Stephen Hogan (Eamonn Philips)
Let's get the Rich storyline out of the way first. Sharon's ears must have been aflame with Tony and Pat running her down. "It was all about what she wanted" said Tony "And she hasn't changed one bit" added Pat, prompting thoughts of pots and kettles. They then move into the realm of speculation, saying that Sharon split up John and Hayley and, if it hadn't been for her, they might have stayed together. Even more fanciful – Pat suggested that John might have taken more care, the day he died on the tractor. Come on folks! Next you'll be telling us that Sharon cut the brake pipes…
Tony and Pat go to the Bull for an anniversary meal, which isn't a great success, with Pat now in permanent mope mode. They return home early and Pat goes to bed. Helen notices her mother is distracted, saying "she's not herself". That'll be an improvement then. Tony is determined that she will not slip back into depression, as she did after John's death.
As part of his plan, he rings Sharon, only to have the phone answered by Eamonn, who is terse to the point of rudeness. However, Tony, in what was quite a moving bit of radio, tells him how this situation is re-opening the wounds left by John's death and begs and pleads to be allowed to see Rich. Eamonn seems genuinely moved and agrees to tell Sharon that Tony called, although he warns that it is unlikely to make any difference.
In the meantime, Pat tells Kathy of her plan to track Rich down via his school and go to meet him at the gates. There's a word for people like that Pat. Kathy has her own word for it – looney – and tells Pat that a) such a course of action would make Sharon furious (like Pat cares about that) and b) "going to see him will only make a dreadful situation worse. Please don't do it."
The next day, Tony gets an unexpected call from Eamonn. He and Sharon have talked it over and agreed that Pat and Tony can see Rich. However, there are more strings attached to the deal than were visible in an episode of Thunderbirds, and Eamonn spells them out.
First, the meeting will be short and in a public place. Secondly, Pat and Tony are not to say that they are Rich's grandparents, but will be old friends of Sharon and thirdly, Sharon and Eamonn will be present throughout. Any breach of these conditions – even an overlong stare – and Sharon and Eamonn will walk away. Even worse, they will poison Rich's mind against his grandparents. "Take it or leave it" says Eamonn, adding for good measure that he and Sharon wish that Tony had never got in touch. Tony accepts, grateful for small mercies. Very small in this case.
Next day (Friday) Eamonn rings again, to say that the meeting will be the following Sunday at a Christmas market in Leeds. Tony hadn't told Pat and does so, filling her in on Eamonn's conditions. It seems a case of 'in one ear, out the other' as she says "if we get on well with Rich, he might want to see us". For God's sake, Tony, beat her to the ground and explain to her that it just won't happen.
What else has happened in Ambridge? Roy confides in Will that he is really missing Phoebe – me too, Roy; every chance I get. Change the locks and move, man! Brian is back from the Maldives and is in trouble with the BL board for sounding out possible feed suppliers for the mega-dairy, thus possibly in danger of letting the cat out of the bag. Brian (who doesn't seem any sunnier in disposition after his break) blames Adam, saying that, if Adam won't play ball (i.e. do what Brian wants) then he (Brian) has to look elsewhere. Brian's mood is not improved when Jennifer tells him she has accepted Susan's invitation for wine and nibbles.
Freddie is besotted with Caspar the pony and he and Lily behave well on their birthday, much to Elizabeth's surprise. It turns out that they agreed to do so for Lizzie's sake. Furthermore, Freddie tells Lily that they will have to make Lizzie think that they are having a good time and enjoying themselves over Christmas. Sounds fun.
Lynda's Christmas extravaganza is taking shape. "Ian has been a complete inspiration" Lynda tells Fallon. When is that man going to do the job he is paid to do and stop messing about?
At Brookfield, David and Bert discover a huge leak from the slurry lagoon – a leak that David "is 99% certain" was caused by badgers. Clem (an engineer) comes over to advise and says that David should contact the Environment Agency asap. Poor David doesn't know what to do with the slurry and all attempts to get it taken away in tankers fall through. Just to make matters worse, David could still be fined, even though owning up to the leak. "Don't you just love dairy?" he asks Clem, adding: "At the moment it's one problem after another".
It's true that, with falling milk yields and his sister hating him for causing Nigel's death, David has had better years and, just when you think things can't get any worse, they do, as Clem tells him that to reline the lagoon could cost £20 k and yes, the leak was caused by badgers. I reckon Brock and his mates are getting their revenge for the badger that David shot a year or two back.