Season 8 Episode 31

Episode 355


Sky One Transmission Date:

Sunday 22nd May 2005


Directed By

Rob MacGillivray


GS: Security Guard [Dave] (Andrew Dickens)


In 24 hours time Harchester and West Ham will go head to head at the Millennium Stadium. Don sits in his room typing out the letter that will bring Harchester down, revealing: how Dean cheated Harchester's way through the Champions League, how Lee knew when he scored against Barca he was locking the team in the Championship for the rest of the season, and how if Viv had gone to Bolton, maybe Chelsea wouldn't have gotten involved not with Clyde, but Ryan! Gina visits Fletch in prison, where his bail is set at £400K, something she doesn't have. As she gets on the coach for Cardiff, Gina is furious and yells at the team how all Fletch needs is for someone to lend him £400K, and not one of his team will help him. Following a trust exercise involving a water bottle, Viv tells Gina he and the team will call their banks so Fletch gets bail.


At the Grange, Don asks Amira the receptionist to get his parcel of letters to the team in Cardiff for tonight. He then adds chillingly that his work in Harchester is done. The coach is on its way and Ryan books the honeymoon suite at the hotel for himself and Savannah (under the names of Mr. and Mrs. Smith). At the prison Fletch is told that he's been bailed by his team mates and is free. Fletch believes the boys need him and that's the reason they have come through. He goes straight to the club and meets Dean who tells him the team have already left, and it was Gina who got the team to cough up. Fletch is shocked and has to sit down in the boardroom. Dean follows him and introduces Fletch to the world of now being a fan. He tells Fletch that together they'll drive to Cardiff, watch the game, and get hideously drunk. Fletch agrees and Dean says he'll pick him up later. Fletch is still depressed over the team's rejection and tells Hannah that he's off for a wonder round the club. Fletch ventures out onto the pitch before settling in the stands. On the coach Caskey asks Viv what the chances of Don showing up would be, and Viv relishes in the fact that they're going to be the ones who get to put him back in the Championship for another year. Don arrives at the club and walks in through the stands' entrance. Sitting in the dugout, he is spotted by Fletch on the opposite site of the pitch, who races over to reach him. Don, shocked to see Fletch is out of prison, scurries into the dressing room and hides in the showers. Fletch pretends he has left the dressing room until Don thinks it's safe to come out, and then appears, throwing Don across the room. Fletch yells as Don is sprawled out on the bench that if he is going down he is taking him too. Don taunts Fletch saying he can't incriminate him without incriminating himself. He continues by telling Fletch that if he came clean the fans would despise him and Gina would leave him, adding that he'd have nothing. Fletch flips and lunges himself at Barker. The two begin a violent struggle with Don clinging onto the physio bench as Fletch pounds him from behind. When Don lets go the two go flying back into the wall, with one of the coat pegs going into the back of Fletch's head. Don is horrified as Fletch slumps to the floor and blood slowly leaks from the back of his head.


At the Grange Dean is waiting for Fletch to show. He asks Amira to phone his room and as she does so, asks whether he would take what is Barker's package to the lads' hotel (although she doesn't give him the extra money Don handed her for the courier). She tells Dean there's no answer from Fletch's room and he assumes Karl must still be at the club. Right he is, as Barker is trying frantically to bring Fletch back to life. He desperately tries resuscitation but nothing it seems can bring back Fletch, who is clearly dead. From outside he hears a security guard checking the area and places his hands in his pockets to hide the blood. Don opens the door to the guard, blocking the entrance to the dressing room. After sweet-talking Dave into letting him stay a while, allegedly reflecting one last time on his managerial career at Harchester, Don begins the task of disposing of Fletch's body. The coach arrives at the Millenium Stadium for the lads to have a look around before tomorrow. As they hear from the stadium manager Gina says she's just heard on the radio that Fletch has been released. The team then head out to the pitch where Viv goes through the itinerary for the game. Lee's nerves are setting in and Ryan reminds him they were born for this. Dean arrives back at the club and asks Hannah if Fletch is still here. She hasn't seen him so Dean phones his mobile, which rings out on his dead body in the dressing room. Dean now fears Fletch has done a runner, with the team losing £400K of their money. In the dressing room, Don wraps Fletch's body in plastic, tapes it shut and then loads it into a trolley conveniently left in the bathroom. He then washes away all the blood from the floor and changes into a team kit. Dean arrives at the hotel in Cardiff and is forced to tell the lads that Fletch never showed up. The team jump to the conclusion that Karl has run away with all their money and Gina refuses to believe it, once again appalled at how the boys treat Fletch when they are supposed to be his friends. Dean then hands Viv the parcel containing the letters. Viv hopes they are Knox's bonus checks and takes his letter, asking Dean to hand the rest out to the boys. Deano asks if anyone has seen Ryan, while the man himself is upstairs with Savannah, under the guise of Mr. Smith.


The lads open the letters from Barker, and Lee desperately tries to explain that Jeff was forcing him into a transfer when he scored that goal. Curtis goes for Dean after learning he was involved in the racial game throwing, but Caskey (the only one seemingly with any sense) reminds the boys this is what Barker wants, and plus they have a bigger problem on their hands with Ryan and Jaws. At the club Don has waited until nightfall for his next move. He sneaks out of the dressing room and switches off the electricity (and cameras) in the control room. As the security guards make their way there, Don pushes out the trolley containing Fletch's body. Outside Viv's room the lads plan to enter and take the letter before Jaws reads it. When he opens up Frank makes an excuse about needing a new room which takes a subdued looking Viv away, whilst Dean searches inside for the letter. At the club Barker is loading Fletch's body into the boot of his car and makes a quick getaway. Frank stands outside his new room as Ryan opens his door to the room service of strawberries and chocolate for Savannah, and ducks in when he sees Frank. Don drives to the Grange car park where he loads the boot surrounding Fletch's body with several cans of petrol, clearly for use in the disposal of Fletch's body later. An exhausted Don then slumps into the front seat of the car and doses off. Play-Off day arrives and as the lads head in for breakfast, Lee asks the boys if anyone has seen Ryan as he didn't come in last night. The boys are sure Jaws wouldn't have seen the letter and when Dean pulls it out they are shocked to discover that it is just an empty envelope. They are now convinced Viv had seen the letter long before they saw him last night. They are right and Viv has spent all of the night reading the letter over and over. In Harchester, Jodie finds Don asleep in the car and asks did he stay there the whole night. She tells her dad that she's going to Cardiff and if he is she'll travel with him. Jodie then tells Don that he's family and she can't send him to prison, but can't leave Fletch to go down either. She gets in and Don reluctantly drives off with Jodie... who remains unaware that Fletch's body is in the boot!




·          Terry Kiely’s third regular stint as Fletch ends here, although he is seen in the next episode as a dead body.


The Best: The look on Barker’s face when he realises he has fatally injured Fletch. Acted to perfection by Jon Morrison. Fletch’s gory death, which was said to be a lot more bloody than what actually made the screen (with even a special Director’s Cut DVD planned but never came to fruition). Ammo’s purple dye job. The community art project on show at the Millennium, showing pop-art style portraits of each team member for Harchester and West Ham on either side of the wall.


·          Logic: Lee didn’t lock the team in the Championship with a goal against Barca, it was against Sporting Lisbon. Also when Barker tells Dave the greatest achievement of his managerial career was beating Barca, it wasn’t at the Dragons’ Lair as he says. It was in Barcelona at the Nou Camp (334: Who Ate All The Pies).


Foreshadowing: The references to death every five minutes tie in nicely with the Fletch situation, as the team and Gina are blissfully unaware of his demise throughout. It also builds up to the events and ending of the following episode (356: Play-Off). Though Fletch’s departure wouldn’t be the last we saw of him (411: Dragonslayer) so the whole thing ultimately ends up being softened.


·          Continuity: With Don’s letter, we are treated to the various skulduggery events of the season, with Lee locking the team in the Championship (327: Last Exit To Harchester) Ryan deceiving Viv into believing Clyde was sleeping with Chelsea (332: Blame) and Dean’s involvement in the Lazio game being abandoned (342: The Race Card).


Additional Info: The hotel the Dragons stay at in Cardiff is, conveniently, called the Red Dragon Hotel, though of course a Welsh symbol. Barker’s West Ham Pool car (believed to be Jane Hewland’s own car) may play a big part in the end of the season but it isn’t the last we see of it [369: Unleash Hell].


·          What Was The Score?: Harchester beat Preston in the first leg of the Play-Off's, with a 5-2 victory. Among the scorers Carl Caskey and Charlie Taylor. While West Ham saw off the challenge of Sunderland.


Soundtrack: Apollo Four Forty: "Stealth Mass In F#m",  BBG Feat. Dina Taylor: "Snappiness Original 12" Version",  Dizzy Gillespie: "Menteca (The Funky Lowlives Remix)",  Kinobe: "Vanishing Point",  Moby: "Everloving",  Pete Rodriguez: "I Like It Like That",  Spandau Ballet: “I’ll Fly For You”,  The Chemical Brothers: "Suface To Air.”


·          Behind The Scenes: The true cause of Fletch’s death was revealed before it had actually aired, as a poster on came on and told of how they had contact with James Watts (Presley), and had learned of the peg. Nobody made too much of it at the time, but was a surprise when it turned out to be for real.


Screencaps from 8.31’s original broadcast on Sky One on 22/05/05.

Gina sees Karl for the last time

 As does Deano



Don kills Fletch (the b*****d!!)

 Brilliant expression!



Admiring the Millennium

 The lads turn on each other



"Mrs Smith" loves her Strawberries!


 How will Viv handle this


All the way to Cardiff!


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