The Living and The Dead

A Synopsis by Simon Rumley

Aristocratic, impoverished and reclusive, with a truly historical lineage, Lord and Lady Brocklebank (Donald and Nancy) live in the magnificent but decrepit Longleigh House with their mentally challenged son James.

Close to bankruptcy Donald is in negotiations to sell the family home when Nancy is taken seriously ill. In order to pay for her operation, Donald has to leave the estate for a few days and so organizes for the family nurse (Nurse Mary) to take control.

James however wants to prove to his father that he is a responsible adult and perfectly capable of looking after his mother. Consequently he locks Nurse Mary out of the house and starts caring for Nancy by himself. It’s not long before he starts mixing his and her pills and forgetting to take his medication. As the stress of looking after an ailing patient increases, so James’s conditions worsens and his ability to care for his mother diminishes and after a few traumatic days she’s close to death.

Fortunately Nurse Mary returns with a policeman and they break into Longleigh House at almost exactly the same time as Donald returns. Cognizant of his failure to look after his mother, James rushes her through the maze of corridors and back rooms and hides in an out-of-the-way disused attic – finally Donald and Nurse Mary stumble upon James and Nancy and are shocked at how ill they both are.

An ambulance is immediately called and doctors have to operate on Nancy there and then to save her. Luckily the operation is a success but James’ mental stability has degenerated to such a point that he can no longer distinguish between reality and nightmare and it is this inability which leads him to stab her to death, trying to see whether she will bleed or not to prove to himself that she is in fact alive.

Allowed out of a psychiatric ward for his mother’s funeral, James is still struggling to come to terms with what’s happened but is truly repentant for what he’s done and ends up committing suicide by his mother’s grave.



James - Leo Bill
Donald - Roger Lloyd Pack
Nancy - Kate Fahy
Nurse Mary - Sarah Ball

Key crew:

Writer, producer, director - Simon Rumley
Producer - Nick O'Hagan
Co-Producer - Carl Schoenfeld
Line Producer - Barry Leonti
Executive Producers - Elliot Grove. Uday Tiwari
Director of Photography - Milton Kam
Production Designer - Will Field
Costume Designer - Alice Wolfbaueur
Editor - Benjamin Putland
Composer - Richard Chester
1st AD - Mick Ward