One Day – Episode 3 – 1990 | Transcript

1990. Life in London isn't what Em was expecting. In a creative drought, she's working in a shabby restaurant, where she gets a visit from Dex.

Original release date: February 8, 2024

1990. Life in London isn’t what Em was expecting. In a creative drought, she’s working in a shabby restaurant, where she gets a visit from Dex.

* * *

[“Back to Life” by Soul II Soul playing]

♪ Back to life, back to reality ♪

♪ Back to life ♪

♪ Back to reality ♪

♪ Back to the here and now… ♪

[Tilly] Good morning, sunshine.

♪ Show me how ♪

♪ Decide what you want from me ♪

♪ Tell me Maybe I could be there for you… ♪

How many people have you got in there?

Well, uh, he likes a cup of tea in the morning.

Then a coffee, and then something juicy to replenish lost fluids.

See you later, señorita.

Are you in tonight?

No, I’m seeing Dex.

Still chipping away at that marble, are you?

Incoming! [giggles]

Ready for blastoff, baby.

♪ Back to life ♪

♪ Back to the present time ♪

[Emma] “London,” an epic poem by Emma Morley.

Oh, London

With your complex

But efficient transport system

Oh London With your six million… souls?

Lost souls, worn souls

Oh God, I’m punning. That’s horrible. Stop.

Start again.

“A City of Dreams.”

A sonnet by Emma Morley.

So long I wandered, lonely

Lost along your dusty, musty

Streets and tunnels

And wondered, where are you?

[energetic music playing]

[announcer 1] Find the band.

Two teams, two A to Zs, and two hours to hunt for clues.

Somewhere in these famous streets, an even more famous band is hiding.

And the first team to find them wins all the swag.

So that’s it. Get to it.

While I get an espresso.

[woman] Cut!


[Emma] A haiku.

Thoughts turn to the past

Song of blackbirds and regret and…

Late? Again?

Sorry. Uh, the tube.

The tube? The tube?


[upbeat ranchera playing]

[boss] Hola, everyone!

[guy, glumly] Hola.

Hola, everyone.

[group, flatly] Hola.

[boss] Come on. People don’t just come for the food.

It’s the atmosphere as well.


[group] Hola.

Imagine coming for the food.

A thought for those who come for atmosphere.

[boss] Before we open the doors, I’d like to go through today’s specials, if I may.

So we’ve got a tuna enchilada and a turkey chimichanga.

Mm. Turkey. In July.


Paddy, I’ve checked the rota. You’re on toilets.

[Paddy] What? It’s Emma’s turn.

Not today.

Emma, this is Ian. New boy.

Yo, my people.

[quietly] Jesus. Where does she find them?

Emma, I’d like you to show him the ropes ’cause you’ve been here the longest.

[lively Mexican ranchera continues]

Welcome to the graveyard of ambition.

Loco Caliente means “crazy hot.”

“Hot,” the air conditioning doesn’t work.

“Crazy” ’cause that’s what you’d have to be to eat here.

Or work here, for that matter. Twenty minutes for lunch.

You can have anything from the menu, but I strongly urge you don’t.

This is your locker. It doesn’t lock, so don’t put anything in it that you’re in any way attached to.

And familiarize yourself with the Heimlich maneuver.

There’s a surprising amount of choking.

Oh. And once a shift, someone tries to ride that donkey, so keep an eye out.

So, Ian, what brings you down Mexico way?

Gotta pay the rent.


Uh, I… I need flexible hours.

Oh. Why’s that?

I’m a comedian.

Are you?


Stand-up, mainly.

A bit of improv.

What about you?

What about me?

What’s your stroke?

Waiter stroke stand-up? Barman stroke model?

Did Paddy tell you he’s a model?

[Ian] Let me guess.

Paddy is not a model.

Uh, you’re a musician?




Mercifully, no longer.

Oh. I’ve got it. You’re a writer, aren’t you?

Not in any meaningful sense.

If you write, you’re a writer.

Yeah. I’m not really sure it works like that.

So, do you like it here?

Like it?

I bloody love it. I’m not made of wood.

Salsa, guacamole, sour cream.

Doesn’t it need to be kept in the fridge?

Oh. That’s not real cream.

What is it?

Some sort of hydrogenated fat, I think.

Basically, what’s left over when they make petrol.


[upbeat corrido playing]

What’s happening?

“The Cucaracha.”

Four times an hour, 32 times a shift.

[“La Cucaracha” continues]

[boss] Pa-pa-pa, ta-ta-da, cha-cha-cha!

Well done, guys. Come on, amigos. Shaky, shaky.

Yeah. That’s it, Ian.

Now the turn.

Round and round, and pa-pa-pa, cha-cha-cha.


Ian, come on. Emma.

Turn, Ian. Turn. Please. Come on.

[speaking indistinctly]

[“La Cucaracha” ends]

[scattered applause]

There she is.

Big hug.

[Emma] Don’t hug me. I’m disgusting.

[Dexter] Mm.

[Emma] Am I not seeing you later?

[Dexter] Can’t stay away.

Em, come and… meet Naomi.

It’s spelled Naomi, but pronounced “Nomi.”

Hi, Nom… i.

[Dexter] And this is my very dear friend, Emma.


Dex, why are you here?

We were just down the road, filming.

Nonbroadcast pilot, not for TX.

More of a taster tape.

[Emma] No idea what that means.

Yeah, but you were good, though.


You know you were good. The camera loves you.

But do I love the camera?

I’m guessing that you do.


Can I get you guys something to eat?

Oh no, we’re not eating. We’re not eating.

This is Ian.

Hi, Ian.

Uh, may we have three of the Day of the Dead margaritas?

I can’t, Dex. I’m working.

Oh, come on. Five minutes.

[hesitates] Take a tea break.

Do you get a tea break?

She can’t, Dex. She’s working.

Okay. Uh, in that case, we’ll leave it.

Just the bill. Thanks.


I don’t know how to work the…

Yeah. It’s fine. I’ll get it.

[softly] I’ll be back in a minute.



Is there any way I could, you know…


Give you the money for the drinks.


I mean, is there any way that I could tip you?

Tip me?

Yeah, why not? I really want to tip you.

[“The Fall” by Bill Is Dead playing]

♪ These are the finest times of my life ♪

♪ This is the greatest time of my life ♪

♪ This is the greatest time of my life ♪

♪ These are the biggest times of my life ♪

[brooding alternative rock song fades]

[hesitates] Oh, sorry.

[Emma] No, it’s fine.

[Ian sighs]

How do you know that guy from before?

The one who looks like he’s wearing mascara.

Oh. Uh, from university.

Is that his girlfriend?

Yeah, seems so.

But there’s a quick turnover, so…

And I have… I have a question.

Yep. Go on.

What you doing tonight?

You don’t hang about, do you, Ian? [chuckles]

You’ve probably got a boyfriend anyway.

It’s just, I’m doing a gig tonight at Ha Bloody Ha.

At what?

Ha Bloody Ha. It’s a comedy night at the Frog and Parrot in Cockfosters.

Thought you might be interested in my unique comedy stylings.

[Emma] Mm.

The food’s good too.

Just the usual mini burgers, curly fries sort of thing, so…

Yeah, no. Uh, it sounds enchanting, Ian.

Curly fries and all, but, um…

No, I… I can’t tonight. Sorry.



It’s a nice offer, but I’m meeting that mascara guy.

So I’ll have to give it a miss, I’m afraid.

Ah. Well, another time, then. I’ve got upcoming gigs at The Bent Banana.

And The Cheshire Cat in Colliers Wood.


[Ian chuckles]

[bright acoustic guitar music playing]

[birds singing]

[distant, excited chatter]

[Emma clears throat]

Hello, lovely.

What the fuck?

Don’t ever, ever do that again.

Do what?

Come to where I work like you’re on safari.

Or bring your girlfriend for a tour. “Look at the stupid menu and the horrible toilets and the ridiculous drinks.”

You can have that back.

No, no, no. That’s yours.

Dex, listen to me. You don’t tip friends.

It’s not a tip. It’s a gift.

Oh, cash is not a gift.



Now, do your shirt up and pass me the bottle.

[Ian] So?

How are ya?

Oh, dreamy. Yeah, uh, let’s see.

Um, I got salsa on my shoe today, and it burned right through.

Why are you still there?

Well, Dex, I don’t know how to tell you this, but, um, some people work in restaurants.

And some people work in shops. Not everyone works in the media.

Sorry. That was really… [sighs]

Yeah, well, it doesn’t matter anyway.

I’m going home.

Back up north, Leeds, home.

To do what?

[scoffs] Honestly, I don’t even know.

[clicks tongue] Okay.

Yeah. I mean, why not?

At least you can say that you tried.

You know, you really pulled out all the stops to make it in the big city.

You wrote one play, Em.


And I know. I know people didn’t come, but so what?

Did you write something else? Did you keep going?

No. You… you buried yourself in quesadillas, and now you’re fucking off home.

You know, I used to think it was a lack of confidence with you, Em, but maybe it’s not.

Maybe it’s arrogance.


“I wrote a play, and it didn’t transfer to the West End, so fuck this…”

Fuck off, Dex.

We don’t all get to meet someone on our gap year

who gives us a job in TV.

It wasn’t a job. It was work experience.

Oh, work experience.

And that might be how I started, but the rest has been on my own.

The point is, you’ve got to stay on the ride.

Ride? The ride? Dex, you don’t have a clue.

Thank you, but I don’t wanna work in the media.

I mean, if people treated, I don’t know, nursing or social work or teaching with the same reverence they do people who work in bloody TV…

So teach.

Oh my God.

Teach. You’d be a fantastic teacher.


Dex, just stop!

The best teacher.

I’m sorry.

[clears throat] No, I’m sorry.

What are you sorry for?

For ranting on.

[sighs] For being so, so boring.

You’re not boring.

No, I am.

I am. I bore myself.

Well, you don’t bore me.

You could never bore me.

You’re one in a million, Em.

[Emma chuckles]

I’m not even one in three, so…

[groans] Em.

[somber piano music playing]

[Dexter] Come lie down with me.

[Emma] I’m sorry I smell like Crisp and Dry.

[Dexter sniffs]

You don’t.


[Emma grunts]

I feel ridiculous.

[softly] Why?

I don’t know what I thought would happen if I moved here.

[Dexter sighs]

You know what I can’t understand?

You have all these people telling you all the time how great you are.

You know, smart and funny and talented and all that.

I mean, endlessly.

I’ve been telling you for years.

So why don’t you believe it?

Why do you think people say that stuff?

Do you think it’s all a conspiracy?

People secretly ganging up to be nice about you?

[quietly] No.


I better go.

No. [clears throat]

You’re not going.

You’re staying, and we are getting another bottle.

[“After Hours” playing]

♪ One, two, three ♪

♪ If you close the door ♪

[Dexter] Okay?

♪ The night could last forever ♪

♪ Leave the sunshine out… ♪

[Emma] One pound 39?

♪ All the people are dancing ♪

♪ And they’re havin’ such fun ♪

♪ I wish it could happen to me ♪

♪ But if you close the door ♪

♪ I’d never have to see the day again ♪

♪ If you close the door ♪

♪ The night could last forever ♪

♪ Leave the wineglass out ♪

♪ And drink a toast to never ♪

♪ Oh, someday, I know Someone will look into my eyes ♪

♪ And say, hello ♪

♪ You’re my very special one ♪

♪ But if you close the door ♪

[speaking inaudibly]

♪ I’d never have to see the day again ♪

[acoustic ditty ends]

[Emma] How’s your mom?

[Dexter] Not great.

Another operation in September.

[Emma clicks tongue] Aw, Dex. I’m sorry.

And Nomi?

What does she see in you, do you think?


She says I’m complicated.

Oh. [sighs]

She did not.

She did.

No. Those words did not leave her mouth.

They did. [sighs]


You’re as complicated as a two-piece jigsaw puzzle.

[both laugh]

In thick ply.

[Dexter chuckles]


[woman exclaims happily]

[Emma] Dex?

[Dexter] Hmm?

[Emma] Are people really having that good a time?

Look at them, throwing their little Frisbee.

What do you mean?

Just, all that frolicking. It feels forced.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this evening’s performance of youth.

[both chuckle]

[Emma takes a deep breath]


Now I am actually gonna go.

You could stay at mine if you wanted.


Sleep on the couch. Borrow a toothbrush.

No. No, I… No, I should… I should go.

[clicks tongue] Okay. I’ll walk you to the tube.

No, stay. Finish the wine.

Yeah. I might just roll down the hill in a carefree way, hoping to be watched and envied.


[“Iceblink Luck” by Cocteau Twins playing]



♪ I’m seeming to be ♪

♪ A little alive ♪

♪ I’m happy again… ♪



♪ Expose the daughter ♪

♪ Of yourself well ♪

♪ Me, I think ♪

♪ That you’re in her heart ♪

♪ You’re the march of Jericho ♪

♪ That will burn This whole madhouse down ♪

♪ And I’ll throw open Like the walnut safe ♪

♪ More like a love That’s a bottle of exquisite stuff ♪

♪ Yes ♪

♪ You, yourself ♪

♪ And your father ♪

♪ Don’t know ♪

♪ So ♪

♪ Part in your own ways ♪

♪ You’re really both ♪

♪ Bonesetters ♪

[ethereal dream pop fades]


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