Season 1, Episode 6: A Big Mistake
Recap by Filbertfox


There are some new arrivals at Larkhall, one of them, Jessie Devlin, a chronic alcoholic, is most definitely out of it and has to be led into reception.

In the officers' room...

Fenner : Anyone seen the governor yet?
Bodybag : Is she due back today?
Fenner : Got my fingers crossed she's gone for a career change.
Bodybag : If only.
Fenner : Would you change your mind Dom if Stewart quit?
Bodybag : Perhaps it's for the best, if he feels he can't hack it.
Dominic : (Losing his temper) It's got bugger all to do with hacking it!
Bodybag : If Rachel Hicks hadn't done it here she would've done it somewhere else.
Dominic : You know when I took this job I thought I'd at least give a toss whether someone lived or died!
Bodybag : Like I don't, is that what you mean?
Dominic : Well if the cap fits.
Bodybag : You cheeky...
Fenner : Come on Dominic.
Dominic : What's that supposed to mean Jim?
Fenner : What happened to Rachel wasn't anybody's fault, not yours not mine, not Sylvia's.
Dominic : So we're all happy as long as the money goes into the bank on time? (Leaves the room in disgust).
Bodybag : Oooh! Get Mr Conscience there!

Down in the garden, prepare to slobber as the camera comes to rest on Nikki who is sunbathing on the grass and wearing a pair of green overalls rolled down to her waist and a tight, white vest (obviously they use Persil in Larkhall)...someone pass the smelling salts, I think I'm going to faint!!!!

Just then, Helen saunters into the garden after her holiday, and who does she make a point of speaking to first? You guessed it...

Helen : Hiya Nikki!
Nikki : (Stands up) Miss Stewart!
Helen : How are you?
Nikki : Surviving. How was your holiday?
Helen : I don't know that I'd call it a holiday exactly. 3 weeks struggling with the instructions to flat-packed furniture.
Nikki : No man around to help you?
Helen : Call yourself a feminist? Sean's up to his eyes in work at the moment.
Nikki : Oh.
Helen : The longer we're together the less time we seem to spend with each other. Mind you, I did catch up with a bit of reading, have you read 'Sophie's World'?
Nikki : No, no I haven't.
Helen : Well I've got a copy at home, I'll bring it in.
Nikki : Isn't that against regulations?
Helen : Well I won't tell if you don't. See you around.
Nikki : See ya.

Nikki watches Helen's departure with a roll-up in her mouth and the gooey smile of someone who's just been well and truly flirted with. Careful Helen! Don't want to start giving out the wrong signals, do we?

Back in the officers' room, Fenner and Bodybag are still chuntering, do they ever do any work??...

Bodybag : Well, if Stewart does show her face I might walk out those gates with him.
Fenner : Oh come on Sylvia! You'll be buried here.

...Both of their jaws hit the floor with an audible thud when Helen Breezes in, seemingly full of the joys of Spring...

Helen : Good morning!
Fenner : Morning.
Bodybag : Morning ma'am.
Helen : So, how did you cope without me? Was everything alright?
Fenner : Everything's running smoothly, not one single incident to report.
Helen : Excellent! (Turns to filing cabinet and starts rummaging)
Bodybag : Can I help you ma'am?
Helen : Well someone better had, I'm looking for Nikki Wade's file.
Fenner : Any particular reason?
Nikki : I want to review her sentence plan. When was the last time someone had a look at it?
Bodybag : It's not worth looking at.
Helen : (To Fenner) Listen, I'd like to see all the reports for the last 3 weeks.
Fenner : Even if there's nothing to report? (Sighs) I'll get them to you by Friday.
Helen : Today will be fine. (Leaves the room)

Down in reception, Dominic tries to help an obviously out of it Jessie and takes her to get some clean clothes, Fenner breezes in, clocks Jessie, and reacts with his usual compassion...

Fenner : Looks like she's just been dug up! With any luck they'll keep her on skid row.
Lorna : Yeah, and I'll win the lottery.

An extremely frightened Jessie is taken down to detox. Jessie doesn't want to be left on her own and starts to panic, Dominic tries to comfort her but is attacked and then puked on for his trouble.

Okay, so, you're Dominic, you're pissed off because you have puke all down your shirt and who is the last person you want to run into? The woman you have a thumping great crush on by any chance? Helen.

Dominic makes it clear how sick he is to be working in the job and not being able to make a difference, Helen is very understanding and makes a date with him for a drink. We know that Helen just wants to persuade him to withdraw his resignation, but for Dominic it's like all his Christmases have come at once...awww, bless him!

An unspecified amount of time later, Helen has Nikki in her office...well, not in that way, but you can't help wishful thinking!!...

Helen : You used to run your own business? What did that entail?
Nikki : Hiring, firing.
Helen : And what do you do to keep busy now?
Nikki : Gym, gardening, usual stuff, you know.
Helen : You're not interested in education classes?
Nikki : Well there are only so many macramé plant hangers you need in one lifetime.
Helen : I'm talking about the Open University.
Nikki : Look, in 10 years time, I'll be a 43 year old con with a General Studies degree. Companies will be crying out for that won't they?
Helen : I'd like you to think about it. As a favour to me?
Nikki : Okay, for you.

And we hear the sound of flip-flops as Nikki leaves the room...who, for Christ's sake, had the idea to put TV's sexiest woman lifer in a pair of bloody flip-flops? Well, it obviously hasn't put Helen off, she is left in her office with a rather wistful expression on her face.

A week later, Jessie is taken out of detox and taken up to G-Wing...Lucky Jessie is just in time for fish and chips, served by the ever lovely Shell Dockley...Shell is so nice, she even spits on Jessie's meal as a nice welcome present for her.

Denny arrives for her dinner, Shell, as always, is pleased to see her chief henchwoman and points out the new arrival...Denny looks shocked, very shocked...could it be that she already knows Jessie?

Denny is in a very reflective mood and is in no mood for Shell who seems to have taken a big shine to Jessie...

Shell : She ain't touched a thing on her plate. Look at 'er! Old spazzer can't even find her mouth.

Indeed, Jessie seems to be having great difficulty co-ordinating her fork, her hand and her mouth and drops a load all over the steps Bodybag...

Bodybag : Pick it up, like a good girl.

Jessie tries to oblige but seems to be having great difficulty in co-ordinating any part of her anatomy. Bodybag, the old cow, seems to find this very amusing and makes no move to help Jessie. Just then, Helen marches out of the officers' room and helps Jessie up before ordering a flabbergasted Bodybag to get Jessie a cup of tea...By the way, if you look carefully, you should spot a very admiring Nikki in the background.

Later that day in the 4-bed dorm, Shell pays a visit to Denny just as our Zan decides to amend her sleeping arrangements...

Shell : Where are you off to Zan?
Zandra : Getting up on this top bunk is killing me. I mean, a woman in my condition.
Shell : Ere Denny, you could have Zandra's bunk, get you away from the singing nun.
Zandra : I could really handle a fistful of jellies.
Shell : That slag Devlin looks as high as a bleeding kite. Let's pay her a visit.
Zandra : Do you think she's got any smack?
Denny : The woman's a frigging nutcase not a junkie. Just leave her alone, alright? (Leaves the cell)
Zandra : Ooooh! Who slapped her tits?

Shell meanwhile begins to twig that her evil chief henchman might not as be as evil as she used to be.

Ecky thump! Well I'll go to the foot of our stairs...our Helen turns out to be a pint drinker...

Helen : What? It's a pint, I'm off duty

...Helen seems determined to make Dominic retract his resignation, I wonder if she'll use the patented Helen Stewart 'I know, I'll have a bit of a flirt to get my own way' form of attack...Bingo!!! Our Dom already seems to be changing his mind...I wonder if he'll appease his conscience by telling Helen about Zandra's escape?

Back on the wing, Shell is clomping around in her platform flip-flops (just what is it about G-Wing and flip-flops?), they obviously add inches to her height but remove something from her ability to see because she bumps into Jessie who just so happens to be holding a mug of tea...whoosh! all over Shell's lovely yellow T-shirt...

Shell : For Christ's sake! Look what you done!
Jessie : I'm sorry.
Shell : You drunken old cow! (Grabs Jessie by the throat) you're gonna pay for this!
Jessie : I ain't got no money.
Shell : No? (Pushes Jessie into her cell) Well you better get someone out there to get me another top! (Pushes Jessie to the floor).
Jessie : I don't have anyone.
Shell : Well there's a surprise. Right! You're gonna get a good old slapping!

...Just then, Denny does a Nikki and arrives to the rescue...

Denny : Shell! Just leave it yeah?
Shell : Look what she done to my top!
Denny : Wash it!

Denny leads Shell out of the cell and leaves Jessie sobbing hysterically...well, I'm beginning to seriously worry about Denny...maybe someone actually explained the meaning of the word conscience to her.

Back in the pub, Helen seems to be in the midst of a serious attack of drunken giggles, and Dominic obviously begins to sense that his luck is in, especially when the bell rings for last orders and Helen invites him back to her place

At the flat, Dominic's conscience finally gets the better of him and he spills the beans to Helen about Zandra's escape, Helen is not pleased...

Helen : How could you've been such an arse?

...Dominic, being the nice guy he is, tells Helen that the cover-up was his idea, not Lorna's and then goes on to tell Helen that his guilt over the matter is what made him hand in his resignation. Helen, looking like she's just been slapped in the face by a wet kipper, tells Dominic that she's going to have to report the incident but that she still wants him to withdraw his resignation, Dominic, finally, agrees.

After the weekend, Dominic announces his intention to stay to the other officers, everyone, well, with the obvious exception of Bodybag is pleased...

Bodybag : I'm going to have to send your leaving present back, after all the trouble I've gone to.

...Helen arrives then and Dominic asks her to keep his confession from Lorna until she gets word from the Governor, Helen agrees...

Helen : And then I'm going to call you both in for the bollocking of your lives!

...Dominic doesn't look too scared...maybe he likes his women to be in control!!!

It's a pity for Lorna that Dominic decided not to tell her about his confession because Zandra blackmails her into taking a letter to Robin...oh dear, Lorna is well in over her head now but it doesn't look like Zandra's going to stop at making Lorna do Postman Pat impersonations.

Lorna waits outside the rehab centre for Robin the twat to turn up, she gives him the letter but he's not interested, not even when Lorna tells him that Zandra didn't go ahead with the abortion...what a complete and utter bastard!

Meanwhile, Denny seems to be going out of her way to make friends with Jessie and starts asking her questions about her family and whether or not she has any kids, Jessie tells Denny that she hasn't and Denny suddenly makes her excuses and leaves a very confused Jessie in her wake...what is up with Denny???

The following day, at lunchtime, Lorna has to break the bad news about Robin to a very upset Zandra...methinks Zandra might be needing some emergency jelly rations to get her through this!

Across the room, Denny seems to be very agitated and completely freaks out, attacking poor Jessie with a plastic knife for simply smiling at her. Denny, not surprisingly, is taken straight down the block and then to Helen's office for a bollocking with Jessie in attendance...

Helen : I'll ask you again, why did you attack her?
Denny : I just felt like it.
Helen : Have you any idea why this happened Jessie?
Jessie : I smiled over at her and she come at me with a knife.
Denny : Should've cut your face up!
Helen : You're up on a very serious charge Daniella!
Jessie : I want her kept away from me.
Denny : You think I'd come anywhere near you after what you did to me?
Jessie : I never done nothing to ya.
Denny : You bloody did!
Jessie : What? What have I done?
Helen : Is there something that you're not telling us?
Denny : She's my bleeding mother! Alright?

Wow Denny, you really know how to bring the room to a standstill!

Another unspecified amount of time later, the inmates gather for dinner...

Shell : Ere Zan, how far gone are ya?
Zandra : About 6 months, why?
Shell : Gonna keep it?
Zandra : What you on about?
Shell : Who knows, might get in the way.
Zandra : Piss off will you?
Shell : My kids went to my mum when I got put in here, 'cause I trust her, you know what I mean? Imagine having a mother who couldn't give a shit about ya, like Denny here. Denny's mum put her daughter over to the social 'cause she couldn't put the bottle down, ain't that right Den? Rather have a vodka anytime. What age was you when your foster father starting raping you Den? 11 was it?
Denny : Leave it Shell.
Shell : Had to have an abortion when she was 13. The only place Denny liked was her last children's home, then they told her that they were shipping her out. Is it any bleeding wonder that she torched it and ended up in Durham? What sort of mother does that to her kid? (Walks over to Jessie).
Someone : Bitch!
Shell : Hear that Jessie? Hear what they're calling ya? 'Cause that's what you are.
Zandra : You piece of shit! (Spits at Jessie)

The whole wing is stunned into silence as a tearful Shell goes over to comfort Denny...blimey! The tart does have a heart!

The whole world seems to be against Jessie now, but who steps in to try to sort it out? Nikki convinces Jessie that she should talk to Denny and tell her why she put her into care, Jessie confesses that she's too scared to face up to Denny so Nikki tells her to write it all down in a letter.

The following morning, Jessie takes the letter to Denny, only to be appalled to find out that Denny can't actually read.

Helen turns up in Nikki's cell with an Open University prospectus...

Helen : I brought you that prospectus.
Nikki : You don't give up easily do you?
Helen : There's an English course in there you might want to take a look at.
Nikki : You really think I can do this?
Helen : Of course! What's stopping you?
Nikki : I'm scared.
Helen : Well I never thought I'd hear you say that. Look, you can only do your best, give it a read. (Takes 'Sophie's World' out of file) You thought I'd forget didn't you?

Nikki watches Helen leave the cell and gazes after her with a more than grateful expression on her face.

Meanwhile, Denny has roped Zandra into reading Jessie's letter for her...

Zandra : I hope this letter will try to explain what happened, why I could never be a good mum, mine was no good and my dad did things to me that no dad should've done, mum turned a blind eye, maybe she was scared. Soon as I could, I started to drink to block it all out. I woke up one morning, Tuesday, it was 2 hours before I realised that you had gone, they'd taken you the night before when I was in the pub, they encouraged me to give you up, told me that you'd be better off and looked after properly.
Denny : By those bastards?
Zandra : After that I got married 3 times, not one of them any good. When the last one died, I opened a bottle at his funeral and didn't put it down, till I came in here. I know you must hate me, you have every right to, they should have a bigger word for it, and I'm sorry. Jessie.

...Denny and Zandra are both in tears by this point and Zandra shows a great deal of tenderness by comforting her margarine attacker.

The following morning, Zandra cops Lorna as she lets the women out to use the bathroom...

Zandra : Miss?
Lorna : Alright Zan?
Zandra : No, I feel terrible, everything's so shit!
Lorna : Not all this again Zandra.
Zandra : Aint you ever loved anyone? Do you know what it's like?
Lorna : Listen doll, I know that it must be hard for you...
Zandra : You ain't got a bleeding clue! I can't sleep, I can't eat. Your old girl have trouble sleeping?
Lorna : My mum?
Zandra : Valium or something, wouldn't miss a few would she? Nothing illegal, something she can get off the doctor. (Lorna turns away) Don't walk away from me!
Lorna : Listen, if you think I'm going to bring any type of drug in here, legal or otherwise, you're out of your mind! I'll be up on a charge before you know it.
Zandra : Yeah? Well that's what will happen if you don't.

Unfortunately, neither Lorna or Zandra are aware that Shell earwigged the whole conversation.

It looks like Denny has finally forgiven Jessie and they talk about what's going to happen when Jessie is released the following week. Jessie asks Denny if she would like her to keep in touch and maybe even visit, Denny's reply would bring tears to a glass eye...

Denny : I ain't never had a visitor.

Awww...poor wickle sausage!!!

After lock-up, both Denny and Zandra seem to be having trouble getting to sleep...

Denny : Are you alright Zan?
Zandra : (Clutching stomach) It's this little thing, it's kicking the shit out of me.
Denny : Ere, have a jelly, it's on me.
Zandra : What? For nothing? Thanks Denny.
Denny : When I was a kid, one of the girls in the home, her dad turned up one day and took her back with him. I remember looking out the window and them driving off and for years I thought that was how it happened. Bit of a shock to meet my mum in here, looking like a burst bag of shite!
Zandra : I'm sorry, you know, for spitting at her.
Denny : Don't matter. She says she's gonna visit.
Zandra : Yeah, well don't count on it, that's all I can say.
Denny : Night Zan.

Denny, disturbed by this conversation, hatches a cunning plan...she's going to escape by dressing up like a screw, complete with a sink plug and chain to simulate a key chain. Jessie, as you might expect, is extremely worried but agrees to meet Denny in the potting shed just before she is released.

In the library, Nikki is flicking through a book and looking very unimpressed when Helen walks in...

Helen : Romeo and Juliet, I'm impressed. (Although how she manages to spot this even though she can't see the cover and Nikki is flicking the pages is beyond me...SuperGuv must have X-ray vision)
Nikki : Juliet and Juliet would be more my cup of tea.
Helen : (Follows Nikki over to the bookshelves) Have you never been interested in men?
Nikki : Not my flavour, no.
Helen : But I thought...
Nikki : What? I just hadn't met the right one? No, they do nothing for me.
Helen : How can you be sure?
Nikki : The same way you are, if you are.
Helen : (Laughs uncomfortably) I'm not interested in women. Not in that way.
Nikki : You should give it a go sometime, you don't know what you're missing. (Hands Helen a book and leaves the room).

...Helen looks down at the cover of the book and smiles to herself when she notices that it is 'Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit'. It looks like Nikki thinks that Helen is floating down that Egyptian river too.

It's the day of the great escape but it looks like Jessie is having severe doubts. She turns up at the potting shed and tells Denny that she can't do it. Denny is left alone again and in tears.

Meanwhile, Dominic is pacing up and down outside Stubberfield's office until Helen comes out and tells him that he and Lorna are in the clear. Pity Dominic kept his mouth shut, it looks like Zandra's threats have worked, Lorna had managed to smuggle in some jellies, cleverly concealed in a lipstick container.

Dominic tells Lorna about his confession to Helen and tells her that they are in the clear, Lorna suddenly realises what she has done. If only Dominic had told her sooner!

The mail arrives and there is a postcard for Denny from Jessie, telling her that she's still off the booze and that she'll be coming to see her next visiting time. Denny is surprised, but chuffingly pleased.

For once, an episode ends on a high note.


Top Dog of the Week
Nikki for trying to comfort Jessie when everyone else is treating her like a plague carrier.

Strangely enough, Shell gets a mention here for her tear-jerking speech about Denny's crappy childhood.

Twatting Twat of the Week
Bodybag for being horrible to Jessie when the poor woman can't eat properly.

Shell for being Shell, being unspeakably evil to the new inmate.

Robin for not giving a shit when Lorna tells him that Zandra has decided to keep the baby.

Weedy Pigeon of the Week
Two pigeons this week...

Poor old cow Jessie...She has the screaming ab dabs in detox, is bullied by Shell, attacked by Denny, finds out Denny is her daughter, gets spat on...blimey! Is it any wonder she's an alcoholic?

Denny for having to relive her truly awful childhood and for finding out that her mum looks like "a burst bag of shite".

Spin Doctor of the Week
Helen for persuading Dominic to withdraw his resignation.

Worst Girl of the Week
Helen for flirting unmercifully with both Nikki and seems that her new tactic is "If I can't get my own way I'm going to flirt"'s her own fault if people start misreading her signals.

Best Line of the Week
Fenner: "Looks like she's just been dug up."

Nikki: "Well there are only so many macrame plant hangers you need in one lifetime.

Zandra: "Ooooh! Who slapped her tits?"

Helen: "What? It's a pint, I'm off duty"

Zandra: "Everything's so shit!"

Nikki: "You should give it a go sometime, you don't know what you're missing."

Worst Line of the Week
Bodybag: "Pick it up, like a good girl."

Shell: "Right! You're gonna get a good old slapping!"

Denny: "She's my bleeding mother! Alright?"

Denny: "I ain't never had a visitor."

Warring Faction of the Week
Zandra and Lorna...Zandra wants the jellies, Lorna's got the jellies, it's up to Zandra to persuade her to bring them in.

Sight of the Week
Nikki sunbathing on the grass wearing overalls rolled down to her waist and a skin tight, white vest.

Helen drinking a pint!!!

Dominic's face when Jessie pukes all over him.

Larkhall Miracles and Mysteries
Nikki? Flip-flops? Someone explain!!!!

The Larkhall timewarp strikes again...Zandra develops a huge lump in the space of one episode.

Denny and Zandra are suddenly the best of friends...I'm sorry, but if someone sexually assaulted me with a tub of margarine I'd have a huge problem with them.

Lorna lets the women out to use the bathroom and is blackmailed by Zandra...Shell earwigs from the other end of the did she get there?

Helen spots straight away that Nikki is reading 'Romeo and Juliet' even though she can't see the cover, is several yards away and Nikki is flicking through the pages...Has Helen developed X-Ray vision?

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