Family-based sitcom. There are crossed lines, missed deadlines and communication nightmares as Mum and Dad try to find out where their children are.
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Just in time for the massacre.
-What are you up to?
-'Oh, you know.'
Hard at it. Just getting stuck in to some odd jobs.
'Don't forget that'
Dave is coming round to fix the central heating,
cos they're saying it could be minus seven tomorrow.
You're not going to do a joke about global warming, are you?
Cos I heard three of those in the newsagent's.
Karen should be back by five
-and can you make sure she...
-Don't you worry. Everything is under control.
VOICE MAIL INDISTINCT
OK. Melissa, so, um...
I've made a seating plan, so if you sit here...
And, er, Judy, if you could sit here... PHONE RINGS
Oh, hang on. Sorry, this won't take a sec. Hello.
My stupid phone has been storing up voice mails from hours ago.
'There is one from Dave the plumber, who is stuck on another job.'
So he needs me to go and pick up the pump from the...pump place.
And the other one is from the garage,
saying that I have to pick up the car by 4.30 today.
But they said tomorrow!
No, they are closing tomorrow...
-But it's a bank holiday on Monday!
So, if I don't shift my arse,
we're going to have no heating and no car for three days.
Sorry, you're breaking up. I didn't hear that.
Is there any chance of you getting home for Karen?
This...this video-conferencing thing is with a potential American client
and they've asked me to set it up and sit in on the discussion,
'so they're finally taking me seriously.'
They're not going to take me seriously if I bunk off home
and cook my daughter's fish fingers.
'Tell Jake to cover Karen.'
Sorry about that.
Okey-dokey. Let's get this Skype connection up and running.
it's off to w... I'm just going to ring IT.
Pick up, pick up... Ah, Jake!
-Any chance of a lift?
I've lost my Oyster card, and it looks like snow.
You've lost... Hang on - you don't have an Oyster card. You lost it last week.
Yeah, I took yours.
So when you say you've lost your Oyster card,
what you mean is, you've lost my Oyster card?
Yeah. Bummer, eh?
Well, I can't give you a lift cos I haven't got a car, so you'll just have to buy a ticket and...
-I can't do that - I've got no cash.
-You've got no cash?
-What kind of person...
Hold on a minute.
Karen's just texted. She's forgotten her key.
Jake is OK to let her in, isn't he?
Someone has to let her in, Pete.
If Mrs Delgado spots her freezing on the doorstep, she'll report us to Social Services again.
-She will, Pete.
There'll be interviews and spot checks and...
it'll be Ben and the harpoon all over again.
'Look, I will sort it.'
Jake? Listen, I've got to go fetch a pump and a car and I need someone to let Karen in.
-I can probably make it home in time.
-Provided I get a taxi.
-I'm not paying for a...
Another text from Karen.
The headmistress wants to see her, so she's being kept back after school.
No, obviously that's not splendid, no, but it does
take the pressure off a bit. Just leave it all with me, OK?
-So, about this taxi. If...
-'No taxi, Jake.'
You've got to use your own initiative. You can't just keep forgetting stuff.
You need to be more organised.
You're 17 now - you're about to head out into the real world.
Come on, Dad, look....
Can't chat - got to ring Karen.
Come in, Karen.
I expect you'd like to turn that off, wouldn't you?
Yes, Mrs Raynott.
Oh, I'll send a...
Bloody predictive text!
Why would I be sending a text to someone called Karma?!
We have invented technology that is more impatient than we are.
Listen, how quickly can you get home?
My name is Lee.
-'My name is Lee.'
I find phone.
I'm sorry, this is a very bad...
'My name is Lee.'
I ring first number.
OK, I understand.
'Where are you?'
I am Lee.
Yes. Where are you?
No hear. Bad phone.
-'Listen, that is my son's phone.'
I tell him to come find you.
Lee. Yes, I think we've established that.
I've heard a lot about you,
especially in the weekly staff meetings.
Now then, I understand you've been having a bit of trouble
adapting to secondary school and that's not unusual -
different children react in different ways.
But I have to say, in my 19 years as a head,
this is the first time I've had one write a formal letter of complaint...
to the governors.
-Do your parents know you wrote this?
I don't usually involve them in school stuff.
Well, Karen, I must congratulate you on a very thorough review
of the school's shortcomings.
You've certainly saved Ofsted the bother of a visit(!)
I particularly like this very helpful list
of all the rules you think are "lame".
I wonder if you'd be kind enough to talk me through your findings.
Read it to me.
"Number one - staff defects..."
-'I'm OK to get home now,'
thank you for asking. Mikey lent me his Oyster.
Good, good. Can you just nip back to the school,
and can you pop into Ben's Spartacus rehearsal
and tell him that a Chinese man called Lee has found his phone
and is waiting for him in the cafe on the common?
'OK? I'm going to whizz out just as soon'
as I can find my bloody keys.
Oh, I've got those.
Well, where are your keys?
I wish I knew.
Why does this family lose everything?
I'm going to start nailing things to people's hands.
Nope, I didn't get that. Your phone is so crap.
Just get back here to let Karen in, OK?
Spare keys, spare keys,
spare keys, spare keys...
Spare keys, spare keys...
In the fruit bowl with all the fruit - where else?
"13 - the kitchen staff can get very rude
"if you ask them when they last washed their hands.
Shall we take the remaining 12 points as read? We don't want your voice getting tired, do we?
What was your primary school like, Karen? Was it small?
Small and friendly?
Quite small, yes.
And I bet you got lots of gold stars, didn't you?
Cos at primary school they dish out gold stars for...
Well, for breathing, really.
But my job at this school is gradually to introduce children to the adult world.
So here, we get judged on performance.
Now, how do you feel you've been performing, Karen?
I think my performance can improve in some areas.
But I think some teachers have been under-marking me.
Oh, yes. Point number 24.
How are we doing? Are we sorted?
We're fine. Jake's on his way back, I'm off to the garage -
everything is under control. Mrs Delgado
is looking at me. I'm giving her a friendly wave as I say,
"Burn in hell, you nosy cow."
(SIGHS) I've never seen one do this before.
Yes, you have mentioned that.
Um, what's the ETA, Brett? Only this meeting should have started three minutes ago.
-Have you tried switching it...
-Off and on again? Yes, I have, several times,
because I am aware that this is a highly sophisticated piece of technology
that can sometimes be fixed by randomly switching it off and on.
I know. It's weird, isn't it?
They wouldn't let me on the bus. Mikey's Oyster had nothing on it.
He gave you an Oyster with no credit on it?
He didn't know - it's his dad's Oyster.
Did you give Ben that message?
Er, no. He wasn't there. The rehearsal got cut short. Ben'll probably be home by now.
So if I get a cab, he could probably pay for it when I get there.
So let me get this right, Frank.
You're calling us because we're paying too much for our electricity?
Jake's just texted - he's stranded.
Who's going to be home for Karen? Have you contacted her?
No, her phone's off. But, I'll text her and tell her the spare key's in the big flowerpot.
It's illegal to leave an 11-year-old at home on their own.
Yeah, but the phone's busy. I think Ben must be at home.
It's also illegal to leave a 13-year-old in charge of an 11-year-old.
Yeah, but it's...less illegal.
Also, that 13-year-old is Ben, a boy
who several insurance companies have blacklisted.
I'll ring Janet over the road
and see if she can cover till you or Jake gets back.
Fine. I'm nearly at the garage.
All right, ladies. Looks like we're in business.
I-I've just got to, um... I-I-I...
I won't be a tick. I've just...got to...
Oh, hi, Janet.
Yeah, do you know, actually, I rang you by mistake.
I meant to ring someone else - I meant to ring Ja...
No. No, I haven't been in touch for a while. I'm sorry about that -
things have been a bit...
Eight months? As long as that?
Yeah, well, as I say, things have...
Have you? Right.
I've come to collect my car. My name's Brockman.
-Of course. They bring out for you in a moment. Would you like a coffee?
-Er, no, thank you.
No, really, I'm...
We have juice-maker.
No, honestly, I'm fine.
Help yourself to magazine.
Thanks, I am in a b...
One question. What exactly is a direct debit?
No. Oh, OK, yeah, my parents are going to have to deal with this.
Oh, yeah, sorry, I'm only 13.
Yeah. Yeah, you're right - I do have a deep voice.
It's actually why I was given the part of Spartacus in school.
Yeah, it's about the whole story of Spartacus.
Except now I don't get crucified because two RE teachers threatened to resign.
No, i-it doesn't mean you're a bad picker of men, it's just...
A-ha. Li... Li...
Well, at least he wasn't a jihadist like the last one.
Oh, he was. Right.
Listen, now's not a great...
Please, don't...don't cry.
Sorry to abandon you, Karen. Bit of an issue over whether
someone's allowed to throw a javelin whilst wearing a niqab.
Perhaps you might like to mention that in your next missive to the governors.
Tell me, Karen, do you like Roald Dahl?
Have you read much Roald Dahl?
When I was younger, yes.
And which was your favourite? Was it Matilda? I bet it was.
Yes, it was.
Yes, Matilda. A very special little girl who refuses to buckle under,
and so defeats all those stupid grown-ups.
It's a great story.
Shall I tell you something, Karen?
I'd ban Roald Dahl.
He's probably ruined more children's lives than polio.
Ruined them with the ludicrous belief that all adults are stupid
and can routinely be outwitted by small children and the occasional fox.
I will call you back in a while, I promise.
You just...relax and...
get on top of the hyperventilating thing.
OK, cos I... Cos I really should be in a m...
Oh, I...can't 'ear. You're brea'...up...
I dunno. These things are great when they work, in't they?
You see, Karen...
you're a kid...and we're adults.
We outrank you.
We're stronger than you, we know more stuff than you
and we can reach things you can't.
And, yes, we may sometimes come up with some stupid rules
but, nonetheless, them's the rules.
Not all of the grown-ups in Matilda are stupid.
Her form tutor, Miss Honey, was nice. She let Matilda go and live with her.
In the real world, dear,
Miss Honey would be sacked for inappropriate behaviour.
Now, if you like reading, I recommend this.
Lord Of The Flies.
Yup. That's what really happens when children get to make the rules - corpses everywhere.
So, Karen Brockman,
what are we going to do about your little complaint...hmm?
-PHONE RINGS OUT
-Actually, will it be much longer?
-Only I am up against a bit of...
Ben! You have been on the phone for ages!
Did you know we're paying too much for our electricity?
What? Look, you've lost your phone.
Didn't get that.
You've lost your phone.
Oh! Yeah, right.
I noticed I hadn't got it.
I thought maybe I'd left it at home.
Well, why didn't you borrow a phone and ring home to check?
Oh, I don't know our phone number.
You don't know your own home phone number?!
Oh, come on. Who knows phone numbers? We have phones to remember those.
Look, get on your bike, shoot up to the cafe on the common
and collect your phone from a fella called Mr Lee.
'Then head straight home, OK? It's very important.'
Karen's forgotten her key.
And how exactly do I recognise this Mr Lee?
He's a Chinese tourist in a cafe in Ealing.
Now, get going.
Excuse me... Hello!
Right, like I was saying, I am in a bit of a....
Juice? Cranberry and wheatgrass?
-No, thank you.
-Carrot and apple is very calming.
-No, I'm sure...
-I also have beetroot, blueberry...
-..strawberry, banana, ginger...
-Super. No, thank you!
I have to pick up a pump
and I'm a little bit worried that they might close, so if...
Janet's not picking up. Will someone....
Will someone definitely be home for Karen?
-Ben should be back by then.
-You're breaking up.
-I said, Ben should be in the house because...
-Still can't hear.
-Is this better?
-I said, we should be OK, because Ben...
-No, you're gone again.
-You're all hissy.
Are you sure you're not standing too close to an appliance?
Oh, right, yeah. Silly me. I've got my head in a microwave.
-Oh, so you heard that - that's excellent. Now...
-You're breaking up.
You...you really need to replace that phone.
I can't hear you.
-Maybe it's me - I'll try moving around a bit.
-I'll go outside.
Is this better?
-Is that any better?
CAR ENGINE ROARS
Is that any better?
Can you hear me?
Right, no-one move!
The situation is this. I'm just...
Excuse me. I am really up against it now.
When I arrived, you said my car would be ready in a moment
and that was quite a few moments ago.
-Of course. I chase up you at once, Mr Brockman.
-Why haven't you answered my text?
-Well, which one?
You've been sending them at the rate of about one a minute,
each of them saying something different.
-You see, this is the trouble with texting.
-And he's off.
It is a licence for indecision and unpunctuality and...
-Once you've got the car, you'll pick me up outside Nando's? Right. Cheers, mate, bye.
-Yay! Hooray. We have liftoff.
Mr Johnson? Welcome.
I'm Sue Brockman, acting deputy office co-ordinator
here at Optimum Outcomes.
Er, firstly, I'd like to apologise for the delay.
I hope we haven't kept you waiting for too long.
Am I supposed to be seeing something?
I'm supposed to see something, aren't I? I'm not seeing anything.
Mr Johnson, can you... Can you hear us? Cos we can see you.
Mr Johnson, it's, er, Melissa - Melissa Grainger.
We can see you but we can't...
-Can you get Jason from IT in here?
-Can you hear what we're...?
-Crap never works.
-This is ridiculous.
OK, I've spoken to Danny and he said your car will be ready shortly.
Could you be a bit more...precise?
It will be ready presently.
-No, you see, "presently" is no better than "shortly"...
-need a time, not an adverb.
How many minutes?
I check for you.
Goddamn it, Jason. This meeting with the British assholes
was supposed to have taken place 20 minutes ago.
Mr Johnson, we can hear you.
I hate every inch of this cr...
Hey, geronimo! I see something!
Er, hi, Mr Johnson. Er, can you see me?
-I see a forehead.
-Ooh, right. Well, if we just...we just....
I can't negotiate with a forehead. I have to look 'em in the eyes...
Is that good?
Sue! I'd hugely appreciate it if you didn't take any more calls. With you in a second, Mr Johnson.
That's not a face. That's the...
(CHUCKLES) OK. Yeah, yeah.
Great, I'll tell him.
OK, so Barry said your car will be ready in 15 to 40 minutes...ish.
-They're twiddling with something.
-Did he say exactly what they're twiddling?
No, the guys don't like to confuse me with technical bollocks.
-OK, sorry, I can't risk not collecting that pump.
-When will you collect your car?
Presently. Directly. Shortly(!)
So, Karen, after careful consideration,
I've decided I'm going to file your little tome.
Actually, could you file it for me?
Where, Mrs Raynott?
In the green, circular filing cabinet by your feet.
I bet you win all the arguments at home, don't you?
Of course you do. Cos they're family - they're your prisoners.
You can grind them down day after day.
But I'm not your prisoner, am I, Karen?
No, Mrs Raynott.
To me, you're just one child out of several hundred.
You see, Karen, everybody is unique... but nobody's special.
That's the real world.
And the real world isn't going to change, so you are going to have to. OK?
All I needed was someone to explain it to me.
Splendid! I sense the emergence of a team player.
Do you know, Karen, I once knew a little girl like you
a long, long time ago.
She was clever.
She had lots of opinions, which she loved to share.
She thought she was the centre of the universe
and she didn't think the rules should apply to her.
And do you know what happened to that strong-willed little girl?
Did she become a head teacher?
No, she got expelled. She's in prison now.
Turns out the rules did apply to her after all.
Bye-bye, Karen. Enjoy the book.
I was worried you'd be closed.
It's Mr Brockman. I've come to collect a pump for my central heating.
It's £112, please.
Just in time, eh?
There's talk of blizzards tomorrow. So much for global warming, eh?
Yeah, although, actually...
'Hi. This is Ben. Sadly, I'm afraid I'm unavailable to talk right now
'as I've been abducted by aliens.
'Please leave a message. Aargh!
'They're probing me!'
Ben, it's Dad. Are you home yet?
This is coming up blocked.
It must be so cool being Chinese. I mean, there's so many of you,
it must be really easy to find people with the same interests as you.
There's only 70 million people in the UK
and I still haven't found anyone like me.
And you get to eat snakes and sea slugs and birds' nests and stuff like that.
Also, in China, do you guys send out for English takeaways?
You talk fast.
-'..fully baked before this thing is ready to roll.'
'you know what? I think Bob from our Zurich office
'needs to be in on this conversation. Is there any way can we patch him in?'
Oh, I'm sure we can manage that, can't we, Brett?
Irregular spending pattern?
Yeah, well, you can't just block my card without war...
You sent me a voice mail?
Oh, well, I will probably get that sometime next month.
Yes, I can definitely confirm that I am me,
and I'm really in a hurry so...
My memorable place? OK, my memorable place is...
OK, then it's Ealing. OK, it's not Ealing.
Look, I've had this card for ages!
'And so we're going to go through those steps, and I have to
-'dot all the T's and cross all the I's...'
'..to make sure that we're kosher with the folks upstairs. But I'll tell you this...
'Er, you folks are certainly, right now, my number-one pick, er...
provided that you are able to...'
SUE: I'm sorry.
Don't call me. I'll call...
My mother's maiden name is Hatton - is that not enough?
My favourite colour is blue.
W-We had a cat called Timmy. I...
This had better be fantastically important!
No, it's a credit-card check.
Can you remember my memorable place? Because I can't.
-I should have picked a more memorable memorable place, but I...
-'All right. OK,'
just... Just calm down.
I've lost you.
Oh, this bloody phone...
Calm down. Your memorable place is...
..the same as...
Your memorable place is the same as
-'my memorable place.'
-Oh, that is...
It's where we first met.
Right, so that's, um...
..Yates's Wine Lodge?
No, where we first met. For the first time.
Oh, right, where we... Where we... Where we...
First met. The place where...
You can't remember where we first met, can you?
-Sue, I'm under a lot of pressure here.
-For God's sake, it's New...
LINE BREAKS UP
Sue, you're breaking up. I missed the second bit.
LINE BREAKS UP
No, I missed the same bit again.
Right. OK, listen, it's definitely got the word "new" in it.
What do you mean, that's not enough?!
OK, um, New Cross. New Malden.
OK, I'm nearly home now.
SUE: 'OK, let me check I've got this right.'
Our 11-year-old daughter
is most likely standing on our doorstep, in full view, frozen solid.
And we have absolutely no idea where her brothers are.
That's the gist of it, yeah.
And we have no heating and no car.
But the good news is... Karen's not standing on the doorstep.
'That's not good news!'
Where the hell is she?
Listen, I'm going to ring the school.
Don't worry. I'll ring you back.
-Is that you, Dad?
Yeah, I'm just...
-I thought you'd forgotten your key!
-Yeah, turned out it was in my inside coat pocket.
Ben, is that you?
I can't hear anything - your phone's crap.
Where in God's name are you?
I'm at the cafe on the common with Mr and Mrs Lee and their friends.
Listen, if we ever go to Shanghai I've got loads of addresses.
-Can I bring some of them home for tea?
-Ben, I've had a very difficult day and I really don't want to be...
invaded by Chinese hordes.
That's a bit racist.
"Chinese hordes" isn't racist.
-Oh! Oh, oh, I thought you said "whores".
You need to replace that phone.
DOOR BELL RINGS
Ben...just...come home now.
-All right, all right!
Oh! Let me guess - you've lost your key. Or, rather, you've lost my key.
Er, no. I've lost the feeling in my hands -
couldn't turn the bloody thing.
Thanks for picking me up, by the way(!)
I couldn't get the car...or the pump.
They refused my card, and I forgot my memorable place.
You forgot something?
Ah, well, you need to be more organised, Dad.
You're nearly 49 now.
-You'll be heading out
-into the real world soon.
I'm going to make a cup of tea. Who else would like one?
Did you hear that?
Yes, I'd like one, please, Karen. Thank you.
What was that?
Oh, that's the plumber. I let him in earlier.
Listen...I couldn't get that pump. I'm really sorry.
Oh, don't worry.
Turns out I had another one in the back of the van.
You had one?
Yeah. I left another voice mail, couple of hours ago. Didn't you get it?
No, I didn't.
Hi, Mum. Yeah. No, everyone's accounted for here.
-How's your big meeting going?
we had some problems, but everything seems to be sorted now.
'...a very valid point. I am going to have to confer with Bob on this.
'Bob, do those numbers make sense to you?'
So, everything's all right at home?
Although Dad does need a new phone.
Ah, yeah, I know...
No, he needs to get a new phone because he's stamping on this one.
Yeah, kind of stamping.
Kind of hard to describe.
Have you ever seen Riverdance?
There are more crossed lines, missed deadlines and communication nightmares as Mum and Dad try to find out where their children are. Jake is trying to get home with no money or means of transport, Ben is meeting lots of interesting strangers, and Karen is having a life-changing conversation with her headmistress.