Black Books Wiki
A Nice Change
Episode information
Episode No.




Original airdate

Friday, April 5, 2002


No chatting. No spilling. ABSOLUTE SILENCE!

Cast and crew information

Dylan Moran


Martin Dennis

Main cast
Guest stars
  • Miltos Yerolemou as Schubert biography customer
  • Howard Coggins as the Heathrow bartender
Previous episode

Hello Sun

Next episode

Manny Come Home

A Nice Change is the sixth episode of the second series of the British sitcom Black Books, and is the last episode of the second series. The show was written by Dylan Moran and was directed by Martin Dennis.

Plot synopsis[]

In the bookshop Black Books, Bernard Black (Dylan Moran) and Manny Bianco (Bill Bailey) are trying to enjoy a Sunday afternoon over loud construction work going on in the shop nextdoor when a customer enters and inquires if they have a biography of Franz Schubert, expecting Bernard to find the book on a computer and asking what coffee is provided. After throwing the customer on the floor and commanding him to search the shelves, Bernard sends Manny nextdoor to find out when the noise will stop. When Manny returns, Bernard is unable to hear him and decide that he, Manny and their friend Fran Katzenjammer (Tamsin Greig) should go to a restraunt to get some quiet.

There, they discover that the noise will get worse the following day, and decide they have to get out of the shop. After considering various activities, they decide to return to the shop, where they discover that the construction work will continue for the next two weeks. To get away from the noise, they make an unanimous decision to go on a holiday, and begin considering various destinations. However, Manny wants a jungle holiday, Fran wants a beach holiday and Bernard, being his usual self, wants a holiday that resembled life in the shop as closely as possible.

Luckily, Manny manages to find a tourist resort that fitted all of requirements: the sunlit island of Saint-Honoré, a tropical jungle engirdled with golden sands boasting the hemisphere's only English book shop and bar. All agree that they should go there, and so they start packing. Manny produced an old suitcase and starts filling it with essentials, however, Bernard throws out anything that he feels is unnecessary (clothes) and replaces them with things of much more value (a bottle of wine).

Fran returns from her flat, carrying a huge suitcase behind her. Bernard and Manny insist that they see what was inside, and have to tie Fran to a chair to get their hands on it. Inside the suitcase is a whole waldrobe's worth of shoes, which Bernard and Manny force Fran to windle down to just two pairs, despite her protests. Everything is going to plan, until Manny realises that he has forgotton to book the flights and Bernard loses his passport. After 5 hours, Bernard finally finds his passport, after ransacking the shop, which was on his desk, and Fran, with Manny's help, books the flights. The next day, the three arrive at Heathrow Airport, where Fran reveals that they have to get to Saint-Honoré via New Zealand, Stansted Airport and Canada, as well as several other locations, due to the extremely low cost of their tickets.

Two weeks later, and the three touch down back in London, and, thinking that it is another country, try to communicate with the resident barman. When they discover that they are home, they order three glasses of wine and review the worst holiday of their lives. They head home, and, after Bernard finally fires Manny and bars Fran from the shop out of frustration, they discover that a new rival bookshop, Goliath Books, 'has opened nextdoor.

They return to the shop, where they discover that the customer who asked about the Schubert biography was accidently locked inside the shop and has gone hysterical. Bernard, unable to cope with anymore surprises, puts Manny in charge and heads off on another holiday.

Behind the scenes[]

  • When Manny is trying to communicate with the airport barman, he says 'An bhfuil cead agam dul go dtí an leithreas?' which is Irish Gaelic for 'Do I have permission to go to the toilet?'. Dylan Moran has said that it is the only Irish Gaelic phrase that he remembers as he used it so often as a child to get out of Irish class in school.
  • Fran books the flight using a Psion palmtop computer.

External links[]