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Butterflies (1978-83)


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!

Episode originally transmitted on BBC2, 29 October 1979

Ria is fitting curtains and listening to the radio. She calls for help and her son Russell comes downstairs. Her younger son Adam enters briefly looking depressed before leaving again. Russell explains that Adam is upset over his girlfriend Annie, who has left him. Ria goes upstairs to find Adam and passes her husband Ben, who has returned from collecting butterflies. She finds Adam in his bedroom motionless and silent under the covers, and tries to comfort him, but he does not respond. Ria returns downstairs and convinces Ben to talk to Adam from a male perspective. Cleaning lady Ruby enters and announces that the cat has soiled the landing. Upstairs Ben tries to give Adam paternal guidance on relationships; Adam thanks him unconvincingly and goes back under his bedcovers.

While walking in the park, Ria sees her secret friend Leonard jogging and hides behind a tree, but he sees her and stops to talk. Ria explains her problem with Adam to Leonard, and he advises her to release her frustrations vocally on a tree, before demonstrating on the beech they have been leaning on.

The next day at breakfast, Ria anxiously questions an unforthcoming Russell about Adam's well-being; Ben berates Ria for putting a cosy on his boiled egg. Russell returns upstairs briefly before informing Ben and Ria of Adam's departure with Ben's car. The doorbell rings and Ria answers the door to Annie, who has come for her belongings. Ria tersely obliges her, before driving Ben to work. Before going home Ria stops at a telephone box to call Russell, who has not found Adam. Across the road she sees Leonard meeting Annie, and leading her into a restaurant.

Next day, Ben returns from searching for Adam with no news. Adam soon enters, to Ria's relief. He reveals he knows Annie has left him for an older man. Ben returns, livid about his missing car, which it transpires Adam has crashed. Ria goes for a walk while they continue arguing. She finds the same beech tree and vents her frustrations.