Season 8 Episode 29

Episode 353


Sky One Transmission Date:

Sunday 8th May 2005


Directed By

Marcus D F White


GS: Eli Knox (Shane Lynch)  QPR Agent (Lewis Georgeson)  Ian Holloway (as himself)


Harchester celebrate their fourth consecutive win taking the Dragons into 2nd place, and all set to face West Ham for head to head promotion. As Fletch is leaving the Lair Don gets into his taxi and shows him a briefcase full of money. Don tells Fletch he has one more game until Harchester drop him, after using him to go up. He tells Fletch to make sure Harchester lose against West Ham and the money is all his. Fletch is having none of it but Barker isn't finished though, and makes a call to a football agent setting up a transfer meeting. The next morning Fletch and Gina head into the Blue Room to find QPR manager Ian Holloway waiting with an agent, Alex Harrison. When Gina adds that Harchester have the option to renew Fletch's current contract, Alex says he spoke to Eli last night and the club have no plans to do so.



Frank and Jodie arrive back at the Grange and bump into Don. Jodie is still refusing to see him and tells Don he isn't her father anymore, ignoring his pleas for her to hear him out. In their room Jodie tries to kiss Frank but he pulls away, telling her things have changed. Jodie says she gets it, and now his secret is out he doesn't need her to hide behind anymore. Meanwhile Fletch is both furious and hurt at what Viv and Eli are doing, and he goes to speak with Viv, finding him berating Eli and saying he needed Fletch's head in the right place for the game. Fletch goes out to the pitch where he flashes back to the best moments of his career as a Dragon, spent both at the Lair and Addison Road. Now feeling abandoned by the club, Karl goes to see Don who tells him he will receive £250,000, half now and the other half when West Ham are guaranteed a play-off place. Don hands him a bottle saying to make sure Ryan drinks out of it before the game. He tells Fletch inside is water laced with eye-drops, which will give Ryan stomach-cramps and the runs, causing maximum destruction after Viv has already handed in the team sheet. Jodie goes to the Grange reception and is given a letter Frank has left for her, causing her to go storming onto the training pitch mid-session where she yells at Frank for leaving her in a letter. She then turns to Danny who isn't best pleased at her turning up at all. She asks him for forgiveness for what she did, saying he and Kim have got their twins and don't know the hell she's in all alone. Frank takes Jodie away as Fletch is arriving late from seeing Barker. He watches Ryan run about with Lee knowing what he has to do. The night before the game Fletch watches Sky Sports News announce his expected departure from the club. Gina sits down beside him and when she says a move to Millwall could be a good thing Fletch flips, not wanting to leave Harchester. Fletch shouts at Gina that she has no idea what it’s like to be him and tells her to get out, leaving her clearly upset at his outburst.


Viv is giving his speech to the boys before tomorrow, and says he hopes he's been the manager the lads needed. Gina reads out the rooms and Fletch is in with Ryan, much to Fletch's uncomfortableness. In their room Ryan talks with Fletch about how he has missed almost all of this season, with forty-six games and a Champions League. As he looks forward to next season in the Premiership, Fletch says he's going out for some air. He ends up at the Blue Room bar where Jodie is sitting alone. They begin talking and sit down together. Viv has returned to Studs, and is alone in the bar when Don turns up. The two men square up to each other, with Don saying they should be alright so long as Ryan's leg holds up. Viv hits back at Don by reminding him that he should be more concerned about his daughter whose life is in ruins. It hits a nerve with Don who snaps at Viv not to talk about his daughter before stomping off. Fletch and Jodie continue their talk at the Grange, with Fletch mourning the end of his career at Harchester and feeling as if nobody has any respect for him anymore. And Jodie for her marriage and how she misses the way Frank used to make her feel. She tells Fletch they both just have to live for the moment and moves in to kiss him. He backs away and says he should be getting to bed, before walking Jodie to her door. Once there, the temptation becomes too much and they kiss. Fletch is hesitant about entering her room but follows Jodie in anyway. The two wake up together and are spooked when Don suddenly starts banging on the door, begging Jodie to speak with him. The situation is made worse when Gina comes marching along outside the corridor telling Don Jodie doesn't want to see him. Fletch tells Jodie to let Don in, hear what he has to say and then get rid of him whilst he hides. Jodie opens the door and tells Gina she can take it from here. Don says he's come to ask Jodie to forgive him, but when the door to the bathroom creeks open, Don sees the bare shoulder of someone in there. He pushes open the door to find Fletch, and with an incensed look in his eye remains silent as Jodie tells him he can't tell anyone. Don says his lips are sealed, then turns to Fletch and tells him to enjoy the match and not to lose his 'bottle'.


As the lads prepare to kick off in the dressing room, Viv tells them of Don's visit last night, and says how he didn't let Don get away with unsettling him. This affects Fletch who slips out of the dressing room and, disguised in a hoodie, starts a fire in a waste paper bin in one of the store-rooms. The fire alarm sounds and an annoyed Viv and the team are told they will have to evacuate. They leave to sit on the coach as Barker comes through the crowded corridor and sees Fletch. They go into the gym where Fletch tells Barker he started the fire to delay the game, so the result could still go West Ham's way with the other games. Don tells Fletch he is paying him to take Ryan out of the game, and if he doesn't he will tell Gina what Fletch has been up to with Jodie. Fletch is disgusted Don would do that to his own daughter. After the fire is put out, the crowds and the teams are let back into the Lair. As the team prepare to head out, Fletch hands Ryan the water bottle, but to his frustration a series of distractions prevent Ryan from taking a sip and the bottle is lost among the dozens of other identical yellow plastics scattered around the dressing room. The game kicks off and in the tunnel Jodie notices that Gina is looking unwell. They go and sit in the dressing room where Jodie hands Gina something for her head and Gina downs it with some water out of a bottle beside her - the Ryan bottle! As Gina continues sipping, Jodie tells her she is going back to Spain for a bit to sort her life out. She asks her to give Frank a letter she has written him (leaving him in a letter no doubt!) and Gina tells Jodie she will miss her as she’s been a really good mate, leaving Jodie with a twinge of guilt for sleeping with Gina’s fella. As Jodie goes out to watch the game, Gina begins to feel woozy and collapses on the dressing room floor, from the effect of something much worse than eye-drops.




·          The Best: Ian Holloway’s appearance, here as Queens Park Rangers manager which he was from 2001-2006. Eli placing a £20M bet on the game, in contrast to Dean’s £20. Don sitting with them both at the game. Jodie and Gina’s dressing room chat.


Logic: Don knows of Viv throwing Fletch out of the window (337: The Man Who Knew Too Much) and the shooting in the park (350: A Champions’ League Outing) but was not present at either event, although Jodie could have informed him of the Fletch incident. There is also a portrait of Don still hanging in the Hall of Harchester Fame corridor outside the gym.


·          Quotes: Don (to Fletch): "What? Jaws allows hookers in Harchester's dressing room now does he?!".


Foreshadowing: Fletch yells at Gina that in two weeks time his contract is up and he becomes a dead person for the next thirty years [355: The Day Before Tomorrow] although it really transpires to be just under two years [411: Dragonslayer].


·          Continuity: Fletch yells that he has given thirteen years of his life to the club, having made the first team in 1992. He tells Gina that the uncertainty over his future is starting to sound all too familiar [294: Long Live The King]. Fletch flashes back to his testimonial before leaving for Saudi (2003), his away goals in Europe (2001-02) his hat-tricks scored (2002-03), and then winning the FA Cup at Wembley (1998-99) [140]. Don brings up Viv “seeing people who aren’t there” [340: Gambler’s Ruin].


Additional Info: DT writer Lewis Georgeson makes his on-screen appearance as agent Alex Harrison, in between co-writing this episode. Jodie tells Gina upon leaving for Spain she will probably get a job for the first time in her life. As she leaves to walk down the tunnel, Jodie gives a (very cool) shout out to the Dragons, showing her support is still with the club despite her dad’s side losing the chance of promotion otherwise.


·          What Was The Score?: Harchester achieve a 3-0 victory against Watford. For West Ham result, see next episode.


Soundtrack: Lemon Jelly: "The Curse of Ka'Zar",  Morcheeba: "Way Beyond",  Nina Simone: "Sinnerman.”


Screencaps from 8.29’s original broadcast on Sky One on 08/05/05.


Don goes all Patrick Doyle on Fletcher

 "A Letter?!"



Fletch and Jodie give into temptation

 Don finds out what Fletch and

 Jodie have done



Don won't let Fletch get away

 Eli could never help rubbing it




The effect of eye-drops on Gina


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