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 6, Episode 1 - Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire

Clare is now acting team leader as Irene has job swapped. And while Irene is in Melbourne the team are joined by her Aussie counterpart Libby.

Further details

Before going out to work on her first day as acting team leader, Clare asks Nali about Thomas' linguistic development. Nali says he is quickly forming sentences, tenses, interrogatives and has a gift for language but his English is useless. Thomas is becoming bilingual which would be good if either of the languages was English. Brian enters having just got out of bed and is speaking Nali's language and speaking it to Thomas. Clare hasn't a clue what is being said. Also, before leaving, Nali has made a choice on Clare's behalf. At Thomas' nursery, Nali has told him not to play with the black children. Clare is completely infuriated and horrified as she wants Thomas to play with black children... Lucy and Ben Black though have colds and Nali thinks it best to keep Thomas away from them for the time being. Clare catches her breath after realizing her mistake and sets off for work. Nali however tells Brian that she made the Black children up just to annoy Clare. Once Clare has left, Nali asks Brian whether he would like to join her in some strong, passionate love on the table. Brian throws everything off the table and vases and ornaments clatter and smash from the lovemaking. Brian then recovers from his day dream.

At the team meeting, Ray feels divided from society. He is isolated and alone. That iPhone meant the world to him until he lost it. Irene has job swapped and now resides in Melbourne. Her gift from the team on her arrival to her new job is a Sellotape dispenser. For some reason, Megan can't figure where her Sellotape has gone. The original present of a fondu set was thieved by Clare and is hiding in the cupboard at home. Irene's replacement, Libby, from Australia, introduces herself by saying "I am an Aussie and a lesbo and proud of both." Once she hears that Clare is only acting team leader, Libby tries to apply for the post but Clare lies saying applications were due yesterday, when actually 24 hours still remain. Helen tries to butt in but Clare doesn't allow it calling an end to the meeting.

At school, Brian tells Simon that he is fixated about Nali and that is having regular lucid fantasies of her and doesn't know what to do. Simon wants to hear Brian's predicament again but just wants to hear the naughty bits. He suggests Brian should go to a sexual dependency anonymous meeting but it is in the same building Clare works in.

Back at work, Helen and Megan don't want to do 'Ray duty' (aka 'Suicide watch') as he is miserable but Libby happily agrees to do it. Ray has had his heart broken with Troy in the past as they went to the Mekong Delta but Troy ran off with the tour guide. In the meantime, Clare wants to see Helen in her office. Clare says she is not proud of herself but thinks it would be best if she was team leader. Helen didn't actually know about Clare's lie but wanted to tell her that she had spinach in her teeth. Helen then makes Clare promise to tell Libby otherwise she will.

At home, Nali tells Clare that she has missed Brian running off with cramp. She tells Clare that during her bath time her toe got caught in the tap and as the water was getting slowly colder, it caused goose pimples to cover her naked body - she told this to Brian, and that was when he yelped and ran away with cramp.

In bed, Clare is complaining that she deserves the job as permanent team leader. While they are awake, Brian asks Clare if she has thought about his suggestion about having sex later in the week. Clare isn't impressed saying that begging doesn't count as foreplay. Brian is worried that it must be his weight that is putting Clare off. Clare admits that it isn't because he is seriously overweight... but because he is 'comically overweight'. The next morning though, Brian gets up calling Clare sweetie and promises that he will go down to the gym to get the strong, fit body that he once had. He has sleepwalked during the night and has woke up in Nali's bed.

Helen is in Clare's office the next day. Clare is worried that she will lose all respect from Megan and Ray if she admits that she has been lying to Libby. Helen assures her that they won't as she has already told them both in an email. At the same time at school, Brian tells Simon that he has been sleepwalking and that Clare luckily slept through the whole thing. Brian admits he has a serious problem and agrees to go to the sex clinic.

At work, Libby walks into Clare's office after being told that Clare wanted to see her. Clare has arranged no meetings but Helen has set things up so Clare will admit her lie. Admitting that she has something to tell her, Clare chickens out again and suggests that Libby might want to go back to Australia. Libby loves being here too much though and wants to stay and has, in fact, invited everyone out for a drink and she won't leave Clare alone until she agrees to go too. Clare refuses but when Libby says Helen has something she wants to tell everyone, Clare gets her coat. As they leave, Libby notices a man wandering in. It is Brian looking for the sex clinic meeting but he is on the wrong floor. After taking directions from Libby, Clare leaves her office and Brian hides in the caretaker's cupboard. Libby tells Clare about the odd man and Clare knocks on the caretaker's door saying that agoraphobics meet on Wednesdays. They leave and Brian escapes, looking for his meeting.

At the pub, Libby thanks everyone for being so kind and polite. Clare eventually gets around to saying she lied to Libby, after a longwinded introduction to the apology meaning the deadline for applications really has now expired. It turns out Libby applied for the job anyway though after the first team meeting and is now in the running for permanent team leader too.

At the sex anonymous meeting, Brian says he is a sexaholic and that his thoughts about Nali run on graphic, perversion and fetishes. It turns out Brian is in the wrong room and that he is in the narcolepsy meeting but the head of the group congratulates Brian as it is officially the longest all of the narcoleptic sufferers have stayed awake. Once he finds the right room, Brian is told that whenever he gets these dreams again he is to listen to piece of music to calm him down. It is the theme to Animal Magic.

Finally, at home, Simon and Brian are at Clare's home. Nali comes in from the garden saying the washing line is full and whether she can lay her bra, pants and thong on the radiator near Brian. She does so and leaves. Brian asks Simon if he can be excused for a minute and runs away and locks himself in a room. The Animal Magic song can be heard being played at a fast pace.

Broadcast details

Monday 31st May 2010
BBC Radio 4
30 minutes

Cast & crew

Regular cast
Sally Phillips Clare
Alex Lowe Brian
Nina Conti Megan
Richard Lumsden Ray
Liza Tarbuck Helen
Sarah Kendall Libby
Nina Conti Nali
Guest cast
Philip Pope Simon
Writing team
Harry Venning Writer
David Ramsden Writer
Production team
Katie Tyrrell Producer

Supporters and subscribers get more

Additional content and tools are available across the site for Supporters and BCG Pro subscribers. On this page you can:

  • Broadcast details of 9 further repeats of this episode

Donate (for fans) BCG Pro

Already a donor or Pro user?