BBC comedy hit Hebburn almost lost the plot when a TV script for the show’s new series was found by some keen-eyed youngsters.
Christmas came early when 11-year-old twins Serena and Lauren Short and their pal Katie Luke, 13, found the precious papers, which include storylines for the eagerly-awaited festive special.
The trio found the top secret script lying on the ground near Hebburn Cricket Club on Saturday afternoon.
But rather than give away the secrets of the eagerly-awaited episode, they decided to guard the gags and send the papers back to relieved programme bosses. Relieved show creator Jason Cook has hailed the honesty of the three St Joseph’s Catholic Academy pupils and pledged to meet them in person to offer his thanks.
The funnyman is delighted the Christmas episode won’t be spoiled – after he made plans to watch it in full for the first time with his own family when it is aired.
Mr Cook said: “I would like to thank them personally, for their kindness and their honesty.
“The Christmas episode is my favourite. I would usually watch the episodes before they are shown, but I am planning on watching the Christmas episode at home with my family. Even they don’t know what’s going to happen.
Janine Short, 43, who lives with her twins and husband Colin, 40, in Woodvale Drive, Hebburn, said: “My daughters were out taking the dog for a walk when they saw the papers lying on the ground at Hebburn Cricket Club.
“It was a script for Hebburn series 2. It is spread out over two or three episodes and also has a few pages of the Christmas special.
“We have read it, but we’re not going to give any information anyway as we don’t want to spoil it for anyone.”
She added: “The script had a number for a producer on it so I rang it and asked if we could send it back.
“She was very nice and offered to send us some DVDs.
“The series has really grown on me and this does make me more interested in watching the new series.”
Serena said: “We were out with the dog and looking to see if the film crew were still around when we noticed the pieces of paper on the ground. When we picked it up we realised it was the script.
Lauren said: “When we saw it was the script we were really excited. It’s been hard not to tell anyone what’s in it.”
Katie added: “It’s great to have a TV show about our town and we got some photos of the cast when they were down during the week.”
The programme’s first series told the story of Jack, played by South Shields comic Chris Ramsey, who comes back to South Tyneside from Manchester.
He has secretly married middle-class Jewish girl Sarah, played by Kimberley Nixon, and brought her back home to meet his family, which includes parents played by Gina McKee and Jim Moir, better known as Vic Reeves.
The first series proved a ratings hit for BBC Two and has been nominated for best comedy in the National TV awards.