I have given into peer pressure and drafted the pilot episode of my medieval detective show, Motte and Bailey. I expect it to be picked up by a major TV network approximately never. (Cookies for every pun/historical reference you spot).

It is a well-known historical fact that horses were much droopier in ye middle ages.


Sister Bonne Motte: A nun with an eye for crime and no tolerance for jesters. There’s wit underneath the wimple.

Sir Liqueur Bailey: Renegade knight. A bit too fond of mead but handy with a mace. Soft spot for Motte.

Baron Camelotto-Rollovyr: Luxuriantly-moustachio’d local lord and inhabitant of Castle Fillion. Has a gambling problem.

Geoffrey Saucer: Bard and crockery aficionado. Pops up at inappropriate moments to SIIIIING.

Robert de Milton Keynes: Scholar and local abbot. Loves scrolls and also kittens.

Goodwyfe Maud: Housekeeper of Castle Fillion. Generally jolly.

Clegge: Village idiot.

Lady Bechdelle Testte: Ward of the Baron. Attractive, I guess… but in, like, an obvious way. Pssh.

Gruesomely murdered corpse: Was once the castle jester.

Assorted peasants

The year is 1349. Edward III reigns England, and the looming terror of the Black Death, er, looms. Scene 1 opens in the main thoroughfare of a village, which leads towards Castle Fillion. The sun is setting.

BAILEY: Take a donkey, they said. It’ll be cheaper, they said. I’m a knight! How can I appear at a castle on this? They’ll kick my ass! [DONKEY LOOKS ALARMED]

MOTTE: Do shut up, Sir Liqueur.

BAILEY: It’s all well for you, Sister, you have a proper horse. Why did you get the proper horse?

MOTTE: It’s amazing what ten Hail Marys and a quick pilgrimage to Canterbury will do for you. You should try it some time.

BAILEY: Ooooooh. Hark at St Hilda of Whitby! [MOTTE LOOKS ANNOYED] What are you going to do, turn me into an ammonite?

MOTTE: Sir Liqueur Bailey, shut up! We’re nearly at the castle and I won’t have them seeing us argue like a couple of villeins! We need to look professional. That’s why they called us in. We’re a professional service.

BAILEY: My apologies, holy lady! Let us proceed.


CLEGGE: Death! Death! Death!

BAILEY: Yes, my good fellow, that is why I am – [MOTTE CLEARS HER THROAT] that is why we are here!

CLEGGE: Death! The end times approacheth! Hellfire shall rain down! Crops shall fail! Sir Dick Whittington shall be no longer Mayor of London, and Sir Ken Livingstone shall replace him! O woe! Wooooooe!

BAILEY: Hm, now, steady on, old chap.


SAUCER: Now then, Clegge, what are you about! Harassing our fair guests! For shame! [TO MOTTE AND BAILEY] Sir! Madam! You are welcome! I am Geoffrey, Geoffrey Saucer, sent by my master the Baron to conduct you into the castle.

MOTTE: Thank you, sir, we are glad of it.

SAUCER: Mind thee not old Clegge. He is but the village fool, his mind is gone. Occasionally, my master commands his attendance at the castle, that we might be entertained by his ramblings – though, I am glad to say, his taste is usually a little more refined, and my skills are not wasted.

MOTTE: Your skills, Saucer?

SAUCER: Indeed, madam, for I am a bard. Song is my life, and my life is a song. Though my continual attempts at Bard Idol have not yet come to fruition, yet I am well pleased with my employ. [SINGS] Here is Sir Liqueur Baileeeee! For him I compoooose this ceilidh! And O! Fair Sister Motte! Would you? Nay, you would not! I sense these characters’ tensioooooon! Too obvious not to mentioooooon! Perhaps they dream of each otherrrrrr – 

MOTTE: Stop that at once! You can’t say that about a nun! Keep singing and I will stand on your head.

SAUCER: [BOWS LOW] Then, madam, you would be virgin on the ridiculous. Oh yea, prithee, I went there!

BAILEY: Fool. You just called yourself ridiculous. Show us to the castle, with haste!

SAUCER: Yes, sir. At once, sir. And madam. Follow on!


SAUCER: Pray open! Open the gates for the honoured guests of Baron Camelotto-Rollovyr! [TRUMPET FANFARE] This way, this way please. [ALL WALK THROUGH THE GATES] You know, it’s almost a shame we were expecting you. Otherwise, we could have said Nun shall pass when you came up to the gate!

MOTTE: Killing you is against my vows but I’m praying for you to be struck down. Right. Now.

BAILEY: Holy lady – the Baron approaches!

End of scene 1

To be continued as soon as I get a cup of tea…



Filed under Fiction

4 responses to “MOTTE AND BAILEY (CSI: Wessex)

  1. Oh, wow. Bonne Motte with no tolerance for jesters though? Or is her tolerance for ill usage of words just very low?

  2. Saucepan

    I just have to say, I came over here from the Hairpin, and this is magnificent. “Oh yea, prithee, I went there” nearly killed me.

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