Drop the Dead Donkey: Season 6, Episode 7

The Final Chapter (9 Dec. 1998)

TV Episode  -  Comedy
8.7
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Ratings: 8.7/10 from 6 users  
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Time is running out for Globelink. During the station's dying days, Sally prepares for her final bulletin and married bliss, whilst Dave and Henry are at daggers drawn.

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Title: The Final Chapter (09 Dec 1998)

The Final Chapter (09 Dec 1998) on IMDb 8.7/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Susannah Doyle ...
Robert Duncan ...
Ingrid Lacey ...
...
...
David Swift ...
...
...
...
...
Melvyn Hayes ...
Neville Phillips ...
Vicar
Iain Rogerson ...
Guard
...
Sir Roysten
Maureen Bennett ...
Miss Frobisher
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Storyline

Time is running out for Globelink. During the station's dying days, Sally prepares for her final bulletin and married bliss, whilst Dave and Henry are at daggers drawn.

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Comedy

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9 December 1998 (UK)  »

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Quotes

Gus Hedges: [finally confronting Sir Roysten] Why don't you return my calls? I have tried so hard to please you! People like me... we waste our lives... for what? For a fat man in a big house! And what do we get in return? Broken minds... dead souls... scorched eyebrows. Well... let me tell you something...
[he is cut off by the automatic door closing]
Miss Frobisher: [on intercom] Yes Sir Roysten?
Sir Roysten: Miss Frobisher... who was that man?
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Soundtracks

What Becomes of the Brokenhearted
Written by James Dean, Paul Riser and William Weatherspoon
Performed by Jimmy Ruffin
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User Reviews

Not perfect, but a fittingly bittersweet end to a classic series...
20 February 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

On the eve of the sale of Globelink News, the soon-to-be-unemployed staff plan for their futures. On the up - so it seems - are Sally, engaged to one of the world's richest men, looks forward to a future as a well-compensated trophy wife; George, embarking on a tentative affair with Henry's niece; and Joy, raking it in as a new art sensation, a romance with her agent on the cards.

Very much on the slide are Gus, his tenuous grip on sanity gone up in smoke with the previous episode's office fire; Dave, whose financial situation has gone from dire to deadly, and whose previously indissoluble relationship with Henry is decidedly icy; Damien, who - thanks to years of moral-free fact-twisting and cameraman-maiming - is finding jobs a little thin on the ground; and Helen, who - having started at Globelink so full of promise and ambition - has found her career dead in the water and is faced with the prospect of making a living delivering sandwiches wearing "a black and white stripy uniform that makes you look like a sodding zebra".

This last episode of DTDD suffers slightly from the hints of caricature that occasionally marred the last few seasons. Damien and Joy's stories, in particular, stretch credibility just a tad. (Did we really need to have Joy's misanthropy validated, yet again, with yet another crappy boyfriend, just for the sake of a thin critique of the fraudulent modern art scene? Why couldn't she have been happy? That would have bucked the trend.)

On the plus side, we see a marvellous conclusion to the long-growing friendship between Sally and Helen. From mutual hatred in their early exchanges, via sympathy through Sally's miscarriage and fears about ageing, to see Helen now openly concerned that Sally is throwing her happiness away in the name of "making do" - and Sally responding to it with something other than vitriol - is a wonderful development.

The closing musical montage is a marvellous finale: playing over shots of the newly- unemployed staff struggling to get on with life, the opening lines of What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted serve as a summation of the show's view of modern Britain: "As I walk this land of broken dreams...happiness is just an illusion, filled with sadness and confusion".

A stance already articulated in rant by the broken, probably insane Gus as he finally confronts his beloved employer, furious at the callous use-em-lose-em attitude of Blair's Britain. Unfortunately, just as the show seems poised to go out on this note of political fury, it cops out to an easy gag and slams the door shut on the poor lunatic. After all, we cannot be permitted to feel sorry for Gus, not even at this late stage.

The real tragedy, however, is saved for George. Long the butt of the series' cruellest ironies, victim of a terrible marriage, a con artist fiancée, a psychotic daughter, his own physiology and a series of horrible cardigans, he seems - at last - to have found both happiness and a backbone, and prepares to fly to Australia to start a new life after FINALLY telling his bloodsucking ex-wife Margaret that he will no longer be subject to her emotional blackmail. ("No, I don't believe you're having another heart attack right now!" - yelled down the telephone. The whole office cheering George's outburst is a marvellous moment.)

Gullible fools. How could we believe it would all go well for George? How could GEORGE believe it would all go well for George? After the montage - and one last dig at Jeffrey Archer for old times' sake - we see him standing, gazing at the sun, watching a wallaby hop by... with Margaret in a wheelchair. The last shot of George's face, eyes red-raw with weariness as he glances longingly up at a passing aeroplane, are utterly heartbreaking. A cruel final blow for him, and for the audience, but to be honest, it couldn't have ended any other way.


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