Longford (2006 TV Movie)
[after visiting Myra Hindley in prison]
Lady Elizabeth Longford: It seemed to me that for years I have been merrily attacking your father for supporting her, without having the slightest idea what I was talking about. And I must say my eyes have been opened, rather. Ironically, the thing that finally persuaded me to offer her my help was the very same thing that had so made me hate her in the first place: the fact that she is a woman. Did you know there have been half a dozen similar child murders? The reason none of us has heard about them is because the killers in each case were men. And men, being sadistic violent killers, isn't a story. Incidentally, in each case, the men have also been paroled. The reason that Myra Hindley is still in jail and has never been considered for parole, is because she is a woman. And for that reason she will always have my understanding... if not my sympathy.
Myra Hindley: I'm trying Frank, to know the God that you know. But if you had been there, on the moors, in the moonlight, when we did the first one, you'd know, that evil can be a spiritual experience too.
Myra Hindley: It would be a nice place to be.
Lord Longford: Where?
Myra Hindley: Inside your head.
Lord Longford: Oh, I'm not sure about that.
[On his first visit to Myra Hindley in prison, Lord Longford is looking aimlessly around the visiting room trying to find her. He approaches a woman with bleached blonde hair, then discovers that this is not Hindley. Suddenly a woman with jet-black hair stands up]
Myra Hindley: I think it's me you're looking for.
Lord Longford: Myra Hindley?
Myra Hindley: I got rid of the peroxide before the trial. I was blue at the trial, for most of it. And then red for the sentencing. Apparently it counted against me - showed I had no remorse.
Lord Longford: I wasn't aware of a correlation between hair colour and contrition.
[Lord and Lady Longford are sitting up in bed looking at pornographic magazines, such as Mayfair and Slave, to decide whether they are offensive]
Lady Elizabeth Longford: Frank, it's harmless. Completely harmless.
Lord Longford: I disagree. These things are read by children at a vulnerable age. The boys on the bus can't have been more than twelve.
Lady Elizabeth Longford: And in our day it was just the same.
Lord Longford: Nothing *like* so graphic or as available. Look at it! Sexual arousal is Pavlovian - if boys grow up thinking that these kind of breasts or this kind of submission is normal, they'll expect it in later life.
Lady Elizabeth Longford: I'm afraid I'm with Marilyn Monroe on this. When asked what she thought about sex she thought for a moment and then said that she felt it was here to stay. And if it is, so is prostitution and so is pornography.
Lord Longford: Hello Myra, is this the nightie you wanted, I couldn't remember what colour you asked for.
Myra Hindley: It's great thanks
Lord Longford: Now the business.
Myra Hindley: Frank.
Lord Longford: I have a friend on the parole board
Myra Hindley: _Frank.
Lord Longford: ...who tells me your application will be considered next month, now if that goes well and all things being equal the national
Myra Hindley: _Frank enough.
[Inhales cigarette slowly]
Myra Hindley: The police have been to see me. Brady's talked to the press about the other bodies. I'm saying, that i'm going to give a full confessional to all five murders.
Lord Longford: What other bodies?
Myra Hindley: Pauline Reade. And the Bennet boy. He hasn't given them any details yet, but he says he knows where they're buried, and before he grabs the initiative i'm going to come clean and tell the prison "I know".
Lord Longford: but you know nothing about the bodies you've told me as much yourself.
Myra Hindley: [Stares blankly]
Lord Longford: What are you saying?
Myra Hindley: I'm saying, that i'm going to make a confessional to all five murders.
Lord Longford: Dear girl... I asked you specifically if there was anything that you hadn't told me. I've staked my name on this, my reputation.
Myra Hindley: I know. And i'd perfectly understand if you never wanted to see me again. It's what my new solicitor suggested anyway.
Lord Longford: Your new solicitor...?
Myra Hindley: He feels, and if i'm honest i'd agree with him, that the campaign you have conducted on my behalf has hurt me, more than helped me, and that we should make this our last meeting.I see...
Lord Longford: I see... if that's what he feels... that you feel.
Myra Hindley: [pause] Goodbye Frank.
Lord Longford: [Sits for a bit, and then apprehensively walks towards the door]
Myra Hindley: You know, we only missed it by a few weeks.
Lord Longford: What?
Myra Hindley: The death sentence. They abolished it while we were on remand. Looking back, don't you think it would have been better for everyone if they'd just hung us?
Lord Longford: Certainly not! Only God has the right to take human life.
Myra Hindley: Would He not have wanted to give the families that comfort?
Lord Longford: [staring off into space] None of us knows the true purpose of our lives on earth... Besides,
Lord Longford: had you been hanged, I would never have had the privilege of getting to know you!
Myra Hindley: [gazes at him with sadness in her eyes] You really believe that, don't you?
[he smiles at her shyly, and says nothing]
Myra Hindley: Must be a rather nice place to be.
Lord Longford: [he glances around them] Where?
Myra Hindley: Inside your head.
Lord Longford: [grins awkwardly and wags his head from side to side as if to dismiss the thought] Oh! I'm not so sure about that!
Myra Hindley: [taking another cigarette from her pack and pulling out her lighter] A fine pair we are, then.
[long pan on the two chatting on their bench, so close they are almost touching. Credit sequence rolls]
Ian Brady: [at first seeing Lord Longford in prison] How good of you not to disappoint! Wonderful, isn't it, when people look *exactly* as you imagined? So this is my competition? This is what I'm up against? Myra's new boyfriend? She certainly picks them, doesn't she? I did a little research before our first meeting. I'd say there's great evidence of mental instability in your past and mine.
Lord Longford: [in first visit] What can I do for you, Mr. Brady?
Ian Brady: [looks sad and troubled] I'd like to find my way back to God, Lord Longford. Will ye help me?
Lord Longford: [eagerly] Most certainly, if that's what you want to -
Ian Brady: Don't ye fucking dare. If ye start that pious mumbo-jumbo with me, I will jump across that table and bite out your tongue.
Ian Brady: I want to tell ye about Myra, whom ye no doubt believe is sincere in her religious conversion. Let me tell ye, that woman cares no more about God than she does about the piles in my arse. What she cares about is... getting out! And she thinks you'll help her. But the minute your back is turned, she mocks ye!
[pulls three letters from his lap]
Ian Brady: For your silly hair... and your clothes... and your "self-important autobiography that's only published 'cause his family owns a bloody publishing house!"
[pauses for effect]
Ian Brady: What? She didn't tell ye she was still writing to me?
Lord Longford: No.
Ian Brady: Oh, dear. She probably didn't tell ye she was fucking that little prison officer either? A nun? They do it under the bed in the cell, apparently. Four times a day! She has a very high sex drive, our Myra. It's the sort of detail ye might want about your new girlfriend. She needs it all the time... like a man, in that way. Like a man in other ways, too. She's strong! That came in handy, as ye can imagine. When they were wriggling and trying to get away.
Ian Brady: Take my advice. Go about your other prisoners. Nice, uncomplicated ones with broken noses and knuckle tattoos. Stay clear of Myra, because she will destroy you. Certainly destroyed me. That's a thought ye've not had before - that Myra egged *me* on.
Ian Brady: [shouting furiously at Lord Longford's back] Listen to the tape, that's my advice, if ye want to know what she's really like! And when ye do, bear this in mind: that it was *her* that insisted they call us *"Mommy-y-y!"* and *"Daddy-y-y!"* *Not me!*
Ian Brady: [Ian Brady walks into visiting room] Well, look who it is! Lord Porn! I told ye to leave her alone, Frank. And ye didn't. And now look: half the country has ye earmarked as her lackey, the other half as a gullible fool. So I'm gonna tell ye again. Nice and slowly, so ye don't forget it. Leave... Myra... Hindley... alone! Or she will do to you what she did to me. She will destroy you.
Ian Brady: My hunger strike is a legitimate protest against the filthy conditions here.
Lord Longford: Then why don't you allow me to make representations to the Home Secretary on your behalf?
Ian Brady: Because I'm not *completely* insane! If I wanted to set my cause back a decade or two... if I wanted to be denied all exercise... if I wanted to have them piss in my food, as well as spit in it... *then* I'd ask a batty old pornography campaigner, "Myra Hindley's Whipping Boy," to make representations on my behalf.
Ian Brady: An hysteric! That's what she is. Are ye familiar with the term, in its strict, clinical use?
Lord Longford: No.
Ian Brady: [very seriously] An hysteric is someone who gives to people, reflects back to them, that which they believe makes them most acceptable... most likable... what they think others want to see. And Myra Hindley is a *classic* hysteric. It explains why to you, she's a virtuous, church-going angel. To her co-prisoners and dykes, she's a strong woman with a soft heart. And to me: she was a brutal sadist - and a cruel killer - with not an ounce of remorse in her.
Lord Longford: [resisting the idea] If she is this guilty, why did you insist on her innocence at the trial?
Ian Brady: Because I loved her. How could ye *not* love a girl like that?
Ian Brady: Come on, Frank... don't look like that. Ye know *exactly* what I'm talking about.
Lord Longford: No. I've spoken to the prison governor about having you reassessed as a mental case -
Ian Brady: Deny it, Frank. Look me in the eye, and tell me ye weren't a little sweet on her yourself.
[Very softly and gently]
Ian Brady: The knight on his white charger... riding in to save the damsel...
[whispers like a woman]
Ian Brady: "Save me, Lord Longford... save me!"
Ian Brady: [walks into visiting room and looks down at very nervous young reporter seated at table] Fred Harrison! Top local reporter. Come on, lad, smile!
[beams down at him]
Ian Brady: This is your lucky day. You are about to get a story on the front page of every paper in the country.
[calmly sips coffee, puffs on cigarette]
Ian Brady: Word has reached me that Myra Hindley is being considered for parole.
Fred Harrison: I wasn't aware of that!
Ian Brady: [contemptuously] No, Fred. That's what makes it an "exclusive." Turn on your tape recorder, there's a good lad.
Lord Longford: [on a radio talk show to promote his new book about saints, is challenged by a caller to say whether he now regrets ever having aided Myra Hindley, or not] Not at all. As a matter of fact, I consider my visiting Myra Hindley, and indeed, all the other prisoners I've visited for over fifty years, to be one of the great blessings of my life. Now, perhaps, we could get back to the subject of saints.
Talk Show Host: But hasn't she destroyed you? She's... she's ruined your good name; she's taken all the hard work you did and thrown it back in your face.
Lord Longford: [struggling to bare his soul in public] Umm... yes... perhaps there's some truth in that. Forgiving her has proven difficult, very difficult. Not for what's she's done to me, that's neither here nor there; but for the terrible crimes themselves. Forgiveness is the very cornerstone of my faith. And the struggle to deepen my faith is my life's journey. In that respect she has enriched my spiritual life beyond measure, and for that, I will always be grateful to her.
Lord Longford: If people think that makes me weak... or mad... so be it. That is the path I am committed to. To love the sinner, but hate the sins. To assume the best in people, and not the worst. To believe that anyone, no matter how evil, can be redeemed... eventually.
Talk Show Host: [barely paying attention] Right, the time is coming up to 2:20. Lord Longford is with us for the next couple of hours. And the switchboard looks like it's about to explode! Next caller, Lionel in Sevenoaks.
Lord Longford: [they meet for the last time on a bench on her prison lawn. He is 92 and struggles to walk; she is 60, ill-looking, and muffled up in overcoat, shawl, and headscarf] Goodness, how well you look!
Myra Hindley: [smiles fondly] Rubbish! My hair is falling out, and I'm dying of emphysema.
Lord Longford: Well, you still look wonderful to me!
Myra Hindley: Well, you're blind.
Lord Longford: Nearly, yes.
Talk Show Host: Today, people, we are *privileged* to have with us a former Labor cabinet minister and leader of the House of Lords, a Knight of the Garter and 7th Earl of Longford, who's come to talk with us about a book he's just written entitled "Saints." Frank Pakenham - Lord Longford - welcome to the show.
Lord Longford: Thank you very much.
Talk Show Host: So many questions to ask you, such a long and *distinguished* career. But I'm gonna start with the book. What prompted you to write it?
Lord Longford: As a lifelong Christian and scholar, I've always been interested in ideas of sanctity. But more than that, I think it was probably the entirely selfish desire to spend a little time with my heroes.
Talk Show Host: Your "heroes"?
Lord Longford: Yes, that's what the saints are - my heroes, friends, intercessors.
Talk Show Host: [not really interested] *Interesting!* Right, the time has just gone 2:15, the subject is saints, we're gonna take some calls. David, you're through to Lord Longford. What's your question about..."the saints"?
Male Caller: [angry] Actually my question isn't about the saints. I just want to know how your *esteemed* guest can look himself in the mirror each morning?
Talk Show Host: I'm assuming this is a question about Myra Hindley?
Male Caller: Yes it is! How could you rub salt in the wounds of the families like that? A man in your position, fraternizing and campaigning on behalf of that monster!
Lord Longford: [polite, but brisk] Well, I certainly take exception to that description; but I made it quite clear before coming on the program, that I wouldn't be talking about Myra Hindley today.
Talk Show Host: Of course. Next caller is Judy, who's in Sheppey. You're through to Lord Longford.
Female Caller: [angry] My call is also about Miss Hindley. In view of *everything* we now know about it, don't you *regret* having supported her all that time?
Lord Longford: [getting flustered] Once again, madam, I'm afraid I must decline to answer questions about her.
Female Caller: It's a simple answer, Lord Longford - yes or no? Do you *regret* it?
[Lord Longford is agitated, speechless. Talk Show Host stares at him silently, waiting for an answer. Opening credit sequence rolls]