Episode Number


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Written by

Victoria Wood

Executive Producers

Philip McIntyre
David Tyler


Victoria Wood
Geoff Posner


Geoff Posner

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Scandal (broadcast on 26th November 1998) was the third episode of Dinnerladies.

Synopsis Edit

After moving into the car park of the company, Bren's mother finds herself engaged to a 16 year old boy, Clint. His mother, Shelagh, is furious and pickets in front of the factory, hoping that this would split them up. After Anita suggests that they should talk it out on a talkshow, the idea takes off but someone is bound to get hurt...

Plot Edit

The episode opens with Bren making tea for the others. Dolly, Jean and Anita are doing facial exercises that are being read from a magazine by Anita. After finishing, Dolly and Jean enter a small dispute about Dolly's differing milk days, which leads to further discussions about weight and hips. Twinkle shows Bren a magazine article called "Good Knob Guide" in a women's magazine, which slightly repulses Bren. Dolly takes a look, confusing it for a furniture catalogue, which apparently disgusts her.

Jean then discusses her divorce and the fact that Keith, her ex-husband, had stated that she wasn't good in bed to the marriage councellor. After Dolly suggests that Jean may be too busy reading Catherine Cookson at night, Anita gets confused with Jane Austin, which Anita thinks to have been written by Shakespeare. Bren decides to explain in her usual, comical manner, what is really the case. Tony enters just as Dolly is talking about Woodcock, in relation to a popular British cookery show and gets confused.

Stan comes to tell them that there is interest from a TV station for them to be filmed doing their everyday jobs. After he leaves, a new conversation sparks up. Anita suggests becoming a celebrity after the programme airs, to which Jean agrees, showing them a picture in a magazine of a woman, who became a celebrity after tripping up on a TV show. She misreads parts of it and this annoys Dolly.

The day moves on to them all working. The conversation seems to have been resparked and Dolly is suggesting that they might give her her own slimming programme. Stan enters to fix a toilet role dispenser before disappearing into the toilet itself, stating it to be a problem with the spindle nuts. After Tony asks them what he is doing, Twinkle tells him that he is adjusting his nuts.

Then, Petula runs in with a random boy, Clint, before rushing into the bathroom. They are confused with the lack of information. Stan returns, asking Bren what her mother is doing in the canteen. Shutters go up and an angry mother, Shelagh, demands Bren to allow her to see Clint, her son. After attempting to enter the kitchen, Tony escorts her out. Bren asks Petula to explain the situation at once. She reveals that Clint is, in fact, her new 16 year old fiancé. She further explains that Clint's mother is rather worried about their relationship and that they plan to go to Barcelona to allow his mother to "cool off".

The next day, Philippa Moorcroft dashes into the kitchen to remind Bren that the TV researcher is coming in at some point. Bren tells her that Stan has managed to tow her mother's caravan around and has parked it next to his bins. Dolly and Jean then enter, closely followed by Tony. Tony isn't too excited about this visit. Twinkle comes in, revealing her to be extremely tired. Philippa tells the team, who is completed by Anita, that the researcher is looking for an upbeat bunch of people and Dolly immediately states that they are, the other's faces showing a different story. Philippa says that the researcher will be checking out Packing too but they enter a dispute over Harry from Packing, who is rather a bizarre man.

The TV researcher, Hannah, is showed into the canteen by Mr Michael and a discussion starts about the things that go on in a canteen. Bren tells her about Norman and his incorrect orders, which doesn't interest the TV researcher at first. Philippa goes on to introduce everyone, which leads to Dolly suggesting Anita's ethnic backgroud as a reason for them being chosen for the show. Stan walks in and introduces himself, immediately getting on with each other over the subject of toast. He goes to show her the toaster but is interrupted by Bren's mother walking from the toilet, covered in a stained bed cover and then breaking wind.

The day truly starts as the shutters go up and Tony leaves to have a blood test after Bren tells him that her mother is making the whole situation awkward. Immediately afterward, Jane asks for her twelve rounds of white toast and Bren hops to it. She asks the Hannah whether she has decided who is to be on the documentary but she is told that it depends on whether Bren's mother will be still staying outside. All but Bren have strong opinions against her mother staying.

Shelagh rushes in and accuses Bren of hiding her mother and Clint from her. Bren suddenly defends her mother, stating that she is a grown woman and that if her mother wants to do something, then nobody has the right to stop her. Shelagh sees none of it and rushes on in but Stan steps forward to mainly defend his "bin and skip area". She decides to go on her way but leaves Bren to pass a message to Petula that she will be picketing the factory until Petula comes to talk to her. She threatens to phone the newspapers, the television channels and also that she we will picket all hours before finally leaving.

A few days later and it is revealed that Shelagh has been picketing for five days. Tony comes into the canteen and tells Bren about how crazy the situation is outside. Bren tells him that she only got in because Stan was waiting for her at the entrance. He explains that Clint shouldn't be with her mother and that it's causing havoc across the factory. As Tony goes to answer the phone, Norman comes in to deliver the bread. Bren refuses a phonecall asking for Bren to go onto Kilroy and Norman says that unless the situation calms down, he won't be delivering more bread. He brings up his agoraphobia due to his falling off a diving board in Guernsey.

Hannah rushes in and gets a snack, stating that she has been having fun over the past few days. Tony turns on the TV and tells Bren that the other workers are being helped through by Stan. They then enter and it turns out that they have all been pestered by reporters over the past five days. Tony then asks Dolly whether she wants to appear on Kilroy and she declines. The phone rings again and Tony asks Jean whether she wants to do Kilroy and she also declines.

Philippa rushes in with an order of teas and snacks for the press. It is revealed that Clint's mother has actually chained herself to the main gates. She rushes out and the phone rings, asking if Twinkle wants to appear on Kilroy and she refuses. As they watch it on television, they all agree that the TV reporter, Carmel, from Northern Roundup is loving a juicy story such as this. Petula enters and asks Bren whether she has foil for her to do highlights but Bren tells her about the current situation and tries to stress its importance. The canteen workers walk in and tell Petula that she is the cause of this scenario but Petula gets distracted by the lovely colour of Jean's hair. Tony then walks in to ask whether Anita wants to go on Kilroy and she declines.

Mr Michael and Philippa enter and express their concern to Petula and their effect on the working days- or lack of. Philippa makes it obvious that making her leave is not what they want but they think that it may be for the best. Tony walks in and asks if anyone wants to do Kilroy, to which they all tell him "no". Petula then raises a good point that if Shelagh assults her then it may have a worse effect on the appearance of the company. When Bren is asked for her opinion, she can't take a side. As the dispute gets heatened and Petula wanders off, Anita makes a passing remark about how things like these are easily solved on talkshows. Bren agrees completely with Anita and knows that Carmel would relish the opportunity to host it and Mr Michael and Philippa run to fetch her.

The day moves onto the arranged meeting between the two ladies and it shows Carmel sorting out the show. Bren is helping her mother with her hair whilst people busy themselves with seating arrangements. Meanwhile, Twinkle is talking to Clint about Barcelona and he tells her that he is only with Petula to annoy his mother. Now on air, Petula explains her side of the situation, stating that they are together because they are a true match for one-another. Shelagh is then brought in, promising that she will not be violent towards Petula. She changes her tune and assures them that if Clint is happy, then so is she. Clint is then called in but does not appear. Instead, Twinkle reads out a letter to Petula, written by him, saying that he needs to move on. It also tells Shelagh that he is returning home. Petula hides her devastation, saying that it was bound to happen when given freedom. She then leaves after breaking wind on air.

In the final scene, Bren is plating up some biscuits. They are all discussing how pleased they are with how quick the journalists have disappeared. Tony asks them to stay for a while as Hannah is interested in starting the filming of the documentary but in a private conversation with Bren, he doesn't think himself to appear in a documentary, in case he becomes ill. He is afraid that if he refuses the film crew that no-one will like him any longer. Bren says to him that she could be the one to take the rap by saying she doesn't want to take part. They are unsure as to the possible outcome but Bren goes ahead to tell them that she can't do it but Philippa and Hannah interupt. They assure them that the filming is going ahead, Bren attempts to interrupt the conversation but it is revealed that they have chosen to film Packing instead.