Clare In The Community. Copyright: BBC.

Clare In The Community

BBC Radio 4 sitcom about a social worker. 73 episodes (12 series), 2004 - 2019. Stars Sally Phillips, Alex Lowe, Nina Conti, Richard Lumsden and others.

Series 5, Episode 1 - Name Calling

There are still plenty of challenges out there for an involved, caring social worker. Or even Clare.

Further details

Clare and Brian are finally parents, and Clare is determined to have nothing but the best for her new son Thomas Paine Barker (a last resort name after 'Mahatma' and 'Mandela'). She has hired an au pair called Nali to do all the work, including the washing and gardening.

Brian is encouraged by Clare to go out and meet up with Simon to relax, but he can't stop thinking about Thomas and ends up going home taking Simon along with him. Helen is already at the house when Brian and Simon arrive - which is a problem because Simon and Helen are still divorced and now loathe each other. Simon meets Nali for the first time and, from the tone of his voice, it is obvious he likes her.

The next morning, just before Clare leaves for work, Nali asks Brian if Simon is coming round later. After she finds out he is single, she is delighted. As Nali leaves to take Thomas for a walk, Clare tells Brian that she doesn't want Simon anywhere near Nali. Clare says she is a young girl away from home with no significant family. While Brian thinks Clare's point is that Nali could be vulnerable around Simon, Clare reasoning is actually that she doesn't want Nali distracted from looking after Thomas.

Irene is still the team leader at the family centre and Clare is late for the team meeting. One of the topics is the much needed refurbishment and redecoration of the centre. Everyone is pleased but are quickly told that it has been cancelled indefinitely due to lack of money from the council. Clare is outraged and has been appointed campaign strategist to try and get the council to reconsider their decision.

After the meeting, Ray is upset because he has another meeting to go to at which he must give an important speech, only he has developed a nervous cough. Helen comes to his aid and gives him some tablets. Only after taking them does Ray ask what they were. They are super strength laxatives: "two of those and you daren't cough". During Ray's speech, he tries so desperately not to cough he almost makes a retching noise. He then has to be excused. Helen later notices he has changed his trousers.

Later that day, Nali tells Clare she is leaving and going back to her home country as she is doing too much work. Clare uses Simon as bait to keep Nali around. She agrees to stay for Simon's sake, but Megan knows it is just a ploy by Clare.

During break duty at school, Brian tells Simon to try and leave Nali alone as Simon has just had a brief relationship with Megan. Simon thinks all the baby stuff is getting to Brian's head and tries to persuade him to go out on a lad's night out. At the pub, Megan tells her colleagues about Clare's plan with Simon and Nali. Irene isn't surprised by the plan as she reveals she finds Simon attractive and had a fling with him during her crumbling relationship with Stanley. It turns out Megan had a recent small relationship with him too, Helen was married, and Ray and Simon were drunk when they did it. Nevertheless, there are pledges of support from the community and Clare is certain the council can't refuse their campaign. She decides on having fifty t-shirts printed with a slogan. Megan is told to get the t-shirts by tomorrow's meet-up outside the town hall.

By ten o'clock the next morning outside the town hall, a bus-full of school children have been told to sing and chant which Clare is really pleased with. Megan arrives with the t-shirts but it turns out she has made a mistake with the printing. While they should read 'Say no to local council cuts', Megan has mis-read 'cuts', and the t-shirts say something rather offensive instead. Ray has brought along a celebrity, his uncle Terry Wogan, to promote the campaign... and he is also wearing a t-shirt. While everyone thinks the whole thing was practically a success, the council are closing the Sparrrowhawk family centre down.

Broadcast details

Wednesday 18th February 2009
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
Sally Phillips Clare
Alex Lowe Brian
Nina Conti Megan
Richard Lumsden Ray
Liza Tarbuck Helen
Andrew Wincott Simon
Nina Conti Nali
Ellen Thomas Irene
Guest cast
Donnla Hughes Ensemble Actor
Writing team
Harry Venning Writer
David Ramsden Writer
Production team
Katie Tyrrell Producer

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