Brittas Empire stars meet for reunion

Tuesday 3rd October 2017, 7:16pm

  • The stars of BBC sitcom The Brittas Empire have reunited
  • They met to reopen the leisure centre where the sitcom was filmed
  • The event also marked 20 years since the hit comedy ended
Brittas Empire reunion

Stars of the hit 1990s BBC sitcom The Brittas Empire have reunited to celebrate the show.

The actors collected together on Monday 2nd October at Ringwood Leisure Centre, where the sitcom's location sequences were filmed.

The council-run facility has recently been refurbished, and the centre's fitness manager Toby White had hoped to get one of the stars from the show to reopen the building. However, events snowballed and soon the entire cast had agreed to join him to re-launch the centre.

Running for seven series from 1991 to 1997, the sitcom followed the staff of the fictional Whitbury New Town Leisure Centre, under the direction of well-intentioned but infuriating and endlessly hapless manager, Gordon Brittas.

Chris Barrie played the show's title role, with Pippa Haywood as his long-suffering wife, and a cast of equally put-upon employees.

The sitcom's writers, Richard Fegen and Andrew Norriss, were also in attendance at the event.

Dannii Cohen, an author and psychologist who runs a Chris Barrie Fans website and coordinated the event, told British Comedy Guide: "It was a wonderful day! Chris was immediately back in his Brittas role, even bringing his original whistle and opening the centre with an 'Eeeexcellent'. He said it felt very surreal being back after twenty years."

Following rumour in recent years, questions were asked about whether the sitcom may return one day. Cohen says: "The actors and writers told me that they are open to a revival of the TV show; they have many ideas and would love to do a series or at least a special. It looks like the reunion has already opened many doors!"

The BBC have said there are no immediate plans to bring back the comedy, however Barrie commented: "We all have such amazing memories of our time working on the show and if the opportunity arose I'd love to do more episodes.

"I've said previously that Mr Brittas was something of a health and safety pioneer, so to see him in the 21st century, when health and safety has gone too far in my opinion, could be really interesting."

Below are some pictures from the event, taken by Perry Aghajanoff, Ruth Wheeler and Christopher D Lewis:

Brittas Empire reunion
Brittas Empire reunion
Brittas Empire reunion. Image shows from L to R: Jill Greenacre, Tim Marriott, Harriet Thorpe, Julia St. John
Brittas Empire reunion. Image shows from L to R: Chris Barrie, Harriet Thorpe
Brittas Empire reunion

Harriet Thorpe's videos

Harriet Thorpe, who played the leisure centre's receptionist, Carole, filmed a number of videos with other cast members to form a "sort-of mini-episode":

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