Tamsin Greig (Debbie Aldridge)
Debbie breezed in from Hungary and promptly told Brian of her plans for world domination – or at least Borsetshire dairy domination. While they are talking, Tony joins them and bemoans his fate, telling them that the whole dairy business has gone belly up and how wise Brian is to be in arable. Brian and Debbie decide that this isn't the time to tell Tony that they have been talking about a herd of 1,000+ cows – neither do they tell Adam.
Meanwhile, Tom is doing his "Lord Sugar meets Richard Branson" impression, telling Helen that if anyone can salvage anything from the mess that is Bridge Farm, it will be him and her. He then demonstrated loyalty and soilidarity by telling Pat and Tony that he's going to re-brand his products as 'Tom Archer' and ditch the Bridge Farm name. And all because he'd just lost his best customer.
Tom's decision goes down like a pair of lead knickers with Pat and Tony and, while Tom doesn't actually call his father a miserable failure, it was close. As it is, Pat has a stiff word with Tom, telling him that Tony is in bits and, if Tom talks to him like that again, she'll rip his goolies off (or similar).
Elizabeth and Shula talk about how Freddie wants to go hunting and, when Lizzie watched him at the gallop and he looked over his shoulder, it reminded her of Nigel. Aargh! Still, there might be a solution, as Lizzie asked Shula to keep an eye on Freddie and says "will you take him out?" Super idea! Although I think she meant it in a different way from me.
The drama of the week of course was Clarrie going awol. Clarrie had put a card in the shop window, offering herself for cleaning, ironing, child minding, etc. Clarrie was checking to see if it was still there (she'd had no takers) when Vicky (she with the gob like the Mersey tunnel) repeated Derek Fletcher's comment that "who'd want that dirty woman doing your ironing or looking after your children?" without realising that Clarrie was listening. Poor Clarrie promptly fled in shame and didn't go home that night.
The rest of the Grundy family were really worried (mainly, one suspects, because she hadn't done anything for supper) and a frantic search ensued. Tuesday's episode ended with Clarrie still missing and Eddie and Joe still unfed.
The following day, Vicky comes to apologise and is distraught to learn from Joe that Clarrie isn't there. "It might be partly my fault" she says. Partly? About 95% I'd say. Edward is all for going and sorting Derek Fletcher out, but Joe dissuades him.
While the Grundys are out searching, Edward suggests going to look at the old quarry. Where did that come from? Oddly convenient that we have a missing person and suddenly a potentially lethal quarry. I mean, why not go the whole hog and suggest that they take a look at the foaming cataract and enormous waterfall in a hitherto-unmentioned stretch of the Am? Or how about the nearby volcano that everybody thought was extinct? Anyway, she wasn't there and, later on, Clarrie rings in to say that she was at her sister Rosie's. She had tried to get to Yarmouth, which indicates desperation.
Eddie goes to pick her up and she is still beating herself up for causing so much trouble. "I don't deserve you Eddie" she said. How very, very true. Everybody in the family treats Clarrie with kid gloves and, in a supreme moment of self-sacrifice, Edward goes to see Will and suggests that the two of them go and see their mother together, as it would mean a lot to her. Will underlines what a charmless, petty-minded nurk he is when he asks Edward "What are you getting out of this?" To his eternal credit, Edward doesn't smack his brother in the mouth and they go and see Clarrie.
Meanwhile, back at Bridge Farm. Pat has talked to Underwoods and they have agreed to give them more time to pay the £10,000. Poor Tony still hasn't had the chance to put the bite on Peggy for the money (she's still very worried about Jack possibly not going back to the Laurels). Every time he brings the conversation round to their current plight and drops hints like "it's the cash flow that is worrying us", Peggy doesn't bite and, to make matters worse, tells Tony that they have two great assets in their two children. This was before 'Mr Loyalty' Tom ditched the Bridge Farm name, or else I think Tony might have cried.
As it is, Joe Grundy gave him a hard time over Clarrie's disappearance, saying that it was the loss of the job that tipped her over the edge. Tony responded by saying that, the way things are going, no-one will have a job soon and Joe should know how hard it is to turn a failing farm round. Joe is another displaying a touching faith in Helen and Tom, saying that they'll turn it around in no time. He also made the point that, when the Grundys got into trouble, they were tenants, while Tony owns the land. What a great idea Tony – flog off the farm for megabucks (perhaps Brian would like it for his super-dairy herd) and treat yourself and Pat to a life of luxury. You can even give Helen and young Henry a few quid, but whatever you do, don't give that treacherous, whingeing turncoat Tom a single penny.