In 1948, when the world was recovering from the aftermath of the Second World War and the
old empires were disintegrating, JOAN ALLEN flew solo in a 2 -seater small aircraft,
without a radio and with dodgy oil pressure, all the way from England to Singapore.
This was the trip of a lifetime, back to her old haunts in order to make a new future for herself.
THE TELEPHONE RINGS.
JOAN PICKS UP THE RECEIVER.
Becky: (ON PHONE) Please may I speak to Joan?
Becky: Hello Joan, it’s Becky Sharpe.
Joan: Becky, how are you?
Becky: Very well, thanks. How about you?
Joan: As ever. What’s up?
Becky: Actually, I have a proposition for you that I hope you will like.
Joan: Fire away.
Becky: A client of ours has recently bought himself a Fairchild Angus. Do you know it?
Joan: Training craft, isn’t it? Sporty little thing.
Becky: This one is a two seater, and has made the trans Atlantic crossing a couple of times,
previously registered in the US. Was used by the ATA during the war as it happens.
Joan: So she’s one of us.
Becky: She certainly is.
Joan: And what does your client want to do with this new toy of his?
Becky: He’s registered her to the Kuala Lumpur Flying Club,wants her dropped off in Singapore…
Joan: I know it well….
Becky: Which why I thought of you….
Joan: Go on.
Becky: It would cost a great deal more to dismantle this thing and send it in pieces than it
would to pay the expenses for a single pilot to fly her over there.
Joan: Are you offering a free flying trip to Malaysia?
Becky: Just you. Very basic equipment. Not even a radio. Quite a trek. Not without its risks…
Joan: A solo flight half way around the world?
Becky: That’s more or less the shape of it.
Becky: As long as it takes to make introductions, check everyone’s happy and sort out the
paperwork. Early to mid spring. Say April?
Joan: You have your woman.
Becky: I knew it.
Joan: You do realize that Singapore is where I learned to fly in the first place…My 21st birthday present…
Becky: I have a hunch it won’t quite be the same now as it was in the 30s…
Joan: So it’s time I saw for myself what kind of state the place has been left in.
EXTRACT FROM EPISODE 4 – ORANGES AND PEARLS
MUSIC FROM “THE WAY TO THE STARS” BY NICHOLAS BRODSKY.
SOUNDS OF PLANE FLYING HAPPILY.
JOAN: “Small April sobbed, I’m going to cry
Please give me a cloud to wipe my eye
Then April Fool, she laughed instead
And smiled a rainbow overhead.”
Say Peg, what a glorious All Fools Day over Palestine this is. Let’s take full advantage
and scoot right across. I utterly refuse to go back to Cairo again. And that is no joke.
JOAN: Oh I see. Was this your idea? Don’t play the innocent. I warned you to bear with it -
desert and mountains and a momentary flash of the river Jordan. Why have you found a town…
no, a city…no, the very one we’re not meant to fly over. Yes I know I said I was sorry to miss
Jerusalem.. Yes the dome really is rather golden…But pray no one sees us! Very funny.
SOUNDS OF PLANE BEGINNING TO STRUGGLE.
JOAN: Peg? How are we doing? Hold your course through the cumulus. Let’s stick at 4 to 5000 feet.
Trust me. If we keep smart, we’ll spot a space to squeeze through these mountains. We can.
We must. We are we are we are….EEeek..Just about…Keep going…
PLANE IN FLIGHT GETS BUMPIER AND BUMPIER.
JOAN: Grim grim grim. No I don’t like the trans-Jordan desert either, my dear. But I’m being calm
and so can you pretend at least, please….
MUSIC BUMPS THEN CALMS.
PLANE CALMS. FLIGHT SMOOTHS.