'Tis Pity She's A Whore
Episode No.   Series
18 2x10 Two
Directed By
Chronological Information
Preceded By
Followed By

When Susan's mother (Avril Elgar) rings and says she's dying again, Janey goes to visit her. She then tells Janey that her mother Mary was a prostitute, which shocks Ben as Susan never told him. Meanwhile, Michael is standing in the school elections as a Conservative, much to Ben's annoyance as he claims it is a "Labour household", but Michael does manage to get Ben a park bench with his name on it.


Main PlotEdit

At 5am in the morning, Susan's mother (Rebecca) calls waking both Ben and Susan.  She is calling to invite them to her funeral as she is dying, a claim she has apparently made several times before.  Susan reminds Ben the reason she dislikes her mother: she is manipulative and controlling and does not want to visit her.  She decides that she will send one of their children.

The following morning Susan bribes Janey with money to shop at Selfridges on the condition that she visit her grandmother.  Janey visits her grandmother who pours her a vodka martini, she asks Janey to tell Susan that she was coughing up blood in an effort to persuade Susan to visit.  Janey notices that items around her grandmother's house were marked by Michael on his previous visit - items that he wanted upon his grandmother's death.  Janey also learns that her great-grandmother was a prostitute.  Susan however was under the impression that Janey's great-grandmother was a socialite and a social hostess that ran a bed and breakfast, which Ben deduces is actually another way for saying she ran a brothel.

Susan visits her mother to find out why she told Janey about her prostitute relatives, Rebecca proclaims that she "still has it" - referring to the fact she managed to get Susan to visit.  Susan's mother critises Susan about being a progressive parent.  When Susan returns home, she persuades Nick to visit his grandmother, who apparently can't stand Nick.  Nick also delivers a message from Susan, "she wins" - referencing that Rebecca does not want to spend time with Nick.


Michael is standing in his school elections, apparently the latest in a long line of Harpers in politics, however he reveals that he is a Conservative, much to the chargrin of Labour Ben.  Michael worries about his standing in the school elections if it is revealed that his great grandmother was a hooker.

Ben spends time trying to prove that the Harper side of the family is not boring, which included a tie salesman. He takes out a photo album which he goes through with Nick - for four generations his family had the fifth haberdashery in Derby.  Ben's grandfather almost had a knot named after him, almost known as the Harper Knot until a man named Jenkin's choked to death on his wedding day which was blamed on the knot.  Michael uses his connections in politics to immortalise Ben by arranging to have a bench on the park donated that will have a plaque with the Harper name on it.

Whilst admiring the bench in the park, he is arrested for paying two prostitutes to move away from the bench, which the policeman mistakes as Ben paying for their services.  Michael works on his resignation speech as a result of his father's picture being taken during the escapade.

Cast & CrewEdit

Main CastEdit

  • Robert Lindsay as Ben Harper
  • Zoë Wanamaker as Susan Harper
  • Kris Marshall as Nick Harper
  • Daniela Denby-Ashe as Janey Harper
  • Gabriel Thomson as Michael Harper

Guest CastEdit

  • Avril Elgar as Rebecca (Susan's Mother)
  • Joanna Scanlan as Dental Assistant
  • Claire Lubert as Hooker
  • Charlotte Palmer as Hooker
  • Timothy Bateson as Derelict
  • Steven O'Neill as Policeman
  • Mark Drewry as Mr Winslow

Notes & ReferencesEdit

The Harper side of the family includes Harold and Charlie who look alike.

Susan's mother is never referred to by name, however the credits reveal her name to be Rebecca.