Colin Skipp (Tony Archer)
I have to admit that I never saw the storyline about Helen wanting to be a single mother coming – when Annette walked out, I thought that was the end (please God). Tragically, my hopes were cruelly dashed when Helen made her announcement at Tony's party.
However, my reaction was as nothing compared to that of Dad Tony; no-one could accuse Tony of epitomising the New Man and he reacted true to type, saying things like "a child needs a father" and how much hard work it will be. Helen countered by saying that she has gone into the subject thoroughly. I bet she has – it wouldn't be a surprise if she had already chosen the child's names and put its name down for public school.
Pat of course is delighted at the prospect of Grannydom and told Tony in no uncertain terms that the family will support Helen. Why all this concern for Helen? It's the baby I feel sorry for – you just know that it will have bibs with different days of the week written on them and its Thomas the Tank Engine books will be kept in pristine condition and filed in alphabetical order. The mobile over the cot will probably be a model of the solar system and, when the time comes to be weaned, the food will undoubtedly be relentlessly organic. "I have so much love to give" wailed Helen. Get a dog, woman, get a dog.
Another thing that seems to be exercising Tony is that no-one will know who the father is, but there is a solution to this. To be fair, the chances of it happening are slim to zero, but if you recall, Ian went through a period where he was going to father Mag's child, so why not enlist his aid and make him the father? How would Tony react to that? Not too well, I suspect.
There is another, more practical, reason for selecting Ian – the man works as a chef, so when the time comes, he could supply the turkey baster.