Documentary

We see a television close up, with the A/V Woman Mr Chips logo on it.
Suddenly, and without warning, a motorbike-booted foot smashes into the screen.
The camera flares green like any explosion on seventies BBC video.
Shot showing Babysham / Guy Pearce flailing about in the Stargate living-room set from Episode 9. He is screaming a lot. The crew mill about around him.

GUY
Ah-argh-ah!

FLOORMAN
Are you alright?

GUY
I got the tube!

We hear the director, off:

DIRECTOR 
(herself)
Cut!

GUY
I can't feel my legs.

DIRECTOR
You'll be alright... Someone bring in
another telly. That take were crap.

GUY
Another take?

DIRECTOR
It were rubbish. Not nearly enough agression.
And you're not meant to fall over and writhe
in agony like that either. Actually, maybe we
could work that in? Let me look...

She flicks through a pink script.

DIRECTOR
No. We better leave it as
it is. Come on. Get up.

Two men in flat caps and brown BBC overalls (Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer) wheel in another telly.

DIRECTOR
Ok. Clear the set. Aaannd, Action!

Guy, stumbling to his feet, looks around for encouragement, gets none, and goes for another boot at the telly.

DIRECTOR
Wait! Stop, stop... Your boot's all melted.
Can we have another boot please wardrobe?
Yeah... left.

GUY
I think I cut myself actually...

DIRECTOR
You did?

GUY
Mm.

DIRECTOR
Oh well. We'll be done soon...

NARRATION (John Peel)
It's October 2001, and recording of the ninth
episode of A New Soap is about two thirds through.
Writer and director Steph Jesper puts actors
Guy Pearce and Hugh Hopper through their paces.

The three of them are in the kitchen. The Director is sat on the work-surface.
Various crew run around in the adjoining room.
Hugh is clutching the script and flicking through. Guy is having his leg-wounds dressed by a female runner (not an athelete).

DIRECTOR
Look, we've got until eleven o'clock and then
we have to be packing up. We need to get
this done. Hugh, have you been down make-up?

HUGH
Yeah. They reckon it'll be about an hour.

DIRECTOR
Right. that gives us about two hours to sort
out this scene. How's your leg, Guy?

GUY
I can't feel it.

DIRECTOR
Good. Right then. Come on, Hugh.

He leads Hugh through the door to the right.
When the door opens, the kitchen is bathed in brilliant white light from the adjacent Stargate Appartment set.
We bleach out on this cue.
Mix to establish shot of Goodricke square, York University - the bit of Goodricke you see as you come over Wentworth Bridge - a scene that should be familiar to ardent Soap viewers.

CAPTION
Four months earlier.

NARRATOR
It is June, and the cast assemble at York
University for their first shooting in over a year.

In Roy, The Director and various crew chat with:
Christopher Eccleston, Ewan McGregor, Jean Reno, Vincent Perez, Guy Pearce, Hugh Hopper, Christian Slater, Phil Daniels, and Mel Giedroyc.
They are all seated or stood around the wobbly table. Mel is toying with a stuffed elephant, and is generally getting on Jean's nerves with it.

Cut to the Director sat alone in the double room where the saga began.

DIRECTOR
It's great to be back here. We filmed a lot
here for TNG, but we've not been here on
the corridor for a couple of years... Um,
Episode Four I think... Yeah. 1999... Seems
like ages ago. The tricky thing when we
come back here is getting everybody
looking and dressed like they were for the
first episode. Fortunately our wardrobe
department are great at that sort of thing.

Across the corridor, in the bathroom, Ewan McGregor is sat on the toilet, being made up by the make-up department.
Next to him, in the bath, A woman from wardrobe (Fiona Allen) is washing clothes.
She scrubs them with soap and then swishes them around with a big stick.
Another woman (Sarah Alexander) is stood in front of her with a rack of clothes. The clothes should be an assortment of genuine New Soap costumes, and generic Mr Benn style outfits - clown, cave-man, princess, astronaut etc.. She selects the appropriate moulding jumper and cardigan for Ewan to wear. Throughout, Ewan and the make-up woman (Doon Mackichan) small-talk:

EWAN
It's a bit rough, this, innit?

MAKE-UP
I've worked in better.

EWAN
So have I. In Moulin Rouge we had
an entire make-up studio built to the highest
specifications. And wardrobe... woh...
Fan-fuckin-tastic. Then when it was done
George Lucas burnt the lot down.

MAKE-UP
Really?

EWAN
Yeah. For Star Wars we have
to get made up in a slimy log.

MAKE-UP
What?

EWAN
Yeah. There's this old knarled
tree round the back. Fell over last year.
We have to crawl inside and they paint
us green from head to toe.

MAKE-UP
Green?

EWAN
Oh yeah. They put all the make up
on with computers afterwards. And all
your facial expressions and everything.

MAKE-UP
Hold still.

EWAN
Mh-hr.

MAKE-UP
Ok. You're done.

EWAN
Cheers, love.

he gets up and makes to leave, turning to her as he exits.

EWAN
May the force be with you...

His eye spasms with some sort of nervous tick.

Cut back to the kitchen. He rejoins the group.
Jean tears the elephant from Mel and hurls it on the floor.
Vincent Perez and Guy Pearce are playing paper scissors stone.
Vincent keeps winning.
Others are casually flicking through the meager blue script.

DIRECTOR
Ok. Are we ready?

She edges out of shot. Floorman (Ian Anderson) leans in and drags the elephant away. Scripts are shoved under the table.

DIRECTOR
Aaand... Action!

EWAN
Wait, I haven't got my knife.

A hand enters shot and passes him a bread-knife.

Sat round the table are the actors:
Hugh - wears glasses and has curly hair.
Vincent - wearing sunglasses, and cutting his toe-nails with a stanley knife.
Mel - wears glasses. smokes gently.
Jean - wears glasses. drinks from a cup of coffee whilst reading two music manuscripts simultaneously.
Christopher - wears contact lenses. is reading a computer magazine.
Christian - wears glasses. is making a cup of tea.
Phil - smokes. reads a music magazine.
Ewan - has much hair. is sawing at a chair with a bread knife.
Guy - wears glasses.

GUY
We went to France on an exchange trip.

CHRISTOPHER
Yeah? We went to Germany.
They took us down this mine and told us all about it.
But we didn't understand a word cos they didn't speak English.

EWAN
You must have been very much in the dark.

Jean hits Ewan round the head with one of his books.

EWAN
Ow!

HUGH
The year above us went to France.
And the year below went to Belgium.

MEL
Where did your year go?

HUGH
We went to Sheffield.

PHIL
I think that says Sellafield...

DIRECTOR
Ok. Shall we try that one again, and Hugh,
you want to be stressing that first line of
yours a little differently... It's...

Mix to an establish shot of the Barbican.
Crew are laying cables in the car-park.

NARRATOR
It's August now, and everyone reassembles
in York for one of the toughest scenes in the
episode. Extensive dialogue and special effects
are required, and the shoot is expected to take
several days. First thing on the agenda is some
overdubbing though. Julia Carling adds her voice
to the material recorded two months ago.

Ladies toilet in the Barbican. Julia sat on the toilet holding a microphone.
She reads from the blue script, though her delivery is a little stilted:

JULIA
Hello Jim, How are you getting along with Alan?
Little Sister would like to remind you that it is her
birthday soon. Yes. Thankyou.  You may ask a
question, yes. Little Sister will get back to you.

DIRECTOR
off
Ok. Let's try that one last time...

We hear her read again, but see Guy being covered from head to toe in unpleasant looking mud. Next to him, Director looks past the camera, ernestly, nodding.
When Julia finishes...

DIRECTOR
Good good. Maybe just one final last shot...

In the car-park, a van backs up.

NARRATOR
In the scene, a bucket of lemurs is
required.  The lemurs have been
hired from a local make-up firm, but
they have arrived earlier than expected.

Various crew struggle with heavy, shaking boxes at the back of the van.
Lemur noises are dubbed over.
One crew member, a plump, grey bearded, balding guy called Mike Paul Putner), gets interviewed.

MIKE
We've got this van load of lemurs here.
God knows what we're going to do with them.
We don't need 'em till next Thursday. Bloody
mess this is. Bloody prize cock-up...

NARRATOR
Mike has been given the job of looking after
the lemurs until they are needed for shooting
next Thursday. He's been given strict orders
on how to properly care for the animals.

Mike puts the last of the boxes in the back seat of his Renault Meganne. He puts a red sports bag in there too and pulls from it an orange which he divides into segments and feeds to the boxes.
At no point do we see a lemur, but the boxes shake, and squeaking intensifies.

Meanwhile, on stage... the cast:
Hugh Hopper, Ben Kingsley, Peter Davison, Frank Skinner, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Heather Nova,
Christopher Biggins, Jean Reno, Kevin Spacey, Guy Siner, Guy Pearce, Alyson Hannigan,
Vincent Perez, Shirley Manson, Tom Cruise, Julia Carling and Tom Baker.
They are pacing about with yellow scripts. A black monolith and a police box are on stage.
Crew are milling down below.

NARRATOR
Meanwhile, on stage, everyone is set
to record the first takes. Everyone,
that is, except for the audience.

FLOORMAN
Oh come on! Where the fuck are they?!
We're supposed to be starting five minutes ago!

In the background, Ben Kingsley is fitted with a big goose mask/head-dress.
Runners dash about.

FLOORMAN
What do you mean, no-one's been
invited? We gave you the details
two months ago! This should've
been sorted out then! Jesus Christ!

NARRATOR
Ian the floor manager is in desperate
need for an audience of extras. In a fit of
panic he is forced to take some
last minute drastic action.

Cut to a pair of feet dangling above ground in a store cupboard.
Shot of Director pacing down a corridor surrounded by runners etc. vying for her attention. She tries to out-pace them.
A runner (Sally Philips) dashes up and hands Director a note. Director waves it away...

DIRECTOR
No time... read it to me.

RUNNER
Um. It's a note from Ian.

DIRECTOR
What the fuck's he writing notes for?

RUNNER
I can't take it anymore...
Tell my parents sorry. Ian.

DIRECTOR
What's that supposed to mean?

They pass a store cupboard where a Bernie-like cleaning lady (Kathy Staff) opens the door and shrieks. Director is at just the ideal point to look in, though we can only see a pair of shoes swinging in and out of shot. A creaking noise accompanies.

DIRECTOR
Oh well that's just charming, that is.

She paces on. The runner jogs to catch up.

DIRECTOR
Get on the line to AVW. Get me a new floorman.

RUNNER
Righto.

DIRECTOR
Second thoughts... What's your name?

RUNNER
Helen.

DIRECTOR
Well, Helen. Consider yourself floor manager.

RUNNER
Oh.

DIRECTOR
Have we got an audience yet?

RUNNER
I'll look into it.

DIRECTOR
Be sure you do. You are in command
now, Helen. Don't fail me.

Director walks off. Helen gestures "wanker".

Outside, Helen is desperately trying to persuade passers by to come and be an audience.

NARRATOR
Outside, Helen is desperately trying to persuade
passers by to come and be an audience. She has
managed to enlist the help of some of the cast.

We see various cast members, principally a masked Ben Kingsley and a muddy Guy Pearce, waving fivers at members of the public.

NARRATOR
Meanwhile, in the car-park,
Mike is having Lemur trouble.

Mike and the Wardrobe woman (Fiona Allen) look at the boxes. The boxes are motionless and silent.

WARDROBE
Maybe they're just asleep.
You fed 'em right?

MIKE
Yeah. I fed 'em half an hour ago.

WARDROBE
There you go then, they're probably asleep.
You've stuck to the rules an' everything?

MIKE
Don't expose them to bright lights,
don't get them wet, don't feed them
after midnight... yeah. To the letter.

WARDROBE
Then they'll be fine. They'll be asleep.
Don't worry. If they're still like it
in an hour, then you can worry.

Shot of Mike looking worried. Shot of the clock in the dashboard. It's digital and reads 00:52.

NARRATOR
It's 1pm, and Helen has managed to
assemble an audience for the filming.

We see about 25 people milling about with the crew in the sports hall.
Helen is talking to a geeky person with glasses.

HELEN
You sure you can sort this out
on the computer, Lee?

DIGITAL EFFECTS SUPERVISOR (Mark Heap)
Yeah. No problem. Trust me.
We'll just copy this lot and spread
them out. We're using the stock from
Eight for most of the full shots anyway
aren't we? Just bung them into frame
when you need them and we'll do the rest.

HELEN
Thanks, Lee. You're a godsend.

CU of Lee giving an evil and manipulative glare.

DIRECTOR
Ok, everybody. Places...
Righto... we're gonna take it
from... um... From Rod's first line.

Peter Frank, Heather, Christopher, and Leon get inside the monolith prop.
Tom and Sarah get in the police box.
Ben, Kevin, and Guy Siner stand on stage. Kevin and Guy wear green masks.

DIRECTOR
Aaand... Action!

People get out of the tardises and the monolith.

PETER
Alright, Ant. You can stop all of this now. The game's up.

Ben, Kevin and Guy take off their masks but Ben's won't come off.

BEN
Shit. C'mon... Grr.
Fucking thing... Won't budge.

KEVIN
Are you ok, A?

BEN
Bastard bugger's stuck fast!

Shot of Director looking worried. Various cast and crew are looking her way. She mimes and mouths "keep rolling".
Guy and Kevin try to help pull the helmet off.

BEN
Ow! Ow! Stop! Stop!
You're pulling my ears off!
Jesus... Bloody hell!

PETER
Look, never mind that for now, Ant...

Steph smiles and nods encouragingly.

PETER
There's something more important
you need to know... Up there, the
geese have got Dalek Technology.

BEN
<resting for a second>
What?!

PETER
The geese have got extermination rays and what-not.

BEN
Oh.

PETER
Which is not good.

BEN
No.

PETER
And they're going to kill everyone.

BEN
We better blow them up then.

PETER
Ok.

BEN
Esteban, do the business.

GUY S.
Yes, master.

BEN
While I'll try ang get this blasted helmet off.
Fucking hell. Has anyone got any goose-grease?

CHRISTOPHER
I've got some vaseline.

BEN
Yeah?

CHRISTOPHER
<patting his coat>
Damn. No. Left it at home.
I could've sworn I had some...

GUY S.
Shit.

BEN
What? What's wrong?

GUY S.
The destruct system's been over-ridden.

PETER
Ah.

BEN
Then we'd better um... fuck it!
Fuck this stupid fucking helmet!

KEVIN
Commence Emergency Evacuation.

GUY S.
Ok.

FRANK
Emergency evacuation?

BEN
Yes.

FRANK
Oh.

BEN
I think I have a line now.
Sorry. I've fucked up. Sorry.

DIRECTOR
Ok. Never mind. Well done.
We kept going and that was what mattered.
I like the helmet thing. We might have
to keep it in. That was a good take.
Let's carry on with the helmet left on.

BEN
I'd love to, Steph, but I can't read
the script in here and I'm starting to
bake. It's really very hot and unpleasant.

DIRECTOR
Alright. Wardrobe! Make-up?
See if you can't help him out...

Director sat on a chair in a corner of the sports hall, being interviewed.

DIRECTOR
I like my actors to keep going
even if they cock up. The longer
they go the better. I'm the director,
not them, and so I say when it
cocks up. Ben called that one to
a close with a forgotten line, but
the thing had ground to a halt
anyway, and he was stuck in that
helmet for quite a while. I think
they did rather well considering...

NARRATOR
Meanwhile, Mike has become increasingly
concerned about the state of the lemurs.

Mike peers over the nearest box to him, teasing the flaps of the lid. All very slow and tense.
The flaps are latticed, and he pulls them up slightly, being careful not to let the light in.
As his head is directly over the apperture, shoot from low behind the box, as an Alien face hugger bursts out of the box and attatches itself to Mike's face. Mike stumbles back and falls out of shot.
Through the window of the open car door we can see the York skyline.

Cut to Helen walking down the corridor.

HELEN
Has anyone seen Mike?

ANOTHER RUNNER (Simon Pegg)
No... not seen him for about half an hour...

HELEN
Well if you do, tell him we need jam
and lots of it by four o'clock.
<to just past camera>
Mike's our jam man. He makes
all the gore for us. And we need
rather a lot of gore for later on.

DIRECTOR
<entering left>
Ah. Helen. Erm... any luck with Ben's helmet?

HELEN
Not sure. I can find out for you..

DIRECTOR
No. 'Sall right. I'm sure I'll
bump into him soon. Meantime,
we need some new bulbs on stage.
Two are out. You know where
they might be kept?

HELEN
Sorry. No. Don't lighting know?

DIRECTOR
That's who I'm looking for.

Cut to store-room. Three lighting engineers (Kevin Eldon, Peter Baynham, David Schneider) are sat in a circle around a stool, playing cards.
A pair of feet dangle over the stool. They occasionally get in the way of play.
Light falls on them as the door opens.

HELEN
Steph's looking for you guys.

ENGINEER 1 (Kevin Eldon)
Gooood...

HELEN
I'd keep it down a bit or she might find you.

ENGINEER 2 (Peter Baynham)
Ta.

The light from the door (on the cards) narrows and vanishes as the door shuts (off camera).

In the foyer. Kevin and Tom are chatting.
In the background, Ben exits the gents, still wearing the mask, he leaves shot left.
Director enters right bg. Helen appears from the ladies.

DIRECTOR
Where's my jam?

HELEN
We can't find Mike anywhere...

Mike enters from left.

MIKE
Did someone call?

DIRECTOR
Jam. Now.

MIKE
Right. Sorry.

He heads off to get the jam.

NARRATION
The next sequence to be filmed
contains a number of special effects:
Mike will provide the jam, which is
splattered by a device operated by
Paul and Barry, the FX crew.

Paul and Barry, aging men with spikey hair and moustaches, are setting up an elaborate see-saw contraption on stage, in the door of the tardis.

NARRATOR
In post production, the CGI
team will add the images of the
dematerialising tardis.

We see Lee at a laptop, playing about with a feed shot of the stage.

NARRATOR
But first, the jam is needed.

Mike is in the kitchens. He is in a big barrel, stirring jam. Suddenly he starts coughing and convulsing, and then an Alien bursts out of his chest.
Much gore. But the alien bursts head first into the wall of the barrel and spatters its frail, new-born body to a pulp. Acid sprays back into the broken corpse of Mike, who disolves into the jam. The barrel wall crumbles to dust, and the Mikey-jam slicks out across the kitchen floor.
Helen enters.

HELEN
Jesus Christ. Mike?! Mike?!
Where the fuck is he? What a
bloody mess. Hey! You!

She calls out to Barnie-cleaner.

CLEANER
Yeah?

HELEN
Help me mop this jam up. And don't
lose any. We need it all. This stuff
is really expensive to make.
Here... use this bucket...

She grabs a bucket and starts scooping handfulls of jam into it.
The cleaner assists.

CLEANER
It's still quite hot. You should
leave it to cool down.

HELEN
I know, but we need it now.

CLEANER
Fair enough.

Cut to the stage.

DIRECTOR
Ok. Are we set?

Ben, Guy S., Kevin, Peter and Jean are stood next to the tardis contraption which is loaded with the jam.

DIRECTOR
Fire when ready.

Paul and Barry fire the contraption which splatters acid-laced Mike-jam across the stage and out into the audience. Screams.

DIRECTOR
Fantastic. Well done.
Where's Helen?

MAKE-UP
She's been rushed to hospital
with major burns to her hands...

DIRECTOR
How'd that happen?

MAKE-UP
Not sure.

DIRECTOR
Well in that case, I need a new
floor-manager. That can be
you for now. Ok, make-up lady?

MAKE-UP
Oh. Right. Ok.

Mix to exterior shot with paramedics rushing in and ambulances pulling away.

NARRATOR
The cast have suffered an allergic
reaction to the jam and have been
rushed to hospital for emergency
treatment. Meanwhile, Steph tries
to work out how to make the most
of the booked time at the Barbican
now that half of her cast are unavailable.

Director and Make-Up are sat in a corner talking. An acid hole has formed in the floor of the sportshall, right bg.

DIRECTOR
Well we'll have to scrap the love scene.
And the lemurs are going to have to go...

Cut to the Renault. Zoom on the boxes. Ominous music.

Mix to an establish shot of the Cask and Cutler, Sheffield.
Caption: December 2001.

NARRATOR
It is December. The filming and post production are complete,
and the principle cast and crew gather for the canning party.

Inside are Director, Helen, Guy Pearce, Ben Kingsley, Anthony Head, Peter Davison, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Jean Reno, Ewan McGregor, Hugh Hopper, and Vincent Perez. Jean Reno has facial scarring. Peter Davison has bandages on his face.
Helen's hands are wrapped in bandages, Guy's leg is in plaster, and Ben still has the mask on.

ANTHONY
Well thank god that's over...

VINCENT
No shit.

Steph raises her pint.

DIRECTOR
A toast! Never again.

ALL
Never again!

They all drink. Ben and Peter drink through straws.

Run credits. Picture wobble and channel-change cut to:
Newsnight Review table.
L to R: Mark Kermode, Mark Lawson, Germaine Greer, Tom Paulin.

MARK L.
...much anticipated ninth installment
is debuted on AVW tonight, but after
troubled filming and poor reviews
for the previous episode, has Jesper
given us another T.N.G.? Mark
Kermode first, what did you think?

MARK K.
Well it was better than TNG, certainly,
although it lifted a couple of scenes straight
out of it. On the whole I thought it wasn't
bad, but by no means up to the earlier
works. It seemed to be trying very hard
but kept getting bogged down in this
attrocious Doctor Who parody plot that
I found, frankly, confusing though I suppose
largely that that's the point. Peter Davison
put in another excellent performance,
but many of the characters were underused
as usual. That said, I thought it was tight enough.
Especcially, I liked the earlier scenes with
Babysham and Alan. The second half
seemed to tail off a little, it felt, to me...

MARK L.
Yes. I see what you mean. Germaine...

GERMAINE
Well I thought it was absolutely awful.
Steph Jesper just is incapable of writing
a decent female roll. We've not had one.
When Caroline came in it was like a breath
of fresh air, with her slicing down the rigging
in that Caribbean fiasco, but last episode
she was reduced to an incontinent buffoon,
and this time round, Sarah Michelle Gellar's
character acts in a completely illogical
manner - and what was especcially amazing,
I thought, was to hear someon actually
describe women as "crumpet"! That
just... well anyway, the women seemed
either ornamental or plain imbascillic...

MARK L.
But isn't that deliberate?

GERMAINE
Well of course it's deliberate but it
doesn't have to make it any good!

MARK L.
Surely it's all part of the Watership Down
parody? I mean it was stated from the very
first episode that the main characters
don't know many women, and now they
find themselves stranded in space,
growing desperate for sex...

GERMAINE
Well exactly! Dear me...

MARK L.
Tom Paulin...

TOM
W-well I have to agree that the women
in this work, a-and indeed the women
through-throughout the series have been
largely i-irrelevent to the action, but
like has been said, I think that that's
the point. These, these central characters
don't really meet many women at all,
and that's something that continually
frustrates them... But anyway... I have
to say that I found this episode utterly
dreadful. Like Mark, I rather enjoyed
some of the earlier episodes but this
seemed like a banal extension to the
story. I only hope they don't make any more.

MARK L.
There's nothing in the pipe line.

TOM
Thank God for that...

MARK K.
One thing I really did like though
 was the sound. Now the sound was
done by Kelly Firdner, who I don't
know if you remember, did the sound
engineering on La Cocina de Cabeza?
Well that was terrific, and this is
probably a close second...

TOM
I liked Steve Davis in it if
that's any consolation?
I thought he was under-used.

MARK K.
Yeah, well of course he was
nominated for a golden ball
at the Driffield Film Festival
for his role as Ebeneezer Scrooge
in a BBC production earlier this
year. In fact, that's why he
isn't used that much, because
he was filming for that at the
same time. That was in York
too, as a matter of fact...

GERMAINE
Well what it really lacked were
any decent female actors. Sarah
Michelle Gellar was under
used and even she was simply
the best of a bad lot...

TOM
I don't know... She's quite hot
in that Buffy the Vampire Slayer...

MARK L.
Too right.

TOM
Ok. I take it back... Give me
that Willow woman any day...

MARK K.
Who was incidentally in
My Stepmother Is An Alien
with Dan Akroyd, when she was
a little girl, playing alongside the
guy who played her boyfriend
in Buffy...

TOM
I thought she was a lesbian in that.

GERMAINE
Just your typical male fantasy...

MARK K.
No. He's right, she is...
Her boyfriend became a werewolf
and she started dating a witch...

MARK L.
Well we seem to have strayed
off topic a little there... A New Soap
Episode Nine - Tardis Down opens
on AVW this evening,
and seems to have got a bit of
a thumbs down from our panel...
Now then, Infatuations, a
collection of short st...

TV flickers and zaps off...
 

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