A sad song saying that she has been thinking about love.
A voice-over presents "Mary Fisher (Patricia Hodge) lives in a High Tower on the edge of the sea. She writes a great deal about the nature of love. She tells lies." She is a writer of romantic fiction, and we see her in an award ceremony, winning -again- 20,000 pounds for the best romantic novel. She enters another hall so self-reassured and satisfied, wearing a furry coat. The music says "When you have found love/ never let her go". Bobbo (Dennis Waterman) sees her across the party room and takes off his glasses immediately and asks her to sign an autograph for him. They look at each other and it's love at first sight. Somebody, presumably a waiter, appears with a tray and two cups of champagne. At that moment, Bobby wakes up and says that she is his wife, Ruth (Julie T. Wallace). Ruth throws the two cups to the carpeted floor, so Bobbo gets angry and screams abuse to her "You stupid ...!". Later, Ruth, with a huge mole on top of her lip, is munching on crisps on her own, while Bobbo speaks about "spreading (his) wings" and stopping being a civil servant to become a successful and wealthy accountant. Mary laughs it off that she doesn't know how much she is worth, because she is hopeless at figures. She has four houses who could be worth one million or more - he advises her to take her money out of England.
It is the end of the party. Edna O'Brien (Herself), Sue Cook (Herself) and John Mortimer (Himself) are there; and everybody is starting to leave. Mary says that it is a nuisance that the council has taken her badly-parked car away. She tells Bobbo to take her home, as they are in her way. Bobbo leaves Ruth at home and then tells Mary to get into the front seat. He won't even accompany her to the door, as he laughs it off "She won't be raped." Mary says that she leaves a long way from there, almost on the coast - she leaves on the coast. They walk on the moonlight beach, and Bobbo says that know he understands why she writes romantic novels. Bobbo admits that he has had some lovers before, and also says that Ruth knows about it. Mary asks why he married her, and he says that she was a typist, quiet as a mouse, and he had felt sorry for her, and started to go out with her to give her more confidence. "So it was pity", Mary says. He says it was "sexual suicide".
Ruth's voiceover says that ugly women survive hardening themselves and waiting for old age to "equalize all things".
She wakes up the children Nicola (Caroline Butler) and Andy (Christopher Mossford), two bratty brats. They also have a hamster, a dog and a cat. It is morning when Bobbo returns, and says that he's won the account. Mary's first husband thought that capitalism was immoral, so he convinced her of not investing her money. Ruth reads Mary's autograph, and says that she doesn't want to know how Bobby will spend the day, looking for investments for Mary's money, but how he spent the night.
Mary and Bobbo are at her mansion. She caresses and fusses over him with a manservant taking drinks to the pool, while Mary has to cut the wood. She is pissed off with Bobbo, who tells her that he wants to be honest with her. He says that he'll never divorce her, but that Mary is not his first lover and won't be his last.
Ruth wants to earn her husband's love back while she is cutting the hairs around her mole and applying make-up. She prepares a cake and the kids are away for the night; he also brought a bottle of champagne. Bobbo says that he loves her but that he is not "in love", but that he doesn't love Mary the way he loves Ruth. Sex is passionless for him, who finishes quickly and lets her feeling cold. After sex they speak about Mary, and Bobbo says that true love isn't possessive. He asks her to be patient with him. She says she understands but can't avoid crying. Bobbo says that Ruth is his friend, and that he wants to share his experiences with Mary until it passes.
Mary cries in bed. Garcia (Paul Herzberg) is the young Spanish gardener, and he sometimes shares his employer's bed.
Next morning, Bobbo and Ruth have breakfast with Mary being interviewed by a journalist on television and she says she lives on her own. She admits spending absurd amounts of money on pretty shoes and living on smoked salmon and caviar, only the best for her. She also claims to inspire her heroines from her own life, as every day is an inspiration for her. Ruth turns off the TV, and Bobbo asks her whether she has gained weight. She denies it but he doesn't believe her.
Bobbo asks Mary why him, and Mary says that love chose both of them. They make love passionately. Mary says that the children are Ruth's crown. Ruth's voiceover wishes that Mary's Tower falls onto the sea.
Cut onto the sound of breaking trays: the dog has tried to eat the food which Ruth has prepared for Bobbo's parents, Brenda (Noel Dyson) and Angus (John Bluthal). While she is crying hysterically she screams at her how clumsy she is. Bobbo says that he married her out of convenience at the time. Ruth runs to her bedroom bathroom to try to compose herself while he screams at her not to embarrass him in front of his parents. She realises that she ha fallen out of love with Bobbo.
Ruth serves the soup, but there are dog's hairs in the bowl of soup. Brenda says that they don't mind. Ruth mentions that Mary Fisher is Bobbo's mistress. Bobbo tells her not to push his parents into the family affair, and Brenda adds that he doesn't approve of unfaithfulness. Bobbo says that he had a terrible childhood with them, and then says that Mary is a very important client. He considers Mary a friend, but Ruth has a suspicious mind, he says. Ruth lets go of the soup bowl, which splashes everywhere. Angus wants to eat the soup from the floor. Brenda says that it was Bobbo who was a difficult child. Angus asks Brenda to go - Bobbo screams that the soup and the main course are all unavailable, so they might as well go. Ruth shouts "Why won't you love me?" Bobbo says that he will never forget Ruth for being rude to his mother, but Brenda says that it was him who was rude all the time. Brenda asks him why he doesn't love Ruth, and he says he never did; Angus asks why he married her, and he says because she was pregnant.
The parents leave and Ruth locks herself in the bathroom. Bobbo says that Ruth has upset everybody, even the pets: she is a bad mother, cook, wife; he doesn't believe she is a woman at all, she is a demon, a devil, a she-devil.
Bobbo drives to Mary's. Garcia is not happy when he sees Bobbo arriving with his suitcase in the middle of the night. Mary's dogs bark at him abut she takes him in.
The following morning, Bobbo tells Mary that the house is too big, and she and the children can stay while he finds a buyer. He says that he wants to marry Mary Fisher.
Ruth needs to find a new self. She is sad that he has said that she is a she-devil, so... so be it, she says while she takes all her clothes and jewellery.
The children ran outside the home and Ruth prepares to blow the house up. She takes the dog and the cat outside, but forgets about the hamster. Although she doesn't even know how to smoke, she lights two cigarettes at the same time.
The firefighter arrive quickly, but the house is beyond saving. Ruth feels wonderful and empowered. She takes a taxi and brings the two children, cat and dog to Mary Fisher's mansion, where the children see their father and Mary making love on the sofa. Bobbo tells Ruth to take the children home, She tells him that the house has burned to the ground. The children cry because they have lost all their possessions. He wants to ask insurance to pay for the house, but she told the insurance man that she has started to smoke lately and that she may have left a burning cigarette somewhere. He looks at her - "You didn't tell them that?", but she reminds him that he always says that it is best to be honest. "But that's contributory negligence; they won't pay out. Where are you going?", he says. As he doesn't want to stay at the mansion, she will go.
Garcia rides her to the station and promises to keep an eye on everybody, and that if she phones, he'll report on everybody. She says she wants him back, but on her own terms.
She mentions a mother she has neglected.
Dressed up as a whore, Ruth approaches a businessman who is supposed to be called Jeffrey Tupton. He has a pus-suppurating eye. She uses her gold ring to caress and rub the eye and it improves. They go to bed and have sex. He hugs her afterwards, sleeping, while she cries.
She tells him of a friend of hers who had marital problems and broke her marriage, which lead to a suicide attempt. She prefers this unknown man to her husband, because they had been the only two men she has met in her life. She then asks for a job at Restwood, a residential home for the elderly. Mrs Trumper (Ina Clough) is obsessed about incontinence, so the moment that happens, she puts the elderly out. She meets Nurse Hopkins (Miriam Margolyes) and Mary's mother (Liz Smith). Ruth says she is Lily Latimer, and Hopkins is instantly attracted to her.
Mary has trouble writing her crap novels as the children are noisy. Garcia reports on the children being a nuisance. Mary gives the elderly roomsharers - Mrs Fisher, Mrs Sweet (Barbara Baber) and Mrs Ivan (Pamela Manson) - vitamins instead of valium, so that they fight with each other.
Mary tries to love the children for Bobbo's sake. The children get drunk and Nicola vomits all over Mary's manuscript. Maria the maid is angry at having to work so much but Garcia is satisfied with Mary's unhappiness.
Mrs Fisher is much livelier because she has drunk lager and had the vitamins. Mrs Fisher say that mother and daughter both belong to the gutter. Lily suggests she calls on her daughter. Hopkins is going to work somewhere else, to a prison turned into a hospital. Hopkins kisses "Lily". Mrs Fisher calls on Mary and tells Bobbo that Mary stole her second husband and gets drunk. They are eating tuna fish sandwich. Andy fights with the dog while Nicola makes too much noise and burns a record-players. Mary tells Nicola off and she punches her.
Meanwhile, Ruth puts water into the mattress to make believe that Mrs Fisher is incontinent. Mrs Trumper fires Ruth, and phones Mary to tell her that she won't take Mrs Fisher back.
"Lily Latimer" goes to work to Lucas Hill Special Hospital. A demented patient is being restrained. Hopkins suggests putting their beds together to be warmer. Lily says it's a smashing idea.
Bobbo tries to tell Mary how to write. Hopkins and Ruth steal money from him and open their own agency. The two nurses see Bobbo and Mary walking together happily, as they are trying to work things out. They keep on mixing reports and meddling with accounts. A phone rings while they are at it. Mary phones and thinks that it's Bobbo who has picked up the phone. Mary cries onto the phone while Hopkins and Ruth are having a religious experience - they look in a trance.
Ruth's voiceover says that she's teaching Mary Fisher a lesson - love cannot create heaven on Earth as she had thought before, only hell.
She still has a long way to go, she says
Mary Fisher is learning that love is complicated.
Ruth and Hopkins start up the Vista Rose Agency. It's a different one. They employ mothers, retrain them and send them to jobs. They can do that because their agency takes care of these women's household chores responsibilities: they charge a percentage to do their cleaning, shopping, laundry, and open a nursery to take care of the children. These women are now free to become bank clerks, system analysts, administrative assistants, computer programmers.... They launch their own TV commercial with a young blonde model who is a Vista Rose.
Bobbo wants Mary to take care of the children themselves. They can't get married because she is not there to get the divorce, and he can't prove that she is dead. He has to go to work, and mentions that Mary is letting herself go. He doesn't want to give a party or keep Garcia because of the expense.
Hopkins is happily efficient. Bobbo's office needs two people. They send Elsie Flower (Kim Thomson) as one of them, and Bobbo tries to seduce her.
At the laundry, she mentions to one of her secretaries (Sheila Allen) that she knows she has a criminal record. She will send her to Bobbo's office as a telephonist, not as a computer programmer. The first thing she will do is to change Bobbo's statements from one each month to one each three months.
Now, Mrs Fisher has truly become incontinent, so Maria (Julie Evans) leaves her position. Mrs Fisher blames Mercy the Cat. Mrs Fisher admitted that she never cared about her daughter. Bobbo screams at Mary that she will have to do her mother's bed herself, like millions of other women.
Elsie has fallen in love with Bobbo. Ruth convinces her of saying that she loves Bobbo. When she does, Bobbo stops making out with her in his car. She phones the agency Vista Rose saying that she is unbalanced and asking for a replacement. Bobbo thinks that she has heard "Vista Rose"'s voice somewhere before, but Ruth says she doubts so.
Elsie cries at Ruth's office. She offers to pay a holiday to New Zealand. Ruth also writes a letter to Mary saying that Bobbo has another lover. Hopkins and Ruth are living together. While in the shower, Ruth says that Bobbo's account now has a million pounds of his embezzled money. Elsie goes to New Zealand, but makes a stop in the airport of Geneve. In Switzerland she opens a bank account. She took the money in cash out in a lunchbox and gave it to Ruth in exchange of passports with a fake name
Bobbo arrives to Mary's mansion in a panic. He finally admits to Mary that he slept with her and that it didn't matter. The auditors and the police came because of the missing funds. A detective (Walter Shepherd) takes Bobbo away and mentions the lover who disappeared. They think they have plotted to run together. Mary believes in Bobbo's innocence, or even if she doesn't believe him, she loves him so much that she will spend buckets of money to defend him.
Ruth leaves Hopkins, saying that she needs to work on Judge Bissop (Bernard Hepton) until September, when the case goes to court. Ruth says that Hopkins won't be able to recognise her.
Polly Patch is the new nanny. Lady Bissop (Pippa Guard) is young and meek and wonders if somebody as ugly as her could do her job well. As her husband approves of ugly people, she hires her on. The lawyer (Olivier Pierre) is afraid that the case is going to be difficult.
The judge thinks that all criminals eat lots of peanut butter. The judge enjoys sado-masochist games, and Ruth, posing as Polly Patch discovers so when she finds out a whip and other tools of the trade. Meanwhile, Mary asks her lawyer to defend Bobbo. Bobbo receives Mary's visits at prison, but he doesn't want his own children to see him. A prison warden (Philip Ryan) appears to cut the visit short. The lawyer says that the judge of the case, Bissop, is very upright, but also unpredictable. During lunch, the judge insists that Polly cries out for Lady Bissop, who half-explains nervously that peanut butter is not allowed in the house.
Mary has taken charge of the children Bobbo's education, although she is heartbroken. Ruth is trying to improve herself physically - the first thing is going to be to change her teeth, and then, she will make medical history by having a remodel of her jaw, taking out several inches of it. Back at the Bissops, she argues with the judge that peanut butter has nothing to do with criminality, as it happens that while people are in jail waiting for their final sentences, they are given peanut butter, which is cheap but satisfying. Bissop congratulates Polly, as she is the first person to notice the fallacy of his peanut butter idea and said so. Bissop first heard this theory from a defending lawyer. The judge likes the hole in Polly's mouth while she is waiting for her last set of bespoke teeth made by her dentist (Terence Harvey). The judge admits that he is a passionate person with sadistic attitudes, a requirement of his job. In fact, he likes beating up his wife sexually.
Virginia Flank with Well Met by Moonlight wins the Romantic Novel Award. Mary Fisher is not even attending the ceremony. Mary tosses and turns at night, alone in her bedroom. Ruth can't sleep as well because of the moans and cries of Lady Bissop. The next morning, the Lady Bissop has a black eye and is opening her mail nonchalantly. Suddenly, the judge inquires about Polly's whereabouts. She has allowed her to go out for an appointment.
Dr. Rohn (John Rowe) and Dr. Ghengis (Stephen Greif) are carrying the innovative surgery. They asks "Marlena" what she wants, and she answers that she wants to look up to men, when can she start to have that surgery? The two doctors are worried about that, because it has never been done.
The judge discusses Bobbo's case with Polly Patch. She says that the middle classes commit crimes by design, so that his sentence should be doubled, not halved. The judge takes Polly to bed and beats her the same way he usually beats his wife while he says how many years he is going to give to Bobbo. Polly insists that it is not enough until he offers seven years. Both Bobbo and Mary are devastated; however, Ruth is satisfied, claiming that she wanted a long sentence for him as her sentence has also been very long.
Mary turns to God out of desperation: she has people she doesn't want - her mother, Bobbo's children - but nothing of what she wants - her Bobbo, her success. The she-devils says that God has no power against her. She calls out Father Ferguson (Tom Baker)'s attention with her sorry glittering eyes. Ruth is Ferguson's new housekeeper, a disaster as a man. She provides him with a wonderful breakfast. "Molly", that is, Ruth, refuses to go to mass, because she doesn't believe in god, and tells Ferguson so to his face. Molly agrees with Ferguson that people should not have children if they cannot support them. Molly gives Ferguson plenty of food and alcoholic drinks. Ferguson justifies himself saying that Jesus turned the water into wine. Ferguson says that priests are forced to be celibate, but that it is weird. Ferguson says that most of the sins his flock confess to him have to do with sex in one way or another. Then, he asks Molly to marry him; Molly, becoming serious, confesses that she married once, and that she married forever. Seductively, she offers to do to Ferguson everything else which "will make him a better priest". That night, Molly and Ferguson make love.
Mary tells Bobbo that they must start to accept god's way during one of her visits. Bobbo is becoming desperate, feeling neglected by god himself. When Mary offers to pray with him, he asks her whether she is going through her menopause.
Molly tells the priest that sex is not the problem, it's love. Ferguson says that love is a mirror of divine love, but Molly - just right before going to bed with him - says that love makes people mean, vile, possessive... Ferguson can't wait to have sex with Molly, but she rejects him to preach about the immorality of romantic fiction, which is affecting women to be unrealistic about love. Ferguson recognises immediately the photograph at the back cover of the novel, saying she is part of his parishioners.
Mary receives a letter from Bobbo, saying that he doesn't want her to visit him anymore, as it is too unsettling for both of them, according to him. In his letter, he claims it was not love but sex which kept them together. That is the last straw for Mary, who cries thinking she is alone. She dreams about Ferguson, who suddenly appears in the sitting room of her tower mansion. They go together for a stroll in the woods nearby, and Ferguson says that love is an illusion. She says that she has met love before. Ferguson tells her to stop writing about love because it is deluding millions of women. When Mary tries to say that even the Bible speaks about love, the priest says that the Bible is worse than a lie. Ferguson gets drink and inspires Mary a new novel, The Pearly Gates of Love.
Mary publishes the novel, but it is a financial disaster. However, she is not going to read it - she uses the photography of Mary Fisher at the back to take it to the doctors and say that she wants to be like her, including being 6 inches shorter. It will take years and millions of dollars. On her flight to California, Ruth reads Mary Fisher's last novel. Meanwhile, the wind starts to create decay at the previously perfect tower by the cliff. Mary has written the novel she feels describes her feelings - a nun which struggles to love Jesus. Ferguson says that humans are both flesh and mind. He encourages Mary to write about sex. He touches her with his foot in a totally inappropriate way. Garcia sees Ferguson and Mary having sex on the floor of the sitting-room.
At the Hermione Clinic in California arrives Marlena. Mary dismisses Garcia, as she cannot afford any more wages. Mary's mother tells her to get rid of that "black crow", as priests bring black luck.
The doctors unveil Marlena's bruised face. One of the nurses, (Teresa Garraway), the wife of Dr Black (Terrance Conder) cannot even refrain to look somewhere else.
The priest finally realises that he has sinned; he blames her, saying that she seduced him and that she will go to hell. She accepts all the charges and says that she is already in hell. The priest realises that she is still in love with Bobbo, but she refuses that - she doesn't love anybody, and she wishes she would be dead. He seems to mock her, saying that even when she thinks of suicide she is a romantic.
Mary keeps on writing in spite of everything. She looks plainer and frightened of her own ghosts. A storm breaks and she has illusions of damnation, ghosts everywhere. Ruth claims that even in her desperate state Mary lies in her writings. The wind scatters all the pages and breaks a mirror. Mary shouts "Ruth!", as she realises that it is her who's been causing all that phenomena. The gale pushes her out of the balcony into the cliff and her death.
"My friend is dead. Long live my friend", says Ruth in a voiceover. Ruth goes to the funeral; she looks like Mary Fisher at her best moment. Mary's mother even confuses Ruth with her late daughter, calling her "poor little slut". Ruth's chauffeur drives her away. Bobbo asks her if he knows her. Ruth says that she is his wife. Bobbo replies that his wife died a long time ago and says that she is Mary Fisher. The prison warden takes him away.
Ruth (now played by Patricia Hodge) says she will never be satisfied until she gets everything she had: her tower, beauty, lovers... She doesn't care if there is risk to her life, and that her life will be pain forever after - she wants to be shorter because that is what beauty dictates.
It is a miracle Ruth is alive. After therapy, she has to learn to walk again.
One of the doctors take her to a party. She still has some difficulties walking. Mrs Nancy Black says that Ruth is an insult to womanhood as she looks like a doll. She calls her husband Frankenstein, but he is infatuated with her, pushing one of the doctors away. They fight for her. Ruth enjoys it. Nancy Black says she is sick and tired of doctors' hypocrisy, and that she will marry somebody honest, like a soldier or a bomber. When Ruth leaves for the tower, she gives her old doctor a "prophetic book" as a present - it's Huysmans 'Against Nature', as she claims that from that moment, even nature will do what she pleases. The She-Devil now lives in the High Tower overlooking the sea.
Ruth writes to Bobbo, saying that it was not a matter of men against women, - it's a matter of power, and now, he has none. She has many lovers, including Garcia. Bobbo has to be present and watch her making love to different male lovers.
----written by KrystelClaire