The BEST Episodes of Black Books

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Jan 7, 2022

Network: Channel 4

Black Books is a second-hand bookshop in London run by an Irishman named Bernard Black. He is probably the planet's worst-suited person to run such an establishment: he makes no effort to sell, closes at strange hours on a whim, is in a perpetual alcoholic stupor, abhors his customers (sometimes physically abusing them) and is often comatose at his desk. Help comes in the lumpy shape of Manny Bianco, a hairy, bumbling individual who (almost by osmosis) becomes Bernard's assistant. Manny is not exactly great at the job either but he is a million times better than Bernard. Next door is Fran, an anxious, frustrated woman who runs a sort of new-age shop selling the most unlikely bits of arty junk. Fran is friends with Bernard and, through him, with Manny; together the trio become embroiled in escapades that are sometimes extreme or violent or fantastically ludicrous, and always bizarre.

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Elephants and Hens

#1 - Elephants and Hens

Season 3 - Episode 2 - Aired Mar 18, 2004

It is International Children's Book Week, and Bernard and Manny decide to write their own kids' classic and retire on the proceeds. Fran is off on a hen weekend, but still finds a way to fall out with Bernard and Manny.

star 8.24
879 votes
Directors: Martin Dennis
Writers: Andy Riley, Dylan Moran, Kevin Cecil
Cooking the Books

#2 - Cooking the Books

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 29, 2000

Bernard’s dodgy accountant has to go on the run, leaving him ill prepared to fill out his own tax return. In fact Bernard would rather do anything than fill it out.

star 8.07
1,944 votes
Writers: Dylan Moran, Graham Linehan
Grapes of Wrath

#3 - Grapes of Wrath

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired Oct 13, 2000

Bernard and Manny accept a house-sitting job to get away from their new cleaner. They also drink some wine.

star 8.05
1,526 votes
Directors: Graham Linehan
Writers: Dylan Moran, Graham Linehan

#4 - Party

Season 3 - Episode 6 - Aired Apr 15, 2004

Fed up with being stuck in the dusty old bookshop on a Friday night, and with the hopes of meeting a delectable young lady at a party, Manny and Fran persuaded Bernard to attend a party. After a night of heavy drinking, a very sloshed Bernard has a nasty surprise waiting for him.

star 8.01
939 votes
Directors: Martin Dennis
Writers: Andy Riley, Dylan Moran, Kevin Cecil
The Blackout

#5 - The Blackout

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired Oct 20, 2000

A hyper, coffee fueled Manny is mistaken for a policeman.

star 8.00
1,517 votes
Writers: Dylan Moran, Graham Linehan

#6 - Fever

Season 2 - Episode 2 - Aired Mar 8, 2002

As the temperature creeps slowly towards 88 degrees, Manny desperately seeks out new ways to stay cool, lest he trigger his "Dave syndrome." Meanwhile an unsympathetic Bernard falls hopelessly in love with Fran's new neighbour, who is unknowingly taking over Fran's apartment.

star 7.93
1,260 votes
Directors: Martin Dennis
Writers: Andy Riley, Dylan Moran, Kevin Cecil
Manny Come Home

#7 - Manny Come Home

Season 3 - Episode 1 - Aired Mar 11, 2004

Fran returns from a vacation in Cornwall to discover Manny has resigned and Bernard is living amongst piles of his own filth and dead badgers. Manny has taken up work at the new bookstore next to Black Books, where he must contend with a new, and possibly even more demanding manager, played by Simon Pegg.

star 7.89
1,108 votes
Directors: Martin Dennis
Writers: Andy Riley, Dylan Moran, Kevin Cecil

#8 - Blood

Season 2 - Episode 4 - Aired Mar 22, 2002

When Manny is drawn into a competing bookstore by its customer-friendly atmosphere, he convinces Bernard the shop needs an overhaul. Fran makes use of the shop's improved facilities to track down her relatives, but is not entirely happy with what she finds.

star 7.88
1,150 votes
Directors: Martin Dennis
Writers: Andy Riley, Dylan Moran, Kevin Cecil
The Entertainer

#9 - The Entertainer

Season 2 - Episode 1 - Aired Mar 1, 2002

Fran buys a piano and starts taking lessons, discovering she has no talent whatsoever - meanwhile Bernard falls in love and tries desperately to impress her. Between them, they con Manny into throwing away a hard-earned break to help them out.

star 7.86
1,324 votes
Directors: Martin Dennis
Writers: Dylan Moran
Manny's First Day

#10 - Manny's First Day

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired Oct 6, 2000

After Manny’s help with the tax return Bernard is persuaded to hire him in the shop. Unfortunately he actually sells some books, much to Bernard’s annoyance.

star 7.85
1,693 votes
Writers: Dylan Moran, Graham Linehan
The Big Lock-Out

#11 - The Big Lock-Out

Season 1 - Episode 5 - Aired Oct 27, 2000

The shop gets a new security system that no-one can work.

star 7.80
1,357 votes
Writers: Dylan Moran, Graham Linehan
Hello Sun

#12 - Hello Sun

Season 2 - Episode 5 - Aired Mar 29, 2002

Fran starts spending time with a new-age friend to try and wind down while Bernard and Manny are having another fight. Bernard believes Manny is a psychopath and sends him to a therapist, where he unlocks a confidence he never knew he had.

star 7.80
1,005 votes
Directors: Martin Dennis
Writers: Dylan Moran
He's Leaving Home

#13 - He's Leaving Home

Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired Nov 3, 2000

Manny runs away from the bookshop into the arms of a beard loving photographer.

star 7.77
1,237 votes
Writers: Dylan Moran, Graham Linehan
A Little Flutter

#14 - A Little Flutter

Season 3 - Episode 4 - Aired Apr 1, 2004

Manny places a bet on the Grand National for Bernard who immediately becomes addicted to the thrill of gambling having previously expressed no interest. But his losses mount, and he starts borrowing gambling funds from increasingly scary people.

star 7.76
913 votes
Directors: Martin Dennis
Writers: Andy Riley, Dylan Moran, Kevin Cecil
Moo-ma and Moo-pa

#15 - Moo-ma and Moo-pa

Season 3 - Episode 3 - Aired Mar 25, 2004

Manny is panicking about the impending visit of his parents - Fran blackmails Bernard into letting them stay by threatening to tell Manny Bernard has been screening his calls to keep him from going anywhere. When Manny's parents arrive however, the duo are forced to corroborate some slightly embellished details from Manny's letters home.

star 7.75
1,011 votes
Directors: Martin Dennis
Writers: Andy Riley, Dylan Moran, Kevin Cecil
Travel Writer

#16 - Travel Writer

Season 3 - Episode 5 - Aired Apr 8, 2004

Manny organises a travel-writing festival and invites a charming explorer to talk about his adventures. Fran soon falls for his twinkling eyes and lavish hair, leaving Manny ragingly jealous. Meanwhile, Bernard hires an assassin to solve a financial problem with his neighbour.

star 7.74
964 votes
Directors: Martin Dennis
Writers: Andy Riley, Dylan Moran, Kevin Cecil
The Fixer

#17 - The Fixer

Season 2 - Episode 3 - Aired Mar 15, 2002

Bernard and Manny need to teach a psychotic ex-con to read in three days after agreeing to host his reading and book-signing in the shop. Fran gets a new job and all seems to be going well until some miscommunication when Manny calls in a favour...

star 7.73
1,194 votes
Writers: Dylan Moran
A Nice Change

#18 - A Nice Change

Season 2 - Episode 6 - Aired Apr 5, 2002

Bernard and Manny can't hear themselves argue because the shop next door is undergoing some round-the-clock construction. The noise drives Bernard, Manny and Fran up the wall. So Fran suggests a holiday. Bernard and Manny find baggage in her luggage. There's nothing in the crisp packet and Manny's pants aren't that easy to fold. Will the customer crack the system? What happens on the riverboat? Just how many monkeys are missing in Canada?

star 7.68
942 votes
Directors: Martin Dennis
Writers: Dylan Moran