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The Brittas Empire: Episode Guide

First published 22nd May 2003.


The Brittas Empire is an excellent sit-com, although it is overlooked by many people for commiting the awful crime of being mainstream and pre-watershed. This is daft - Brittas was full of good characters, inventive storylines and farcical action sequences. The main appeal of the show for us is obvious - Chris Barrie, but let's not forget the memorable performances of the other actors, notably Philippa Haywood (Helen Brittas) and Michael Burns (Colin Wetherby), as well as the fantastic writing, by Richard Fegen and Andrew Norris.

All the information in this document, including the synopsi and guest cast details, come from the Radio Times. Obviously, we don't know half as much about Brittas as we do about Red Dwarf, so if you have any additions or corrections, don't hesitate to contact us.

Series One (1991)

None of the episodes from the first series were formally titled, so the names given here are those that are commonly used by fans. The regular cast for this series were more or less the same for Brittas's six year and seven series run, the only absentee being Judy Flynn. In her place was Andree Bernard, who played Brittas's secretary Angie. Other than that, the cast remained unchanged until the sixth series, and was composed of: Chris Barrie (Gordon Brittas), Phillipa Haywood (Helen Brittas), Julia St. John (Laura Lancing), Michael Burns (Colin Wetherby), Harriet Thorpe (Carole Parkinson), Jill Greenacre (Linda Perkin), Russell Porter (Tim Whistler) and Tim Marriott (Gavin Featherly). Incidentally, the gap between the first and second episodes was due to coverage of the outbreak of Gulf War I.

A1. Laying The Foundations (03/01/91)
Brittas prepares for his first day as manager of the newly-built Whitbury New Town Leisure Centre.
  Pam Frances Low
  Pam's Son Zander Ward
  Mrs Dapping Jo Kendal
  Neil Gary Whitaker
  Damien Rory Murray
  Mrs Dalgardo Ruth Silvestre
  Foreman Ian Bleasdale

A2. Opening Day (17/01/91)
Brittas finalises meticulous plans for the royal opening of the Whitbury Leisure Centre.
  Boilerman Barnes Declan Mulholland
  Foreman Ian Bleasdale
  Workman Felix Bowness
  Electrician David Webber
  Michael Davidson Knight
  Boy Scout Ross McCall

A3. Bye Bye Baby (24/01/91)
Brittas attempts to keep the staff at Whitbury Leisure Centre happy and fulfilled, while his wife finds her own fulfilment.
  Peter Phillips David Dexter
  Woman in queue Maureen Morris
  Ken Owen Tony Millan
  Mrs Walsh Jo Martin
  Derrick Brian Stephens
  Rev Phillips Tony Kirwood
  Mrs Phillips Veronica Doran

A4. Underwater Wedding (31/01/91)
An underwater wedding, a drunken customer and a chemical spillage all add up to a challenge Brittas vows to face.
  Beverley Karen Midmead
  Vicar Geoffrey Banks
  Groom Richard Lumsden
  Pam Frances Low
  Mr Appleby Roy Alon
  Teacher Charlotte Kasner

A5. Stop Thief (07/02/91)
The leisure centre closes as Brittas investigates a case of staff pilfering.
  Danny Jake Abraham
  Mandy Joanne Heywood
  Dr Grey Steve Edwin

A6. Assassin (14/02/91)
Brittas is more concerned about falling attendance at Whitbury Leisure Centre than any attempts to murder him.
  Larry Mike Carnell
  Gerry Andrew Bradley
  Steve David Delve

Series Two (1992)

For this series, the episode titles were official; as listed in the Radio Times. However, they didn't appear on-screen. Thanks to the wonders of DVD, we now have a complete guest cast listing for each episode. Hurrah! A more permanant change was Andree Bernard leaving the series, to be replaced by Judy Flynn (Julie Porter). This is probably due to the fact that the character of Angie was shit. Finally, this series had an extra episode compared to the previous one, bringing the total up to seven.

B1. Back From The Dead (02/01/92)
Gordon Brittas is a man with a mission, a man with a dream. Gordon Brittas is dead! But everyone is taking the news rather well, and the public are flocking to use the amenities.
  Baby Ben Pheobe Gilpin
  John David Thorpe
  Woman Brenda Cavendish
  Man Karl Moffatt
  Lad Martino Lazzeri

B2. Temple of the Body (09/01/92)
Leisure Centre manager Gordon Brittas is a shocked man. He has found an item of ladies' underwear behind his office sofa, put two and two together and is determined to catch the offenders. Carole, the homeless receptionist, is pregnant again, with only dim memories of a leopard suit on New Year's Eve. She is keeping her first child in a drawer under the reception desk and now sets up home in a store cupboard.
  Reporter Geoffrey Drew
  Photographer Graeme Smith
  Changing Room Girl Samatha Perkins
  Changing Room Girl Amanda Edwards
  Changing Room Girl Heidi Gjertsen

B3. An Inspector Calls (16/01/92)
The local authority is becoming increasingly concerned by the falling attendances at Whitbury Leisure Centre. An inspector is despatched, sending Brittas into overdrive mobilising his staff to get the place clean, but a loose pigeon has everyone in a flap.
  Old Man John Baker
  Woman in car park Judith Pearson
  Inspector John D Collins
  Mr Wilmot Patrick Monckton

B4. Set In Concrete (23/01/92)
Deputy Manager Laura Lancing discovers Brittas sitting at his desk in full evening dress. Brittas decides his leisure centre has "sick building syndrome", and looks for a cure.
  Graham Hanson Phillip Shelley
  Squash Player Michale Crossman
  Stunt Woman Tracey Eddon
  Stone Mason Peter Schofield

B5. Mums and Dads (30/01/92)
Brittas has organised a concert recital to attract new clientele.
  Jim Brittas Robin Parkinson
  Mr Petrov Damien Thomas
  Pianist Vanessa Latarche

B6. Safety First (13/02/92)
Brittas closes the leisure centre in order to train his staff to cope with emergencies, be they "fires, earth tremors, outbreaks of contagious diseases in the toilets, poisonous gases or chemical spillages". Unfortunately, the staff don't take the exercise seriously. Meanwhile, Helen Brittas is trying to cope with life without the aid of tranquilisers.
  Police Constable Jonathan Stratt
  Victim Lee Fyles
  Mrs Dapping Jo Kendall
  Reporter Annabel Lambe
  Stunt Woman Chrissy Monk

B7. New Generations (20/02/92)
Brittas tries to track down the father of Carole's baby from among the staff.
  Mr Franklin Derek Benfield
  Buttercup the Cow Dawn
  Mr Garrick Ian Lindsay
  Vet's Dog Roger
  Newcombe Brian Gwaspari
  Squash Player Tim Poole

Series Three (1993)

Again, the episode titles were not used on-screen, but come from the Radio Times. They seem to have got the guest cast right for this series though. No changes to the main cast, but the number of episodes reverted back to six. Gah.

C1. The Trial (07/01/93)
Brittas stands accused of murdering several men. The evidence against him seems overwhelming. But could it be that he is, in fact, an unwitting hero?
  Clerk of the Court Michael Fleming
  Judge Harold Innocent
  Prosecutor Terrence Hardiman
  Eddie Perry Fenwick
  Ramirez Tony Allef
  Watts Tim Kirby

C2. That Creeping Feeling (14/01/93)
The staff stop talking to Gordon after he devises detailed personal fitness programmes for all of them. Brittas receives a mysterious parcel from an old acquaintance, Lord Millbanks, who has moved to South America.
  Dr Matthews Andrew Hilton
  Debbie Lucy Hancock

C3. Laura's Leaving (21/01/93)
Gordon Brittas is about to host a conference for leisure centre managers, and hopes to use the occasion to spread his dream of universal brotherhood. Laura has applied for a job elsewhere, and Helen Brittas is convinced disaster will befall the centre. She is not wrong.
  Mr Jackson Paul Humpoletz
  Youth Jamie De'Ath
  Minister Colin Pinney

C4. Two Little Boys (28/01/92)
The Whitbury Leisure Centre is celebrating its first birthday with a series of special events, including a swimming gala. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of fuel to heat the pool, because the storage tank has developed a leak. Brittas cannot believe that a relatively new tank can have started to rust, until Colin points out that it is situated near a short cut home from the local pub! Meanwhile, Brittas's twin brother, Horatio, looks for advice about his vocation in the church.
  Mike Andrew Barclay
  Steve Peter Cockett
  Horatio Richard Braine
  Wendy Lucy Briers

C5. Sex, Lies and Red Tape (04/02/93)
Gordon Brittas is trying to raise funds to buy a second trampoline so that Whitbury Leisure Centre can advertise "synchronised trampolining". To raise the money needed, Tim and Gavin are sitting in stocks having wet sponges thrown at them and Colin is attempting a marathon juggle, which goes well until his balls get caught up in some high-tension cables. Brittas himself is on a sponsored silence, an idea suggested by his secretary Julie. Then a wealthy American turns up - but who is he?
  Michael T Farrel (sic) III David Crean

C6. The Stuff of Dreams (11/02/93)
Helen is about to give birth, and she wants everything to be just right, and she is determined that Laura should drive her to the hospital. But events don't turn out quite as she expects. Meanwhile, Colin is having a strange recurring dream, and Gordon is preparing for the leisure centre's Elderly Week.
  Mr Johnston Arthur Whybrow
  Michael Sean Gascoine

Series Four (1994)

Episode titles now appear on-screen, and the series expands to being eight episodes long. Eeeeexcellent. The missing episode on 21/02/94 was due to Olympic coverage.

D1. Not A Good Day (10/01/94)
Gordon Brittas invites Sebastian Coe to promote fitness in "Life Cycle Week".
  Sebastian Coe Himself
  Director Chris Underhill

D2. The Christening (17/01/94)
The Whitbury Leisure Centre prepares for the Christening of the Brittas twins, who must be found before the ceremony can take place.
  Horatio Brittas Richard Braine

D3. Biggles Tells A Lie (24/01/94)
Brittas has decided he needs a day off and takes his dinghy to the coast to go sailing with Helen. This leaves his deputies, Colin and Laura, in charge of the leisure centre. Can Brittas stay away for long?
  No guest cast listed

D4. Mr. Brittas Changes Trains (31/01/94)
Brittas applies for a new job - as British representative on the European Leisure Industry Standards Comittee.
  Phillip Silverman Guy Siner

D5. Playing With Fire (07/02/94)
When Helen takes the children to Cornwall for a holiday, Gordon is left at home on his own - during an energy conservation week at the leisure centre. But will Brittas's power-saving exercise be a baptism of fire?
  Jenny Pelham-Young Helen Patrick

D6. Shall We Dance? (14/02/94)
Whitbury Leisure Centre is closing its doors early to the public so that the staff can attend the Southern Area Leisure Centres Staff Gala Ball. It promises to be a glittering occasion for both staff and "partners", but getting a partner seems to be where the problems begin for everyone, including Brittas.
  Michael T Farrell David Crean
  Chauffeur Henry Cole
  Ron Sudbury Paul Mari
  Pauline Lloyd Harvey
  Edward Hugh Dixon

D7. The Chop (28/02/94)
Brittas has spent days devising a board game for his "plan for the future" fortnight and expects the staff to join in with the gusto. But play is interrupted by a visit from Councillor Jack Drugget, who has interesting news about Brittas's future.
  Cllr Druggett Stephen Churchett

D8. High Noon (06/03/94)
Is it the end of a dream when Gordon Brittas has been sacked as manager of Whitbury Leisure Centre? Although, he has managed to get a job at a local garage.
  Tanker Driver Al Hunter-Ashton
  Alan Digby Bruce Alexander
  Fireman Mark Chapman
  Ben Jonathan Norris

Series Five (1994)

Again, eight episodes in this series. The Christmas Special is also included here, as it seems to have been made at the same time as the fifth series. It was shown a mere eight days after the series finished, and has the same writing team and regular cast...

E1. The Old Old Story (31/10/94)
Songs of Praise is to be presented from the newly rebuilt Leisure Centre, but a series of accidents leads Brittas to believe that a serial killer may be at large.
  Pam Rhodes Herself
  Cllr Drugget Stephen Churchett

E2. Blind Devotion (07/11/94)
Brittas decides someone has to go from the staff at Whitbury Leisure Centre, so tact and sensitivity are the order of the day.
  Mrs Drabble Miranda Forbes

E3. Brussels Calling (14/11/94)
Brittas is in Brussels, being interviewed for a new job as European Commissioner for Sport. Meanwhile, things at Whitbury Leisure Centre are not going as smoothly as might be expected in his absence - almost as if an invisible force was at work.
  Mr Furber Mike Sherman
  John Rawlinson Pip Torrens
  Mrs Furber Frances Hall

E4. The Lies Have It (21/11/94)
Laura's wealthy American husband Michael T Farrell III turns up at Whitbury Leisure Centre to apply for a job as junior pool attendant. Helen Brittas gets into deep water when she is spotted at a restaurant drinking champagne with her lawyer. However, a cleverly concocted story about a surprise birthday party for Carole almost saves the day.
  Michael T Farrell III David Crean
  Mr Donaldson Leslie Schofield

E5. The Boss (28/11/94)
Gavin takes over as trial manager for the day as Brittas tests his abilities with intriguing problems.
  Mrs Heaton-Jones Sheila Keith

E6. Pregnant (05/12/94)
Brittas insists on compulsory urine tests for all his staff at the Whitbury Leisure Centre. However, the results would seem to reveal that Carole has been made pregnant by Colin after drinking a cocktail of hallucinogenic gases.
  No guest cast listed

E7. UXB (12/12/94)
As Brittas packs in preparation for his move to Brussels, Helen decides she would prefer to stay at home and look after the dog. Meanwhile, Colin discovers a bomb at work - something he feels should concern Mr. Brittas.
  Pam Rhodes Herself
  Mr Trap Peter Cleall

E8. The Last Day (19/12/94)
As Brittas prepares for his departure to Brussels as European Commissioner for Sport, he decides that an emergency water tank should be installed as an extra fire precaution.
  Michael Jasper Jacobs
  St. Peter Tony Steadman
  Vicar Colin Pinney

Christmas Special - In The Beginning (27/12/94)
This special episode of the comedy series is set in 2019, and the former staff of Whitbury New Town Leisure Centre are paying tribute to the man who gave them everything - Sir Gordon Brittas.
  Derek Mark Gillies
  Barney Walter Hepworth-Lewis

Series Six (1996)

It was at this point that things started to go wrong. The writers, Richard Fegen and Andrew Norris, decided to call it a day, but the BBC were keen to carry on. They brought in a team of new writers, who each wrote an episode or two each. Also leaving the show was Julia St. John, who played Laura Lancing. Again, we're not sure of the details, or whether or not her decision was something to do with Fegen and Norris leaving. Her replacement was Penny Bidmead, played by Anouschka Menzies - a frankly forgettable character. The missing episodes on the 5th and 19th of March were to make way for the first and second legs of the UEFA Cup quarter final. Much more interesting is that the third episode was originally going to be We All Fall Down, in which some children are electrocuted at the end. This was deemed insensitive in light of the Dunblane massacre, and so was switched with At The Double. Only seven episodes of this series - boo!

F1. Back With A Bang (27/02/96)
The staff at Whitbury Leisure Centre prepare a red carpet welcome for the indestructable Gordon Brittas.
Written by Ian Davidson and Peter Vincent.
  Cllr Drugget Stephen Churchett
  Man in car park Paul Roseby

F2. Body Language (12/03/96)
When a mysterious green block of ice crashes through the roof, Colin suspects an alien take-over bid from outer space. Meanwhile, Brittas tries to explain the benefits of making and mirroring body language.
Written by Tony Willan and Mike Walling.
  No guest cast listed

F3. At The Double (26/03/96)
The Ruthenian State Circus is in town and Brittas invites both of its members to perform at the Leisure Centre - with much confusion.
Written by Ian Davidson and Peter Vincent.
  No guest cast listed

F4. A Walk On The Wild Side (02/04/96)
Brittas proves he is not always a walking disaster when his new campaign becomes a European directive.
Written by Tony Millan an Mike Walling.
  Harry Johnson Phil Fox

F5. We All Fall Down (09/04/96)
Brittas plays with fire once again, organising the eternal flame for the leisure centre's World Peace and Hunger Day celebrations.
Written by Ian Davidson.
  Mrs Norman Jane Wheldon

F6. Mr Brittas Falls In Love (16/04/96)
Brittas believes that swimming with a dolphin at the leisure centre will bring peace, relaxation and happiness to all the inhabitants.
Written by Terry Kyan.
  Marine Park man Bob Jarvis
  Rosemary Rawlinson Vicci Avery
  Man in reception Gordon Salkilld
  Man in pool Paul McDowell
  Mrs Rawlinson Tessa Bell Briggs

F7. Snap Happy (23/04/96)
When Brittas tries to organise a simple staff photograph, what can go wrong?
Written by Paul Smith.
  Photographer Hugh Walters
  Pirate man David Ross
  Demolition man Sion Tudor Owen

Series Seven (1997)

And so Brittas comes to an end, after Chris Barrie decides he doesn't want to be typecast as a pratt. They carried on after losing the writers and the co-star, but there was no way the show could continue without Brittas himself. For the final series, a full eight episodes were made, as well as a Christmas special, which was shown on Christmas Eve, about a fortnight before the series proper. Oddly, Judy Flynn (Julie) is not in the special, but she is in the main eight episodes. However, Anouschka Menzies left the show, and nobody noticed. The final episode ends with the entire series being revealed as a dream, reminiscent of a certain Dallas episode. So how do they explain all the characters being alive and well in 2019 in the first Christmas special, eh? Factoids: the seventh series of both Red Dwarf and Brittas ran together, and both shows ended up with a total of 52 episodes (if you include the Christmas specials. Which we do).

Christmas Special - Surviving Christmas (24/12/96)
Brittas organises a special Christmas treat for his staff at the Whitbury Leisure Centre. It's a team bonding exercise in the Welsh mountains and a fight for survival.
Written by Tony Millan and Mike Walling.
  Warwick Newmark Jeffery Dench
  Capt Kipper 'B' Brown Mark Arden
  Dai the pizza Matthew Morgan

G1. The Elephant's Child (06/01/97)
Gordon Brittas organises a sponsored bungee jump, while several tons of manure are delivered to the centre.
Written by Ian Davidson and Peter Vincent.
  Cllr Drugget Stephen Churchett
  Old Lady Veda Warwick

G2. Reviewing The Situation (13/01/97)
Brittas organises a staff review with everyone reporting to their immediate junior. Julie is under police protection after receiving threatening letters, and Helen studies to be a counsellor.
Written by Mike Walling and Tony Millan.
  PC Edwards Andy J Smart

G3. http://etc (20/01/97)
Brittas computerises the leisure centre, hoping this will make things more efficient.
Written by Paul Smith.
  Cllr Drugget Stephen Churchett
  Man in queue Louis Haslar
  Badminton player Ravin J Ganatra
  Danny William Ulstein
  Mr Driscoll Malcolm Mudie
  Swimmer Isabel Murphy
  Swimmer Stuart Linden

G4. Wake Up The Lion Within (27/01/97)
Brittas returns revitalised from a management course in Miami and encourages his staff to release their own potential.
Written by Terry Kyan.
  Cllr Drugget Stephen Churchett
  Lotte Laudrup Kim Hartman

G5. The Disappearing Act (03/02/97)
The staff of the leisure centre are competing for the title Employee of the Month.
Written by Tony Millan and Mike Walling.
  Cllr Drugget Stephen Churchett
  Cathy Anne Horby
  Roger Robert Horwell
  Eamonn Gerard Doyle

G6. Gavin Featherly RIP (10/02/97)
Gavin goes missing on a staff weekend.
Written by Terry Kyan.
  Coast Guard John Duval
  Seaman Frank Rozelaar-Green
  Colonel Featherly Donald Pickering
  Mrs Featherly Rowena Cooper
  Interpol Officer Jon Clairmont
  Peter Featherly Nick Sampson
  Police Officer Robert Weatherby

G7. Exposed (17/02/97)
An investigative journalist plans to film an expose on the centre.
Written by Paul Smith.
  Roger Ferguson Michael Fenton Stevens
  Angie Luisa Bradshaw-White
  Brett Daniels Lawrence Elman
  Swimmer Penny Krinski
  Customer Angela Whyndam Lewis
  Customer John Fleming
  Reporter Jonathan Stokes
  Dr Simpson Jon Cartwright

G8. Curse of the Tiger Women (24/02/97)
Brittas is in a celebratory mood, but Councillor Brugget has some bad news for him.
Written by Ian Davidson and Peter Vincent.
  Cllr Drugget Stephen Churchett