The Shows

Past, present and future shows from Absolutely.

The Very Old Pretenders:

Carl Gorham -
Creator, Writer and Director of “The Very Old Pretenders”

“In terms of the influences behind the series, a couple of things come to mind. I have always been very interested in the idea of the Japanese soldier who was found in the jungle years after World War 2 and didn’t know the fighting had stopped. Plus I have always loved the time travel / culture-clash type of comedy – that way of looking at our world through fresh and incredulous eyes.

I still felt I needed a human thread, a kind of personal story or sub plot to draw the listener in. I didn’t want the series to just be a bunch of disconnected jokes about modern appliances. I wanted to have something in there that people could care about. So I got to thinking about the life and circumstances of Andrew Merron – the anthropologist who has to integrate the two Jacobites into modern society. I saw him as someone who has been struggling for a long time, who has been looking forever for the big project that will reward him and his wife for all the years of struggle. Now he thinks he has at last found it, he puts in an incredible effort to make it work but that uncompromising effort only ends up threatening his marriage - the very thing he was doing it for in the first place.

So there is something very human in there alongside the fantasy element, the unreality of these two soldiers who have survived 375 years in a cave; we have a modern day marriage, imploding under the stresses of work, struggling to survive against the demands placed on it.

With the Scottish soldiers too, I wanted to find something accessible and timeless. They may not understand how to work the phone but I still reckoned on them being, as characters, very much like we are today - consumed by petty things, with ambitions and fears, troubled by social inadequacies and small embarrassments. I saw them, not as historical relics, but as the kind of double act you might come across anywhere – in the pub, in the park. Two blokes – one pompous and full of himself - the show –off; the other nervous and timid probably twice as clever but with half the confidence.

Finding the human angle has always been a key for me as a writer and once I had that, I felt the series really fall into place”


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