On this page you can read:
How Grant Cathro and Lee Pressman became the writers of Spatz
Answers given by Grant to questions from fans
Grant Cathro tells how, while mixing acting and writing, he met Lee Pressman: 'Got involved in writing sketches for a kids' TV show called Words Words Words (Thames). [See an episode on VideotapeFTW's YouTube channel here.] At the rehearsals for this I met Lee Pressman, who had just been given a commission to write a 10-part comedy. We hit it off at once, he asked me to collaborate – the result was T-Bag, and it ran for almost ten years!
Lee and I became flavours of the decade at Thames TV, 'coz T-Bag was such a monster hit, and when Alan Horrox took over the department (around 1987 I think) he really championed the pair of us (which was blooming marvellous) and gave us no end of opportunities to flex our muscles. Spatz was one of the shows he offered to us.
A guy called Andrew Bethell had devised Spatz as a teen drama, a soap, really. Alan didn't think that would play. He decided it sounded more like a sitcom. So he bought the title and the concept off Andrew and handed the whole project over to Lee and me to develop as a comedy.' Continued below.
Grant Cathro writes: 'Being quite a big-cast-high-budget show, it needed to be made as a co-production. Suddenly we were both stuck in a windowless room with a Canadian writer called Terry Saltsman, trying like mad to find common ground. If Series 1 is kind of uneven - and it is - it's because we were pretty much making it up on the hoof. Other writers submitted scripts which the three of us tore to shreds and almost entirely rewrote. This is the North American way with 'team writing' - Lee and I never really took to it. But we did our best to battle through what was a pressureful (but stimulating) time.'
Note: I've included both the summaries provided to me by Grant Cathro and memories of the episodes which visitors kindly contributed in my website's early years. Look out for links to episode clips on YouTube as you scroll down. You will also find TV listings scans from Look-In and TV Times kindly donated by Jamie of The High-T Website in 2011 and 2012. Where they are too small to read, click to enlarge.
If your ideal nostalgia trip would be to watch as much Spatz as you can, I have put together a YouTube playlist of all the episodes and clips I could find. It's in chronological order too.
On 20th February 1990, the day before Spatz began, it was promoted via an item on TV Weekly about top children's TV shows, and by Vas Blackwood (in costume as Dexter) on Children's ITV. Both can be seen in this YouTube video.
1.1 Royal Visit
First shown 21/02/90. Written by Grant Cathro and Lee Pressman
'It's opening day at Spatz, London’s latest fast-food sensation. But with only 4 hours to go, the manager, TJ Strickland, has much on his plate: the building is half finished and short-staffed, and Mrs. Frapelli, the owner’s wife, is about to arrive for the grand ribbon-opening ceremony featuring no ribbon and nothing to cut it with. Yet there’s even more chaos on the menu when an uninvited guest turns up and tries to put a squeeze on the festivities.'
Dave Atkins as Morris
Also been in The Bill, Bergerac, Lovejoy
James London as Gilbert
Kate Harper as Mrs. Frapelli
Also been in Space Precinct, Bergerac, Batman
This episode is available in full on YouTube, including original Children's ITV continuity at the beginning and end.
1.2 Sound Of Muzak
First shown 28/02/90. Written by Grant Cathro and Lee Pressman
'Heavy metal man Vince Powers quickly changes his tune when he realises that the girl he’s got a crush on, Chloe, is a Mozart freak. Music of another sort is driving the staff out of their minds – it’s the brain-numbingly jolly Spatz jingle which Karen has had committed to a loop tape and insists on playing all day long. Meanwhile a customer called Mr. Fox loses his wallet at the same time as Vince becomes inexplicably well-off.'
Spatz takes on a new employee, Toni Gordon, in this episode.
Samantha Janus as Toni Gordon
Now Samantha Womack. Also been in The Bill, EastEnders, Babes In The Wood
Julia Sawalha as Chloe Fairbanks
Also been in Press Gang, Absolutely Fabulous
John Rapley as Mr. Fox
Also been in Goodnight Sweetheart, The Avengers, White Hunter Black Heart
1.3 Toni's Tall Tale
First shown 07/03/90. Written by Grant Cathro and Lee Pressman
'Toni Gordon is a girl with a problem. Two problems, actually: one, her mother and two, her father. The reason? In a moment of crisis and low self-esteem she wrote and told her Scottish parents that she's been promoted to the position of manager at Spatz. When Mr. and Mrs. Gordon unexpectedly turn up, Toni's forced to take control of the situation – and the restaurant. Meanwhile, Dexter loses all control in his bid to be the first employee to sell 500 hamburgers and win a corporate trip to Paris.'
Samantha Janus as Toni Gordon (final episode)
Jenny Lee as Mrs. Gordon
Also been in Holby City, Hot Metal
Jake D'Arcy as Mr. Gordon
Also been in Hamish Macbeth, Lovejoy, The Bill, Gregory’s Girl
Mary Duddy as Nun
Also been in The March, The Temptation Of Eileen Hughes
Jeremy Stockwell as Customer
Also been in T-Bag, Kavanagh QC, The Infinite Worlds Of HG Wells
Simon Slater as Mr. Peters
Also been in The Bill, Lovejoy, Casualty
1.4 Karen's Birthday
First shown 14/03/90. Written by Grant Cathro and Lee Pressman
'Karen takes a tip from the Spatz Tokyo outlet and introduces an early morning exercise programme designed to keep the hard-pressed staff on their toes. After Karen has publicly humiliated Vince and Jo during one of the workouts, the duo get together and not only discover that it's Karen’s birthday, but also that she has had a 'nose job'. They decide to organise a knees-up their boss will never forget (including a birthday card with Pinocchio on and full of nose-related puns). Meanwhile, TJ is on crutches after pulling a muscle at the exercise class and now lives in horror at the prospect of letting down his hockey team.'
Jo Collins (Sue Devaney) is introduced in this episode, and the opening credits change accordingly.
Peter MacQueen as Police Constable
Also been in Cover Her Face, Happy Families
1.5 Local Hero
First shown 21/03/90. Written by JD Smith
'While Karen racks her brains dreaming up yet more publicity gimmicks, TJ's much-derided first aid class gets a shot in the arm when Lily uses what she learnt to save a choking customer's life. Karen quickly sees a chance for some free newspaper coverage and plans to exploit Lily's heroic action for all its worth. There's just one problem: Lily adamantly refuses to cooperate because her dad has no idea she’s working here and would be appalled if he did. But when did Karen ever take no for an answer?'
Dennis Matsuki as Mr. Quang
Also been in The Bill, The Professionals, Notting Hill
Bill Gavin as Old Man
Also been in Boon, 2point4 Children, Staggered
Betty Romaine as Old Woman
Also been in The Bill, Agony, Teenage Health Freak
Paul Bigley as Customer
Also been in Shakespeare In Love, Men Behaving Badly, Ted & Ralph
1.6 Death Of A Spatzman
First shown 04/04/90. Written by JD Smith
The title parodies Arthur Miller’s play Death Of A Salesman.
'Dexter sets his sights high when TV soap star Cindy Stewart blows in for a bite at the restaurant. The question is, will she swallow fast-talking Dexter's outrageous claim that he's not really a greasy nobody but is in fact the son of the Senegalese ambassador? Meanwhile, TJ is having major pay-cheque problems when the central Spatz computer goes haywire and issues a grave announcement – that TJ is dead.'
Emma Davies as Cindy Stewart
Also been in Cambridge Spies, Boon, Doctors
Roland Oliver as Telephone Voices
Also been in The Bill, Eastenders, Holby City, Bad Girls
Cindy's soap opera, The Flying Foot Doctor, is mentioned again in Spatz Series 2 Episode 1... then again in Mike & Angelo Series 9 Episode 3 by the Australian neighbours the Boomers.
1.7 The Wild Brunch
First shown 11/04/90. Written by Vito Viscomi
'A gang of teenage hoodlums starts hanging around the restaurant and Karen orders TJ to get rid of them. But when the self-styled Diablos return it's with revenge on their minds. When it is revealed that Vince used to belong to the gang, his loyalties are sorely tested as he comes to wrestle with the problem.'
Damian Williams as Lumpy
Neville Watson as Blood
Also been in Terry On The Fence, The Comic Strip
Gavin Watson as Twister
Also been in The Bill, Swing, The Comic Strip
Nicholas Greenshields as Boy
Also been in Cole
Gladis Robinson as Old Lady
Also been in The Secret Diary Of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4, The Woman In White
First shown 18/04/90. Written by David Joss Buckley
'A protest group calling itself Planetwatch pickets the restaurant, ruining Karen's quarterly profit figures. It may be friendly to the environment, but Planetwatch is downright hostile to Spatz – that is, until its ringleader Sebastian gets the hots for Jo. It takes a special package, sent from Granny Strickland to TJ, finally to give the protesters some food for thought.'
Jo mentions an upcoming date with Sebastian at the beginning of the next episode.
Jeremy Gilley as Sebastian
Returns later in Series 1. Also been in Lovejoy, Bergerac. Twitter account
Chris Sanders as Customer
Also been in Rumpole Of The Bailey
Andy Laycock as Customer
Also been in The Bill, Lipstick On Your Collar
1.9 Clowning Around
First shown 25/04/90. Written by Grant Cathro and Lee Pressman
'TJ conjures up a plan for Spatz to host kids' parties and reckons he’s come up with a wizard scheme. But as usual (since it wasn't her idea) Karen is deeply unimpressed and soon the whole enterprise seems doomed to failure. But when Head Office green-lights the project and commends TJ for his initiative, Karen sees red and decides to sink the party plan once and for all. Meanwhile, the staff work their magic on Stanley to get him ready for his first date.'
A visionary episode, tactfully addressing the problems of meeting people on the internet. There is a script summary for this episode on the Episode Summaries Page and a 2:01 clip from this episode on YouTube. Paul Michael (TJ) remembers it as one of his favourite episodes.
Chris Langham as Marvin The Magnificent
Also been in Roy Mallard, Kiss Me Kate, radio adverts for radio advertising, George Orwell: A Life In Pictures. (Paul Michael writes: 'I think it probably took longer to record his scenes than any others because he kept breaking Jennifer and me up on every take.')
Clare Byam Shaw as Pippa
Also been in Family Affairs, Bergerac, Casualty, Lord Elgin And Some Stones Of No Value
Jade Magri as Henny
Also been in Mike & Angelo (as Ellie in Series 4), Runaway Bay, The Orchid House
Zoë Hodges as Elektra
Also been in Virtual Sexuality, 84 Charing Cross Road
1.10 The Strike
First shown 25/04/90. Written by Wilson Coneybeare
'The staff of Spatz is revolting. When Vince discovers that rival hamburger chain Blimpy's is paying their staff 10p more an hour than Spatz, it's a case of down with the pickle choppers and up with the workers when Karen lets it be known that she'd sooner throw herself into the deep fat fryer than pay them more money. Agitprop Sebastian is back to join the strike force and picket the scabs – and Jo gets to see her sweetheart in an altogether new light.'
Jeremy Gilley as Sebastian
Previously seen in episode 1.8
Ricky Diamond as Bernie Wilson
Also been in Playbus
Geoffrey Beevers as City Gent
Also been in Dalziel And Pascoe, Red Dwarf, Coronation Street
Ann Wrigg as Elderly Lady
Also been in Bless Me Father, To Serve Them All My Days
1.11 Sing For Your Supper
First shown 02/05/90. Written by Terry Saltsman
'The staff are used to Karen calling the tune, but there's dischord in the ranks when she instructs the staff to sing out the customers' orders. Will Debbie and Derek ever make sweet music again, or will her hot date with good-looking Terry hit the right note?'
Emile Charles as Terry
Also been in Like It Is, The Fruit Machine, Red Dwarf & is Craig Charles' brother
John Abbot as Shop Manager
Also been in Kappatoo, Science Fiction Theatre, The Tempest
1.12 Smart Cookies
First shown 09/05/90. Written by Terry Saltsman
'A battle of wits is in danger of escalating into an all-out war when TJ challenges Ivor Willis, the manager of Blimpy's, to a friendly trivia quiz. With secret weapon Lily up their sleeve, the Spatz team is confident of blasting the Blimpettes clean out of the water – until Lily's grandmother falls ill and she has to go away for the week. Meanwhile, Jo's part-time jobs threaten to knock the stuffing out of her.'
Paul Grunert as Ivor Willis
Also been in The Bill, Goodnight Sweetheart, Rumpole Of The Bailey. Returned in Series 2 and 3 of Spatz. Website
Jonathan Chater as Blimpy Boy
John Ward as Professor Billy
Also been on Motormouth, GMTV, Kilroy – he's an inventor
1.13 Bye Bye TJ
First shown 16/05/90. Written by Terry Saltsman
'TJ gets promoted. It seems like great news, but the downside is he's got to return to Canada (that's somewhere just north of the USA). For Karen this is the upside; that is, until TJ's replacement arrives, in the shape of Melvin Frapelli, slobbish and conniving nephew of the Managing Director. Even Karen's got to admit that things were better before. But how to unseat golden boy Frapelli and reinstate Thomas Jefferson Strickland? That is the question. And it’s a sticky one.'
Dan Redican as Melvin Frapelli
Also been in Due South, The Twilight Zone
Stuart Fox as Man
Also been in Casualty, The Vice, The Scarlet Pimpernel
Graham Chinn as Delivery Man
Also been in The Bill, Lovejoy, Poirot
Grant Cathro writes: 'The show did very well in the ratings and received a second series commission. This time it was not going to be a co-production but Thames TV’s own baby. Lee and I were given control over the whole thing. A few other writers contributed scripts, which, naturally, we tore to shreds and almost entirely rewrote ...'
All Series 2 episodes were first shown on Thursdays at 4:40pm and lasted 25 minutes.
2.1 Star Attraction
First shown 03/01/91. Written by Grant Cathro and Lee Pressman
'When new girl Freddy joins the crew, Dexter quickly takes her under his wing. The Williams’ silver tongue is quickly in top gear, and he shamelessly declares himself 'friend of the stars' ... however when Karen takes him up on his word and instructs him to invite his "best buddy" soccer superstar Gary Lineker to visit Spatz as a publicity gimmick, Dexter comes to realise he's gone and put his foot in his mouth.'
When TJ asks what would happen to the 2000 specially-made badges if "Barry Binliner" (Karen's name for Gary Lineker) doesn't show up, Karen replies, "Stick them into Mr. Namedropper downstairs!" Thanks to Ellis for mentioning this.
Paul Michael (TJ) remembers this episode as one of his favourites. There is a script summary for this episode on the Episode Summaries Page.
Rhys Ifans as Dave
Would return in episode 2.3. Also been in Notting Hill,
Kevin And Perry Go Large, The 51st State
Jo Unwin as Mother
Also been in Press Gang, Casualty, Inspector Morse
and Prudential adverts
Matthew Boyer as Fan
Victoria Shalet as Girl
Would return in episode 2.8. Also been in The Queen's Nose, The Bill, Jonathan Creek. Psychotherapy website
Gary Lineker as Himself
Also been in the England football team and adverts for Walker's Crisps
This episode is available in full on YouTube: a 1993 repeat with CITV continuity either side.
Fictional soap opera The Flying Foot Doctor, mentioned in this episode, was also mentioned in Spatz Series 1 Episode 6... then later in Mike & Angelo Series 9 Episode 3 by the Australian neighbours the Boomers.
In 2019, Vas Blackwood and Gary Lineker interacted on Twitter as a consequence of one of my tweets about this episode. Which was nice.
2.2 Karen's Mother
First shown 10/01/91. Written by Grant Cathro and Lee Pressman
'Karen finds herself on the horns of a dilemma when, in order to placate her pushy mother, she announces that she’s engaged to TJ. Unfortunately TJ's new girlfriend gets to hear about this unforgivable chicanery, and very soon the long claws are out – and slashing. Meanwhile, the new Spatz food delivery service (a.k.a. a clanking pushbike with a slipping chain) is driving the staff to distraction.'
This episode marked Lily's only appearance in Series 2. It also featured the first appearance of Julie, TJ's girlfriend.
Ellis remembers that this episode features a kiss between TJ and Karen, as they try to persuade Karen’s mother of their engagement! Another occurs in the final episode, under the mistletoe, with TJ dressed as Father Christmas.
Helen Horton as Natalie Hansson
Also been in The Bill, T-Bag, The Benny Hill Show, Superman III
Catherine Russell as Julie
Seen again later in Series 2. Also been in Poirot, An Unsuitable Job For A Woman
Elizabeth Stewart as Customer
Also been in Are You Being Served?
2.3 Time And Efficiency
First shown 24/01/91. Written by Grant Cathro and Lee Pressman
'A time and efficiency expert is called in to streamline the Spatz operation. The obsessive Mr. Pashby's eyes roll out his head when he arrives at a particularly chaotic moment, and his recommendations prove to be horrendously far-reaching – horrendous for the staff, that is. So Vince and Dexter make some small amendments to Pashby's report, which Karen insists are carried out to the letter by TJ – with surreal results. Amidst all this, love flourishes: Freddy and her building-site boyfriend, Dave, cement their relationship.'
This episode features the return of Dave, Freddy's boyfriend, from Star Attraction (episode 2.1).
Alex Bartlette as Mr. Pashby
Also been in T-Bag and worked on Mike & Angelo as a writer
Geoffrey Freshwater as Customer
Also been in The Bill, EastEnders, Foyle's War, Doctors
Rhys Ifans as Dave
There is a script summary for this episode on the Episode Summaries page.
2.4 The Poster
First shown 31/01/91. Written by Grant Cathro and Lee Pressman
'Karen seeks advice from TJ on how to win herself a husband - but not just any old husband: she’s got her sights set at the top of the tree, for multimillionaire Spatz tycoon Frapelli is in town ... and according to the grapevine, between wives at the moment. Behind the counter, there's rivalry of another sort afoot, for head office has just announced a corporate competition to find the Ideal Spatz Employee, and soon poster fever runs rampant and friendships are forgotten.'
'The staff are all completely shocked when one morning Karen walks in and is completely nice to everyone! She calls them her 'angels' and tells them to keep up the excellent work they are all doing. When TJ asks her why she is in such a good mood, she explains that Louis Frapelli, who is the owner of Spatz, is getting divorced from his wife, and Karen thinks that she is in with a chance of marrying him and becoming the 'Second Lady of Spatz'. Also in the episode, there is a competition running where all the employees are in with a chance of starring in a promotional poster campaign, and the winner receives £200. The rivalry between the staff to win ends up driving them all apart (there's a wicked cat fight between Debbie and Freddy!) but they make up in the end.' Thank you very much to Stephen for this information. Thanks to Ellis for remembering that also in this episode, 'When Karen was hoping to be the next Mrs Frapelli, TJ advised her to serenade him outside his hotel window. She went along in a glamorous red dress and with a Spanish guitar, but ended up being savaged by guard-dogs.'
Kate Riding as Angela
Also been in Brookside, Heartbeat
Clive Rowe as Coachdriver
Also been in The Story Of Tracy Beaker, The Honeytrap
2.5 Fire Alarm
First shown 07/02/91. Written by Grant Cathro and Lee Pressman
'Vince is absent, so TJ persuades his girlfriend Julie to replace him for the day. Sparks fly when Karen gets to hear about it, for she's taken a personal dislike to the woman who's "so wet there's a salmon leaping up her dress" and is determined to get her fired even quicker than she got started. And speaking of fires, there's trouble smouldering when Karen's new cheap and cheerful alarm system starts playing up.'
Ellis describes the episode as follows: 'Karen set fire to the restaurant by jamming a bap in the toaster [while working late one night] - something a newspaper horoscope predicted she would do. She was rescued by TJ's girlfriend, and emerged from the building carrying the fish tank.'
Catherine Russell as Julie
Previously seen in episode 2.2
Kenny Ireland as Johnnie
Also been in Hamish Macbeth, House Of Cards, Drop The Dead Donkey, Benidorm. Passed away in 2014
Malcolm Mudie as Customer
Also been in The Professionals, Inspector Morse, The Brittas Empire
Denise Coffey as Mildred
Would return in episode 3.5. Also been in The Tomorrow People, T-Bag, Saving Grace
2.6 The Siege
First shown 14/02/91. Story by David Joss Buckley. Written by Grant Cathro and Lee Pressman
'One by one, the staff and management of Spatz are mysteriously vanishing. But there's nothing supernatural about the armed robber who finds himself having to take more and more people hostage in a failed robbery bid. The big question: is the Twitching Man really a dangerous armed robber, or is he just a jerk with a courgette for a gun?'
Steve Steen as The Twitching Man
Also been in Press Gang, Blackadder The Third, The Suicidal Dog
Michael Bertenshaw as Trevor the Spatz deliveryman
Would be seen again in episode 2.10. Also been in Mike & Angelo, The Bill, Casualty, Doctors
George Sweeny as The Inspector
Also been in The Bill, Return Of The Saint, Minder, The Sweeney
Amy Melhuish as Girl
Also been in Casualty, B&B, Ball-Trap On The Cote Sauvage
2.7 Debbie's Wedding
First shown 21/02/91. Written by Grant Cathro and Lee Pressman
'Wedding bells herald a ding-dong between Debbie and Derek, but the only bells Vince can hear are the ones ringing up a fat profit in his cash register shaped head. He stands to make a killing if he can persuade Debbie’s mother to let him handle the reception do. But first, he's got to persuade Debbie's mother to let her daughter get married in the first place.'
Dona Croll as Mrs. Wesley
Also been in The Bill, Casualty, Gimme Gimme Gimme, Family Affairs
Sally Sagoe as Mrs. Pewley
Also been in The Tomorrow People, EastEnders
Catherine Russell as Julie
Gordon Rimes as Bert
Trevor Peacock as Frank
Also been in T-Bag, The Vicar Of Dibley, Bugs, Mel Gibson's Hamlet
You can watch the whole episode on YouTube.
2.8 Talent Contest
First shown 28/02/91. Story by Jim Eldridge. Written by Grant Cathro and Lee Pressman
'TJ incurs the wrath of Karen when he allows a local talent show to be staged at Spatz. Meanwhile, Dexter is dating two girls at the same time.'
Allan Corduner as Rex
Also been in The Bill, Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, Trust
Hermione Norris as Wendy
Also been in The Bill, Casualty, Lucky Jim, Cold Feet
Sophie Okonedo as Kim
Also been in The Bill, Casualty, Clocking Off, Doctor Who, Undercover
Victoria Shalet as Emily Jane Mudge
Seen previously in episode 2.1
Tricia Kelly as Mother
Also been in The Bill, Spin City, My Family
Seeta Indrani as Marjorie
Also been The Bill, Casualty, Footballers' Wives. Official website
Watch the whole episode on YouTube.
2.9 Things That Go…
First shown 07/03/91. Story by David Joss Buckley. Written by Grant Cathro and Lee Pressman
'Weird happenings abound and the staff are freaking out. Can it be true? That the restaurant, built on the site of an ancient graveyard, is being haunted by spirits who have an aversion to the smell of fried onions? There's only one way to find out: stage an all-night vigil. But tonight’s the night Karen and TJ are off to a fancy dress party...'
Tony Bluto as Chunky
Also been in Doctor Who, Casualty, The Bill
Helena McCarthy as Old Lady
Also been in The Bill, Casualty, Z Cars
Harry Jones as Gizmo
Also been in The Tomorrow People, Time Riders, Casualty, The Bill
Watch the whole episode on YouTube.
First shown 14/03/91. Story by David Stafford. Written by Grant Cathro and Lee Pressman
'It never rains but it pours: on the day an important food critic’s arriving, the Spatz delivery van has got itself lost and now there’s no food to critique; Stanley's pet ducklings are on the rampage; the electrical circuits have blown a fuse; Vince's twin brother electrician doesn't know an amp from a watt; and there's a mysterious lost boy called Charlie who's right at the centre of it all, lapping up the three ring circus.'
David Stafford also wrote scripts for Mike & Angelo as well as theme music for both series.
Michael Bertenshaw as Trevor
Previously seen in episode 2.6
Belinda Sinclair as Mum
Also been in Casualty, Family Affairs, Heartbeat
Stephen Pollard as Charlie
Also been in The Tomorrow People
Ian Talbot as Building Site Worker
Also been in Casualty, B&B, As Time Goes By
Watch the whole episode on YouTube.
First shown 21/03/91. Written by Grant Cathro and Lee Pressman
'Everybody's losing it today: Karen can't find her contact lenses, the bank manager's heart is gone completely to 'The Magnificent Ms. Hansson', and Freddy's cool vanishes when she accidentally mislays £3000 of Spatz's money. Not even intergalactic superhero Captain Electric (a man who has clearly lost his mind) can locate its whereabouts. Freddy decides to take drastic action by contacting a nefarious loan shark and borrowing another £3000 to satisfy the bank. Then she loses that, as well...'
Duncan Preston as Peter Jonathan
Also been in T-Bag,
The Bill, Casualty,
Press Gang, Dinnerladies
Danny John-Jules as Captain Electric
Also been in The Bill, Red Dwarf,
The Tomorrow People
Official website: http://www.dannyjohnjules.com/
Anthony O'Donnell as Danny Bunce
Also been in The Bill, T-Bag, Secrets And Lies, Mike & Angelo (again as a loanshark), The Sarah Jane Adventures
The galaxy Amtoudi, mentioned by Captain Electric, was home to an alien called Marjorie in the Mike & Angelo episode The Blob, shown later in 1991.
There is a script summary for this episode on the Episode Summaries Page. The next-episode preview can be seen at the end of this YouTube upload of Star Attraction (shown the week earlier during CITV's repeats in 1993).
Watch the whole episode on YouTube.
2.12 From Russia With Love
First shown 28/03/91. Written by Grant Cathro and Lee Pressman
'The Russians are coming! - so hollers Karen when a delegation arrives from Moscow with a view to picking up the Spatz franchise and introducing the concept of food poisoning to the USSR. Desperate to impress the visitors, Karen is agog to find that TJ has gone to pieces. The reason? He’s just been given the heave-ho by Julie, and nothing can console him. Meanwhile, something smells decidedly off when Vince gets involved in some under-the-counter perfume deals, and an unlikely romance blossoms over the hot grill.'
Libby Morris as Nadia Kitchenko
Also been in Space Patrol, Casualty, Mike & Angelo (as Rita's mother Nancy Mancini)
Joanna Roth as Alexandria Kitchenko
Also been in Holby City, Boon, Sliding Doors
Campbell Morrison as Boris
Also been in The Bill, Casualty, Eastenders, Eldorado
Megan Kelly as Woman
Also been in T-Bag
Adrian Kay as Customer
Watch the whole episode on YouTube.
First shown 04/04/91. Written by Grant Cathro and Lee Pressman
'The staff of Spatz turn green, but not with envy: they've all become Blimpettes. The nightmare scenario has happened: inveterate gambler Louis Frapelli has been beaten in a poker game by rival restaurateur Roland Blimpy, and now the chips are down because Spatz was put up as the stake. A new colour scheme heralds the arrival of a new boss, the loathsome, gloating Ivor Willis, who takes a special delight in humiliating TJ by demoting him to humble onion chopper. However, Vince reckons there may yet be a way of turning the tables.'
Here is Joseph's summary of the episode: 'Spatz was turned into Blimpy's; but then TJ made a bet – who could eat the most chocolate éclairs – and he won, and Spatz was brought back to its original state.'
This episode marked the return of local Blimpy manager Ivor Willis, and the first appearance of Derek, Debbie's partner.
James Saxon as Roland Blimpy
Also been in T-Bag, Casualty, McCallum, Lovejoy, Mike & Angelo
Paul Grunert as Ivor Willis
Previously seen in Series 1 of Spatz and would return in Series 3. Website
David Harewood as Derek Pewley
Also been in The Bill, Casualty, The Vice, Babyfather, A&E, Press Gang, Robin Hood, Doctor Who, Homeland & had his own ITV1 ident. Darek would return in Series 3. David Harewood on Twitter
All Series 3 episodes were first shown on Fridays at 4:40pm, and lasted 25 minutes.
3.1 High Flier
First shown 28/02/92
'Dexter sucks up to a customer and before you know it, has the offer of a high-flying new job: as delivery boy for B. Bumble's Pizza Parlour. Meanwhile, Vince persuades Karen to buy up a ton of toy hamburgers as give-away gifts, but omits to give away the fact that Mr. Bappy The Cheesy Chappy and his clockwork companions have just recently fallen off the back of a lorry.'
Adam Tedder as Eric
First shown 06/03/92
'The betting shop across the mall [named Grant Lee Bookmakers] is raided and Freddy almost thwarts the escape of the man in motorbike leathers who brandishes a gun and hares off. Freddy's proclaimed the heroine of the day, but quickly comes to realise that as the only witness, she could soon be in for an unwanted visit. Then a man in a crash helmet starts hanging around in the mall... Meanwhile, Karen's latest coup involves Brewster Dwight of the American Tourist Office, coach loads of culturally-starved Yanks, and an authentic English eatery called Ye Olde Spatz.'
Matt Zimmerman as Brewster Dwight
Also been in T-Bag, Mike & Angelo, Thunderbirds, UFO
First shown 13/03/92
'When it comes out that Spatz employee Stanley and Blimpy kid Margaret are partners at a ballroom dancing contest, Ivor Willis is round stirring trouble - and soon the two rival hamburger chains are up against each other in a dance contest of their own, with big money and reputations at stake. Amidst all of this, Karen has discovered that her idol Frapelli is an exotic bird fanatic and spends a fortune on a rare parrot in a bid to gain his affections. Unfortunately someone left the window open ...'
Paul Grunert as Ivor Willis
Previously seen in Series 1 and 2 of Spatz. Website
Caroline Ryder as Margaret Scott
Also been in Truckers, Inspector Morse. Clic Agency webpage
Ann Gosling as Girl
Also been in Next Of Kin, Jim’s Gift
Nicholas Parsons as Himself
TV and radio presenter (Just A Minute, Call My Bluff). Also been in Kappatoo, Cluedo, Docotor Who. Website
'It's smiles all the way at Spatz, as Karen instigates a new initiative whereby any employee caught not beaming cheesily at the customers will have their pay docked. But the grins quickly dry up when a gruesome bunch of mobsters appear in T J’s office and try to extort money out of him. But Thomas Jefferson Strickland is not about to be intimidated by the likes of Horace Flint and his blockhead cronies. However, he is about to be duffed up ...'
Richard O'Callaghan as Horace Flint
Also been in McCallum, Red Dwarf: The Movie, Carry On Loving
Leigh Funnelle as Amanda Quince
Also been in Fever Pitch, Spooks
Alan Bennion as Philip
Also been in B&B, Doctor Who, Psychomania
Phil Atkinson as Manfred
Also been in The Bill, Poirot, Birds Of A Feather
Anthony Venditti as Vicar
Also been in The Tomorrow People
Andrew Jarvis as Bald Man
Also been in The Wars Of The Roses
3.5 The Curse Of Karen
First shown 27/03/92
'Karen gets tough with a pair of loopy bag ladies who are creating mayhem in the restaurant and summarily throws them out into the mall. One of them puts a curse on Karen, who is unmoved by the old woman's rantings. However, the curse gives Vince a very nifty idea of how to get Karen off their backs for a spell. Meanwhile, TJ helps rescue the Saturday morning TV kids' favourite Lenny’s Lunchtime Laugh-In from the rain, by inviting the television crew to stage the show inside the restaurant.'
Denise Coffey as Mildred
Previously seen in Series 2 of Spatz.
Anna Wing as Lou
Also been in Mike & Angelo, The Bill, Casualty, Eastenders, Providence
Geoffrey Swann as Businessman
Also been in Poirot, Second Thoughts, Seeing Red
Jan Ravens as Pippa Dee
Impressionist, also heard on 2DTV, Dead Ringers, Spitting Image. Also been in T-Bag, Doctors, Midsomer Murders, B&B, One Foot In The Grave
Benjamin Hallam as Craig
Lucy Briers as Hayley
Also been in The Bill, Red Dwarf, Pride And Prejudice & is Richard Briers' daughter
Terry Hall and Lenny The Lion as Themselves
Ventriloquist and puppet, seen on BBC from 1956.
3.6 Driving Miss Wesley
The episode's title parodies the film Driving Miss Daisy.
'Derek has been driving Debbie up the wall again. More correctly, Debbie's been learning to drive and Derek's been learning how not to teach her. The fighting reaches a head when Debbie slams the brakes on their grand affair - and starts seeing someone else in her lunch breaks. Meanwhile, the staff earn extra money by assembling Christmas crackers, and TJ and Karen become attached to one another when an experiment with a set of handcuffs goes horribly wrong.'
Also been in Casualty, Midsomer Murders, Goodnight Mister Tom, Polterguests
David Harewood as Derek Pewley
John Grillo as Stuart Stubbs
Also been in B&B, Mike & Angelo, Blackadder II, Lovejoy, Cracker
Roger Monk as Burglar
Also been in The Fifth Element, The Krays
William Vanderpuye as Driving Instructor
Also been in Casualty, Minder, Jonathan Creek
There is a script summary for this episode on the Episode Summaries Page. There are clips on YouTube here and here. The episode is also available in full on YouTube, including original Children's ITV continuity at the beginning and end. This episode includes the phrase "luminous chamois", also used in by a guest actor in Mike & Angelo episode 6.3
3.7 Poetry And Music
First shown 10/04/92
'Vince is in love. She came into his life and she stole his heart - and also, apparently, his tongue, since Vince can't summon up the courage to speak to her. Then when he recovers his voice, he doesn't know what to say with it. The reason? She's a university student of English majoring in poetry, and the only rhymes Vince knows are the ones scratched on the back of the lavatory door. Upstairs in the office, Karen draws up plans to rid the mall of buskers.'
Chloë Annett as Donna Edwards
Also been in Red Dwarf, Crime Traveller
John Bardon as Inspector Platt
Also in EastEnders as Jim Branning. Passed away in 2014
Alan Cox as Graham
Also been in Casualty, Miami Vice, Mrs. Dalloway
Tom Mannion as Busker
Also been in The Bill, Mike & Angelo, Brookside, Return Of The Jedi
For more on poetry and music, I recommend the blog Writing Privacy.
Grant Cathro has kindly answered the following questions, which were submitted by visitors to the website:
Q. Where did the name Spatz come from? (Stephen)
A. The title survived the development work Lee [Pressman] and I did from Andrew Bethell’s original concept of Spatz as a teen soap. In his version, the restaurant was a 1930s themed burger bar (Spatz were black & white leather shoes of the period). We decided to dump all of this, because we didn't like it. We felt the show would hit home far better if the place looked like any old branch of Wimpy or McDonald's. This made the title 'Spatz' seem redundant... except we’d got used to calling the show by this name and had grown quite fond of it. Good titles being very hard to come up with, keeping it also saved us some headaches. Then it struck us that Spatz could be used in another sense: a 'spat' also means a 'small fight' or 'heated disagreement' - so Spatz might just as well mean: 'lots of squabbling and cruelty' - perfection!
Q. Why did Spatz end? (Stephen)
A. As ever, there’s no easy answer to this. I've been involved in a number of big hit shows over the years, and every so often the axe comes down and it seems inexplicable … The ratings were astronomical for Spatz - at one point I believe it smashed all ITV records in getting what they call a '75% share' of the viewers. A figure like this would be impossible now. Then, suddenly, it’s 'chop' and you're history. The truth is, it’s all down to the Executive Producers, Heads of Departments, and all these kinds of people; humble writers like us never really get a look in. So it's a mixture of internal politics, changes at the top (new Heads of Departments take over and don’t necessarily want to inherit somebody else’s success, they want to make their own successes, and that means 'the boot' - it's a tough hard world, and you've just got to take it on the chin - be glad you were able to get to 33 episodes and not get the plug pulled on you after 6!)
Q. Any chance Spatz will come back on air, with new episodes being made? (Sid)
A. I'd like to think the show has stood the test of time, and a viable format will always be a viable format - but life moves on. If a commissioning editor were to say to me: "resurrect Spatz?" I'd leap at the chance because I always felt we could have wrung a lot more out of the idea than just 33 eps. Inevitably it would mean starting out fresh, though. Times do change, and whilst there was nothing especially time-specific about the show (it wasn't satire, for instance) there would probably be less 1990s 'cut and thrust' (expressed mainly through Karen's ultra-obsession about Bottom Line Figures) and more New Millennium paranoia. This would be nothing but a good thing.
So I guess the real answer is: yes, it could work again but it would need to be different. My main goal would be to rid any new show of this puerile kids’ TV desperation to be 'cool'.
Q. Having since watched re-runs of Moonlighting [a 1980s US series which featured Sybil Shepherd and Bruce Willis playing characters with an antagonistic will-they-won’t-they relationship], I was wondering whether there was any inspiration in that for the relationship between Karen and TJ? I always thought there was a definite romantic tension there, even if Karen supposedly despised TJ! (Ellis)
A. No, we didn't base the Karen/TJ relationship on anything in Moonlighting (actually I don't even think I’ve seen it) we developed the double-act with the Canadian writers, pitching them originally as 'nice cop nasty cop' on the management side; Lee and I added the romantic tension stuff in Series 2, once we saw how charismatic the actors were when working together - this moved the show on a bit, gave it a fresh dynamic and lots of new storyline potential. Karen's insane jealousy over TJ's girlfriend in Fire Alarm [episode 2.5] is one of my own favourites. In series three we thought "ok enough of that now" and returned to Karen and TJ as sparring partners. It would have been great to see where it might've gone if we’d got a Series 4. Alas ...!
One of the pleasures of closer examination of Grant Cathro and Lee Pressman's work is noticing how actors appeared in more than one of the series that the pair wrote and produced. The most obvious example, certainly to anyone who watched Mike & Angelo and Spatz back-to-back during the CITV Old Skool Weekend of January 2013, is arguably Katy Murphy, who appeared in two main casts; but there have been many more.
Grant and Lee have themselves commented on this practice in interviews on the High-T website:
'Lee and I always had our favourite actors who understood how best to play our work. People like Matt Zimmerman always hit the style perfectly. It had to be big, but subtle. As soon as we found those few performers who were able and willing to be unbuttoned and really let rip, we tried to use them over and over. A kind of Rep. Company grew up, which was lovely. How brilliant to see familiar faces turning up in different guises. You find the same thing happening in the great Laurel & Hardy films (my favourite comedies in all the world!!!) where Stan and Ollie clearly adored working with people like James Finlayson and the ever-wondrous Mae Busch.'
'After several years, and several hit series, Grant and I were allowed to suggest actors for the shows – and ones that we liked, we kept bringing back. Kerry Shale, Matt Zimmerman, Murray Melvin, James Saxon, John Savident etc. flitted from T.Bag to Mike & Angelo, and from Spatz to The Tomorrow People. They were fantastic reliable actors with our sense of humour, and would always turn in a great performance. It was much more satisfying for us to be writing for people we knew and admired.'
'We were thrilled when [T-Bag's] Liz Estensen agreed to Guest Star a few times [in Mike & Angelo] as Mike's stuck-up next door neighbour Daphne Fawkes-Bentley, and several other parts were gleefully given out to various members of the "T-Bag Rep" who were always such fun to have around.'
'It was certainly fun moving actors around from one series to the next. Anthony O'Donnell definitely featured in all three, Matt Zimmerman naturally, Alex Bartlette - many others were in two – Liz Estensen, Kerry Shale, John Savident, etc. It would be a great exercise to draw up a chart and monitor which actor went where and when.'
And here it is: the Patent Pending Pressman/Cathro Casting Crossover Chart, or PPPCCCC for short. If you notice anything I've got wrong or left out, I'd be glad to hear from you.
|Name||In T-Bag||In Spatz||In Mike & Angelo||In The Tomorrow People||Also In|
|Jennifer Calvert||1991 (Rings)||1990-92 (S1-3)||1997 (9.6)|
|Katy Murphy||1991-92 (S2-3)|| 1995-2000 |
|Elizabeth Estensen||1985-89|| 1995-2000 |
|The Spamchester Mysteries 1989-90 (BBC R4),|
Delta Wave '96, Snap 1998 (2.1), Polterguests
|Anthony O'Donnell||1991 (Rings)||1991 (2.11)||1997 (9.2), 1998 (10.9)||1995 (Rameses)|
|Roger Sloman||1988 (Turn on), 1990 (Pearls)||1994 (6.2)||1994 (Culex)||B&B 1992, |
Cone Zone 1996 (2.3)
|Matt Zimmerman||1988 (Turn on),|
1989 (Revenge), 1990 (Pearls), 1991 (Rings)
|1992 (3.2)||1989 (2.6), 1997 (9.10)|
|James Saxon||1989(Revenge), |
1990 (Pearls, Ding-Dong), 1992 (Sunstones)
|1991 (2.13)||2000 (12.8)||Snap 1999 (3.5)|
|Alex Bartlette||1991 (Rings), 1992 (Take Off)||1991 (2.3)||[writer, 1995-2000]||Delta Wave '96 [actor, writer], Snap '97 [writer]|
|Kerry Shale||1992 (Sunstones, |
|1994 (6.7)||1994 (Monsoon)|
|John Savident||1989 (Revenge),|
1992 (Take Off)
|Alexandra Milman||1993-94 |
|1994 (Culex), 1995 (Stones)||B&B 1992|
|Denise Coffey||1989(Revenge), |
1991 (Rings), 1992 (Sunstones,
|1991 (2.5), 1992 (3.5)||1994 (Culex)|
|Jan Ravens||1992 (Take Off)||1992 (3.5)||B&B 1992|
|Helen Horton||1992 (Sunstones)||1991 (2.2)||Polterguests |
|Peter Banks||1992 (Sunstones,|
Take Off )
(6.1,10), 2000 (12.10)
|Brian Murphy||1986 |
|1996 (8.6)||Delta Wave 1996|
|John Grillo||1992 (3.6)||1993 (5.2), 1998 (10.4)||B&B 1992|
|John Bardon||1992 (3.7)||1994 (6.6), 1999 (11.2)||Polterguests |
|Joe Greco||1990-92 (S1-3)||1993 (5.7)||Polterguests |
|Michael Benz||1993-98 |
|Jade Magri||1990 (1.9)||1992 (S4)|
|Steven Geller||2000 (S12)||Microsoap |
|John Levitt||1987 |
|Gavin Richards||1991 (Rings)||1989-93 |
|Snap 1997 |
|Tom Mannion||1992 (3.7)||1996 |
|Maggie Ollerenshaw||1987 |
|1991 (3.9), 1992 (4.3)|
|Jeff Harding|| 1989-91 |
(1.10, 2.10, 4.1)
|Libby Morris||1991 (2.12)||1989-91 |
|David Neville|| 1992|
(Sunstones of Montezuma)
|Michael Bertenshaw||1991 |
|1990 (3.8)||Polterguests |
|Anna Wing||1992 (3.5)||1998 (10.10)|
|Duncan Preston||1992 (Take Off)||1991 (2.11)||Snap 1999 |
|Megan Kelly||1990 |
|Jeremy Stockwell||1990 (Pearls)||1990 (1.3)|
|Denyse Alexander||1992 (3.6)||Polterguests |
|Mac McDonald||1996 (8.8)||1994 (Monsoon)||Delta Wave |
|Paul Reynolds||1999 (11.11)||Cone Zone |
|Mark Bagnall||Cone Zone '95, Microsoap 1999 (3.5)|
|Trevor Peacock||1992 (Take Off)||1991 (2.7)|
|Sebastian Abineri||1991 (Turkey), 1992 (Take Off)||1996 (8.7)|
|Laurence Bouvard||1991 (Turkey)||1994 (Monsoon)|
|Peggy Mount||1991 (Turkey)||1994 (Monsoon)|
|Murray Melvin||1992 (Sunstones, |
|Cone Zone 1995 (1.4-6)|
|Richard Rees|| 1986 |
|Amy Melhuish||1991 (2.6)||B&B 1992|
|Christopher Bramwell||1992 (Sunstones)||1991 (S4)|
|Dean Cook||2000 (12.2)||Snap 1997-99 (S1-3)|
|Alan Bennion||1992 (3.4)||B&B 1992|
|Anthony Venditti||1992 (3.4)|
|Ian Talbot||1991 (2.9)||B&B 1992|
|Victoria Wicks||Delta Wave 1996 (1.3-6), Snap 1997-99 (S1-3)|
|Paul Bigley||1990 (1.5)||Delta Wave 1996 (1.9-10)|
|Danny John-Jules||1991 (2.11)||1995 (Stones)|
|Ron Berglas|| 1995 |
(7.1, 7, 10)
|Sally Sagoe||1991 (2.7)||1994-95 (S2-S3)|
|Annette Badland||1995 (7.1)||Microsoap 1999 (2.5), 2000 (4.1&5)|
|Stephen Pollard||1991(2.10)||1992 (Pilot)|
|Rolf Saxon||1995 (Rameses)||Cone Zone 1995 (1.2)|
|Janet Henfrey||1995 (7.1)||Delta Wave 1996 (1.7-8), Cone Zone 1997 (3.3)|
|Jean Marsh||1994 (Culex)||Cone Zone 1997 (3.6)|
|Kristy Bruce||2000 (12.8)||Snap 1997-99 (S1-3)|
|Stuart McGugan||1999 (11.10), 2000 (12.11)||Snap '99 (3.2)|
|Robert Lang||1995 (7.8)||1995 (Rameses)|
|Philip Fox|| 1987 |
1999 (1.2), Genie in the House
|Harry Jones||1991 (2.9)||1995 (Rameses)|
Here's a sketch I wrote in February 2013 as Spatz's response to the horsemeat scandal.
Horses For Courses
[Spatz restaurant, daytime. CUSTOMER 1 is at the counter, paying FREDDY for his meal. DEBBIE is serving CUSTOMER 2. CUSTOMER 1 points at Grant Lee bookmakers opposite.]
CUSTOMER 1: Is that betting shop over there open? I thought I might take a flutter on the next race.
FREDDY: If you wanna bet on the horses, pal, try betting on whether there's one in your burger.
CUSTOMER 1: I beg your pardon?
DEBBIE: We used to tell people that the 'Spatz' in Spatz burgers was an animal, but we don't want to mislead anyone. So now we tell them the truth.
STANLEY: That it's a secret blend of eleven herds and species.
VINCE: It's all part of the thrill of eating at Spatz. So, do you wanna place a bet? What are today's odds, Dexter?
DEXTER: [Reading from a piece of paper] We've got 3 to 1 on horse (thoroughbred), 10 to 1 on beef, 15 to 1 on-
STANLEY: -Channel 4! I like Fifteen To One. Then when it's finished, I switch over to Children's ITV to watch-
DEXTER: 20 to 1 on gerbil, 300 to 1 on duck... [He squints at the paper.] Sorry, duck-billed platypus...
CUSTOMER 1: [Forcing a smile] Thank you, but I'm not feeling too lucky today. [Takes his tray to a table.]
FREDDY: Enjoy your meal!
DEXTER: 'Ere, Stan, when are you gonna change your hairstyle?
STANLEY: I like it like this.
VINCE: Dex is right. You should update your barnet. Ponytails are so last season.
DEBBIE: Oh I don't know. I could've sworn I saw one sticking out a Cheese Maxi the other day.
VINCE: How about a mullet?
STANLEY: I think there's one in the Ocean Spatz.
VINCE: I've got it. Set a trend for men everywhere, Stanley: tie your hair in a bun.
FREDDY: Hare in a bun? Isn't that the recipe for the Country Spatz?
VINCE: Na, they're too hard to catch. Last I heard, it was tortoise.
[CUSTOMER 2 is stating to look queasy.]
CUSTOMER 2: Can I have my meal to go? I, er... I'm in a bit of a rush.
FREDDY: Of course, sir. Nothing wrong with eating on the hoof!
[FREDDY puts CUSTOMER 2's food in a bag. CUSTOMER 2 leaves hurriedly. TJ has been listening on the stairs and comes over.]
TJ: Guys, I know it's fun to wind up the customers, but don't you think you've taken it a bit far?
DEXTER: [Suddenly serious] Yeah, people, it's not funny anymore.
FREDDY: You're right, TJ. [She picks up a burger.] Maybe we are flogging a dead horse.
2015 was a year of milestones for fans of Lee Pressman and Grant Cathro's work: the 25th anniversary of Spatz and the 30th anniversary of T-Bag. I wanted do something special in their honour; something not likely to be done elsewhere. The result is this sketch: Cha Crossed.
It's set in Spatz in 1993 (also the first year of Mike & Angelo's new Mike), making it an episode of the imaginary fourth series. Among the in-jokes are references to another favourite fast food farce that turned 25 in 2015: a McDonald's advert called A Day in the Life, which you can find on YouTube here.
[Spring 1993. Morning. In Spatz, the staff are serving behind the counter. TJ comes downstairs and walks over. He is holding an envelope.]
Debbie: Morning, TJ.
TJ: Hey, guys. How's everything going? Lots of customers today?
Vince: Yeah, mostly takeaway. But it's strange. They only seem to be ordering one thing each, and each customer wants a different thing. One woman only wanted an orange juice.
Debbie: And there was that man who wanted an Ocean Spatz for his wife, only his wife wasn't here.
Freddy: And another woman just asked for Chicken McNuggets.
Dexter: I told her if she wanted a Mc with her nuggets, she'd have to go somewhere else.
Vince: Then I used my natural charm to talk her into staying here and getting some of our Chicken Nuggatz.
Freddy: Some women are happy to settle.
TJ: Has Mr. Lee been in yet for his usual? [TJ looks out at Grant Lee Bookmakers opposite Spatz.]
Vince: Not yet. Hey, what's in that envelope, TJ?
TJ: I have here test copies of Spatz's new children's puzzle sheets. Head Office have asked us to test them on customers and let us know what they think. They want to be sure that the puzzles are right for the mind of a child.
Stanley: [Appearing from the back of the kitchen.] I'll have a go! [TJ hands him a sheet.] 'Rearrange the word STAPZ to make the name of your favourite restaurant.' Hmm. I need to think about this one. [Wanders off scratching his head.]
Freddy: How about giving one to our work experience lad?
TJ: Good idea. Looks like he's busy with that customer at the moment.
Debbie: She's not a customer. She's his teacher, come to check on him.
[At a corner table, a boy in a Spatz uniform is talking to a smartly dressed woman.]
T.Shirt: I haven't found it yet. I don't think it's here.
Tabatha Bag: According to the clues in Professor Stitchenteim's diary, the next thimble is in a fast food restaurant in this very shopping centre.
T.Shirt: They call it a mall.
T.Bag: [Clutching her head and groaning.] Uuuuh! Don't say maul. It reminds me of that lion. How was I to know that it didn't want the thorn put back in its foot?
T.Shirt: I'm telling you, we won't find a Status Thimble here.
T.Bag: We won't find it because you're not looking hard enough! Too busy mucking about with those penguins in pink.
T.Shirt: I couldn't just go rifling through their lockers without them trusting me first. I had to blend in.
T.Bag: The sooner you're back in the T-Room, blending for me again, the better. Who's that man in the tie?
T.Shirt: That's TJ Strickland the manager.
T.Bag: This whole place will be a stricken land when I get those thimbles. It must take a special kind of imbecile to be ringmaster of this circus. Has he got an office? Have you looked in there?
T.Shirt: Yes. And he's not an imbecile. He's cool. The T is for Thomas, like mine. And he lets me play with this Rudy Rooster Train Set and make the train speak.
T.Bag: You, the voice of a train? Ridiculous.
[TJ has come over to the pair.]
TJ: Hi, Thomas. Hello, Mrs...
T.Bag: Ms. Bagg. With an extra g.
TJ: Well gee, it's nice to meet you! [Laughs.] Or maybe I should go a bit more English: Gee, hail and well met!
T.Bag: G. Hale? Who's that?
TJ: [Confused] I don't know. [After a pause, he brightens up.] Thomas is a great kid and we really enjoy having him around.
T.Bag: He isn't here to be your pal. He's here to be challenged.
TJ: We have been challenging him, Ms. Bagg. He's worked all the stations, he's kept the tables clean, he's even helped me file invoices. And I was just about to give him some puzzles.
T.Bag: It sounds to me like he's had it easy. You should be giving him more. How about a complete stock check? Every nook and cranny of the office, top to bottom.
TJ: Ms. Bagg, with respect, I think-
T.Bag: And while he's doing that, you can give me a full tour of Spotz.
T.Bag: I think it would do you good to have a complete inspection.
A voice from behind: Excuse me.
[Karen steps into view.]
Karen: Here's my inspection. A staff member who's sitting on his behind, a manager who's dead on his feet, and a customer who hasn't bothered to order any food.
T.Bag: And who do you think you are?
Karen: I know who I am. Karen Hansson, European Co-ordinator of Spatz International.
T.Bag: I am T... I'm a teacher. And I think you should co-ordinate some respect.
TJ: Sorry, Ms. Bagg. She speaks to everyone like this. It's nothing personal.
Karen: He's right. I hate all freeloading layabouts equally. Canadian and British. The very young... and the very old.
T.Bag: Well, I've never been so insulted in my life!
Karen: Glad we've raised the bar. Now buy something or get out.
T.Bag: I don't have to stand for that!
Karen: Oh yes you do. You need to be standing to walk over to the counter or TAKE A HIKE.
[T.Bag's mouth falls open.]
Karen: Quick, someone throw a bar of soap in before she closes it.
[Meanwhile, behind the counter...]
Stanley: I rearranged STAPZ to make the name of my favourite restaurant. The Z-Past Café. It's just round the corner from me. The owner pretends he's an alien from the Planet Z who's come back in time to make sure humans don't starve. Captain Electric's in there all the time.
Dexter: Aliens. Time travel. You can't go back into the past. You've gotta live in the moment, man, live in the moment.
Vince: Dexter's right. 25 or 30 years from now, when we're all trying to live like grown-ups, we'll want to be able to look back and remember how much fun we had.
Debbie: If someone invents a time machine, we could always come back and see it all over again. Like Back To The Future.
Freddy: I love that film. I used to watch it every school holiday. I called it 'Summer with Marty'.
Vince: Hey, talking of living in the moment, it looks like Karen's having a moment over there with Thomas's teacher.
[Over at the table...]
Karen: I don't know where you get off coming into my restaurant and acting like a dragon at Maidens R Us.
TJ: You have kinda stolen her thunder.
T.Bag: Thunder? I'll give her thunder! I'll blow the side of this pokey little burger shack clean off.
T.Shirt: She prefers places with three walls.
TJ: Listen. Why don't we all calm down a bit? This is all a storm in a teacup.
T.Bag: They're my favourite kind of storms!
Karen: Strickland, you're right for once. This has gone on long enough. I've got a business to run. I don't have time for Help the Elderly.
T.Bag: How dare you?
Stanley: [Wandering past with his puzzle sheet] 'This is a picture of Frapelli the Pelican. Take your pencil and see how many items from the Spatz menu you can fit in his beak.' But I don't know how much he's already eaten. What if he's only just had lunch? I don't want to make him sick.
Karen: [Walking away] That reminds me. It's almost lunchtime. What shall I have? A Farm Feast Spatz? No, I've already had my fill of mutton dressed as lamb.
T.Bag: Thaaat's it!
T.Bag: If your place means so much to you, you high-heeled harridan, then allow me to put you firmly in it!
[T.Bag points her finger at Karen. There's a whoosh. Karen is now dressed in the Spatz uniform: pink shirt, bow tie, the works. She freezes in shock. Everyone else is trying not to laugh. They are succeeding but the titter of canned laughter can still be heard.]
T.Bag: That's more like it! And in case there's any doubt, this is no laughing matter.
[T.Bag clicks her fingers and the canned laughter stops.]
Freddy: You could hear it too?
Karen: [Trembling, without turning round to face T.Bag] What do you want?
T.Bag: Since you were so keen for me to order something, why don't you bring me the menu and I'll see if there's anything that won't turn my stomach.
[While T.Bag has been talking, Grant Lee, the Chinese man who owns Grant Lee Bookmakers opposite, has entered Spatz and walked serenely to the counter, unfazed by what is going on.]
Debbie: Your usual, Mr. Lee?
[Close-up on Mr. Lee's mouth.]
Mr. Lee: One... cuppa cha! [He grins.]
T.Bag: You serve tea in this glow-in-the-dark slophouse? There's hope for you yet. I'll have the same. One... cuppa cha! And I'll have mine first, if you don't mind.
T.Shirt: Yes, your Majes-T. Talk about a busman's holiday. A very pink bus. And pink buses are always a mistake. Even 25 years from-
T.Bag: What are you blathering about? No, you're off the hook this time, my boy. I want High-Horse Hansson over there to make it.
[Karen doesn't move.]
T.Bag: And I don't mean next century!
[Karen scurries behind the counter and begins fumbling nervously. She seems to have very little idea what she's doing. Meanwhile, Dexter approaches T.Bag.]
Dexter: Dexter Williams, customer liaison officer, at your service. I've always said that the customer is always right, and it's so refreshing to have a customer who knows what she wants. So if there's anything we... I can do to make-
T.Bag: For a start, you can shut up. Second, you and the rest of the Pathetic In Pink brigade can find me my thimble. It's somewhere in this restaurant.
Dexter: Right away. [To the others.] Come on, you lot, look lively, there's a customer to satisfy. You can count on us, ma'am, you can count on us.
[The gang start looking around, half-heartedly hunting the thimble.]
T.Bag: How's this for counting: if my tea isn't ready by the count of five, I'll subject you all to such a terrible fate that you'll be jealous of your burgers!
Freddy: Who says we're not already?
Vince: I feel like I'm back in the Pink Windmill.
Vince: Never mind.
Freddy: Come on, Miss Hansson!
Stanley: So that's what's after two. Now I can really get stuck into this dot-to-dot.
[Karen hurries over, holding the tea in both hands.]
Karen: Your tea, madam. With our compliments.
T.Bag: Hmm. This doesn't look much like a teacup.
TJ: It's better than a teacup. It stops spillages, prevents heat loss, and brings out the full taste of your cuppa cha!
T.Bag: I'll be the judge of that. [T.Bag takes a sip of the tea. There's a pause. Then she starts retching. She can barely speak.]
T.Bag: Treachery! Deceit! And awful, awful tea! [She is starting to fade, weakened by the brew.]
T.Bag: T.Shirt! T-Room. Now! [With difficulty, she raises her arm, clicks her fingers and vanishes with a whoosh.]
T.Shirt: I'd better go and give her CPR: Cuppas Prepared Right. Bye, everyone!
[The gang call goodbye.]
TJ: And if you ever need a reference for your next job...
T.Shirt: You write references?
TJ: We do, we do, we cock-a-doodle doo! [T.Shirt joins in at the end.]
T.Shirt: See ya! [He blinks and disappears with a ping.]
[The staff and customers start to relax. One girl comes out from hiding behind a chair. It's Emily Jane Mudge, the character played by Victoria Shalet in Series 2. She has a knapsack across her shoulder.]
Emily: Is it safe now?
Vince: Perfectly. As long as you don't drink the tea.
Dexter: Can I just say, Miss Hansson, can I just say, I was with you all the way. I've always said that customers can't just do whatever they want, and I knew you'd take charge of the situation, with a little help from your loyal management team.
Debbie: [Rolling her eyes] What he means, Miss Hansson, is that it was a great idea to make the tea taste horrible on purpose.
Karen: On purpose? ...Well of course. Nobody messes with Karen Hansson!
Vince: Only with her clothes.
[Karen, reminded that she's in a Spatz uniform, gives a T.Bag-style groan of horror. She hurries away up the stairs.]
TJ: OK, everybody. Party's over. Back to work. Thanks. [TJ heads upstairs.]
Debbie: Still want that tea, Mr. Lee?
Mr. Lee: [Smiling] Maybe later.
[As Mr. Lee walks out of Spatz, a blond boy and a dark-haired man walk through the door.]
Angelo: And our tour of Cricklewood's finest shopping emporium continues with... Spatz.
Mike Mason: It's very pink.
Angelo: That's because the food will keep you in the pink!
[They walk up to the counter. Freddy greets them.]
Freddy: I know you. You used to come in here with your friend Mike.
Angelo: This is Mike. Not the same Mike.
Mike: I'm the other Mike's cousin.
Freddy: Cousin? You don't look like him. All my cousins look exactly like me.
Stanley: [Shouting from the back, out of sight.] Can someone help me with this wordsearch? I need to find all the colours of Spatz milkshakes, but I can't remember what they are.
[The others shout too when they reply.]
Debbie: There's pink...
Vince: Grey... sometimes...
Freddy: AND YELLOW!
Mike: She said "And yellow", not "Angelo!"
Angelo: Phew. Remind my future self not to get deja vu.
Freddy: So, what are you having?
Angelo: Maxi Spatz. Two Maxi Spatz. Make it three.
Mike: Three? But we just bought Blimpy Burgers.
Angelo: These aren't for eating, Mikey-boy.
[When the food is ready, Angelo pays and then drops the burgers into a bag he's carrying.]
Angelo: I'm going to put them into the Angelo Patent Pending Burger Merger and fuse them to create the ultimate fast food experience.
Vince: Now I know what they mean by 'meat is merger'.
Freddy: Well if you put us out of business, I'm coming to work for you, pal. And what are you doing going to Blimpy's? [She narrows her eyes.] Their sugar sachets are made of the boss's dandruff.
Mike: We'd have come here first, but you don't do Cheery Meals. [Mike holds up the boxed kids' meal he got from Blimpy's.]
Stanley: [Coming over] Ah, wicked!
[By this time, Emily is next to Mike and Angelo at the counter.]
Mike: It comes with a toy. I got Roland the Robot. [Mike gets out the silver figurine.]
Angelo: Oh, its hat's come off. [The hat, which has come loose in Mike's hand, is a thimble.]
Emily: Excuse me. May I buy that Cheery Meal toy off you for my collection?
Mike: OK. You can have it for one dollar. Sorry, I mean one pound.
Emily: 30p. It is broken.
Emily: 50p. [She holds up a fifty pence piece on the head side (including of course the Queen's nose).] My final offer.
[As Emily takes the robot and thimble and puts them in her knapsack, there's a thunderclap outside. Everyone turns to look. Silence. Then, from above...]
Karen: AND THE SAME TO YOU!!