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The Heart of Christmas (one hour version Christmas Special)

Transmitted on: Monday 25th December 2006

Episode Summary

Christmas decorations are being put up once again in the Harper house, much to Ben’s chagrin – he wants to spend the holiday abroad! To avoid spending Christmas en famille, he feigns illness and works hard to raise his temperature, insisting he is not well. Susan decides they should let the doctor check him over.

Meanwhile, Alfie has found two casks of his family’s special recipe home brew and lets Michael take a tentative sip, and Janey is in despair as her little son Kenzo won’t reveal what he wants for Christmas, although she has plans to buy him the latest must-have toy – a Macroman.

Ben has been referred to hospital for tests and is in seventh heaven in his private Christmas-free room – that is, until he is told he has forgotten to pay his medical insurance and consequently finds himself in an ordinary public ward where he will be kept for a further couple of days. Susan decides to get revenge on Ben wanting to miss Christmas by exaggerating his symptoms to the registrar, who agrees to even more tests, thereby prolonging his stay.

At home, Susan tries to conceal a smirk as she puts the family in the picture over Ben’s prolonged absence. Michael tells Alfie that they can therefore have a party at home, using the homebrew, and Alfie suggests they go to the hospital to find some young women to invite!

Back in his ward, Ben is paid a visit by the local vicar and his choir with their rendition of a Christmas carol, which infuriates him even more – especially as he is expected to make a donation to charity, which he begrudgingly does to get rid of the unwanted visitors.

However, there is upsetting news when Ben’s tests reveal he needs an angioplasty. The family all come to visit him before the procedure but Michael leaves behind his bag containing a flask of the potent homebrew which a thirsty Ben devours. Consequently, when he is given his local anaesthetic he dreams vividly of being at the gates of heaven and that Susan is God. She makes him re-assess his life and he is given a glimpse of what a happy Christmas at home could be like if only he were not so difficult!


Character Played by
Ben Harper Robert Lindsay
Susan Harper Zoe Wanamaker
Janey Harper Daniela Denby-Ashe
Michael Harper Gabriel Thompson
Roger Bailey Keiron Self
Abi Harper Siobhan Hayes
Kenzo Harper Tayler Marshall
Professor Howard Clive Russell
Vicar Mike Walling
Private Petient Jeremy Child
Mr. Peterson Raymond Sawyer
Dr. Cavell Ed Coleman
Man in Dressing Gown Roy Heather
Private Nourse Evelyn Duah
Orderly Dominic Carter
Panicky Father Jack Brough
Party Girl 1 Jenny Gleave
Party Girl 2 Jenna Harrison
Maternity Nurse Angel Clerkin
Nurse in Corridor Chloe Billington


Role Name
Director Dewi Humphreys
Producer John Bartlett
Writer Brian Leveson
Writer Paul Minett
Executive Producer Tom Anderson
Executive Producer Don Taffner

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