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Howards’ Way

"A year ago this yard was on its knees!" "Yes - along with most of its women!"SWAGGERING BRINY proto-soap unpicking the ruthless ructions and steamy schemings that went on behind that seedy world of slimy shagging and shopping, the boatbuilding fraternity of the River Hamble. Step forward eponymous hero and “best boat designer on planet” Tom Howard (MAURICE COLBOURNE), who stages Telford’s Change style stunt, defies odds, logic, etc. and leaves comfortable, well-paid employee status to set-up in partnership with maverick regular at “The Jolly Sailor” Jack Rolfe (GLYNN OWEN). Cast of thousands then sail in to provide intricate plot interweaving: Ken Masters (STEPHEN “XYY” YARDLEY), rival boatbuilding bastard with inability to retain genitalia in pants whose dirty deeds are eclipsed only by cross-eyed moneyman Edward Frere (NIGEL DAVENPORT) and his piece-of-shit son Charles (TONY “PROTECTORS” ANHOLT). Light relief in the form of Tom’s wife Jan (JAN HARVEY) who runs a clothes emporium (badly) and her wooden mother (DULCIE GRAY) whose purpose is unclear. There’s more. Appalling, buck-toothed Howard son (Leo) and daughter (Lyn) ensure continual parental angst due to exam failure, career indecision, unwise choice of foreigner as partner, etc, etc. Untimely demise of Colbourne brings whole edifice crashing to ground but not before hastily rewritten final series is plucked from the jaws of oblivion thanks to arrival, over the horizon, of KATE O’MARA and PAUL JERRICHO. Toe-tapping ‘Always There’ Simon May theme tune was, well, always there, ditto grizzled men wearing V-necked blazers over bare chests sporting Ford Knox-quantities of jewellery and clinking tumblers full of ice cubes and “the sauce”.



  1. Glenn A

    October 11, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    Could only have been made in the Thatcher era when scheming yuppies, devious businessmen and power dressed women in spike heels were all the rage in television land. Went off the screen the same year Thatch went out of power and the eighties officially ended.

  2. TV Cream

    October 11, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    “…and the eighties officially ended” only to then restart in 1991, with unofficial Howard’s Way sequel Trainer, surely?

    • Applemask

      June 9, 2022 at 9:23 pm

      Maybe if anyone had actually watched the fucker.

  3. Ian Tomkinson

    October 12, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    # Howard’s Way! It’s bloody Howard’s Way! #

  4. Rob Free

    October 12, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    Bruno Brookes did an amazing impression of Jack Rolfe. I bet that came in useful.

  5. Chris

    October 21, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    There were some lovely shoulder pads in this. And then Jack Rolfe got a brick mobile phone in the 1989 series. Interesting fashions and technology. Not very interesting plots or characters.

  6. Richard Davies

    November 27, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    One of my Mum’s favourite shows, in standard Sunday night slot.

  7. Ian Thomson

    March 27, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Watched the first episode last night for the first time in 28 1/2 years. It is unputdownable for completely different reasons now. Lovely gels with Swiss finishing school eccents! Sleazeball Masters even sleazier than you can remember! Acting and script by Ikea! Camera work to make a director weep! Stereotype City! Eighties fashion and hair overload! The Howard males thoroughly emasculated compared to Ken “sperm donor” Masters! Plot lines your sat nav would predict with ease! Cheese, lots of it! And it’s all fantastic!

  8. Richardpd

    June 9, 2022 at 10:36 pm

    I remember a few accidents along the way, with Claude being killed in a water skiing accident & one of the Freres surviving a plane crash.

    Also someone crashed a speedboat while listening to Sonic Boom Boy by Westworld.

  9. Glenn Aylett

    June 10, 2022 at 9:37 pm

    Paul Mr Hicks Jerricho should have really achieved more with his career than being memorable to most of us as a sadistic teacher in Grange Hill or as the Castellan on Doctor Who, but here he is in Howards Way after a spell in another nautical show, the ill fated Triangle.

    • Richardpd

      June 11, 2022 at 2:36 pm

      He was one of the inventors in the second series of Look Around You.

  10. George White

    July 31, 2023 at 8:08 am

    There was so much of this boardroom drama on British telly, the Power Game, the Brothers, Tycoon, the Foundation, the Organization, the Troubleshooters, Oil Strike North. Into the 80s, there was this, TVS’ Gentlemen and Players.

    Was watching the 1987 Barbara Taylor Bradford miniseries Hold the Dream, the sequel to A Woman of Substance (1984), still C4’s most successful TV show (yes, even moreso than Derry Girls – both feature Liam Neeson).

    The original was the story of Jenny Seagrove as hard-up Yorkshire lass Emma Harte, eventually growing up to become elderly Deborah Kerr as the head of Harrods, sorry Harte’s, bookended by Crossroads-esque framing moments with Kerr and a Jill Chance-esque Miranda Richardson as her granddaughter. The series ending with her reunited with her old Irish navvy beau Blackie, played by Liam Neeson. But instead of casting an older actor, they’ve done him up in old age makeup, and Neeson is hamming up, enjoying himself immensely playing a Noel Purcell-type old Irish seadog.

    The sequel picks up from where it leaves off, except the granddaughter is now Seagrove acting opposite Kerr, and she’s married to Nigel Havers. If having a Tory for a love interest is enough, she then meets Neeson’s supposedly Yorkshire-raised but Loyd Grossman-accented grandson, played by Star Trek nonce Paedophile Stephen Collins. And despite the A-list cast, it’s basically Howards’ Way-esque boardroom nonsense up there with the Fry and Laurie ‘Marjorie’ sketches.

    There’s trips to New York. Bruce Boa and Guest Star James Brolin as big biz execs. There’s a whole intolerable plotline about Seagrove’s cousins, who is the Duchess of Dunvale and who mysteriously drowns on her estate in Ireland (played by either Yorkshire or Bucks). There’s bastard Gardai, the idea that the offices of the Yorkshire Evening Standard would be in Knightsbridge, and tons of sub-The Brothers/The Power Game bollocking, plus the sight of Liam Neeson having a heart attack as an 85 year old Captain Birdseye. There’s also product placement for British Gas.And an immensely overqualified cast. Claire Bloom and John Mills in tiny parts. Fiona Fullerton plays an American .She’d play a different American in the third series, LWT/ITV/CBS copro To be the Best, with Seagrove’s Paula now played by Lindsay Wagner not even bothering with an accent, her husband now David Robb as opposed to Star Trek Nonce, and Anthony Hopkins just before Silence of the Lambs but released after, in his last bit of ‘British crud’ before his A-list stardom was finally confirmed. Also feels different to the others. None of the other cast recur. The Hartes location is no longer played by Harrods. And there’s some mumpsy about a staged terrorist attack. It does have Joe Fagin as a country singer, and the Bionic Woman on a council estate.

  11. Richardpd

    July 31, 2023 at 10:31 pm

    I remember seeing some of A Woman of Substance many years ago when I was at my old Girlfriend’s house & we were flicking around the channels for something to watch.

    As George mentions there’s a lot of creamy names in the cast list of both, hailing from both sides of the Atlantic like almost all good telemovies / miniseries!

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