Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, not exceeding 0.9 metres in height, with safety rubberised playsurface installed on both sides. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men were in attendance, and had recent CRB checks and there were four certified first aiders on site. There were no mishaps.
Where’s the fun in that? And, more importantly, where’s the narrative tension?
In a world where risk assessments are carried out before anyone dares even to step outside the door, there’s no possibility of the random happenings and deadly peril so beloved of novelists, dramaturges (I’m perfectly certain I’ve never typed that word before), cineastes (ditto), lyricists or librettists and the writers of nursery rhymes (not sure what you call them).
Mercutio would have lived to a ripe old age because the swords would have been tipped. Juliet would never have been able to get her hands on that sleeping draught because it would almost certainly be reclassified as a Class A drug. Ophelia would have had swimming lessons at school and, anyway, there would have been plenty of bouyancy aids available. Mimi’s tiny hand would not have been frozen – she’d have been vaccinated against TB at school, and the simple addition of a room thermometer would have made sure she kept her room nice and cozy. Manderley wouldn’t have burned down because Mrs Danvers would have been sectioned under the Mental Health Act long ago.
I suspect that even pussycats wishing to go up to London to look at the queen would have a hard time getting close enough to frighten little mice under her chair.
And, yes, I do realise I keep banging on about this kind of thing but, honestly …