S02E05 - Sun 10 Feb / 9:00pm

Peter’s old Cambridge professor, Barkway (Richard Wilson), invites Peter (Stephen Fry) to speak at a college conference on human justice. Simon (Dominic Mafham) decides to join him on the visit. Rather reluctantly Peter leaves Lyle (Karl Davies) in charge of the business.

Peter assumes that he is in Cambridge to deliver a speech, nothing more. But Barkway has ulterior motives. A college biologist, Dr Mary Goodyear, has died overseas and some of her research has been stolen. Her lesbian lover of many years, librarian Janet Cramer (Diana Quick) has appropriated Dr Goodyear’s papers. Barkway wants the papers back, for the good of the college, of course. Peter remembers that Barkway will soon be invested as master.

In Cambridge, Simon and Peter track the librarian down. She’s still upset about the death of her partner and she’s immovable. She claims that the research was left to her that’s the end of it. She explains that Goodyear was on the verge of a very important breakthrough, with huge implications for global warming…she claims that Barkway just wants to steal all the glory for himself.

Barkway alleges that in fact she wants to publish the research – he also doubts that a will from Goodyear really exists. Simon takes the law into his own hands, breaks into Janet’s library office and makes a copy of the will, and it turns out that there is no mention whatsoever of intellectual property.

Peter confronts Janet and she says even if the will doesn’t say anything, she has some personal letters which do. Dr Goodyear – on the verge of suicide – wrote to Janet from the Pacific to tell her that her lifetime’s research was hopeless and incorrect and she asked Janet to destroy all the research. So her dying wish, in essence, was that her work never be published, and Janet wants to follow her instructions.

Something doesn’t add up and Peter struggles to know what to do next. He bumps into Auriel (Phylidda Law) and they go for a punt on the Cam.

Peter goes to the library, and there on the open shelves, under Marine Biology, he finds all the stolen research, neatly lined up. He leafs through it and discovers a bundle of letters, tied with ribbon.

They are clearly nothing to do with academic research: these are personal, and they are from Barkway – he and Mary Goodyear had an affair in the 70s. Peter agrees to keep quiet about the letters and Barkway agrees to face up to the past.

Barkway tells his wife the truth, Janet discovers that Mary’s research was on it’s way to success and agrees to share the papers with the college in the context of continuing Mary’s research and the conference on human justice finishes with a flourish. Best of all, Barkway is soon to be master.

Back in Market Shipborough, with just Lyle and Gloria’s son Scott (Angus Imrie) in the office, things quickly descend into chaos.

A crazy old lady, Mrs Compton explains to Lyle that she’s not going to be here much longer and that she needs her cats to be looked after when she’s gone. Lyle agrees to prepare a trust fund for the cats.

Scott is busy setting up a little business of his own offering a technical support service. He offers to cut Lyle in on his profits and as he’s saving up for a G-Wizz, Lyle agrees to Scott’s proposal. Together they devise a new will-writing service, and draw up an advert for the local paper.

Lyle takes a test drive in a G-Wizz. It’s his dream to own an eco-friendly car, but there’s just no way he can afford it, especially with his student loan still hanging over and the meagre wages he’s getting at the moment.

Then the G-Wizz salesman, Mr Matthews, proposes a deal. He wants Lyle to draw up a loan agreement for his son, so that he can get on the property ladder and buy himself a home. It all seems simple enough and Lyle shakes on the deal.

Lyle arrives at Kingdom the next morning to find Peter’s office full of cats. Mrs Compton has delivered her entire menagerie and once again she says how she’s not going to be here for long now — just a few days left. Lyle finds he hasn’t the heart to tell a dying old woman to take her cats back, so now he’s stuck with them.

Lyle comes back with cat food and kitty litter to find a huge queue stretching along the pavement. Forty locals are lined up outside Kingdom. Scott shows Lyle the local paper — in which their ad has been misprinted. It now reads “Anderson Associates are offering a FREE will preparation service. No appointment necessary.” They are now in very hot water with no choice but to honour the services offered in the advert.

Lyle has a man-to-man chat with David Matthews at the local supermarket. It turns out there’s a touch of gentle family blackmail going on. The loan his dad is promising in order that he can get himself on the property ladder is a large one, and David will only be able to afford the repayments if he drops his bohemian lifestyle and takes a job in the family firm. But his father’s a controlling dominant man and David has no idea how to make him understand, so he asks Lyle.

Mrs Compton isn’t dying, just moving in with her son who is allergic to cats. She has developed a firm friendship with David Matthews and his wife, and has decided to sell them her home at its 1970s value. The young couple finally have a home of their own, without the pressure of their parents breathing down their necks.

Mr. Matthews confronts Lyle: they were supposed to have a deal, and Lyle went back on his word. Lyle argues that he was protecting the best interests of the young couple. Mr. Matthews tells Lyle that he’s a rare thing – an honest solicitor – and presents him with the payment plan and G-Wizz keys. We’ve never seen Lyle happier.

While in Cambridge, Simon gets an unexpected call from Beatrice (Hermione Norris). She wants him to visit her in rural hideaway. Simon finds Beatrice incredibly relaxed. She’s very close to her due date and wants Simon to be her birthing partner. She gives him a pager and tells him he must be there when the time comes – he mustn’t let her down.

When he and Peter return to Market Shipborough his pager from Beatrice goes off and he realises that her baby is on its way three weeks early. He has to tell Peter what is going on, and Peter is suitably hurt to learn that Beatrice has chosen Simon over him, but there’s no time to squabble and Simon knows he has to get to her as quickly as he possibly can.

Sunday 10 February 2008 9:00pm – 10:00pm on ITV1.

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