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Black Books was a half hour British comedy series written and created by Dylan Moran and Graham Linehan. It was about a surly, unkempt bookstore owner and his constant female friend as well as his upbeat but put-upon employee. The plot of Black Books centered around the antics of Bernard Black (played by Dylan Moran), Fran (played by Tamsin Greig), and Manny (played by Bill Bailey). Bernard owned a used bookshop where he ignored customers, never cleaned up, and spent a good deal of his time drinking and smoking. Fran originally owned the nick-nack store next door, but eventually that closed and she went through a series of other activities. Manny was an accountant who ended up working for Bernard after having a life-changing experience that included swallowing a book on calming methods and getting into a fight with street thugs.

While the three named characters were the main focus of the show, sometimes guest stars would appear for one or two episodes. These included Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Jessica Hynes of British comedy series Spaced, as well as Julian Rhind-Tutt of the British medical comedy/drama Green Wing.

Much of the show was focused around Bernard, Fran, and Manny drinking and having ridiculous experiences because of it. At one point they drank a bottle of priceless wine meant for the Pope, and at another point they went on a vacation that included nothing but riding airplanes around the world and losing their luggage.

The comedy style of Black Books was very similar to that of the series Spaced. At some points it was slapstick, while at others it has a more absurdist quality. While some jokes related very specifically to England and its culture, others were broader in scope and appealed to a more universal audience.

Three series of Black Books aired from 2000 to 2004. They included 18 episodes altogether, each with a running time of around 23 minutes. After originally airing on the BBC they later were released on VHS and DVD, and began airing in countries such as America on Comedy Central and later on the Netflix service.

Black Books is a series that is currently running and has 3 seasons (18 episodes). The series first aired on September 29, 2000.

Where do I stream Black Books online? Black Books is available for streaming on Digital Rights Group, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch Black Books on demand at Amazon, Vudu, Microsoft Movies & TV, The Roku Channel Free, iTunes, Crackle online.

Digital Rights Group
3 Seasons, 18 Episodes
September 29, 2000
Cast: Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey, Tamsin Greig, Martin Freeman
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Clips & Extras

Black Books Full Episode Guide

  • It's Friday night. Manny and Fran are determined to go out and do something for once. Bernard would rather stay at home, get drunk and ignore his friends. Manny insists that they go to a particular party. But why? And anyway, who is the best dancer?

  • Manny is extremely proud of the travel writing festival that he has organised. He has invited the famously charming explorer Jason Hamilton (Julian Rhind-Tutt) to give a talk.

  • Manny's parents come to stay. They are a perfectly nice middle-aged couple with one or two slightly annoying habits. Bernard wants rid of them, preferably the day before yesterday.

  • It's International Children's Book week in Black Books. Bernard and Manny decide that they can do better than the trash that children are offered these days, deciding to write their own kids' classic and retire Rowling-rich.

  • Fran (Tamsin Greg) comes back from holiday to discover that Manny (Bill Bailey) has resigned and is now working next door at Goliath Books. Left to his own devices, Bernard (Dylan Moran) has let things slip a little.

  • Bernard and Manny can't hear themselves argue because of the builders next door. Fran suggests a holiday. But how will the three of them fare when they attempt to venture abroad together?

  • Fran tries to discover her inner karma at the advise of her disapproving friend Eva. Bernard finds proof positive that Manny is mad. And Manny discovers a new found confidence and his inner king.

  • Unemployed and restless, Fran takes comfort in the discovery of her exotic new found cousins. In pursuit of Michelin stars Manny and Bernard transform the infested bookshop into a restaurant.

  • Manny uses his underworld connections to find Fran mysterious employment.

  • Fran can't sleep in the heat. Bernard needs a girlfriend to stop him staring. And Manny can't say what will happen if it gets to 88 degrees.

  • Ever keen to distract herself, Fran takes up piano. Ever keen to delude himself, Bernard falls in love. All Manny wants is a break. But genius finds no rest as Fran lies to a sweet old blind man and Bernard the recluse deceives his adoring public.

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Black Books Video Clips & Extras

Black Books | Home Hindrance | Channel 4 Clip (01:11) Black Books | Grand Deception | Channel 4 Clip (01:41) Black Books | A Bad Business | Channel 4 Clip (01:54) Black Books | Polite Pursuit | Channel 4 Clip (01:13) Black Books | Charm Offensive | Channel 4 Clip (01:54) Black Books | Is It Safe? | Channel 4 Clip (01:34) Black Books | Dream Come True | Channel 4 Clip (01:39) Black Books | All Nighter | Channel 4 Clip (01:59)