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The Britas Empire

Season 2

  • BBC One
  • 30 mins
  • Comedy

Gordon Brittas (played by Chris Barrie) is the well-meaning but incompetent manager of Whitbury New Town Leisure Centre. He trained at the fictional Aldershot Leisure Centre. Completely tactless, totally annoying and forever coming up with 'half-baked' ideas, Brittas is frequently upsetting his staff, public, and neurotic wife Helen, often bringing destruction and death into their lives.

Helen Brittas (Pippa Haywood) finds it increasingly difficult to cope with Gordon, and often turns to pills and affairs with other men to maintain her sanity. She is also helped by supportive friend Laura Lancing (Julia St. John), Brittas's calm and efficient deputy. Laura (though she is fully aware of his incompetence) has a grudging admiration for Brittas whom she regards as honest and decent - unlike her former husband (who in one episode tries to buy his back way into the her affections by making a large donation to the centre).

Brittas's other deputy — the dim-witted Colin Weatherby (Michael Burns) — has several skin allergies and an infected hand. Though he is technically an assistant manager, he works as the centre's handyman-cum-janitor. Carole (Harriet Thorpe) is the unfortunate and often tearful receptionist who keeps her three children in the tardis-sized drawers of reception, and amongst other members of the team is Julie (Judy Flynn), the fiery-tongued secretary who hates her boss and refuses to do any work. Lively Linda (played by Jill Greenacre), gentle-hearted Gavin (Tim Marriott), and his paranoid partner Tim (Russell Porter) are more co-operative members of the team.

Outside the staff is Councillor Jack Drugett (Stephen Churchett), who fails to sack Brittas, despite numerous attempts at doing so.

7 episodes

2x01 Back From The Dead

  • Season Premiere

    no air date — 30 mins

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, but 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's car with a digger, with him inside it.

2x02 Temple Of The Body

  • no air date — 30 mins

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.

2x03 An Inspector Calls

  • no air date — 30 mins

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.

2x04 Set In Concrete

  • no air date — 30 mins

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.

2x05 Mums and Dads

  • no air date — 30 mins

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.

2x06 Safety First

  • no air date — 30 mins

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.

2x07 New Generations

  • no air date — 30 mins

A cow is loose in the centre which eats Colin's "herbs", thus it is sent into labour on the squash courts. Carole has also eaten the leaves, and her babies end up being delivered by a vet come to assist the cow.