Episode 1.1
Series 1, Episode 1
Ep 1.1
First Broadcast 12 October 2010
Starring Laura Fraser
Ruta Gedmintas
Fiona Button
James Anthony Pearson
Emun Elliot
Episode Guide
"Episode 1.2"

Episode 1.1 is the first episode of Lip Service. It was first broadcast on the 12th October 2010 on BBC3 and drew in 580,000 viewers[1]. It introduced the main characters and features Frankie Alan's return to Glasgow and her reunion with ex-girlfriend Cat MacKenzie[2].


When Frankie Alan returns to Glasgow to investigate a mysterious message left by her dying aunt, her sudden reappearance rocks ex-girlfriend Cat MacKenzie, who is re-entering the dating scene after Frankie left her heartbroken two years earlier. Will her blind date with policewoman Sam Murray be ruined? Aspiring actress Tess Roberts has a humiliating run-in with her ex-girlfriend, but things start to look up when she finds herself being hit on by a gorgeous, and supposedly straight, TV presenter.


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Frankie and Ali get to know one another.

In a studio, Frankie Alan is conducting a photo shoot with an American: Ali . She makes small talk, especially elaborating on her fiancé. It becomes clear that she's actually into women since she stares stares ś at her bum and Frankie kisses her. Their foreplay is interrupted by a call on Frankie's phone. It's her cousin Karen Alan, informing her that her mother (Frankie's aunt) Carol Alan has died. Ali offers her condolences, Frankie is obviously not bothered and they pick up from where they left off. Later when she returns home, she is looking at Facebook pictures of Cat MacKenzie and Tess Roberts when she receives an answer phone message from her aunt Carol asking her to return home to Glasgow.

At the airport in Scotland, Frankie lights up a cigarette beside a 'No Smoking' sign and is greeted by best friend Jay Adams. During the ride home, Frankie cites the reason for her visit is that she's been needing a break from New York and that her aunt's death makes no difference to her because they haven't spoken in ten years. Frankie wants to get lunch, but Jay tells her that it isn't a good idea because Cat MacKenzie has joined his architect firm and he doesn't know if she's still angry at Frankie because they don't talk about her much. The reason for her anger with Frankie is unclear, but Jay tells Frankie that he's staying out of her and Cat's business. Jay drives her back to his place where she'll be staying while in Glasgow.

Meanwhile, Cat is sitting at her computer completing a planning form when a woman on an online dating site messages her to ask why she is up so early. Cat replies that she is working, but happy to be distracted. The woman asks her out for a drink that night when Tess Roberts barges in brandishing a print out of her ex-girlfriend Chloe's Facebook profile picture. She is angry because Chloe dumped her and then used a sexy photograph online that Tess took of her and Tess speculates that Chloe only joined Facebook to pull a new girlfriend. Tess rips up the print out and put it in Cat's laundry basket, telling her flatmate that Chloe could do with a wash. The computer beeps and Cat informs Tess that the 'cop' has asked her for a drink. Cat frets, asking Tess if she thinks that Cat should suggest another night but Tess tells her that the cop is all Cat's fantasies rolled into one and that she's ready because Frankie was two years ago. Cat accepts the cop's invitation for a drink.
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Cat's online dating.

Tess is in the livingroom trying to find an audition outfit with the help of Ed MacKenzie. He tells her that she looks great in one of Cat's skirts but she ignores him, wondering aloud how his sister carries it off. She then proceeds to undress, shameless in front of men, not noticing that Ed is looking interested. Cat walks in, checks Tess's outfit as she is "the only one with style in our family" and kisses Tess on the cheek, wishing her luck before giving two fingers to Ed before she leaves for work. Tess stresses because her audition is for a face cream ad and as she is a lesbian she thinks that she has no idea what one looks like. Ed bemoans his single status and Tess compliments him, saying that she doesn't understand why he hasn't got a girlfriend. She unknowingly makes him hopeful when she calls him attractive, before shooting it down by stating that "I am

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Tess puts Chloe in the laundry basket.

a lesbian so I'm not sure it counts." She then asks him to come to Chloe's with her to get 'the perfect audition dress'.

At Jay's flat, Frankie is crying. She takes a photograph of Cat off the wall, grabs her things and leaves.

Ed and Tess go around the back of the house as Tess had to give her keys back, but the bedroom window has a faulty catch so they can get in. Ed is doubtful about the morality of breaking in but Tess persuades him.

Frankie walks to the architect firm where Jay and Cat work and stares at the window. Inside, Cat goes to a filing cabinet by the window that Frankie is staring at and Frankie sees her and smiles. Jay whistles to catch Cat's attention inside and feeds Cat a story about going to the doctors when in reality he was picking up Frankie. They banter about their boss's PA and talk about Cat's date with 'hot cop' later, then Cat spies Frankie lingering on the pavement outside the window. Frankie smiles but Cat seems shell-shocked by her presence and leaves Jay to go to the bathroom. She runs the water in the sink, breathing hard.

Outside Chloe's house, Tess is on Ed's shoulder, jiggling the fault catch. Ed is worried about his shoulder but Tess soon manages to break open the window and slithers in; Ed follows. Tess barges into the bedroom and begins looking in closets, ordering Ed to do the same in the livingroom. Tess finds a packet of contact lenses and a D cup bra and suspects that Chloe is seeing someone else. Ed tells her that Chloe probably just has a friend staying, but there are noises outside and it's clear that Chloe has arrived home. Tess admits that she lied when she said that breaking in wasn't a big deal and orders Ed to hide under the bed with her. Chloe and another girl flirt and begin to have sex, not knowing that Tess and Ed are underneath the bed. Tess states that "I'm not listening to this" and crawls out. The other girl is distracted but a floorboard creaks under Tess and she is caught. Chloe is wearing Tess's dress and accuses her of being insane for hiding under her bed. Ed decides that now is a good time to crawl out too and his head appears at Chloe's feet, shocking her further. The other girl demands answers and Tess asks who the hell she is. The other girl's name is Shona and it is apparent that Chloe was seeing Shona before she split up with Tess. Chloe and Ed both ask Tess to leave but Tess demands her dress back. Chloe strips it off and throws it back before Tess storms out. Ed hands Chloe a pillow to protect her modesty before making a hasty exit as the pillow is thrown at his retreating back.

Episode 1.1

Cat sees Frankie outside watching her.

At the architect firm, Cat returns from the bathroom to stare at the pavement where Frankie was standing, but she's gone. Cat is going to a showing of designs but Jay tells her that he isn't going. As she leaves he says that he wants all the details of her date with the cop the next day. Cat leaves the building and checks the street for Frankie before beginning to walk to the showing. Frankie rounds the corner and the two meet. Cat wants answers and Frankie is avoiding the questions. Frankie walks with Cat and they make small talk about work before Frankie slips in a joke about waitresses and Cat asks Frankie what she wants. Frankie wants to talk

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Tess cries at her face cream audition.

and Cat tells her that she should have called, but Frankie was afraid that Cat would say no. A stranger bumps into Cat, causing her to drop her wallet and Frankie picks it up after Cat leaves.

Tess runs into the audition late and goes to the loo to change, first checking in with the receptionist. She pulls her jeans down, laddering her tights and when she pulls the dress on it rips down the side. She is then called in for audition. Four well-groomed girls are sitting reading their scripts outside the audition room and Tess looks messy in comparison. She enters the audition, is introduced to Sally her audition partner and starts her lines. After many interruptions by the director (using the name Trish) Tess breaks down into tears and flees the rehearsal.

Cat is in the design showing talking to a man when Frankie enters, using Jay's name to get in. There is a sticky patch as his middle name is Bryan but Frankie pulls through. Cat excuses herself from her conversation and confronts Frankie, telling her that it's illegal to stalk people. Frankie replies by returning her wallet and Cat thanks her. They joke about Jay's middle name being Bryan and the guy who keeps cornering Cat at work events, but Frankie goes a step too far when she flirts with Cat. She is shot down when Cat tells her that she doesn't care about her anymore.

Later that evening Cat is preparing for her date and Tess is binge eating ice cream. Cat rants angrily about Frankie and frets about her date with the cop. Tess reassures her and tells her to go and try to have fun.

Cat enters the pub, but can't see her date and orders a drink. Looking very uncomfortable, she takes off her bag and coat, reapplying her make-up.

In Rubies, Jay, Ed, Tess and Frankie are celebrating her return and Chloe and Tess splitting up, both Frankie and Ed commenting on how much of a pain she was. Tess bemoans how she can't chat people up and Ed tells her loads of people want to shag her. Frankie notices Ed's inferrence and tells Tess that she's sure that there's someone in the bar right now that would want to get their hands on her. Jay checks out a girl as Becky Love, his girlfriend, arrives and tells him that it's a gay bar and she's probably wondering why he's staring at her. She introduces herself and offers to buy the next round.

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Cat and Sam Murray meet for the first time.

A call comes through for Tess from Cat, who is fretting because her date hasn't arrived and she wonders if she's been stood up. Unfortunately while she's worrying about her date on the phone, Sam Murray arrives and overhears some of the conversation about Cat making her excuses and leaving. She slips in a sardonic remark about Cat making excuses but other than that doesn't take too much offence and buys her another drink despite Cat's idiosyncrasies. As Sam goes to the bar, Cat tells Tess that she's made a complete tit of herself. Tess tells her to calm down and Cat downs her wine, replying that she's totally calm.

Tess re-enters the club after hanging up and Becky makes conversation about Cat's blind date. Frankie takes offense at one of her comments and Jay tells his girlfriend that she was tactless. Becky insults Frankie for leaving Cat after persuading her to leave her girlfriend and Ed promises that if she messes Cat around again, she'll have him to deal with. Jay and Tess laugh at his expense and the group wonder how she's getting on.

The date is very awkward, Cat is unrelaxed and nervous despite her glass of wine. She commits a major faux-pas by unintentionally insulting the police and Sam tries to smooth it over by joking about beating up suspects with bags of oranges. Cat is appalled, genuinely taking her seriously for a moment before she tells her awkwardly that she's joking. Cat laughs and infers that she herself is violent before backtracking and unintentionally seguing into talking about Frankie. Thankfully Sam's phone rings before Cat can make a bigger fool of herself and she is called in to work. She leaves and it's painfully obvious that a second date is not on the cards.

Frankie and Jay talk about 'special friends' and Frankie teases him about never getting to see anyone else naked now that he's committed to Becky. Cat enters the bar just as Ed and Tess return with more drinks, but when she sees Frankie downing a shot she quickly leaves again.

The next day, Ed and Tess are dressed as fizzy drink cans outside a John Lewis. They banter about his grandparents' sex life and Lou Foster, the TV presenter making a special appearance at this event.

Jay is at the office, obviously hungover when Cat strides up to him and confronts him about Frankie. She learns that Frankie is in Glasgow because her aunt died and feels terrible.

Tess is in the toilet texting when she hears someone crying. It turns out to be Lou Foster and Tess consoles her; telling her that she cries in appropriate places all the time, like auditions. Lou tells her that her boyfriend dumped her and went back to his wife and complains about men. Tess replies that women aren't much better and shares her own sob story. She heads back to the drink stand and Ed, telling Lou to come over if she needs cheering up or gets bored.

Frankie enters a funeral home, asking to see her aunt's body. The receptionist Carla compliments her tattoo and Frankie tells her that it's the Japanese symbol for lust. They flirt a little before Frankie goes to see her aunt's body.

Back at the event, Ed and Tess are chatting about Lou when the woman herself interrupts them. Tess is very at ease, convinced that Lou is straight; she makes lots of jokes. Lou seems much more interested in her than Ed and doesn't even remember his name. Once she's gone, Ed tells Tess that she never notices when people like her (blatantly referring to himself as well as Lou).

Frankie is at her aunt's coffin and visibly upset that she is dead. Her uncle and cousin enter and it's clear that Frankie doesn't get on with her uncle. They argue and Frankie asks if he knew what her aunt wanted to tell her before she died. He hadn't known that her aunt had left her a message. Frankie leaves and goes to a toilet where she breaks down crying.

Cat arrives at the funeral home where she bumps into Frankie, who throws Cat's previous remark about stalking people back at her. Frankie asks her why she cares that Frankie's aunt died and Cat gives her a choice; Frankie can be nice, or she can leave. They exit the funeral home together.

Back at the event, Ed and Tess are packing up for the day and going for a curry and a vat of wine when Lou runs up to Tess. She invites her out for a drink and Tess asks her to come with her and Ed, but Ed excuses himself and Lou and Tess are left alone to go to a bar.
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Frankie and Cat are about to kiss but Cat thinks better of it.

Frankie and Cat sit on a step in a park, talking about Frankie's aunt. Frankie invites Cat to her aunt's funeral and the two reminisce about their younger days. Frankie admits to missing Cat and Cat replies the same. Frankie tries to kiss her, but Cat is upset, berating her for her escape to New York and remembering that Frankie is bad news. She leaves.

At a bar, Lou is flirting heavily with Tess, hands on both her knees, complimenting her acting. Tess offers her another drink but Lou invites her back to her place instead.

Frankie re-enters the funeral home and implies that she wants to sleep with the receptionist. Outside, Cat asks a stranger for a cigarette even though she's given up, then realises that she's left her wallet behind at the funeral home.

Lou is on the phone but she doesn't seem keen to talk to the person on the other end and she hangs up to 'entertain' Tess. Tess spies a talking robot and fiddles with it, not noticing how keen Lou is to get her hands on her now that they're alone. Lou eventually kisses her and Tess drops the talking robot and knocks over a lamp with her head. The robot keeps talking as they make out so Lou stamps on it.


Lou and Tess kiss.

Cat goes back into the funeral home which is now in darkness, searching for her wallet. It isn't on the front desk, but she hears noises down the stairs and goes down to (presumably) find someone to help with her lost wallet. However, she walks in on Frankie fingering Carla the receptionist next to a dead body, which Frankie makes a crude comment about. The whole set-up is clearly for Cat's benefit, but she walks away without saying anything, running to get out of the funeral home and into the street. When Carla and Frankie are done, Carla asks for Frankie's number but she says that Carla doesn't want it.

Frankie walks out into the street, pretending not to notice Cat standing just outside crying with a hand over her mouth.

Cast Edit

Main CastEdit

Recurring CastEdit

Guest CastEdit

Critical ReceptionEdit

The opening episode received mixed reviews from critics. Claudia Cahalane of The Guardian wrote that it was "hugely significant" for a drama to normalise lesbian and bisexual relationships, citing a study of BBC output which found that lesbians contributed to just two minutes of programming from a randomly selected 39 hours of broadcasts. While Cahalane expressed disappointment that the episode did not represent butch lesbians, she deemed it "important to recognise Lip Service for the great service it's doing to British lesbians."[3] Keith Watson of the Metro attacked the series' tokenism, suggesting that it included lipstick lesbian clichés to meet the BBC's diversity quota, and commenting that, "It was trying so hard to be modern and liberated but it felt tired and lazy".[4] The Independent 's Amol Rajan criticized the episode's "pathetically vacuous plot", calling the series "spirit-cripplingly tedious". He expressed sympathy for the "clearly talented" cast, opining: "In trying to make a point about the importance of engaging with lesbian issues, this show ends up trivialising them. The lesbians are presented to us not as interesting people, or characters who warrant sympathy; rather, they matter purely because of their sexual preferences. That is immature, patronising, and unrealistic."[5] Evangelical pressure group the Christian Institute reported that the episode had prompted complaints from viewers over its sexual content.[6]


Series 1
Episode 1.1  • Episode 1.2  • Episode 1.3  • Episode 1.4  • Episode 1.5  • Episode 1.6