16 October 2000
HENDERSON: Goodbye Reggie. You were one in a million. I just hope my floral tribute was tasteless enough.
MAN: Oi you slag. Keep it schtum. Remember - you saw nothing here.
HENDERSON: Sorry Reverend. That was a bit strong. And why were you kneecapping those mourners earlier?
MAN: Well, it's what he would have wanted.
HENDERSON: You know Reggie was like a brother to me. He gave me my first job.
MAN: What? You used to act for him in court.
HENDERSON: No, I used to extort money from shopkeepers. Look, there's Quiche, Mushroom Vol-au-vent and Broccoli Tartlets. God, gangsters had much harder names in the past, didn't they? Who's that fellow they're with?
At these words the mysterious stranger effortlessly schmoozes across the
DON: Hi there. Don Maclean.
HENDERSON: What? Singer of anthemic 1970s ballad American Pie?
DON: No. Don Maclean of Shandrick PR. I was wondering if I could talk to you about what Shandrick could do for The Firm.
HENDERSON: It's a funeral! Can't this wait?
DON: Don Maclean waits for nothing. There's a bus called Success, and this is your stop Tom. I'm the conductor and you'd best get on if you want to buy a ticket... and go to... er... somewhere good.
HENDERSON: What are you talking about?
DON: Let me explain how Don Maclean can turn around The Firm. I spent 20 years working in the press. The past four years on The Guardian, and let me tell you - The Twickenham Guardian is the highest circulation free newspaper in Surrey. I can open doors. I've even got Dominic Mohan's telephone number - he writes 'Bizarre' in The Sun.
HENDERSON: How does that help me?
DON: Look. Here's a picture of me with Anthea Turner.
HENDERSON: This picture is of last year's Children In Need telethon. And all I can see is Anthea surrounded by 400 record-breaking tap dancers.
DON: That's me at the back carrying the huge cheque. I know people. I've spent time with top spin doctors.
HENDERSON: What, government spin doctors?
DON: No. The band - The Spin Doctors. Well, I went to see them at the NEC. But now you mention the Government, Don Maclean has access at the highest levels. Have you ever heard the name Harriet Harman? Well, she went to my school.
HENDERSON: And we return to the question of what you can do for The Firm.
DON: I'm a player, Tom. I play people. And do you know how? Do you know what the most important commodity in the world is? Canapes. Come to one of my PR soirees. No cheese on sticks with Shandrick. You get cheese on sticks... with pineapple.
HENDERSON: I thought information was the most important commodity.
DON: Information. I can help you control information. I'm about to give you a gift, Tom. Clifford Chance are trying to build an international capability.
HENDERSON: But everybody knows that...
DON: Shhh. Gold dust my friend. And I'm good in a crisis. Hit me with a problem regularly faced by The Firm.
HENDERSON: Errr. Our service is incompetent to the point of criminal.
DON: Easy. Watch the "spin". The service is only incompetent... because the managing partner has a drug problem. It's call crisis deflection theory. It's not really. I just made that up.
HENDERSON: Look, Don. I'm here to pay respects to Reggie. I don't think we'll be employing your services. Why are you here anyway?
DON: Oh, nothing really. Reggie was my godfather.
HENDERSON: You should have said, Don. Welcome to The Firm...