First episode of Series One of the Channel 4
sitcom, Black Books
It opens in a small bookshop. There are books spewing out of every available corner, stacked on the floor and piled on a table in the middle of the room. A few customers are browsing, while a dishevelled man in a crumpled suit sits behind a desk is arguing on the phone. A customer in a suit approaches him. He ignores him. The customer rings a bell on the desk. He scribbles a not on a post-it and sticks it to his forehead. It reads "ON PHONE". Eventually the phone call ends.
Bernard : "What?"
Customer : "These books over here -"
Bernard : "Ah yes, the complete Dickens."
Customer : "Are they real leather?"
Bernard : (pause)"They're real Dickens."
Customer : "I must have real leather. Everything else in my apartment is real. Tell you what, I'll give you two hundred for them."
Bernard : "Two hundred what?"
Customer : "Two hundred pounds."
Bernard : "Are they leather pounds?"
Customer : "No."
Bernard : "Sorry, I need leather pounds to go with my wallet. Now get out."
And so begins the first episode of Black Books
. It turns out that Bernard has been on the phone to Nick, his accountant, explaining why he still hasn't handed in his accounts. He tries to talk to Nick face-to-face, but their conversation is cut short by a SWAT team
running into Nick's office, so Bernard makes the brave decision to do his accounts. Soon into it though, he realises that he'd rather do anything in the world than his accounts, including talking to his mother, pairing every sock he owns and converting Jehovah's Witnesses
. So when he notices that anyone suffering a major injury is expempt from returning accounts, he tries to find a way to get into an accident.
Manny hates his job as an accountant. His first time setting foot in Black Books is when he rushes in to buy a copy of The Little Book Of Calm before going to work, to help him destress during the day. Unfortunately, he knocks The Little Book Of Calm into his soup during lunch, and completely assimilates it into his body. When released from hospital, he wanders the streets imparting wisdom, like telling Millwall fans to put a little lavender in their socks before leaving the house.
Jehovah's Witness#1 : "Hello sir. Have you ever thought about Jesus?"
Bernard : "What? Jesus? Brilliant! No, come in."
Jehovah's Witness#1 : "Okay, we'll be - what?"
Bernard : "Come in!"
Jehovah's Witness#2 : "Sorry, er, this has never happened to us before."
Fran : "Have you worked on your accounts."
Bernard : (covered in scraps of paper) "Yes. I've made a lovely suit out of them."
Customer : "How much for this book?"
Bernard : "Actually, there's a special offer on that one. It's free if you break my legs."
Bernard : "Ah Millwall. What's that chant again? Oh, Millwall, Millwall, you're all really dreadful and your girlfriends are unfulfilled and alienated."
Bernard : "Which one of you bitches wants to dance?"
Manny : "I could do your accounts for you. It's the least I could do."
Bernard : "You mean you could do more?"
Black Books | Manny's First Day