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dinnerladies (1998-2000)


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!

'Catering', originally transmitted 25 November 1999

Friday 9th April 1999. Bren explains her schedule to Tony, noting today's work experience placement and the decorating planned for the coming weekend. As she relates how she broke off her brief relationship with a driving instructor, Dolly and Jean arrive, followed by handyman Stan and Anita. Tony returns with the work experience girl, the alarmingly dim Sigourney. Twinkle turns up last, late again. Stan delights in the new retractable bollards in the car park, and the women discuss the prospects of conceiving a Millennium baby following Anita's announcement that today is the last day.

While Big Glen is delivering the bread, the decorators appear. Tony allows them to bring their equipment in, until it emerges that they are expecting to decorate today, not realising that the canteen is due to be open. Blame for the confusion falls on Phillipa from Human Resources. While they wait for her, Tony agrees to let Bert bring his long ladder through, but the ladder becomes stuck, trapping Glen, who is still recovering from a recent intimate operation. The best efforts of Bert, his own work experience placement, Derwent, assistant Paul and Stan fail to budge it. Meanwhile Glen is immobile thanks to her staples and struggling with a full bladder, and exit via the fire escape is blocked by a skip.

Phillipa appears and admits that the decision to paint at the weekend was changed, and that she neglected to tell the canteen staff. Bren gives her a piece of her mind, but eventually agrees to close the canteen once the ladder has been moved. Stan's suggestion of sawing the ladder in half alarms Bert, who explains that it is not his ladder but his wife's. He can't phone and ask her because she's still sleeping after staying up late watching Open University programmes. He finally takes Derwent and goes to ask her personally.

In the meantime, Bren explains Glen's predicament to visitors Betty and Jane, while Twinkle tries to flirt with Paul, until he tells her he prefers dark girls - he shows more interest in Anita. Suggestions that Glen be carried out, limbo dance under the ladder or be 'levitated' on the others' fingers are all rejected by the increasingly uncomfortable Glen. Eventually, to spare her suffering, Bren tells Stan to begin sawing. Asked what she makes of catering, Sigourney replies that it's ok, but a bit boring.