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To The Manor Born (1979-81)


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!

Series 2, Episode 3, originally transmitted on BBC1 on 19 October 1980
Written by Peter Spence, Produced by Gareth Gwenlan

When Richard shows Audrey the latest addition to his china collection - an Egyptian vase dating back to 4,000 BC - she recommends that he calls the police for security advice. Mrs Pooh, however, is unimpressed by her son's hobby, concluding that the pieces are probably second-hand.

Back at the Lodge, Audrey is distraught to learn that Marjorie is going away to direct a Women's Institute production of 'Antony and Cleopatra', and wonders how she will keep herself occupied without her best friend. Marjorie tells Audrey what Mrs Pooh has confided she used to do for company in London when Richard was away on business: call in tradesmen for free estimates, "just to have someone to talk to."

Meanwhile, Richard acts on Audrey's advice, and consults a Crime Prevention Officer. He reluctantly goes along with the suggestion to install a security system, and is furious when the Egyptian vase subsequently goes missing. The officer concludes that it must have been an inside job, as no-one else would have known of the vase's presence. He recommends waiting to see if anyone locally starts spending more money than usual.

Meanwhile, a lonely Audrey has been leafing through Yellow Pages and arranging for various "little men" to come round and measure her up for estimates - including double glazing, a new kitchen, and a bathroom suite. The Rector notices the various tradesmen's vans on his way to visit Richard, who wonders how his neighbour can afford to have so much work done. When Richard calls Audrey to ask for her help in cataloguing his collection, his suspicions are aroused by her denial that anyone has been to the Lodge this week.

Audrey sets off to see Richard, telling the tradesmen that their estimates are too high and she has decided to get "a little man" in from Harrods instead. She does, however, urge them to stay for a cup of tea with Ned, who likes to have someone to chat to...

Richard is impressed by Audrey's expertise, and drops several hints about the theft of the vase. When he probes her about the vans, Audrey explains that she only called the tradesmen in for company - swearing Richard to secrecy - and is outraged when she realises that Richard suspected her of robbery. The erupting argument is disturbed by the arrival of Mrs Pooh and Audrey - who, it transpires, had borrowed the vase for the play.