Rides (British TV series)

Rides is a British television series produced by the BBC between 1992 and 1993. It lasted two series of six episodes each and was made by Warner Sisters, a UK-based television production company based in Ealing.

Written byCarole Hayman
StarringJill Baker
Louise Jameson
Caroline Blakiston
Katharine Schlesinger
Lynda Steadman
Lucy Speed
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series2
No. of episodes12
Producer(s)Lavinia Warner
Production company(s)Warner Sisters
Original networkBBC One
Original release18 February 1992 (1992-02-18) 
18 June 1993 (1993-06-18)

The series starred Jill Baker as Patrice Jenner, a former Royal Corps of Transport warrant officer who starts up an all-women taxi firm. The first series dealt with the establishment of the business and the recruitment of a team of drivers - Scarlett (Caroline Blakiston), Janet (Louise Jameson), Sue-Lyn (Katharine Schlesinger), Aileen (Lynda Steadman), Aggie (Nimmy March) and George (Nicola Cowper). The second series explored more personal storylines involving the women, such as Patrice's relationship with her teenage daughter Beki (Lucy Speed). The first series also starred Jesse Birdsall as Julian, Patrice's love interest, however in series two Julian was played by a different actor, James Purefoy.

George was a motorbike-riding, leather-clad lesbian who was dating Sacha, played by Charlotte Avery. They lived in a squat and befriended Patrice's daughter Beki - causing much concern to Patrice. George, Frankie and Sacha were the motorcyclists who made up the 'dispatch' part of the firm. Scarlett (Caroline Blakiston) was a transsexual (male to female).

Sample plot: Episode 4, Season 2 "Which one of you is the victim?"

This episode was directed by Diana Patrick.

In this episode Scarlett picks up Mr Goodwin who suffers from agoraphobia, Sacha says she is pre-menstrual and so George agrees to take her packages. Janet picks up an illegal passenger in the street - a woman who has been raped called Jess Macdonald. She takes her to the police after some cajoling. They take swabs and she suffers numerous interviews before she is allowed to return home. Janet takes her and visits her a few days later, encouraging her to see a counsellor and Janet decides to volunteer to become one herself, however her husband Graham (Jeff Rawle) disapproves which only seems to cause more of a gap between them, as Janet is struck by a question Jess asked her earlier: "Why do men do this sort of thing and why do other men let them?" and is dissatisfied when Graham answers her saying they do it to keep power over women and the world and it's not in the interests of men who don't to stop those that do.

Meanwhile, Sue-Lyn gets a job as a hostess on a gameshow called 'Knock Knock, who's there?' which has Arthur Smith as the sexist and lecherous host. Her boyfriend Billy is annoyed at the way she is objectified on the show and when Sue-Lyn is made redundant one of the crew tells her the real reason was because 'her boobs weren't big enough'.

George offers to take Beki to watch her play hockey (with Sacha and Scarlett) on Saturday as Patrice has a date with Julian.

Julian and Patrice end up sleeping with each other back at Patrice's flat (after Julian meets Patrice's pet rabbit) and Patrice seems insecure because Julian is a much younger man (he is 29) but defends him when her ex-lover (married man and father of Beki) Colonel North (played by Oliver Cotton) aka Alex walks in on them in bed, saying that at least Julian makes her feel attractive and that it was a mistake that she continued to see Col. North when he was never going to leave his wife for her.

Bryant is seen vomiting into a toilet and then tells Patrice that she could do with a crisis manager to sort out the despatch side of the paperwork 'and your image'. When questioned on what she means about the image Bryant points out that Patrice has 'all sorts' working for her - Aggie's a dopehead, Scarlett is a transsexual and as for George!...' Patrice defends George's time in prison but Bryant says it's not just about George being an ex con - that she saw George and Sacha coming out of a gay bar the other night and that she 'better be careful with Beki' - although Patrice had been defending being gay until her daughter was mentioned.

Patrice then admonishes George for letting Beki ride on the back of George's motorbike on Saturday and is clearly unimpressed by how enthusiastic Beki had been in regards to George's squat and the fact their bed was a futon/sofa bed. Aileen is having trouble with her daughter Jo-Anne, who has been playing truant from school and takes her out shopping in order to show she does care about Jo-Anne's welfare but in the dressing rooms she sees a large cut on Jo-Anne's arm and suspects her boyfriend Tony of abusing her daughter.

Dale (the Australian, played by Erica Grant) says she is outraged by the treatment Jess received at the hands of the law and the courts and threatens to write to The Guardian newspaper but when she gets home she simply types 'lonely lonely lonely' onto her screen.

The women all go out for an Indian meal and whilst there get harassed by some drunk men, George gets up from the table but is prevented from causing further trouble by Sacha. Scarlett however walks over to the men and sets off a rape alarm by their ears and then sprays one of them on the shirt with spray paint, which she carries with her for protection.


  • Patrice - Jill Baker
  • Janet - Louise Jameson
  • Beki - Lucy Speed
  • TV Compere - Arthur Smith
  • Billy - Simon Donald
  • Sue-Lyn - Katherine Schlesinger
  • Jess Mcdonald - Katherine Stark
  • Magistrate - Philip Anthony
  • George - Nicola Cowper
  • Sacha - Charlotte Avery
  • Julian - Jesse Birdsall
  • Aggie - Nimmy March
  • Dale - Erica Grant
  • Aileen - Lynda Steadman
  • Raquel - Suzan Sylvester
  • Jo-Anne - Evelyn Sweeney
  • Micky - Joseph Swash
  • Col. North - Oliver Cotton
  • Graham - Jeff Rawle
  • Bryant - Judith Scott
  • Stella - Carole Hayman
  • Bobby - Henry Goodman
  • D.I. Thomson - Doña Croll
  • Dr. Bhatia - Sudha Bucha
  • Mr Goodwin - Ralph Riach
  • Men in restaurant: Breffni McKenna and Tony Bluto
  • Stunt artists - Sy Holland and Colin Skeaping
  • Series written and devised by Carole Hayman
  • Title Song lyrics - Bill Connor, Carole Hayman
  • Song performed by Sheila Gott
  • Music - Bill Connor
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