Image above: 2 Point 4 Children cast L to R Georgina Cates, Julia Hills, John Pickard, Gary Olsen, Belinda Lang

2 Point 4 Children

BBC TV sitcom 2 Point 4 Children ran for eight series (56 episodes) from 1991 – 1999. Harassed Bill Porter, played by Belinda Lang, juggles working in a bakery alongside her sex-mad friend Rona (Julia Hills) with looking after lazy husband Ben, a plumber, (Gary Olsen) and their teenage children Jenny (Georgina Cates) and David (John Pickard).

In the sitcom the Porters lived at 142 Chepstow Road, Cheswick. The first five series were filmed in Chiswick: the family house exteriors were shot at 142 Duke Rd. Rona’s house was opposite, filmed at 121 Duke Rd.

From Series 6 onwards, the exterior shots for the Porters’ and Rona’s houses were taken in Meon Road, Acton. The internal shots of the houses and most internal locations were filmed at BBC Television Centre, London.

Liz Smith, who went on to play the grandmother in The Royle Family, played two characters in the series: Aunt Belle and Bette, Bill’s mother.

2 Point 4 Children was directed by Richard Boden, known also for Blackadder Goes Forth (1989), The IT Crowd (2006) and Time Gentlemen Please (2000).

You can find episode synopses at IMDb and watch all the episodes on BBC iPLAYER.

Series 1

Series 1:1 Leader of the Pack (1991)   Watch on iPLAYER

Harassed Bill Porter juggles working in a bakery alongside her sex-mad friend Rona with looking after lazy husband Ben, a plumber, and their children Jenny and David.

Bill is called to Jenny’s school where the headmaster – in costume for a Gilbert and Sullivan show – tells her that Jenny has been truanting. It turns out that Jenny has been seeing a biker called Spin. Bill herself keeps running into – literally – an attractive biker called Angelo.

Series 1:2 Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1991)   Watch on iPLAYER

Bill is fed up, as Ben is too tired for sex and keeps nodding off whilst watching television and no one helps with the housework. She confides in Rona her feelings for Angelo the biker.

Series 1:3 When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Go Shopping (1991)   Watch on iPLAYER

Ben is concerned when he has to visit the tax inspector but is delighted to find he has been granted a rebate. Bill goes to the supermarket to shop for Ben’s barbecue but, after giving chase to a thief, is mistakenly arrested herself.

Series 1:4 Love and Marriage (1991)   Watch on iPLAYER

Bill’s mother Bette comes on one of her dreaded visits, bringing Jenny a taffeta dress and a video nasty for David. To their annoyance Bill and Ben are ordered out of their bedroom and when Bill comes home from work early she discovers why. Bette is in bed with an old flame.

After the initial row the two women have a heart-to-heart and Bill wonders if she is turning into her mother.

Series 1:5 Dirty Bowling (1991)   Watch on iPLAYER

Bill is feeling harassed and Ben is no help with his frequent visits to his workshop. Stressed out by work at the bakery and her efforts to pass her driving test she misses the signs when an unhappy Jenny splits with her boyfriend. Fortunately Rona is on hand to cheer Jenny up with her considerable experiences with men, while Ben takes Bill bowling.

Series 1:6 Young at Heart (1991)   Watch on iPLAYER

After Ben spends the rebate on a car, money is tight. She runs into Angelo again. Ben has a go at teaching David the facts of life with a girlie magazine but discovers David knows them already.

Series 2

Series 2:1 I’m Going Slightly Mad (1992)   Watch on iPLAYER

Now unemployed, Bill is late for her appointment signing on, thanks to a phone call from Bette, and the car breaks down on the way to the DHSS office.

Series 2:2 Bedtime for Bonzo (1992)   Watch on iPLAYER

Already bored with her new job, Bill also has to look after Ben, down with flu, and has taken in next door’s dog, the elderly and flatulent Bonzo. When Bonzo falls ill, rather than let him suffer, Bill puts him out of his misery with Ben’s tablets.

Series 2:3 Hormones (1992)   Watch on iPLAYER

Bill is concerned that David’s interest in death is not helped by Ben who, on his way to the school parents’ evening, imagines himself to be the Terminator and cuts up a Ford Escort. Bill fears that she may be pregnant again and buys a home testing kit but when one of the testers goes missing and Jenny acts oddly it looks as if Jenny is the one who is expecting.

Series 2:4 One Night in Bangkok (1992)   Watch on iPLAYER

Tina tells Ben that their estranged father Frank is coming home from Thailand but when Bill and Ben go to meet him are amazed to find that he has a much younger Thai bride Darrani. Ben argues with Frank over his constant absenteeism and the Porters leave but Rona persuades Bill, Darrani and Tina to go with her to see a male stripper.

Series 2:5 The Skeleton in the Cupboard (1992)   Watch on iPLAYER

Ben gets a camcorder to film the family with a view to sending a video to ‘You’ve Been Framed’ but Bill is not in the mood.

Series 2:6 Bird on a Wire (1992)   Watch on iPLAYER

Rona is preparing for her wedding to Gordon and the Porters’ house is in chaos as Auntie Pearl takes charge. David complains of feeling ill and he and Ben escape to sit in the car whilst Bill goes to see Rona. Through the kitchen window she sees her friend, in her bridal dress, dangling from the ceiling in the attempt to change a light bulb …

Series 2:7 Thank Your Lucky Stars (1992)   Watch on iPLAYER

Rona takes the bus to her wedding and gets into conversation with a garrulous old lady, Peggy. The more Peggy talks to her the more Rona feels she should not be getting married and, on arrival at the church, finds so many of her ex-boyfriends in the congregation that she cannot go through with it.

Series 2:8 Misery (1992)   Watch on iPLAYER

Rona is spending Christmas alone, all her ex-boyfriends being otherwise engaged. The Porters are spending the holiday with Bette and they hate it – Bill recalls painful childhood Christmas times while Ben imagines himself in a scene from ‘Misery’ with Bette breaking his legs and tying him to a bed to make him stay at her house.

Series 3

Series 3: 1 The Secret Diary of David Porter (1993)   Watch on iPLAYER

Cleaning David’s cluttered room Bill discovers his secret diary which recounts past events in the Porters’ lives – how Bill, setting up her own catering business with Rona, almost came to blows with a prostitute after putting a card in a newsagent’s window; how Bette’s sister Belle locked herself in her flat refusing to come out for Bill or soppy social worker Mo until Bette came round to patch up a long-running family feud and how Rona’s gay brother visited, taking a shine to Ben.

Ultimately Bill discovers the real secret hidden in the cupboard with her son’s diary – and it is scary.

Series 3: 2 When the Children Are Asleep (1993)   Watch on iPLAYER

Late at night Bill and Ben see a car speeding away from the house next door. Believing that Leonard and Dora Grimes are away on holiday Bill assumes they have been burgled and phones the police with the car’s registration number.

Series 3:3 Badger’s Bend (1993)   Watch on iPLAYER

With custom falling Ben has become addicted to the Ninja Badgers video game and Bill makes him go cold turkey to break the addiction. Fortunately watching a goldfish David brings home does the trick.

Rona attends her old Catholic school to drum up trade for the catering business, lying to an old schoolmate about being a respectable charity worker. When the formidable Sister Virtue tells her that liars will burn in hell, she fears she may have unleashed a curse.

Series 3:4 Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1993)   Watch on iPLAYER

Bill and Rona are catering for a wedding reception and Jenny agrees to help but, having just split with Jason, she is depressed and careless and drops things. Christine also assists but is short-tempered and abrasive as ever. Rona has good luck though when she spots the handsome DJ Tony and decides he is going to be the father of her child.

Series 3:5 Beam Me Up, Scotty (1993)   Watch on iPLAYER

Ben hears that his biggest rival in the plumbing trade, Jake the Klingon, has died. With no family of his own, Jake has made Ben the executor of his will and given him the responsibility of planning a lavish funeral with a Star Trek theme.

Series 3:6 Whoopee, We’re All Going to Die (1993)  Watch on iPLAYER

The Porters are enjoying their holiday at Key West when they see on the Weather Channel that Hurricane Bill is approaching so they flee to Miami, staying in a cramped motel full of other hurricane refugees. When the power goes down they expect the worst and spend the night huddled in a cupboard, where Jenny announces that she and Jason are engaged.

Series 3:7 Babes in the Wood (1993)   Watch on iPLAYER

On Christmas Eve the Porters and Rona set out to meet Bette and Pearl at a hotel but get lost in the fog and are nervous when they hear on the radio about an escaped criminal. They make their way to a deserted old house and one by one the three adults set off to get help but never return.

Series 4

Series 4:1 The Parent Trap (1994)   Watch on iPLAYER

The house is in chaos – builders are still modifying the kitchen to the health inspector’s standard and David is running a sideline in providing cockroaches to school-friends. At least Jenny is happy with new boyfriend Clive, whose parents, Laura and Harry, invite Bill and Ben for dinner.

The evening goes well – until the Porters find that they have accidentally brought some of David’s cockroaches with them.

Series 4:2 Family Plot (1994)   Watch on iPLAYER

In an attempt to make the family enjoy quality time together Bill takes out the fuse and puts in in a self-addressed envelope in a pillar box. With no television, radio or computer the family is really bored and a game of Charades only ends up with them talking about television shows.

Series 4:3 Fortuosity (1994)   Watch on iPLAYER

Bill receives a chain letter threatening bad luck if not sent on to others. Against Ben’s advice she rips it up, but then bad things begin to happen.

Series 4:4 Curiosity Killed the Cat (1994)   Watch on iPLAYER

Bill is laid up with flu, aware that the household cannot function without her and biding her time by listening in on Jenny’s phone calls and spying on Rona. Ben is looking after Snowball, the Grimes’ cat, while they are on holiday, only it wanders off and he goes after it. But is the cat he brings back the right one?

Series 4:5 Frenzy (1994)   Watch on iPLAYER

Jenny is worried that her performance at the school concert will be overshadowed by the buxom Charlene and her Madonna impression. Bill meanwhile goes to visit Rona and finds two escaped snakes in the living-room.

Series 4:6 You Only Live Twice (1994)   Watch on iPLAYER

Bill despairs as she learns from the fireman that a blaze at their house was caused by faulty wiring. She surveys her gutted house. Rona lets the Porters stay with her and also persuades Tony not to move out – by imprisoning him in the fold-up bed. Bette turns up with a skip, personifying the spirit of the Blitz as she oversees the house’s refurbishment.

Series 4:7 Relax-ay-voo (1994)   Watch on iPLAYER

On Christmas Eve, having somehow ended up with four trees, Bill is amazed when the message ‘Is That You, Bill?’ appears on David’s computer and cannot be switched off. In reply to cryptic messages Bill inadvertently cripples the country’s television transmission while Rona gets in on the act by summoning three scantily-clad and extremely puzzled young marines.

Series 5

Series 5:1 Greed (1995)   Watch on iPLAYER

Unlike the rest of the family Bill is opposed to the National Lottery and only wants to do her paperwork whilst the rest of the Porters watch the live draw and speculate on what they would do with their winnings. She suddenly realizes that she must have washed Ben’s jeans without taking the ticket out of the pocket and rushes off with Rona to buy a replacement.

Series 5:2 We’d Like to Know a Little Bit More About You for Our Files (1995)
Watch on iPLAYER

After their lottery win Bill and Rona are keen to find new premises but Bill is worried when Jenny tells her that David stayed out all night and they find a piece of paper with the name Bunty Manson on it. When Bill and Rona phone Bunty’s number an older woman answers and David is plainly in the background.

Series 5:3 The Deep (1995)   Watch on iPLAYER

The Porters get a phone call from Mr and Mrs Grimes on holiday in Switzerland and are reminded they have offered to look after something in the couple’s absence.

Seeing all the Grimes’ koi fish have died involves a mercy dash to Reading where Tina buys replacements from a specialised pet shop. Rona and Tony stall the Grimes on their return from the airport and Bill and Ben manage to fool the old couple that their fish are alive and well. Sadly they forgot about the racing pigeons.

Series 5:4 Mayday (1995)   Watch on iPLAYER

On Bank Holiday Monday Bill is looking forward to hosting Clive, Laura and Laura’s German mother Sophie. Unfortunately Bette pays a surprise visit, talking about VE Day street parties and bringing The Sound of Music video. Rona brings Pearl in to divert her, but the pair do nothing but talk about the Blitz.

Series 5:5 Seven Dials (1995)   Watch on iPLAYER

David is hoping his parents will come and see him in his school drama performance and they promise to be there but…. Ben, as retaliation for sending Jake the Klingon on a wild goose chase, is knocked unconscious and wakes up in Port Meirion.

Bill and Rona break into potential premises and find it is where singer Shirley Bassey stores her stage gowns. They dress up and Camcorder each other. Needless to say, they miss David’s performance.

Series 5:6 The Truth Is Out There (1995)   Watch on iPLAYER

Since Rona has omitted to tell the council, who own her house, that her mother, the named tenant, has been dead for eleven years, Rona is informed that the council are planning to sell the house.

Series 5:7 Porky’s (1995)   Watch on iPLAYER

On Christmas Eve Ben surprises the others by explaining that he has not bought a turkey as he has won a pig in a raffle. Unfortunately it is very much alive and extremely aggressive, soon eating the family out of house and home.

Series 6

Series 6:1 Dog Day Afternoon (1996)   Watch on iPLAYER

On a Saturday afternoon Jenny comes into the house evidently upset and it becomes apparent that something has happened between herself and Clive. Bill and Rona compete with Ben and David to find out what has happened.

Series 6:2 The Lady Vanishes (1996)   Watch on iPLAYER

On Hallowe’en Bill dismisses the supernatural as ignorant suspicion. However, when a foreign-accented gentleman delivers what appears to be a coffin to Mrs Curdaal from next door, she has second thoughts, particularly when a bat flies into the bathroom and, after seeing a sinister figure at Mrs Curdaal’s house she realizes the name is an anagram of Dracula.

Series 6:3 Vertigo (1996)   Watch on iPLAYER

Rona comes across Psychic Sadie’s horoscopes in a magazine, which tell her something unpleasant will happen to her. Bill is cynical but then they get a call to visit Aunt Belle who is not opening the door to visitors to her high rise flat.

In fact she is stuck on a ledge, having gone out to feed the pigeons but fear that she will be put in a home if the authorities are called so Bill and Rona go out to save her – and get stuck themselves.

Series 6:4 The Trouble with Harry (1996)   Watch on iPLAYER

Bill is considered mean when she refuses to allow the family to have a dog so, to get her used to the idea, they pretend to have an invisible dog, who they call Harry. Bill is roped into walking him which gets her some funny looks, but on returning home finds an actual dog in the lounge.

Series 6:5 The Man Who Knew Too Much (1996)   Watch on iPLAYER

To the annoyance of Jake the Klingon – now a member of the Thunderbirds Society – Ben receives the Purple Plug on his windscreen, inviting him to become a member of the Brotherhood of the Plunger, the masonic society for plumbers. He has to perform some bizarre public rituals to show that he is worthy. The rest of the family believe the whole thing is a wind-up engineered by Jake.

Series 6:6 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1996)   Watch on iPLAYER

Bill is left a heavy antique wardrobe and its contents, a mink coat, by a deceased aunt. Though opposed in principle to fur coats she cannot resist trying it on but when Jenny comes in she hides in the wardrobe – which is promptly taken to an auction.

Series 6:7 And Now the Screaming Starts (1996)   Watch on iPLAYER

Ben has still not returned or arrived at work and he has taken a black banana instead of his phone. But Bill has another concern when she discovers that Rona has brought home the baby she found at the hospital. Bill uses Harry as a sniffer dog to track down Ben.

Series 6:8 Two Years Before the Mast (1996)   Watch on iPLAYER

Tina is going on a two-week Mediterranean cruise for Christmas so the Porters drive her to Southampton docks, where Ben crashes into the captain’s car and the crew’s van. Bill, Ben, Rona and David go on board to see her off but discover that the ship has sailed before they can disembark.

Series 7

Series 7:1 Perfect Day (1998)   Watch on iPLAYER

Jenny thinks she has got her A-level results but it is a prank played on her by David so she gets her own back, leaving him with his hair dyed bright green. Meanwhile Rona asks Bill to entertain an old friend. When the woman turns up she witnesses a row when Bill accuses Ben of spending the family’s holiday money on a replica of Lady Penelope’s car from Thunderbirds.

Just an average day in a normal household.

Series 7:2 When Saturday Comes (1998)    Watch on iPLAYER

Ben’s team Spurs are on a losing streak and must win their last three games to avoid relegation. Despite Bill having given Ben’s ‘lucky’ underpants to the charity shop the team wins so Ben insists that on the next match day everybody behaves exactly the same as they did on the previous Saturday – including Jenny and Clive splitting up as she is going to university.

He is so confident he places a bet to say that if Spurs lose the family will dress as the Spice Girls and sing in public…

Series 7:3 Malcolm X (1998)    Watch on iPLAYER

Tired of being taken for granted by the family Bill agrees to spend a weekend in Scotland with old flame Malcolm, now a big name in Hollywood. Rona covers for her, saying she is staying with a former school-friend but Ben, watching a golf tournament in Scotland on television, sees Bill and Malcolm in the crowd.

Series 7:4 The Sweet Hereafter (1998)   Watch on iPLAYER

While out shopping Ben meets a female market researcher, who, deciding that the Porters are a typical family, gives him a box of foodstuffs to sample. Ben, Jenny and David find they cannot stop stuffing themselves with ‘Drool’ chocolate bars.

When he returns to the market researcher to try and get some more she tells him that they have been withdrawn from circulation for being psychologically addictive and potentially harmful.

Series 7:5 When Did You Last See Your Father (1998)    Watch on iPLAYER

Jenny is now at university and David has a strange Goth girlfriend Maxine with psychic powers, who prophesies a strange visitor. And she is right. Bette tells Bill that her late husband was not cremated but put in cryogenic suspension in a warehouse in Bermondsey.

Unfortunately, on arrival the family finds the warehouse is closing down and they have to keep the coffin overnight at their house before another company can remove it.

Series 7:6 The Italian Job (1998)    Watch on iPLAYER

The Porters welcome David’s Italian pen-friend Fabrizio, a handsome ladies’ man who charms Rona but annoys Ben by hogging the settee and borrowing his car without asking. Soon Bill is also angry when Fabrizio – who has a string of credit cards – encourages David to spend his savings and she gives him a piece of her mind. Ben discovers that Fabrizio’s father is a feared Mafia Don.

Series 7:7 The Heart Has Its Reasons (1998)    Watch on iPLAYER

Ben and Bill drop Jenny off at university and Ben is shocked to find his daughter has a connecting room to Keith, a boy who seems not to wear clothes.

On the way home a gang of children rob Ben’s van and he catches one of them, ten-year old Declan, who escapes but later tracks the family down and returns some of the stolen items. Declan tells them that he is homeless and his mother abandoned him so soft-hearted Bill lets him stay over, with a view to giving him a permanent home.

Series 8

Series 8:1 Fame (1999)   Watch on iPLAYER

Bill is upset when she learns that the other family members have put the Porters forward as subjects for a fly-on-the-wall television documentary.
She goes out of the way when the crew arrives to put them off the idea.

Series 8:2 Enter the Dragon (1999)   Watch on iPLAYER

Declan is staying with the Porters when Bette pays a surprise visit and angers Bill by her indulgence of the little boy. Bill and Ben are anxious to get rid of Bette when she lets slip that often, when staying away from home, she has a nightmare about something white, large and terrifying, which gives Ben an idea…

Series 8:3 Sticky Fingers (1999)    Watch on iPLAYER

Jenny comes home for the weekend with new boyfriend Keith. Bill is quite happy that they sleep together but Ben is disapproving and plans to wear Keith out before he can do anything.

First he gets him to help lay the floor tiles at Bill and Rona’s new catering centre. Then he makes him push a piano he’s bought all the way home with Ben, feigning a twisted ankle, sitting on top of it. Keith loses control of it, the piano rolls down a hill and Ben ends up in casualty.

Series 8:4 After the Fox (1999)    Watch on iPLAYER

When they learn that they are being under-cut by a rival firm Bill and Rona decide to go over to France and buy cheap wine and provisions for their business. Once there they discover that a fox has crept into the back of their van.

Series 8:5 Carry on Screaming (1999)   Watch on iPLAYER

On Hallowe’en a social worker approves the Porters fostering Declan but tells Bill he has an uncle, Lon, who he has never heard of.

Bill and Ben visit him at the cemetery lodge where he lives and note he has a lot of facial whiskers. When Lon tells Ben that there is a ‘curse of the Porters’ Ben fears the worst and assumes that the male members of the family are all likely to become werewolves.

Series 8:6 The Millennium Experience (1999)   Watch on iPLAYER

Declan is now officially part of the family but with the Millennium approaching Ben annoys Bill by panic buying as he believes that a computer failure will cause a shortage of power.

On New Year’s Eve Tina arrives for the family gathering and reports a gas leak but the workmen mending it cut through an electric cable, causing a power-cut. Rona announces she is pregnant, making this a New Year’s Eve to remember, especially when the source of the supposed gas leak is discovered.