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.

Another series is in development.

Series 6, Episode 5 - In The Dog House

Clare is entranced by a dog that follows her into work; Brian less so. However, the dog comes in useful when there's a bump in the night.

Further details

Clare has met up with Tamsin, an old university friend. She and her husband Jonathan have been talking about their life being southerners living up north. Northern people are so kind and polite and supporting... but only to each other. Clare is asked what being a social worker is like under the new Conservative/Liberal government to which her only answer is "marriage made in hell." Brian arrives back from the toilet at the wrong time saying that their relationship isn't that bad.

At work, Libby is still annoyed with Germaine and envies Ray being single. Ray however has been advised by Megan to go and try and sample all of the gay clubs in the area. Gay choir, book group and mountaineering aren't Ray's thing but fishing might just do it, despite the typing error in 'fishing'. Helen has also been told that her son Gareth and his girlfriend are having a baby and it scares Helen that she will be called a grandmother and swears to herself that she will do all it takes to look young. She thinks about wearing hotpants but when Libby mentions cosmetic surgery Helen goes with that idea.

Clare in the meantime arrives at work with a stray dog following her into the office. Clare thinks that she must have something about her that attracts pathetic, lonely cases. She must introduce the dog to Brian.

Now at home, the new dog has temporarily been named 'Fluffy' by Clare. Nali and Thomas adore him but when Brian returns home, the dog growls every time it sees Brian, from getting ready in the morning to pushing him aside in bed to be next to Clare.

The next day at work, Clare, a new team clerk, introduces herself to Clare. Clare doesn't seem to care and only shows interest about the dog. Libby comes in angry seeing that Clare isn't doing any work but only mollycoddling the dog.

Clare decides to be safe for Fluffy and takes him to the vets for a check up. Things could be terminal. After 10 years things stay wrong and struggle to get better... but Clare and the vet eventually stop talking about Brian. The problem seems to be that Fluffy loves Clare so much that he hates Brian being around and wants all of the attention. The vet suggests that a bed be made up in the kitchen for him to sleep in. Clare isn't sure whether the vet means Fluffy or Brian.

That night, Clare wakes up to a noise in the house. She tries to wake Brian to go see what it is but he is fast asleep and doesn't wake. Clare angrily investigates herself. The bedroom door closes and it becomes apparent Brian was only pretending to be asleep. Clare arrives in the kitchen to find a burglar already cornered by Fluffy and Nali who is completely naked holding a cricket bat. Clare tells her to go put some clothes on.

Brian walks in, confused by all the shouting, and Clare recounts the event. Brian just wants Clare to confirm that Nali was completely naked and the answer results in him shouting 'damn' several times. Thomas wakes up and Clare asks Brian to go settle him down. Brian wants to go anyway as he wants to check that Nali is okay and possibly sneak a look at her naked.

The burglar starts telling Clare that Brian doesn't have a lot of empathy and that Clare and Brian should really sit down and discuss their relationship. The burglar just asks for some money and the number of a cab firm and he'll get out of their way. Clare isn't so stupid and then Brian arrives. Clare leaves now leaving Brian with the burglar.

The burglar says he has noticed that Fluffy has a disliking of Brian and suggests that he should secretly dispose of the dog. He suggests that Brian finds a stick and the burglar will lure the dog away for him. Brian isn't so stupid and then Nali arrives. She asks whether anyone has seen the film Misery where a man is stopped from escaping when a sledgehammer is used to break his ankle and cripple him. Nali suggests that they should watch the film while they wait for the police. Brian leaves, thus leaving Nali with the burglar.

The burglar complements Nali on the fine work she does in the house. He tells her that she is the only one in the house that keeps everything in order and all for probably the minimum wage of £5 an hour. Nali knows that he is lying because according to Clare the minimum wage is only £3 an hour. The burglar tells Nali that he knows people in the banking world and he just needs a few phone numbers - and you can't do that while you're in prison.

Nali, Clare and Brian all meet in the hallway to discuss what to do next. Nali knows that this guy is a trickster as she doesn't believe that Clare would cheat her. Clare has the number for a cab firm in her hand and Brian is holding a walking stick. They rush in to find the burglar gone. He can't have left via the window as the flat is a few floors up. Clare knows the only place to hide is in the cupboard... which is where he is. The police in the meantime are taking a lifetime to turn up. Clare thought Brian called them, Brian thought Clare called them, Nali thought Clare called... and then they all blame Brian. Clare leaves with Nali to make the call.

Finally, in the morning, the doorbell rings. There was a dinner and dance party for the police last night so resources were in short supply. It turns out the Community Support Officer who has arrived does not have the authority to arrest people. The only thing she is capable of doing is calling the police.

That day, at work, Clare walks in with Fluffy and is pleased as Brian has agreed to take him for a walk later without being forced to. Helen has taken botox but Libby thinks that she has overdone it. Helen is angered by her comments but she has taken so much botox it is hard to tell she has an angry face. Ray is asked how the fishing club was. It turns out that it wasn't a typing error. They offer him to sit down but he'd rather stand.

At home at the end of the day, Brian returns to find Clare with Mr Southgate and his two sons who have lost Ross, their dog. They are so pleased that their dog has been found that they are rewarding Clare and Brian with £500... the only problem is, Fluffy/Ross now seems to be missing. Brian took the burglars advice and set the dog free.

Broadcast details

Date
Monday 28th June 2010
Time
11:30am
Channel
BBC Radio 4
Length
30 minutes

Repeats

    Cast & crew

    Regular cast
    Sally Phillips Clare
    Alex Lowe Brian
    Nina Conti Megan
    Richard Lumsden Ray
    Liza Tarbuck Helen
    Nina Conti Nali
    Guest cast
    Alex Tregear Clare (Clerk)
    Alex Tregear Community Support Officer
    Jess Robinson Libby
    Paterson Joseph Burglar
    Paterson Joseph Jonathan
    Writing team
    Harry Venning Writer
    David Ramsden Writer
    Production team
    Katie Tyrrell Producer
    Paywall

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