|Original broadcast date:||(UK) 15 March 2003 on BBC1|
|Filmed in:||16:9 aspect ratio|
Maureen Lipman as Louise Bergman
Nicholas Jones as Claude Bergman
Victoria Shalet as Carrie Bergman
Jeffrey Segal as Marco Bergman
Bill Bailey as Kenny Starkiss
Alexander Pownall as Little Boy
Jill Baker as Donna Henry
Adrian Edmondson as Brendan Baxter
Haruka Kuroda as Presenter
Takya Matsumoto as Husband
Takako Akashi as Wife
Selva Rasalingam as Sharif
Robert Atiko as Anwar
Claire Jerath as Kaitlin
John Rogers as Photographer
James Barron as Mr. Cutler
Florencia Cordeu as Maid
View guest cast
Claude and Louise Bergman are driving back from the train station after picking up their niece. Carrie Bergman is an art student and she will be staying with them for a few days. Claude goes through Carrie's work while his sister drives. Carrie is keen to hear what her grandfather, Marco, thinks of her work. Macro Bergman is the head of the Bergman fashion empire.
Suddenly the car goes off the main road as Louise swerves to avoid a fox. Louise and Carrie get out of the car to check underneath it. From the road they can look down at the Bergman family house. To their shock they can see Marco climbing out onto the ledge of an upstairs window. He then proceeds to jump from the ledge and lands on the hard concrete floor below.
The three of them rush to the house and confirm their worst fears, Macro is dead. Louise goes upstairs and finds a newspaper article by Donna Henry trashing her father's fashion designs. Is this what drove her father to leap to his death?
As Claude covers up his father, Carrie hears a noise coming from the bush beneath the window. She goes to investigate, and is surprised by what she finds.
In covent garden Kenny Starkiss is entertaining the crowds with a magic act. He has two miniature rocket looking pods, and he claims he will transport himself through the ether from one to the other. He is keenly watched by two men in the audience, Sharif and Anwar.
He climbs into one pod holding a microphone close to his mouth and a spark flies through the air. A man then steps from the other pod. Anyone can see it isn't Kenny Starkiss, just a man dressed in similar clothes holding a microphone over his mouth to mask the fact he isn't Kenny. A young boy voices this opinion, much to Kenny's dismay. He proceeds to "transport" himself back to the original pod and drags the young boy into the pod so he can inspect it!
Kenny then goes onto another trick he likes to call his "egg slicing trick". A woman dressed in an egg outfit waves her arms in the air in a magician's assistant way next to a rather large egg slicing machine.
Carla and Brendan are being interviewed by Donna Henry in a restaurant. Donna asks Carla questions, and Brendan always answers, even if the question has been directed at Carla. Truly a relationship of equals! He tells Donna that they haven't even begun to tap into all of Carla's potential. He shows Donna on a portable DVD player a new Japanese game show that they are going to make a pilot of in the UK with Carla presenting. A contestant is hooked up to a lie detector and asked questions in return for cash prizes. The contestant is asked if he's ever fantasised about making love to his wife's sister. He replies no, but a huge alarm goes off announcing he's lying and his wife comes down and proceeds to let her displeasure be known!
Before Donna can ask any more questions Claude and Louise turn up and make some snide comments about Donna. Claude throws her newspaper article in her face, claiming she sent his father to his death just as surely as she pushed him off that ledge. Everything seems to be black and white for her. Donna replies that if his father can not accept honest criticism that's hardly her fault, and if he wants to repeat such slander in front of witnesses then go ahead! She'll just sue him for every penny. Claude leaves but not before promising he'll make Donna eat the words from her article.
Meanwhile Kenny's egg slicing act hasn't gone as planned. The woman in the egg costume is being taken away in an ambulance! Kenny is then approached by Sharif and Anwar and congratulated on fooling everyone into thinking he is a useless magician. They drag Kenny away asking if he's had a lot of experience in the magic industry.
Jonathan is on the phone to Carla who is asking him to do some publicity shots for "Eyes and Ears". This isn't exactly on Jonathan's list of priorities as Adam Klaus did a trick that went wrong and ended up with 23 of his audience fainting when the sword he was supposed to be swallowing didn't go down his throat as planned. To top it all, three of the show girls have quit without explanation in the last few days. They only have one girl left, Kaitlin, and as Jonathan talks he sees her in the wings. She is handed a note and leaves. Jonathan follows her and overhears a mobile phone conversation, Kaitlin is arranging to meet someone and seems very excited about it.
Meanwhile, Donna Henry is getting ready for bed. She sits down and starts to cover her face with cream. Unknown to her, Claude is watching from outside the window.
The following day Jonathan is in a photographic studio having publicity pictures taken with Carla for Eyes and Ears. Carla complains that Jonathan doesn't look right - his coat needs to look more "lived in". Jonathan then says, here's an idea - why don't I take off this duffle coat you got from Harrods, and wear my own one! Carla agrees - grudgingly. Jonathan is then asked to pose back to back with Carla while holding a magnifying glass. He refuses. When Carla complains, he says there is a level to which he will not stoop. When Carla asks what it is, the camera pans to a dog in a Sherlock Holmes outfit.
Brendan then walks in asking what is going on. He takes them to his office a la headmaster style and says things can't be that bad. Now they just need to kiss and make up. He looks to Carla, and she gives Jonathan a chaste kiss on the cheek. Funnily enough, Brendan didn't believe that and asks her to try again. She then grabs Jonathan's face and gives him quite a different kiss! Brendan seems all nonplused about the whole thing and simply asks them to shake hands afterwards. "all sorted," he says.
That night Donna Henry arrives at the Mayfair Park Hotel. The manager shows her personally to her room and talks about all the improvements they've made since her last stay with them. The implication being she gave them a rather nasty write up last time she was there. At the same time a man is seen walking up the back stairs and walking towards her room. He's dressed in black. Donna goes through her nightly routine and applies her face cream before walking into the bathroom to wash her hands. The man enters her room using the plastic key card and proceeds to grab her round the throat and hold a gun to her. He's wearing a white hockey type mask and has also masked his voice some how. He takes out a newspaper with the article about Macro Bergman and makes her tear it up. He then makes her eat it.
While she's bent over the sink eating the newspaper, the man holding her at gun point proceeds to start sneezing because of some flowers. He temporarily lifts up his mask so he can wipe his nose. It's Claude Bergman and Donna sees his face reflected in the mirror. Before she can eat any more of the article, a knock is heard at the door. It's the hotel manager. The gun man tells Donna not to breath a word and hides in the shower, pulling the curtain around him. The manager is just checking in as there have been reports of someone suspicious roaming around the hotel. Donna says she's fine, and in a quick show of wits tells the manager to come in. He opens the door and notices the torn up article and the shower curtain as well as Donna's expression - he's clearly got the message. He says a few more things not to give anything away and leaves.
The gunman then decides to leave as well reminding Donna not to say anything, unless she wants another visit from him. As he opens the door to leave, the hotel manager pounces on him and holds him fast. Donna walks up to Claude and says how very disappointed she is and pulls off the mask. But it isn't Claude under the mask! It's a completely different man, he's even black - there's no way he could be Claude. Donna is shocked and confused, and the hotel manager doesn't know what's going on. In the confusion the gunman elbows the manager in the stomach and escapes.
The following day Donna recounts the nights events to Brendan and Carla at the Eyes and Ears studios. Carla then goes to Jonathan at the theatre to tell him. He's a bit distracted as yet another assistant has handed in her notice! Carla then proceeds to apologise for the "tongue" in yesterday's kiss. Jonathan dead pan reply's "Yes, it was like choking on a kipper." Carla points out that he didn't exactly resist. "I had a thumb in each ear, my options were somewhat limited," he replies.
They leave for the hotel where Carla does a very bad job of being inconspicuous. Jonathan tries to point this out to her, but she sees a newspaper advert for the Eyes and Ears show that shows Jonathan in a deerstalker hat and holding a Sherlock Holmes type smoking pipe. She quickly steers Jonathan away towards the lifts.
Carla then blags her way into the hotel room where it happened, by pretending to be the room's occupant while the maid is cleaning. Jonathan sneeks into the bathroom when the maid's back is turned, and Carla pretends to take a shower. Sadly the maid realises she's left her polish in the bathroom and knocks on the door asking to get it. Carla says okay and the maid comes in and gets the polish and leaves. We then see Jonathan and Carla in the shower together hiding under Jonathan's duffle coat trying not to get wet.
Jonathan confirms that there is no way Claude could have left by the shower through a hidden door or anything. He reckons the hotel were in on it, probably even why they invited her back in the first place - they had a score to settle too.They eventually realise they are still in the shower together and that the maid isn't coming back. They get out and Carla asks if Jonathan would like to help dry her off. He says okay and reaches for a towel, and a hairdryer and proceeds to use the hairdryer on her shirt while drying his own hair with the towel! Carla is not best pleased!
That evening sees Jonathan following Kaitlin, the latest assistant to quit Adam's show, to her night time meeting. She knocks on the door and he's surprised to see Kenny Starkiss answer it and invite her in. Jonathan spies through a window and sees Kenny with Anwar and Sharif. Kenny proceeds to demonstrate a trick whereby he gets into a large box and is tied up in a sack within in it. A flag is waved in front and then Kenny leaps up and demonstrates he's free. Your basic escapology trick. Kaitlin then does the same thing (as her audition type thing) but sadly Kenny, Anwar and Sharif then proceed to nail her into the box! She's taken away by Anwar and Sharif while Kenny counts the fat wad of notes he's been given. Jonathan accosts Kenny outside and gives him 24 hours to get the girls out of the white slave trade they have obviously been put in, before he goes to the police.
Next day sees Carla driving Jonathan to the Bergman household to ask Claude how he did it. Carla is convinced that he'll be so chuffed an inventor of magic tricks is dying to know how it was done that he'll spill the beans. Needless to stay Claude is sticking to his story that he was nowhere near the hotel and he doesn't have a clue what they're talking about. Not to be defeated, Carla suggests talking to Louise instead, and quickly rings the doorbell. Louise isn't really in the mood for talking and was in the middle of a manicure, but Carla says that's not a problem, they can talk while she's getting it done. Jonathan stays downstairs and talks to Carrie who he sees sitting by a window.
Carla is a bit uncomfortable. She wasn't expecting the manicure to be for Marco Bergman! Louise is sitting by the coffin polishing her father's nails. Louise tells Carla that her father was getting more and more housebound in his old age, but that some of his designs were still brilliant. He was a hard father in some respects, saying Claude had all the complexity and she had the complection. There was no room in that little head of hers for any great intellect. Anyway he couldn't really travel anywhere anymore due to old age. Carla brings up Marco's fear of flying - ever since the war. Louise is puzzled, her father flew all over the world until recently, they have outlets in 37 countries.
Louise finishes the manicure and moves on to the next thing. She hands Carla a torch and starts to work on Marco's nostril hair!
Meanwhile Jonathan is looking around the house admiring their Marx Brother film collection and talking to Cassie. She's a bit offish because she thinks he's been roped in to try and prove something her Uncle didn't do. She gathers up the playing cards she was playing with and asks Jonathan to do a trick. He flicks through the cards and asks her to memorise one. He doesn't guess the card right, but when Cassie turns away you can see she was lying about what card she had memorised.
Cassie starts talking about her grandfather. Just because he was rich and famous, doesn't mean he could take all the criticism. He was an old man. I mean, what state of mind must he have been in that night, to throw his much loved parrot, Harvey, out the window as well? We finally find out what Cassie saw in the bushes that night! This interests Jonathan greatly, he asks to see the room that Marco jumped out of.
They go upstairs and Cassie puts on some music on a stereo in the room. Jonathan asks if the light was on in the room the night Marco jumped. Cassie says no, Louise turned it on when they came in and found the newspaper. Jonathan then opens a wardrobe and finds a load of socks in shallow draws that are all safety pinned together.
As Carla and Jonathan leave, Carla says Marco must have been a bit mad (he tried to meld velvet and tweed last season). Jonathan receives a text message saying to meet him at the theatre at 8pm that night.
Cassie is seen getting a bag from under her bed and then rolling up her sleeve.
Jonathan and Carla are waiting outside the theatre. Carla is freezing and muses on whether Donna Henry was making it all up just to get back at Claude. Who knows, with all that face pack gunk on her face she probably couldn't see straight anyway. When she voices the fact she is freezing, Jonathan jokes, if he'd have known he'd have brought a couple of tea cosy's (Carla is wearing a very low cut top for Jonathan's benefit). Then Jonathan has one of his famous flashes! Donna Henry used a face pack before bed... this explains everything! How Claude could have done it - borrowing an idea from the Marx Brothers! He's staring off into the distance and Carla moans that he's obsessed with breasts! Based on what!? he asks, and she nods in the direction he was starring. There is a billboard with an advert for a bra on it. It's one of the ones that rotates round in strips to show other adverts as well, however it's broken and only half of it turns round. It then looks like Jonathan is using a magnifying glass to look at the model's breasts - as the next advert was for Eyes and Ears...
Jonathan turns round to protest and finds Carla and Kenny Starkiss being held at knife point. Kenny says he told Anwar and Sharif about Jonathan's idea of letting the women go, and they had another idea. Next we see Carla and Jonathan in the theatre locked in a cage suspended above some rather nasty looking spikes by a rope, clearly one of Adam Klaus's tricks. The rope is then set alight and Carla immediately starts panicking. Jonathan remains cool, like he's thinking about something else. Anwar and Sharif leave with Kenny. Carla asks how Adam would get out. Jonathan explains there's a hidden flap in the bottom of the cage, but it's locked and only Adam has the key. He'd then fly off using a hidden rig which is hidden back stage. Carla ask how long they have before the rope breaks. Jonathan says, "about twenty seconds" and explains that there's a steel safety cable hidden in it so they are perfectly safe. Unfortunately, they won't get let down until the stage manager comes in the following morning - about eleven hours away! Just when they think things can't get any worse - the sprinklers kick in, soaking both of them.
To distract herself, Carla asks Jonathan about what he as saying earlier - about the Marx Brothers. He asks her if she's ever seen Duck Soup. He reckons the hotel must have been in on it. Using the fact it's a hotel to their advantage. The bathroom is actually next door to another bathroom which is exactly the same, just a mirror image. It all hinges on the fact Donna wears a face pack - without it, it just doesn't work.
Jonathan explains what he's thinking. A man comes in and grabs Donna - he could be anyone. He takes her into the bathroom and forces her head towards the sink. As her head is down the mirror in the bathroom is quickly removed, just leaving a sheet of glass - showing the identical bathroom on the other side. In this bathroom are the Bergman's dressed the same as the "attacker" and Donna. From Donna's point of view all she can see is the top of her head in the "mirror" - a bit of face cream and hair. She thinks she looking into a mirror when she sees Claude sneeze. Her head is forced down again, and the mirror quickly replaced, leaving Donna in no doubt who walked into her shower when the manager comes along. The whole thing with the manager and the man who attacked Donna could have been rehearsed.
Carla wonders how they are going to get Bergman to admit it. Jonathan comments the more worrying question is why would Marco Bergman throw himself out of a window?
The following day Jonathan is in Carla's office watching a video of Marco's last public appearance - a book signing. Jonathan thinks he's missing something, but can't see what it is yet. No-one throws a parrot out of the window before they throw themselves out... Brendan turns up in the office and answers a phone. Carla seems to remember reading somewhere that Marco had a fear of flying. She then finds the reference she's looking for and reads allowed to Jonathan. Marco was flying over France in 1941 when his plane caught fire, being in a burning cockpit, which damaged him both emotionally and physically, left him with a life long phobia. Brendan is still chatting rather loudly, so Carla and Jonathan leave the office.
Walking around the studio set Jonathan asks what she's doing with Brendan. Carla replies she loves him, although Jonathan seems to find this hard to believe.
Donna sits in a restaurant waiting for Claude. He shows up, saying he wouldn't miss this chance to gloat. Donna apologises, and suddenly they're in bed together, much to Donna's surprise. Afterwards Claude leaves with a few choice cutting remarks.
Back at the Bergman house Carrie is making some tea. She goes to put the tea bag in the bin but finds it full. She empties the bin but find something at the bottom of it...
Meanwhile, Carla and Jonathan are in a TV studio. They are on the set of the pilot Carla is due to film of the Japanese game show to tell if people are lying. She's hooked up to the chair. Jonathan puts the final plug in so all the screens turn on and the lights come up. Carla doesn't know what to say so asks Jonathan - he doesn't know either, this was her idea, so she could prove something! Yes, she replies because she wanted to show Jonathan that her love for Brendan is genuine. All the lights go off and all the screens start showing the word "lie"!
Jonathan scrambles to unplug the machine and to get Carla out of the chair. He marvels how she can be considering putting her name to this show created by those that gave us Pearl Harbour! It may not come to anything Carla says, unless they can get a new deal with the network... Bam! Jonathan has one of his "moments" of inspiration. The words "Pearl Harbour" and "new deal" suddenly make a connection - along with something that was said before - Marco was in a period of great depression. It all points to Franklin Delano Roosevelt! He looks quickly from the book Carla was quoting from earlier. It doesn't say he had a fear of flying at all - and, put together with the scratches around the door and the socks that were pinned together and.... Jonathan's phone rings breaking off his thinking, we only hear his side of the conversation, but he agrees to go meet someone, asking, "Why? What's happened?".
Carrie is in Marco's old room listening to something on the stereo. Harvey the parrot is in his cage. She seems distressed and notices a bag on the dresser. She goes to it and rummages through it finally taking out a syringe. Louise walks in and takes it from her.
Carla is driving Jonathan along a country road. He asks her to slow down as this is where the Bergman's watched Marco jump to his death. Jonathan says something else drove him out of his room that night - not a suicide. As they look at the house they see Carrie climbing out the window. They quickly get to the house and run to the window to stop her jumping. Carrie replies that she's locked in and that she's taken away her medicine - her insulin! Carla and Jonathan run into the house and find Louise banging on the door to Marco's room demanding to know what Carrie's up to. She turns the key and walks in, Jonathan and Carla close behind.
It becomes a will of words, Louise protesting her innocence and Carrie saying Louise is mad. Why on earth would she let her die, Louise asks? Because Carrie knows that Louise killed her grandfather, Carrie replies. Claude comes up the stairs in time to hear Carrie's words.
Everyone adjourns to the living room where Jonathan goes into his speech explaining everything. The way Marco threw his parrot out the window, his socks, and the way he acted in his last public appearance made Jonathan think of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Roosevelt, a man who famously conned the American public for 12 years into thinking he could walk, when in fact he was paralysed from the waist down. Jonathan felt a parallel with that deception in the Bergman house. The socks pinned together, the scratches around the wardrobe door, the way Marco's eye line seemed to be a little off at his book signing - all pointed to the fact that for the last two years, Marco Bergman was blind.
Claude admits that in order to keep things going they had been using his designs with his father's name. It had to be Marco's name - Marco was determined on that score. But Claude fails to see what this has to do with his father's death. Any press coverage of the designs Macro was made fully aware of - so he knew what was in that article.
Jonathan says that while he knew what was in the article it doesn't explain how Marco must have been thinking - why throw a parrot out the window? Unless you weren't trying to kill it - but were actually trying to save it. Save it from something that was so terrifying to you that you would do anything to save it? He goes back to the quote in the book - it wasn't flying he was afraid of - but fire. And for a man who couldn't see, putting the thought of fire in his head is all too easy - wasn't it Louise?
We then see how Louise made a tape recording with a sound effects CD to give the noise of a fire in the background. She places the newspaper article on the desk and then sets the tape to come on with a timer on the stereo. Something easy to synch up with her journey back from the train station. An imagined animal in the road puts them in the perfect spot to witness Marco's supposed suicide, with a niece for a convenient impartial witness.
For an old blind man, still half asleep, the noise alone was enough to set off his phobia, his mind would probably fill in the rest. Combined with Louise's voice - seemingly from outside the room - telling him the hall way is on fire and that his only way out is via the window, what choice did he have? She reassures him that they are bringing out cushions to break his fall and that they will catch him. He throws Harvey out the window in a desperate bid to save him from his imagined fire.
The following day, Louise disposes of the tape - but not as carefully as she should have, and Carrie finds it whilst emptying the bin. She listens to the tape and hears Louise's voice telling Marco to jump. Louise is passing the room outside and knows that Carrie's heard the tape. Suddenly she's backed into a corner and has to think fast. She only has one choice - kill Carrie. If Carrie falls into a diabetic coma, who's to know?
Louise admits it. She was fed up with it all. Frail and blind? Did that stop her father being anything but a cruel man? No - he rubbished their ideas, and Claude and her would have been waiting in the wings forever before their talent was recognised. She bitterly reads from her father's biography a quote which says her father didn't think much of her brains, but that her figure and elegance was the perfect vehicle for his creations. She stands up and sneers at the father's portrait, and declares she will no longer be the taylor's dummy!
Later we see Jonathan and Brendan in the recording booth on the set of "Guilty Secret" being presented by Carla. Brendan let's Jonathan in on a secret of his own - the polygraph machine is programmed to give a positive response six times out of ten - it's the reason the show's so successful in Japan - they left nothing to chance!
Brendan leaves and Jonathan is gathering up his coat to join him when Donna walks into the booth. She asks for Brendan, but Jonathan says he's just left to go to the studio floor. He asks Donna about the piece she's writing on Brendan's company. She says she's gathering material, but thus far she's nothing that will set the world on fire. Why? Does he have anything for her? No, Jonathan replies looking shifty. He then says, "well, it depends. Can you keep a secret?"
Alternate Kenny Starkiss (uncredited)
Man who grabs Donna Henry (uncredited)