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Hyoer Manny
The Blackout
Episode information
Episode No.




Original airdate

Friday, 20 October, 2000

Cast and crew information
  • Dylan Moran
  • Graham Linehan
  • Graham Linehan
  • Nick Wood
  • Nira Park
  • Julian Meers
  • William Burdett-Coutts
Main cast
  • Dylan Moran
  • Bill Bailey
  • Tamsin Greig
Guest stars
  • Colin McFarlane as Inspector Barry Norris
  • Hugh Parker as Gerald
  • Elizabeth Marmur as Sarah
  • Wayne Morris as Peter
Previous episode

Grapes of Wrath

Next episode

The Big Lockout

The Blackout is the fourth episode of the first series in the British sitcom, Black Books. It originally aired on the 20th of October, 2000. The script was written by Dylan Moran and Graham Linehan, the latter of which directed the episode.

Plot synopsis[]

Bernard Black (Dylan Moran) rushes to find Fran Katzenjammer (Tamsin Greig), as he has something important to tell her. However, when he finds her, he discovers that she has something equally important to tell him. After settling who would tell their story first by slapping each other, Fran explains that she saw her then-boyfriend, Peter (Wayne Morris), sitting opposite another woman in a restaurant. Bernard, who doesn't care, explains that he was ignored by his friends the day after he attended a dinner party with them, which saddened him deeply, and suspects that he did something to upset them, however cannot remember what it is. Manny Bianco (Bill Bailey), who is highly alert and on edge after overdosing on coffee and watching 'The Sweeney' all night after been given an espresso machine for his birthday, decides to solve Bernard's predicament as to what he did to upset his friends, Gerald (Hugh Parker) and Sarah (Elizabeth Marmur). With Manny's help, Bernard remembers back to the night before, and discovers that he got highly drunk, and was brought back to Gerald and Sarah's house by a policewoman. wever, he still remembers that he did something else.

Suddenly, a woman screams from outside the shop. Manny, hearing the cry, rushes out to find a thief grabbing the woman's handbag. Seeing Manny, the thief flees, with Manny in pursuit. Manny returns empty-handed, however, spots the woman talking to a policeman, and tries to by-pass her. However, the woman sees Manny, and, mistaking him for a fellow officer, the policeman brings Manny to a police station.

That night, Fran enters the shop in a neck brace, calling for Bernard. Bernard appears, with his arm in a cast, and asks Fran how she broke her neck. She explains that she, after learning about Gerald and Sarah ignoring Bernard and how much it saddened him, decided to ignore Peter. However, while looking away from Peter, she accidently walked onto a busy road and got knocked down. Despite her seeming fine, Fran was driven to hospital in an ambulance for tests, with Peter insisting on accompanying her. However, she still attempted to ignore him in the ambulance, looking in the opposite direction of him. When Peter tried to turn Fran's head towards him, it broke her neck.

Meanwhile, Manny, still being mistaken for a policeman, arrives at the police station, and meets Inspector Barry Norris, and is asked to accompany him in an interview with a criminal. He is also asked to perform the 'Good Cop, Bad Cop' routine, which, after complementing the criminal on his 'beautiful eyes', frightens the criminal, known as Nogsy, into admitting his crime. Manny, still under the guise of a policeman, pretends that he has been working as an officer for twenty years and decides to retire, and leaves the station.

Back at the shop, Bernard explains how he broke. He says that he, after not being able to bear not knowing what he had done, visits Gerald and Sarah, and asks them what he had done. They reveal that he had defecated through a wicker chair in the kitchen, in front of their son. He explained that he rushed from the house in embarassment, however, fell down the patio stairs, breaking his arm. Manny returns, and, accidently 'sits on himself' again. After he does so, he says in a high-pitched voice, 'That was a particularly bad one'.

Running gags[]

  • A running gag throughout the episode is Manny repeatedly sitting on his own testicles, which concludes the episode when Manny sits down and says in a high-pitched voice 'That was a particularly bad one'.

Cultural references[]

  • Manny acquires 'The Sweeney', a British police/crime drama series which ran from 1975-78, as a birthday present.
  • Bernard says that Sarah is an interior designer on 'Pet Surprise', a spoof of makeover shows such as 'Extreme Makeover' and 'DIY SOS'. He says that "They take the dog for a walk, he thinks it’s a normal walk, but when he comes back, the kennel has a patio and French doors."

Behind the scenes[]

  • There are the wanted posters from the following episode, The Big Lockout, on the police station walls.

External links[]

[1] 'The Blackout' on IMDb

[2] 'List of Black Books Episodes' on Wikipedia

[2] 'The Blackout' on