The Ghost Village and Radiohead’s No Show

If you missed last night’s Facebook launch of my novel The Punished, here’s an edited highlight:

How can that be, you may ask, that the British Army came to invade a  British village? Well, it really did happen in December 1943 and for strategic reasons. In the same way nearby Corfe Castle dominated the skyline, the village’s location close to the Purbeck Hills was vital. An invading force could capture the Purbeck ridge and be well on the way to seizing the rest of Britain from that stronghold. In 1943, the war could have gone either way.

I just wondered, as I was researching the subject, what if, instead of waiting over twenty years to protest as many did, one person decided on that December day to resist the occupation of his village by his own side.

That character is Jack. Jack is the first character you’ll meet in The Punished. I had a family link to Tyneham and many photographs of WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force) posted to Tyneham in 1943, and I felt I had rare insight into many aspects of the story. Reimagining what might have happened was the next step.

“The Punished is about how real lives get relegated to the past and what is remembered, whilst factual, barely scratches the surface of feeling what it was like to be one of these people in such extreme circumstances.” – @CornerstonesLit

The Punished is a journey in four parts:

Jack, a rebellious young farm-worker, falls in love with radar operator Gin, who disobeys Hulford-Prandy to uncover the secrets of the occupation.

Gin, an eighteen-year-old wartime auxiliary, recruited to the Special Operations Executive, becomes a pivotal but secretive figure in WW2 history destroying factories in France.

Forty years on, against a backdrop of austerity and the Falklands war, Gin’s daughter, successful fund manager Alexis, is distributing her mother’s ashes when she meets a lone stranger, Aidan.

Aidan is the son of Gin’s close wartime friend Jack. Both Alexis and Aidan make their own discoveries about the ghost village Gin and Jack worked in, but does Alexis have enough of her mother’s spirit in her to overcome her own past and move on?

Since my last visit to Tyneham in 2011, there’s been a clear up; a rusted tank has been removed. However, I still felt a mysterious sense of foreboding and I shot the next sequences to capture the unique sense of a parish of “zero population”. Here’s my second video from that day in Tyneham.

PS You won’t hear the beautiful and haunting song Glass Eyes by Radiohead (as advertised) which was a match made in heaven for this film. That song was blocked by the copyright holders, so I was forced to select a substitute or not show the film at all. I was so upset.