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Once upon a time, there were three little princesses.
They all lived happily with their mother and father, until one
fateful day, when their mother had a sickness doctors couldn't cure.
Their father tried his best to look after them,
but he was overtaken by a terrible sadness that cracked his heart
and filled his head with the blackest of thoughts.
So the three little girls were taken away,
banished to the four corners of the Earth.
The eldest lived in a castle, surrounded by elm trees.
See what I did there? Elm trees, Elmtree House.
The youngest two were especially chosen by a black-haired old witch.
-A kindhearted couple that had no children of their own.
But all that time, their father never forgot them,
and the three princesses never tired of waiting.
Come on, we'll be late.
They knew that when his heart was healed,
he would come back to find them, one by one.
Right. With this being the first contact,
we're only aiming at about half an hour.
-I'll be taking notes, but just try and forget I'm there.
Not you, Lily. Your dad needs to meet Poppy and Rosie on his own.
-Have a seat over there.
Hey, your dad hasn't seen them for ages, babes.
It's like he's having to get to know them again.
Yeah, but that's why I need to be in there with him. Tracy, tell them.
I'm sure Rob knows what he's talking about. Your dad'll be fine.
Can I get anyone a drink?
Go away! Go on!
Shoo, go away! Go on!
Right, yeah. See you later.
-Tracy, let me take it.
-I won't put them off.
-I just want Poppy and Rosie to see me.
-I want Mummy!
-I want to go!
Dad! What happened?
They just clammed up. Wouldn't say a word.
-Did you talk to them?
-Just like we practised.
-I asked Poppy about her dancing.
-That's Rosie! Poppy does gym.
-Did you tell them the story?
-I couldn't remember the words.
I can't do it like you can.
He was awkward, lacking in confidence,
struggled to find any common ground.
Totally useless, in other words.
-Perfectly natural for a first time.
-Think of the pressure on him.
He's not seen the girls since they were babies.
Exactly. He's got no experience of looking after children this young.
But he had no experience of looking after Lily.
-Lily looks after him.
-He's their dad, Christie.
We need to give him a chance.
Not if today's anything to go by.
If he has them in tears after five minutes,
how am I going to persuade them to go through this again?
-I'm sure we'll find a way.
-Like I've got any choice in the matter.
If it was up to me, I'd put a stop to it now.
DOG BARKS AND SCRATCHES AT DOOR
Oh, no. Not again!
What are you doing here?
How did you get in here?
Get off! Off the bed! Come on! Come on!
Oh, you smell! Oh!
-Frank's got a dog!
-Whose is it?
-How come it has three legs?
-Does it have a collar on?
-Must be a stray.
Gina said we're not allowed to keep pets,
except for ones that live in cages, like Mr Hamster.
-Strawberry or lemon?
-Are the girls OK?
-Fine. They've gone now.
Thanks for letting us know(!)
-No-one's blaming Dad, are they?
-So, when can he have another go?
The Perrys think the girls are a little unsettled.
-They want to get their holiday out of the way before trying again.
-They're going camping.
-Why did they book a holiday?
Poppy and Rosie should be living with us.
-No-one said that, Lily.
-They hate living with the Perrys!
-You know that's not true.
Well, you let us know when they can fit us in.
What are we supposed to do?
Here, boy! Here, boy!
Quick, come here! I mean, girl.
Quick, come here.
-Hurry up, quick!
Get your dirty footprints out of the living room!
I've just done the floor!
What's with all the noise?
What are you doing?
Chasing a three-legged dog.
I don't know why I asked.
Unsettled. Of course they are, they don't know me from Adam!
-If it wasn't for this, I wouldn't have known them either!
I could have walked past my own little girls in the street!
They do remember you, Dad. They remember loads.
All the times I was drunk and yelling when I made them cry.
That was in the past.
You weren't yourself then.
-I've asked Rob if you can go on respite tomorrow.
-I just need to be on my own, Lil.
-Well, not if you're going to be sad.
It's OK to be sad. I just don't want to make you miserable too.
-Maybe she's deaf.
-Maybe she's just never had a name.
KNOCK AT DOOR
-Who is it?
-Pet patrol, open up!
Oh, so this is your little shadow, then.
What's its name?
We don't know.
Shadow! We can call her Shadow.
-Well, I hate to break up doggy daycare,
but Gina's headed this way, so good luck!
Dog breath, that is disgusting!
-We were just saying good night to Frank.
-Yeah, he really misses Liam.
-You all right?
-Don't talk to me, Tracy.
Right, that's it! You're going!
I'll bring you to Sapphire.
Hello! I've brought you a dog.
Frank, what are you...? Why would I want a dog? It's so early.
She's a very good guard dog.
A three-legged guard dog? Are you serious?
She can bark. Go on, bark!
Woof, woof! Her name's Shadow.
Look, even if I wanted a skanky old mutt, which I don't,
we're not allowed pets.
So what am I meant to do with her?
I'm sure you can keep her for a few days. Mike and Gina won't notice.
-She weed in my room!
-Then get her a litter tray.
She's not a cat!
-Are you itchy?
-Yeah. She's got fleas.
For a minute, I thought you said you'd brought a flea-ridden
mongrel into my home!
-What are you doing still sitting there? Get her out!
-So embarrassing! Take your dog.
-All right, all right!
-Come on, Shadow. All right.
Look, go on!
Not that way! That way!
No wonder they say a dog's a man's best friend. She's cute.
-Cuter than Liam.
-And she doesn't tell bad jokes!
You miss him, don't you?
It's OK. It would be weird if you didn't.
-He should be with his brother.
-Well, you were his brother too.
All that time he didn't know he had a real one.
Yeah, but it's not the same, now that we'll never see each other.
Well, I never see my brother, do I?
And you didn't always see your grandad.
But when you're family, that doesn't matter.
-That's not me!
Well, go on, then.
-Well, you've got to scoop the poop.
Oh, so you want some poor little kid to step in it, do you?
Look, your dog, your poop.
I'm so sick of it! All the council seem to ever do
is make really easy things dead complicated.
It was dumb not letting you in that meeting.
-Yeah, and to have Rob just sitting there.
I remember with my mum,
there was loads of stuff I was too embarrassed to say.
Exactly! If it had been in the kitchen...
-Or the garden.
-Or the shopping centre.
-Yeah, with a picnic.
-Yeah, and games.
-Sweets and ice cream.
It would have been so much better if we organised it.
Oh, hey, Lily. I was just going to come and find you.
Your dad's going to be OK, you know.
I just feel so bad for Poppy and Rosie. They must be really confused.
-I just want to tell them that I love them,
and that it wasn't their fault.
You are going to see them again, you know.
Yeah, but our next contact's not for ages.
So, do you think you could ring back Christie
and ask her to bring the girls back today?
She'll probably think they've been unsettled enough.
-And I'll have to book a worker. It's loads of organisation.
Just say you'll try. I didn't get to say goodbye to them yesterday.
Right, Shadow. You've got to be good now.
This is your home!
Bed, where Shadow sleeps, OK?
Do you think she'll stay?
Yeah, if you just train her to stay out of the way,
by the time Mike and Gina find her, she'll have squatter's rights!
-Oh, she likes it!
I'm completely with you, Christie,
but we can't let the girls' relationship suffer.
-Give it here, Tracy.
-Give it here!
Well, she's actually on another call.
No extra staff available. OK, thanks.
-I can do it.
Yes, of course they'll be properly supervised.
Yep, no DVDs or computer games. It's just the playground, OK?
Three o'clock. OK, see you then. Bye!
-I never agreed to this!
-Well, you have now.
-Dad! Guess what?
-Rob says we can see the girls again.
-Yeah, they're healthy.
-This is supposed to be fun!
Tee, do you know what would make this even better?
-Are you sure about the dog?
-Look, it's just the right image. Trust me.
Well, as long as Mike and Gina are all right with it.
-Oh, we've got to go.
Christie and the girls are here.
-So, who's taking them?
You said this was organised, there'd be someone responsible.
There was. They cancelled, so I said I'd do it.
Well, it's a shame you didn't think to consult me first.
Come on, we're only going to the playground.
-What's the worst that could happen?
Hats, sun cream, insect spray. I'm not happy about this, Tracy.
-You've got one hour. Don't let me down.
-Come on then, girls.
-Stop! What are you doing?
The picnic. Lily said it was Rob's idea.
Look, I arranged it.
He'll get to know them better if I'm here smoothing things along.
You set this up! You made me lie to Christie!
Well, you wouldn't have let me do it anyway.
Of course I wouldn't have! Your dad should have supervised visits.
-You know the rules!
-You've always said the rules are stupid.
-No, I haven't!
-Yes, you have, when we went to the Perrys.
-Yeah, and that was a disaster!
-I thought you'd understand,
-and be on my side.
-I thought you'd stop lying to get what you want!
-Is everything OK?
-Rob doesn't know anything about this, does he?
-Tracy can supervise us.
-No, I can't.
-Oh, Tracy, please. Yes, you can.
I know we can get it right this time.
-OK. You've got 40 minutes.
# I don't care about the rest of the year
# Cos this is what I want to do
# The sun is out, the feeling's right
# In the sun
# Summer fun
# In the sun
# Summer fun
# Ba, ba-ba-ba, ba, ba-ba, ba-ba
# Ba, ba-ba-ba, ba, ba-ba, ba-ba. #
It's OK, Poppy, you're fine. It's just a little bit of sick, OK? Look.
-Have you got any baby wipes?
I want to go home.
Er, she doesn't mean that. Come on, guys. Let's go on the swing!
You all right, Poppy?
-Little kids are sick all the time.
-I'm taking them home.
Dad! Dad, are you all right?
-You're late. And where are their hats?
We saw Daddy!
In the house!
-What on earth were you thinking?
-I didn't know!
You expect me to believe that? I should never have trusted you.
They met their dad in a playground. Is it such a big deal?
It is when he has a court order preventing him
going anywhere near them!
-That was ages ago!
-Tracy, you should have brought them back here.
-You know, I'm really surprised at you.
You put two vulnerable children in danger.
Danger? What danger? He's their dad!
He is a name on a birth certificate.
Only, you can't see that, because you spend your whole childhood
desperately trying to find a family of your own!
And what about you? Clinging onto Rosie and Poppy
because you can't have kids of your own!
Right, that is enough!
ALL: Shadow! Shadow!
This is pointless, guys.
-Look, maybe she's found another kid to follow home.
-She followed me.
-Well, maybe someone found her and handed her in.
-Handed her in where?
A dog rescue place, where all the dogs nobody wants go.
-What, like a canine dumping ground?
Suppose we should phone in and see if anyone handed her in.
OK, thanks for your help. Bye.
Well, is it her?
Yeah, they picked up a three-legged dog about an hour ago,
-She was coming back here.
Yeah, but they won't hand her over without an adult ID.
Well, at least she's going to a good home.
Yeah, someone that really wants her.
-Yeah, and she can just go home and lay by the fire.
Well, they have a lot of dogs there,
and I don't know how popular she's going to be.
-Most people want the four-legged kind.
-So, what are you saying?
What will happen if no-one wants her?
Well, the woman said if dogs aren't reclaimed or re-homed,
they get put down.
What, kill her?
It won't be for ages, though. Years and years, right?
No, she's got seven days.
-I'm sorry, Lil. I keep mucking it up.
-You did it brilliantly.
I wish I could remember playing with you.
It doesn't matter. We can start again.
"From the four corners of the Earth,
"he left no stone unturned to find them."
I'll try harder. I won't let you down.
KNOCK AT DOOR
So, what's he supposed to do if they meet him in the street?
Put a bag over his head? Jump down a manhole? The woman's a nightmare!
-She's just trying to protect Poppy and Rosie.
-From what? Herself?
-Do you really think Steve's ready to take them on?
He's turned his life around. He's trying really hard.
Yeah, I'm sure he is, but with two little girls depending on him,
that might not be good enough.
-There are well-documented benefits to pet ownership.
It'll teach us sharing and responsibility.
And keep us fit. We'll have to walk it.
Dogs are really calming when you're sad.
-Who's going to feed it and brush it?
And what about the dog mess in the garden?
-Oh, Johnny'll do that.
-Look, if we don't take her, then she's going to die.
Why are you all looking at me? I am not going to be its executioner.
Frank, give me the number to the rescue place.
-Rob's stopped Steve from seeing the girls.
-Oh. Come on in.
-In you go.
-He said he's going to call some stupid big meeting.
-He said it could set us back months.
-I can't say I'm surprised, Lily.
-Your dad has to show that he can be responsible.
Well, by showing that he can take care of Poppy
and Rosie at least as well as the Perrys.
He'll be better than them.
OK, so we can write down every little thing he's got to do.
Like a checklist, make sure he's got everything covered?
And then, if he doesn't, I'll teach him.
-Do you own other dogs? Yes/no?
-Will someone be in the house all day?
What type of home do you live in?
Single, family, townhome, apartment, farm, et cetera?
Are you allowed to put care?
Shopping, cooking, cleaning, get the girls up, give them breakfast,
take them to school, pick them up from school.
Won't he be working?
I can do it.
Fine. Get a childminder.
Pick them up from the childminder, dinner, homework, bed.
-And what about all the fun stuff?
Oh, Matt and Christie have got them doing all these clubs. Dance, music.
Poppy's even doing medals in gym.
OK, but that might be quite expensive.
I mean, your dad won't be expected to carry on every single thing.
It's more the emotional stuff that's important.
You know, the talking, listening, knowing how they feel.
Comforting them when they're upset, helping them cope with problems.
Make them feel really good about themselves.
Yeah, but that's the sort of thing I'd do.
Yeah, and you still can.
But you don't want to go back to how it used to be,
when you were the only one doing that stuff.
Your dad has to be the one that Rosie and Poppy rely on now.
-I want to put loads of pink on mine.
Hi, guys. Guys, could you just listen?
There's been a bit of a misunderstanding.
I've just had a call from the lady from the dog rescue, and...
well, they don't let dogs come to care homes.
-They haven't done the home visit yet, though.
Well, there's no point. They don't consider us a family.
-We don't know who's going to be living here.
I mean, maybe we've got a child who'd been cruel to animals.
We'd beat them up!
-Look, this is totally unfair.
-She was relying on us.
Yeah, but she's still up for adoption, yeah?
Oh, who would adopt her?
She's going to die,
and that's our fault because we're not good enough for her!
Every little thing I have gets taken away.
Then we're not going to let her die, are we?
We've got six days to come up with a plan.
No lasting damage to you, is there? You OK?
We don't have to do it.
You know, get Poppy and Rosie back.
Not if it's going to be too hard.
But I thought it was all you wanted.
You have to want it too.
-I want you to be happy.
You're a brilliant dad. I'm so glad you came and found me.
But I'm just happy here living with you.
That is the bravest thing you could have done.
You don't think I'm letting my mum down, do you?
It's just that when she died,
I promised that I'd look after the girls.
Everything you want for Rosie and Poppy is because you love them.
I really do.
Their father did come back for the three princesses,
but the two littlest ones didn't want to leave the kind-hearted
couple, and that was OK, because they could still
see their father, and their sister could visit them whenever she liked.
Because some families belong together,
and that's right for them, but sometimes, if families really
love each other, they decide they might be better living apart.
-See you, everyone.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd