This show was a riot. Chris Barrie as Gordon Brittas was a nightmarish manager come true. For the entire run of the show he had seven or eight people fleeing in terror from his anal minded rules and regulations and following things by the book and sticking to proper procedures and filling out the appropriate forms, and you could count on things to go wrong. The staff always outnumbers the clientele, 3 to 1, as no one will ever come to the centre.
I was surprised when he electrocuted the participants in a baptism in the pool by dropping a light fixture in it, his wife, Helen, calmly observing, wondering if her husband plans on clubbing the stunned victims like her uncle used to do salmon. Then the centre was attacked by Roman legionary re-enactors as the poor staff fought them off as they were pummeled by stones and arrows. The police and fire department will never come when called, they apparently have gotten so many calls from the centre.
Another time, all the heating oil was being stored in a closet and a stray roman candle was fired into said closet. And a gas leak from a drill that punctured a hole in the pipe is ignited by the little figurine that marks off time on the wall clock. Another episode had Brittas charged with murder in a botched up drug deal. Wielding a chainsaw, Brittas screams at his receptionist, Carole, "Stop me before I hurt someone!" He was found innocent in that one.
An emu running amok was one of the more baffling episodes, a shark was released into the company pool, the entire staff, including little Timmy, were found to be pregnant after a medical test, and Brittas had his feet put in a cement block. Carole gives birth to her twins in the empty steam room (later she keeps all her children in cupboards and drawers), Julie the secretary also gives birth in the centre, but Helen, his poor wife, gets trapped in the car while being driven to the hospital to have twins and has them delivered by med students in drag in the middle of the street. You feel sorry for Helen because she struggled so hard to keep from having Gordon take her to the hospital as she knew something like that would happen.
The one that stood out to me the most was when Brittas accidentally, of course, electrocuted happy children holding hands, including his own wife, after they had to witness pigeons flying and frying in the ceremonial torch he just lit. Then there was the 'death' episode, when Gordon is crushed under a falling water tank. He makes it to the pearly gates. This one you have to see to believe. And a future episode showed the staff twenty five years in the futre, all finally having realized their dreams and ambitions, having survived Brittas, they could do anything they wanted and successfully.
Funniest of all is that Gordon never seems to be aware of the chaos and damage. As he said after electrocuting the children and his wife, he has "brought people together, holding hands in intensive care."
With eyes like Joan Crawford, Julie looks at him and says "right, don't go do anything else you can be proud of."
Only Laura, one of his staff, is patient with him and can work around him. The others, like Colin and Linda, are oblivious to him while the rest are wanting him gone, dead or alive. The show reminded me of Sigourney Weaver and the other people running from the alien in the Alien movies, as the staff and Helen literally go out of their way to avoid Gordon Brittas and his ideas and plans. . . and dreams.
The show ran in my area one time, no repeats, and it was a year later before they were shown again. This time I recorded them off.
The final episode was reminescent of Bob Newhart show, which did it better, but I couldn't help but think while this show was airing in England, America was laughing at Tim Allen sticking his finger in a light socket and nominating him for Emmy awards.