TV Cream

TV: B is for...


That legendary Scouse wit in fullTHUNDEROUSLY WORTHLESS Scouse shitecom featuring the wacky world of the Boswells, Britain’s most contrived family. Off the back of post-Yosser Liverpool national feeding frenzy, it was the toast of the nation for about 20 minutes in 1986. Lazy as fuck, every episode revolved around catchphrases and one-dimensional characters. Cue Ma Boswell (JEAN BOHT) – she said “That tart!” and “Hello, yes?”; ‘R’ Joey Boswell (PETER HOWITT) – “Greetings!”; Adrian Boswell (JONATHAN MORRIS) – “‘Angin’ by a thread! ‘Angin’ by a thread!”; Grandad Boswell (KENNETH WALLER) – “Where’s me tea?” and “Piss off!”; Jack Boswell (VICTOR McGUIRE), who turned the slightly-edgy third string sitcom character into an art; Little Billy (NICK CONWAY), perpetually kicked out of the house he shared with his girlfriend over the road, ‘R’ Aveline (at first played by GILLY COMAN before regenerating into MELANIE “SEAN BEAN” HILL, same as ‘R’ Joey); and Freddie Boswell (RONALD FORFAR), who always went “Blah blah, Nellie Boswell”. Oh, and Li-Lo Lil. Could well have been the nadir of television. Went on for bloody years. Was not a fair representation of life in Liverpool – people are usually funnier. List of cast’s subsequent jobs features “directing Hollywood movies”, amazingly. Carla Lane, fuck off.



  1. Glenn Aylett

    July 14, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    Was very popular in its day, though, but not well remembered now and certainly doesn’t attract the same amount of attention and nostalgia industry as its stablemate Only Fools and Horses. Maybe because it became yet another vehicle for Carla Lane’s obsessions with green issues and relationship crises. This also proved to be her last big hit as her following sitcoms flopped after one series.

  2. Dave Nightingale

    July 15, 2009 at 6:46 am

    “Buy it
    Sell it!
    The game’s getting hard…”


  3. fl3m

    July 15, 2009 at 11:17 am

    She! Is! A! Tart!

  4. David Pascoe

    July 15, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    The show was great until they started replacing original cast members. Peter Howitt and Gilly Coman in particular were brilliant and their replacements just didn’t cut the mustard. I also started to lose interest when Jack started turning into a moody psychopath, he always seemed to be verbally terrorising that posh older woman he hooked up with in the later series.

    Still there was always “Where’s me dinner?” to raise a laugh and if I ever get one of those detachable chicken pots, I’ll make sure that my wife and kids all throw cash into it at the end of the day.

    Linda McCartney popping round for a cup of tea with Ma Boswell and being picked up by Macca at the end of the episode also sticks in my mind. Oh and Adrian’s girlfriend, Carmel or Carmen was it? Phwoarr!

  5. Ken Shinn

    July 16, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    “Mam! Grandad’s goin’ senile again!”

  6. Glenn Aylett

    July 17, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    The first series was good but it started to go downhill when it used a technique familiar to viewers of Neighbours: use a different actor to play the same character. It never works, the same as if in Only Fools and Horses David Jason was replaced mid series by Mike Reid.

  7. Glam Racket

    July 30, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    In response to Glenn Aylett, I’d have paid good money to see Mike Reid replace David Jason as Del Boy. He would have been hilarious bellowing ‘Rohhhdnay!, yooooooh plonkaaaaaah!’

    However, Bread’s premise of loveable, knockabout, deadbeat losers sticking it to the man/ripping off the taxpayer soon grew weary, pretty much like anything Carla Lane did.

    First series was passable, quality soon trundled downhill.

    Cringeworthy theme tune only cemented further my hatred for this show.

  8. Lee James Turnock

    April 30, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    “I’M A MODEL ARNI!” Fuck off.

  9. Applemask

    May 20, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Not COMPLETELY worthless, as it represented something close to genuine working-class life in the midst of Thatcher’s imperial phase. I have a lot of respect for Carla Lane’s dedication to realism, characterisation and long-form storytelling in sitcom. It’s just not necessarily very entertaining.

  10. Richard16378

    May 20, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    I was too young too see the first series but certainly remember it from the 2nd onwards.

    It seemed OK upto the Xmas special in Rome, but from the series after to it ending the quality of writing seemed to get worse & worse, as the various running jokes (Greetings, Edgar the missing dog, Billy literal old banger etc.) lost their novelty.

    The Neighbours style “head transplanting” (as my brother calls it!) was another slip in quality.

    Grandad was almost always funny, I used to be able to do a half decent impression, but I don’t think anyone would know who it is now.

    It’s odd how some shows that were big in their day seem to be hardly remembered, while others are still well remembered. Something worth doing a feature about.

  11. Eugene

    October 4, 2014 at 10:04 am

    I didn’t see this too often during the eighties, but I watched a whole episode the other week. I can confirm that it is possibly the worst thing ever transmitted. I only managed to get through the episode because Simon Rouse was in it. However, I was sick in my mouth a bit.

  12. Glenn A

    June 4, 2016 at 6:52 pm

    Obviously sad news about Carla Lane this week, but regardless of how many people dislike Bread, it was bigger than Corrie for its first three series and was genuinely amusing for its time. It was only when it became more like a soap for its last two series and was short on laughs, that it faltered.
    Sadly Carla Lane would never score such a big hit again. Luv was sickly and fizzled out, Screaming was dire and the remake of The Liver Birds was abysmal and full of continuity errors. However, fair play to her, for her work in later life with an animal sanctuary and Ms Lane was well liked.

  13. Andy Morgan

    December 30, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Worthless Shitecom?! Well Fuck You, author! It was a fucking CLASSIC! Period!

    • Glenn A

      February 15, 2017 at 3:45 pm

      18 million people loved Bread, it made a star out of the getting on a bit Jean Boht, and the theme tune is a classic. Also fact fans, the Boswell name was originally used for the family in the Elizabeth Estensen era Liver Birds, again a fairly dysfunctional bunch, and later on in Bread there were hints the two families were related.

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