Arthur's hopes of a warm Scottish welcome are somewhat dashed, while tempers run high when Mark meets Ruth's family.
Mark and Ruth set off in some clapped out old banger to drive to Scotland. Geoff and Michelle drive up there a bit later in his car, Pauline and Arthur get the coach. They're all due to arrive about dinner time (7ish), Mark and Ruth first. However, when Geoff and Michelle arrive, they're not there yet. Ruth has been map reading and taken the wrong exit and they get lost (this seems rather odd since it's her house, and she doesn't know the way..??). She says last time she got the train there. They are about 50 miles away while Michelle and Geoff are making small talk with the parents: the father turns out to be a priest, which is a bit of a shock, still lots of these Scots seem to be religious!!!! They are also teetotal, which is another slight shock, being Scottish, who aren't exactly known for sobriety. Geoff and Michelle have an uncomfortable half hour and then at 7 there's a knock, it's Arthur and Pauline who are offered drinks, and obviously ask without thinking, for scotch and a G&T.; Everyone looks embarrassed and Michelle says err they're teetotal, so they all have some tea. Ruth has teenage brother and sister and another who is about the same age as Vicki, they go off uneventfully to play upstairs. Mark and Ruth don't arrive, and they have to start the meal without them. When they do arrive, they've had fish and chips because they're so late. They go in the back door and arrive at the dining room, Ruth introduces Mark as "This is my husband, Tibby, Mark", which made me look up from my dinner expecting to see a cat. But it was obviously just her accent. Her father went to get the food, and she went out to say she'd already eaten.
He chucks the dinners in the bin in a huff. At various points in the dinner people go out into the kitchen - Ruth talks to her mother who says that he's in a bad mood because she hasn't changed her mind and agreed to get married in church. She says it would be hypocritical as she doesn't believe in any of that. After dinner, they clear up. Ruth goes into the kitchen, Arthur goes and talks to her, saying that her father is probably having a hard time to let go of his daughter, he is with Michelle and he finds it hard to even talk to her. Ruth is surprised and he also says that if she needs someone to talk to if it all gets a bit much, they are there, too. Ruth is very grateful. (He has noticed that her parents aren't in the least friendly or supportive to her)
Arthur brings out his suitcase with loads of smarties Easter eggs in it and hands them all out saying that even though they are all grown up and getting married, they are still their children and to remember that. Ruth's father says that he has something to give them too, and hands over an antique book thing (presumably a bible or something similar) to Ruth. She and Mark say thanks. Ruth's father asks who's best man, Mark says Arthur is, and he asks Ruth if she still wants him to be a witness. She says of course, and there's nothing she wants more, and he says he'll be pleased to. (Well it looks like it's going OK.. however). Ruth's mother says she'll go and get Marks and Ruth's rooms ready for them, Arthur says "keeping them apart are you, jolly good thing too, there's plenty of time for that later". Michelle and Pauline look embarrassed and frown at him. After a little idle chatter, Arthur and Pauline excuse themselves, saying it's late, and get a taxi to their hotel.
Then the parents sit down and quiz Ruth and Mark about having children. Ruth gets evasive and her father says he knew it, she's pregnant. She says she's not, they don't know if they will have children. Her mother says but it's your job, you love children. (that is she's a teacher, not that it's her job to drop sprogs all over the place!). They says they haven't thought about it, which prompts a round of you're too young and you're rushing into it, etc. Sigh. Ruth is fed up and says she thought they'd be happy for her, and its funny how her father is very nice to everyone until they get an opinion of their own, and if you don't follow the "law" then you might as well be an orphan. All the family look at her incredulously, and at the father embarrassed. (Geoff and Michelle are looking rather dubious about the whole proceedings all the time. Geoff looked remarkably doubtful when he mentioned about them moving up there and the father said they must visit and he'd show them the church...haha)
Ruth goes out into the kitchen, Mark follows her. Mark says it's worse than he thought it would be, and they obviously don't want her to marry him. She says it's her fault, she thought John or her sister might have developed a spine by now, since she left, but it seems that she's the only one who ever stands up to her father, so she has to say everything. Mark says he has to tell them about the HIV thing. Ruth says no, but he says its not fair and she will need their support in the end, so if they haven't told the truth now, then it will be ten times worse whenever it comes out. So they go into the hall, Mark says he has to tell them something, and there's no easy way... All stand around looking expectantly. Michelle looks concerned. He says he is HIV positive. The mother says What? You have AIDS? He says no, there is a difference, but I can't explain it right now.
Geoff looks a bit surprised and looks at Michelle. All the family look a bit surprised, and Ruth says that they have thought a lot and taken all the precautions, etc and she knows exactly what she is letting herself in for and she wants to marry him.
- Caroline Paterson as Ruth Aitken
- Todd Carty as Mark Fowler
- Susan Tully as Michelle Fowler
- David Roper as Geoff Barnes
- Wendy Richard as Pauline Fowler
- Bill Treacher as Arthur Fowler
- Donald Douglas as Hugh Aitken
- Sandra Clark as Maureen Aitken
- Gary Cross as John
- Morag Brownlie as Susan
- Gordon Cameron as Hamish
- Pamela Kelly as Violet
- Roy Evans as Cabbie