle blows]

[shouts of encouragement]

[woman shouts in Arabic]

[woman] Olivia! Go on, Olivia! Go on, Olivia!

Go on, Olivia!


[cheering continues]

[woman shouts in Arabic]

[Laura] Keep going, Linda!

Go, go, go, go, go! Keep going, Linda!

[man] Linda! Linda!

Linda, are you OK?

[Linda] I feel ill.

Is your mother here?

[Linda] No, she’s at work.

[Laura] Linda. Linda, you all right, darling?


[Laura] Here, have some water. You might be dehydrated.


Thank you.

[Yara] What have you eaten today, Linda?

Erm, just a small bag of crisps.

Right, OK. Do you think you might want to go home?

Erm… yeah.


Is your home near?

[Linda] It’s just a couple of streets away.

OK, I can take you home.

[Laura] Oh, yeah?

[speaks in Arabic]

Oh, I forgot my keys.

[Linda exhales]


Max, open the door.

What do you want?

Hi. Your sister is not feeling well.

Can I help her inside?

Yeah, sure.

Come, sit here.

[door closes]

Put your head here.

[computer game noises]

[Yara] I have a banana in my bag.

Could you try and eat that?

I can’t. I need summat sweet. That usually helps.

Sorry, do you have a biscuit or something sweet for your sister?

[computer game noises continue]

One moment.

[mother] Who the fuck are you?!

[Yara] I’m sorry, I…

Do I come in your house, poking around in your fucking fridge?

Get out! Fucking get out!

[Yara] You don’t understand…

[mother] Get out!


I’m sorry, I was trying to help…

Keep your… These kids are my responsibility.

Keep your big fucking foreign nose out my business, right?

Get out!

[Linda] She was helping me!

I don’t fucking care! You’re not wanted here.

You don’t understand! She’s sick! I was helping her!

I don’t fucking care! Get out!

And don’t come back!

[door slams]

[mother] What the fuck do you think youse two are doing?


[Max] It wasn’t me, it was her.

[mother] How many times have I told you not to let strangers in the house?

Fucking foreigners in me house!

How many times?

[Linda] I was ill!

[mother] I’m gonna take the key off you, I swear to God!

[knocking at door]

Mr Ballantyne?

Hello, Yara.


I have something for you.

[exhales, speaks in Arabic]

Thank you so much.

[woman speaks in Arabic]

[TJ] You’re welcome.

[Yara speaks in Arabic]

[woman speaks in Arabic]


Thank you, Mr Ballantyne.

[speaks in Arabic]

My mum say you must come in for tea.

Oh, no, it’s OK. I’ve got dirty shoes on. I’ve been to work.

[Yara] No, please! Please, just for tea!

Five minutes. Please, come.

Well, that’s very kind of you.

[Yara] Please, come.

Thank you.

[Yara chuckles, speaks in Arabic]

[woman speaks in Arabic]


[Yara] She’s, er… She’s making a joke of me.

Like, now I am going to take pictures of everyone on the street, like I did in the camp.

[TJ chuckles] Oh, right.

Thank you.


Here, have some cakes.

[TJ] Thank you.

[Yara] Do you like it?

Very good cake. Very nice.

[Yara and woman speak in Arabic]

Is the camera OK?

It’s perfect. Like a new one.


Do you know what “shukran” means?

[TJ] No.

It means “thank you”.

[TJ] Shukran.


It goes with your name. “Shukran, Mr Ballantyne.”

Well, shukran.

[women speak in Arabic]

So, all the kids are in school now.

So how’s it going?

[Yara and girl speak in Arabic]

[Yara] Good.


[Yara] Yeah.

School? Good?

Good, good. Yes.

Big lad, how’s school going?

Good, good.

[TJ] Good. Right.

Your dolls are very pretty.

[girl speaks in Arabic]

[Yara and girl speak in Arabic]

[TJ] Do they have names?

[Yara translates in Arabic]

Erm… [speaks in Arabic]

Erm, yeah.

Erm… Rahat. Rahat, Rafif, Sham, Shahad, Amara.

[speaks in Arabic]

So those are the names of her girlfriends back home.

She doesn’t know where they are now.

[girl speaks in Arabic]

[speaks in Arabic]

[Yara] This is our father, and she said she wish he can find us here.

[TJ] I’m sure he will.

[speaks in Arabic]

Yeah, I’m sure he will.

[Yara speaks in Arabic]

[mother speaks in Arabic]

[Yara] If you’ll excuse them, they have homework to do.

[TJ] Yeah.

So this is my father.

[TJ] Yeah.

He’s a tailor. Quick hands and quick mind.

His only crime was to look for his brother.

He was picked up by the shabiha. It means “the ghosts”.

[TJ] Ghosts?

They are state-sponsored militias of the Syrian regime.

My mother thinks he’s dead. [sighs]

But I know he’s still alive.

Your father got you that camera, didn’t he?

[Yara] Yeah.

When I was a little girl, I told him I wanted to be a photographer and travel the world.


This camera saved my life.

[TJ] How’s that?

Because I saw a lot of things I…

I wish I hadn’t see.

Don’t have the words to describe them.

But when I look through this camera, I…

I choose to see some hope and some strength.

So I choose how I live with this camera.

[TJ] Right.

And I feel like… like my father is with me.

So thank you for fixing it.

It’s my pleasure.

[boy] Go on! Get him!

[boy 2] Hey, Bashir!

Get him down. Give him what he deserves! Make him pay!

Go on!

[Bashir grunts]

[boy] Right, boys, go on!

[Bashir grunts]

[boy] Go on, give him it!

[Bashir grunts]


[boy] All right, boys, go on!

Get the fuck off the Paki cunt! Let me speak to him.

Get the fuck off him now.

You, you little bastard, eh?

[boy] Go on!

Eh? Fucking look at me, yeah?

I know what you’ve fucking done, you know what you…

Get the fuck off! We all know what you’ve fucking done!

Why the fuck would you do that?! Eh?

Get the fuck up.

[boy] Get him up!

You, you little bastard! Fuck off!

You dirty immigrant cunt!

Fuck off back to your own country!

Fucking do that again, I swear to fucking God…

Go on!


You fucking little dirty Paki cunt!

Go on! Well, bloody go on!

Fucking wanker. Wanker, that’s what you fucking are!

[boy on video] Get the fuck off him now. Get the fuck up.

You, you little cunt.

I know what you’ve fucking done…

Stop it there! Stop it there.

Look, see him? That’s my nephew, right?

Listen to what he says.

“You know what you’ve done, we know what you’ve done.”

Have you seen this, Charlie?

[boys shout on video]

[Vic] See, that foreign bastard,

he’s been bullying lasses at dinner time.

He pushed one over. Yeah! Ask the parents.

[TJ] I know the lad.

He’s a good kid, he’s a decent lad.

We’re just trying to figure out what happened.

Well, summat’s gone on, TJ.

Here, Gary, play that again.

[boy shouts indistinctly]

[boy] Fucking go now!

Go. Fuck off!

[boy 2] Go on!

That’s what happens to bullies in our school.

[Vic] See? Something happened before that.

Aye, that’s your Ronnie responding, innit?

Our Ronnie’s getting bullied on fucking social media now.

They’re bloody fanatics, man.

So what the fuck do you make of that then, TJ?

I dunno.

[Ed] Another pint? Anybody?

[Vic] That all you can say?

[man] I’ll force another one. Cheers, Eddy.

[Vic] That’s all you can say, “Another pint?”

[man] Hm-hmm!

I better have your bitter.


[TJ] Right you are, mate.

[Ed] Cheers.

[TJ] Cheers.

I mean, I’m no racist, but I’m not happy about the school.

All those extra kids in there.

And I don’t blame them, but some of them don’t even speak English!

It’s holding everyone back.

Exactly! Are there no more teachers?

[man] Aye, they’re bringing someone in who speaks Arabic.

Arabic? That’s great for our kids, that, innit?

There was two of them in front of my cousin in the doctor’s trying to fill fucking forms out.

That took half an hour.

It was the same with Mary at the health centre.

Funny, innit? They always put ’em round here, but never put ’em in Chelsea or fucking Westminster!

Of course they don’t! They don’t want them living by them.

That’s why they’re dumping them on us by the fucking busload.

I mean, I’m not against refugees, immigrants.

I mean, God, my father was Irish.

But there’s fuck all in this village now.

And we’re supposed to share it with that lot?

We don’t even know them.

And if you say anything about it, all the posh wankers make you out to be a racist.

I’m fucking sick of it.

[Vic] So am I. I’m sick of it.

What about the background checks?

You know what I mean? Who are these people’s wives?

Who are they married to? Who’s their brothers? Cousins?

[man] They’ve all got smartphones.

Face to face with fighters in a war zone.

All it takes is one of them to slip through.

One crazy fucking jihadi.

I feel sorry for the poor bastards. I honestly do.

Well, me an’ all, Jaffa, but what can we do?

We can’t even look after our own.

Bang on! People living in fucking boarded-up houses, eh, with candles on?

They’ve never had any fucking respect for us round here, ever.

Well, I say we should draw a line in the sand, eh?

Enough’s enough. It starts here, this village.

This pub, The Old Oak. We should have a public meeting and tell everybody how we’re feeling.

Invite everybody.

The local council, the press, Tyne Tees telly.

You need to be careful, Charlie. You get a load of racists in.

There’s plenty of them about. We don’t need it!

[Vic] Jaffa, as far as I’m concerned, it’s now or never.

Where would we hold it? Everywhere’s closed.

There’s the church hall, the miners’ welfare, even the school’s gone!

Well, you opened the back room the other day there, TJ.

We could have it in there.


[TJ] It’s been shut for 20 years.

The place is an absolute tip.

[Vic] We could help you clean it up, couldn’t we, lads?

Do that, aye.

Yeah, course we could!

There’s nay heating, the plumbing’s knackered, and the electrics are fucked. That’s a non-starter.

[Vic] Jaffa’s done time in the building trade.

Couldn’t you help out, Jaffa?

No, count me out. I’ve got a bad back.


[Vic] Fucking lazy bastard!

What about the cookers, TJ?

[TJ] Cookers?


[TJ] They haven’t worked since the ’90s, man.

We’d blow ourselves up using them.

I’ll strip them down. I’ve got time.

Oh, anyway, we don’t need cookers.

We don’t need any food or nowt.

All we need is a room for a few hours for a meeting.

Now what’s the problem?

I haven’t got public liability insurance.

So I can’t have any public functions in there.

[Charlie] You’re a stickler for the rules all of a sudden!

Do you mind if I go and have a look meself?

[Vic] Go on, Charlie. Go on, son.

[Gary] Hey, the keys are behind the bar. Come on, open it up.

[TJ] The room stays closed.

Hey, do you know what it is, TJ?

Some of us have been drinking in this pub for 40 years.

That’s a lifetime, man.

Me and Mary, we had our engagement party in that room.

You were there, you remember?

Course I can, mate.

Aye, course you can.

Cos you made a lovely speech, didn’t you?

“Marras for life” and all that.


And now you won’t even open the room for us,

but you’ll open it for your new mates?

What’s that? Do we not count all of a sudden?

[Vic] Aye.

[TJ] I’m sorry, mate. I’m sorry. But that room stays shut.

[Vic scoffs]

[Jaffa] Howay, then.

[Eddy] Aye, fair enough. Fair enough.

[TJ] Sorry, Charlie.

[Vic] Fucking disgraceful.

Sit down, Charlie.

He’s changed.

[Vic] Absolutely.

[subdued chatter]

Can I have a word with you?

Nadia… [speaks urgently in Arabic]

[woman] Yeah, you! I need to talk to you.

I didn’t know what happened with Linda the other day.

I’m really sorry.

I just wanted to apologise.

I’m sorry too, for entering your house.

I should have asked.

You know, Linda showed me the photographs you took of her.

They’re really lovely. They’re so natural.

And she looks happy for a change.

What I wanted to ask you, I showed the pictures to the girls in the salon.

I’ve got a little cleaning job there, just a few hours a week. They would really like it if you come and took some pictures of them, as well.

Really? Yeah, I can do that. Yeah.

[lively chatter]

[woman] Just be careful.


Can you look at the camera, please?

You want us to look at you?

Yeah. Look here.

[camera beeps, clicks]

So this is Debbie. Yara.

[camera beeps, clicks]

[overlapping chatter]

[camera beeps, clicks]

[camera beeps, clicks]

Are you enjoying doing this, then?

[Yara] Yeah, very much.

Thank you for letting me take your photos.

Ah, you’re welcome.

Oh, nice cup of tea.

There you go.

Oh, that’s fantastic, thank you.

There you are, Yara.

Thank you.

Nice brew for you, darling.

So how’s Linda?

Yeah, she’s good!

She’s doing better.


She’s back at school.

Nice and hot.

Can I just ask you something?


Do you do, erm… like, a gift voucher?

Ah. No, Sadie.

We’re, like, a simple outfit, so…

Oh, do you not?

It’s just, you know me daughter Josie?


It’s her birthday coming up.

She hasn’t been out for months.


I was just thinking it would be lovely, maybe, for her to…

She could do with having her hair done and…

I mean, she’s got her nails, but, oh, they’re a mess.

They really need doing!

And, you know, if I give her money to get it done, it’ll go straight out for the kids.


I’ve got a friend going through exactly the same thing, Sadie.

It’s awful.

She lost all of her confidence. She’s just hiding away.


We just never see her.

She’s just so lonely. It really breaks my heart.

[Linda’s mother] And they feel ashamed, don’t they?

That’s what happened to my Katie.

She just got left by the wayside.


I don’t even know where she is.

Don’t know if she’ll ever come back.

That’s £5.20, there, boy.

Money’s just there.


Cheers, mate.

Thanks, TJ.

[TJ] Got a friend for life, there, mate!

Ah, she’s nay bother! Canny little dog.

[TJ] Ah, she’s a belter.

[Laura] TJ?


[Laura] Can we have a word?


Yara and me have been having a think.

[laughs] Oh, that’s reassuring!

[laughs] No, not like that, honestly!

Erm, just, Yara was at the hairdresser’s the other day…


…talking to the lasses.

And you know what it’s like, people are really struggling.

And she was talking to Sadie about her daughter, Josie.

Christ, I haven’t seen her in months.

Aye, exactly.

She’s, like, really hiding herself away, right?

I’ve been thinking, Mr Ballantyne.

Our families, the Syrian families, are so isolated, and worried for their kids.

Some of the locals here are struggling too.

[TJ] Ah, I know. Some of the stories I hear in here, man.

It’s absolutely heart-breaking.

[Laura] Exactly, so…

So that photo, in the backroom. What your mother said to you.

“If you eat together, you stick together.”



So, imagine if all the families mix and start to eat together.

We can become friends.

This could really change our life forever.

What do you think?

Well, sounds like a great idea.

But do you not think you’re taking too much on?

Why, no, man. Our mams did 500 meals a day during the strike.

We can pull off a dinner for a couple of people from the village.

If we just start small, maybe, with the people who need it the most, like Josie.

And we could maybe ask Brendan from the school which of the other bairns might need it.

Start off like that.

You can borrow the van any time you want, if that’ll help.

The thing is, is there’s nowhere really to do it anymore.

The church hall’s gone.

And that was the last suitable place.

So we were thinking

maybe we could use the back room?

[sighs] Are you trying to embarrass us?

[Laura] No.

That’s been shut up for 20 years.

[Laura] We were just thinking we could get people in…

The plumbing’s knackered, the electric’s knackered.

[Yara] Some of our men are builders. They can come…

It’s not safe, Yara! You know that.

You know it’s not safe in there! What are you playing at, Laura?

How am I, TJ?

[TJ] Are you trying to fucking ruin us?

No, we’re trying to do something for the village!

Even though I could open that back room, the last few regulars I’ve got left would fucking boycott us.

[Laura] Oh! Here!

I’m hanging on by my fingertips here!

I can’t sell the place.

I haven’t got a penny to me fucking name!

Do you want us out on the street?

No. No, of course not.

Cos that’s what’ll happen!

Laura, just fucking leave it, right?

Just get off me back and leave it!

Yara, I’m sorry.


[gentle piano music]

Good girl. Come on.


[breathes deeply]

[exhales sharply]

[birds flutter]

[Marra barks]

[TJ] Marra!

[Marra barks]

Leave it!


Leave it! Marra, leave it! Leave it!

Marra! Leave it!



[dogs bark]


[dogs bark]

[boy] Come on, girl, down!


[dogs barking]

[boy] Yo, man, you fucking prick! Come on!

Get your fucking dog back!

[TJ] Oh, fuck, no.

Get those bastards under control!

For fuck’s sake, man!

[boy] I told you not to do this!


[boy] Get them back, man!

[dogs bark]

[boy] Come on!


[boy] Fuck’s sake!


[boy] Fucking grab him, man!

[dogs bark]


[boy] Get his head!

Get a hold of the fucking thing, man!

[TJ] Fucking size of it, man!

[Marra yelps and whines]

[boy] We need to go now. Go, go, go, go, go!

[TJ] Marra!

[boy] Go, go, go, go!

[TJ] Marra! You fucking bastards!

[Boy] Go!

[dogs bark]

Marra! Marra!



[boy] Go, go, go, go.

You fucking… bastards.


You fucking bastards!

I’ll fucking have you!


[gulls cry]



[sniffles, exhales]

[doorbell rings]

[exhales] Fuck.


[TJ] Hello.

We were thinking of you. Can we come in?

[TJ] Yeah, course you can.

Please… [clears throat]

Take a seat.

[Yara] Thank you.

[mother speaks in Arabic]

Er, bring a plate. Just for yourself.


[speaks in Arabic]

Sometimes in life, there is no need for words, only food.

You make me feel quite ashamed.

After what you’ve been through, to do this for me…

[translates into Arabic]

[speaks in Arabic]

[Yara] Hm-hmm.

[speaks in Arabic]

There is no shame in love, Mr Ballantyne.

We understand loss. Please, take a seat.

Thank you.

[speaks in Arabic]

You will like the food.

[chuckles] I’m sure I will.

[speaks in Arabic]

She won’t leave until you eat.



That’s very nice.

Thank you.


[Yara] Shukran.


[mother speaks in Arabic]

Thank you.

[TJ chuckles softly]

[dishes clattering]

When did you get Marra?

April the 9th, two years ago.

You remember the date?

[TJ] Yeah.

It’s a very special date to me.

My father was a miner, as you know.

On April the 9th, many years ago now… he was working on a seam three mile out to sea, and he was killed in an accident.

So two years ago, my life was in such a mess… I decided that on April the 9th… I would take my own life.

Now, I don’t know, that may be hard for you to understand.

It’s not hard.

Yara, I just made so many mistakes.

I’d just lost a good woman.

I made time for everybody except her, and by the time I realised…

Well, it was too late. She wanted a divorce.

[Yara] Do you have any children?

Yeah. I have a son.

He’s a good lad, but he doesn’t speak to me anymore.

And I can’t blame him.

I just kept hurting everybody that I loved and cared for.

I mean, this place, The Old Oak, it’s dropping to bits.

And I can’t get it fixed.

So when it was coming round to April the 9th two years ago, I realised I had a way out.

So I made a decision… to take me own life.

I walked down to the beach, I took a bearing from the old pit head and I looked out at the horizon.

And I just thought to meself, “If I can get three mile out there… just above where me father died…”

I thought, “That’ll do me.”

I couldn’t come back from that, I knew that.

I even left a note on this table.

“Tommy Joe Ballantyne’s gone for a swim.”

So… I stepped into the sea.

And that’s when it happened.

Now, I’m not a religious person.

I don’t believe in God, the afterlife, any of that.

But as I stepped in the sea…

[distant bark]

…I heard this noise.

And I looked around.


And there was this daft little dog coming towards us.

[TJ chuckles]

I remember thinking, “Not now.”

“Not today of all days.”

But it just kept coming.

It came right up to me feet.

And I looked down and I saw it had a name tag.

And it said “Marra”.

See, “marra” is an old miners’ word.

Your marra is your friend, but it runs much deeper than that.

He’s your friend, he’s your equal.

He’s got your back, you’ve got his.

You keep each other safe.

So all I could think of was, “What would my father think of me?”

So I stepped back.

Brought the daft little dog home with us.

She gave us a reason to get out of bed.

Every time I looked at Marra…

I saw the little dog that gave us a second chance.


Youse all right?

Hi, lasses, you all right?

You all right, Maggie? Just come to see how TJ is.

He’s all right. He’s all right.

He’s in the back. God knows what he’s doing.

He’s in the back?


Erm, the door’s not locked if you wanna go in.




Get that, Yara. TJ?



You all right? What are you doing?

What does it look like I’m doing?

I’m cleaning the kitchen.

You’re to blame for this, the pair of youse!

Er… well, good.

[TJ] Yeah.

So, off with your coats, and get your backsides in here and give us a hand.

Right. We’ll come back later.

No, no, no! You’re not going anywhere!

I’ve started this cos of you.

[Yara laughs]

Get in here, give us a hand.


Yeah, right?

Come on.




I’ve got plenty of cleaning stuff. Come on.


[TJ] A couple of people came to me very recently with an idea that I reopen this room.

And I wasn’t receptive at all.

But what I wanna do now, with your help, is I wanna reopen this room.

And I wanna help the kids in this village who are in desperate need of our help and in need of a meal.

So then, Tony, are we safe?

Aye. I’ve replaced these three fuses here.



But long term, it needs sorting out, like, cos otherwise you’ll have a bit of an issue on your hands.

But for now, you’re safe.

[TJ] I want to welcome our new friends who have left a war zone, come to our community.

And what I want to do is I want to use this space so we meet together and we sit down and eat together.

That’ll need a big scrub.

If you can take that rubbish out, that would be great.

Anything that looks as though it’s unsafe, or needs chucking out, exactly, needs to go.

[TJ] This is solidarity. It’s not charity.

This is about, we do something together.

It’s not just about putting some food on a table as a one-off.

I want this to be ongoing.

[Jaffa] How are you getting on, Mo? Mo, you good?

No, no.

[Jaffa] No?

No. Rust.


[Mo] Rust, yeah.

I can get you some WD-40 for that.

That’s not a problem. Do you wanna check that one?

[man] Yusuf?

[Jaffa] All right, is it safe?

[speaks in Arabic]

[Jaffa] Savvy? Does that mean safe? Yusuf?

[speaks in Arabic]

How are we getting on?

They don’t understand a word I say.

I’m struggling, mate. I’m struggling.

Right, well, where’s Yara?

She’s up translating with Betty, up there.

I didn’t want to interrupt.

No, can’t interrupt that.

[quiet chatter]


[Maggie] Hiya. You all right?

Can I put these things in for TJ?

Yeah, you can. Put them on the bottom table there.

[speaks in Arabic]

[Maggie] Hiya, you all right?

[regulars mutter]

[woman] Hi.

[Maggie] Hi. You all right?

[woman] Hi.

[Vic] Hi.

[Mo] All right?

[regulars] All right.

[Vic] All right, yeah.

[Mo speaks in Arabic]

[regulars mutter]

Food on the table?


[chatter in Arabic]

[Vic mutters] Away you go.

[regulars mutter]

[Mo] Yusuf!

[men speak in Arabic]


[Maggie] Hiya, you all right?

[Yusuf] Hiya.

[Maggie] Hiya. All right?

[Yusuf] Yeah, good.

[Vic] Fucking Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, innit? Huh?

Oh, for fuck’s sake. Howay, I’m gonna go sit down there.

[mimics gunshot] Doing my fucking brain in.

[chatter in Arabic]

[Charlie] Just come in for a quiet pint, man, Maggie.

Is that too much to ask for?

[Maggie] Charlie, it’s TJ’s idea.

[Charlie] Yeah, I bet it fucking is, an’ all.

See you, bye.

[Maggie] See you.


See you, bye.

[Vic] All right. Ta-ra.


[Vic] Right. Bye.


Ta-ra. See you later. Bye. Have a nice day.

[Mo] Thank you.


Fuck off.

The pub’s not ours anymore, is it?

[Ed] Hello, Tony. What are you doing here, son?

All right, Uncle Ed?

[Ed] Why aye.

Aye, the gaffer sent us over to check on some wiring.

[Vic] I hope you’re getting paid, son.

Ah, usual rate! Nah, we’re doing a favour for TJ.

All chipping in to help out.

[Vic scoffs]

Anyway, I’ll catch you later on.

Pint later on, eh?

Aye! Why aye!


Thank you.

Hi, there. Is it OK to leave these here for TJ, please?

Aye, just put them on this bottom table there, pet.

[Ed] It’s like Grand Central Station.

What the fuck’s this all about?

A car boot sale or something?

Can you tell Laura that’s from the Fire Brigades Union, and there’s more on the way.

[Maggie] All right, OK.

Also, erm, I’ve found an industrial juicer.

Erm, can you just tell her that Sammy’s got it?

It’s second-hand but it’s in good nick.

I’ll drop it off later on.

[Maggie] All right.

OK? Thank you.

[Maggie] OK. Bye, pet.

You all right there, lads?

[regulars] Aye.

Enjoy your pint.

[Ed] Aye. Great.

[Charlie laughs]

An industrial fucking juicer.

What the hell’s next, eh?

A fucking Jacuzzi!

Fucking unions need to mind their own business.

Too much time on their hands.

It’s getting like fucking Panama Canal in here, innit, eh?

Aye. You’re right there, lad.

Another pint please, Maggie.

[Maggie] Hm-hmm.

Anyone else?

[Ed] No.

[man] No, I’m all right.

All right, Maggie.

[Charlie] So…

Back room’s not good enough for us,

but it is good enough for them, is that it, TJ?

Hadn’t planned it, Charlie.

All it is, is a few of the locals trying to give a helping hand to those that need it.

It’s a few volunteers doing it.

You and your family are more than welcome to come.

[Vic] Aye, OK then.

What’s your problem, Vic?

I’ll tell you the problem, shall I?

The problem is we drink in here all the time, keeping you in business, and you treat us like fucking shit.

[TJ] I don’t treat you like fucking shit.

Yeah, you do. Yeah, you do. We asked you for a favour, mate.

One favour for a meeting. One fucking meeting.

And all you did was give us a load of excuses.

But with these fuckers, right, you can give them what they fucking want.

As far as I’m concerned, mate, you’re a fucking two-faced, forty-faced arsehole.

[Ed] Easy, man.

[Charlie] Aye, just calm down, Vic.

I mean, look at the place, TJ.

It’s like a bloody refugee camp. It’s a shithole.

That’s sad coming from you, mate.

[Vic] You’re the one that’s fucking sad, mate.

I tell you what it is, right? I’m just trying to work it out.

Either you’re going for the OBE for charity work, or you’re shagging her in the fucking cellar.

Fucking watch your mouth, pal!

[Vic] Make me! Fucking make me!

I tell you what it is, you’re a fucking loser.

Even your own son won’t talk to you.

That’s why your fucking wife left you.

Me fucking wife?

[all shout]

Lads, lads! Lads, stop!

[Yara] Mr Ballantyne, stop!

I’ll put you through the fucking window!

What’s the matter?

Touched a nerve, did I, Mr Ballantyne?

Get outside and let’s fucking sort it out!

That’s enough, Vic! You’ve gone too far!

TJ, this is the one last public space we’ve got in our lives.

All we want is our pub back.

Is that too much to ask, after all this time?

Howay. It’s time you made your mind up, son.

[Vic] And you, with your fucking brass neck, not being disrespectful, pet, but fuck off where you come from.

Go back. That’s what we want, too.

[Vic] Good. Well, hurry up. Bye.

[door slams]

[Maggie] Well said, Yara, pet.

You OK?

[Maggie] You all right?

Maggie, you all right?

[Maggie] Yeah.

I’m sorry about that. I’m sorry.

[Maggie] You OK, guys?

[TJ sighs] Yeah.

[TJ exhales]

[lively chatter]

[man] You slice up your bread like that, like. Loads of chips.

Lovely, aren’t they? Especially with buttered bread.

Is that your son over there? What’s his name?

What’s his name?

My son?



Ah, OK.

[Laura] Everybody’s OK for a drink?

[indistinct chatter]

[man] Howay, they’ll come around.

[TJ] Enjoy that?

Can I have some pizza please?

[TJ] Course you can, Ryan.

[TJ] Oop! There you go.

Thanks. Is this just for today?

We’re gonna try and do it twice a week

and a special on a Saturday.

[Ryan] So can I come here every Saturday?

Course you can.

It is for free?

[TJ] Absolutely, not a penny.

Can I bring my gran?

[TJ] Of course you can.

She’ll love to hear that. Thanks.

No problem at all.

[Linda] Hiya, can I have some nuggets, please?

Is that true? This is… All this for free?

[TJ] Yeah, absolutely.

Is it a promise?

[TJ] We’ll do the best we can.


They told me all about the Berlin Wall, and how soldiers were there and kaput!

[Yara and Bashir talk in Arabic]

[Laura] You want carrots? Do you want carrots?

[boy] I was dipping it in the…

[Laura] Good move.

That’s the perfect thing to do. Is this your glass, pet?

[boy] Er, that’s… Yeah, that’s mine.

[Laura] It can be yours.

[Bashir speaks in Arabic]

What’s up, Max?


We’ve still got some food left.

Is there?


If you eat in the kitchen, no one will see you there.

We won’t say anything.

Wait here.

[Yara talks in Arabic]


Are you OK?


If you need anything, just ask. We are as a family.

Thank you.

[boys shout in Arabic]

[boys shout in Arabic on video]

[woman speaks in Arabic on video]

[speaking Arabic] Bashir, here’s a video filmed by my sister.

Don’t let Salim see it.

This is what happened to Othman’s school.

Remember him?

[horns blare]

[woman shouting on video]


[horn blares]

[horn blares]

[horn blares on video]

[siren wails on video]


[speaking Arabic] Bashir, mother wants to tell us something.

[mother speaking Arabic] I have good news.

Dad is still alive.

Somebody saw him in prison.

[Yara laughs]

It’s the best news we could have.

My father is still alive. [breathes deeply]

Someone saw him in the prison. Please, don’t stop.

Sometimes I wish he was dead, we had his body and I could bury him.


Where he is, there’s a hundred people into one cell.

So packed they take turns to sit down.


Starved, beaten.

Only few survive.


This is what the Assad regime does to us.

It’s the hope that causes so much pain.

I’m so sorry, Yara.

But I have to be strong for my family.

And community.

But it’s all just… a big act.

TJ, we’re getting a donation from the Cathedral.

Can you go and collect it, please?

Aye, cheers, Phil, will do, mate. Thank you.

[Phil] Thank you.

So that’s the Cathedral.

[Yara] Wow.

[TJ] Built nearly a thousand years ago by the Normans.

Me father loved it.

But he always said that the Cathedral doesn’t belong to the Church, it belongs to the workers that built it.

We used to love coming every July to watch the blessing of the miners’ banners, and then go on to the big meeting.

He used to love all the speeches and the bands.

Just like in the photos.

Yeah, just like in the photos.

Can we go?

It’s been a long time since I went.

So it’s probably best if you go with Laura.

[man] It’s those as well, mate.

[TJ] Right, cheers, Geoff.

[TJ grunts]

Leave that, leave that.

Tell you what, if you hurry up, you can see the choir practice.

Really? Now?


Go through the arch, then in the Cathedral.


All right?

I’m going.

OK, enjoy.

[bell chimes]

[bell chimes]

[choral music]

[indistinct chatter]

[choral music continues]

[choral music stops]

[choirmaster] OK, well done.

[quiet chatter]

[choral music resumes]

[choirmaster speaks indistinctly]

[Yara exhales]


My children will never see the temple in Tadmor. Palmyra.

Built by the Romans and destroyed by the Islamic State.

When you have half of your country in rubble and you see this… [sighs]

It makes me want to cry.

What will Syria be like in a thousand years?


How many years to cut the stones… to lift the weight, to imagine the light?

How many brilliant minds? How much sweat?

How many people working together?


Such a beautiful place… makes me want to hope again.

When they torture, when they target hospitals, when they murder doctors, when they use chlorine gas, when the world stands by and does nothing, that’s when the regime lives.

When the world does nothing.

That’s what they do to break us.

It takes strength to hope, but they want to smash it.

It takes faith to hope.


We tried to build something new, something beautiful, and look at us.

Thrown to the wolves.

I have a friend who calls hope “obscene”.

Maybe she’s right.

But if I stop hoping, my heart will stop beating.

[Arabic music]

[quiet chatter]

[quiet laughter]

[audience] Aw.

[quiet chatter]

[audience] Aw. [quiet laughter]

[chatter, laughter]

[audience] Aw.

I did me best!



[quiet laughter]


[music stops]

[applause, cheering]

[Yara] Our community has prepared a little gift for you, inspired by the miners’ banners and also by The Oak Tree, which we know, is so important and so special for you.

Yusuf and Abdul, please come.





[Maggie yells] TJ!

TJ, quick!

Fuck’s sake!

[Maggie] TJ! Come down!

[Maggie] TJ, come and have a look at this, man!

[water trickles]

[TJ] What’s the matter?

Have a look.

Oh, for fuck’s sake.

It’s a right mess.

[TJ] Oh, bollocks!

It’s the fucking pipework that we got fixed the other week.

It’s a complete disaster.

The joints have all gone.

Oh, fucking hell, man.

Right, I’m gonna try and turn it off.

Do us a favour, get Jaffa on the phone, cos he’s meant to have sorted this out.

Right, right. Will do.


Champion. Cheers, Maggie.



[Maggie] Hi, Jaffa.

The plumbing’s knackered and the kitchen’s flooded and it’s a right mess.

[Jaffa] What about the electrics?

The electrics? I don’t know.

Hang on, I’ll just check the switch.

[Jaffa] Maggie, don’t!


Fucker! What the fucking hell have you done?

[Jaffa] What the fuck was that?

[TJ] For fuck’s sake, man!

[Jaffa] Maggie, are you all right? Is everyone all right?

[Maggie] Sorry!

[Jaffa] What’s happened?

[TJ] Right. We’ll have to get Tony down here.

It’s just going from bad to worse, isn’t it?


[Tony sighs]

[Tony] It’s not looking good, TJ.

Jaffa’s meant to have told them Syrian lads to double-check them joints.

And that’s what’s gone, so… they either weren’t listening to him or didn’t understand him.

I cannot believe that’s just gone straight in the electrics.

I don’t know, TJ. Just… everything’s ruined.

Everything we’ve worked for.

Sorry, TJ, mate. They’re done.

Total rewiring. It’s a big job.

And you can’t use this room. Nay chance. It’s not safe.

[Maggie] Tony, what about the bar?

Or have I screwed that up as well?

It’s on a separate ring main, so the bar’s fine.

But it’s not your fault, Maggie. It would make no difference.

Your boiler, that’s fucked.

That’s gonna cost you about two grand.

And then just look at the floor.

It’s soaked the joists and the subfloor.

It’s gonna cost you a fortune!

[Laura] Wait, the insurance will cover it, won’t it?

No, it won’t.

We cut this room off from the insurance because it wasn’t being used by the public.

So in order to bring the cost down… we didn’t need it.

Youse haven’t got insurance?

I couldn’t afford it.

So, what am I gonna say to the kids now, eh?

[indistinct chatter]

Hello, mate. Can I have two pints of lager, please, man?

Of course you can, mate.

I’ll tell you what, we need to fucking give them some…


Happen so.

Like, the person sitting watching TV, doing this, and you’re sort of going… like that.

And then in the actual cinema itself, you can just hear…

It’s a great atmosphere tonight, TJ. Huh?

I mean, the place is bouncing, innit?

Aye, just like the old days. Banging.

[Vic laughs]

None of the fucking missionary work going on next door.


Just peace and quiet.



Nay problem, cheers.

Thank you.

‘Ey up, mate. All right?

Are you getting me one?

He’s got the money.

It’s my round, isn’t it?


Thank you.

[Ed] I’ll have a couple of pints of bitter while you’re on there, TJ, eh?

[Vic] I’ve gotta hand it to you, TJ.

You were right, you know.

I mean, you said it yourself that that lounge wasn’t fit for purpose.

I mean, from what I heard, it was a fucking death trap.

You should have listened to your own advice, mate.

[Erica] Howay, lads. Leave it out, will you?

I’m trying to have a good night over here.

[Vic] We’re just chatting, you know.

Bit of sympathy for the lad, you know what I mean?

[Vic] I tell you what it is, TJ.

Maybes it wouldn’t have happened if you’d used an English plumber instead of one of those fucking foreign cowboys.

That’s the trouble, you know, these days.

Cheap foreign labour. It’s shite.

[Gary] Useless.

[Vic] Fucking crap.

I heard a rumour about no insurance.

[Vic snorts]

Is that true?

[TJ] Here.


[Gary] Sometimes we just don’t get round to these things.

You know how it is. Busy lives and that.

You’ll not be selling this place in a hurry.

Mind, you’ve gone very quiet.

What’ve you got to say for yourself?

Tell you what I’ve got to say for meself.

Why don’t you just shut the fuck up?

Oh! Easy, TJ!

[men laugh]

Wind him up!

Think before you speak. You’ll need these people soon.

Listen, we wanna help you out. Let bygones be bygones, man.

I mean, look at the place. It’s full!

You help us and we’ll help you.

This is our pub, these are our kind.

Our people.

Come on, we’re gonna go.

[Vic] Are you going, Charlie?

See you later, lads.

[Vic] What’s the matter?

Get the door, Michelle.

[Ed] Ta-ra, mate.

What’s the matter with you?

It’s only early yet, man. Catch you later, Mary!

[TJ sighs]



[exhales sharply]

[TJ] Bastards.

[doorbell rings]


All right, mate?

You all right, TJ?

Can I have a word?

Not today, mate. It’s not the time.

Hey, look, I need to speak to you now, TJ.

All right, come in then.


Away through.

Take a seat, mate.


D’you remember coaching us at football?



You always said speak your mind, it’d be kept private.


Does that still hold?

Course it does, mate.

Just… I’ve gotta get something off me chest, mate.

I couldn’t even sleep last night. [sighs]

But you’ve got to promise it’s just between us, aye?

You’ve got me word.

Uncle Eddy and couple of the lads,

Gary and Vic, came round my house after the pub closed.

You know how my father’s got a load of drink stashed in the shed?

And I’m in the kitchen making summat to eat and I can hear every word.

And you know what Vic’s like when he’s had a drink.

He becomes more of a fucking dickhead than he already is.

[TJ] Aye.

And he’s shouting off to me father and showing off.

Everyone, everyone knew the plumbing in the back room was dodgy.

And I hear Vic explain that the water pressure rises at night.

And all they had to do was loosen the joint between the tank and the pipe… and as the water pressure rises, it would give way and… nobody would know.


Wasn’t just the drink talking?


I heard them say it.

They wanted to put the back room out of action and blame the…

Blame the ragheads. That’s what they said.

Fucking bastards.

So that’s Vic, Gary and your Uncle Eddy.

Anybody else involved?


Nah, not Charlie.

Charlie was the one who forced the window open.

No, I cannot believe that. Not Charlie.

[Tony] I heard Vic say Charlie wanted to teach you a lesson.

Apparently, him and Mary got engaged in that back room.

[TJ] Aye.

And he wanted a favour. Like, one meeting in there.

And you blanked him.

Vic said Charlie felt humiliated.


We went to school together.

In the same class at school.

We used to eat at each other’s houses when we were bairns.

His father was down the pit with mine.


You all right?

Charlie, look at the state of the whole village, man.

Look at all the crap that’s happened to us over the years.

The stuff that’s happened to you, the stuff that’s happened to me, and both of our fathers.

This place has been going to shite for years, long before the Syrians got here.

Now, I know you’re not a stupid man.

So how have you become this?

I… I don’t know what you’re on about, man.

We all look for a scapegoat when life goes to shit, don’t we?

We never look up. It’s always look down.

Blame the poor bastards below us.

It’s always their fault.

That makes it easier to stamp on the poor bastards’ faces, doesn’t it? Eh?

I just want you to know, Charlie…

I know.

I know.

Obviously, the situation’s not good.

Erm, but it’s really good to know people want to help.

And, you know, everyone wants to help.

I’m gonna speak to Margaret and Jaffa later, as well.

They just couldn’t be here.

But first things first, really.

We need to think about talking to the families.

There’s people expecting food today.

TJ, I don’t suppose you’ve made a start, have you?

Aye, the kids got to us.


Linda just said, “It’s OK, TJ, nothing good ever lasts.”

Little Ryan just said, “I knew it. I knew it.”

Called us a liar and walked away.

And Max wouldn’t even look us in the face.

Listen… that’s awful.

This is awful. But we cannot be beaten by it.

This is the best thing that’s happened to our community for years.

[Archie] I mean, I can get back to me mates in the trade union movement.

Try and get some new funding. There must be cash somewhere.

Why aye. And there’s… and there’s local churches, there’s local business, shops.

We can get there.

It’ll take time. But we can get there.

[TJ] How many times have we heard that over the years, eh?

I’ve spent a lifetime trying to get there.

And I’ve never got close.

It was just self-delusion.

Whether it’s the strike… this fucking pub… the village.

I mean, half the country’s fucking rotten.

But, Laura, you know what is getting there?

It’s hate, lies, corruption.

It stinks to high heaven.

And betrayal.

[Archie] What?

Because what happened here wasn’t an accident.

Betrayal? That’s a strong word, TJ.

[Laura] Eh?

You’re gonna have to tell us a bit more about that, mate.

What do you mean, no accident?

TJ, you’re gonna have to tell us.

[Archie] You’re gonna have to tell us. It’s that word, mate.

It’s not the time, it’s not the time.

[Laura] TJ, please tell us.

You can’t say “betrayal” and not tell us some more, mate.

[Yara] What do you mean?

Betrayal by who?

Just shut the fuck up!

I cannot do this anymore. I cannot.

All that matters is they closed me down.

Cos we tried to help some families coming from a fucking war zone.

Tried to help families who have to choose between feeding their bairns and heating their house.

Families humiliated cos they can’t feed their kids… in one of the richest countries in the fucking world.

And we were helping them. We were doing something good.

And the bastards closed we down.

[Laura] TJ…

Listen, TJ. I know, mate, but…

You’ve hardly slept. Please try and take it easy.

[TJ] I’ve been asleep for years, love.

I saw it on the kids’ faces.

I saw it on the faces of those bastards next door, who took the piss out of me all day.

Who stood and fucking smirked, took the piss, fucking thought this was clever, funny…

They get shit dumped on them all the time, crap served on top of it.

They say nowt, they don’t complain.

They just accept it, that that’s the norm.

They’re just fucking doormats.

If you expect nothing, you get nothing.

They fucking… [sighs]

Say nowt, look after your own, eh?

Law of the fucking jungle.

That’s what they’ve learned around here.

[Yara] Mr Ballantyne?

Mr Ballantyne, please believe.

I can’t, Yara.

I can’t.

I’m done.

It’s over.

Oh, man! TJ, man!

Listen, lads. Just…

TJ, man?

Joe. Joe, just leave him.

Look, he’s not in a good place. Just…

You’re right. You’re right, aye.


Come here! Let me talk to you!

It’s Yara’s dad.

[Laura talks indistinctly]

Let’s put it by here.


[Laura] Bashir, salaam alaykum. I’m sorry for your loss.

I’ve brought these.

Hi, TJ. Thank you.

Er, there’s…

[Laura] Yara.

I’m so sorry.

[Laura] And TJ’s here.

[TJ] Yara, I don’t want to intrude.

Erm… but I just want to say I’m really sorry.

[exhales] Thank you.

They found my father’s body.

At least we can bury him and let him rest.


I’m so sorry.

He was a beautiful man.

[TJ] I’m sure he was.

I’m sure he was.



No, come, come.


Thank you, Yara.

[Arabic music plays]

Thank you.


[speaks in Arabic]

[speaks in Arabic]


[man speaks in Arabic]

[woman crying]

[knocking at door]


Hi, Yara.

[Yara] Hi.

I’m really sorry. We didn’t know what to do.

Had a word with Rima.

She said it’d be OK to come round.

Thank you so much.

Mama? [speaks Arabic]


Go on.

We’re really sorry for your father and we’re really sorry for your husband.

And we’re really, really sorry for your country.

Thank you.

Thank you so much.

Thank you.

I’m so sorry. So sorry.

[mother] Thank you for coming. Thank you.

If there’s anything I can do, just tell, just ask.

Thank you so much. Thank you for everything.

[woman] I’m so sorry.

Thank you so much.

Thank you.

Harry. Cheers, mate.

[mother] Thank you.

[Yara] Thank you.

[man] Thank you.

[mother] Thank you.

[Yara] Thank you.

[mother] Thank you.

Nah, nor me.


Look at this.

They’re still coming.

They’ve come from everywhere.

[Yara] Thank you so much. Thank you.

[mother] Thank you so much.

[woman] I’m so sorry.

[Yara] Thank you. Thank you for coming. Thank you.

[mother] Thank you. [sniffles]

[quiet chatter]

[Yara] Thank you.

[Charlie whispers]

[Yara] Thank you for coming. Thank you. Thank you so much.

Thank you so much.

Thank you, really. It means a lot. Thank you.

[Yara sighs]


Thank you.

[Bashir cries]

Shukran, Mr Ballantyne.

Shukran, Yara.

[Yara exhales]

[brass band plays]

[lively chatter]

[indistinct chatter]


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