List of The Brittas Empire characters

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Main Characters of The Brittas Empire (left to right): Julie Porter (Judy Flynn), Linda Perkins (Jill Greenacre), Gavin Featherly (Tim Marriott), Gordon Brittas (Chris Barrie), Helen Brittas (Pippa Haywood), Laura Lancing (Julia St. John), Carole Parkinson (Harriet Thorpe), Colin Weatherby (Michael Burns), Tim Whistler (Russell Porter)

This is a list of characters for the 1990s BBC British Television sitcom The Brittas Empire, a British television sitcom that aired on BBC 1 in the 1990s.

Gordon Brittas[edit]

Gordon Wellesley Brittas
First appearance Series one, episode one: Laying the Foundations (1991)
Last appearance Series seven, episode eight: Curse of the Tiger Women (1997)
Created by Andrew Norriss & Richard Fegen
Portrayed by Chris Barrie
Information
Gender Male
Occupation Manager
Family Jim Brittas (father)
Horatio Brittas (brother)
Helen Brittas (wife)
Johnathan (stepson)
Tom (stepson)
One unnamed (stepson)
Matthew Brittas (son)
Mark Gordon Brittas (son)
Emily Parkinson (twin daughter with Carole Parkinson)
Jessica Parkinson (twin daughter with Carole Parkinson)

Gordon Wellesley Brittas GM (born 1958) is the Manager of the ill-fated Whitbury Leisure Centre.

Brittas is extremely dedicated to his job and cares dearly for everyone around him, including his unstable wife Helen. He has grand ambitions of making the world a better place, and aims to fulfill his dream of bringing people together through sport. Despite his noble and well-meant intentions, however, Brittas' management only ever causes disaster and chaos, resulting in pathetically low attendance rates, catastrophic fires, floods and even customer deaths on several occasions. In typical bureaucratic style, he is obsessed with paperwork and forces his staff and customers to fill in thousands of different forms for the most banal of things, such as lost property claims. Throughout the entire show, he remains blissfully unaware of his total incompetence as a manager and the negative effect he has on everybody around him.

An example of Brittas's tactlessness is in "Temple Of The Body", where he suspects someone is having sex in the centre, telling Carol that she has nothing to worry about, because whatever is happening is only with "the younger and more attractive women, such as Linda, Julie and Laura".[1]

Brittas is also extremely petty, insisting on over-complicated forms at reception, and ridiculous rules on what not to wear in the centre, only serving to frustrate potential customers and centre staff. In series seven, Brittas rigs up a computer system to control every aspect of the centre, which over-complicates even the simple task of distributing floats by the swimming pools, and results in someone drowning.

Brittas is also accident-prone, and will make careless mistakes with fatal consequences. For example, in "Laura's Leaving", Brittas tugs at a wire which drops a live electric heater into the main swimming pool.[2] This electrocutes a group of Pentecostal Christians performing a baptism ceremony in the water. Alternatively, if a small problem does develop without his doing, Brittas will try to solve it, thus creating a much larger problem. Helen points out in the second episode that "once [Gordon] starts dealing with little problems, they don't go away; you just get bigger ones" and then in series three, that the disasters in the centre always start with something trivial going wrong.[2] Also once, Laura points out that he is very good at solving big problems, but is hopeless at solving all the other ones.

Gordon has a fraternal twin brother, Horatio Brittas, a priest who shares his dream of bringing communities together. He has five children with Helen, three he adopted from her earlier marriage and two twin boys from theirs. Twins being a trait which apparently runs throughout his side of the family. Unknown to him until the very last episode of the series, Carol's twins are also his - the result of a boozy mix-up at Julie's New Year's Eve party, where Carol and Helen both happened to dress in identical tiger costumes, leading to Gordon's mistake.

Brittas can in many respects be considered a forerunner to David Brent of The Office. His lack of self-awareness and ability to alienate and offend his staff despite his genuine good intentions are examples of commonality between the characters.

Writers of the show Norriss and Fegen decided to make series five the final series, thus Brittas is "killed" by a falling water tank. However Chris Barrie returned to play Brittas for a further two series, as the BBC wanted the popular show to continue. New writers were brought on to replace the show's creators. The show's actual ending was in 1997, when Brittas, at the end of series seven, wakes up on a train heading for Whitbury. According to this ending, the entire series was a dream.[3]

Helen Brittas[edit]

Helen Brittas
First appearance Series one, episode one: Laying the Foundations (1991)
Last appearance Series seven, episode eight: Curse of the Tiger Women (1997)
Created by Richard Fegen & Andrew Norris
Portrayed by Pippa Haywood
Information
Gender Female
Occupation Counsellor (as of series seven)
Family Gordon Brittas (husband)
Jonathan (son from previous marriage)
two unnamed (children from previous marriage)
Matthew Brittas (son)
Mark Gordon Brittas (son)
Horatio Brittas (brother-in-law)
Jim Brittas (father-in-law)

Helen Brittas (born 1956) is Gordon's long-suffering wife.

Helen starts out as a marginally depressed housewife, disillusioned and agitated by her oblivious husband and his grand schemes, but gradually becomes more neurotic and dependent on prescribed anti-depressants. Dr. Gray, Helen's concerned family doctor, is reluctant to prescribe any further medication until he can speak to Gordon; a brief appointment with both Helen and Gordon is sufficient to convince Dr. Gray to write out an extra-strength prescription "for the really bad days".

Helen often requires support from Brittas's deputy Laura Lancing, and frequently pours her heart out to Laura, telling her the stress Gordon is causing her, and about her latest one-night-stands or stupid mistakes. Helen relies on other people to lie for her, to cover up her addictive shoplifting[4] and her constant cheating on Gordon with other men.

Helen was married at least once before her wedding to Gordon; in episode 6 of series 2 ("The Stuff of Dreams") when discussing concerns over his legacy to the world, Gordon explains to Laura that the three sons he and Helen live with are her children from a previous marriage. One of them is named Johnathan, and he appears to be of secondary school age (11-16); it is indicated that his chemistry teacher may be the manufacturer or supplier of some of the numerous tablets that Helen uses for medication. Another is named Tom. The third son is not named, and in the final episode, Gordon claims they have only four children: it is possible that the other stepson has grown up and left home. Helen and Gordon go on to have twin boys, Matthew and Mark, together; due to a parking dispute en route to the hospital, the children are delivered by student nurses on a hospital bed in the middle of Whitbury High Street, the bed being part of a fundraising float for the students' "Rag Week".

It may also be argued that Helen had a third husband; a chance encounter in episode 4 of series 6 ("A Walk On The Wild Side"), she is reunited with Harry Johnson, a visiting spiritual guru who she first met as a teenager or young adult. She fondly remembers how a "hippy vicar" conducted what she believed to be a mock wedding, only for Harry to reveal that the minister had since become the Bishop of Maidstone; horror overcome, Helen seriously considers living with Harry for a trial period of "three or four years" until a blow on the head renders him unconscious. The outcome is never overtly stated but Helen apparently remains with Gordon, and does seem to love him.

Helen's erratic and often illegal behaviour do make life difficult for Gordon on more than one occasion. In series 6, Helen nearly poisons everybody in Whitbury by spiking fruit-flavoured cordial from the local shop with laxative as a revenge on the cordial manufacturer for not hiring her twins for their television commercial. During series three, a department store (correctly) accuses Helen of stealing a wedding dress, some shoes, a handbag, a pair of gloves, and a barbecue set; at this point it is made clear that her criminal record includes nine previous charges of shoplifting. In "The Chop", Gordon resigns from the leisure centre (although he is reinstated a few weeks later), in order to protect her when she admits to taking £300 from the leisure centre's petty cash to buy a dog.

She also possessed a latent murderous streak, having once arranged for Gordon to be assassinated while on holiday in Bulgaria. On another occasion (series 5, episode 3) one of her children was given a D grade for some English homework; having been the one who had actually done the work, Helen responded by reversing her car into the classroom in attempt to kill the teacher in revenge. She later reassured Laura that the teacher "swung up on a light fitting" and so was never harmed.

Helen appears in all episodes, apart from one in series four when she "accidentally" books the family holiday to Cornwall on the wrong week, thus leaving Gordon unable to attend; a mistake she also made the previous year.[5]

Laura Lancing/Farrell (series 1-5)[edit]

Laura Lancing/Farrell
First appearance Series one, episode one, Laying the Foundations (1991)
Last appearance Christmas special (1994)
Portrayed by Julia St. John
Information
Gender Female
Occupation Deputy Manager Dry
Family Michael T. Farrell (husband)
Barney Farrell (son)

Laura Farrell (née Lancing) is the Deputy Manager Dry of Whitbury Leisure Centre.

Laura is calm and extremely efficient at management, often bringing normality back to the centre after a disaster has escalated. She's also the voice of reason, talking sense into those around her. Laura is usually warm and understanding, and has peoples' best interests at heart.

A common thing she does is comfort colleague Tim when he suspects Gavin is having an affair.

She understands that however much chaos her boss Gordon Brittas causes with his half-baked ideas, he means well, so she will occasionally defend him from criticism by staff, councillors and even Brittas's unhinged wife, Helen. Laura is often seen lending support to Helen, who goes into states of shock and panic whenever Laura is away or planning to leave. Helen is convinced the centre won't cope without Laura, with no-one there to "pick up the pieces" after Brittas has caused another disaster.

Brittas is seen to be very fond of Laura, perhaps because of her kind, helpful nature and his lack of close friends in his personal life. In later series, hints are dropped at a possible romance between Brittas and Laura. In one episode of series 3, she kisses Brittas in a flurry of emotion, leaving him in a state of shock. No more is said about it, but in the next series, when Helen deliberately books a holiday that she knows Brittas can't attend, Laura proves very supportive towards him, and the two bond further. A scene in series 5 shows Laura finally confessing her feelings for Brittas and passionately kissing him, although this turns out to be Brittas fantasising. As a result of this, Laura is the only woman whom Brittas has ever considered having an affair with.

Laura is legally married to Michael T. Farrell III, the son of an American billionaire. However, she has been estranged from him for over two years and uses her maiden name, Lancing, in everyday life until he appears one day, searching for her at the centre. Despite the best efforts of a jealous Brittas, Laura gradually reconciles with Farrell again, and becomes pregnant with his child. Because of this, she turns down the opportunity to take over from Gordon as manager of the leisure centre, and moves to Chicago, United States to start a new life with Farrell at the end of series 5.

Colin Weatherby[edit]

Colin Weatherby
First appearance Series one, episode one: Laying the Foundations (1991)
Last appearance Series seven, episode eight: Curse of the Tiger Women (1997)
Created by Richard Fegen and Andrew Norris
Portrayed by Michael Burns
Information
Gender Male
Occupation Deputy Manager Wet, later Manager of Building Fabric
Family Stephanie (daughter)

Colin Weatherby is a Deputy Manager and janitor of Whitbury Leisure centre.

Colin is a gentle, loyal and friendly character who is popular with all of his colleagues. However, he is also forgetful, disorganized, almost always late for staff meetings, highly incompetent and appears constantly dishevelled and filthy. However, Colin is a skilled carpenter and engineer and also has an impressive knowledge of biology, woodwork, construction, science, midwifery, plants, natural foods and healthy lifestyles. Despite this, he often suffers from unpleasant medical symptoms, and often has cuts, bruises and boils, and suffers seborrhea. One of his hands is also septic and infected and seen in a bandage throughout most of the series. (As a result of this, whenever he shakes someone's hand, a dirty piece of bandage is left behind.) Colin is accident-prone and frequently late or absent, from receiving medical attention for injuries he has sustained (then gives an disgusting explanation of this, despite Brittas telling him to be quiet). He hails from Sunderland and, like Julie, speaks with a distinctly northern English accent, in contrast to everyone else at the centre.

Colin is the only member of staff who respects and reveres Gordon Brittas as a role model, and will not hear a word against him and will always defend him. However, while Gordon appreciates Colin's loyal nature, feels sympathetic towards him, admires his scientific and artistic knowledge, and is good friends with him (even going as far as to save his life by sucking spider venom out of Colin's buttocks), he is well aware throughout the show of Colin's incompetence as a manager and comes very close to firing him on several occasions. Gordon prefers working with the other deputies such as Laura or Gavin, rarely delegating jobs or responsibilities to Colin. Gordon also tries to keep Colin as hidden from the public as possible, afraid that he may present a bad image of the centre. Once in Series 2, when Colin makes a stupid comment, Brittas acts sarcastic and rude to Colin, upsetting him, so when Gavin goes to tell Brittas that's something's gone wrong, Colin, along with Tim, goes to see how upset Brittas is. In Series 6, Brittas dismisses a potion that Colin makes, outraging him.

An example of Colin's popularity among his colleagues, is that whenever Gordon tries to sack Colin, the staff always protest.

From Series 1 to halfway through Series 5, he serves alongside fellow manager Laura as Deputy Manager Wet, "Wet" referring to his pool duties. Brittas then promotes Gavin to Acting Deputy Manager with the intention of sacking Colin due to his incompetence, but Laura eventually forces Brittas to "promote" him to "Manager of Building Fabric" - essentially a glorified janitor's position - and gives him a new uniform, a 2% pay rise, and an 'office' in the basement. Colin is immensely happy with his new position and goes on to create many dangerous, crackpot inventions in the basement, ranging from waste recycling devices to Suffolk Punch powered baby cradles.

Colin later clashes with Gavin after his promotion to Acting Deputy Manager out of jealousy. However, Brittas later reveals that Colin was never actually terminated as Deputy Manager Wet and is still technically Gavin's superior, much to Colin's delight and Gavin's chagrin.

In Series 4, it is revealed that Colin has an illegitimate daughter, Stephanie, who lives in Tasmania, Australia. Colin sends her lots of letters, telling her that he's the manager or that he's done something amazing. When Stephanie comes to stay, all the staff try to help Colin by saying about all the hero acts he's done, or saying he is the manager. When Brittas finds out, he is enraged and incensed, but then does the best things he ever does in the series: backing up Colin's stories. Colin also has a relationship with a milkwoman, Pauline (who, unbeknownst to Colin, is a male transvestite). He was once in a relationship with an Mrs Edwina Harcourt, but that affair did not work out. In Series 6 and Series 7, hints are dropped at a possible romance between Colin and Julie. In "Back From The Dead", Julie shows sympathy towards Colin when he is dumped by his girlfriend. Colin also threatens to attack anyone who insults Julie. He also comments how pretty Julie is and offers to marry her when he discovers she is pregnant. Although she refuses, she names him as the baby's godfather (and gives him the middle name Colin), and often goes on strike upon discovering Colin could be sacked. In the later series, when Laura leaves, Colin twice acts as Helen's supportive willing-to-listen friend: once when she confides in him about her marriage, and another time when she confides she suspects Gordon is having an affair with Carole.

Carole Parkinson[edit]

Carole Parkinson
First appearance Series one, episode one: Laying the Foundations (1991)
Last appearance Series Seven, episode eight: Curse of the Tiger Women (1997)
Portrayed by Harriet Thorpe
Information
Gender Female
Occupation Receptionist, later Manageress of the Creche
Family Derek Parkinson (husband)
Ben (son)
Emily Parkinson (daughter with Gordon Brittas)
Jessica Parkinson (daughter with Gordon Brittas)

Carole Parkinson is the receptionist at Whitbury New Town Leisure Centre. She is a loving mother to her three children, whom she keeps in the drawers and cupboards in the reception area, where she also lives. Despite having ambitions to be a writer and pianist, Carole's talents remain unrecognised by the wider world. The beginning of the series saw Carole's husband leave her to live in Spain with her best friend. After Carole loses her job in the third series, a tactful suggestion from Laura leads Brittas to reclassify Carole as Manageress of the Staff Creche.

Brittas views Carole as hopeless and unattractive, on one occasion arranging the seating plan for an exclusive classical concert so that both she and Colin will be behind everyone else. Frequent references throughout the series are made to a fancy dress party hosted by Julie, at which both Carole and Helen wore similar tiger costumes; this confusion resulted in the birth of Carole's twins in the leisure centre sauna. Although initially said to be a boy and a girl, later reference suggest that the twins were girls named Jessica and Emily. Gordon is not informed that he is the twins' father until the final episode.

At the end of series five Carole finally finds happiness with an Austrian man named Von Trapp, who is employed by the Social Services department to investigate the (true) report that she is keeping her children in drawers and cupboards. Carole's appearance in the unexpected sixth series was explained by Von Trapp's affair with a nun. A segment of the 1994 Christmas special, In The Beginning, implied that Carole eventually left the centre to become a world-famous pianist.

Gavin Featherly[edit]

Gavin Featherly
First appearance Series one, episode one: Laying the Foundations (1991)
Last appearance Series seven, episode eight: Curse of the Tiger Women (1997)
Created by Richard Fegen and Andrew Norris
Portrayed by Tim Marriott
Information
Gender Male
Occupation Pool attendant, later Acting Deputy Manager
Family Tim Whistler (boyfriend)
Peter Featherly (brother)
Col. Featherley (father)
Enid Featherley (mother)
Sally (sister)
Alice(sister)

Gavin Featherly (born c.1961) is a pool attendant, and later Acting Deputy Manager of the leisure centre. His father is stated to be a retired army colonel, and his parents appear to live abroad; in series 7, episode 6, they note that returning to England has involved a 22-hour flight. He is one of four children; his brother Peter lives in Zambia, his sister Sally lives in Tokyo and another sister, Alice, lives in Brussels.

Gavin is gentle and caring, and gets on with his job under Brittas. He later develops a certain arrogance when being promoted to deputy manager. After this promotion, he occasionally clashes with the previous Deputy Manager "Wet", Colin Weatherby, claiming he only "cleans toilets".

The promotion causes a rift in his relationship with boyfriend and co-worker Tim Whistler, and also causes him to pick up some of his boss's mannerisms, in the form of what he says and hand gestures. Gavin falls out with his boyfriend on many occasions, because of either keeping secrets from him or the jealousy and jumping to conclusions on Tim's part.

The relationship between Gavin and Tim provides a humorous subplot, because Brittas, who is unable to detect the subtle communication between the two, remains unaware they are a couple. In the last episode of the first series, Brittas even asks Gavin to keep on eye on Tim, because Brittas suspects that Tim is gay. In series 7, episode 6, Colonel and Mrs. Featherley remark that they don't ever remember Gavin talking about anyone called Tim, suggesting that they are unaware of their son's sexual orientation.

Gavin is the only staff member who wears a tie and blazer (after his promotion), just like Brittas, showing just how seriously he takes his career in leisure management.

Linda Perkins[edit]

Linda Perkins
First appearance Series one episode one: Laying The Foundations (1991)
Last appearance Series seven episode eight: The Curse of the Tiger Woman (1997)
Created by Richard Fegen and Andrew Norris
Portrayed by Jill Greenacre
Information
Gender female
Occupation pool attendant

Linda Perkins (played by Jill Greenacre) is a pool attendant at Whitbury New Town Leisure Centre. Linda teaches and trains people in different sports.

Enthusiastic and hard working, Linda has a deep admiration for Brittas and is willing to fulfil whatever strange or illogical tasks she is given. She has a keen awareness of ethical issues, to the point where a conflict of opinions with Tim over his planned in-centre menu results in Linda and a group of environmentally-minded friends staging an animal rights protest outside, where Tim is shut inside a small cage to prove a point. Her cheerful nature may explain why she is chosen to staff the reception desk during Carole's assertiveness training.

Linda has at least one brother, who works in a tropical disease centre at Birmingham and is knowledgeable about poisonous plants and spiders, and that they want to go to Oregon to start up a gun shop there. Linda also claims to have a sister in one episode. She met her long-term partner Edward at school and brings him to a social event at the centre on one occasion; he is considerably older than Linda, leading her to admit that he was actually her teacher.

Linda is drawn to the spiritual life, stating that her ambition is to become the first female Archbishop of Canterbury. At the time of Brittas' planned departure for Brussels, Linda had been offered a place at theological college and the 1994 Christmas Special, In The Beginning, implied that she did go on to become a senior member of the clergy.

Tim Whistler[edit]

Tim Whistler
First appearance Series one, episode one: Laying the Foundations (1991)
Last appearance Series seven, episode eight: Curse of the Tiger Women (1997)
Created by Richard Fegen and Andrew Norris
Portrayed by Russell Porter
Information
Gender Male
Occupation Pool attendant
Family Gavin Featherly (boyfriend)

Tim Whistler (played by Russell Porter) is a pool attendant. He is also a chef. Tim is bisexual and, unbeknownst to Gordon Brittas, is in a relationship with fellow pool attendant Gavin Featherly, with whom he shares an apartment. Like most of his colleagues, Tim despises his manager, Brittas, and often complains or schemes to disrupt the centre to get at him through strikes and protests.

Although a lively, confident worker, Tim is slightly mentally troubled and has regular appointments with psychiatrists. He has mood swings, gets jealous over Gavin, and can't endure Gavin's noticing anyone but him. His unbalanced, emotional persona makes their relationship increasingly strained as the series progresses and causes a further rift between them when Gavin becomes a deputy manager. Tim and Gavin stay together despite this tension but Tim occasionally snipes at Gavin and resents his sucking up to Brittas.

Although Tim has few apparent aspirations within the leisure centre, he briefly gets excited at the prospect of becoming a deputy manager when Brittas leaves for a new job of European Sports Commissioner in Brussels. However, this fails to eventuate after Brittas is "killed" at the end of series 5. Tim continues as a pool attendant, unaware he is earning the lowest wage in the centre. He eventually learns this and revolts, holding Gavin, Linda, Julie, Laura and Colin hostage in the staff room.

It later emerges that Tim's real name is Tim Göbbels, that he was born in East Germany and that he illegally changed his name to "Whistler" out of shame. Gordon refuses to recognize Tim as a legal entity after this revelation and opens up a vacancy for Tim's position, allowing Tim to re-apply to the centre only by using his real name. However, Tim finally receives a large pay-rise afterwards, when Brittas categorizes him as an imported "EU Acquisition" because of his German nationality.

Julie Porter (Series 2-7)[edit]

List of The Brittas Empire characters
First appearance series two episode one Back From The Dead (1992)
Last appearance series seven episode eight Curse of the Tiger Woman (1997)
Portrayed by Judy Flynn
Information
Gender female
Occupation secretary
Family Gordon Porter (son)

Julie Porter replaced Angie as Gordon Brittas's secretary from the beginning of Series 2. Originally from Rotherham, Julie has a distinctive strong northern accent and fiery personality. An outspoken and insubordinate character, she often flatly refuses menial tasks assigned by Gordon. During collective staff action against Brittas, such as strikes or protests, Julie joins in with great enthusiasm, often being the instigator. She dislikes Brittas more than any of her colleagues (except, possibly, Tim), and genuinely hopes he will be replaced by someone more capable, although Brittas himself remains oblivious to the fact. Julie has a sister, Kath, who is married to Roger Fazakerley; the couple are the parents of Julie's niece Melanie.

It is implied that Julie occasionally accepts casual work outside the Leisure Centre; she meets Alexander "Alex" Cholmondeley-Hulme (a baronet, and owner of a brewery) at the Young Conservatives Ball, where the two have a brief relationship that results in pregnancy. Her baby son is born unexpectedly in Colin's office, whilst attempting to help Helen Brittas stage a burglary at the Leisure Centre, and is named Gordon Colin, owing to both Brittas and his deputy manager being present at the birth. Julie later continues her relationship with Alex.

Recurring characters in the show[edit]

Angie (series 1)[edit]

Angie (played by Andree Bernard) is Gordon Brittas's first secretary when the leisure centre opens, and appears throughout the first series.

She is a caring and relatively calm character who is very similar in personality to Laura. Despite her obedient nature, she does portray a nastier, more reactionary streak at times, similar to Julie, her later replacement. She is good friends with Carol and is often seen lending her support through her emotionally dark times. Angie also defends Carol against criticism from Brittas, even going so far as to tip three cups of coffee on the reception floor in protest.

Angie appears very similar to Julie - both have blonde hair and wear classy female office clothes. However, Julie has a far more blunt and aggressive nature than Angie. Julie appears from series two onwards, and Angie's disappearance and replacement is never actually explained in any episode of the show.

Pam Shields (series 1)[edit]

Pam, played by actress Frances Low, is Helen and Gordon Brittas's new neighbour. In series one, Pam is Helen's friend, a minor character Helen can talk to. She is used to reveal Gordon Brittas's character: Helen describes Gordon to Pam, including the chaos he caused in previous jobs.

In Series Two, Pam is replaced as Helen's supportive, glad-to-listen friend, by Laura (who shared a more distant relationship with Helen in series one). Pam didn't appear in any further series because she was no longer needed.[6]

Councillor Daphne Dapping (series 1, series 2)[edit]

This character is portrayed by actress Jo Kendall, and is the character responsible for putting Brittas in charge of the new sports centre in Whitbury New Town. In the first episode, when, within minutes of arrival Brittas is already upsetting staff and causing strikes, Dapping quickly regrets who she has put in charge.

Councillor Dapping only appears in the very first episode and the series two episode "Safety First"; in the latter, she falls from a fire escape and injures herself, and is replaced by the harsher Councillor Drugett.[6]

Councillor Jack Druggett (series 4, series 5, series 6, series 7)[edit]

Stephen Churchett played Councillor Druggett, a more determined character to remove Brittas than Councillor Dapping was. Druggett first appears at the end of series four, in the episode "The Chop". He succeeds in sacking Brittas as manager of the leisure centre, and also sacks Carol as receptionist after seeing her children kept in office drawers. However, in the following episode Brittas once again inadvertently manages to burn down the building, but in the process saves three children. He is crowned a local hero and with the backing from the press, he returns to manage the newly rebuilt centre in series five.

Druggett's second attempt to remove Brittas then comes at the beginning of series five, when leaving a paper in the centre for Brittas, advertising a job in Brussels, the capital city of Belgium. Although Brittas accepts this, he is crushed by a falling water tank, thus his career move to Belgium is ended. Brittas is then taken to hospital and recovers. Druggett tries on several occasions after this to remove Gordon from management, such as in Wake Up The Lion Within, where he conspires with Carol to allow her to replace Brittas as manager. However all of these attempts fail.

Druggett's final appearance is in the final episode, where he dies after eating gypsy-cursed biscuits Brittas has cooked.[6]

Horatio Brittas (series 3, series 4)[edit]

The Reverend Horatio Brittas (played by Richard Braine) is the fraternal twin brother of Gordon Brittas. He was mentioned in series 2. Their father (Robin Parkinson) is still alive. He shares the same "dream" for world peace and social unity that Gordon does, and it is revealed that as children, the two brothers came to an agreement - for Gordon to fulfill the physical part of the dream, while Horatio took care of the spiritual part, as a vicar.

Horatio is a gentle character, and in terms of his voice and mannerisms, appears very similar to Gordon. Like Gordon, while trying to do the right thing, he unintentionally brings chaos and destruction into the lives of those around him. However, unlike Gordon, during the third series he has a crisis of faith when he realizes that his spiritual and peacekeeping interventions have been mostly unsuccessful, and lacks Gordon's unbreakable motivation and self-confidence.[7] This proves a problem to him as whilst he is staying with Gordon and a pregnant Helen for 4 months, he is considering whether or not to be a missionary in Lebanon, however at the end of the episode, Gordon rallies him and Horatio strongly decides to go to Lebanon. Horatio is also said to be a school teacher of Religious Studies.

Horatio returns to the centre early in series four to baptise Gordon's five young children.[8] Unfortunately, however, Horatio brings his new girlfriend, Philippa Bellmont, who turns out to have a similar personality to that of Gordon. She annoys Gordon intensely and gets into a fight with Helen, which disrupts the proceedings.

Jim Brittas (series 2)[edit]

Jim Brittas (Robin Parkinson) is the father of Gordon and Horatio Brittas, and appears to have a good relationship with Gordon. His only appearance in the series comes when he delivers a piano to Whitbury New Town Leisure Centre in preparation for a concert. Unable to realise his own dream of becoming an astronomer, Jim was employed as a night watchman but was keen that his children should achieve their ambitions, and it is implied that he readily praised his sons' achievements, explaining why Gordon has developed absolute confidence in his own questionable abilities.

He is shown to be very fond of his daughter-in-law Helen, complimenting the care she has taken over her appearance when Gordon completely fails to notice.

Michael T. Farrell III (series 3, series 4, series 5)[edit]

David Crean portrays Laura's handsome, billionaire but deceptive husband Michael. Hailing from America, Michael first shows up at the centre in an attempt to win Laura back, which fails.[4] His second attempt in the next series, however, succeeds, but he continues to be deceitful. Nevertheless, it seems he genuinely loves Laura in series five, willing to start work at the sports centre to try and please her. But when Laura Lancing falls pregnant, he instead decides he wants the baby to be brought up in America, to which Laura agrees. An episode set in the future reveals that they name their son Barney.

Brittas hates Farrell, seeing him nothing more than a liar and a cheat. In series four, Farrell turns up for the staff ball, thus preventing Brittas from taking Laura as his dancing partner, making Brittas particularly bitter.[6]

Penny Bidmead (series 6)[edit]

Penny is portrayed by actress Anouschka Menzies, is introduced in Series 6 and operates the leisure centre's "newly privatised" sauna beauty department.

Her role was to replace Laura. She's an attractive blonde, with an air of arrogance about her, which leads to her frequently clashing with other members of staff, including Brittas. However, she does get on well with Helen, and seems to take over Laura's role of Helen's supportive friend. All of the staff treat her with hostility. However Penny was removed for the final series, apparently due to the actress having other filming commitments.

Character First Appearance Last Appearance Episode Count
Gordon Brittas Laying the Foundations Curse of the Tiger Woman
53
Helen Brittas Laying the Foundations Curse of the Tiger Woman
52
Laura Lancing Laying the Foundations In the Beginning
37
Colin Weatherby Laying the Foundations Curse of the Tiger Woman
53
Carole Parkinson Laying the Foundations Curse of the Tiger Woman
53
Gavin Featherly Laying the Foundations Curse of the Tiger Woman
53
Linda Perkin Laying the Foundations Curse of the Tiger Woman
51
Tim Whistler Laying the Foundations Curse of the Tiger Woman
53
Julie Porter Back from the Dead Curse of the Tiger Woman
46
Angie Laying the Foundations Stop Thief and Assassin
6
Pam Laying the Foundations Underwater Wedding
3
Councillor Dapping Laying the Foundations Safety First
2
Councillor Druggett The Chop Curse of the Tiger Woman
6
Horatio Brittas Two Little Boys The Christening
3
Michael T. Farrell III Sex, Lies and Red Tape The Lies have it
3
Penny Bidmead Back with a Bang Snap Happy
7

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brittas Empire, Series 2, Episode 2 - "Temple of the Body"
  2. ^ a b Brittas Empire, Series 3, Episode 3 - "Laura's Leaving"
  3. ^ Brittas Empire, Series 7, Episode 8 - "Curse of the Tiger Women"
  4. ^ a b Brittas Empire, Series 3, Episode 5 - "Sex, Lies and Red Tape"
  5. ^ Brittas Empire, Series 4, Episode 5 - "Playing with Fire"
  6. ^ a b c d The Brittas Empire DVDs, where evidence in episodes can support what has been stated above. DVDs published by Eureka Video
  7. ^ Brittas Empire, Series 3, Episode 4 - "Two Little Boys"
  8. ^ Brittas Empire, Series 4, Episode 2 - "The Christening"