Series 15 Episode 32:
THE LONG ROAD HOME
Written by Jeff Povey

Chloe asks Barney to accompany her to a wrestling match, where she will be working, ready to patch up the wrestlers. She tells him he owes her a favour after the stunt he and Jack played on Anna, and Barney reluctantly agrees. Patrick, hearing that they're going, asks them to place a bet on the ugliest-looking wrestler for him. At the venue, Tony Caesar, the owner, receives a phone call demanding money from him. Tony goes to see Vic Collins, one of the wrestlers, and finds him kissing a woman. Tony asks Vic to throw the match. Vic refuses, saying he never loses, but Tony threatens to tell his pregnant wife about Vic's other woman if Vic doesn't lose. Vic agrees, and Tony goes to place a large bet on Vic's opponent, Gary Granite. As Barney and Chloe go to place Patrick's bet, they ask the advice of two women, Louisa and Janine, on which wrestler is uglier. They say Gary is uglier but has no chance. Janine asks Louisa, who is older than her and has trouble walking, to lend her some money, and Louisa reluctantly does so. The match starts. Louisa says she needs the toilet but Janine, engrossed in the match, refuses to go with her. Louisa struggles up the steps alone. Chloe offers to help but Louisa says there's no need. The match goes on, and Vic, unable to look convincing as he tries to let his weaker opponent beat him, throws Gary to the floor. Gary is knocked out and Vic is declared the winner, to Tony's dismay. Chloe gets into the ring to treat Gary, but sees Louisa's handbag at a table, and asks Barney to finish the job. She picks up the bag and finds Janine to give it to her. She realises that Louisa hasn't returned from the toilets, but Janine doesn't seem concerned, so Chloe goes to the toilets to look for Louisa. She panics when she sees Louisa flat out on the floor, but Louisa is merely trying to retrieve her wedding ring from the drain after it slipped off whilst she was washing her hands. Chloe bends down to help. Suddenly everything goes dark - Tony has switched off the main power to the building. He announces to everyone that due to a power failure the evening's events are over, and asks everyone to leave. When the building is empty, he pours petrol over his office and lights a match, before getting out and driving away. Meanwhile Chloe and Louisa are still in the toilets, trying to fish out her ring. Louisa tells Chloe that she and her husband made a vow never to be parted, and now he's gone the ring reminds her of their togetherness. Chloe is sympathetic, and Louisa says she's the first person she's met in a long time who hasn't treated her as though she's going senile. She tells Chloe she is alone in the world since her husband died. Janine used to clean for her and started to spend more time with her to help her out, although she keeps borrowing money from her, ripping her off. Louisa thinks it's worth it for some company. Eventually Chloe manages to get the ring, and after giving it to Louisa, goes to the door. She sees the flames and realises they are trapped - although she herself might manage to get out, Louisa couldn't, and she won't leave her. Outside, Barney and Janine are waiting for Chloe and Louisa. Barney sees smoke and tells Janine to phone the fire service while he tries to find a way in. Eventually he manages it, and Chloe, hearing his calls, goes to the door. She tells him that Louisa is with her. He is about to come and help her get Louisa out when flames shoot up, barring his way. Chloe tells him to get out and he does so. Chloe stays with Louisa. Louisa tells her she should go, but Chloe refuses. Louisa says she didn't think people like Chloe still existed. She keeps saying she's not worth saving as she has bad arthritis and bad lungs. Barney eventually manages to find another way in. Between them, he and Chloe manage to get Louisa out of the building. An ambulance is ready to take them to Holby A&E. Soon only Tony is left there, but as he is about to leave a police car turns up and he is taken for questioning.
When she arrives at the hospital, Louisa asks for a chaplain, despite Chloe's protests. When he arrives, instead of her asking for a blessing she asks him to witness an amendment to her will: she is removing Janine from her will. Janine comes to see Louisa. Louisa tells her she saw Robert in someone else. She says she's made a decision, but then stops talking, suddenly going off. Janine goes to get help. Louisa is taken to resusc.
Barney goes back to Chloe's for a drink. He tells her she was really brave today; Chloe says so was he. They toast each other. Chloe tells him he was mad to come back for them, and Barney says she knows he's a nutter. Chloe says she's glad he is. He takes her glass away from her, saying she might spill it, then kisses her. Chloe responds and they fall back onto her bedů
Penny is leaving the hospital and heading for a bus stop when Fin pulls up in his car. He says Josh told him she was going to look for her father and was concerned that he couldn't go with her. Fin offers Penny a lift and she agrees. On the way the car breaks down and Penny is dismayed as the bus she was about to catch goes past them. Fin manages to fix the car and sets off at speed, managing to overtake the bus. They arrive at the farm where Penny's father works, holding an activity centre for inner city kids. Penny tells Fin she knows her father will be glad to see her and will regret writing that letter. Inside, George Hutchens is telling two of the kids, Billy and Rick, to fetch a cloth to clear up the mess they made spilling a drink. Penny and Fin go in, and George greets them amiably, saying he was expecting them. He asks them through to another room, and starts talking about a car he's selling. Penny tells him who she is. He asks if she got his letter, asking why she came. George repeats what was in his letter: there's nothing for her here. He walks away, back to the room where the kids are, and notices that Billy and Rick haven't returned. Suddenly they see a car start outside - Billy and Rick have got into Fin's car and are madly driving it around the farmyard. George, Penny and Fin all go outside to chase the car, and Luke Hutchens, working in his workshop, joins them. Billy, driving, stops the car in front of a gate, telling Rick to get out and open it, but as Rick opens the door and puts a foot out, he changes his mind and puts the car in reverse, with Billy's foot dragging along the ground. He ends up driving over a bank, and the car is stuck. Penny and Fin get Rick out of the car and take him inside to treat him. Soon Fin goes outside to see to Billy. Left alone, Penny and George start to talk. He asks her what she expected after his letter, and says he doesn't even know her. He says they each have their own lives. Penny says she wanted him to be a part of hers. He asks what her mum's going to say. Penny tells him her mum died years ago. She says she was put in a children's home; they tried to find him but couldn't. George says he was abroad. Penny says the only thing that kept her going was the thought that her father would come and take her away. George tries to explain what happened: he and Penny's mum had been having problems and were about to end their relationship when they found out her mum was pregnant. They decided to try to stay together and bring up Penny, but it wasn't working - the only thing that made them both happy was Penny. Things were getting really bad and he almost hit her mother, so he left. Later he found someone else and started another family - it was another chance, and he was determined to get it right this time. Penny is disappointed in him, and tells him he's not what she wanted. An ambulance arrives for Rick, and Luke brings them in. George introduces him and Penny, but Luke tells him they've already met. Penny says she's going, but Luke tells George not to let her go, and Penny agrees with George that it's for the best. As she is leaving, Luke asks her what she's going to do. She says she'll go back to her other family - her workmates and friends. Luke asks her to keep in touch with him, but Penny says she doesn't think that's a good idea. She says that when she was in the children's home her only hope was that her father would come and find her, and hold her hand - she remembers him holding her hand when she was small, and felt she would be completely safe if only she could hold onto him. She wanted him to come and hold her hand, but she never did - nothing's changed.
Outside, Fin has been trying to pull the car back over the bank with the help of all the kids. Billy refuses to help, but after their attempt fails, Fin pleads with him, saying that one more person could make all the difference, and Billy joins in. They pull the car back over and try to get it working. Fin tells Billy he made a difference but Billy is unimpressed. Fin says it won't ruin his street cred to help, and says Billy reminds him of himself. He tells him he used to be a joyrider, but one day he and his mate crashed a car. They thought they were dead, but suddenly a man came out of nowhere and saved them. Billy cynically says, "And you promised the world you'd be a good boy from then on." Fin says no, but it made him think. Billy just says, "Nice story."
As Penny and Fin are setting off, Luke argues with his father, telling him not to let her go. George is angry that he went to see Penny, but Luke is glad he did - she's their family. Fin is about to drive out of the gate when he sees George in his mirror - he has come outside to see Penny. Fin advises Penny to look back; she does so and then gets out of the car to go and talk to him. He says, "Don't go." Penny says it won't work. He reaches out to hold her hand, and Penny takes it. She says she doesn't even know what to call him, and George suggests "Dad". Crying, Penny hugs him.


Episode first broadcast Saturday 7th April 2001

Additional Cast
Gordon Hutchens Hugh Quarshie
Luke Hutchens          Christopher Colquhoun
Billy Jason Colbert
Rick Matt Davies
Louisa Peggy Shields
Janine Brown Caroline Paterson
Tony Caesar Will Barton
Vic Collins Ricky Hards
Gary Granite Iron Dave Howarth
PC Howard Chris Alan
Hospital Chaplain Tim Davenport
MC Neil Bett

Pictures provided by Chris Leader

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