Skip to main content
BFI logo











Screenonline banner
Natural Lies (1992)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Part 1, originally transmitted on BBC1 on 31/5/1992

Beth, wearing only a coat, runs down a road in the middle of the night. She goes to a telephone box and tries unsuccessfully to contact Andrew Fell. Later, Andrew and his wife Maggie are told by the police that Beth has died. She was found dead in her bath by her boyfriend Malcolm. Andrew and Beth used to live together and remained close even after breaking up. Andrew contacts their old friends Towne, Grace and Matt. At Beth's funeral, Towne gives an emotional eulogy. Andrew is the sole beneficiary of Beth's will, but all her friends are the executors, so they spend the night at her house, recalling old times. Maggie finds it painful being reminded that Andrew used to be in love with Beth.

In the house, Andrew finds photos of cattle being incinerated and a still of a local farmer named Roy Heald, who has now died. Matt and Andrew run an advertising company. At a meeting with the representatives of Burger Choice, Andrew makes the executives uneasy by asking exactly which part of the animal is used in their meat products. Matt is furious as their company desperately need this account.

Malcolm visits Andrew and tells him that Beth threatened to kill herself when he left her recently and was also depressed by their failure to find evidence of BSE in humans. Andrew sees Malcolm getting into his car with a blonde woman. Matt takes on a new assistant. Grace tells Andrew that she has come across a file about Beth suggesting that she may have found a link to BSE in humans after all. Heald may have been the first reported case, but since he was cremated there is now no proof.

Andrew goes to speak to Malcolm at Green Search, but he has left and stolen all his files. Maggie goes back to Beth's farm to help pack things away. She finds a note in which Beth said she was afraid that Malcolm was trying to kill her. Malcolm arrives and, seeing the note, tries to shoot Maggie. When the police arrive he turns the gun on himself instead.

At a food event, Andrew sees the girl who was with Malcolm. He gives her his business card. That night, Andrew promises Maggie that he will let the police handle the case. The blonde woman sits in a car outside Andrew and Maggie's house.