List of The Brittas Empire episodes

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This is a list of episodes, with synopses and airdates, for the British situation comedy The Brittas Empire. The show first aired between 1991 and 1997 on BBC1.

The show was created by Richard Fegen and Andrew Norriss, who together co-wrote the first five series. A total of seven series and 53 episodes were created, including two Christmas specials and one Children In Need short sketch. Most of the main characters are in all episodes, however Laura is only in the first five series. Helen Brittas is in all but two episodes (in series four); Linda does not appear in two episodes of the first series. Angie is only in series one, and her replacement is Julie, played by Judy Flynn, who is in all episodes from series two onwards, except for the 1996 Christmas special.

The cast appeared in character for the Royal Variety Performance of 1996, and the show's success has resulted in it being released on VHS and DVD by 2 Entertain, BBC Warner, and Eureka Video throughout the 1990s and 2000s. An audio feature starring Gordon Brittas was also produced.

Episode list[edit]

Series 1 (1991)[edit]

No. Title Original airdate
1 "Laying the Foundations" 3 January 1991 (1991-01-03)
Gordon Brittas arrives to find enthusiastic staff, but a depressed Carole. Within minutes of arrival he upsets the staff, causes the construction workers to go on strike and brings along some very complicated rotas. Councillor Dapping soon regrets the council appointing Brittas as manager of the new leisure centre.
2 "The Opening Day" 10 January 1991 (1991-01-10)
The Duchess of Kent is to visit the centre, on its first day open to the public. Brittas is determined for the day to run smoothly, however Helen tries to warn Laura that there is guaranteed disaster where her husband is concerned. Helen's proven right when Brittas upsets the builders, causing them to abandon a leaking pool that soon floods into the boiler room. Soon the heaters go on overdrive, the faulty electronic doors won't open, and Laura's friend Michael is electrocuted.
3 "Bye Bye Baby"[n 1] 17 January 1991 (1991-01-17)
Carole prepares to be reunited with her previously cheating husband, who is coming home from Spain. Unfortunately for Carole, a misunderstanding involving a baby leads to her husband walking out on her again. Brittas causes queues and complications in reception, and drives the guest speaker, who has arrived to give a talk on how to cope with stress, to breaking point.
4 "Underwater Wedding" 24 January 1991 (1991-01-24)
An underwater wedding is being held inside the leisure centre, but the best man's finger is stuck in a grate at the bottom of the pool. There is also a drunk, disabled man in an electric wheel chair on the loose, and Brittas executes a plan involving cardboard boxes to catch him. This only leads to Colin shooting Gavin with a harpoon gun, and a leak of chlorine gas throughout the building. Amongst the madness is a young woman, Beverly, who has come for a job interview.
5 "Stop Thief!" 7 February 1991 (1991-02-07)
Brittas is convinced there is a thief amongst the staff, thus he employs a series of methods to find out who the culprit is. Meanwhile Helen is desperate for some more pills, but the new doctor insists he meets the cause of her depression—Brittas—before giving her a prescription. After meeting Brittas the doctor doesn't hesitate.
6 "Assassin"[n 1] 14 February 1991 (1991-02-14)
Someone is out to kill Brittas, injuring Helen by accident after sabotaging Brittas's brakes, and wants Gavin to help him do the deed.

Series 2 (1992)[edit]

No. Title Original airdate
1 "Back from the Dead" 2 January 1992 (1992-01-02)
The leisure centre is quiet until word gets out that Gordon Brittas is away in Bulgaria, whereupon it gets very busy. Helen arrives and informs the staff that Gordon is dead, however as the staff and Helen prepare for an easier life without Brittas, the staff are all horrified when he walks through the leisure centre doors. Meanwhile, unaware her husband is alive, Helen prepares for her wedding. Carole faints in shock, and after a talk with Colin, believes Brittas wants her child to gain perpetual youth, a misunderstanding leading to Carole crushing Brittas' car with a digger, with him inside it.
2 "Temple of the Body" 9 January 1992 (1992-01-09)
Brittas is horrified to discover women's underwear in his office, and is convinced that a staff member is using the facilities to have sex. He segregates the sexes and bugs Linda; the evidence gathered leads him to Gavin. The real culprit is in fact Helen, who discovers Gordon unknowingly had sex with Carol at a fancy dress party. Simultaneously, Julie is being hounded by reporters for rescuing a dog from a river in the nude.
3 "An Inspector Calls" 16 January 1992 (1992-01-16)
Brittas fears for his job when the Southern Area Inspector visits, fully aware that visiting figures are poor. Colin accidentally causes a pigeon to roost in the gymnasium, leading to a chain of chaotic trivialities threatening the inspection. Helen meanwhile has been insulted by a badly chosen birthday present, a moped with a yellow helmet reading "Hi I'm Helen", thus she decides to leave Gordon.
4 "Set In Concrete" 23 January 1992 (1992-01-23)
An extreme argument with the Rotary Club has caused Brittas's feet to be set in concrete, who after frequent fights breaking out, considers if the centre has Sick Building Syndrome; a Specialist arrives. However Laura tries to explain to Brittas that it is he who is the cause of the centre's problems.
5 "Mums and Dads" 30 January 1992 (1992-01-30)
The centre is preparing for a concert by Vladimir Petrov, a visiting pianist from the Leningrad Conservatory. Brittas’s father arrives with an old piano, which after being dropped knocks the pianist unconscious. As a result, Gordon decides to perform the concert himself.
6 "Safety First" 13 February 1992 (1992-02-13)
Brittas closes the centre for a series of fire drill exercises while trying to convince Councillor Dapping to install a new fire escape. Meanwhile Helen prepares a special lunch in Brittas’s office to help save their marriage; she even intends to give up the pills needed to cope with her husband. Later in the episode, Helen accidentally causes a fire.
7 "New Generations" 20 February 1992 (1992-02-20)
A pregnant cow, loose in the centre, accidentally eats some of Colin's "herbs", sending it into labour on the squash courts. Carole has also eaten the leaves, and her babies end up being delivered by the vet who had originally come to assist the cow.

Series 3 (1993)[edit]

No. Title Original airdate
1 "The Trial" 7 January 1993 (1993-01-07)
One of Brittas' enemies is coating random items with glue, and shady characters keep appearing in the centre. This leads to a bloody massacre in the squash courts, the felling of several OAPs and Brittas facing trial for multiple murder and drug-running.
2 "That Creeping Feeling" 14 January 1993 (1993-01-14)
Offended by Brittas' "individual figure and fitness targets", the staff are refusing to speak to him. Brittas's diplomatic response is to bring in a psychiatrist to check staff anxiety levels. Meanwhile, a deadly tropical spider is roaming the centre and it is only a matter of time before it attacks.
3 "Laura's Leaving" 21 January 1993 (1993-01-21)
While Brittas prepares to welcome Sebastian Coe to the "Expansion in the Leisure Market" Conference, Laura is off to a job interview. Helen is terrified that without Laura, the centre will not be able to cope. A concussed Colin is sent to adjust the heating in the pool, leading to shocking consequences. Carole has moved her children back into the reception drawers.
4 "Two Little Boys" 28 January 1993 (1993-01-28)
The centre enjoys anniversary celebrations, Gordon's brother – the Reverend Horatio Brittas – is visiting and thirty six staff from a leisure centre in Guildford are visiting for their annual staff outing. As always things do not run smoothly: the centre's oil tank begins leaking, the leaked oil is then brought inside and stored in the weights room to prevent it from being struck by lightning – but a firework is accidentally set off in Brittas' office, which finds its way along the corridor to the weights room, resulting in a large explosion and fire.
5 "Sex, Lies and Red Tape" 4 February 1993 (1993-02-04)
Laura's estranged Husband, Michael T. Farrell, has arrived at the centre desperate for an heir to secure his fortune. Brittas is not happy and endeavours to get rid of him, despite being on a sponsored silence and finding out that Helen is about to be charged with shoplifting. The staff are also hooked on the drafts of a novel that Carole has written.
6 "The Stuff of Dreams" 11 February 1993 (1993-02-11)
Troubled by dreams about his own mortality and the future of "The Dream", Brittas is pushing age awareness and resorts to disguising himself as an elderly man as an experiment. The result is a fight in Reception during which Brittas breaks a pensioner's glasses. However events are considered trivial when Helen goes into labour early and needs to be dashed to the hospital. To her horror Brittas drives her there, thus Helen giving birth in the high street.

Series 4 (1994)[edit]

# Title Original airdate
1 "Not A Good Day" 10 January 1994 (1994-01-10)
It's life cycle week at Whitbury New Town Leisure Centre, and Sebastian Coe has come to help promote the event. Unfortunately, some confusion involving a troublesome child leads to Coe being chained to a railing and the centre being attacked by a Roman recreational society. Meanwhile, Carole’s son Ben escapes out of his cupboard.
2 "The Christening" 17 January 1994 (1994-01-17)
A Christening is in preparation for Brittas' children, however Helen has misplaced them somewhere in the town. Brittas' brother Horatio (a Vicar), arrives to christen the children, with an unpleasant girlfriend who enjoys speaking her mind. Neither Helen nor Brittas get along with the woman, the former flushing her head down the toilet.
3 "Biggles Tells a Lie" 24 January 1994 (1994-01-24)
In an attempt to impress his visiting daughter, Colin pretends to be manager of the leisure centre while Brittas takes the day off. All is well until Brittas turns up unexpectedly. Meanwhile a "magazine" is found with an explicit picture of Helen inside it.
4 "Mr Brittas Changes Trains" 31 January 1994 (1994-01-31)
Brittas is to attend an important dinner meeting but Helen, knowing it'll be both a disaster and something she'll have to also attend, develops lock jaw. After a staff visit to a hypnosis show, certain staff members are showing erratic behaviour (for instance, Colin tells people he loves them whenever he hears the word 'need' while Linda barks instead of speaking). When the hypnotist arrives to solve the problem, Brittas is accidentally hypnotised himself, making him a more tolerable human being.
5 "Playing with Fire" 7 February 1994 (1994-02-07)
Helen and the children have gone on holiday, leaving Brittas home alone. An ex-girlfriend of Gavin's returns, intent on reconciling, which causes a rift in Gavin and Tim's relationship. However, they soon realise that Jenny has escaped from a mental home, along with a caseful of explosives. Meanwhile, it's energy saving week, and to participate, Colin has created a generator powered by the centre's "waste material".
6 "Shall We Dance?" 14 February 1994 (1994-02-14)
Helen is still away, and as Brittas and Laura grow closer, the staff begin to spread rumours; even more so when Brittas announces he'll be taking Laura to the annual staff dance. Unfortunately, her ex-husband has returned, desperate for another chance. Meanwhile, Carole has invited an old boyfriend to the dance, who is intent on proposing marriage; unfortunately, anything can happen at Whitbury, and it does.
7 "The Chop" 28 February 1994 (1994-02-28)
Councillor Drugget arrives in another attempt to sack Brittas as manager of Whitbury New Town Leisure Centre, and with money having gone missing from petty cash (which Helen has borrowed to buy a dog), Druggett gives Brittas an ultimatum; either he accepts responsibility and resigns, or his wife is prosecuted.
8 "High Noon" 7 March 1994 (1994-03-07)
With Brittas gone, Whitbury is busier than ever. But the new manager is untidy, disorganised and apathetic, much to Brittas's disappointment. However, even as a visitor to the center, he still manages to cause chaos; an accident involving a gas leak and a faulty clock causes a disaster of explosive proportions; can Brittas save the day?

Series 5 (1994)[edit]

No. Title Original airdate
1 "The Old, Old Story" 31 October 1994 (1994-10-31)
TV religious series Songs of Praise visits the newly re-built Whitbury Leisure Centre for a live recording. But with Gordon Brittas back managing the centre, now crowned local hero after his heroic rescue of three children from the previously burning centre, chaos soon resumes as normal; a live ostrich is loose roaming the centre. Meanwhile, Counsellor Drugett is still intent on getting rid of Brittas; an attractive new job in Brussels might make this possible.
2 "Blind Devotion" 7 November 1994 (1994-11-07)
Brittas is considering firing Colin, feeling him inept at his job. Unfortunately, it's far from easy to consider this; Colin has been temporarily blinded, his great aunt has died, and he's lost all of his money, but he still turns up to work on pool duty, inevitably causing disasters. Meanwhile Helen doesn't want to leave for Brittas' new job in Brussels, and the toilets are leaking human excrement.
3 "Brussels Calling" 14 November 1994 (1994-11-14)

Gordon visits Brussels in relation to a job he has been offered. Things are therefore expected to run smoothly at the leisure centre, but even all those many miles away Brittas still manages to cause a chain of problems, involving rats and explosions. Helen is in trouble after trying to kill a teacher.

Note: This episode contains a scene in Belgium, meaning that this is the only episode that has scenes filmed outside the United Kingdom.
4 "The Lies Have It" 21 November 1994 (1994-11-21)
In an attempt to cover up Helen’s affair, Laura’s husband Michael uses Carole’s birthday as a cover story. As the day progresses, the story gets more complicated and contradictory, making Brittas suspicious. Meanwhile Tim’s angry to discover that Gavin has been taking courses on management.
5 "The Boss" 28 November 1994 (1994-11-28)
Gavin’s in charge for the day as Brittas creates a series of extreme catastrophes to really challenge his managerial skills. Meanwhile Helen tries to hide an "explicit" tattoo printed on her leg, and Carole's wealthy but old boyfriend arrives at the center. Sadly, Carole's hopes for a happy ending are dashed when the man dies in a typically Whitbury fashion.
6 "Pregnant" 5 December 1994 (1994-12-05)
Confusion plagues the centre when Brittas claims "scientific records" prove over half the staff are pregnant, including Tim. Meanwhile, Julie is being unusually nice to her boss, and Colin is believed to be the father of Carole’s next child, so plans are made for the pair to be married.
7 "UXB" 12 December 1994 (1994-12-12)
Colin finds an unexploded World War II bomb that is liable to explode. Meanwhile, Brittas prepares to leave for his job in Brussels, of which Helen immediately warms to upon seeing the luxiourious lifestyle they'll be leading, Carol, Julie and Linda are given a chance of happiness, and Laura announces her pregnancy and her plans to move to America with her husband, meaning that Gavin, and consequently Tim, are to accend to the vacant management positions. It seems as though it'll be a happy ending for all the staff at Whitbury, but Brittas is starting to get cold feet.
8 "The Last Day" 19 December 1994 (1994-12-19)
It's Brittas' final day, but the cold feet continue, particularly as changing negotiations between the European nations arise. Elsewhere, a newly installed water tank is overfilled, and it begins falling through the floors of the leisure centre. Meanwhile Carole is stuck in Ben's car in reception, which is the tank's final destination... and in saving Carole, it also turns out to be Brittas' death. Is it game over for Brittas? Not if Heaven has a say in it.

Christmas Special (1994)[edit]

No. Title Original airdate
Special "In the Beginning"[n 2] 27 December 1994 (1994-12-27)
Set in the future when the old staff of Whitbury Leisure Centre prepare to reunite again for New Year's Eve celebrations, the audience get taken back to the early weeks of the centre's opening, when the staff get snowed in. As a result they are forced to spend Christmas and New Year in the centre with only limited food and heating.

Series 6 (1996)[edit]

No. Title Original airdate
1 "Back With A Bang" 27 February 1996 (1996-02-27)
After extensive surgery following his accident, Gordon Brittas returns to Whitbury Leisure Centre, and a day early he's that eager. But he's under strict orders to remain relaxed...is that possible at Whitbury? Meanwhile, Carole is back behind reception after her hopes of happiness are dashed once again, and Penny, an attractive new staff member makes Tim jealous, due to Gavin paying her particular attention. Helen Brittas has escaped from her mental hospital and has spent all the life insurance money she received after Gordon's death.
2 "Body Language" 12 March 1996 (1996-03-12)
After a large block of ice mysteriously crashes through the roof, a series of events leads to Colin believing that aliens have taken over the centre. Meanwhile, Carole’s son Ben has a birthday party in his cupboard and Helen has accidentally sold her and Gordon's house, and moves her homely goods into the centre.
3 "At the Double" 26 March 1996 (1996-03-26)
A circus group arrive at the centre, with one member a duplicate of Brittas, inevitably leading to confusion.
4 "A Walk on the Wildside" 2 April 1996 (1996-04-02)
Brittas believes there is a public right of way going through the centre, Helen realises she has two husbands and an outbreak of lethal diseases creates chaos.
5 "We All Fall Down" 9 April 1996 (1996-04-09)
It's "peace and hunger" week at the centre, but the children are in for a shock...literally. Tim is outraged upon discovering he gets paid less than everyone else, and he keeps the staff hostage in the rest room until Brittas meets his demands.
6 "Mr Brittas Falls in Love" 16 April 1996 (1996-04-16)
Brittas organises a "dolphin day" at the centre, but as always disaster reigns when a baby tiger shark is delivered to the sports centre instead. The day worsens when a teenage girl arrives for two weeks of work experience and the staff believe she has been eaten. Meanwhile, Linda forms a protest rally outside of the center, opposed to the use of animals for personal amusement.
7 "Snap Happy" 23 April 1996 (1996-04-23)
The staff prepare for a photograph, however a chain or trivialities delays the event. Meanwhile apart from Gordon Brittas, Helen also hates heights, so she participates in a parachute jump which goes horribly wrong.

Christmas Special (1996)[edit]

No. Title Original airdate
Special "Surviving Christmas" 24 December 1996 (1996-12-24)
The staff unwillingly go on a survival and fitness trip. Meanwhile a furious Helen believes Gordon is having an affair with Carole.

Series 7 (1997)[edit]

No. Title Original airdate
1 "The Elephants' Child" 6 January 1997 (1997-01-06)
Julie goes into labour, Colin has a large amount of manure delivered to the centre, and a bungee jump is prepared. Gavin and Tim are both scared of heights, but even more scared of each other knowing this.
2 "Reviewing the Situation" 13 January 1997 (1997-01-13)
After receiving a series of death threats, Julie has hired a personal bodyguard. Meanwhile Tim Whistler is labelled as non-existent by Brittas; after showing his birth certificate it is revealed Tim is not who he seems.
3 "http://etc"[n 3] 20 January 1997 (1997-01-20)
Everything in the centre is computerised, and the staff now feel the computer has taken over their jobs. In an attempt to convince Brittas to scrap the system they attempt to sabotage it, but things soon get out of control.
4 "Wake Up the Lion Within" 27 January 1997 (1997-01-27)
Carole uses Brittas' "Waking up the lion within" technique to spawn an alter ego, which commands her to take control of the centre using any means necessary. This leads to the once tearful receptionist taking Brittas' job.
5 "The Disappearing Act" 3 February 1997 (1997-02-03)
Julie's niece goes missing after Colin supposedly makes her disappear; this is after he performed a magic trick for the little girl's birthday party, held at the centre. Meanwhile Helen hosts a dreams' workshop.
6 "Gavin Featherly R.I.P." 10 February 1997 (1997-02-10)
After a staff holiday trip, evidence mounts up to suggest a troubled Gavin has committed suicide. Funeral preparations are made back at the centre, but Tim is shocked to receive a call from Gavin, who claims he has been abducted by pirates.
7 "Exposed" 17 February 1997 (1997-02-17)
Brittas prepares for a TV documentary recording at the leisure centre, hiring a model to stand in for Colin. However a lethal disease breaks out causing chaos.
8 "Curse of the Tiger Women" 24 February 1997 (1997-02-24)
The staff celebrate Whitbury New Town Leisure Centre's anniversary, with a cake that Brittas made himself. Unfortunately, due to a gypsy curse placed upon him, everyone who has a piece ends up dead. Julie contemplates marriage, there is a build-up of marsh gas in the centre and Carole makes a devastating discovery. After being pecked unconscious by a bird, Brittas wakes up to a surprising revelation.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b This is one of the two episodes the character "Linda" didn't appear in.
  2. ^ The episode features various errors in plot and continuity, with significant differences between the centre as represented in the original series and in this special: despite episode one showing Brittas starting work at centre in 1991, this episode is set in late 1989; Julie is presented as an original staff member in the special, but did not in fact appear until series 2 (1991/2) when she replaced predecessor Angie; The set used is not the opening-era set, but the one introduced during series 5 after the supposed rebuilding of the centre. Accordingly, the layout of the staff room and manager's office, as well as various elements of set detailing, wrongly match those seen in later series rather than the original opening-era series.
  3. ^ This is not a website link, this is the title of the episode.

References[edit]

General
Specific

External links[edit]