Celia Nelson (Sharon Richards)
They say that Revenge is a dish best eaten cold and Sharon's must have been virtually frozen after 13 years. But more of this later.
We had the scintillating radio story of the Christmas lights switch on. Jim had won the sweepstake and got to do the honours. Terrific radio – especially when Joe (who had been given the job of switching Jim's lights on) missed his cue. From what I gather, the lights in each house are switched on in a certain order, so what would happen if a Jehovah's Witness moved into the village and decided to have no truck with all the festivities? Imagine one dark house in a chain of blazing light. Lynda wouldn't like it.
Neil is up in arms because Tracy moved his favourite armchair and he had it positioned just right for watching TV and in easy reach of cans of beer. Susan defends Tracy, until Neil tells her that Tracy's daughter Chelsea used Susan's favourite lampshade as a hat. But a solution may be on the way – why can't Tracy and family move into No. 6, alongside Dad and Village Idiot brother? Boffo wheeze!
Elizabeth and Shula spend a day looking at a pony for Freddie and Elizabeth is still prevaricating about going to Shula's for Christmas lunch in case David and family drop round for tea later. Jill rings Shula later, saying that Kenton has had a wonderful idea (yes, I too found it hard to believe) and that the whole family is invited to the Bull for late afternoon/early evening. I bet Jolene was chuffed to bits with that. The idea is that the place is big enough for people to talk to whoever they want or, in Elizabeth's case, to sit alone in the Ploughman's, sticking pins in a wax doll of David.
Nic had a lucky escape when Joe proudly shows her the canopy he and Eddie have made for Bartleby's trap out of a bright orange tent. Luckily, as she tells Joe, she and the bridesmaids will already be at Grey Gables, where they are getting changed, so won't need a ride.
And so back to the main story of the week – that of whether Rich is or isn't John's son. On Sunday, Pat shows Kathy the photo of Rich and says that she is convinced that John was the father. Kathy agrees there is a resemblance, but worries that Pat is becoming obsessed. Pat throws herself into her work, but she is tetchy with Helen for no reason.
Tony suggests to Helen that, if they knew the truth, it might help them come to terms with their feelings. Wrong! Helen says that even thinking about it churns her up and she doesn't want to revisit the past. Getting in touch with Sharon, adds Helen, would only make things worse for everyone and Pat and Tony must not pursue it. Tom feels the same way, says Helen, and on no account is Pat to contact Sharon – not now, not tomorrow, not ever – is that perfectly clear? Tony tells Pat, who cannot believe that Helen wouldn't want to know. For God's sake woman! Helen did everything but tattoo "do not contact Sharon" on Tony's forehead – what part of 'No' do you not understand?
In a clear case of the triumph of hope over experience, Tony tells Pat that their children have told them what they want and that's an end to it, so stop tormenting herself and get over it. "It's going to be so hard" wails Pat.
And so it was - for nearly 24 hours, which was when 'will of putty' Pat phoned Sharon and asked her outright about Rich's father. It turned out that John was indeed Rich's father. "Why didn't you tell us?" asks an anguished Pat. "Because you treated me like dirt" was the reply. Sounds fair enough to me.
It turned out that, after John's funeral, Sharon came to Ambridge and was in two minds whether to tell Pat and Tony (who hadn't told her about the funeral) and who virtually told her to piss off. "If only you'd said" said a tearful Pat. Now here we have an interesting take on compassion – had Sharon told them, they would have welcomed her, but she didn't, so they froze her out. It would have been quite an about turn – imagine the scene; Sharon turns up at Bridge Farm.
Tony: "What do you want, you slag?"
Pat: "Yes, sod off, why don't you, you corrupter of young boys"
Sharon: "I'm carrying John's child – your first grandchild"
Pat: "Come to my arms for a hug, you wonderful girl"
Tony: "Sit down, you must be tired, coming all this way. Get off the chair Helen and let your new sister sit down."
Sharon twists the knife (I bet she enjoyed the conversation, deep down) by saying that Eamonn was the only father Rich needs and she (Sharon) would be ever so grateful if Pat never got in touch with her or Rich again, before putting the phone down.
Poor (ha!) Pat is desolate and it is all of two days before she confesses to Tony what she has done. Tony bangs on about how Sharon had totally dominated John – oh yes? Presumably she lured him into the bedroom, stripped him naked and chained him, protesting loudly, to the bed? Pat is full of self-recrimination and says that "John's son could have been part of our lives for 13 years. It's all my fault".
Then, in a line which probably had millions of listeners nodding their heads in agreement, a tearful Pat said "If only I'd kept my mouth shut."