‘Laying the Foundations’ (TV)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

The first episode of ‘The Brittas Empire’ sets thing up pretty well regarding characters and setting. It introduces Chris Barrie as Gordon Brittas, a well-meaning perfectionist but also an incurable, bumbling busybody who’s about to go on his first day of work as manager of Whitbury New Town Leisure Centre.

The episode also introduces Pippa Haywood as Helen, Brittas’ wife in the series. Helen gets to know next-door neighbour Frances Low as Pam, whom Brittas immediately annoys as well as her son playing football with Helen’s kids. Helen also shares to Pam what her husband Gordon Brittas is like in her life.

And Helen must’ve been sharing with Pam all day what Brittas is like considering she’s still there by the time Gordon comes home from work at the end of the episode. Anyway, upon arrival at the leisure centre, Mr. Brittas immediately upsets the builders who stop working. This is after Mr. Brittas upsets one of them.

Gosh, that was fast! 😀 Brittas soon meets the leisure centre staff including Julia St. John as Laura, Michael Burns as Colin, Harriet Thorpe as Carole, Tim Marriot as Gavin, Russell Porter as Tim, Jill Greenacre as Linda and Andrée Bernard as Angie. Pretty soon, Brittas gets on everybody’s nerves here.

Mr. Brittas’ managerial approach to running a leisure centre, including his totally scientific but reality-unrelated roster, upsets people. This includes Gary Whitaker as Neil who wants to run table tennis as the leisure centre as well as Ruth Silvestre as Mrs. Delgardo, the cleaning lady that Mr. Brittas criticizes.

The episode also introduces Jo Kendall as Mrs. Dapping, the local councillor who checks up on how things are at the leisure centre during one of the staff meetings with Brittas, Laura and Colin. Mrs. Dapping is not very happy with how things are being run by Brittas since he isn’t what she was expecting.

The big meeting in the leisure centre gym courts goes chaotic when Neil fires sharp table tennis bats at Brittas and when he sends down a table tennis table down upon him. The builders also come in as a lynch mob to get their hands on Brittas. I don’t know how Brittas escaped that, but he somehow did.

‘Laying the Foundations’ is a decent beginning to ‘The Brittas Empire’ series. Brittas does come across as somewhat unlikeable despite his noble intentions. Things would get better and funnier later on in the series, but I did like how this episode sets thing up with the characters and the leisure centre itself.

‘Laying the Foundations’ rating – 7/10

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