Black Books is a sitcom set in a grubby second hand bookshop, run by the permanently drunk, eccentric Irishman, Bernard Black, who is helped by his long-suffering assistant Manny and his oldest friend Fran. The first series, written by Graham Lineham, Co-writer of Father Ted, and Dylan Moran, who plays Bernard, aired in Britain on Channel 4 in 2000. Series two, this time written by Dylan Moran alone, was aired in February 2002. A third series is expected in the near future.
CastBernard Black (Dylan Moran)
Bernard is the owner of black books, and would be a good businessman if it were not for one small fact - he hates people in general, and customers in specific. Bernard hides in his bookshop drinking and smoking to get away from the outside world. If it was not for the joint efforts of Fran and Manny, Bernard would long ago have lost all links with real life.Manny Bianco (Bill Bailey)
Easily recognisable for his shoulder length hair and goatee beard, Manny is the driving force behind Black Books. His excellent customer relations mean that he usually sells more books than Bernard i.e. any. He was hired as the shop assistant after helping Bernard with his accounts, the one thing he hates more than customers. Manny is relatively more sane than Bernard and Fran, but that is not worth much as the same could also be said about Hannibal Lecter. Walking around with a pink towel on his head, reading "Hello" magazine and talking about lamps have cast questions about his sexual orientation, but no concrete evidence has been provided either way. Fran Katzenjammer (Tasmin Kreig)
Bernard's oldest friend and drinking partner, Fran ran the neighbouring shop: "Nifty Gifty", until it went out of business because of, in Fran's own words, she "sold a lot of w**k". She is the least alcholic of the three, but unlike Bernard actually craves a social life, often seen with a boyfriend on her arm. These all invariably leave her quickly, preferring "other, less mad" women.
Series OneCooking the books
Bernard Black is a drunk eccentric Irishman who runs a second hand bookshop in London. Fran is Bernard's best/only friend and runs a gift shop next door. Manny is an accountant in a large firm out of favour with his boss. After swollowing the "little book of calm" (brought from black books), Manny is turned into a messianic figure, constantly reciting phrases from the book. He gets attacked by a gang of skinheads but is seen by Bernard, who is hoping to get injured enough to avoid doing his tax returns...
Manny's First Day
After boozing all night on the day of the previous episode, Bernard drunkenly offers Manny a job at Black Books. Manny accepts, but turns up the next morning to find a hungover Bernard who has forgotten all about it. However, he sticks to his drunken promise and offers Manny a one-day trial to see how it goes. After selling nearly the entire stock of books getting on well with the customers, Bernard explains to him that it's "not that kind of operation" and lets him go. Manny goes next door to say goodbye to Fran, who then promptly goes back to bully Bernard into hiring Manny, telling him that he needs someone "normal" around the place. Grapes of wrath
Manny gets fed up of the state of the backroom of Black Books, and calls in a proffessional cleaning company to sort out Bernards house.
They go to housesit for their friend while the cleaner is in and because of Manny accidentally drink a bottle of £7000 wine that was going to be presented to the Pope. Fran goes on a date with her new boyfriend, Ben, who likes Elton John, lamps and talks to his mother four times a day...The Blankout
Bernard wakes up with only vauge memories of the night before, where he attended a dinner party held by his friend Gerald. Manny has been up all night drinking coffee and watching Cop Movies. Fran has just seen her boyfriend with another woman. Bernard goes to find what he did at last nights party that was so embarrassing, Fran goes to find out why her boyfriend is cheating on her and Manny gets mistaken as a Policeman and gets called in to work on a case at the local station...
After Manny left the front door open the night before and getting robbed, Bernard buys a new high tech security door for the shop. Unfortunately Manny is the only person in when the man comes to install it, and totally forgets the code. Whilst showing Bernard how it works, he accidentally locks him out and himself IN, leaving Bernard alone on the streets and himslef trapped inside black books with only a mouldy cheese sandwich, a shoe wrapped in tin foil and Bernard's dead bees...He's Leaving Home
Manny gets fed up of Bernards persistant bullying and nagging and runs away to make it his own way on the streets. Bernard is exctatic at first but soon comes to realise what Manny means to him. Meanwhile Manny meets a rather ...unorthadox... italian photogropher...
Series TwoThe Entertainer
After her shop closes down, Fran buys herself a piano to entertain herself and hires a teacher so she can learn to play. Manny wants to have some time off. Bernard wants a girlfriend. Watch as all three get what they want and then loose it again.Fever (Featuring Jhonny Vegas)
It's summer. There's a heatwave. Manny is, for some reason, paranoid that temperature will rise above 88 degrees. Fran is paranoid that the walls of her flat are moving inwards. She wakes to find another flat next door to hers that wasnt there the night before. She asks bernard to act as a lawyer and try and scare the landlord into giving her the second half of her flat back. Unfortunatly Beranard falls in love with the girl living in it, and Fran is forced to take measures into her own hands.The Fixer
Fran has lost her gift shop and needs employment. Manny offers to ask "Gus" (A friend from his days in the underworld) to find her a job. However in return Manny and Bernard have to teach Danny, Gus's pyscopathic criminal nephew, to read in one week.
Manny walks past "Saga Books" (Bernard spits) and spontaniously buys £114 worth of books, just because it was so nice. He redecorates Black Books whilst Bernard is down the pub, complete with coffee machine, information point and a sofa that eats people. Bernard is not pleased. Meanwhile Fran discovers she has Eastern European relatives living just round the corner.Hello Sun
Bernard and Manny are about to kill each other. Bernard says Manny never stops nagging. Manny says Bernard never stops complaining. They both go to a therepist to try and deal with each other. Fran's friend finally manages to convince her to go to Yoga classes with her, but Fran's lifestlye of ciggeretes and alcahol fails to break under the force of the mind-expanding exercise.A Nice Change
Where once next door was Nifty Gifty, there is now a building site. 24 hour building for a fortnight. A great opportunity to go on holiday. Manny wants adventure in the jungle. Fran wants to lounge on the beach. Bernard wants somewhere quiet with a pub where he can read and drink ("Just like here then" says Manny) Unfortunatly they let Fran take charge of arranging the flights to Sunny San Antonerai
Series ThreeManny Come Home
Guest Star : Spaced's Simon Pegg
Fran returns home from her holiday to find a week long feud between Manny and Bernard getting out of control.
Elephants And Hens
Guest Star : The Office's Lucy Davis
Fran gets invited to an old school friend's hen party, and Manny and Bernard attempt to write a book that children will read down the ages, with mixed results.
Moo-Ma and Moo-Pa
Manny's parents come down to stay for the weekend. Bernard and Fran soon find out that he has been telling more than just a couple of lies.
A Little Flutter
Bernard gets hooked on gambling after winning on the grand national.
Manny organises for a famous travel writer to visit Black Books
Manny convinces everyone to visit a party being thrown by a rather nice young lady he is aquainted with. They all return at midnight stark raving drunk, and a few old secrets are let out.
Memorable QuotesFran: Do you know what they do in Tibet when they want something? They give something away
Bernard: Oh really. That must be why they're such a dominant global power
Bernard: The only thing that's going to bring me peace is a beard seeking missile!
Manny: Do you think I should wash my beard?
Bernard: Yes you should wash it. Then shave it off... nail it to a frisbee ... and throw it over a rainbow
Avoiding doing Tax Returns:
Jehova's Witness 1: Would you like to talk about J-jesus?
Bernard: Yes! Great! Come in!
Jehova's Witness 2: What?
Bernard: Come in! I'd love to talk about Jesus. Whats he up to now?
Jehova's Witness 1: It's just that people dont usually say yes...
Bernard: Well, im not people! Come in!
Jehova's Witness 2: It's a trap!
Fran: What do you do in the jungle?
Manny: Well, see how many miles you can walk in a day. If you run out of water you can always drink your own urine.
Fran: What about insects and Things?
Manny: Well, You dont really worry about them when you're quaffing pints of your own wizz
The food critic:
Bernard: What were those funny coloured things?
Bernard: You know I hate student food! You are trying to poison me!
Demonstrating the use of the new security door:
Bernard: Whats the code?
Manny: There was a little man!
Bernard: Thats the code? There was a little man!?
Manny: No! There was a little man in his hair! I got distracted!
Bernard: Well the little man in my hair is getting very irritated! So what we have here, essentially, is a security system that doesn't let anyone in or out of the shop!?
Bernard: Including us!?
Manny: Yes. Er, we'll get used to it!
After Fran sees her boyfriend with another woman in a cafe:
Fran:I told him very clearly that he was a cheating scumbag and that the foxy lady he was with was a slag.
Bernard:...It was his sister wasn't it. He was comforting her.
Fran: Yes. She'd lost her job
Bernard: (To Manny) Hey! Ghengis Kahn!
Bernard: (To Manny) Oi! Lord of The Rings!
Bernard: (To Manny) Hey! Gandalf!
To the Milwall skinheads beating up Manny:
Bernard: Here, have you heard this chant? Um...
You're all really dreadful,
And all your girlfriends are unfulfilled and alienatedAfter drinking Frank's £7000 bottle of wine:
Bernard: We’ll make some more! We’ll use some of the cheap stuff, nobody will ever know the difference.
Manny: But this cost £7000! He’s presenting this to the Pope!
Bernard: He won’t know the difference.
Manny: He’s the Pope! He’s used to the finer things!
Bernard: It’s all waffle! Nobody is prepared to admit that wine actually doesn’t have a taste.
Manny: But you can’t taste anything. You smoke eight bajillion cigarettes a day! What’s that?
Manny: What are you eating?
Bernard: It’s some sort of delicious biscuit.
Manny: It’s a coaster.Bernard: Staying here and watching the thermometer or going to Fran's and watching the walls. It´s an impossible choice. I just hope that when I flip the coin it explodes and kills me. Fran: I am a giant ear, waiting for your songs of goodness