The focus was of course on Betty tonight in both episodes, but the writers successfully weaved in other story lines. Particularly striking was the thread concerning Norris and his efforts to settle Betty's unpaid paper bill. Viewers are left gasping as Norris works on Gordon, beginning with shameless flattery. She was 'a wonderful, wonderful person' he states to her bereaved son. Going in for the kill, well, the hope of a fully paid up paper bill anyway, he informs Gordon that Betty was 'an avid reader,' Norris showing himself to be a master of subtlety. When Gordon confirms that Betty read The Gazette from 'cover to cover', and that if the newspaper boy was late there would be 'hell to pay' Norris begins to get excited, but quickly realises he has misinterpreted Gordon's words. Undeterred, Norris gives it one more go and turns for a second time to flattery, this time about Betty's admirably prompt remuneration. No luck! Then, out of nowhere, Mary appears and asks, 'Any joy?' For just a moment we expect from Norris an uncharacteristic moment of generosity, but all he can manage is, 'Some customers simply get away with it.'
Particularly heartbreaking was the reminder of how the bereaved have to deal with the minutiae of the deceased person's life. Norris's careful writing of Account Closed summed that up very well. He redeemed himself to some extent by settling the bill, even though it was a mere £4.65.
Something in Betty's letter to her friends might have made many viewers sit up and take notice. It was the line from the 'old song' which says, 'It's later than you think.' Thank you Betty; we all need reminding of that sometimes in order to make the best of things.
Viewers may find this website useful www.crusebereavementcare.org.uk