Look out for links with (Þ) next to them - click on them and you will hear some sound clips form the show (.wav format only at the moment.) On the other hand the ð symbol links to additional information relevant to the episode (strictly for the trivia minded).
WRITTEN BY - Johnny Byrne
DIRECTOR - Herbert Wise
THIS WEEK'S GUESTS
Miss Fitzroy - Antonia Pemberton
Geoffrey Winger - Tim Potter
Graham Radcliffe - Michael Bertenshaw
Sir Robert Clifton - Robert Addie
Stephen Waller - Dominic Taylor
(For more information on this week's cast, see Cast Notes .)
|You're no good to me now, Tom (Þ)|
Clare has not yet joined the practice. There are still a few weeks to go before she is officially on the books. But Tom has been looking for work. On the way back from rescuing an orphan fox cub, he tells Clare that he is going for an interview with a large practice in London with research facilities. Clare is clearly upset, and though she does not say anything to Tom, she does talk to Val about whether she is doing the right thing - whether she is treading on Tom's toes. 'Tom has to find his own way', Val replies.
Meanwhile, Val has been getting worried about a young man with learning difficulties who has recently lost his mother. He has never had to cope on his own before. He has acquired a dog for company, and Val is not sure that he knows how to look after it. When Noah goes to see him, he finds the dog is being fed on baked beans and spaghetti hoops. But Geoffrey is capable of learning, if he is taught patiently. and Noah is sure that he will look after the dog. There are also piles of unopened letters in the cottage, and Noah persuades him to let Val go through them with him.
Noah gets a call out that he has been dreading - from a newly established ostrich (ð) farm. 'They're just overgrown chickens aren't they?' Tom remarks. 'If that's what you think, you can take the call,' Noah retorts. On the way out, Tom stops to ask Clare out for lunch or supper or... but Clare is keeping him at a distance. Frustrated, he tells her he can't talk now - he's on the way to see an ostrich with an eye infection. When she learns that he has never handled one before, Clare decides she had better go with him.
As Clare suspected, the farmer - Stephen Waller - has no proper facilities for handling the birds. But Clare has been taught the trick of it before. Moving carefully up behind the bird, she slips a sock over its head, which makes it docile, and then with Tom's help backs it into the darkness of a shed, where they can examine the eyes. At this point, Tom makes a fatal mistake. Before Clare can stop him, he steps in front of the bird. The next thing he knows, he is flying through the door on the end of a very painful kick.
Back at the surgery, Clare is tending to (some of) his injuries. Tom tries to tell her how much he enjoyed working with her. But she keeps fending him off, making brittle little jokes, putting up barriers between them. 'Leaving Melton isn't going to change how I feel about you,' he protests. 'But I don't want an absentee lover,' she retorts. He tries to say that if he had understood (Þ) how much she wanted to stay in Melton, he might have accepted his father's offer. But she won't have it. 'I came close to falling in love with you - but not enough to take you on any terms.' (Þ) She wants to get their relationship back on a footing of friendship only - 'because anything else is just too painful'.
Not long after, just before he goes to his interview, Tom finds Noah explaining his ideas for expanding the surgery to Clare. Clare is excited - but Tom has been hearing these ideas all his life, he is not impressed. Then Noah shows Tom his formal business plan. Tom is clearly shaken - he had never before appreciated how serious his father was. 'I'm very pleased for you,' he says, as he leaves.
There is another call from Stephen Waller, the ostrich farmer. Neither of them really wants to go, but they end up more or less daring each other. Just before they go in, Tom gives Noah a cricket box (ð), for protection. But it isn't the big birds, but the nestlings that are in trouble this time. Two of them are dead. When they go into the enclosure, they find it is very dirty. The farmer is well meaning, but clearly out of his depth. A post-mortem reveals that the birds have stones, rit and dung impacted in their crop. Noah suspects that the cause is not just the dirty pen: the birds are fouling their pen because they are distressed.
Val has discovered that the estate are planning to evict Geoffrey from the ties cottage he has lived in with his mother all his life. Sir Robert, the owner, refuses to discuss it. And the manager, Graham Radcliffe, claims that the estate needs the cottage for a skilled worker with a family. Noah and Val are sure that Geoffrey will not be able to cope anywhere else. They haven't had the heart to tell Geoffrey yet. While Geoffrey is working in the forest, his dog runs off and gets into a garden owned by Miss Fitzroy, where he is kicked or headbutted by her goat. Not realising how badly the dog is hurt, Geoffrey takes him home and sits with him all night, as the dog gets drowsier and drowsier.
Tom returns from his interview late at night, and tells Noah how he was courted, wined and dined, and finally offered a job. But he has not yet accepted. He needs to think about it. 'Playing hard to get?' his father suggests. But Tom said no. The job is tempting, the perks are incredible, but it doesn't seem real. 'Can I level with you, Dad? (Þ) I think I made a mistake. I think I should have accepted your offer (Þ). Working for you finally got to me.' (Þ) Noah affects to believe that this is all to do with Clare. But Tom denies it. 'If I had known what you had planned for this place....' ' You did know,' he father answers. 'You chose not to believe.' Then, obliquely, he lets slip that he and Clare will not be able to cope with the expanded practice on their own. And before Tom can answer, he goes off to bed.
The next day, Val sees Geoffrey's dog, and knows at once that it is seriously ill. She rushes the dog back to the surgery, and they try desperately to set up emergency surgery, but it is too late. There has been extensive internal bleeding, and the dog is dead. When they go to tell Geoffrey, he has already realised, and tears are coursing down his face.
When Noah goes to tell Miss Fitzroy, the goat owner, what happened, he also tells her that the estate is planning to evict Geoffrey. But Noah has forgotten that Miss Fitzroy is Sir Robert's aunt - and a major shareholder in the estate.. The next thing that they know, the eviction order has been reversed, and Noah is left with an image of Miss Fitzroy 'with nettles in her hair and leading a goat, going up to hall and threatening to sell her shares to the hari krishna.'
Before long, Noah has some good news for the ostrich owner - and for Geoffrey. Noah as introduced some baby rabbits into the young ostriches enclosure: the rabbits are keeping the ostriches entertained, and the ostriches are keeping their pen clean. 'Best thing I've seen since Blue Peter (ð),' the owner tells them. Noah has also found a new dog for Geoffrey, and stops off to introduce them. In the car on the way back, Clare accuses Noah of being a 'sentimental old fart' - and Noah assures her that 'beneath this cuddly exterior beats a heart of flint.' (ð)
Noah and Clare return to the practice for surgery, and find Tom waiting for them. With some emotion (Þ), he tells them that he has turned down the job offer in London, and that he wants to say. For a moment - a brief moment Clare and Noah play hard to get. And then the new partners accept his application. There isn't much time for mutual congratulations - the next crisis arrives in surgery (involving, believe it or not, giving a goldfish the kiss of life).
As he and Clare are left to clear up, Tom wonders what he has let himself in for (Þ), and Clare wants to know what made him change his mind. 'I'm not sure yet,' (Þ)he claims. 'It's tricky, isn't it?' she answers. 'For you or for me?' he counters. And although, on this occasion, they do not kiss, the chemistry between them in these closing seconds of the scene is palpable.
That night, Val accuses Noah of setting up the whole thing. 'Offering Clare a partnership - that was a good move.' 'As if I would', Noah retorts. But he looks remarkably smug nonetheless.
Cast notes coming soon...
Ostrich farming is one of the newer forms of diversifications to hit the English countryside. It is becoming more popular as people move away from traditional red meats in search of lower cholestrol alternatives. Ostriches are the largest and strongest birds, reaching heights of over 2 metres and weights of ver 100 kilos. They can reach speeds of around 65 km per hour. And, as Tom so painfully discovered, they kick forwards.
A cricket box is worn by cricket players in their trousers to protect them from balls which, when delivered by a fast bowler, can be travelling up to 90 miles per hour. Every school boy has one...
Blue Peter is Britain's longest running children's television programme. It began in 1964, and is famous for live demonstrations and 'here's one I prepared earlier'.
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Last updated 13/10/1997