This script was transcribed by me from the video in August 2001. In some places either the audio mix or the actor’s enunciation made it difficult to hear what was being said. I have tried to copy down the dialogue as closely as possible, but it’s not 100% accurate. I have also included scene descriptions and actions where appropriate. Actor’s names are included when their characters are first seen. Unfortunately I found it difficult to tell Rabbetts and the other keeper apart, so sometimes Rabbetts is simply referred to as “2nd Keeper”. Please do not reproduce this transcript on your site without my permission.
Scene: Men shooting pheasants. Dogs retrieve the birds and the men put them in a pile. Many closeups of shotgun shells and the dead pheasants.
Scene: “Somewhere in England, Autumn 1955”
We hear gentle music and pull back to see a large country estate. Victor Hazell (played by Robbie Coltrane) steps out his front door and surveys the flock of young pheasants pecking away on the lawn before him. Satisfied, he climbs into his Rolls Royce and pulls out as we see the title…
“Roald Dahl’s Danny The Champion of the World”
Camera pans over gentle hillsides and we see the village at a distance. Victor Hazell slows his car and looks out his window at a mother and baby pheasant beside the road. He happily puffs on his cigar. He hears voices and looks up to see two men with guns (the keepers) approaching.
1st Keeper: (Tips his hat.) Morning, sir.
2nd Keeper: Morning sir.
Hazell throws his cigar out the window and drives off, while the men look after him in disgust.
Hazell’s Rolls Royce finally pulls out of his massive front gates and turns onto a highway towards the village. After driving a bit, he turns onto a side road and stops beside a field. He climbs out and we see a large sign that reads “PROPERTY ACQUIRED BY HAZELL ESTATES LIMITED, GREAT MISSENBOROUGH.” Hazell looks through a set of binoculars across the field and zooms in on the only house. Actually, the “house” has a large sign on it that reads “GARAGE”, and we can see a small person filling up a car in the driveway beside it.
Scene: We’re now beside Danny (played by Samuel Irons) as he fills the car. He’s dressed in a dingy pair of coveralls and a woollen hat. Behind him, Doc Spencer (played by Cyril Cusack) leaves the garage and waves to Danny’s father inside.
Doc: See you soon, William.
William: (Unseen.) Bye Doc.
Danny: (Turning around.) She’s full up, Doc.
Doc: Who? Hmm. Oh, yes, ah. (Reaches for wallet.)
Danny closes the gas tank and hangs up the hose.
Doc: Now, let’s see. (Hands Danny money.) There you are Danny, thank you.
Danny: I checked the oil.
Doc: (Mumbling.) Oh you’ve done it? Oh bless you.
Doc and Danny head towards the office together.
Scene: Back in the field, Victor Hazell puts down his binoculars and gets back into his car. He speeds off.
Scene: In the garage later, Danny sits in the driver’s seat of a car and starts it up. The camera pans to the front and we see Danny’s father William (played by Jeremy Irons) closing the hood. He closes his eyes and listens to the motor purr.
William: (With a conductor’s flourish.) Like a cello.
Danny smiles and shakes his head.
William: Well it is!
Danny: Can I take her out?
William: All right.
Danny: Where’s reverse?
William: (Leaning in the window.) Across and up.
Danny puts the car in gear and slowly backs out of the garage. Just as he’s pulling out into the open, Victor Hazell’s Rolls Royce comes flying around the corner into the driveway. Danny just manages to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting him.
Hazell: (Climbing out of the car.) You idiot. Why don’t you watch where you’re– (Suddenly realizes it’s just a kid.)
William: (Stepping out of the garage, addressing Danny.) Well done. Quick thinking.
Hazell: Afternoon. (Goes to shake hands, but William’s are covered in grease.) Teaching your boy to drive, I see. Good idea. Seems like a bright lad. My name’s–
Hazell. Correct. (Chuckle.) Already famous around here, am I?
Hazell: Yes, well, that’s what I like about the country. Everybody knows everybody. My solicitor sent you a letter.
William: I replied to it last week.
Hazell: Yes, well that’s why I wanted to see you in person. I don’t know why I bother with the lawyers, really. Face to face, man to man, that’s the way I like to do business. (Puts another large cigar in his mouth.)
William: Oh, ah… (Gestures towards a large “NO SMOKING” sign.)
Hazell: Is there somewhere a little more private we could talk?
William: This is fine for me.
Hazell: Yes, well, whatever you say. Let’s be frank: you’ve got me over a barrel, really, haven’t you?
William: Have I?
Hazell: Yes, well, I knew I was going to have to pay out some money to buy you out. I’m not complaining. Business is business, and I do happen to be a very rich man. I’ll give you two thousand for this place.(Danny looks up at his father in surprise. Hazell looks at Danny.) Yes, that is a lot of money. I’m prepared to put my cards on the table. I’ve got one of the finest pheasant shoots in England, here. I want to make it the tops, and I can’t do that with you sitting on half a dozen acres slap bang in the middle. Mmm? Now this is your lucky day.
William: I’m sorry Mr. Hazell. I thought I explained in my letter I’m not selling.
Hazell: (Looking towards Danny.) He’s got quite a head for business, your Dad, hasn’t he? All right. Two thousand five hundred. Now that’s my top whack.
William: Mr. Hazell, it’s not for sale! (He turns and heads into the garage, with Danny following.) I don’t know how to say it more clearly. Come on Danny…
Hazell follows them into the garage. William is standing in a kind of a pit for working beneath cars while Danny sits on the edge.
Hazell: How much d’you make at this place, eh? Ten, maybe twelve quid a week? If you’re lucky! I’m offering you a small fortune – the opportunity of a lifetime. (Gestures to Danny.) Now what about the boy there, eh? Shouldn’t you be thinking about his future?
William: (Turns to Danny.) Do you think we should sell, Danny?
Danny looks around, then shakes his head “No.”
William: (Smiles.) See, we’re happy here.
Hazell: I think I should warn you. I always get what I want, one way or another.
William: No one can have everything they want.
Hazell: I can. (He lights his cigar as the others look at him.) Happy here, are you? We’ll see about that. (Throws smouldering match on the floor and leaves.)