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2point4 Children (1991-99)


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!

'Beam Me Up, Scotty' (originally transmitted on BBC1, 5/10/1993)

Ben swears revenge when rival plumber Jake Klinger steals one of his clients, and sabotages Jake's van as payback. When the two men meet afterwards at the café, Christine is confused as to the nature of their 'contest', unable to decide whether they are friends or enemies. Although Jake clearly resents being ridiculed by Ben for his Star Trek obsession, he maintains that he would do anything for him - at which Ben jokingly tells him to 'drop dead'.

At home, Bill is preoccupied with a disembodied voice she has heard, saying: 'Don't go, Mia.' She therefore has little patience with Ben, advising him to abandon the long-running feud before it escalates out of control. Ben swears he will never be the first to quit - only to receive a phone call telling him that Jake has dropped dead. Ben's grief turns to shock when he learns that Jake named him as executor - making him financially liable for the funeral arrangements.

Bill and Rona receive a visit from an environmental health officer, who gives them one month to completely renovate the kitchen. This bad news is followed by Ben's announcement that they are all expected to dress as Star Trek characters for the funeral, in accordance with Jake's wishes. Aware of their parents' financial problems, Jenny and David offer to give up the planned family holiday in America, but Bill reassures them that things aren't that desperate.

After the funeral, at which Ben delivers the oration dressed as Captain Kirk, Bill and Rona have a disastrous meeting with the bank's small business manager, who refuses them the money they need for the refurbishments. At the solicitor's, Ben reads Jake's will, which bequeaths all his worldly goods to 'the Klingon in the corner': a very much alive Jake Klinger, in disguise. Ben realises that the fake funeral was just the latest round in their on-going competition.

Bill is on the verge of cancelling the holiday when Ben instead offers to put up his car as collateral for her business, saying that recent events have made him realise that they should enjoy life while they can. Rona sees the family off at the airport, but as the labels are attached to their baggage it becomes clear that Bill's unearthly message, now heard again in voiceover - 'Don't go MIA' - is in fact warning against the trip to Miami...