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Characters / The Brittas Empire

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Gordon Wellesley Brittas

Gordon Brittas is the Manager of Whitbury Leisure Centre. He is utterly devoted to his job and is unshakably convinced he can make the world a better place. Unfortunately despite being very well meaning he is absolutely hopeless at his job, myopically devoted to red tape and utterly lacking in people skills. Played by Chris Barrie.

  • Butt-Monkey
  • Does Not Understand Sarcasm: Or, in fact, any form of subtext whatsoever. Laura attempts to teach him, but it doesn't take.
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  • Lethal Klutz: Tends to cause major and often fatal catastrophes while solving minor or non-existent problems. At one point, he slams a door and sets off an accidental Rube Goldberg Device which nearly de-fingers a visiting pianist.
  • Meaningful Name: Sir Arthur Wellesley (better known as The Duke of Wellington) was one of the greatest English generals of all time, and never lost a battle. Unlike Gordon Wellesley Brittas.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Leisure centre visitor forms require such data as "father's profession", "criminal record" and "
    "Shortly we will have some 800 people rehearsing hymns in our gymnasium, all of whom will want to use the resources of this leisure centre, and our job is to make sure they don't."
  • Pointy-Haired Boss
  • Small Name, Big Ego
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: With Laura.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Though how much tends to vary. Sometimes he is a totally insensitive jerk, sometimes he is very much a well-meaning woobie.
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  • Weirdness Magnet: Whitbury Centre has been invaded by, among others, a pregnant cow, a rampaging emu, and a Roman army. All were Gordon's fault.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: "I have a dream..."

Helen Brittas

Gordon's hopelessly neurotic, adulterous wife. She seems to survive mostly on prescription medication. Played by Pippa Haywood.

  • Berserk Button: Do not call Helen Brittas a bad mother.
  • Broken Bird: Is married to Brittas, and wears a semi-permanent expression of despair.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Increases as the series goes on, to the point where she loses her twin babies somewhere on her shopping route and only notices at the very end, after Carol points out the pushchair is empty.
  • Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: Her unfaithfulness is a running gag and depicted as a character flaw, though not a very bad one. Fans tend to view her more harshly, especially since Gordon is completely faithful.
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  • Lady Drunk: Which she mixes with anti-depressants.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Again, she varies from tragic-but-funny to completely self-involved

Laura Lancing

Brittas's long-suffering second in command, Laura is the Deputy Manager Dry of Whitbury Leisure Centre. A highly intelligent and capable woman, Laura is well aware of Brittas's faults but sees beyond them and likes him for his idealism and genuinely good intentions. Played by Julia St. John

Colin Weatherby

Colin is Deputy Manager Wet. He is absolutely devoted to Brittas and his dream which makes it unfortunate that Brittas finds him irritating and incompetent and even more unfortunate that he is both of these things. Played by Michael Burns

  • Bumbling Sidekick: His devotion to Brittas is matched only by his ineptitude.
  • The Chew Toy: Horrible things happen to him on a regular basis, usually involving severe bodily harm.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander
  • Genius Ditz: Constructs a machine to recycle toilet waste into methane and thence into electricity. Thinks the centre could be self-powered if only everyone went to the bathroom a little more.
  • Gonk: Has facial boils, a permanently septic right hand, and an abundance of fluids which everybody would rather not hear about.
  • Granola Guy: Very keen on herbal remedies and clean energy.
  • The Pig Pen: The aforementioned septic hand has bandages which have possibly never been changed since Series 1.
  • Ultimate Job Security

Carole Parkinson

The Leisure Centres hapless receptionist who raises her children in drawers at her desk. Played by Harriet Thorpe.

  • The Chew Toy: Has several shots at happiness throughout the series, all of which fail in the most tragic manner possible.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: Though a little plump, certainly doesn't merit Brittas's tactless remarks on her figure.
  • Ultimate Job Security
  • Who's Your Daddy?: Becomes pregnant after a liason in the dark at an office party, and decides to go through the list of guests to work out who it might have been. Unfortunately, that night they'd been gate-crashed by the rugby club. All thirty-one of them.

Gavin Featherly

Pool attendant and later Deputy Manager. Perhaps the nicest and most sensitive character on the show. In a relationship with Tim Whistler of which everyone but Brittas is aware. Played by Tim Marriott.

Linda Perkin

Petite blonde attendant. Very keen and loyal but pretty naive and suggestible. She isn't quite as worshipful of Brittas as Colin is but she certainly respects him much more than most of the staff. Played by Jill Greenacre.

Tim Whistler

Pool attendant and Gavin's boyfriend. Probably likes Brittas the least out of any of the staff (or at least joint least with Julie.) Played by Russell Porter.

Julie Porter

Brittas's lazy, gobby, Northern secretary. Played by Judy Flynn


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