Drama starring David Walliams as the comedian Frankie Howerd, looking at the relationship with his long-term, long-suffering manager and partner, Dennis Heymer.
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This programme contains some strong language and scenes of a sexual nature
No, no. Listen, listen!
We'll get on with the comedy acting.
The comedy stuff. Is that all right?
-HE CLEARS THROAT
Ooh, no! Ooh, no, Mrs!
No! No! You shut your face, you!
No, not on your nelly! Titter ye not!
Titter ye not! Nay, nay and thrice nay. Yay again, nay!
I'll do an encore. I don't usually do an encore until the end. If I get to the end.
This programme contains some strong language and some scenes of a sexual nature.
# They say for every boy and girl
# There's just one love In this whole world
# And I know, I've found mine
# The heavenly touch of your embrace Tells me no-one Could take your place
# E-e-ever in my heart
-# Young love,
-# First love,
# Filled with true devotion
-# Young love,
-# Our love,
# We share with deep... #
I suppose you'll go into politics?
Yes. You a True Blue?
Ooh, I don't like Labour people.
No, no, no. They're all po-faced.
All seem to have this terrible...problem with their hair.
-Not like you.
-We're very honoured to have you here. I'll introduce you, and then...
-you can expect a warm hand on your entrance.
-Yes. You've done your homework, you. Oh!
It's my back, Sheridan. I'm a martyr.
Would you, um... Would you...
..Be a pal?
We're low on Get Your Titters Out.
Well, I can't do anything about that now, can I?
Sheridan, President of the Oxford Union, this is Mr Heymer, my, er...
manager and my chauffeur.
-I can see to him now, thank you..
I'm getting too old for this.
-Too old for what?
-Should really give it up.
Ooh! On with the motley.
Give us a kiss, then.
I'm not giving you a kiss.
-Dennis...you won't forget to heckle me, will you?
-No, I bloody won't.
CHEERING AND HECKLING
I'm not, you know, well, you don't know, but you'll believe me when I tell you, I'm not what you'd call
a clever clogs, you know, sort of...O-levels and A-levels. Nothing like that, no, no, no.
Being students, I'm not what you'd call an academic.
-By no way could you call me an intellectual.
-Which is why I feel so at home here tonight.
You shut your face, you! He's mocking! He's mocking Francis.
He's mocking your Francis.
Well, I'm going to tell this story about a gamekeeper, right. This gamekeeper
used to go round the woods all the time, you know, with his gun looking for game.
In the woods to shoot.
And he comes across this coppice.
It's a coppice!
A coppice in a wood.
Yes, please, missus, please! Pay attention.
And oh, there's this girl! A beautiful girl.
Yes! In this coppice, and she's beautiful.
A coppice! A coppice in a wood. Yes,
please, missus... please pay attention.
-Were you nervous?
-I mean, standing up in front of the Queen.
Never had a moment's trouble with nerves in my life.
He's all right, Rodge. Big funny-looking fella over there.
I used to love him on Variety Bandbox.
-'Stars is all the same. Last Christmas, he offered me ten bob to wank him off.'
Yeah, stingy bastard. You know, he's the highest paid entertainer in the country.
Even Gilbert Harding give me a fiver.
I'm sick of being a comic.
In any case, I want to be an actor.
Yes, in the coppice... And well, she's beautiful, yes.
And, you know, he... she looked at him.
He, you know, looked at her.
He said, um... "Excuse me,
but are you game?" She said, "Yes".
So he shot her.
I'm just gonna go and powder my nose.
-I like your girlfriend. Very nice.
-Jane's my companion, not my girlfriend.
The kind of "girls" I usually go for...I prefer
girls with shorter hair and rather flatter chests, you understand.
The kind who don't expect too much in return.
Were you breast-fed?
No, I'm serious. Were you breast-fed? I mean, by your mother.
I don't suppose I was, no.
I was. Every day.
I couldn't get enough of it.
They used to have to pull me off her like a limpet. Do you ever feel the urge
-to return to the womb?
-I don't think my mum'd let me.
She doesn't much like me living in the back bedroom.
-What? What? It's my back.
-I've terrible trouble with it.
Where's the boss? Come on, where is he? LADY SHRIEKS
Come here, you!
Rather you than me.
'Ooh, no! Oh, no, missus!'
Titter ye not! Titter ye not!
Nay, nay and thrice nay! And yay again, nay!
All coming out in a torrent now!
-'Yes, well, you can't lie there all night, can you?'
-'Whatever you like.'
-'Very good-looking, aren't you? I haven't got as much money as you'd think.'
-'Didn't ask for money.'
No, not yet.
Nice to meet you...Dennis.
I can stay.
'When I was a little boy in Eltam, I was very timid.
'I was a very shy boy, yes. And I put that down'
Oh, no, don't, please. Listen! Listen! After I was born,
my mother went back to her job in the chocolate factory.
And she left my father, who was unemployed, to look after me at home.
And you know, he used to breast-feed me.
Don't! Please! You're not taking this seriously.
He used to, you know, warm the bottle up.
He used to stick it up his vest. He'd make a little hole.
He'd make a little hole here. He'd stick the teat through the hole.
Well, cos people used to make their own entertainment in those days.
Well, once again, let's say welcome to What's My Line
and start off in the usual way, by introducing the experts.
I don't need you to help me.
-Top of the table, we have David Nixon.
'I wish you wouldn't do that'
-in front of the television set.
-Well, they can't see us, Mum.
And our very special guest, Mr Frankie Howerd.
Don't like Frankie Howerd.
I prefer Eamonn Andrews, even if he is a bloody Mick.
Bloody hell, Dennis!
I can smell that from here!
Don't he smell like a tart, Bob?
'All right, all clear. We start with Frankie Howerd,'
'and we'll tell you that Mr Rosenthal is wage-earning.'
'What the bleedin' hell's his problem?'
'Is it then one of the main services that go to people's houses?'
'No...let's go back to Frankie.'
Who is it?
We were at Chequers together. Do you remember? And the man with the gun came.
-'I saw What's My Line.'
I just thought I'd, um... I thought I'd call to see if you were OK.
Um...were you nervous?
Well, of course I was fucking nervous.
'I'm useless if I haven't got a script.'
-Oh, I'm sorry.
-'I've always been nervy. I had an audition'
for RADA once. My poor mother packed me a bag of cheese and onion sandwiches,
and I was trembling so much during To Be Or Not To Be", I lobbed them right in Dame Helen Haye's tits.
Are you going to be OK?
Oh, it was a bloody disaster.
Here we go.
-Thanks for coming.
-You all right?
Yeah, it's just that I invited someone, but they haven't, um...
Oh, no. Oh, no, I meant my agent.
He's very nice. Yes! Very nice, but he's always a scruffy man.
I mean, they call him Scruffy. I mean, don't they, Jane?
Yes. He's on the Uxbridge Road, if you want to check, above a pub.
Yes. He sits there in his pyjamas most days, you know, fag ash down his you-knows.
The thing is, I'm not important to him. He's got all these other artistes, you see. Oh, no, please.
I mean, he's got Rusty,
and his pigeon friends, which are very, very popular in Bridlington.
And he's got, he's got Windy Blow and his balloons.
Yes, you should see where he puts those balloons. They'd make your eyes water.
I used to love you on Variety Bandbox.
Yes, it was a very popular...programme. Ohhh!
Well, it's emotional isn't it, you know, the cork coming out of the bottle.
I get a bit anxious sometimes.
I think it's coming back... I used to have a terrible stammer when I was a boy.
You grow out of a stammer.
Yes, you'll be wanting to pop off.
Nah, I can stay.
-Yes, make yourself at home, young man.
-You want some eggs?
-You any family?
Yes, my mother and my sister.
I love them both very dearly. No, I do.
-Always been very good to me. Made me feel very special.
-Your dad still on the go?
No, he's dead.
Kids, I'd like.
-What about Jane?
-No! I could never physically go about making one.
I'm not sure I'd like to inflict myself on a child, either.
I thought for ages that my mother was dead.
She, um...ran off with a bloke when I was evacuated.
And I think that's what she wanted them to say. You know, that she was dead.
What was it like when she came back?
-It was a surprise, wannit?
I'd love to meet your mother.
She sounds very nice. She look after you?
Oh, no, I look after her.
Well, I think you need someone to look after you.
That's just the problem with being well-known.
People say they wanna look after you, but they're only after hanging on. Or a job.
# I may be right, I may be wrong, you know you're gonna Miss me when I'm gone... #
Can't Scruffy get you better than that?
He's not seeing to you right.
You'd think 10% of what you earn...
I don't want to turn things down, do I? I don't want a reputation.
-You'll never have a reputation, Frank.
-How did it go, Mr Howerd?
Another bloody disaster. I was shitting myself with nerves.
Frank! Sit up in the front if you want, Frank, love.
-Janie and me will be in the back.
-The star doesn't sit in the front, Mum.
I'll go in the front.
I've always wanted to go to the BBC. Nice, innit?
Take us to the Savoy, will you?
You can't keep staying, though.
Am I red?
Dennis, we've got to be discreet.
I'm trying to get things back on track.
If anyone knew I was queer, it'd do for me.
Where are we heading today, then?
Where am I taking you?
'Oh, it's a sad story.'
A sad story, yes. Get your aahs out. Your aahs, dear, yes. Terrible tragedy.
Turmoil after turmoil! There's a girl here crying her eyes out.
I shouldn't be doing comedy.
You know, I should be doing drama.
But I did do drama. Yes!
You should have seen my Bottom.
I can't, I can't.
In that case, get out of the production!
Get out of the production! You can't threaten the livelihoods of the others because of your incompetence.
Get out if you're going to soil yourself every weeknight and twice on Thursdays.
'My Bottom attracted some warm appreciation, yes.'
They tittered at Francis' Bottom. Yes.
Do you find my genitals attractive, Dennis? Don't subject them to parliamentary scrutiny.
Where do you think it comes from?
Where does your attraction to the male parsnip come from?
Don't know. I don't particularly think about it. No point worrying, is there?
Beautiful and brainless.
And a natural blonde.
Do you like mine?
Yes. Half the time.
Beforehand, yes, I do.
What, and present you with a nice clean pair of buttocks for your perusal and delectation?
-Not on your nelly.
-Frank, turn round.
Look at yourself.
You're a lovely man, Frank.
You're funny and you've got presence, but you've got to calm down a bit about everything.
I love you.
I love you.
You'll have to make yourself scarce in the morning.
-I've got a doctor coming.
-Why, what's up?
-I've got a doctor coming to talk.
I think I need it.
I asked him to come. It's my nerves.
I can't work.
No! Stop it, Dennis. Stop it!
I'm all right. Sorry, I didn't know there was a menage.
-Can I have my jacket?
-Fuck off, or I'll fill your fucking face in!
-I won't have violence!
-I bought you a fucking Monopoly set!
-Get out of my flat, you poof!
-You know perfectly well you wouldn't be here if I wasn't who I am.
-Fuck off! Fuck off!
# They say for every boy and girl There's just one love In this whole world... #
What you been up to, Dennis?
Bit of driving.
-Do you want one?
No wonder you're back here. He's fucked, in't he?
-# Young love,
# Filled with true devotion... #
What the bloody hell are you moping around for?
You've been in my way all morning.
-She mucking you around?
You're too soft, Dennis, always have been.
You fall for people and you go all doe-eyed.
You want to get out there and make some hay while the sun shines.
You don't want to be tied down, your age.
Well, you'd know, wouldn't you?
Don't speak to me like that, Dennis.
-I'm trying to dust.
-Do you want a hand?
I can manage on me own, thanks.
What kind of a man are you?
'I don't much feel like it tonight.
'And I'm usually so vivacious.'
I mean, people say "That's Francis.
"He's so vivacious". I feel... I feel...I feel...I feel limp.
'You know, I should be in bed.
'I should be in bed.'
-Oh, get back! Get back!
-she wants you to come back.
-Well, she can come herself, can't she?
-She's right down.
-I know how she feels.
..She's got himself into trouble, Dennis.
-Scruffy's done a runner with about 80 grand of his money.
'What's she doing sending a friend? She that high and bloody mighty?'
Don't shut that door!
Jane, I don't want to be hidden away all the time.
I was quite comfy with it, before he came along.
Then I met him and he makes it...
uncomfortable. And not just cos we have to hide it for work.
You're yourselves at home, aren't you?
-Yeah, but it's just backgammon and tidying up.
-We get a lot of glamour out of him, you and me.
I'm not bothered about the glamour. I thought I was, but I'm not.
The glamour's not the thing I'm in it for.
He said to say that he loves you.
Are you taking the piss out of me?
He said that he loves you, Dennis.
Well...he never told me that.
Well, that's what he asked me to say.
That he loves you very much,
and he needs you.
He needs you, Dennis.
I'm not going to stay locked in that spare room for ever. Not if you really need me. Do you need me?
-I said I did.
I know we'll have to be discreet. I understand that.
But I can look after you.
-If you want. Is that what you want?
I can clean your clothes because sometimes, I'm sorry, but you look a disgrace.
I can sort out your household stuff. And we can do a bit of work getting your jobs coming in.
Get you back where you should be.
I missed you.
Well, I missed you.
Come in! Come in!
Now, dear, this is Dennis.
He's my new manager.
Didn't you used to drive him?
-Well, you'll have to give me some suggestions or two.
I could never manage him.
-Oh, he's no trouble, Mrs Howerd. He's a joy, really.
-Yes, he is.
We're proud of him.
Aren't we proud of you, Frank?
I made you your jelly, love.
Is work all right?
A load of bloody rubbish.
I don't like this house, Mum.
-Why don't you sell it, and I can buy you a new one?
-I'm settled here.
It's been a happy house.
You look like the Cheshire Cat.
I used to bring you it home from the factory, didn't I, love?
Bit of chocolate.
I always tried and gave them a little treat every day, even if it was just
half an hour of playing or whatever.
It's important for kids.
That the three of you?
That's the two of us...
and Frank senior.
Do you want a bit more jelly, love?
Yes, I'll get it.
You been in show business long?
Oh, no. Not long. Not really.
What was your line before?
Er, I was a waiter.
And before that I delivered bread for the Co-op.
She's mutt. Mutt!
She's mutt and Jeff.
Means deaf. They're there if you dig deep.
'I shan't book him again, Mr Heymer.'
I'm afraid his entrance is much too vulgar for Scarborough.
I told him, what he wants to do is smarten himself up a bit, come on, and say, "How are you?
"Are all your cars parked nicely?
"Are all your cars parked nicely?"
I told him he could have that one.
-What did he say?
-He said thanks for putting him right.
I'm really chasing Tommy Steele.
I told him "You're on your way out, aren't you?
"You've been round a bit too long, Frankie".
That may be your opinion... and it may be true.
But if you say anything like that to him again, I'll kick your fucking bollocks off.
'..He says to her, "Do you want to go to sleep now or what?"'
She says "What?"
We've got an hour of this, so try and reconcile yourselves with it.
Got any kippers?
It's rather a lot, isn't it, a thousand?
Well, what is it usually, when you don't bother telling me?
Do you want me to tell the truth about that?
-Why did you open my post?
-I answer your fan mail.
You asked me to.
I'm not going to get angry with you, cos you need to do what you need to do.
But if you want to get the jobs, you've got to pack this sort of thing in.
-This bloke won't go to the law, but someone else might.
-I'm sorry, Dennis. I'll be a bit more careful.
Well, that'd be a start, yes.
-I won't ever do it. That was the last time.
-Don't make promises you can't keep.
-I want to keep it, Dennis. I don't want to send you away.
-Oh, you won't.
I've been reading about this new kind of thing.
I think it might make me better.
Your valium's in your case.
Have you got the photos?
-What's all this?
-The first course will be Sodium Amytal.
I'll then give you 80 gamma of LSD to start with.
It'll take about 20 minutes, and you'll feel a little warmer, and there'll be some flashing lights.
What, you lay those on, do you?
No, in your mind's eye.
And you'll experience euphoria.
I bloody hope so.
I'll then give you some Ritalin to concentrate your thoughts.
You should use the photographs and props.
And write it down. Or draw.
Mr Howerd will be needing some time on his own.
-I'll come and get you Monday.
-And don't be late.
'It makes you feel soiled in some way?
-'It's a sad story, yes...
'It's a sad story.'
Get your aahs out.
Don't laugh, it's wicked to mock these things.
He's mocking your Francis!
How did it go?
Oh, what's the matter?
No, please. Don't cuddle me out on the street, Dennis.
I'm trying to get you a couple of weeks in Butlin's.
No. No, don't. I haven't got a libido.
I'm worn out.
Do you know how long it's been since you touched my dick?
No. I don't keep those facts at my fingertips.
Since my birthday.
When was that?
-Is he all right?
Just having a bit of a rest. He wanted me to give you the housekeeping.
Is he all right?
CAR DOOR OPENS
-What good is it going over and over everything? You think too much.
-How can I stop myself thinking?
-Oh, I dunno.
-I've got nothing else to do than think!
It breaks my heart! You should see yourself...when you come back.
I...I feel as if you're cheating on me.
I cheat when I go down under Waterloo Bridge. I cheat when I get a dresser to suck me off. Not then.
Well, why do you need to talk?
It makes you worse!
Because I hate the way I am.
It's dirty and it's disgusting, and I don't want people knowing.
And what we do together makes me want to vomit.
I've fucking had it!
How was she? Your mother.
She was all right, thanks.
I don't think my mother's very well.
MUSIC: "Garden Of Eden" by Frankie Vaughan
# When you walk in the garden
# In the garden of Eden
# With a beautiful woman
# And you know how you care
# And the voice in the garden
# In the garden of Eden
# Tells you she is forbidden Can you leave her there?
# When you're yearning for loving
# And she touches your hand
# And your heart starts a-pounding And you're feeling so grand
# Can you leave her to heaven?
# And obey the command?
# Can you walk from the garden?
# Does your heart understand?
# And that voice in the garden
# In the garden of Eden
# Tells you she is forbidden Can you leave her there?
# Can you leave her there? #
I'm trying to get you work, Frank. You gotta work.
-I don't want it.
-Why don't you try and get out the flat, then? Play tennis or something.
-Yes, you like tennis, it cheers you up.
I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth,
forgone all custom of exercises,
and indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition
that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory.
HE BREAKS WIND
Oh, it's bitter out.
'I won't have to put up with any more bloody psychiatrists.'
What a bloody relief!
OK, all right, but I'll have to go round his house first.
Pick up a few things, you know.
Tell him I'm going.
-Of course it's me.
I'm not stopping.
-Cos you know we've not been getting along, Frank...
-My mother's had a stroke, Den.
She's going to die.
I don't know what I'll do.
Do you want your Valium?
It bothers me sometimes...
we didn't meet when things were destined to be better. You know,
-you and me.
-Doesn't bother me.
Maybe for your sake.
Was a bit more fun when you were big, but that's not what I fell in love with.
I wasn't any happier.
you worry about losing it when you've got it, and you worry about getting it back when it's gone.
-Listen. Frank, I know this isn't a good time, but...
-I've started to know it's not the work, Dennis...
..It's the people...
I've been thinking.
I've... I've been thinking practically.
There's no use me just working two or three months a year and...
well, we can't rely on a waiter's wage. Why don't we sell up and buy a pub?
You could run a pub, couldn't you?
You're not serious.
No, I am.
What time is it?
He was always a good sleeper.
You must promise me that you'll look after him.
He needs looking after, Dennis.
I need to know that he's being seen to.
But what about me?
He loves you back, doesn't he?
I...I don't know how you've got yourself set up...
..but there has to be one of you who makes things peaceful.
Put it on the teapot, will you?
-It doesn't make it any better putting it on the teapot.
-It does. It steams it.
It keeps its contours. Bette Davis told me.
Yeah, well, I think she was taking the piss out of you.
Listen, I'm going to stay at my mother's tonight. All right? You gonna be all right on your own?
Hmm? I said, I'm going to stay at my mum's.
Will you be all right on your own?
Where are you really going?
To my mum's.
Do you want to know why I feel the need to see a psychiatrist?
Well, it's because you don't want to be queer. That's become very plain.
It's because in that bedroom where she died...my father used to get hold of me.
He'd lock the door.
He'd hold my neck tight with these great spiky fingers...
..and he'd push my head down and make me suck his dick.
Let me get this out of the way, because I'm not going to tell you again.
He'd either come in angry...
..and he'd strip me off and beat me or scald me...
..Or he'd come in drunk and do that.
I don't think Mum knew,
not until later.
Eventually it stopped.
He did something similar to a kid across the road.
She threw him out.
Then he died.
PHONE KEEPS RINGING
No, no. No time like the present.
OK, Max, thank you.
They want me to do the Evening Standard Awards again.
Right, just do this one last thing, and then get out of it.
-Frank, I don't know what to say about your dad...
-I said I wouldn't talk about it again. You know now.
Well, are you sure you wanna get out?
Get that pub?
I've never been more sure of anything.
I'm variety, you know. I'm not satire. Not made for this.
-I'm not going to miss it.
-And now, to say a few words, Frankie Howerd!
I love you, Dennis.
I'd just like to say, um, thank you so much for everything over the years. And, er...
I like you in this coat, Frank.
-Was I all right tonight?
-You were lovely. Nerves seem to have cleared up, then?
Well, vis-a-vis that, I seem to remember that I was perfectly all right before I met you.
-I think you put the curse on me.
-Yeah, it was me, wasn't it?
-And you brought my piles on as well.
-Oh, yes? Oh!
-I'm Peter Cook.
-Yes, I know. Congratulations. I saw your show. Very good.
Very funny, yes. We're just off.
Um, could I possibly call you next week?
-I'm just... I'm opening a cabaret club.
And I was wondering if you'd do a residency.
So anyway, I'm there, and this young man comes up to me and he says, you know, "Hello.
"I'm Cook." And I said, "Well, yes! It was a lovely meal!"
And I was there...no, I'll tell you...I was there with...
He's a lovely fella. He needs it a bit softer.
I suppose it's the over-the-garden-fence school of comedy. Very anti-joke. Very modern.
It's a bit harsh on him, I think.
I know what I'm doing.
And now, the Week at Westminster.
And our lobby correspondent is Mr Frankie Howerd.
-No, no, he can't do next week.
Yeah, three weeks tomorrow is the next time.
-OVEN TIMER RINGS
-Can I call you back?
I don't know when he's going to be available. I'm sorry.
Do you want to do the Royal Variety?
Of course. Oh, I like this bit.
Shall we, um,
leave off that pub for a while?
Yeah. Yeah, all right.
I'll have to watch how I go, Frank.
Fellers see me with you and I'm in danger of getting left on the shelf.
-Oh, you could have brushed your hair, Frank, it's a publicity shoot.
-Someone else'll do it.
I mean, you don't wanna get left out, Janie.
-You don't wanna live your whole life a fag hag.
-Oh, I don't know Frank.
I've always found it very agreeable.
If I could take a pill,
if there was a pill that would cure me of the way I am, I'd do it tomorrow. I'd take it.
-Yes, and I'd give it to you, you miserable git.
'She's been pregnant, you know. Over and over. Over and over!'
Because of her ears! I mean, she's got an appliance, you see.
You know, she pops it in.
In her ear! Oh, the disgraceful...!
And she pops it out again when she goes to bed. And her husband.
I mean, he luxuriates.
He luxuriates! He luxuriates at her side.
And he rolls over, and he says to her,
"Do you want to go to sleep now, or what?"
-And she says "What?"
Up the students! Up all students everywhere!
Here we are. Thank you, yes. Thank you.
You've got an interview tomorrow for Channel 4 on The Word,
and they want four Roman centurions to carry you on.
Bit gay, isn't it? Was I any good?
Yes, you were very good, Frank, on stage, at least.
-So, still going to give it all up, are you?
-Well, why not?
-We could still get that pub.
-I think they'll have sold it by now, don't you?
Anyway, I knew you when you weren't working, and you were even more bloody insufferable than usual.
-And I can't retire, can I? Looking after you's a bleeding full-time job.
-Rather you than me.
-Sorry about earlier, with...
-Yeah, never mind. I'm used to it.
-Now get in the back of the car, you big old poof.
-Mocking! You're mocking Francis! No, I'll, um,
come in the front. I can't really hear you when I'm in the back.
-# Young love,
# Filled with true devotion
-# Young love,
# We share with deep emotion. #
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
Email [email protected]
Candid and poignant drama about the comedian Frankie Howerd and the relationship with his long-term, long-suffering manager, and gay partner, Dennis Heymer. Despite his overtly camp persona, Howerd kept his companionship with Heymer under wraps for 35 years, until his death in 1992. Yet through career disaster, social stigma, illegality, numerous infidelities and Howerd's own deep-seated issues about his homosexuality, their love endured.