Series 1, Episode 5
Written by Louisa Page
Produced by Brian Park
Directed by Laurence Moody
Air Date: 29th June, 1999
Whilst Helen is listening to the news of Rachel’s suicide on her car radio, Dominic collects together Rachel’s belongings. He’s finding it hard to come to terms with her suicide and confides in Fenner that he’s becoming disheartened with the Prison Service and has decided to hand in his resignation. Fenner, who’s all too aware of his part in the tragedy, tries to cover his back by laying the blame at Helen’s door, just to make sure that he’s covered all of the bases, he goes to Shell and tells her to make sure that she’s got her story straight.
Later that morning, Helen arrives for a crisis meeting with Stubberfield and is appalled to find that Fenner is there, she’s acutely aware of his presence as she gives her report, telling Stubberfield that the police have ruled out any explanation but suicide. Stubberfield demands an explanation but before Helen can speak, Fenner jumps in and lays the blame on her decision to move Rachel back down to basic. Helen is furious but when Fenner is asked to leave, Stubberfield warns her not to alienate her officers and implies that her position is somewhat tenuous.
As the inmates queue for breakfast, Shell reassures a worried Denny that no one will find out about their part in Rachel’s decision to commit suicide. Spotting a passing Nikki, she decides to make light of the situation. Nikki responds by clearing the serving counter to attack Shell. A violent fight erupts, ending only when Nikki is pulled off by the officers and dragged down to what is fast becoming her second home…the block. Later, Nikki is summoned to Helen’s office; she’s in a belligerent mood but is quickly disarmed by Helen’s unexpected willingness to give her the benefit of the doubt.
Zandra is whinging constantly about the trauma of waking up to find Rachel hanging next to her, the Doctor however is unconvinced and refuses to give her anything to calm her nerves, this is just as well as far as Crystal’s concerned, if Zandra cared about her baby she wouldn’t even be taking aspirin for a headache. Zandra is nothing if not persistent though and tries her luck with Dominic who is getting extremely edgy about the escape attempt. He manages to stay strong in the face of her obvious blackmail attempt and then goes to see Lorna to demand that they come clean. Lorna is adamant that they remain quiet; one more blot on her record would see her out of a job. Lorna goes to set Zandra straight but ends up agreeing to arrange another doctor’s appointment for her.
Mrs Hicks arrives to meet with Helen and Fenner and demands to know why her daughter committed suicide, Helen is forced to admit that they still don’t have the slightest idea but promises her that there will be a full investigation into the circumstances. As Mrs Hicks is leaving, she tells Helen of the package that Rachel had asked her to collect and gives her the address and Shell’s name. Helen confronts Shell and asks her about the parcel. Forced to think on her feet, Shell tells Helen that Rachel was pestering her for her contacts on the outside and that she had given Rachel the address even though she wasn’t sure that her dealer would still be there or not. Helen obviously doesn’t believe a word that Shell is saying, but with no evidence to the contrary, it looks like she has no choice.
Crystal decides to spill the beans and informs Helen that she had witnessed Denny physically assault Rachel on the night of her suicide. Denny is taken down the block where Fenner pays her a visit, warning her not to say anything that might incriminate him, or Shell at her adjudication. Under Fenner’s watchful eye, Denny keeps to the script, telling Helen that Rachel killed herself because her baby was put into care. However, a weekend down the block softens Denny’s resolve and she finally comes clean to Helen, telling her all about Rachel’s affair with him. After checking Denny’s story out with Nikki who reluctantly confirms it, Helen takes her suspicions to Stubberfield, only to find that Fenner has pre-empted her visit. Stubberfield is even less impressed with Helen than he was before, as far as he’s concerned, her unfounded allegation against Fenner is just another display of her incompetence.
Newsreader – “The prison service has promised a full investigation following the suicide of a female prisoner, the second this month. Nineteen-year-old Rachel Hicks, an inmate of Larkhall prison, South London appears to have hung herself…”
Helen – “Hanged! The word is hanged!”
Shell – “Pity Rachel didn’t listen to you Nikki…no use thinking the screws are gonna help you. Still, look on the bright side – at least there’s an extra helping today!”
Helen – “When are you going to grow up and stop all this macho crap? Why did you attack Michelle Dockley?”
Nikki – “I dunno, touch of PMT? (Stands up to leave the room)”
Helen – “SIT IN THAT CHAIR!”
Nikki – (Sits down) “Don’t you wish it was electric?”
Denny – “Do ‘Stand By Your Man’.”
Shell – “How can she do that when she’s dead stupid?”
Helen – “Look everyone…I know this is unusual but you have to remember the whole wing has been tense since Rachel’s death, Michelle’s joke was tasteless and I’ve just discovered that Nikki’s partner has just ended their nine-year relationship.”
Fenner – “I’ve heard it all now! Sod the rules just because some lesbian’s just dumped her girlfriend!”
Zandra – “Poor Denny must be hellish for her down there.”
Crystal – “You wanna feel sorry for someone, you feel sorry for Rachel’s little baby, stuck in some home for orphans.”
Zandra – “Yeah well, there’ll be a place for her in here in fifteen years time won’t there?”