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The Britas Empire

All Episodes 1991
TV-PG

  • Ended
  • BBC One
  • 1991-02-12T00:00:00Z
  • 30 mins
  • 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.

19 episodes

1x01 Laying of the Foundations

  • Series Premiere

    1991-01-03T05:00:00Z — 30 mins

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. Counsellor Dappin soon regrets the council appointing Brittas as manager of the new leisure centre.

1x02 The Opening Day

  • no air date — 30 mins

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.

1x03 Bye Bye Baby

  • no air date — 30 mins

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. This is one of the two episodes character "Linda" didn't appear in.

1x04 Underwater Wedding

  • no air date — 30 mins

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 women, Beverly, who has come for a job interview.

1x05 Stop Thief!

  • no air date — 30 mins

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.

1x06 Assassin

  • no air date — 30 mins

Someone is out to kill Brittas, injuring Helen by accident after sabotaging Brittas's brakes, and wants Gavin to help him do the deed.

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.

3x01 The Trial

  • Season Premiere

    no air date — 30 mins

One of Brittas's 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.

3x02 That Creeping Feeling

  • no air date — 30 mins

Offended by Brittas's "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.

3x03 Laura's Leaving

  • no air date — 30 mins

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.

3x04 Two Little Boys

  • no air date — 30 mins

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's office, which finds its way along the corridor to the weights room, resulting in a large explosion and fire.

3x05 Sex, Lies and Red Tape

  • no air date — 30 mins

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.

3x06 The Stuff of Dreams

  • no air date — 30 mins

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.

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