Series 1, Episode 10
Written by Maureen Chadwick
Produced by Brian Park
Directed by Mike Adams
Air Date: 3rd August, 1999
The Julies have decided that it’s time for direct action – they’ve decided to get a petition together to persuade Helen to reinstate open visits. New inmate Yvonne Atkins has decided that the best way to ingratiate herself on the wing is to help get as many signatures on the petition as possible…including the POs. After noticing that Hollamby is finding Crystal’s guitar playing irritating to the extreme, Yvonne comes up with a corker of an idea – the Larkhall Gospel Tabernacle Choir! – Maybe if the inmates make enough of a racket, the officers will be forced to sign the petition in order to shut them up. In order to increase the noise level, Yvonne phones her husband and arranges for twelve guitars to be sent into the prison.
Helen arrives in her office to find a letter from the Open University on her desk. The letter is for Nikki, someone Helen had been obviously hoping to avoid having to speak to. Nikki is summoned to Helen’s office and immediately goes on the offensive, Helen responds by accusing Nikki of taking advantage of her and then warns her that if things carry on the way they are, one of them is going to have to leave Larkhall.
Shell continues to have a tough time. Most of the inmates still hold grudges for her part in Stubberfield’s decision to order closed visits and because of this, her reputation is in tatters. She can’t even find solace in ordering Denny about – she’s trailing after Yvonne like a lost puppy – and what’s more, her one and only attempt at intimidating Yvonne fell as flat as a pancake. In need of an ego boost, Shell resorts to offering Fenner sex, and when he refuses, threatens to do to him what she did to Lorna. Fenner responds by cracking Shell’s head against the wall, leaving her crying and covered in blood.
The following day sees the first full rehearsal of the Larkhall Gospel Tabernacle Choir. As the only inmate who can actually play the guitar, Crystal has been given the job of music teacher and for her first hymn, chooses ‘Kum ba yah’. The only problem is, none of the choir can carry a tune in a bucket, let alone coordinate themselves enough to strum the correct chords at the same time. The noise is terrible, but at least Yvonne manages to achieve her prime objective, namely, driving Hollamby demented enough to sign the petition in exchange for blissful silence.
Monica exchanges a stack of phonecards for some miniature bottles of vodka and then uses them to wash down her stash of sleeping pills. Luckily, Nikki happens across a semi-conscious Monica a while later and, with the help of the Julies, forces mug after mug of cold coffee down her throat until she throws up. Monica is sobering up when Helen arrives on the scene. Even though the Julies try to explain that Monica is suffering from pre-appeal nerves, she immediately realises that Monica has taken an overdose and demands to speak to Nikki in private. Once they are alone, Helen demands to know how Nikki could risk Monica’s life by covering up her suicide attempt rather than calling for a doctor. She is stunned when Nikki admits that she did it in order to protect her.
Shell is hell-bent on gaining revenge on Fenner and employs the aid of her henchwoman Dawn to acquire his home address. Later, she writes an anonymous letter to Mrs Fenner and arranges for it to be smuggled out of the prison and then posted.
The morning of Monica’s appeal dawns and, at breakfast, she apologises to Nikki for the events of the evening before. Nikki is still shaken by Monica’s actions and makes it clear that she is disappointed in her for selfishly deciding to take her own life when there are so many women in Larkhall who would do anything for a chance at freedom. After an emotional farewell, Monica is escorted from the wing and accompanied by Helen to the appeals court. Her appeal is successful and her conviction is overturned. Back at Larkhall, there’s not a dry eye to be found on G-Wing as the inmates watch Monica making a statement on the steps of the court house.
Helen has been finding Sean’s preoccupation with their upcoming wedding irritating to the extreme. Then again, there could be other reasons for her inability to raise even a small amount of enthusiasm…second thoughts maybe? As he begins to pick up on Helen’s doubts, Sean becomes more and more demanding, even going so far as interrupting one of her meetings at work in an attempt to find out what is bothering her. Things come to a head after Monica’s appeal – Helen has arranged to meet Sean to help him choose a suit for the wedding, but rather than approve of his choice, Helen asks if they can talk in private. Sean is obstinate and refuses to leave the shop, forcing a tearful Helen to inform him that she can’t marry him because she doesn’t love him.
Back at Larkhall, all hell has broken loose on G-Wing. After seeing Monica’s release on the television, most of the inmates are singing and dancing on the landings. Dominic is enjoying the spectacle when he is called to the front gate – a birthday present has been delivered for him – a present that turns out to be a brand new ‘Harley Davidson’ motorbike bought for him by Yvonne! He goes back to the wing to confront her but even though she admits nothing, the smile on her face tells a different story.
Sean pulls up at the prison gates in his van and asks to be allowed through to the gardens, explaining to the guard that Helen has asked him to do a job there. Most of G-Wing’s inmates and officers watch incredulously from the G3 landing window as he places a wooden frame on the lawn before draping his wedding suit over it. Helen has already been alerted by the front gate but by the time she arrives in the garden, Sean has doused the suit in petrol and set it alight. Without saying a word, he drops the keys to Helen’s flat at her feet and then walks away.
Alone in her cell after lock-up, Nikki allows herself a smile.
Helen – “You had no right taking advantage of me.”
Nikki – “Well put me down the block then…go on…rule forty-seven, subsection sixteen – being disrespectful to the wing governor…by kissing her.”
Hollamby – “When she was on remand…did you know this? Twenty-two pairs of shoes they found in her cell!”
Helen – “Twenty-two pairs of shoes and a shelf load of ‘Chanel’ according to her file.”
Hollamby – “Two-pounds-fifty, what do you want?”
Yvonne – “I’ll have a bottle of bolly and a ten inch vibrator please Miss.”
Shell – “You wanna be scared of me Atkins.”
Yvonne – “I don’t do scared.”
Monica – “I don’t know what to say.”
Nikki – “Well how about starting with I feel bloody ashamed of myself? Look around you Monica, look at all of these women stuck in here…they’d give anything to be in your shoes today. Look at the Julies…Julie J, she’s lost her three kids to that bastard husband. Zandra…you’ve seen the hell she’s been through – beaten up, dumped by her fiancé, what a great start for a baby. Denny…she’s had her whole life wasted; she’ll be in and out of here forever. And me Monica…do you know what it feels like to have to face another ten years of this? But we all struggle along trying to make the best of things, and when someone like you comes along and says that they’d rather be dead than free? I’m sorry, but everyone who gets out of here gets out for all of us.”
Sean – “What do you mean you can’t marry me? Why not?”
Helen – “Because I don’t love you.”
Zandra – “Hey Julies! Know any good busting up with your boyfriend songs?”
Both Julies – “You kidding? You name it, we know it, we’ve lived it!”
Yvonne – “Yeah, but do you know the chords?”