S02E06 - Sun 17 Feb / 9:00pm on ITV1

Beatrice’s return to Market Shipborough eclipses all Kingdom’s business, as she strolls through the door cradling her new baby girl, Petra, in her arms.

Peter (Stephen Fry) is dealing with a sense of wounded pride over Beatrice’s choice of Simon (Dominic Mafham) as birthing partner. When Simon’s trial is called he needs Peter’s advice more than ever before, but Peter’s mind is elsewhere, or is he ignoring Simon’s plight on purpose?

Rehearsals for Aunt Auriel’s (Phyllida Law) annual summer play are going swimmingly, apart from the malfunctioning sprinklers. Everyone keeps getting soaked and Auriel’s residents have taken to carrying umbrellas indoors.

The sprinkler malfunction at Auriel’s continues, in spite of two visits from the maintenance company and a whole wing is closed down. There is no alternative, the guests have to be re-located. Kingdom and Kingdom suddenly becomes their new temporary home, with Cynthia, Gloria’s replacement, keeping them occupied with sing a longs and bingo.

It is finally discovered that the sprinkler malfunction is down to a bee infestation – the bees swarming around the pipe work are setting off the sensors. So at long last Auriel’s residents can get back to their usual home and Cynthia can have a break.

A young girl is carrying the world on her shoulders. Aged 12, and startlingly stoic, Ellie Lawson (Georgia Groome) cares for her sick mother (emphysema) and younger sister, Mia. There is no father on the scene, and she must take care of everything,

She is doing two paper rounds every morning before school, and completes of all the household chores and responsibilities at the end of every day. There is no real time or energy for homework and she’s slowly drifting into insignificance at school. None of the teachers notice, they just see her as a shy, underachiever. She can see no other way to live and no one else is there to help. She has learned to be entirely self-sufficient, but it’s beginning to take its toll.

When the creepy newsagent needs legal counsel, having failed to get a signed work permit from the young Ellie, Lyle (Karl Davies) reluctantly checks out the problem, and the little girl’s story slowly begins to emerge. Finally it seems that there might be someone to help, but will the family accept Lyle’s interference?

Lyle struggles against the social services system and Mrs Lawson (Wendy Nottingham) begs him to tread carefully, the last thing she wants is for her children to be taken into care. But Lyle knows that Ellie deserves to live her childhood, and he manages to secure an increased benefit allowance for the family and a week away for Ellie and her little sister Mia.

As Simon’s trial is fast approaching, he finally manages to talk to Peter about the possible consequences. One thing’s for certain, with a jail sentence likely, he needs to get his life in order and the Kingdom brothers discuss what will happen to Simon’s share of the partnership. They invite Lyle to take an early position of responsibility, offering him Simon’s stake in the company, and Lyle is understandably overjoyed. So much so that he doesn’t even hesitate when Auriel asks him to play the part of Miranda in The Tempest, which means wearing a frilly, pink dress.

But then Simon’s trial is dropped due to a lack of evidence and poor Lyle is left in a dress, with no hope of partnership. He’s crestfallen.

But this all pales into insignificance as a storm hits Market Shipborough with unprecedented force and the town is thrown into danger and panic. The Tempest performance is cancelled just as it begins, everyone gets very wet, and the rain keeps coming and the flooding begins.

Back at Kingdom, safe from the elements for the time being, Simon pulls Peter to one side in desperation. He needs his money now, there’s a contract out on him and he has no choice but to disappear conveniently in the flood. Simon begs Peter to let him go without a fuss and Peter agrees. Simon steps out into the night and that’s the last that is seen of him.

The next morning Market Shipborough is a complete wreck. Homes have been damaged, pets have been swept away, belongings and memories have been destroyed. The town is in complete shock. Lyle’s shiny new G-Wizz has been upturned and short-circuited, Kingdom is soaked and dazed and townspeople wander the submerged streets.

Gloria (Celia Imrie) has returned from her holiday and strides through in waders to help Lyle and Peter out as best she can, and they are delighted to see her. But it is an incredibly difficult time for all and when Simon cannot be found, Peter’s heart begins to race. He goes looking for his brother and returns to the beach where he originally disappeared.

Peter finds nothing as he scours the coastline and then suddenly his eyes glimpse something in the distance and he stops dead in his tracks…

Sunday 17 February 2008 9:00pm – 10:00pm on ITV1.

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