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(And I'm issuing you with a decree of sub... dew... dee. Subjudy!
    You are under legal subjudy to stay in that chair until such time as, erm... 
   until Simon says stand up!)
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A Little Flutter
Episode information
Episode No.




Original airdate



No Anecdotage

Cast and crew information
Guest stars

Craig Parkinson

Mac McDonald

Keith Allen

Previous episode

Moo-Ma, Moo-Pa

Next episode

Travel Writer

 A Little Flutter is the fourth episode of the third series of Black Books. In the story, Bernard becomes addicted to gambling and forces Manny and Fran to compete for one job at the shop in order to finance his bets.


"I'm Just looking for a light holiday read." "Perhaps these may appeal. Browse me."

1) Plot[]

In the shop, Bernard is persuaded by Manny to watch the Grand National, Manny having placed a bet on two of the racehorses, Inner Space and Herr Schmidt. Bernard, despite disliking the idea of Manny placing bets on the "circus of death", sits in. One of their horses comes second, meaning they recieve a small win which Bernard sends Manny to collect. This starts off Bernard's gambling addiction. Meanwhile, Fran persuades Bernard to hire her as she is going for a job interview and needs work for her CV. Things start to go downhill when Manny talks her through the system, Fran already having had a business of her own and trying to assert herself. Meanwhile, Bernard has gone to the bookmakers and is fast losing money, when Martin the Tout, seeing him as easy money, suggests he bet on a racehorse which then wins. To get more money, Bernard plays Manny and Fran off against each other by saying that he can only afford to pay one of them, and whoever has made the most money at the end gets the one job- the upshot being that they give Bernard any money they earn immediately. Despite this, Bernard's lack of skill in the area of horseracing means that he loses most of the money. Martin invites him to a big-stake poker game at Dante mini-cabs. Bernard, not knowing how to play poker, asks Fran (who is a very talented card player, particularly at poker, and is also capable of rigging the deck to make sure she gets good cards), Manny (who has a deck of cards) and a customer (who wasn't doing anything at the time) to play poker with him. Bernard also tells the customer to get them some whisky and play jazz music. When the time comes to show their cards, Bernard says his cards are an ace, a king, a two, a seven... and Mrs. Bun, the Baker's Wife (which they count as another ace). When Bernard loses to Fran, she explains that her grandparents taught her card-play. She expertly rigs the deck and does some card tricks. She then gives the deck to Bernard, who only succeeds in covering Manny in cards. Twelve hours later, in a run-down street, Bernard arrives for the poker game. Martin greets him and introduces him to the other players- Mickey 'One Eye' Swayne'Undertaker' Jones, Lily 'The Dazzler' Thompson, Jimmy "The Illustrated, Blind, Solid Silver Bitch' Stakopopolips III"  and Dave 'Mouse Ear' Smith. Martin tells Bernard to let him (Martin) look at his (Bernard's) cards so he (Martin) can tell him (Bernard) what to do, but he (Bernard again) goes back to the shop penniless. Some time later at the bookmakers, Bernard's bet is rejected because he bet £1 and only has 7p. Martin persuades Bernard to come over to his office and once there, gets him to sign a form agreeing to loan him £10,000, with the shop's worth as a cover. Back at the shop, Manny and Fran realise that Bernard has tricked them to feed his gambling. Because Fran spent the night playing poker and drinking whisky, she missed the job interview. At Dante's, Martin wins the game and despite Bernard's pleas, he is given six hours to pay the £10,000 he was loaned, plus 100% interest (the alternative being he get "evicted from [his] shop... or [his] legs"). At the shop, Fran and Manny correctly predict Bernard's first words upon entering the shop. Fran immediately comes up with a plan... something that involves Manny's "funny-looking" sunglasses.In the bookmakers, Fran and Manny, disguised as a rich American couple who know very little about London, bait Martin into asking Manny if he wants to play cards, with Fran sitting in to make sure he doesn't lose too much. At the poker game, Fran's skills come to the fore and the pair win £20,000 in no time. But before they give it to Bernard, they make him promise to give up gambling. Fran and Manny give each other self-congratulatory remarks about how well they played it, apparently saying "What's that big famous clock by the river?" "You know, Big Bill." When Bernard gives Martin his £20,000 and Martin asks how he got it, Bernard says he won it betting on a racehorse, called Big Bill.

2) Cultural References[]

3) Behind the Scenes[]

The supporting cast includes: Craig Paricnson as Martin, Keith Allen as Dave "Mouse Ear" Smith, Mac McDonald as the American War Enthusiast, Jiggy Bhore as the Light Holiday Customer, Su(e) Elliot as the Betting Clerk, Jan Janovic as the American War Enthusiast's Wife, Justin Edwards as the Poker Customer, Steve Lately, Huggy Leaver and Pat Starr as poker players, and Paul Putner as the tramp.

Produced by
Karen Beever
line producer
William Burdett-Coutts
executive producer
Nira Park
Music by
Jonathan Whitehead
Cinematography by
Andy Hollis
director of photography
Film Editing by
Paul Machliss
Casting By
John Connor
Jane Davies
Production Design by
Dennis De Groot
Art Direction by
Simon Rogers
Costume Design by
Fiona Coutts
Annie Hardinge
Philip Lester
(as Phil Lester)
Makeup Department
Lucy Cain
make-up design
Lesley Noble
make-up design (as Leslie Noble)
Kate Roberts
make-up design
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ed Evennett
first assistant director (as Edward Evennett)
Susie Liggat
first assistant director
Simon Hedges
third assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Simon Blackmore
stand-by dressing props
Jess Kitley
props buyer
Andie Vining
props master
Paul Whale
stand-by dressing props
Sound Department
Glenn Calder
dubbing mixer
Mark Found
location sound
Keith Nixon
sound supervisor
Special Effects by
Steve Lucas
special effects
Jon Savage
special effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Tony Fabian
Martin Hawkins
lighting director
Tony Keene
camera supervisor
Clive Sait
Richard Waiting
vision control
Editorial Department
Peter Phillips
vision mixer
Other crew
Suzanne Baron
script supervisor
Grace Boylan
production coordinator
Antonia Castle
assistant floor manager
Ben Coleman
production team
Jane Denholm
stage manager
Susie Gordon
production team
James Lindsay
location manager
Michael Matheson
floor manager (as Michael 'Sticky' Matheson)
Rachel Plose
production accountant
Sandra Shepherd
production team

4) External Links[]

[1] Black_Books_episodes