Clocking Off is a Drama programme.

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Clocking Off

This drama series is made up of six interconnected stories about the lives of a group of workers at a Manchester textile factory, with each episode focusing on the home life of a different character.

Ever wondered what goes on behind neighbours'doors? Sometimes it's best not to delve into other people's lives, as Kev Leach (Jack Deam) finds out in the fist of a new series of Paul Abbot's acclaimed drama, "Clocking Off".

In "Kev's Story", Kev is pretty happy with his life - steady job, cute hairdresser girlfriend, Babs (Ashley Jenson), own home and nights out with the boys. Then his work-mate , Brian Pringle (Paul Oldham), a machine engineer at Mackintosh, moves in across the road following his divorce. At first, things run smoothly - the pair share the petrol on the factory run and go for a quick pint after work. But then Kev gets nosy. Through his video camera, usually reserved for taping his more intimate moments with Babs, he takes a look at Brian surfing the net across the road.

What Kev sees, or thinks he sees, is so unexpefcted, so awful that he can hardly process the information. Is he living across the road from a paedophile?Well, he might be, and then again he mioght not be. The problem for Kev is that however much he thinks he sees, he's never quite sure if his suspicions are justified.

As the weeks go by, Kev watches Brian closely, storing away any evidence that proves his suspicions. He even starts working in the youth club where Brian volunteers, just to keep an eye on him.

Kev's suspicions lead him down a dark road to violence, an illicit liaison and to the growing realisation that even if he can prove that Brian is up to no good, Brian will do anything to stop him blowing the whistle. For once, Kev is faced with a situation that not even his brother Martin (Jason Merrells) can sort out. And he is finally forced to dp something it seemed he'd never do - start growing up.

In "Bev's Story". Good time girl, Bev (Lindsay Coulson) is always up for a laugh but her life hasn't turned out quite as she had planned.

She's lonely, her only son is nothing but trouble and it seems as though the fun times are gone forever. However, when Mal (Paul Copey), widower and regular nice guy, turns up to service a machine at Mackintosh, Bev suddenly glimpses a possible future and, from where she sits, it looks just fine.

Knowing that Mal has alweays had a bit of a thing for her, Bev flirts with him and he asks her out. Mal's teenage sons take an instant dislike to Bev but their dad is besotted and feels alive for the first time since he lost his wife.

When Bev moves in, bringing her tacky knick-knacks with her, Mal's eldest son is furious. The situation becomes worse when Bev tells him that his mother and father's relationship was not perfect - especially hen it came to sex.

But Mal turns a blind eye to Bev's failts. He is in love. Bev wins, the son leaves and Mal and Bev get engaged. Then Bev falls pregnant. When she loses the baby, Mal is bound to her even more tightly - until a drunken conversation in a bar with Julie (Siobhan Finneran) reveeals that the pregnancy was not all it seemed.

In "Freda's Story" Freda (Joan Kempson) has her glad rags on. After sitting all week at a sewing machine at Mackintosh, she's all ready to enjoy a girl's night out. However, she's been left with more than she bargained for. She's been babysitting her grandchildren and, once again, her daughter Lindsey - not very reliable at the best of times - is late picking them up. Freda is left all dressed up with two small children to sort out.

When Julie (Siobhan Finneran) phones to find out where she is, Freda tells them to go without her. However, as a good friend, Julie turns up to help. Not for the first time, Lindsey doesn't show up at all and Freda's life is about to change. Either she looks after the children or Social Services will.

At first, it's a nightmare. How can she cope with the kids and a full-time job with not enough money and not enough time? She tracks down the father, Tony (Jonathan Wrather), to ask him to help but he's more interested in getting back to his game of pool. Increasingly desperate, Freda doesn't know where to turn. Then a chance meeting with Mack (Philip Glenister) offers her an opportunity to explain the situation and he gives her the space to sort herself out.

Gradually, Freda stops seeing the children as an imposition in her life. With extra income from a new venture into curtain-making, part-time hours at work and Julie's open-hearted willingness to chip in, Freda's life has become complete. When she finds out theat Lindsay has left the country and that her grandchildren are with her long term, it is no longer a problem.

However, looming in the background is Tony. In court for breaking his probation on a drugs charge, he suddenly sees the kids as a way of avoiding jail time. One day he turns up and just takes them. Freda is left heartbroken. She realises that all she wants is the children back.

In "Barry's Story", Life is pretty simple for Barry Sleight (Barry Jackson) - as simple as life can be for someone whose wife has run off with his previous employer, who works nights as a security guard at Mackintosh while trying to bring up two young daughters, and who lives with his mother.

He's kind of innocent abroad, untouched by bitterness. Then, one day, something unthinkable happens to him. He wins £20,000 on the pools. To Barry, this is a life-changing amount. He doesn't have a love-life; he doesn't really have a social life, come to that. He went out with Trudy (Lesley Sharp) but that obviously wasn't going anywhere. Then he meets Trudy's sister, Janice (Susan Cookson). Janice is everything that Barry is not - wordly, cynical, mercenary. Since her husband ran off with all her money, love isn't half as important to Janice as cash. When Trudy suggests a date with Barry, Janice dismisses the idea out of hand. However, when Trudy reveals that Barry has come into some money, though not how much, Janice changes her mind and her interest suddenly perks up and she gets herself a date.

Barry quickly falls in love and even Janice finds herself reciprocating. He is a good man and, as an added bonus, he's a fantastic lover. She meets his kids and his mum and everything looks rosy for them both, until Janice discovers that Barry's win is only a measly £20,000. When she breaks things off, Barry thinks it's because she fears so much cash will change him. How wrong he is - for Janice, it is not too much, but too little. However much self-loathing Janice feels, will it be enough to make her give Barry another chance?

In "Ronnie's Story". Some people's lives seem like open books, nothing hidden, everything there for all to see. Ronnie (Ricky Tomlinson) is one of these people. A Mackintosh lorry driver, for over 20 years he has cared lovingly and devotedly for his wife Jess (Kate Fitzgerald), who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis.

One day, Ronnies truck is hijacked. He is beaten, dumped in a car boot and the lorry's content stolen. From this moment his world starts to unravel. Ronnie wants out: out of caring for Jess and out of his life. He's given enough and now he has a chance to start again, with Jess's home help, Trish (Denise Black), whom he has fallen in love with.

Rumours fly around the factory after Ronnie is questioned by the police, who believe that the hijack was an inside job. Ronnie protests his innocence but, like many things in his life, this is a lie. As the police suspect, the thieves' information came from Ronnie. The violence was just to make it look good.

For Trish and Ronnie, conspiring in the robbery was a way out. It was the only was to both provide for Jess and for them to be together. They console each other by thinking about their future lives. They get their cut and everything seems to be going according to plan.

Then Ronnie's son Nick (William Ash) sees them together and he suspects the worst. Ronnie, forced into a corner by Nick's anger, has to face up to the situation that will cause so much pain to those he loves.

In "Martin's Story" Martin (Jason Merrells) and Trudy (Lesley Sharp) are an item - and a happy one at that. Martin's relationship with Mack however is not so hot.

When the company that insures Mackintosh lorries refuses to renew the policy , Mack (Philip Glenister) blames Martin, his transport manager. Whether he's angry about the policy or just jealous of Martin and Trudy is not clear, not even to Mack himself. He just can't beleive that Trudy, who was always so devoted to him, can have settled for Martin. And Mack doesn't like losing, even though he hadn't realised that he wanted to compete.

Trudy, comfortable and secure with Martin, makes a suggestion. Why don't they take over running the haulage as an independent company and, while they're at it, why doesn't Martin move in with her? They're a good team. And after the final meeting with the bank about financing their new venture, they get married.

Things go well. Mack tries to muck things up but he pushes Trudy too far and she walks. She's got her own business now and she doesn't have to put up with him anymore. Mack faces the realisation that maybe he needs her a lot more than she needs him.

Then Martin's sister-in-law, Sue (Alison Swann), arrives and she is eight months' pregnant. Martin had a fling with her previously and her husband, Martin's wayward brother, Stuart, is in jail. When Trudy hears Sue say that she considered having an abortion, she suddenly relises that the baby is not Stuart's but Martin's. For Trudy, this means the end of their relationship.

When she confronts Sue, her suspicions are confirmed. Sue swears that she will never tell Martin but Trudy knows that this is a secret that she cannot live with. She sends Martin round to see Sue and then packs his bags ready for him. Martin has always looked after everyone, taken care of everything. He'll leave her now to look after Sue and the baby, his baby, won't he?

But this is one decision that Martin is determined to make for himself. And Martin, for once in his life, really knows what he wants.

Written by : Paul Abbott

Produced by : Juliet Charlesworth for Red Productions

Executive producer : Nicola Shindler

Genre: Drama

Running Time: 55 minutes (approx)

Main Cast

Steven Williams
William Ash
Tony Mooney
Marshall Lancaster
Image for Susan CooksonSusan Cookson
Tony Broughton
Melanie Kilburn
Paul Oldham
Katie Blake
Craig Kelly
Image for Lee InglebyLee Ingleby
Image for Siobhan FinneranSiobhan Finneran
Steve Jackson
Image for Derek RiddellDerek Riddell
Joan Campion
Andrew Readman
Judith Barker
James Murray
Ben Crompton
Nicholas Sidi