First broadcast: Thursday 26 December 1985
London, June 1950. Marion bumps into Dorothy and they agree to catch up over tea at Derry and Tom’s. They talk about the reunion planned back in ’45 and Dorothy agrees to go back to Singapore. Marion sends letters to everyone else in the hope that they too can attend: Maggie, Alice, Dominica, Kate and Sister Ulrica. Ulrica, who now works at the St Francis Xavier mission has a near miss Beatrice now runs the Monica Radcliffe foundation with the help of Christina and her boyfriend Lau Peng, relying on them more and more now that Stephen’s health is failing. Dorothy offers to pay for cash-strapped Maggie, who is now married with two children, to come, while Marion persuades Alice’s father to let her return. There are joyful reunions when everyone gets back together. Jake is still in Singapore and Dorothy is particularly pleased to see him. At Raffles the women are reunited with Dominica who, following the death of her husband, has now remarried. Dorothy has purchased a posh suite for herself and Maggie. The women meet Lau Peng and are given a tour of the foundation and in the Joss Holbrook schoolroom are reunited with Christina. They go on to the cemetery where Joss and Tom are buried. Kate meets Duncan Fraser there, a doctor who remembers her and Tom from 1945. That evening the women gather at Raffles for their official commemoration dinner party. Dorothy spots the arrival of Sister Ulrica by lorry and the pair are delighted to see each other again. Over dinner Ulrica tells the women about her work for the mission and they all discuss the threat of the communists. After acknowledging what each of the women has achieved since the war, Marion proposes a toast to all those in the camps, including their captors, who she now thinks they should forgive. Beatrice and others strongly oppose the idea, but after some discussion the majority eventually raise their glasses. Dorothy gets closer to Jake, while Marion discusses Yamauchi and Clifford with Ulrica. Dominica suggests that they all come up to her plantation in Johore the following weekend and allays their fears about the potential dangers. Dorothy confides in Ulrica that she is having an affair with a married man. Alice tells Maggie about her problems with commitment. Marion is furious at her treatment by former friends and complains about she has never been a person in her own right, except in the camp. She also reveals that Clifford and his new wife Angela are going to have a baby. It turns out that Beatrice is scared to go up country because of her eyesight, but Marion reassures her that she’ll be there for her. Kate confides in Duncan that she is thinking of giving up her medical training due to its restrictive nature and the fact that she knows more than the people teaching her. Maggie and Dorothy argue and the latter decides not to go to Johore. Dorothy catches up with Jake and discovers that he is tracking communists to earn his keep. The women arrive at the Sungei Kuching Rubber Estates run by Dominica’s husband Teddy. Dorothy and Jake go to bed together and afterwards she tries to persuade him to come to live in England. Teddy entertains the women with a number from HMS Pinafore. During another song Teddy asks Marion if he can give her name to a solicitor to help Dominica should he be killed by the communists and she agrees. Teddy suggests to Dominica that she go home with the other women but she refuses. Marion asks Beatrice if she will come and move in with her in England, but she has decided she must stay in Singapore for now as Stephen’s health is failing fast and she thinks he should die in the country he loves. Jake spots that in one of Maggie’s photos Lau Peng is talking to a man he suspects of being a communist and wonders if his work at the Centre is a cover. The next morning Ulrica arrives unaware that bandits have stowed themselves away in her lorry. The bandits kill two of Dominica’s servants and line the women up outside while Beatrice is inside the house looking for her glasses. Dominica refuses to tell them where the ammunition its kept and the bandits drag Alice screaming from the line. The leader orders her death. Ulrica runs forward to stop them and is shot. Dominica reveals where the ammunition is hidden. Inside the house, Christina prevents Beatrice from being shot. The bandits take the ammo and leave. Marion takes charge and after discovering Ulrica is still alive drives her to the hospital. Jake wonders who is going to tell Beatrice about Lau Peng’s involvement with the communists. The women learn that Ulrica should make a full recovery. Marion tells Beatrice about Lau Peng and she elects to inform the police. During the police search, incriminating evidence is found hidden in Joss’s picture. Christina arrives and to the others surprise Beatrice tells the police that she is ‘in it’ too. Christina pleads her innocence but Beatrice recalls the order she gave to the bandit not to shoot her and Kate remembers that Christina was there when the ammunition was mentioned. Christina comes clean and states that she should have let the bandits kill them all. Dorothy makes up with Maggie and tells her that Jake is coming to England as they are going to try and make a go of it. Beatrice is furious with herself and Stephen for letting the situation happen under her nose. Stephen suggests they go back to England and reveals that he knows he is dying. Kate volunteers to take over at the Centre, while Dorothy visits a recuperating Ulrica in hospital. Marion visits Christina and asks her to help the authorities so she can be helped at a rehabilitation centre rather than rot away in prison. Alice is to stay on Singapore to help Beatrice with the Centre until Kate has tidied up loose ends in Australia after which the doctor and Stephen will return to England. Beatrice visits Ulrica and they discuss their need for independence. The women say their goodbyes and agree to meet at Marion’s for Christmas. Dominica turns up and reveals that she and Teddy are due to move to England permanently. On Christmas Day, Kate, Ulrica and Duncan hand out presents at the Centre, Christina is alone in her prison cell, while everyone else is together at Marion’s house. While they listen to the King’s Christmas message, the women toast absent friends.