The village shop videos get off to a complicated start; The Hathaways marital problems are now the prime talking point for Shula, Alastair and Elizabeth.

Radio Times: Shula assesses the situation.

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  • Poor Betty! Sunday morning in the village shop and not only is she feeling the effects of a ‘dry run’ 4.15am alarm in preparation for Mike starting his new turfing job after fitting in the milk round tomorrow, but where on earth is she going to put the Easter Eggs now that all the videos are in situ? Bert is expecting her to have a critic’s synopsis at her fingertips of every video on the shelf and Jenny seems to be borrowing an age-inappropriate video for Alice – though Jenny reassures her that they will be watching it as a family. As Jenny leaves, she exchanges brief salutations with Tim and Siobhán at the door. Bert turns to the Hathaways for advice on ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’. “A bit dark” replies Siobhán. “You do know we’re only open ’til 12 on a Sunday”, groans Betty as Bert starts his quest all over again!
  • Shula is obviously desperate to find out whether Jenny has any inkling of Brian’s current philandering so over coffee and after the chit-chat about Daniel’s health, Jenny’s new Ambridge project and the forthcoming events in their social calendar she inquires tentatively “And how’s Brian in all this? Does he mind you being so busy?” Well, you can almost see the flush on Jenny’s cheek and the sparkle in her eyes as she eulogises about his being ‘surprisingly supportive’ how reinvigorated he has been during the past few weeks with his Hungarian venture (isn’t she Irish?) how exciting it is how she honestly thinks these ‘enthusiasms of his’ have kept their marriage alive “Sorry?” quests Shula rather lamely “It’s terribly attractive!” sighs Jenny.
  • Bert has obviously made a video selection at last and Betty’s morning becomes even more of an ordeal as she argues ‘jobsworth’ rules with him before he can take his choice home. He grows increasingly annoyed as she demands a utility bill on top of his cheque card, driving licence and corroboration from the Doctor that he is who he says he is! With a little gentle encouragement from Siobhán, Betty eventually concedes that the receipt for Freda’s hot rollers will do as proof that he uses electricity!! Meanwhile Tim and Siobhan’s noticeably hostile attempt at conversation is ended by Bert’s description of his video for Freda as a romantic comedy where a husband finds out about his wife’s affair – as Tim leaves abruptly to go for a walk, Bert and Betty comment upon the Hathaway atmosphere and the rest of their respective Sundays – for Betty it will be definitely back to bed!
  • Shula returns home to be persuaded by Alistair that she must be more relaxed about Daniel and give him some space. She tells him that Jenny either has no idea about Brian or that she’s putting on a very good act, and wryly admits that Alistair well knows how difficult it is just being a spectator in situations like this. Tim arrives, hoping that Shula’s sudden departure isn’t due to him – he feels he’s probably rapidly becoming an outcast because of his unnecessary sarcasm to Siobhán in the village shop. He just can’t help himself, he confides in Alistair, who counters that maybe Tim’s got grounds and remember she could have just upped and gone Tim is not sure how he can get through Siobhán’s formality and politeness for the rest of the day never mind the rest of their lives.
  • Siobhán, going mad in the house on her own, is similarly unburdening to Elizabeth, who does think that Tim wanting Siobhán to grovel sounds rather extreme. However, her advice is that Siobhán, who thinks Tim should be being nice to her if he wants her to stay, should use her next couple of days working away considering how Tim needs to feel that she means her repentance, (Does she?) and thinking about how nice she’s going to be to him. (Siobhán: “Am I?”) She’s got no choice, says Elizabeth, if she’s serious about saving her marriage. (Is she?)

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