Season 1, Episode 7: Playing With Fire
Recap by Filbertfox


The episode starts with scenes of Helen wandering round her bedroom wearing a dressing gown and a towel on her head (yikes!) followed by scenes of Nikki watching for Helen from her cell window (bless) before she puts her mascara on.

Helen wanders down to the garden to speak to Sean before she leaves for work and reminds him that he is giving a talk to some of the women in a few days. Sean makes a crack about her acting like the women's mother which leads him nicely onto the subject of marriage and babies...He proposes, Helen...

Scene cuts to the prison and shows a long banner on one of the walls...

'You may lock me up you may throw away the key, but you can never take away the greatest freedom of all my imagination.'

Nice...well, it would be if someone hadn't crossed out the word 'imagination' and replaced it with 'valium'!!

Is it just me or is there something too cute for words about the look on Denny's face when she wanders out of her adult literacy class? Anyway, the mistress of distress, Shell, is waiting outside and complains about being kept waiting...

Shell : You took your time d'int ya?
Denny : Well it's 'ard innit? I'm gonna try and write mum a letter later.
Shell : Not now you ain't, we've got business to see to.
Denny : What kind of business.
Shell : Lucrative.

Nikki and Monica emerge from one of the other classrooms and Monica asks Nikki whether she's heard from Trish or not, Nikki says that she's had a couple of letters but now they've stopped. Monica then asks about Nikki's parents and is surprised to hear that Nikki hasn't been in contact with them ever since she left home at the age of 16, apparently they don't approve of her lifestyle.

Meanwhile, Zandra is lying on her bunk, completely jellied with an expression close to ecstasy on her face, across the room, Crystaaal is strumming her guitar but has an entirely different brand of ecstasy on her face. Shell interrupts this little happy scene and asks Crystal to leave the cell. Crystal protests but then hears that Shell and Denny are concerned about Zandra's drug taking and that they want to find her supply and take it away, purely for Zandra's health of course...Crystal is suspicious at first, but, her worries about Zandra override her judgement and she leaves Zandra alone in the cell with Shell and Denny...Bad move Crystaaaaal!

Back at Helen's house...Helen is ready to leave for work and is avoiding giving Sean an answer to his proposal of marriage...wise girl...she eventually asks if they can talk about it later and leaves Sean with a pissed off look on his face...late for work again Helen!!!

Spencer arrives to visit Monica and it is clear that everything is not well...firstly, Spencer refuses to hug Monica and then it turns out that he has a horrible sounding cough.

Back down on the dorm, Shell and Denny wake Zandra up with Chinese Water torture before Shell states the bleeding obvious...

Shell : You ain't looking too well Zan.

...Shell tells Zandra that she knows about her deal with Lorna Rose and demands to be, (a) Given the jellies Zandra already has, (b) to be let in on the action...Zandra ain't that forthcoming so Shell and Denny chuck her off her bunk allowing Shell to find the jellies hidden in Zandra's mattress. Shell is impressed by the lipstick container that holds the jellies...

Shell : Never had Miss Rose down as a lipstick lezza.

...poor Zan, if only she could manage to hold onto her stash for longer than five minutes!!

A bit later, Zandra asks to see Lorna in the toilets and tells her that she wants more stuff brought in...Lorna is cocky because Helen knows about the escape attempt and tells Zandra 'no more errands'...Lorna's face is a picture when a bog flushes and Shell walks out of a cubicle...

Shell : Surprise surprise! It's amazing what you hear when you're doing a number two!
Lorna : What's going on?
Shell : I told ya, a number two.

...Shell makes it clear to Lorna that she expects her to carry on with her jelly deliveries. Lorna, completely and utterly over a barrel, has no choice but to agree.

Monica is upset after Spencer's visit and is comforted by Nikki who tells Monica to 'pull her finger out' and talk to her lawyer about her appeal. Monica tells Nikki that she doesn't want to hear more bad news and generally starts to feel sorry for herself, Nikki leaves the cell in disgust.

Denny gives new inmate Marie, the black widow, one of Zandra's jellies in exchange for her necklace, Zandra witnesses the exchange and is understandably upset...

Zandra : Them jellies is mine!

...Crystal is suspicious by the exchange, especially when she sees Denny walk away with Marie's magazine. Denny explains to Crystal that she's trying to learn new words and Crystal suggests that she starts looking for new words in the Bible. Denny, predictably, isn't to hot on the idea...

Denny : It's a pile of bleeding mince man!

Helen holds a meeting in the officers' room and brings up the subject of the vacant cell on Enhanced; she suggests that Nikki is moved into it...shock horror!!! Fenner and Bodybag, predictably, object in the strongest possible terms, but Governor's pet Dom is all in favour of the idea, and when asked so is Lorna although it seems that she's too preoccupied to really give a shit. The result of the meeting is that Nikki is to be moved up to G3...Ha! Bet that'll annoy Shell!!!

After the meeting, Fenner has a go at Dominic but our Dom stands firm and tells him that there are worse people than Nikki about, Shell to be exact...Dom comments on the fact that no one is ever able to catch Shell out with her hand in the proverbial cookie jar and wonders aloud if someone is tipping her off. That certainly throws the cat amongst the pigeons as far as Fenner is concerned.

Bodybag is the one to give Nikki the good news about her move to Enhanced but makes sure that she thinks the idea is bollocks...

Bodybag : You may be able to fool Miss Stewart but you can't fool me. I've been in this job too long to have the wool pulled.
Nikki : Fifty years now isn't it?

...A shocked and completely flabbergasted Nikki is congratulated by an over the moon Monica and is then led up to G3.

Shell is talking on the landing with one of her cronies and the look on her phizog when Nikki is brought up is a picture, especially when she finds out that Nikki is going to be moved into the cell next door to hers...

Shell : What's going on?
Nikki : Say hello to your new next-door neighbour.

...Shell protests in the strongest possible terms until she is told by a very happy Nikki that her move is the governor's idea, Shell is suspicious...

Shell : You must be shagging 'er!

...The look on Nikki's face is a picture!!! It's clear to everyone that although she may not be shagging Helen, the possibility is well and truly on her mind.

Down at the servery, Zandra is now moaning to Shell about her lack of jellies. Dominic intervenes and notices that Shell is wearing Marie's necklace. Shell insists that her boyfriend bought it for her and Marie may be an extra but she ain't stupid enough to admit that she sold it in exchange for a jelly. Dominic, without evidence again, is forced to believe Shell.

Meanwhile, Helen goes to see her favourite prisoner...

Helen : How you settling in?
Nikki : Great view! Feels different being up here, officially.
Helen : I'm sure I don't have to spell it out but being on Enhanced does have its responsibilities, you know that don't you?
Nikki : Yep.
Helen : I need to know that I can trust you.
Nikki : I promise to behave myself and say my prayers before I go to bed, alright? Look, I'm not very good at this sort of thing, but thanks, thanks a lot.
Helen : It's okay.

Helen smiles, Nikki smiles, Helen walks away, Nikki watches her with a gooey grin on her face...could there be trouble on the horizon?

Later that night, Shell tries to wind Nikki up but Nikki is on to her particular game and refuses to rise. Luckily for Nikki, Dominic intervenes and then tells Nikki that she should be grateful to Helen for putting such a lot of faith in her. Nikki is confused...

Nikki : Suddenly the place is awash with nice screws. Bodybag will be bringing me cups of tea next.

The following morning, Sean is having a few second thoughts about his talk at the prison that day...

Sean : Do you think they'll like me?
Helen : A posh git banging on about plants?

Lorna arrives at the prison with more jellies, this time hidden in a tube of Smarties. Fenner nearly catches her in the act when he asks for one making it clear that he prefers the 'blue ones'...not the right sort of thing to say to someone who's absolutely shitting herself about the 'blue ones'. Fenner walks away happy with his Smartie and Lorna heaves a sigh of relief.

Sean, meanwhile, is giving his talk and holds up a pair of bulbs...

Sean : If you look you can see a lot of root growth.
Shell : They look like a pair of hairy balls!

...Shell continues to disrupt the talk until Nikki steps in...

Nikki : Shut it Shell! Some of us are interested in this.
Shell : And some of us are interested in hairy balls! We know you're not.

...Sean ploughs on and is then interrupted again, this time by Denny who wants to go to the toilet...

Denny : Can I take some toilet paper?
Shell : Sir, didn't you know? We don't get bog paper unless we ask for it. One square now Den!
Denny : Sir, can I take 4 squares?
Shell : Sir sir! We're only allowed to take two squares! You should put her on report for taking all of them.
Nikki : You wanna go and give Denny a hand? Be a first, cos usually Denny wipes your arse!

...Shell is silenced and Sean smiles at Nikki gratefully.

Back on the wing, Shell isn't in a good mood and is not very impressed with the paltry amount of jellies Lorna has smuggled in. Shell demands more but Lorna tells her that her mum hasn't got anymore, Shell don't give a shit about that and demands more...Lorna leaves the cell close to tears and without a clue about what she's going to do next.

After the talk, Sean thanks Nikki for sticking up for him, Helen walks in and tells Nikki that Sean is her 'partner', Nikki, understandably, is upset, especially when Sean announces that they are to be married. Helen decides to change the subject...

Helen : So how did you enjoy the class Nikki?
Nikki : Well, you learn something new every day.

...Nikki walks off and Helen listens to the sound of her flip-flops echoing down the corridor looking like she's been slapped in the face with a wet trout.

Up on G3, sharp-eyed Dom notices a steady flow of visitors into Shell's cell and twigs immediately that she must have a stash in there. He grabs a passing Lorna and insists that they search the cell there and then, Shell ain't that impressed but her mood lightens when she sees Lorna, surely her pet screw will look after her.

Meanwhile, back in the potting-shed...

Nikki : Here comes the blushing bride to be. Kept that quiet didn't you?
Helen : Sean had just asked me to marry him, not that it's any of your business actually.
Nikki : Well why you telling me then?
Helen : I really don't know but I certainly don't have to explain myself to you.
Nikki : Fine!
Helen : You know, for some odd reason it seems to upset you Sean and I getting married.
Nikki : Odd reason, that's a good one.
Helen : Nikki, what the hell is this about?
Nikki : You really don't know?
Helen : If I knew I wouldn't be asking you would I?
Nikki : You wanna know what this is about? It's about this...

...Nikki grabs Helen's right hand and places it on her left boob. Helen, not surprisingly, receives the shock of her lifetime...

Helen : Jesus Christ!

...and leaves the potting shed.

Okay, so Nikki obviously did the wrong thing, grabbing someone's hand and putting it on your tit is a bit of a caveman way of letting them know that you're interested, but, at least we can be glad that Nikki didn't decide to grab Helen by her hair and drag her into the potting-shed...But, having said all that, Helen did bring it on can't expect to flirt with a woman who obviously hasn't had it in years and not expect for her to take it the wrong way...baaaaaaad move Helen!

We then see scenes that show Nikki in the potting-shed and absolutely livid with herself for losing control...and scenes of a shell-shocked Helen in her office, obviously feeling a right tit, or a left one! Ha ha! Finally, Helen gives in and asks for Nikki to be brought to her office.

Back up on G3, the search of Shell's cell is proving fruitless and Lorna gives up...Dom though, decides to take one last look around and his eyes fall on the cage of Shell's canary...BINGO!!! He finds the jellies in the food dish and runs off to report Shell...Shell insists that Nikki must have planted them there and warns Lorna that she'd better sort this out, or else!!!

Meanwhile, up in Helen's office...

Nikki : Look, I'm sorry, I was out of order, I was just...
Helen : I don't care what you were Nikki! You'll understand if I'm blunt. Now, I know that you're a lesbian and you're comfortable and so on with that, but I'm a heterosexual and I'm going to get married very soon. I find your behaviour inappropriate, you seem to be going out of your way to make me feel uncomfortable.
Nikki : Why would I do that?
Helen : I like you Nikki. I've encouraged you to do a degree, I've put you on Enhanced, but everything I have done for you I have done for professional reasons! Now I can assure you that's the case.
Nikki : Fine! If you say so.
Helen : (Losing her temper) If you ever do anything like that again! Nikki, even if I were attracted to you, which I'm not, there is no way that we could have a relationship! For a start I would be sacked! What I'm trying to say to you is find another focus for your attention, get back with Trisha, anything. Don't waste your time on me.
Nikki : Well I'm sorry to have caused you so much trouble miss. (Loses temper and storms out of the room)

...Sorry to say it Helen but we did warn you!!!

Dominic shows Fenner the jellies he found in Shell's cell and Fenner's first reaction is to have a go at Dom for not letting him know that he was going to give her cell a spin. Faced with such a huge amount of evidence, Fenner has no choice but to go and have a go at Shell.

Fenner has a go at Shell who blames Nikki and then Lorna for planting the stuff in her cell, Fenner doesn't believe her and is obviously angry that she didn't think to tell him that she was dealing from her cell...Fenner throws the book at her and then chucks her across her cell, Shell is left sobbing on the floor.

Lorna is sweating for news from Fenner and is incredibly relieved to discover that Fenner didn't believe a word that Shell was telling him.

At dinnertime, Monica tells Nikki and Crystal about how hopeful she is about getting out on appeal. Crystal, being Crystal, points out that Monica is a white woman, and if she was black she would be left in prison to rot. Monica tells Crystal that she knows she's 'one of the lucky ones' and this seems to appease her...

Crystal : I'll say a prayer for you. Only He can save you, Him and a good barrister!

Lorna goes to see Shell, not knowing that Shell told Fenner about her bringing the drugs in only for him to tell her to stop bullshitting. Shell plays a very clever game by telling Lorna that she decided not to drop her in it and didn't mention her name to Fenner...Lorna is obviously grateful and at least Shell manages to keep her pet screw.

Back at home, Helen, desperately trying to prove to herself that Nikki means nothing to her, finally accepts Sean's marriage proposal.

The following day, Shell is told that she is going to lose her job in the kitchens and be moved back down to Basic...Poor Shell, her move down to Basic is not a dignified experience, especially when a delighted Nikki sticks her oar in...

Nikki : Off on your holidays Shell?

...and Crystal...

Crystal : That's what you get for being an evil bitch Dockley! You should've put her in solitary and chained her to the wall!

...Dear dear, how the mighty have fallen! Shell's new cell is nothing compared to her old one on Enhanced...

Shell : I can't stay in here it's horrible!
Bodybag : Well we'll fix you up with a nice flat in Park Lane! That suit?

...even poor Charlie the canary don't look too happy with his new surroundings...

Dominic : Now I know what singing like a canary means!

...oh dear, looks like the birdwoman of Larkhall might be reaching the end of her tether, let's hope that poor Charlie doesn't end up suffering for it!

Monica is very pleased to hear that she qualifies for a home visit and starts to point out to Helen the huge difference she's making and tells her how much faith the women have in her, even Nikki...

Nikki : Oh yeah, loads of faith!

...By the way, spot the overacting by the extra Nikki is chatting to during this cringesome display of crawling on Monica's behalf.

Denny comes across Shell cradling poor dead Charlie in her hands and offers her deepest sympathy...

Denny : Christ Shell! What happened to Charlie?
Shell : What do you think? His heart broke, being in this dump.
Denny : Yeah, well how did he die?
Shell : He fell off his perch, just keeled over. I don't know what I'm gonna do without him Den, I really don't! It's horrible being in here.
Denny : It don't suit you Shell. (Sits down beside Shell) Why don't you tell the governor that those jellies came from Miss Rose?
Shell : Don't be a dickhead! Do you think she'd believe me?
Denny : I'll tell her then.
Shell : If she don't believe me she sure as shite ain't gonna believe you is she? Nah, we've gotta wait until we've got hard evidence. Screws never believe that one of them is bent until you can really prove it.
Denny : I'll get some jellies from Rose, you're gonna need em.
Shell : No, leave her alone, we can't get too greedy she's beginning to crack as it is. Nah, don't worry, time comes I'm gonna get my own back on that evil BITCH for what she done to me.
(Denny watches uncomfortably when Shell breaks down in tears.)
Denny : Fancy a game of pool?

...When Denny has gone, Shell proves how much she's really going to miss Charlie by flushing the poor little thing down the bog.

Yet again...after lock-up the inmates begin shouting to each other...

Denny : Love you Shell!
Shell : Love you too Den! I had to flush poor Charlie down the bog!
Nikki : Another day gone Monica, how many you got left?
Monica : Not many I hope, what about you?
Nikki : 3645!

And the sun sets on Larkhall for yet another night...


Top Dog of the Week
Nikki for outstanding put downs of Dockley and for sticking up for Sean, even if he is a prat.

Twatting Twat of the Week
Shell for extreme cruelty to a defenceless canary, namely throttling the poor little bugger and then flushing him down the crapper.

Weedy Pigeon of the Week
Lorna. Not only has she been blackmailed to bring jellies in for Zandra, she's also been caught in the act by Shell and reduced to tears on more than one occasion.

Spin Doctor of the Week
Dominic. For sticking up for Helen heroically, for being nice to Nikki and for being the first screw to catch Shell Dockley being a baaaaaad girl.

Worst Girl of the Week
Nikki, well, you can't grab another woman's hand and put it on your tit and not expect to get a bollocking for it.

Best Line of the Week
Shell and Nikki are in direct competition for the title this week...

Shell: "It's amazing what you hear when you're doing a number 2!"

Shell: "Never had Miss Rose down as a lipstick lezza!"

Nikki: "Say hello to your new next-door neighbour"

Nikki: "Suddenly the place is awash with nice screws. Bodybag will be bringing me cups of tea next!"

Nikki: "'cos usually Denny wipes your arse!"

Worst Line of the Week
Shell: "They look like a pair of hairy balls!"

More information than we needed there Shell!!!

Warring Faction of the Week
Dominic and Shell. Dominic's desperate to catch her in the act.

Nikki and Helen, well, after the 'Tittygate' incident anyway.

Sight of the Week
Shell's face when Nikki is moved up on Enhanced.

Lorna's face when Shell comes out of the bog.

Helen's face when she realises she's feeling Nikki's tit.

Nikki's face when she realises that Helen really didn't want to be feeling her tit.

Shell sobbing hysterically with her make-up running down her face, she looked like a demented Panda.

Denny...for some reason she just looks soooo cute this week.

Larkhall Miracles and Mysteries
Why didn't Shell get sent down the block for having jellies in her cell?

How did Shell manage to flush Charlie away first time when it's nigh on impossible to even flush a Tampax down the loo first time let alone a dead canary.

How come it's early morning and Helen is still trying to leave for work while at the prison they've managed to fit in education classes and visiting time while she's still dithering over her orange juice.

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