City Lights (ITV series)

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Northern Lights/City Lights
StarringMark Benton,
Robson Green
Country of originUnited Kingdom
No. of series2
No. of episodes14
Executive producer(s)Andy Harries
Producer(s)ITV Productions
Running time60 minutes
Original networkITV, STV, UTV
Original release21 December 2004 –

21 December 2008

City Lights is a British comedy-drama broadcast on ITV starring Robson Green and Mark Benton. The show is a sequel to the 2006 series Northern Lights (a spin-off of the Christmas special Christmas Lights).


As in the previous series of this show, Green and Benton play Colin Armstrong and Howie Scott, two best friends since childhood who are married to two sisters, Jackie (played by Nicola Stephenson) and Pauline (played by Siân Reeves). The series commences with the two friends being the only witnesses to a gangland shooting, and after the police fail to catch the culprit, and the families' houses are set alight, the families are forced to go on the witness protection programme, which relocates them to London. They are forced to change their names, with Colin choosing Brad Shearer, a reference to Newcastle United player Alan Shearer, and Howie choosing the name Duncan Carr, not realising he didn't have to stick to the suggestion list. He requests a change of name but it's too late. He decides to get people to call him by his middle name which is Wayne but then realises that it now sounds like the curse word 'wanker'.

It is also revealed that Pauline is having an affair with a workmate, although Howie is oblivious to this. This develops later in the series as, separated from her lover, she develops an attraction the police officer who first dealt with their case, DS Tate, failing to realise that he is being blackmailed by the criminal who is after the two families, Sweeney, who has bought up his gambling debts.

As the tensions between the two families worsen, Colin and Howie make numerous accidental references to others that reveal their true names and origins. Both of their relationships with their wives also become estranged, after it is revealed that Colin was married prior to marrying Jackie, yet never revealed the fact to her. Howie is also in trouble as he was best man at the wedding and also failed to disclose the fact to Jackie or Pauline.

While Jackie forgives Colin, Howie and Pauline's relationship seems to be over after she disappears without trace, spending the day with DS Tate, unaware that he is revealing her location to Sweeney. However, DS Tate changes his mind and decides not to take her to an agreed meeting place with Sweeney. Pauline phones Howie to tell him that their relationship is over, unaware that her call is being listened to by the police, who believe that she has been kidnapped.

Pauline then spends the night with Tate, giving him the opportunity to read her address from a piece of paper in her handbag. Meanwhile, Howie and Colin become traffic wardens, and Colin accidentally gives his influence David Ginola a parking ticket. Partially as a result of this, they resign their positions as traffic wardens and Colin buys a large quantity of gardening equipment, proposing that they set up a landscape gardening business.

After discovering that Pauline is having an affair, Howie trails her to a hotel where she is with DS Tate, however, they are caught and kidnapped by Sweeney's thugs. They are taken before Sweeney, who demands they return the drugs they 'stole' from him. Howie and Colin lead Sweeney's thugs on a false trail to find the drugs.

The Police find out that the person Pauline has been contacting is DS Tate, and immediately interrogate her about it. Meanwhile, Sweeney's thugs take Howie and Colin back to Sweeney's caravan, where DS Tate is waiting for them, ready to shoot them both. DS Tate, Howie and Colin escape after fooling Sweeney's thugs into thinking Tate actually shot them (He poured tomato ketchup over them to make it look like blood). One of the thugs kills the other, and claims that he will make it look like the thug and Tate shot each other - "After all, you were shagging the big guy's wife." Howie and Colin hear this, attack the thug and take his gun, before bundling him into the back of a nearby car. They drive to the airfield where Sweeney is about to leave in a plane, and mistakenly stop the wrong plane, however, the police arrive and stop the plane carrying Sweeney. Tate is arrested for conspiring to kidnap, and Colin and Howie return to the safe house. However, Colin collapses and it transpires that after Sweeney's thug kicked him earlier, he had a ruptured spleen. Colin thinks he's been given the 'snip', however, it is explained that he had a splenectomy and is not able to have the 'snip'. Jackie reveals that she is pregnant and Colin and Howie decide to stay in London.


# Title Original airdate Production code
1"Christmas Lights"21 December 2004 (2004-12-21)#NL-P
In the first episode we are introduced to best mates: Howie Scott and Colin Armstrong. Both are workers at Sherpa Freight, but when Howie gets promoted to manager a rivalry develops between the friends. A rivalry that causes the two to attempt to outdo each other by decorating their houses with Christmas lights!
2"The Holiday"16 January 2006 (2006-01-16)#NL101
Colin & Jackie splash out on a holiday to Florida but then Colin fails an alcohol test and gets fired from Sherpa! Meanwhile, Pauline feels neglected by Howie. And, Collin's daughter Brooke gets a new boyfriend.
3"The Driver"23 January 2006 (2006-01-23)#NL102
Colin is still job hunting so he takes work at the local taxi firm. But he finds himself being mugged by teenagers, cheated by an OAP, and terrorised by a 12-year-old, and when Brooke goes missing, Collin fears the worst. Meanwhile, Howie is offered his job back, which causes a rift between him and Collin.
4"The Reunion"30 January 2006 (2006-01-30)#NL103
Colin & Howie go to a school reunion at Newcastle and Howie hooks up with an old flame. Colin is torn between supporting his friend or telling Pauline, and Howie must decide who he really loves.
5"The Match"6 February 2006 (2006-02-06)#NL104
To show that he can be more than just a van driver, Colin becomes the new captain of the Sherpa Freight's football team, but when the power goes to his head, he begins losing friends, especially Howie. Meanwhile, the landlord of the local pub takes a shine to Jackie when she joins the snooker team.
6"The Fall of the Father"13 February 2006 (2006-02-13)#NL105
Colin's father dies and his father-in-law has a heart attack. Pauline and Jackie discover some secrets concerning their father and Sherpa receptionist Jean. Meanwhile, Colin's brother Patrick arrives. But tension rises between the two brothers, with Howie stuck in the middle.
7"The Welsh Adventure"20 February 2006 (2006-02-20)#NL106
Collin & Howie take the family to the countryside for the weekend. Jackie & Pauline find out they have a long lost sister, who turns out to be a lesbian! Meanwhile, Colin & Howie head off for a day of fishing. But the trip soon relocates to the local pub, where they make a big impression on the locals. The boys get drunk and disturb a shotgun-wielding farmer who attempts to hunt them down!
8"Behind The Scenes"10 April 2007 (2007-04-10)BTS-NL
This special behind the scenes look at the series, takes a peek behind the camera and sees that making of Northern Lights!
9"The Shooting"11 April 2007 (2007-04-11)TBA
After witnessing the shooting of a physcotic gangster, Colin & Howie are forced into witness protection, and everyone is forced to start a new life. But Sweeney, the gangster in question, sends his two faithful henchmen after the best-friends. Meanwhile, Pauline cannot bear to leave her life behind - and her secret lover.
10"The New Life"18 April 2007 (2007-04-18)TBA
The two families are moved to a safe house in London, where Jackie discovers a dark secret from Colin's past that could rip the couple apart forever, whilst Howie fears that his marriage could be on the verge of ending as Pauline blames him for everything that has happened, and Brooke goes to extreme measures to contact her boyfriend. Meanwhile, DS Gary Tate's gambling debts make him the perfect man to entrap Howie and Colin for Sweeny, Hatton and Gully.
11"The End of the Line"25 April 2007 (2007-04-25)TBA
Both Colin & Howies marriage's are falling apart whilst Colin manages to win Jackie back, Pauline makes a heartbreaking decision that will change the two families for good, and after another argument, she seeks solace in the arms of a familiar face. Meanwhile, Sweeney's sends his heavies to put pressure on DS Gary Tate, but will he give them the information that could seal Howie and Collin's fate?
12"The Career Path"2 May 2007 (2007-05-02)TBA
Colin & Howie becomes traffic wardens and Howie gains a new admirer. Jackie is unable to have sex with Colin because she cannot forget about his ex-wife, so Collin tries to spice up their love life. Meanwhile, Pauline struggles to resist DS Gary Tate after their passionate night, and the pair begin an affair, which convinces Pauline that there is no way back for her and Howie's marriage. Heartbroken by this, Howie leaves the safehouse, which results in tension between Collin and Pauline.
13"The Capture"9 May 2007 (2007-05-09)TBA
Colin and a depressed Howie launch a gardening business. Collin lets slip to Howie that Pauline may have a new man. Howie heads off to confront her mystery man. At the same time, Hatton and Scully decide to gatecrash Pauline and Tate's sex session, sparking off a chain of events that leaves everyone's life in danger.
14"The Final Showdown"16 May 2007 (2007-05-16)TBA
Colin & Howie are being held hostage by Hatton and Scully. they also capture Gary Tate and order him to kill Howie and Colin. Sweeney comes face to face with his enemies. Can the duo escape their toughest adventure yet? Meanwhile, Pauline's world comes crashing down around her as she faces the consequences of her actions, whilst Jackie receives life-changing news.
15"Clash of the Santas"21 December 2008 (2008-12-21)TBA
Colin & Howie are taking a trip to Lithuania to represent the United Kingdom in a Santa convention. Who will be picked as Santa, and who will be relegated to the role of cheerleading elf?

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