Press Gang

Series Five


A Richmond Films & Television Production in assocation with Central Independent Television. Episodes are approximately 25 minutes in duration.

Written by Steven Moffat
Series based on an idea by Bill Moffat
Produced by Sandra C. Hastie
Executive Producer for Central Television Lewis Rudd
Music by Peter Davis
Casting Director Liz England
Directors of Photography James Devis BSC [1,2,4,6] and Alec Mills BSC [3,5]
Designer Julian Fullalove

REGULAR CAST: Lynda Day Julia Sawalha, James "Spike" Thomson II Dexter Fletcher, Julie Craig Lucy Benjamin, Sarah Jackson Kelda Holmes [1-2], Colin Mathews Paul Reynolds, Frazer "Frazz" Davis Mmoloki Chystie [not 5].


5.01   Head And Heart 16 April 1993


Directed by Bill Ward
Colin's latest infatuation leads to the discovery that Norbridge High's headmaster is having an affair. Lynda has a mora dilemma over whether to run it as a story and destroy the career of a man who was instrumental in the setting up of the Junior Gazette...
GUEST CAST: Mr Winters David Collings, Janet Clark Natalie Roles, Miss Hessope Miranda Forbes, Interviewer Katie Puckrick.

NOTES: As usual the season opens with a pre-titles sequence. It features Lynda talking to camera recording an advert for a new device that Colin's uncle is marketing - the Stroke-a-matic, a small device which plays reassuring messages to the owner which is used heavily during the episode. The scene ends with Lynda and Spike turning to the camera with a clapperboard and saying "Take five", a reference to this being the start of the fifth season. The working title for the episode was Good.

TRIVIA: Colin has his own appartment, which is opposite Janet Clark's house. The Junior Gazette's morning shift starts at 7.30am.

CONTINUITY: The episode returns to Norbridge High for the first time since the second season with reappearances from Miranda Forbes (incorrectly credited as Miss Hesshope) and David Collings as Mr Winters, who gets more to do here than in his three season one episodes. Janet appears to have replaced Miss McGuigan. It is mentioned that the characters left school two years previously. The return to the school There are also references to Sullivan and Kerr. Colin's inability to ask Janet out continues his problems with women which stretch back to the first season. There is no mention of what has happened to Judy Wellman, who he appeared to be going out with following the events of In The Picture. When it appears that Colin has got a date with Janet he turns to Spike for advice, much as he did in Chance Is A Fine Thing.

CHOICE QUOTES: "I must say you look even nicer close up than through binoculars" (Colin to Janet).
      Spike (advising Colin on his date): "Just be relaxed, pleasant and show a genuine interest in her."  Colin: "Just be myself?"  Spike: "No - she doesn't have to find out about that for a bit."


5.02   Friendly Fire 23 April 1993


Directed by Bob Spiers
Late one night in the newsroom Sarah reads Spike a letter. It tells of Sarah's relationship with Lynda over the years; a relationship that is now reaching a turning point...
GUEST CAST: Mr Howard Paul Anthony Barber, Mr Winters David Collings, Doctor David Harewood, Matt Kerr Clive Wood.

NOTES: This episode serves to write out Kelda Holmes, who left the series to go to university (mirrored in the episode by Sarah). Nick Stringer was invited back to reprise his role as Mr Sullivan, but he was unavailable so his role was given over David Collings, again returning as Mr Winters.

TRIVIA: Sarah moved to Norbridge during her sixth form and met Lynda during an English exam. They then went on to create an underground school magazine called "Damn Magazine" (which it's implied ran for eight issues). It is also implied that Lynda partly inspired the creation of the Junior Gazette by making up a story about Sullivan and Winters coming up with some scheme in order to crack down on trouble makers. The episode features the first reference to Lynda's father and plays with the audience when she implies to Sarah that he has left the family ("Ever noticed any dads around here?"), although it turns out she is lying in order to get Sarah to help wth the magazine. In the present day, Spike has his own appartment and rides a motorcycle (which he parks inside the appartment!).

CONTINUITY: Lynda's involvement with a school magazine was mentioned in Page One, but the implication here was that it was an official magazine. Other episodes give the impression that Sarah had known Lynda and the other characters longer than just since the sixth form (for instance the end credit voiceover to Love And The Junior Gazette implies that she was in the fourth year at Norbridge High with Kenny). Kenny and Mr Sullivan absence is notable, but they are mentioned. Clive Woods makes his annual appearance as Matt Kerr; he is seen driving the same car as he did in Page One (since these scenes are set shortly before them). Sarah's fear of exams plays a part in the episode, which was focussed on in Both Sides Of The Paper. During a montage of shots covering the early days of the Junior Gazette, we see someone putting up the "Trespassers Will Be Exterminated" sign mentioned in Page One. This sequence also features clips from episodes including Page One, Photo Finish and Friends Like These. A scene set between seasons two and three features Lynda repainting the newsroom, since it did indeed change colour schemes when the paper went professional.

CHOICE QUOTES Lynda (explaining why she has been summoned to see the headmaster): "We were the ones doing that magazine. The only reason we're here is because this school cannot stand the scrutiny of a free press."  Sarah: "And we've had the fire brigade called out eight times."
      Hospital Doctor: "And it was a full hour before you called an ambulance?"  Sarah: "I was talking to her."  Doctor: "She was unconscious."  Sarah: "It seemed like a good moment."


5.03   A Quarter To Midnight 30 April 1993


Directed by Bill Ward
While investigating a story Lynda is inadvertently trapped in an airtight vault one Friday night, with only a broken mobile phone to help her save herself. Unless luck plays its part...
GUEST CAST: Tiddler Joanna Dukes, John Crawford Alan Perrin.

NOTES: This episode features Joanna Dukes's only appearance as Tiddler in series five.

TRIVIA: There is a monthly Junior Gazette night out, which has been a ritual since the paper started. Also here we see Lynda's flat for the only time. It seems to be rented, as Spike says that he knows her landlord.

CONTINUITY: There are references to Kenny and his move to Australia, and Zoe (Spike's girlfriend during the third season). There has been a road accident on Sherrington Road (where Colin nearly caused one when he was dressed as a pink rabbit in A Night In). Lynda turns down Crawford's offer of joining him for a drink by saying that she has to visit a friend in Sherrington. This is shortly after she has been talking about Kenny, who often used to claim he had to visit his aunt in Sherrington as an excuse for not being able to do something.

CHOICE QUOTES: "Excuse me, but I would like to know more about this blind driving plumber you bathe with. Can you explain any of that?" (Spike to Lynda).
      Lynda: "What's your lucky number? Have you got one?"  Spike: "Why? Have you?"  Lynda: "Two thousand three hundred and forty five."  Spike: "Popular choice."  Lynda: "When we were kids, Kenny and I decided we should have lucky numbers. But we got kind of competitive. It's a good job he moved to Australia when he did."


5.04   Food, Love and Insecurity 7 May 1993


Directed by Bob Spiers
In order to break a story Spike must get close to an old girlfriend over a romantic diner. But how will Lynda react to seeing Spike with another woman, especially since she is undercover as their waitress...
GUEST CAST: Phillipa Prescott Lisa Coleman, Newsreader Jilly Carter, Man in Restaurant Geoff McGivern, Woman in Restaurant Jo Unwin, Angelo Steve Steen.

NOTES: The plotting of this episode is very reminiscent of Steven Moffat's "Joking Apart". After the clever plot twists of recent episodes, this is a more simple tale. We never find out what Phillipa Prescott knows about her fiancee as this is simply a device to set up a situation with several deceptions going. The episode is notable for giving Colin more depth than usual, and sets up the situation for the following episode with him asking Julie out.

CONTINUITY: Angelo's was the restaurant that the team were seen visiting in A Quarter To Midnight.

CHOICE QUOTES: Lynda: "I'm not going back out there - people keep bothering me."  Julie: "Lynda - you're a waitress. You're supposed to serve them."  Lynda: "Okay, okay. It's always me who ends up doing the difficult bit."  Julie: "You did threaten to sack the entire news team and burn their families if we didn't let you."  Lynda: "Right. I volunteered."
      Angelo: "So Lynda. How's it going?"  Lynda: "Don't keep asking me that - you're supposed to treat me like any other waitress."  Angelo: "I did. You slapped me."
      Lynda (pretending to be a waitress as Spike arrives, flustered): "You've got a reservation for 8 o'clock."  Spike (also flustered): "My name's Thomson."  Lynda: "Have you booked?"  Spike: "Yeah - I've got a reservation for 8 o'clock."  Lynda (looking at pad): "Are you Mr Thomson?"  Spike: "Yes."  Lynda: "You've got a reservation for 8 o'clock."  Spike: "I'm Mr Thomson."  Lynda: "I'm...a waitress."
      "Okay, so she hates the restaurant, she's recognised Lynda and she thinks Spike's a toilet weirdo. How do you think we're doing?" (Julie to Frazz).
      "Being a waitress is a lot like running a newspaper...Damn, it isn't." (Lynda to the diners).


5.05   Windfall 14 May 1993


Directed by James Devis
Colin's date with Julie doesn't get off to a great start when he loses her three pets trying to retrieve a hundred pound note that is blowing in the wind. There is a street name written on the note, so Colin and Julie investigate - one looking for money and the other for a story...
GUEST CAST: Waitress Angela Curran, Ed Jonathan Cake, TV Reporter Sam Pasher, TV Policeman Paul Jerricho, First Biker Jason Parker, Second Biker John Alexander.

NOTES: The episode opens with a pre-credits sequence of the scene from Food, Love And Insecurity where Colin asks Julie out. Much of the rest of the episode concentrates exclusively on Colin and Julie, with Julia Sawalha and Dexter Fletcher only appearing briefly and Mmoloki Chrystie completely absent. As such, the episode has a somewhat unusual atmosphere, but does feature the pet scene in Julie's flat which is one of the funniest scenes in any episode. The episode is directed by James Devis, who was Director of Photography on much of the series.

TRIVIA: Julie has her own flat, which is appartment number 24.

CONTINUITY: Kevin is mentioned. The final scene with Colin being "picked on" by Julie's dove seems to be an allusion to Money, Love And Birdseed where Colin was having the same ornithological problem.

CHOICE QUOTES: Julie: "Three pets in one minute!" nbspColin: "It's not the best way to start an evening."
      "A psychopath is about to wake up and find his head in my lap. I don't wany logic. I want a half-brick." (Colin).


5.06   There Are Crocodiles 21 May 1993


Directed by Bob Spiers
Football, drugs and bad dreams appear to spell the end when the Junior Gazette finds itself on the other side of investigative journalism.
GUEST CAST: David Jefford Alex Crockett, Gary Mark Sayers Reporter (Tim Ryan) Dean Williamson, Photographer (Robert Jones) Colin Wyatt.

NOTES: All the stops are pulled out to make the very last episode of the series one of the very best, again using the flashback technique to stunning effect and having an excellent ambiguous ending that is so in keeping with the style of the series. The concept for the episode grew out of Steven Moffat's desire to deal with the issue of drugs, but without preaching, leading to Lynda's attitude about people who ignore warnings deserving what they get. The fire in the newsroom is very symbolic as we see the destruction of familiar objects such as Lynda's swear box and the "Da Boss" sign. Another clever touch is when it is mentioned that Colin changed sides during a football match, pre-empting what happens later. The episode also includes a number of in-jokes: the Junior Gazette football team lose their first match 43-0, a reference to this being the 43rd episode of the series, and the magazine doing a story on the Junior Gazette is called SH, after producer Sandra Hastie.

CONTINUITY: The episode is closely linked to the events of Monday-Tuesday and Shouldn't I Be Taller? from the end of series one. Alex Crockett reprises his role as David Jefford and there are flashbacks from the earlier episodes. Kenny is mentioned and there are references to the events of A Quarter To Midnight.

CHOICE QUOTES "Okay - it's like this. There's a tribe living by a river, and in the river there are crocodiles. The tribe has one particular piece of wisdom passed down through the generations. It goes like this: if you happen to meet a crocodile, don't stick your head in its mouth. Every now and then - and who knows the reason - people ignore this advice. Which is sad. Because they die. But very stupid because they were warned. They had a choice. The moral of this story is - you can't afford to be stupid. There are crocodiles." (Lynda).
      Lynda: "Julie, about your taste in men." Julie: "Yeah?" Lynda: "Get some".
      Frazz: "Colin, let me explain just one general point about the game of football."  Colin: "Hey, sure coach. Shoot. I do still regard myself as a beginner."  Frazz: "No matter how badly your team is doing, you are not - under any circumstances, allowed to change sides."
      Spike: "Drug abuse is an issue. Why don't we tell them about the dangers?"  Lynda: "Drugs can kill you. What a headline. Next week, why its bad to fall off high buildings."



This guide is copyright Matthew Newton and may not be reproduced without permission.

Series 1 - Series 2 - Series 3 - Series 4 - Series 5
Chronology - Additional Information

[Press Gang main page]   [Newton's laws of television]