Last modified on 12 March 2014, at 17:37

The Brittas Empire

The Brittas Empire (1991-1997) is a BBC sitcom created by Andrew Norriss and Richard Fegen, and starring Chris Barrie as Gordon Brittas.

Series 1 (1991)Edit

Laying of the FoundationsEdit

Laura: Laura Lancing, Deputy Manager Dry.
Colin: Colin Weatherby, Deputy Manager, wet.

Gordon Brittas' approach to management is antagonising a lot of people

Brittas: I think we'll just have to manage without a cleaning lady for today.
Laura: No, she's going for good, and her husband with her. He's the heating engineer, and he's turned off all the boilers. The building inspector says he can't give a building worthiness certificate until he's seen the heating in action, and he wants you to know that he can't come again for a fortnight.
Brittas: All I can say is: thank God I got here today! Just imagine if all this had happened yesterday with no one to sort it out, eh?

The Opening DayEdit

Brittas: This is a leisure centre for the community, Colin! We can't have people strolling in off the street!

Bye Bye BabyEdit

Laura has just found Carole's baby in a drawer

Laura: You know what Brittas said: if he found it in here again, he'd confiscate it.

A long queue has built up at reception, with Brittas behind the desk

Man in queue: (grabs Brittas by the collar) I've been invited to give a lecture here, and unless you tell me in the next thirty seconds where I'm supposed to go, I'm going to take you outside and set fire to you! Understand?
Brittas: (calmly) Mr Owen?
Man: Right!
Brittas: Mr Ken Owen? "Tranquillity Without Drugs"?

Underwater WeddingEdit

Brittas: Semper Omnibus Facultas. Don't you understand what that means?

Stop Thief!Edit

Helen's plan for marriage guidance are conflicting with her husband's surveillance operation

Brittas: Let's see now. When are we free?
Helen: No, it has to be now, Gordon.
Brittas: Ooh, bit tricky, darling. I'm supposed to be hiding in a locker in the staff changing room.

AssassinEdit

Gavin: I've just seen Larry Whittaker. He says he's going to kill Brittas!
Tim: I've always liked Larry.

Series 2 (1992)Edit

Back from the DeadEdit

Apparently Brittas will not be returning from the sports conference

Helen: He's dead.
Julie: I thought he was in Bulgaria.
Helen: Yes, he's dead in Bulgaria.

Brittas discovers his wife thinks he's dead

Brittas: Poor Helen! She must have been through hell. Look, I'd better get back and give her the good news.
Laura: Would you like me to ring her?
Brittas: No, thanks, Laura. I'd rather do it myself. This sort of thing can be a bit of a shock if it's not done properly. (exit)
Laura: (to Linda) Phone Helen!

Temple of the BodyEdit

From now on, all female members of staff will be chaperoned after dark, except Carole

Brittas: Obviously, whatever hanky panky is going on will be with the younger, more attractive women. So, nothing for you to worry about. Happy now?

Brittas has discovered that Carole is living in a cupboard in the centre

Carole: I thought you'd throw me out.
Brittas: Throw you out, Carole? What do you think I am?
Carole: Sorry, Mr Brittas.
Brittas: Of course I'd throw you out!

An Inspector CallsEdit

Brittas: Only last month, I set up a brand new course to help the overweight come to terms with their self-image. First week, we have a light-hearted session with a measuring tape, and second week no one bothers to turn up!

Set in ConcreteEdit

Brittas is standing with his feet set in a block of concrete

Julie: Put you in a pair of shorts, and we'd be all set for a game of Subbuteo!

Mums and DadsEdit

With the grand piano stuck in reception, Brittas decides to hold the concert there and fit the audience around it

Laura: They've paid rather a lot of money, haven't they?
Brittas: It's a charity concert, Laura. People don't come to hear the music.

Safety FirstEdit

Councillor Dapping does not think Brittas' request is a reasonable one

Brittas: Well, if you're the one prepared to go on the six o'clock news surrounded by bodies, having to admit to Kate Adie you didn't think a proper fire escape was necessary...
Councillor Dapping: That's the risk I'll just have to take, Mr Brittas. I'll put your views to the committee, with my personal recommendation...that they take no notice whatsoever.

New GenerationsEdit

Brittas: You're eight and a half months pregnant and you haven't seen a doctor?
Carole: I suppose I...I hoped it would go away.

Helen: Could you give this to my husband? (hands her a note)
Laura: Yes, of course.
Helen: It's just to tell him it's fish cakes for supper and I'm pregnant.
Laura: You're what?!
Helen: Well, after today's events, I thought the news had rather lost its novelty value, but someone ought to tell him.

Series 3 (1993)Edit

The TrialEdit

Brittas: Carole, can I have the solvent please?
Colin: It's no good, Mr Brittas.
Brittas: Pardon?
Colin: She's in a trance. I think she's having another vision.
Brittas: Well, do you think we could wake her up, Colin? I need the solvent.
Colin: I don't think that would be wise, Mr Brittas.
Carole: No, no, not more blood in here. Not in here, please!
Brittas: Colin, the borough council employs Carole 'cause of her skills as a receptionist, not 'cause she claims to see into next week with an eye in the middle of her forehead. Wake her up, will you?

Colin: Mr Brittas?
Brittas: What is it now?
Colin: You've got a telephone stuck to your ear, Mr Brittas.
Brittas: I am aware of that, Colin!

Brittas: One gun...white powder...£650,000...right, lost property forms!

That Creeping FeelingEdit

Julie thinks the silent treatment is not getting through to Brittas

Julie: We need something much more drastic!
Tim: Like what?
Julie: Like...like total no co-operation! Anything he wants done, just don't do it!
Tim: Well, you don't anyway, do you?

Having dismissed the regular teacher for alleged sexism, Brittas is taking the ante-natal class himself

Brittas: And while we're thinking these gentle positive thoughts, let's remember Dad, because he sometimes gets left out, doesn't he? Let's remember Jim, eh, Brenda? And hope his worries over redundancy and the fall-off in the motor trade prove unfounded. Let's remember Bob, shall we, Elaine? And we all hope you hear some news of him before too long.

Laura's LeavingEdit

Brittas is composing a speech on his Dictaphone

Brittas: Where else but in a leisure centre can we draw together the troubled strands of our society? Where else will you find young and old, of every class and race, playing with each other on the gymnasium floor?

Two Little BoysEdit

Horatio is having doubts about his suitability for the priesthood

Horatio: You know I get hecklers during my sermons? I've had godparents trying to throttle me against the font! Three weeks ago, someone fired a shotgun at me just while I was announcing a hymn!
Brittas: We all have little setbacks, you know.

Brittas: You can't judge a place by a couple of headlines in the national press.

Sex, Lies and Red TapeEdit

Brittas is doing a sponsored silence

Laura: He's promised not to speak for eight hours.
Carole: Eight hours? But how on earth will he do all his managing?
Laura: D'you know, it hasn't made as much different as you'd have thought?

The Stuff of DreamsEdit

Brittas: Everyone seems to know who I am.
Laura: Colin didn't recognise you.
Brittas: Hardly reassuring from a man who's just dreamt he's an eagle with mange.

Brittas: I wonder, could you have a quick word with young Linda for me, please.
Laura: Of course. Anything in particular?
Brittas: I need her to unlock the stationery cupboard. I need to get my clothes out.
Laura: Can't you ask her?
Brittas: I have, several times, but she refuses to come out.

Series 4 (1994)Edit

Not a Good DayEdit

Brittas: Sebastian Coe, Colin! This is Sebastian Coe OBE MP!
Colin: Yes, Mr Brittas.
Brittas: And you have chained him by the ankle to a staircase.

Brittas and Laura survey the aftermath of the siege

Brittas: Today was going to be such a good day. I woke up this morning, and my heart filled with thoughts of all the joyous, wonderful things we were going to give to people when they came through these doors. And now...
Laura: Now we haven't got any doors.

The ChristeningEdit

Rehearsal for the christening, and confusion mounts over who is representing who

Brittas: Look, there is no need for anyone to think. It's all perfectly simple, I'll go through it one more time. I am the Reverend Horatio Brittas. Laura is Mrs Brittas, my wife. Colin is me, except for when he is standing over here with a candle, when he is Colin. Tim is Uncle Herbert, Matthew's main godparent, who'll be joining us from Godalming later. And he and Laura, who is Mark's main godparent, and who in these circumstances is Linda, come back and collect the babies from me who is Colin and Mrs Brittas who is Laura. What could be simpler?

Brittas does not like the woman his brother wants to marry

Brittas: You know, Laura, there are some people in this world (mercifully, not too many) who can walk into a building full of happy, contented people, and just create chaos! They probably don't mean to. They probably think they're trying to help, but the end result...(imitates explosion sound) Know what I mean?
Laura: Yes, I think I do.

Biggles Tells a LieEdit

Brittas: He's been telling lies, and to his own daughter!
Laura: He just didn't want her to get hurt.
Brittas: That's how it always starts, Laura. You think lies are going to make things easier, so you tell the policeman you don't know what speed you were doing, you keep the 10p you found on the pavement, you tell the Poppy Day lady you've already given. Next thing you know, you're fiddling your tax and taking paperclips home from work!

Mr Brittas Changes TrainsEdit

Playing with FireEdit

[Colin has built a methane digester, connected to the staff toilet]
Colin: I'm not just going through the motions!

[Gavin's mentally unstable fiancée has turned up unexpectedly]
Gavin: The important thing is not to let her get upset or frustrated.
Laura: Absolutely. We mustn't let her get angry...where's Mr Brittas?

Shall We Dance?Edit

Brittas wants all the staff to take someone to the dance

Linda: I could ask Edward. I'm sure he'd come. We were at school together.
Brittas: Thank you, Linda. See, that wasn't difficult. Why can't you do that, Tim?
Tim: Well, Edward's already going with Linda.

Helen has returned from her holiday, covered in vomit

Helen: God, what a journey! Four children projectile-vomiting non-stop from St Austell!
Carole: Oh, dear. Are they ill?
Helen: I think it was the crab they ate yesterday.
Carole: Oh, you have to be so careful in restaurants, don't you?
Helen: They'd have been fine in a restaurant. This was a dead one they found on the beach.

The ChopEdit

High NoonEdit

Laura: How are you?
Helen: Not so bad...well, fairly bad. You know Carole's living with us now...and her children...and Gordon.

Series 5 (1994)Edit

The Old, Old StoryEdit

The newly-rebuilt leisure centre is hosting Songs of Praise

Brittas: So, our problem is that shortly we will have some 800 people rehearsing hymns in our gymnasium, all of whom will want to use the resources of this leisure centre. And our job is to make sure they don't.

Councillor Drugget has appeared at the centre on crutches, and apparently Brittas is to blame

Councillor Drugget: Next time he shouts "Oi, you", I shan't waste any time thinking, "What's he on about now?" I shall simply step back before the scaffolding pole lands on my foot.

Blind DevotionEdit

Brussels CallingEdit

The Lies Have ItEdit

Brittas: On seeing a potential hazard, we think about it, don't we? We identify the problems. Then we tell the rest of the team. "Think, Identify, Tell".
Tim: TIT!
Brittas: I'm sorry, Tim?
Tim: I said "tit", Mr Brittas.
Gavin: It's a mnemonic, Mr Brittas.

The BossEdit

Pregnant!Edit

Linda: (beaming) Me? Pregnant?
Brittas: No question of doubt. It's down here in black and white.
Linda: Oh, I don't mind what colour it is, as long as it's a baby!

Brittas: Timothy, you're a woman, aren't you?
Tim: (pauses) I'm a what?
Brittas: I have the lab report on your sample, Tim. By the way, you're also pregnant.

UXBEdit

Helen needs to tell her husband she is leaving him

Helen: I can't see him till 10, can I?
Laura: Why not?
Helen: It takes half an hour for the pills to work!

Laura: If you remember, Mr. Brittas, you told the ambulance men to come round to the back in future. You thought it was better for morale.

The Last DayEdit

Brittas is making an important tannoy announcement, in the manner of Neville Chamberlain's famous broadcast

Brittas: I am speaking to you from my office on the first floor, on a matter of grave importance. As you know, I was recently appointed Commissioner for Sport and representative of Her Britannic Majesty in the European Union. What you may not know is that for some days, I have been in dispute with the German delegation, concerning the extent of their contribution, and it was to this end that I delivered yesterday an ultimatum to the Germans, that if I did not have an official assurance by 12 noon today, a spirit of friendship and co-operation would no longer exist between us, making me unable to accept my new position. I have to tell you now that no such assurance has been received, and therefore I am standing down as Commissioner for Sport.

Christmas Special: In the BeginningEdit

Due to the snowstorm, Brittas refuses to allow his staff to leave the centre, and a lorry has crashed into the badminton hall

Brittas: Laura, how's the lorry driver?
Laura: Yeah, I gave him your message about staying, Mr Brittas, but he said he'd rather take his chances in the snow.

Julie: Why can't we use the canteen?
Brittas: If you remember, Julie, the canteen was sealed by the police until after the inquests.
Gavin: If there's food in there...
Laura: I spoke to one of the forensic scientists, Gavin. You wouldn't want to touch it.

Brittas: Every time I walk into a room, a fight seems to break out.

Series 6 (1996)Edit

Back with a BangEdit

Colin has made a scale model of the leisure centre, with a little figure representing Brittas

Brittas: Why am I holding up a green flag?
Colin: He's out of my train set, Mr Brittas.
Brittas: He doesn't look very like me.
Tim: Oh, I don't know. He's waving his arms about, blowing a whistle, nobody's taking any notice, and he's entirely made out of plastic.

Brittas: The details are coming back. That coffin was very cramped. Most uncomfortable. I suspect it didn't conform to European standards.

Body LanguageEdit

Carole is holding a fancy dress birthday party for Ben, in the cupboard

Carole: It's an ugly bug ball. I've sewn Ben into a pillowcase. He's going as a chrysalis. He's in there pupating at the moment.

Colin suggests Brittas try communicating with the block of ice, suspecting alien intelligence

Brittas: I don't know if you've come from another planet, or if you can understand me, but if you have, and if you can, I'd like you to know that you have effected an unauthorised entry into this leisure centre, which is in clear breach of the council by-laws, incurring automatic membership suspension. Also, you're gonna have to pay for this damage!

At the DoubleEdit

American: We represent the First National Church of Chattanooga. Do I have the pleasure of speaking to Mr Gordon Bright-ass?

Penny suggests dressing up, to make Helen's marriage more exciting

Helen: We went to a Vicars and Tarts party once. I went as the vicar, and he went as a Bakewell tart. The dog was all over him.

A Walk on the WildsideEdit

Brittas' Walks for Health campaign idea seems to be going down well in Europe

Julie: There's mad buggers wandering all over the place! And the Germans have already marched through Poland.

Colin explains his philosophy of antibody-building to Carole

Colin: As I always say: a disease a day keeps the doctor away.

We All Fall DownEdit

Brittas: With a television crew in attendance, the Olympic torch comes back from the town hall, held aloft symbolically by Linda. The Olympic torch then lights the Eternal Flame, which represents the fire of human endeavour burning forever.

Enter Colin

Colin: It's gone out!

Brittas has caught a glimpse of Colin's warmonger effigy through the keyhole

Brittas: Saddam Hussein, here!
Carole: Well, he shouldn't be! He hasn't got a ticket!

Mr Brittas Falls in LoveEdit

Brittas: Has that brine delivery arrived yet?
Carole: Yes, Mr Brittas. They're PUMPING it through the back door!
Brittas: Eeexcellent!

Snap HappyEdit

Christmas Special: Surviving ChristmasEdit

Newmark: You can't give Father Christmas the sack!
Brittas: Don't tell me: 'cause he's already got one! [laughs]

Captain Brown: Captain Kipper B. Brown. I run the centre.
Brittas: Gordon Brittas. I run the centre...Whitbury New Town Leisure Centre! [laughs]

Captain Brown, who is ex-SAS, is making an impression on the staff

Brittas: He's really got you going. I can almost smell the fear.
Colin: That could be me, Mr Brittas. Haven't been able to change me socks.
Brittas: 97 different ways of killing people!
Captain Brown: I've just thought of number 98.

Series 7 (1997)Edit

The Elephant's ChildEdit

Helen is planning a desperate criminal enterprise, and decides to consult Gavin

Helen: (conspiratorially) Who's the most daring, the most macho member of staff? Is it Tim? Or Colin? Or you?
Gavin: (looks nervous) I'd say Julie.

Linda finds Tim trying to catch a chill, to avoid the bungee jump

Tim: Gavin thinks I'm tough, but just the thought of that bungee jump scares me to death!
Linda: You're going to die anyway if you get pneumonia.
Tim: Well, I don't mind dying of something I'm not scared of.

Brittas: Since I have been manager of this centre, I am very proud to say there have only been twenty-three deaths. And not one of them was a staff member.

Reviewing the SituationEdit

Brittas is dictating to Julie, while being frisked by Greg

Brittas: "Dear Councillor Drugget, re your memo of the 14th inst, I am seeking clarification on council policy regarding the buying in of alternative services. Can I take it this does not refer to alternative religious services, as was first thought? If so, I shall inform the Reverend Bernie Simpson that he can no longer hold Voodoo sacrifices in the squash courts. Yours etc etc. P.S. Most of the chicken blood has now been successfully removed from the walls."

Since Tim has changed his surname, the DSS has no record of him

Brittas: To them, you're a non-person. And you can't argue with a government department.

http://etcEdit

Virtual Reality Squash

Brittas: Timothy! You've arranged to play squash with Gavin, you're all set and raring to go. When suddenly, he stands you up because he's decided to go out with his girlfriend! Course of action?
Tim: Well, there are a number of options, Mr Brittas: tampering with his brakes, electrocuting him with his CD player...
Brittas: No! You play with yourself!

The new computerised booking system is slowing everything down at reception

Carole: That's Mrs Phillips for a standby ticket, swim session, in Lane 2, with a sachet of shampoo for greasy hair!

Wake up the Lion WithinEdit

Gavin cannot believe it when Carole is appointed Deputy Manager

Gavin: It took me years to make Deputy! How come Carole does it overnight?
Tim: Ah well, she's got a "lion within", you see.
Gavin: Oh, yeah? And what have I got?
Tim: ...A gerbil?

The Disappearing ActEdit

Brittas: Dreams workshop tomorrow lunchtime. Now, it's purely voluntary, but everyone must attend. And I want you all to have a good dream tonight, and bring it in with you tomorrow morning.

It is the middle of the night, and Brittas wants to be prepared to record his dreams

Helen: What are you doing?
Brittas: Sharpening my pencil, ready for the morning! Fortunately, my darling, you're married to a man who keeps a pencil sharpener in his bedside cabinet.

Gavin Featherly RIPEdit

Brittas: I have just broken the news to Gavin's parents over the phone, and needless to say, they were very distressed.
Julie: Especially when you reversed the charges.

ExposedEdit

Julie: So, what're you going to do if the press get hold of this? You know how they made a mountain out of a molehill when the centre burned down.
Brittas: All part of handling our friends in the media, Julie. (picks up the phone and dials) Nip it in the bud with some swift positive action...Hello, Whitbury Evening News? News desk, please...Hello, Gordon Brittas, manager of Whitbury Leisure Centre. I'd just like to quell any rumours you might have heard about there being an outbreak of contagious disease here at the leisure centre. Oh, and by the way, it's definitely not bobular fever.

A further demonstration of Brittas' method of handling the media

Brittas: Why do you people in the media always focus on the negative side of things, when so much of what happens at this leisure centre is a success story? Last year, six hundred people visited this centre, and nearly five hundred returned home without any loss of life or serious injury!

Curse of the Tiger WomenEdit

Colin has planned a design for an Ark, and is explaining it to Julie

Julie: You don't need to put fish on the Ark. They can stay in the sea.
Colin: Eh?
Julie: Well, what's a flood to a fish? It's more room to swim around in.
Colin: Julie, you have a brain! I can see why that young man of yours wants to marry you.

Helen: Carole, my last client: when he left, did he walk all hunched up, head down, jabbering to himself?
Carole: Yes, Mrs Brittas.
Helen: Good, good. He's getting better.

Brittas: I'm afraid Carole is having some sort of nervous collapse. She's to have counselling sessions with Mrs Brittas.
Julie: Isn't that a bit like taking coals to Newcastle?

Brittas: It is seven years to the day since the first member of public came through those hello portals.
Gavin: And you threw him out, Mr Brittas!
Brittas: He was wearing unauthorised water wings, Gavin.

Miscellaneous recurring linesEdit

Brittas: Eeeexcellent!

Brittas: I have a dream. A dream that one day...

Carole: Welcome to Whitbury New Town Leisure Centre. How may I help you?

Julie: I'm busy!

Tim: We're all going to die!

External linksEdit

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