The FIVE TO NEWS Team prepares to break the news that, with less than 2 weeks to go, Father Christmas will not be delivering this year due to an apparent stress related illness. FIVE TO NEWS has been given exclusive access to the story and they hope this will revive their flagging viewing figures. Young, self obsessed (but incompetent) reporter Ed Dimley (who is the son of Anchor man and owner of FIVE TO NEWS, Richard Dimley) reports live from a press conference by Children’s Minister Sir Philip Hunt. Hunt explains that the UK Government has put an emergency plan in place. Speed Delivery Systems (S.D.S) has been awarded a government contract, and children will receive presents as usual on Christmas Eve. Father Christmas is resting in a private location to avoid press intrusion.
As the news breaks, people are busy preparing for the Festive Season (#1 Christmas Day). Sheila and Michael Fowler are Christmas shopping with their son Henry and are arguing as usual.
Back in the FIVE TO Studio Richard Dimley interviews Andy Speed, CEO of SDS (another exclusive). Speed explains that a state of the art flying vehicle ‘The Blitzen Bullet’ has been specially developed to deliver the presents.
After the show, young and ambitious researcher Charlie Hackett tries to persuade Richard Dimley that he has what it takes to be a reporter. He suspects something is not right about the Father Christmas story. Dimley explains to Charlie (#2 Respectively Speaking) that the world is divided into winners and losers. He is the former and Charlie is definitely the latter. He tells Charlie to put away his suspicions.
The Fowler family are queuing at one of the newly installed SDS retail outlets. Twelve year old Emily Watson (who goes to school with Henry) is outraged by the whole operation. She tells the waiting customers it is a rip off. There are significant ‘hidden charges’. She is thrown out by security and the remaining customers leave.
Ed Dimley presents another FIVE TO exclusive from the secret workshop of the Blitzen Bullet. He interviews its (lunatic) American designer Arnie Ringbinder, who explains its literally ‘unbelievable’ capabilities (#3 The Blitzen Bullet). The song is a pastiche of Greased Lightning.
At the Fowler home, Henry is getting ready for bed. Henry loves Father Christmas and is devastated by the news. Sheila tries to comfort him (#4 This Christmas).
As Henry goes to sleep his phone rings. It is Emily Watson. She has created a group (E.L.F) to protest against SDS. She is a bit of a veteran political campaigner and suspects that Hunt is not telling the full truth and that the media are not reporting the full facts. Henry reluctantly agrees to go to the group’s first meeting and subsequent protest at the weekend. He promises not to tell the grown-ups.
The FIVE TO NEWS team discusses the success of the exclusives. Viewing figures are on the up. Ed Dimley is being sent to Lapland for a special report. Ed taunts Charlie for not having what it takes to be a real reporter. Charlie speaks with the weather girl Mel Summers. He has a huge crush on her. Charlie explains he is secretly investigating SDS and has discovered a prior link between Hunt and Speed. He has also uncovered some financial irregularities at SDS. Mel is really impressed and encourages Charlie. After she leaves Charlie dreams of a life with her (#5 If She Were Mine)
In searching for his missing passport, Ed Dimly discovers Charlie’s investigative notes. He sees an opportunity and secretly photographs them.
In a phone conversation, Philip Hunt tells Richard Dimly not to send Ed to Lapland. There is nothing to see there. Hunt tells Dimley their ‘agreement’ was that FIVE TO provide only positive news stories in return for financial favours. Dimley agrees to not send Ed to Lapland.
Ed Dimley goes to Andy Speed’s office at SDS. He tells Speed that he has uncovered some incriminating evidence and that his whole Christmas operation is a fraud. Speed pretends to be impressed with Dimley’s investigative powers and asks how he got them. Dimley explains (#6 Truth). As he is doing so Speed is mixing some liquid into a glass of water (unseen by Dimley who is far too obsessed with talking about himself). Dimley drinks the water. A few minutes later he passes out cold.
Henry and Emily arrive in a nearby by village hall for the first meeting of E.L.F. Henry is anxious as he is meant to be at Chess Club and worried he should be back soon. More children arrive who have been recruited via social media. Eventually there are 12 Children. Emily tries to take charge but they all arguing over the name. Eventually Emily gets control and explains that their strategy is ‘civil disobedience’. She explains what this means but the others are dubious. Emily gives them a brief history of some successful civil disobedience campaigns in the past (#7 Civil Disobedience). Inspired by Emily’s impassioned political rhetoric, the members of ELF head off for their first demonstration (although Henry remains to be convinced)
Sheila Fowler is on the phone to the police. Henry is late back from Chess Club. Michael blames Sheila for indulging Henry in a fantasy world (#8 Your Fault).
Meanwhile, news of a demonstration by a group of children outside the Ministry of Children is breaking in the FIVE TO newsroom. As producer Kate Frost cannot get hold of Ed Dimley, she sends Charlie to see what is happening.
Members of E.L.F have taken a short bus ride to central London and are demonstrating. They chant, wave banners and demand to see Sir Philip Hunt. Two police officers who are guarding the building chat to the children. Charlie arrives and observes the protest from a distance. When the children are told they cannot see the Minister, they decide to storm the Ministry. In the heat of the moment, Charlie follows them in.
There is a chase inside the Ministry during which all of the children except Henry and Emily are apprehended.
Emily finds her way into Hunt’s office and hides under his desk. After a few moments, Henry enters and hides in a cupboard. A few moments later Charlie enters. He hears Hunt coming and hides in the other side of the cupboard.
Hunt enters and is furious. Andy Speed calls him. Speed tells him about Ed Dimley’s visit. He says now they have no option except to bring forward Operation Santa to that night. He transfers funds on his computer to an account in the Cayman Islands. He tells Speed to meet him at the Bullet that evening.
Charlie, Emily and Henry emerge. After the initial shock of discovering each other hiding, Charlie explains he is a journalist who is investigating the case. From inside the cupboard he has recorded the phone conversation between Hunt and Speed. Emily then hacks Hunt’s computer (she good at that sort of thing too) and downloads a file called Operation Santa to her phone. They check the exit is clear and leave.
Outside the Ministry, Emily sends Charlie the ‘Operation Santa’ File. Charlie makes Henry and Emily promise to go straight home. He starts to dream about the being the journalist who breaks the story. (#9 Scoop of the Century)
On their way home, Emily is looking at the file on her phone. She discovers it says that ‘FC’ has been re-located to an address in Peckham. It is only a ten-minute bus ride away. Emily persuades a dubious Henry to go and see if it is Father Christmas. Henry finally gets a signal on his phone and rings his mum to tell her he is on his way home, but just popping to see someone on his way!
Charlie arrives back at the Newsroom. He tells Katie and Melanie what he has discovered. Richard Dimly overhears and is furious. He makes Charlie destroy the recording (it has been obtained illegally) and then fires him. They are confused as to why Dimly is not following the story. Melanie tells Charlie not to give up and that (despite her natural skepticism) she believes Charlie can get to the truth (#10 Generally Skeptical).
Henry and Emily are outside the address in the file. After some persistence, the door opens, and they enter. Inside, they are greeted by a large man, with a big white beard drinking brandy. He insists he is NOT Father Christmas, but under tough questioning finally concedes that he is. Henry is overjoyed. F.C. explains that he is not ill but hiding. He has been receiving threatening anonymous letters telling him to retire (or it’s reindeer pie all round etc). He decided to inform Heads of World Government and Sir Philip Hunt kindly stepped in with his plan. He offered him a safe haven until things were resolved. Emily tells him he has been duped. Sir Philip Hunt has sent him the letters. Hunt’s SDS plan with Dave Speed is a scam. He is charging for the service, stealing the money and (she suspects) is going to use the Blitzen Bullet as a getaway vehicle with Speed that night. Father Christmas is Skeptical but Emily shows him the file. They tell him he must get back to the North Pole straight away and get back to work. She tell him journalist Charlie Hackett is going to reveal the truth on FIVE TO NEWS. Father Christmas says he has no transport (his sleigh is in the North Pole). Emily and Henry say they can steal the Blitzen Bullet (the file tells them it is located at Hunt’s Surrey Mansion House). Father Christmas says the task is beyond him. He is too ‘old school’ to fly the Blitzen Bullet and has been thinking (given recent events) maybe he should retire. The children are devastated. Henry tells Father Christmas how let down he feels. He is not the Father Christmas he once knew (#11 Anymore). Father Christmas is moved by Henry’s plea, and changes his mind. He will go with them (he is already packed and only has one change of clothes).
At the Fowler House, Sheila gets a call. It is Henry. He is on his way home, with Father Christmas! He is asking if they can drive them all to a rural Mansion House in Surrey. She is speechless!
A young Girl (Chloe) is in her bedroom. She is writing her list to Father Christmas. (#12 Just in Case) Emily has set up a social media campaign (called ‘Just in Case’) persuading children to send their lists, despite the news of his alleged illness. Meanwhile a grumpy choir mistress rehearses a local choir for their upcoming Christmas concert. We see more and more children are writing and sending their lists to Father Christmas.
In Hunt’s Mansion, Arnie Ringbinder is making some adjustments to the Blitzen Bullet. Hunt tells him he needs to take the Bullet for a ‘test drive’ that evening. Ringbinder runs Hunt through the controls and explains how the Bullet is charged. There is a free standing charging port marked ‘Danger Ridiculously High Voltage’ near the Bullet, with a nozzle attached. Ringbinder exits. Richard Dimley enters. Dimley (who clearly knew nothing of Operation Santa until Charlie’s investigation) demands a million pounds not to tell the police. Hunt declines, explaining that Dimley has accepted personal bribes for providing positive coverage and ‘fake news’ of the plan, something for which he could lose his broadcasting licence. As they talk, Charlie Hackett enters. He tells them he has recorded their conversation and has already sent a copy to Kate Frost at FIVE TO NEWS. As Dimley goes to grab Charlie, Emily and Henry rush in and surprise him. Henry jumps on Dimley. Dimley shakes Henry off and goes to grab him. Michael Fowler enters (with Sheila) and tells Dimley to leave Henry alone. Hunt calls a halt to proceedings and demands to know who all these people are in his house! Emily calmly explains it to him, how they hid in his office, hacked his computer, found his file, met Charlie Hackett and then found Father Christmas. Hunt asks where Father Christmas is. He seems to have disappeared. A noise comes from the large fireplace in the room. We hear Father Christmas descending and he lands with a thud as soot billows from the chimney. He emerges, unscathed, and dressed in his full Red Santa Suit. When asked why he used the chimney and not the door (like everyone else) he explains he needs the practice, as he normally starts training in October. He also explains his red suit provides protection from bumps, bruises, dog bites etc! Sheila notices that Hunt has a noticeable ‘twitch’ every time the word ‘children’ is used. She asks him why he wants to be part of such a wicked plan. Hunt explains that his parents never allowed him to believe in Father Christmas. They always told him to ‘grow up’ and ‘live in the real world’. He has longed for the day when he could get his own back on all the children who get presents (and make himself rich beyond imagination in the process). He explains his life-long hatred of children and what he would like to do to them (#13 Children).
Hunt gets in the Blitzen Bullet ready to take off. Ed Dimley rushes in. He describes his daring escape from the clutches of Andy Speed. He has extracted the location of the Blitzen Bullet from Speed with the use of his sharp ‘reporter’s pencil’. He then proudly announces how he has daringly and single-handedly discovered the plot of Operation Santa. Everyone else groans. Charlie says he knows he stole the information from his desk. Ed Dimley protests. Richard Dimley tell his son that he knows Charlie and the Children found the story. He has always known Ed was a really hopeless twit (with all his own confidence but non of his talent!) Richard Dimley says he only gave Ed the job as part of his divorce settlement. Ed leaves, vowing they have NOT heard the last of him.
Hunt says he has had enough of all this nonsense and climbs in the cockpit of the Blitzen Bullet. Father Christmas refuses to let him go. He tells Hunt he needs the Bullet to get back to the North Pole and start work. Hunt grabs the electric charger and threatens Father Christmas with it. Father Christmas advises Hunt against using it on him. Father Christmas goes to take the charger and Hunt strikes him. The room is plunged into darkness. There are sparks and explosions and screams. When the lights come up, Father Christmas is holding the charger, unharmed and Hunt is not there. Gradually all the others emerge from behind bits of furniture. Father Christmas explains that his suit also provides protection against electricity, and that the charge will have been deflected back to Hunt. Hunt enters. He is charred, smoking slightly and his hair is sticking straight up. He walks unsteadily, deliriously singing ‘Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer quietly to himself’. The charge has had the effect of turning him into a child-like state. On seeing Father Christmas he is really excited and tells him he’s been ‘good boy’ and wants a train set for Christmas. Sheila helps him and says she’ll call the Doctor (and the police).
They realize that Richard Dimley has fled in the confusion, but Charlie ways he won’t get far as he has the recording.
Arnie Ringbinder rushes in having heard the explosion. He is confused as to who everyone is, but is really excited to see Santa Claus. Emily explains to him what has happened and Father Christmas needs the Bullet to get back to the North Pole. Everyone says their goodbyes and with the help of Arnie Ringbinder, Father Christmas fires up the Blitzen Bullet and sets the auto pilot for the North Pole. The lights lower as the Blizten Bullet takes Father Christmas Ho..Ho..Home
Melanie Summers (the new Anchor) presents a special Christmas Day edition of FIVE TO NEWS. Children are waking up all over the world to their traditional Christmas Stockings. Sir Philip Hunt is recovering under police guard in hospital and FIVE TO’s very own Richard Dimley is under investigation for accepting bribes in return for providing fake news stories. Dave Speed is also under arrest.
Henry is opening his stocking and finds a special note from Father Christmas thanking him for not losing faith. Michael and Sheila seem much closer and are not arguing. Emily calls him whilst opening her stocking. She has a plan for a new campaign and wants to discuss it with Henry. He hangs up on her.
Back on the news, Mel interviews Charlie (the shows new senior reporter) who is being hailed in the National Press as the young journalist genius. He says the real heroes are Emily and Henry. Mel says she assumes he will be moving to bigger and better things soon. Charlie says there is something very special to stay for at FIVE TO. Melanie realizes what he means. She says maybe they can break another ‘exclusive’. She takes out some mistletoe and holds it above her head. Charlie goes for a small peck on the cheek and as the lights dim Melanie Summers grabs him for a deep passionate kiss. The show finishes with a reprise of #1 Christmas Day.