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The Missing

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One Sunday morning, he went out with a mate to buy breakfast at Tesco's,

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and as he came out of the shop, he said to his friend,

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"You take the rolls back and I'll see you later."

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And that was the last anybody saw him.

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This was about the missing, about the people we might not know

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and that we can't see and that we can't find.

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There are all sorts of missing.

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The world is full of missing persons

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and their numbers increase all the time.

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The space they occupy lies somewhere between what we know about

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the ways of being alive and what we hear about the ways of being dead.

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We wander there. Unaccompanied and unknowable. Like shadows of people.

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Andrew O'Hagan's first book, The Missing,

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launched him to international acclaim.

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The book documented O'Hagan's investigations as a young journalist

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into why people in Britain go missing.

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The book slowly manifested into a very strange,

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episodic document that was both full of

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old-fashioned pavement pounding reporting,

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and a kind of meditation and memoir.

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It led him behind the tabloid headlines of notorious murder cases,

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to the unheard voices of the friends and families of the missing.

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Now the book is being adapted for the stage,

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in a production that will premiere at Tramway in Glasgow.

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It will be Andrew O'Hagan's first play.

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One of the things that really gives you energy in the theatre is the possibility of total failure.

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That book, The Missing, that I wrote a long time ago,

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it's a stable thing now, it's still in print, it's got its life.

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That I could ruin it somehow.

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Alongside the play will be a new artwork

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on the subject of the missing.

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It will be created by visual artist Graham Fagen.

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As a child, I thought pansies were beautiful.

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I loved the colour meld and mesh

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that you get in the face or head of a pansy.

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But I was very aware that if I told my peer group

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that the pansy was my favourite flower...

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LAUGHTER

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..I would be ridiculed just as I have been there.

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Graham Fagen has exhibited around the world with work in various

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disciplines, including photography, sculpture, performance art

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and video.

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His latest commission will mark

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the reopening of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh,

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following two-and-a-half years of refurbishment.

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When we open our doors, people will expect to see Bonnie Prince Charlie,

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they'll expect to see Mary Queen of Scots,

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they'll expect to see Walter Scott - and they will -

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and they'll all be up on show. What they won't expect is to see missing people.

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It's great that the national galleries have had a really good think about this commission.

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It isn't the great and the good, it isn't the great Scots,

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it's the opposite end of that spectrum. It's people that are lost, people that are missing.

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As well as collaborators on the Missing project, Graham Fagen and Andrew O'Hagan

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have been friends since their childhood in the 1970s,

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when they were among the first residents of the new town of Irvine, in Ayrshire.

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'The other way in which Irvine differs from other new towns is that it's by the sea.'

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'The big advantage is that there's no possibility of anything like "new town blues" arriving here.'

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We left a tenement in Partick to go into a brand new house that,

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not only did it have an upstairs, not only were we the first people to be in it,

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-but it had a toilet upstairs AND a toilet downstairs.

-You were posh.

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We were very posh.

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I remember seeing a sketch on TV about working class, middle class and upper class,

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and I remember at that time thinking about my own situation,

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-and my conclusion was that our family belonged to the upper class.

-You wish!

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The estates were brilliant to be on then. The bins, playing in the bins.

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People say, "Oh, what a deprived, terrible time."

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There was nothing better than to be able to play, raking through the bins.

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And when the men came to take the bins away,

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you got a free holiday out of it to the midden!

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It was the only holiday we ever got, when the binmen took us to the midden,

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discovered that there wasn't only black bags in there, but a few kids as well.

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We will be building two-storey houses, each with its own back and front door,

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with a garden at the back,

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a place for the kids to play where Mum can watch them and they can play in safety.

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That illusion of security was shattered in April 1976,

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when three-year-old Sandy Davidson disappeared close to his family home.

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Sandy's younger sister, Donna, was just one-and-a-half at the time.

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We used to go through the fields looking for Sandy.

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Classrooms of kids used to go out and search the fields

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and other areas, because it was a big news story,

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but it was also a big thing in our minds.

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Everybody thought

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if they could only find this wee boy then it would be OK.

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One of the things I remember is Sandy's picture appearing in the paper at the time.

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-I was eight, I think you were...

-I was ten at that time.

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I guess that's how our generation remember and know about Sandy.

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It was the localness of it that made it

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part of our experience of growing up.

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It wasn't in the national press, it was in the Irvine Times.

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There was talk that maybe he had fell in the river.

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They dredged it, the frogmen searched it all and everything.

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Yeah, yeah.

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I think somebody has took him.

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What makes you think that?

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I just, I've just got a gut feeling that somebody took him.

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I think he's dead, I don't think he's alive.

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I've thought that for years.

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People have always said to me,

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"How would you feel if they did discover his body somewhere?"

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It would be hard but it would be a relief as well.

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Because then you know you can put him to rest

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and you can put your mind to rest.

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It's the not knowing that's the killer.

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The Sandy Davidson case is one of several featured in Andrew O'Hagan's new play,

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being produced by the National Theatre of Scotland.

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-What did he want to be?

-What did he want to be?

-Oh, a policeman. Definitely.

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The play is being staged by John Tiffany,

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who directed Black Watch, the National Theatre's biggest hit to date.

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I keep going back to the start.

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John Tiffany is a particularly taxing, exacting director.

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He's not the kind of guy who, you send your well made three-act play to and he just mounts a production.

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He's not that kind of director. He's famous for making the plays in the rehearsal room.

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What's good about there is it's not giving in to it.

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In terms of how the script's developed,

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he didn't leave himself out of the first draft,

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but he created another character who was a fictional seeker in the way that

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Andrew had been a seeker in The Missing.

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Every day you think, "I'm going to wake up and find he's here

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"and none of this has happened."

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But it felt as though we were trying to dramatise something,

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because we were creating a character,

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and that character had a story, and it was a story that we had to tell,

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and it didn't feel truthful or honest.

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You could look at the history of this. It's a hidden story, as I say.

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After the war it happened much less, what with the welfare state and that.

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-But recently...

-It's getting worse?

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I think so, yes. Back to the Victorian era.

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So I took Andrew out one night and said to him,

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"how would you feel about it being something much closer to you and what your experience was?"

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And of course, that's scary.

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It's easy for certain people to disappear.

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-Would you like a glass of water?

-No, I'm fine, I'm OK.

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It's weird that the person he's inhabiting is me.

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I'm still getting my head round that. It's quite odd to watch.

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This is actually quite harrowing material for a young man to hear.

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To be immersed in it every day, thinking about dead and missing people must have been massive.

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I think in the original situation I was in, my hand actually shook.

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It's very personal, the book is very personal, it's a real memoir in many ways.

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-Yeah.

-So you haven't been wondering it before she says it?

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No, no, no. In this moment I am wondering, "Did he..."

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-It just needs to go a bit deeper.

-Yeah, yeah, I get it.

-Great.

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John was very clear that he didn't want it to be the machinations

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of the writing of a book,

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because, dramatically, that's not very interesting for an audience.

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Seeing the character being affected by writing the book

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or the compulsion to write a book is more interesting.

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Where is this search for missing persons leading me?

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I write up my notes. They become sentences, phrases, ways of seeing.

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When I was a young teenager, I sort of went in the huff with my mum,

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and said, that was it, I was out of here.

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Fortunately for me, I lasted about an hour before I realised

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I had nowhere to go, and that home was the best place to go.

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PHONE RINGS

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Hello, Missing People.

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Of course, we all have those times when we want to slam the door,

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but when we talk about 100,000 children

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under 16 every year going missing,

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that's overnight, and every one of those children is at risk.

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Many of them end up in circumstances where they're sleeping rough,

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where, perhaps, they've found themselves being referred

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to a friend of a friend,

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and some of those friends of friends are not safe people.

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We know that there is a link between children going missing

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and sexual exploitation.

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Graham Fagen has come to the London office of the charity Missing People

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as part of the research for his artwork.

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-RECORDING:

-Missing People have been hugely important

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as emotional support and helping to coordinate, looking and searching

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for our son, and hopefully, to end up bringing him home.

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-RECORDING:

-He literally walked out of our house laughing,

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in such high spirits, and never came home again.

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-RECORDING:

-You sort of remember the things that Andrew likes to do.

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I can just picture him now, laid there, reading. Nice memories.

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If I start dealing with this on a personal level,

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I'm asking a personal question here, Martin.

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If I start trying to think about this on a personal level,

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it's very upsetting,

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and I'm trying to work on it in a matter-of-fact way.

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You're here every day. How do you cope, or how do you balance it?

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Every time people say to me, "It's just too difficult,

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"I don't want to imagine what would happen

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-"if my nine-year-old went missing."

-Sure.

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I think, that's, in some respects, what we have to do.

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Maybe the fact that it affects me, speaking professionally,

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is maybe a good sign.

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It's maybe a sign that I'm dealing with it seriously, and,

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hopefully, I can deal with it in a compassionate and meaningful way.

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Sometimes it just hits you so badly,

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that it's like a huge black cloud over everything.

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In 2006, Alan Templeton went out shopping for groceries

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near his Edinburgh flat.

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He has not been seen since.

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I find early morning, if I wake up, is the worst time.

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I have to fight myself, fight my imagination,

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to stop visualising him

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in some terrible situation, where he's frightened, or lonely, or ill,

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and that's not being attended to,

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and nobody's picking up on it.

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If a letter comes in for him, which still, after five years,

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sometimes happens, that is absolutely gut-wrenching,

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having to write to whoever has written, saying,

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"well, Alan hasn't been seen for nearly five years," is awful.

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He spent whatever money he had on records.

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First of all it was Shakin' Stevens, wasn't it?

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Then it was Whitney Houston,

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and then it was the one with the red hair, T'Pau.

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-Do you remember, Pete?

-He was 15.

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I am continually purifying, in theatrical terms,

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this relationship between documentary and fiction.

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The stories are very authentic, they're people stories,

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and that's why they're so great to play, because these things actually happened,

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they were conversations that actually have taken place.

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It feels very authentic and very real.

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Today, the company are rehearsing a scene based on Andrew O'Hagan's

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original interview with the parents of another missing boy, Lee Boxall.

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Everywhere, everywhere you can think of.

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And the press moves on, everybody moves on.

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Police in London say they're now extremely concerned

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for the safety of the 15-year-old schoolboy, Lee Boxall.

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Lee disappeared a week ago on his way to a football match.

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Lee Boxall left his home in Cheam last Saturday. It's thought

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he was heading for either the Wimbledon or Crystal Palace grounds.

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He hasn't been seen since.

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What I'm saying, is it stronger, whether some people would say it was the perfect childhood?

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Well, that's true. And just leave it at that.

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Yeah, and you're a bit like...

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-Some people would say it was the perfect childhood.

-Yes, that's true.

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Well, Mrs Boxall's somebody who is stuck in a time warp,

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really, of grief, but also hope.

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She cannot accept that her son has disappeared,

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because there's no body or anything.

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-They were looking everywhere.

-Everywhere.

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-Everywhere you could think.

-Didn't sleep at all,

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we just sat up waiting for a ring at the doorbell.

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-We were just waiting.

-By the telephone. It was like a nightmare.

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I mean, every day, you'd think...

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Every day, you'd think, "I'm going to wake up and find he's here,

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"and none of this has happened."

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The fact that the young writer, Joe's character, turns up,

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is hope, to keep the interest going.

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Because as she says in it, the worst thing is

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when the press stop being interested.

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That's the worst time for these people,

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because it's like it's past, and it's gone.

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Well, it isn't gone for them.

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And it never will be for her.

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I'd ring the newspapers,

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I'd phone them and I'd ask them to print something.

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I remember one of them saying,

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"I'm sorry, Mrs Boxall, he's just another missing child."

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We don't know, to this day, what happened to him in September 1988.

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We don't know whether he's alive, we don't know whether he's dead.

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If he is alive, why hasn't he contacted us?

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If he's been murdered, perhaps, how did it happen, and why?

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Where is his body? All these questions are unanswered.

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Until the time comes, if it ever comes before we die,

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that we find out if he'd been, say, killed in an accident,

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at least we'd know what happened to him.

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Graham Fagen's artwork on The Missing will take the form of a video installation.

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I've decided to use my own home. I'm thinking what the experience

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might be like for a family to go through those sorts of emotions,

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of the experience that someone has gone missing.

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So, for example, I've been using very simple things,

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like maybe a shot of the mantelpiece,

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and what we would do is pay attention

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to what was on my mantelpiece, and wonder why it was there,

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and, maybe accept it.

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If something is usually there, and it's not, then I'll add it.

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If it looks too set up, too contrived, I'll jig it about to try

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and make it part of the house.

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Just have a seat there and just watch the telly.

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That's all you need to do.

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-I sleep, I usually sleep and watch the telly.

-No swearing.

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That's when I shouldn't be speaking, where I was actually speaking,

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and get a row for speaking, and get a row laughing.

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I shouldn't be laughing here.

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I could never understand the art things, or the sculptures

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when he was doing it a wee years ago,

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so he just, "OK, you're doing good now.

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"You enjoying it? Yes, that's fine. OK, you carry on."

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I think, for me, to understand the subject area properly,

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and to have that sense of compassion on the subject area,

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I need to be using people that are close to me,

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even though they're unknown to the viewers in the gallery.

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My dad wanted to film us, and he was making silly faces

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so we could laugh at it.

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I never fell for it. Thomas did.

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I was like, "What the heck are you doing?"

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And we both shouted, "This is lame, stop it."

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If he asks me to do anything,

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I generally do it to give him a hand and help him through.

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As long as he puts a bottle of whisky on the end, you know, that's it!

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There's public faces as well as the private faces,

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and one of the public faces that I'm probably going to use

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is Madeleine McCann.

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I guess, to do with her as a person, and missing in her own right,

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but probably as well as a kind of symbol of missing.

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Could you take Kate's book, Elspeth?

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Just sit and read it, and I'll move round you,

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you don't need to go anywhere.

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I'm going to be close on the book, I'm not going to be on you.

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It seems that the most appropriate way to bring Madeleine in

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is to bring her into my home in some kind of way.

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I thought about maybe using newspaper or TV footage,

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but Kate, her mum, has just brought a book out.

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I'm going to bring Kate's book about Madeleine into the house

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and find it in parts of the house through my journey with the camera.

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When you're dealing with this subject,

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sometimes what people are experiencing is unspeakable.

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I think the grief is so, it's so unspeakably horrendous

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that there's no words that can articulate it.

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If you dwelt on it you'd be awake at night.

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That's what you see when you look at this case,

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they could come here and live in bedsits.

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-And nobody knew they were here?

-They could be done away with.

-Yeah.

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What does that mean?

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-That's for other people to answer.

-That's for us!

0:23:250:23:28

-Don't quote me on any of this.

-No, you're right.

0:23:300:23:33

You won't be able to quote me on any of this!

0:23:350:23:38

-Shall we go back?

-It was that thing of almost knowing it.

0:23:400:23:44

I'm just learning the lines and muddling through it.

0:23:460:23:50

-They're not asking the right questions.

-Who?

0:23:500:23:52

Us, the reporters, we're not asking the one question we should be asking.

0:23:520:23:55

And what's the right question?

0:23:550:23:57

I'm playing two policeman.

0:23:570:23:59

One, a younger policeman. One, an older one.

0:23:590:24:03

I'm playing Mr Boxall whose son went missing

0:24:030:24:07

and I'm playing an old woman, which is how I see my career going.

0:24:070:24:12

That's what they did. They found him dead, poor soul. What a state.

0:24:120:24:16

I'll tell you something for nothing, though.

0:24:160:24:19

You need to watch your van. They'll tow you as soon as look at you,

0:24:190:24:23

those men and their big woolly hats under their work hats.

0:24:230:24:26

Traffic wardens. Nigerians.

0:24:260:24:29

They come over here, they hardly know what a car is where they come from.

0:24:290:24:33

He's got men playing women, he's got women playing men,

0:24:330:24:36

he's got old people playing young people.

0:24:360:24:38

It's a really amazing thing to watch. There's a fluidity

0:24:380:24:41

about the identity of these characters that John's homed in on.

0:24:410:24:45

That seems wholly appropriate to me.

0:24:450:24:47

It strengthens the audience's experience, I hope,

0:24:470:24:50

of how unfixed people really are,

0:24:500:24:53

how untethered to the world they can be.

0:24:530:24:56

-And then he got a date to go up to court.

-Court?!

-That's right.

0:24:570:25:03

He stole a pair of gloves.

0:25:030:25:06

What kind of daft thing is that to steal out of a shop, a pair of gloves?

0:25:060:25:10

Did you ever know anybody that stole gloves?

0:25:100:25:13

I want some battered trainers for you, John. I don't like those.

0:25:130:25:16

-They don't seem right, do they?

-Have you spoken to your inner Mr Bennett?

0:25:160:25:20

I've spoken to my inner Mr Bennett.

0:25:200:25:23

One pair of my shoes, Mr Bennett's shoes, we haven't got yet.

0:25:230:25:26

So I'm using these in rehearsal,

0:25:260:25:31

but it's quite clear to us now he's lost all interest in himself, really.

0:25:310:25:35

So they're not going to be very glamorous shoes for Mr Bennett.

0:25:350:25:40

But if you want to come over there, I'll show you the glamorous shoes I get to wear.

0:25:400:25:45

I liked the idea that all they changed was the shoes,

0:25:450:25:48

so when we come to a new character, you know,

0:25:480:25:50

Brian playing an old lady would put on a pair of cerise slippers.

0:25:500:25:54

The audience would learn very quickly to go,

0:25:540:25:56

"Ooh, what shoes are they wearing? That's going to give me a clue as to the character."

0:25:560:26:01

These are my shoes.

0:26:020:26:05

They're a fair height.

0:26:050:26:07

They're becoming very important to us, the shoes.

0:26:070:26:10

-And then he got a date to go up to court.

-Court?!

-That's right.

0:26:100:26:16

He stole a pair of shoes.

0:26:170:26:19

What kind of daft thing is that to steal out of a shop, a pair of shoes?

0:26:190:26:23

-A pair of shoes...

-Gloves, wasn't it?!

0:26:230:26:27

Sorry.

0:26:270:26:29

A pair of shoes.

0:26:290:26:30

(That's your fault. That's your fault.)

0:26:300:26:34

The second part of Graham Fagen's artwork will be constructed around

0:26:490:26:53

a journey starting from Irvine, Graham's childhood home.

0:26:530:26:57

Usually, when I'm making a video work, I work with a small crew.

0:26:590:27:03

What was interesting for The Missing was maybe not to do a journey

0:27:030:27:07

with a crew in tow, but maybe just me with a camera.

0:27:070:27:11

And maybe I became this sort of character

0:27:130:27:17

that was on the journey, or certainly,

0:27:170:27:19

the lens of my camera became this character that was on the journey.

0:27:190:27:23

Obviously, the start place, I'm thinking about this seascape,

0:27:280:27:32

I guess to use the seascape as something that's quite open,

0:27:320:27:36

perhaps optimistic, but looking beyond,

0:27:360:27:39

looking out there to a future or the possibility of going yourself.

0:27:390:27:45

So the viewers are seeing my camera, probably roundabout there,

0:27:480:27:54

jigging about as I'm walking.

0:27:540:27:55

So it's almost like trying to take the viewer to that place.

0:27:550:28:00

That kind of feel or that kind of aesthetic is going to be

0:28:000:28:04

quite important as a vehicle for trying to get

0:28:040:28:07

to the emotional side of the subject.

0:28:070:28:09

There were signs that at one stage she might have tried

0:28:140:28:16

to escape from her attacker,

0:28:160:28:18

run up that embankment and been dragged back.

0:28:180:28:21

The murder hunt began.

0:28:210:28:23

Police combed the backcourt and the railway embankment.

0:28:230:28:26

They questioned nearly 900 people in the Barrowland that night

0:28:260:28:30

and the following night.

0:28:300:28:31

As she says, the Barrowland was the place to be.

0:28:310:28:36

-It was that.

-What would the young ones say? The in-place, that's right.

0:28:360:28:41

It was the in-place to be.

0:28:410:28:42

Half the men in there were married, mind you. Is that not right, Jeannie?

0:28:420:28:46

Aye, married. Taking off their wedding rings and sticking it in their pockets,

0:28:460:28:49

that was the Barrowland for you.

0:28:490:28:51

It's amazing to see how the actors are playing it,

0:28:510:28:54

because they find comedy in this situation

0:28:540:28:58

as well as very deep tragedy.

0:28:580:29:00

ARCHIVE RECORDING: Inside the ballroom, sometime after 11 o'clock,

0:29:000:29:05

Helen Puttock, who was seen with a tall man who had reddish hair.

0:29:050:29:08

He was polite, well-spoken, did not appear to do heavy manual work

0:29:080:29:13

and might make reference to the Bible.

0:29:130:29:16

Newspapers dubbed him Bible John.

0:29:160:29:20

-A right cold night.

-There was a freeze on.

0:29:200:29:23

This is a scene in the play where the young writer tells the story

0:29:230:29:28

of Bible John and the influence that that killer had in Glasgow.

0:29:280:29:34

It intercuts his researching, that story, with his meeting

0:29:340:29:40

and interviewing the sister of the third victim and her friend, Marion.

0:29:400:29:46

Marion, previously, was wearing a pair of quite fancy gold high heels,

0:29:470:29:52

but we were slightly concerned that they looked a bit Saturday night

0:29:520:29:56

as opposed to meeting a journalist to talk about someone you knew

0:29:560:30:02

in the '60s who was murdered by Bible John.

0:30:020:30:05

So the gold shoes, unfortunately, got substituted.

0:30:050:30:10

I remember checking the prices of the high heels in the window of Gordon's shoe shop.

0:30:100:30:15

In number 64?

0:30:150:30:17

This is a map that we got from the Mitchell Library

0:30:170:30:20

of the East End of Glasgow, around the Barrowlands and Trongate from 1969,

0:30:200:30:24

which is the year that Helen was killed by Bible John.

0:30:240:30:27

It's cold but we weren't in a hurry.

0:30:270:30:29

We stopped and looked in the window of the pawnbrokers.

0:30:290:30:32

As I press play on there,

0:30:320:30:34

it goes on to there and then there are certain actions...

0:30:340:30:37

-We looked in the window of the pawn shop.

-215 Gallowgate.

0:30:380:30:43

So you're pointing that way. George Square, more north, Joe.

0:30:430:30:46

For the finished production of Tramway,

0:30:460:30:49

images like these will be projected onto a screen 15 feet high.

0:30:490:30:53

Obviously, I'm not controlling the screen,

0:30:530:30:56

but we want to give the appearance that I am making it all move around,

0:30:560:30:59

so it's very much like a dance.

0:30:590:31:02

I have to learn the counts of when to touch it, when to move it.

0:31:020:31:06

The other one, Helen's one, stuck with them

0:31:060:31:08

and went in the taxi towards Scotstoun.

0:31:080:31:10

'It's something I quite enjoy as an actor,'

0:31:100:31:12

learning all that. Some actors, it drives them nuts.

0:31:120:31:15

But I quite like it, the challenge.

0:31:150:31:18

We'll see if it goes well or not.

0:31:180:31:20

If you do that, then...

0:31:210:31:23

HE LAUGHS

0:31:230:31:25

If it doesn't, then I'll be running for the hills.

0:31:250:31:29

Graham Fagen's journey has taken him to London,

0:31:350:31:39

the end of the line for many of the missing.

0:31:390:31:42

Maybe it's about that searching, searching for something else,

0:31:460:31:49

searching for hopes, searching for something that's better,

0:31:490:31:53

searching for a new beginning, perhaps.

0:31:530:31:56

People think that they can come to London and try and have that and try and get that.

0:31:560:32:00

It's a bit of a cliche, London, where the streets, in theory,

0:32:030:32:07

are paved with gold.

0:32:070:32:08

Even people that work here find life in London tough.

0:32:200:32:24

If you're coming here lost and vulnerable

0:32:240:32:27

then there's people here who could easily prey on that.

0:32:270:32:31

It's probably the most inconspicuous that I've felt with the camera.

0:32:590:33:03

I'm surrounded by hundreds and thousands of people here,

0:33:080:33:11

but I feel quite autonomous and alone.

0:33:110:33:15

We're just on the edge of Soho.

0:33:260:33:29

We're at Piccadilly Circus.

0:33:290:33:31

When it gets dark, I'm going to move into Soho to do some walking about.

0:33:310:33:35

I guess what I'm thinking is that'll be the end of the journey.

0:33:350:33:40

A girl who I knew quite well in Glasgow,

0:33:480:33:50

she was in our company quite a lot, our peer group,

0:33:500:33:54

and she disappeared.

0:33:540:33:57

She didn't tell anybody that she was going to disappear or go anywhere.

0:33:570:34:01

It's just she wasn't around any more.

0:34:010:34:03

A good few months after, I was down in Soho with my girlfriend

0:34:050:34:11

and there was a record store and I was flicking through the records.

0:34:110:34:14

And Elspeth said, "There's our friend."

0:34:140:34:18

She could see her standing in the doorway.

0:34:180:34:21

So I said, "Oh, yeah. Let's go and say hello."

0:34:210:34:24

And she looked up and saw us

0:34:240:34:27

and went into the doorway that she was standing at.

0:34:270:34:30

She was obviously working.

0:34:330:34:35

She was obviously working in a trade

0:34:350:34:37

that she didn't want us to know about.

0:34:370:34:40

People like that make a very deliberate choice.

0:34:420:34:45

They want to go missing, perhaps. They want to find their own space.

0:34:450:34:50

Maybe they need to go away from the place that's familiar

0:34:500:34:54

in order to be who they feel they need to be.

0:34:540:34:57

We're not asking the one question we should all be asking.

0:35:020:35:05

And what's the question?

0:35:050:35:07

Well, nine young women's bodies have been found, right? And I've checked,

0:35:070:35:11

-hardly any of them are reported as missing.

-That's correct.

0:35:110:35:16

Well, that's the question. Why weren't they reported?

0:35:160:35:19

As a young journalist, Andrew O'Hagan was sent to Gloucester

0:35:220:35:27

to cover the discovery of human remains found at the family home

0:35:270:35:30

of serial killers Fred and Rosemary West.

0:35:300:35:33

The Wellington Arms, I did a few interviews in there.

0:35:350:35:38

It was a rough pub, closed down now.

0:35:380:35:44

The old place had that atmosphere of sort of lostness.

0:35:450:35:50

I remember writing that in my notepad at the time,

0:35:500:35:53

how depressed it seemed here.

0:35:530:35:56

-TV REPORTER:

-With the expectation that more human remains may yet been found,

0:35:590:36:03

the house in Cromwell Street

0:36:030:36:04

is still the centre of the police operation.

0:36:040:36:07

Body number seven was discovered in the cellar,

0:36:070:36:09

like three found earlier.

0:36:090:36:11

The first three bodies were unearthed in the garden.

0:36:110:36:15

I was looking to explain how it's plausible in a civilised society,

0:36:150:36:21

one with a welfare state, one with a social work department,

0:36:210:36:26

with a sense of community.

0:36:260:36:29

What was it in a community constructed like that,

0:36:290:36:32

that would allow so many of those women to go missing and never have been missed?

0:36:320:36:37

Did you know any of the girls? The victims?

0:36:370:36:40

-I don't know any girls like that.

-Like that?

0:36:400:36:46

They should knock it down.

0:36:460:36:48

There it is.

0:36:540:36:57

The gap.

0:36:580:37:00

It's not a gap in anybody's memory, though.

0:37:020:37:04

-TV REPORTER:

-Juanita Mott was an unemployed 17-year-old

0:37:190:37:23

when she left nearby Newent to travel to Gloucester in April 1975.

0:37:230:37:28

She never returned.

0:37:280:37:30

Lynda Gough was a 19-year-old seamstress in Gloucester

0:37:300:37:33

who was last seen in April 1973.

0:37:330:37:36

Police enquiries at the time came to nothing.

0:37:360:37:38

And Alison Chambers was 16 when she moved to the city in 1979.

0:37:380:37:43

Her mother received an unaddressed letter later that year,

0:37:430:37:46

but Alison herself was never heard from again.

0:37:460:37:49

They had lives, parents, boyfriends, doctors, right?

0:38:000:38:04

Nobody noticed they'd gone?! And for all these years?

0:38:040:38:08

They were able just to pick them off.

0:38:080:38:10

-They were easy to kill, somehow. Nobody noticed.

-Easy to kill?

0:38:100:38:14

-And the Wests knew how to home in on girls like that. The unattached.

-The missing?

-The killable.

0:38:140:38:20

That word rung around my head, and has been

0:38:200:38:22

ringing around my head all the time I've been writing the play.

0:38:220:38:25

Killable. I wrote it in my notepad and scored it under several times.

0:38:250:38:30

They were able to come here, live in bedsits and...

0:38:300:38:33

-And nobody knew they were here?

-They could be done away with.

0:38:330:38:37

What does that mean?

0:38:390:38:41

-That's for other people to answer.

-It's for us!

0:38:410:38:46

Don't quote me on any of this.

0:38:460:38:48

These girls were part of the non-elect. They were killable.

0:38:480:38:53

Through economics, social factors,

0:38:530:38:57

psychological trends in their own family, but also, societal trends.

0:38:570:39:04

They were actually forgettable. And they WERE forgotten.

0:39:040:39:07

-And you never saw her that day?

-Not any day. Not that day, not any day.

0:39:090:39:16

-And you never went to the police?

-Some of us aren't like that.

0:39:160:39:20

We don't go to the police.

0:39:200:39:22

-And, erm...? And then...

-Then she turned up.

0:39:240:39:31

Years later, in the basement of that house.

0:39:310:39:33

They've actually knocked two houses down here, number 23, which was beside number 25.

0:39:410:39:47

The house of horrors, as all the papers called it at the time.

0:39:470:39:51

What was enacted here was unspeakable. And I think it still haunts everybody

0:39:530:39:59

who ever had anything to do with the case, and anybody who was in this street.

0:39:590:40:03

More female remains were discovered in this field

0:40:160:40:20

by the village of Much Marcle, where Fred West had grown up.

0:40:200:40:24

We know that the women whose remains were found in Cromwell Street,

0:40:360:40:41

in this field, and at Midland Road in Gloucester,

0:40:410:40:44

where there's always been suggestions there were many more.

0:40:440:40:47

And they, in a sense, are the ultimate figures in my mind,

0:40:470:40:54

as far as The Missing, the book and the play goes,

0:40:540:40:57

these people who were not only never reported as missing,

0:40:570:41:00

but never confirmed as having been victims at all.

0:41:000:41:05

They just vanished into thin air, and I strongly believe that this field and fields like it

0:41:050:41:10

all around this part of Gloucester may contain secrets that we will never find.

0:41:100:41:14

-CHURCH BELL TOLLS

-The image is so powerful anyway,

0:41:250:41:29

and then to give it extra attention with the gong, it's almost too much.

0:41:290:41:35

I don't know. I don't know how you feel about it. So...

0:41:350:41:42

With the journey now complete,

0:41:420:41:44

Graham Fagen is bringing his ideas together with the help of a film editor.

0:41:440:41:49

From what we did before, these images have changed,

0:41:490:41:52

and there's been slight...

0:41:520:41:53

-OK. Cut here.

-That's what I was asking, if you wanted the code.

0:41:530:41:59

To reflect contrasting aspects of The Missing,

0:41:590:42:03

the artwork will be seen in two synchronised parts on two separate screens.

0:42:030:42:09

So what's been tough for me is,

0:42:090:42:11

I've been able to see one screen at a time,

0:42:110:42:14

and on bits of paper, I try and put these two things together.

0:42:140:42:21

Two stories would work separately, and when you have them together,

0:42:240:42:27

suddenly there was a new story, and suddenly, shots that feel

0:42:270:42:30

very lonely on their own

0:42:300:42:32

-suddenly came in and looked completely different.

-Yeah.

0:42:320:42:35

Somebody's living room contrasted with, I don't know,

0:42:350:42:38

the streets in London, it sets up that dynamic.

0:42:380:42:42

Hopefully it will be very easy for a viewer at the gallery

0:42:420:42:45

to know they're in a public place but they're also in a private place.

0:42:450:42:49

What I'm thinking of doing in the gallery is arranging the screens in such a way that

0:42:490:42:54

so as one as may be viewed in kind of peripheral vision to the other,

0:42:540:42:58

so the viewers need to make a decision and actually physically

0:42:580:43:04

move themselves to look at one place or to look at the other place.

0:43:040:43:07

The other thing that we're starting to find as we're seeing the two screens together

0:43:090:43:14

is sound starts to become very interesting.

0:43:140:43:16

CHURCH BELL TOLLS

0:43:160:43:20

It's got the Six O'Clock News sting, hasn't it?

0:43:200:43:24

And of course, we don't have to have the bong on the cut.

0:43:240:43:28

Well, that was one of my first thoughts, should we take the first bong?

0:43:280:43:32

-And then go for the one after.

-Yeah.

-Shall we try?

-Try it?

-Sure.

0:43:320:43:38

MUSIC PLAYS AND BELL TOLLS

0:43:380:43:42

I've just realised that I used to come here as a kid when it was the Transport Museum.

0:43:570:44:01

-Oh, right.

-I'm pretty sure. It brings back a lot of memories.

0:44:010:44:06

The production team of The Missing has moved to Tramway.

0:44:060:44:10

And tonight is their dress rehearsal.

0:44:100:44:12

The spider that's running the floods, just like run it

0:44:120:44:16

so it doesn't look as hateful.

0:44:160:44:18

We just need to decide what surface it's supposed to be.

0:44:270:44:31

-Are you looking for a different surface from that?

-Yes, that and that.

0:44:310:44:35

There should be three different textures.

0:44:350:44:39

But at Tramway,

0:44:460:44:48

it's not just the play that is only a day away from facing the critics.

0:44:480:44:52

So, we're across the corridor from T1, which is the theatre.

0:44:540:44:59

And this is the gallery space I'll be showing Missing.

0:44:590:45:03

We're getting there, slowly but surely.

0:45:030:45:06

OK, so, the screens are here, they've just arrived,

0:45:060:45:11

they're in these crates. So, they don't look like very much.

0:45:110:45:16

But they are very expensive.

0:45:160:45:22

To complete the set-up of his art installation,

0:45:220:45:26

Graham Fagen needs to make some last-minute adjustments to the film.

0:45:260:45:30

But first, he must wait for his editor to arrive.

0:45:300:45:33

We still have some technical problems that we want to solve over the next 24 hours.

0:45:400:45:44

There's still a black panel there on the LED which shouldn't be there.

0:45:440:45:48

-Those lights went out.

-Got a taxi this morning to come to the Tramway,

0:45:480:45:53

and halfway along the motorway, I shrieked to the taxi driver,

0:45:530:45:58

said, "I've forgotten the cello!"

0:45:580:46:00

I think it's called actress slowly losing marbles.

0:46:000:46:03

There's one or two imbalances in the sound

0:46:100:46:13

that we're going to have to attend to over the next few hours.

0:46:130:46:17

And the actors too have one or two little changes still

0:46:170:46:20

that need to be absorbed by them in the script.

0:46:200:46:22

This is purely a theatrical experience that people are getting with this.

0:46:260:46:30

And me too, for the first time tonight.

0:46:300:46:32

DRILLING AND HAMMERING

0:46:410:46:46

Let's see what we've got here.

0:47:000:47:02

Yeah, yeah, we can have that one.

0:47:020:47:03

So, what you're saying is, you want the previous dialogue to continue?

0:47:070:47:12

Laurie, I need both hands, just a second.

0:47:120:47:14

HE LAUGHS

0:47:140:47:16

Sorry. Just for a while!

0:47:160:47:19

So we're still hearing "You scummy bastard." Oh, sorry, Laurie.

0:47:190:47:25

-You didn't hear that, did you?

-THEY LAUGH

0:47:250:47:29

The dress rehearsal is about to start. And it's the last chance

0:47:290:47:33

for Joe McFadden to practice with the full-sized screen.

0:47:330:47:37

It's bigger than I thought it was going to be.

0:47:370:47:40

I might be jumping up in the air. It's very impressive.

0:47:400:47:44

We told him how Helen and me are going down the coast!

0:47:440:47:48

They went under the bridge at Central Station!

0:47:480:47:50

Up the Hielenman's Umbrella!

0:47:500:47:53

Then after a drink at the tavern, up to the Barrowlands.

0:47:530:47:58

To the dance hall! Address showing as 244...

0:47:580:48:01

I had always hoped that the technology that's in this production

0:48:010:48:06

wouldn't overwhelm the basic, human material in the script.

0:48:060:48:11

This is really all about the characters.

0:48:130:48:16

It's about Mrs Boxall sitting on the edge of her sofa,

0:48:160:48:19

trying to maintain a sense that her son, Lee,

0:48:190:48:23

who disappeared five years before, is still alive.

0:48:230:48:27

The whole question is evoked in images, in lighting

0:48:270:48:32

and absences on stage.

0:48:320:48:33

# Here I am... #

0:48:370:48:40

In a sense, the cello is the protagonist of the soundtrack.

0:48:400:48:43

# Here I am... #

0:48:430:48:46

Particularly Brigit's presence on stage, as well as playing,

0:48:460:48:50

just presents this almost ghostly, haunting quality.

0:48:500:48:54

It's about solitude and aloneness as well as loneliness.

0:48:540:48:59

# Here I am

0:49:000:49:03

# Here I am

0:49:040:49:10

# Waiting to hold you. #

0:49:110:49:22

APPLAUSE

0:49:220:49:26

Some people love this production.

0:49:280:49:30

Other people find reasons not to. That's the way it goes.

0:49:300:49:33

I'm quite happy to take it on the chin. You can't sit around

0:49:330:49:36

crying into your cornflakes about what critics are going to say.

0:49:360:49:40

I've never done it so far and I'm not going to start with this. HE PRETENDS TO SOB

0:49:400:49:44

It's opening night at Tramway.

0:49:530:49:56

But the critics won't be the only ones reviewing the work.

0:49:560:50:01

Graham Fagen and Andrew O'Hagan

0:50:010:50:03

will be seeing each other's completed projects for the first time.

0:50:030:50:08

-I don't know any girls like that.

-Like that?

0:50:180:50:24

They should knock it down.

0:50:240:50:26

CHILD CRIES OUT

0:50:390:50:41

MECHANICAL WHIRRING

0:50:410:50:46

Graham's piece is full of a sense of motion on the one hand

0:50:500:50:53

and stillness on the other.

0:50:530:50:54

It's full of a sense of belonging on the one hand

0:50:540:50:58

to a domestic space, to a family, to a duvet, on the one hand,

0:50:580:51:01

and on the other, lostness, the sense of urban chaos, neon lights,

0:51:010:51:08

people constantly moving away from where they belong.

0:51:080:51:12

The two together are quite moving.

0:51:120:51:14

It's a question that I'm sure we all ask ourselves -

0:51:160:51:19

why does somebody go missing?

0:51:190:51:21

What's it like? And through Graham's piece of work,

0:51:210:51:23

you actually saw first-hand what it was like.

0:51:230:51:26

You actually see through the eyes of a missing person,

0:51:260:51:28

so you see somebody walking away from their home, into a town centre,

0:51:280:51:33

and it looks very much like a town centre that they don't know. It's somewhere new to them.

0:51:330:51:38

But it also didn't cast any judgment.

0:51:400:51:42

It didn't say that that was right or wrong, that there was reasons,

0:51:420:51:47

and I think the piece really left you with a sense of every story is different.

0:51:470:51:52

I was very struck by these images of bin bags, for example,

0:51:560:52:01

litter on the ground, where you got the sense of

0:52:010:52:05

the kind of debris that's around emotionally when somebody's not there.

0:52:050:52:10

In a world that's filled with disappearing things...

0:52:180:52:23

-A wee boy.

-That's right.

0:52:230:52:25

'Sandy Davidson, who went missing from Irvine, of course,

0:52:250:52:29

'who Andy and I remember, and Sandy is one of the main'

0:52:290:52:33

points of reference through the play.

0:52:330:52:36

That was hard. That's probably why I'm feeling sad.

0:52:360:52:39

-That wee boy, Sandy.

-That's right. Sandy Davidson.

0:52:390:52:44

That boy was two years old when he went missing.

0:52:440:52:47

I remember his face, it's imprinted in my memory.

0:52:470:52:50

I think a lot of people were like that at the time.

0:52:500:52:52

Just a wee blond-haired, blue-eyed boy.

0:52:520:52:54

It learned everybody a lesson that when children went out,

0:52:540:52:59

even to the door, they were watching where they were going

0:52:590:53:03

and where they were, just round you.

0:53:030:53:06

It was a very, very sad time for everybody.

0:53:060:53:09

The wee boy went into the garden with his dog.

0:53:150:53:19

It was a warm day and his coat was found on the path by the river.

0:53:190:53:22

'It's a detective story in search of himself,'

0:53:240:53:27

in which he himself becomes like one of these lost boys, in a way.

0:53:270:53:31

But out of that comes something much bigger

0:53:310:53:34

that looks at a society that can be so displaced itself

0:53:340:53:38

that it can allow people to slip through the cracks in the way it's done.

0:53:380:53:43

I think the word that stays with me after the play is this word, killability.

0:53:480:53:53

Just the fact that in society we have people who are

0:53:530:53:56

so vulnerable that they can be described as having this killability.

0:53:560:54:01

That's one of the gut feelings I'm leaving with tonight, is that feeling of helplessness.

0:54:010:54:07

If you're right, then how do you become killable?

0:54:070:54:11

-That's for other people to answer.

-No, it's for us.

0:54:110:54:15

-Don't quote me on any of this.

-Is that what it's about?

0:54:150:54:20

As I say, it's just us talking.

0:54:200:54:22

I think the fact that an entire evening of theatre is devoted

0:54:240:54:28

to thinking about those people is in a sense a kind of tribute

0:54:280:54:32

and a way of mourning,

0:54:320:54:34

and that therefore you accept the different ways that people

0:54:340:54:39

describe the people they have lost.

0:54:390:54:41

I think it is really possible for art to almost enhance the way you feel,

0:54:420:54:49

but somehow to have images that almost anchor

0:54:490:54:54

some of the emotions, I found really helpful.

0:54:540:54:58

I felt positive after seeing the play

0:54:580:55:01

and I felt positive after seeing the installation.

0:55:010:55:05

Graham Fagen's Missing will join the permanent collection

0:55:080:55:12

of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh.

0:55:120:55:16

The play of The Missing also looks set to travel beyond Tramway.

0:55:170:55:22

I'm 100% positive this will have another life.

0:55:220:55:25

I think it's really important to start off with

0:55:250:55:28

the communities that this play is about in Scotland.

0:55:280:55:30

I'm really hoping we'll be able to take this play

0:55:300:55:33

to those new towns, first of all, and then see what the response is

0:55:330:55:37

and definitely take it on a tour further afield from there.

0:55:370:55:41

Both projects are over for now.

0:55:420:55:45

But the families of the missing go on waiting.

0:55:460:55:50

When I saw you last in this room,

0:55:530:55:56

Lee had been missing for five years, and now for 21 years.

0:55:560:56:00

It's clearly important to you to keep things here for Lee...

0:56:000:56:05

..in case he comes back.

0:56:050:56:08

That's the hope. We always hope that one day he'll come back

0:56:080:56:13

and his room is just the same.

0:56:130:56:15

I mean, his clothes obviously won't fit him, but we've kept it, everything.

0:56:150:56:20

When you came here to talk about Lee with us,

0:56:200:56:25

Lee's room was almost as it was the day he disappeared.

0:56:250:56:29

Covered with posters, but as time goes by, the posters,

0:56:290:56:35

one by one, they've started to fall off.

0:56:350:56:38

You know, with the passing of time, things change.

0:56:400:56:43

The biggest change is that our daughter Lindsey is now married.

0:56:580:57:02

She has two little children

0:57:040:57:06

and we love them to bits.

0:57:060:57:07

-So that's opened up a whole new side of your lives?

-Yes, absolutely.

0:57:070:57:12

I've retired early so I can spend more time with our grandchildren.

0:57:120:57:17

-That's your excuse!

-Yeah, that's my excuse!

0:57:170:57:20

We've got to focus on them, and my daughter,

0:57:210:57:24

-to help us through.

-Sure.

0:57:240:57:27

Subconsciously, I don't know whether I'm imagining it's Lee that's come back to us somehow,

0:57:300:57:35

but sometimes I even call him Lee.

0:57:350:57:37

Me, too, it's really strange, because he's so much like Lee.

0:57:370:57:41

Not looking...

0:57:410:57:43

That memory of Lee living here will never leave us.

0:57:460:57:49

I think...

0:58:000:58:03

recognising that human beings are people who are fragile

0:58:030:58:07

and vulnerable, even if they're also strong and sturdy

0:58:070:58:11

and capable and competent,

0:58:110:58:14

is one of the truthful things about being human

0:58:140:58:18

that I wish we recognised more commonly.

0:58:180:58:21

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:58:500:58:53

When people disappear, they leave holes in the lives of friends and family that can never be filled.

The writer Andrew O'Hagan and the artist Graham Fagen have both created works on this highly emotive subject. O'Hagan's play for the National Theatre of Scotland, The Missing, was adapted from his 1995 book of the same name. Fagen's companion piece - a moving image work called Missing - was commissioned by the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

ArtWorks Scotland followed the making of both the play and the film and revisited, with Andrew O'Hagan, some of the people and places featured in the original book. The programme combines intimate footage from the rehearsal room and research and filming by Graham Fagen with moving testimony from those left behind by the missing.


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