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One Day A Lemming Will Fly (Series 1)



Written by: Jimmy McGovern

Produced by: Gub Neal

Directed by: Simon Cellan Jones

Originally Screened: 01/11/93 (Part 1), 08/11/93 (Part 2)


"You promised to share my burden" - Cassidy


Fitz and Judith are back together and attempting to restore their marriage. This story opens with them leaving the cinema and debating whether an example of a pure motive (Fitz’s obsession) has ever been captured on screen. Judith argues for Bogart in Casablanca as having been truly altruistic at the film’s conclusion. Fitz makes the same case for Jimmy Cagney at the end of Angel’s with Dirty Faces (Fitz’s favourite movie). Because of Judith’s affair with Graham, Fitz finds it almost impossible to share a bed with her.


A 14 year boy named Tim goes missing and is later found hanging from a tree. His parents are separated and clearly have great difficulty turning to each other for emotional support. The pathologist’s report indicates that Tim was murdered first and then hung. Tim’s murder causes everyone connected with him to feel like they are responsible. His brother reacts to these feelings of guilt by attacking two boys who had been bullying Tim. Soon afterwards, Tim’s English teacher, Nigel Cassidy, attempts to commit suicide. Fitz manages to talk him down from the roof of a shopping centre. It then emerges that Cassidy might be gay which prompts Bilborough to arrest him. Bilborough is awaiting the birth of his first child which is causing him great emotional distress and means that his mind is not fully focused on the case.


Local feeling is running high and the police car bringing Cassidy to the station is attacked. Because of the lack of forensic evidence linking Cassidy to the murder, Cassidy is released. He is attacked when he returns to his flat and is taken by Fitz and Beck to a hotel for his own protection. In the midst of all the professional problems, Fitz is still flirting with Penhaligon who asks him to join her on a holiday for two weeks. This presents Fitz with the conundrum of whether he wants to lose his family and take a chance on an uncertain relationship that may or may not succeed. Back in the hotel, Fitz and Beck (between sniping at each other) try to force a confession out of Cassidy. Fitz promises Cassidy that he will support him and share the burden of guilt that Cassidy must be feeling over being responsible for the death of a child. Cassidy eventually confesses and is taken back to the hotel to be charged. Bilborough’s wife has just given birth to a baby boy and he is clearly ecstatic. 


When Fitz goes to visit Cassidy one last time in the cells, Cassidy berates him for being obsessed with exposing other people’s lies while persistently leaving his own falsehoods unexamined. (This allegation, of course, reveals one of the central paradoxes in the character of Fitz: He is always willing to accuse other people of being liars but quite happily remains one himself). Cassidy then tells Fitz that he did not physically kill Tim but still feels responsible for his death because he chased Tim away on the night that he died. Cassidy wants Fitz to be a fellow sufferer of guilt because, once Cassidy is convicted, the killer will be able to strike again and Fitz will have allowed this to happen.


Fitz urges Bilborough to let Cassidy go but he refuses. This causes Fitz to leave the station and vows never to return. Bilborough holds a press conference and announces that he is charging Cassidy with murder. Fitz returns home to pack for his holiday with Penhaligon. He looks out the window and sees his wife and children in the garden. He then decides that he cannot leave them and goes outside to join them. Penhaligon leaves a message for him saying that she thinks he has forgotten their appointment and goes off on her holiday alone.


Episode Guide written by Graham Price


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