THE BOAT COMES IN
- PART ONE
- THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS!
Ford - James Bolam
Seaton - Susan Jameson
[William] Seaton - James Garbutt
Seaton - Jean Heywood
Seaton - John Nightingale
Seaton [nee Routledge] - Michelle Newell [until Paddy Boyle's
Seaton - Edward Wilson
Headley - Malcolm Terris
[Mather?] - Madelaine Newton [Introduced in Fish and Woolly
Horatio Manners - Basil Henson [Introduced in Swords and Pick
Ashton - Geoffrey Rose [Introduced in Empire Day on the Slag Heap]
Created by James Mitchell
Music - David Fanshawe - Sung by Alex Glasgow
Editor - William Humble
by- Leonard Lewis
Land Fit For Heroes and Idiots
TX date: 8/1/76
- James Mitchell
- Ray London
was mad, Mrs Seaton. Mad in the service of his country. Some men
gave their lives, some gave their sight, their arms, their legs. Will gave
his senses". - Jack Ford
Sergeant Jack Ford returns to the mining town of Gallowshields, on
"leave pending discharge". Visiting the cinema to see Chaplin's Easy
Street, he encounters school teacher Jessie Seaton, who doesn't share
Jack's amusement at the newsreel footage of troops at the front. Jack
follows Jessie, her brother Tom and his fiancée Mary to the pub, where he
begins to endear himself. Jessie invites Jack to supper. On
the way they encounter a shell-shocked soldier, Will Scrimgour, who is
startled by a passing motorcycle. Will had served in Ypres and the Somme.
He was buried alive during a
German attack, and Jack had helped to dig him out. The event has
traumatised Scrimgour, who hasn't been able to make the transition back to
quickly ingratiates himself with Jessie's parents, Bella and Bill, with
the help of a bottle of whiskey. After dinner, Jessie and Jack share a
dance, and a kiss, which leaves Jessie flustered.
next day Jack meets an old friend, his Corporal, Matt Headley, who has Will Scrimgour
with him. Matt is now a maintenance man at a local colliery. Matt takes Scrimgour home, to his wife, Lucy.
Matt returns to the pub, where he waylays Jack, who is on his way to
and Mary's wedding.
their way to the wedding, Jessie
and her medical student brother, Billy, heckle Major Pinner, the local Liberal
candidate standing in the imminent election, over his party's
rhetorical promises of "a land fit for heroes",
and about his reluctance to give women the vote.
the wedding Tom takes Jack aside, to talk to him about Mary's brother.
was present when Mary's eighteen-year old brother Joe was killed at the
Somme, on July 31st, 1916. He was in the same company as Jack and Matt.
Tom has heard that Joe was "a Nancy, that he went with men".
Jack tells Tom that Joe was "as straight as a die". After Tom
has left, Bill insists on hearing the truth. Jack tells him the truth: when Joe's body was found, he was in the arms of another
is frightened by a group of boys, who are running along railings with a
stick. Scrimgour snaps, and brutally beats one of them, John William
tries to get Jack interested in working for the local Labour party. They are interrupted by Matt, who
takes Jack to see Scrimgour, who
is hiding in his bedroom, believing himself to be back in the trenches.
Jack plays along with Scrimgour's delusion, telling him that the company
has been relieved. Two policemen arrive, and take Scrimgour away. One of
the policemen, P.C. Price,
tells Jack that Will will be tried in the morning, by Major Pinner, who is
also the local magistrate. Price warns Jack that
Pinner may be resentful, because, unlike Scrimgour, he wasn't decorated
during the war.
attends Will's trial. Doctor Lang gives the facts of the case, stating that Will
caused the boy actual bodily harm. Jack tells
the court that Will won the Distinguished Conduct Medal, (the second
highest award for gallantry, after the Victoria Cross), for rescuing a
colleague under fire. Will is committed for trial, and kept in custody.
Pinner says that Will chose to beat the boy, and that his actions were
"self indulgent". Jessie is incensed, and Jack vows "to fettle
and Matt enlist the help of their fellow soldiers, who attend the election
result announcement. The soldiers flank the
exit as Pinner leaves, victorious. Jack confronts Pinner, saying he
understands that Pinner didn't get any medals: "Well, you can have
mine, and Will Scrimgour's!" Jack and the other soldiers throw their
medals on the ground, humiliating Pinner. Furious, Pinner turns to P.C.
Price for help, but Price adds his support by throwing his own medals to the ground.
Scrimgour - James Bate
Scrimgour - Valerie Georgeson
Reginald Leslie Pinner - Roger Hammond
Lang - Jeffrey Wickham
Price - Richard Griffiths
of Court - David Hartley
- Alec Sabin
- Trevor Ainsley
- Alan Snell
Seaton also served in Jacks Regiment, but in a different battalion (the
9th), and didn't go to France. Jack served under Captain Peter James
Bertram Manners, MC.
Seatons live at number 37.
is an orphan: her father was torpedoed while serving in the Merchant Navy, and
her mother died of tuberculosis.
lives in Temple Street, and has a sister.
returning from the trenches, Jack made a detour via Russia (explaining why
he hadn't seen Matt for some time).
Scrimgour has a son in Jessie's class, Fred.
Griffiths, who would later star in his own TV series Pie in the Sky,
and in films like Sleepy Hollow and Withnail and I, appears
in a small speaking role, as P.C. Price. He's now known to a
whole new generation of fans for his role as Uncle Vernon, in the Harry
Bate, who gives a memorable performance as the addled Scrimgour, appeared
in the 1984 Doctor Who series Planet of Fire, and was also
in the second series of Auf Wiedersehen Pet, in 1986.
Wickham, who plays Doctor Lang (credited simply as "Doctor", and
as "Jeffry Wickham") has a long career of playing upper class
characters in films and TV series like Lillie and The Sweeney (in
Faces). His credits also include roles in Sapphire and Steel and
in the 1964 Doctor Who story The Reign of Terror.
Ringway, who plays Will Scrimgour's defense counsel, is another actor with a Doctor
Who credit, for the 1982 story Earthshock. He's also appeared
in Bergerac (The Messenger Boy, 1981) and Tinker Tailor,
Soldier, Spy (1980).
Hammond (Major Pinner) has more than fifty film and television credits, including roles
as Professors, Dukes, Princes, Lords, Priests, Kings and Archbishops. He,
too, has been in Doctor Who (as Francis Bacon, in the 1965 Dalek
story, The Chase, and in the 1983 Peter Davision story Mawdryn
Undead). Other credits include The Avengers (in the 1967 story Return
of the Cybernauts), in the 1980 Thames TV mini-series Edward and
Mrs Simpson, and alongside Jeremy Brett in The Adventures of
Sherlock Holmes, as The Red-Headed League's Jabez Wilson.
Hello... ...Say Tirra
TX date: 15/1/76
- Tom Hadaway
- Barry Newbery
is visited by young Harry, who tells her his mother is
"asleep...she'll not waken up". Bella visits Billy's home, where
she finds his mother, Connie, dead in bed, probably as the result of
poverty and hunger.
Jack, Tom and Matt attend a meeting of the Gallowshield Labour Party and
Worker's Council. They are petitioning the Board of Guardians for an
increase in the Poor Law rates, and for greater social equality. Jack
admits that politics isn't really his game. Bill invites Jack back for a
home, Bill discovers that Bella has taken Harry, now an orphan, under her
wing. Bella takes Harry to the fairground ("the hoppins"), and
buys the urchin a new ten shilling coat.
Keenly visits, suggesting that it might be best if Harry is deported to a
facility in Melbourne, where he'd be able to continue his Catholic upbringing.
The alternative would be for Harry to be permanently adopted by the
Seatons, which would be a considerable strain on their resources.
and Tom return to work at the pit. Jessie tells her mother that, by caring
for Harry, she is neglecting her family. Harry injures his knee,
preventing Bella from visiting Mary in the hospital, with Jack, Tom and
steals a red dress from Mrs Palmer's washing line, knowing that Bella
would like it. Bill and Bella argue about punishing the boy. Despite being
short of money - and the rent - Bella buys Harry some expensive grapes, to
cheer him up. Harry steals money from the greengrocer's stall, and is arrested
by the police. Bella realises that Harry is too much of a handful. Father
Keenly tells Bill that the court will allow Harry to stay with the Seatons,
but, reluctantly, Bella and Bill have decided to follow Father Keenly's
deportation plan. Keenly tells Bill that he shouldn't reproach himself.
football talent scout arrives in town just as Tom is about to attend a
union rally, but there are more pressing matters: Mary is in labour.
[McGlade - sic?] - Jeremy Watkin
Keenly - Tony Doyle
Palmer - Kay Hall
- Roger Avon
Trader - Ray Grayson
episode evidently takes place some time after A Land Fit For Heroes and
Idiots. Mary is in hospital, about to give birth, and Jack is
practically a member of the Seaton family (he's been there long enough for
Bill to nag Jessie about them getting engaged).
Seaton is the Union's lodge secretary.
of Jack's parents are dead. Jack's mother was buried as a pauper.
title Say Hello... ...Say Tirra is a phrase used by Tom, to note
how briefly the miners will see the sun that day.
is in Edinburgh, studying to become a Doctor, explaining Edward Wilson's
absence from this episode.
Avon (Chairman) was a familiar face to TV viewers in the 60s and 70s. His credits
include two 1965 Doctor Who stories (The Crusade and The
Daleks' Master Plan), Dead of Night (Return Flight,
1972) and Department S (One of Our Aircraft is Empty, 1969),
as well as a slew of popular sit-coms (including episodes of Dad's Army,
Bless This House, Steptoe and Son and Blackadder the
Third). His film work included roles in Quatermass and the Pit,
Curse of the Crimson Alter, Daleks' Invasion Earth 2150 A.D and
Burke and Hare. Roger Avon appears again in episode eleven, Happy
New Year, Some Say, playing what's presumably the same character, Mr
Doyle (Father Keenly) is probably best known to British TV viewers as Brian Quigley in Ballykissangel,
although the Irish are more likely to recall him as Father Sheehy in the
long-running RTE soap The Riordans. He also played the ruthless
Chief Superintendent John Deakin in the first season of Between The
Lines (1992). He died in 2000, aged 58. His daughter, One of his
daughters, Susannah, is an actress, who featured as Joy Merryweather in
the comedy series Drop The Dead Donkey.
In Woolly Jumpers
TX date: 22/1/76
- James Mitchell
- Peter Brachacki
miners have been on strike for a month, over a pay claim. Tom, now
supporting a wife and son, borrows some money from Jack, who, despite
being out of work for two months, doesn't seem to be short of a few bob.
Jessie and Jack discuss having a baby, but Jessie says that her entire
family is relying on her income. Jack claims that he's got money put by,
and is supplementing this with "odd jobs".
Mary is sick: she has
tuberculosis, but won't acknowledge it, claiming it's just a cold.
Matt and a couple of other men meet at the pub. Matt is concerned by a
remark the barmaid has made, about them being "flush". They
agree that they should change their meeting place. They conspiratorially
discuss their next job, but Jack warns that the conditions aren't right.
and Jack return to Matt's home, where Matt's sister Dolly Mather has
prepared a steak and kidney pie. Dolly, whose husband was killed in Ypres,
flirts with Jack, before retiring to bed. Jack and Matt drink on, into the
night. Later, Dolly brings Jack another blanket, and they share another
cigarette. They kiss. They are overheard by Tom, who has followed Jack and
Matt from the pub.
and Jack discuss Mary's condition. Jack invites Billy out for "a
hike", in Morpeth. Tom has left Jack a veiled message, about finding Bert
Mather's widow. Tom confronts Jack, who tells Tom that he can't help him.
Tom threatens to reveal Jack's liaison with Dolly: "You were doing alright, helping her..."
Tom wants to be included in whatever scam it is that Jack is running.
and Billy roam the countryside, armed with Captain Manners' binoculars and
some mutton sandwiches. Billy tells Jack that Mary is dying, and rages
against the inequality of wealth that's put her in that condition. Billy
tells Jack that he wants him to fight for people like Mary "because
you're a leader". A local policeman warns them to keep moving:
"we don't want tramps". Billy affects "a posh voice",
shows the him Captain Manners' binoculars, and the policeman
visits Dolly again, and they make love.
Matt, Charlie and Paddy [Boyle] discuss their next "trench raid": they
are rustling sheep. Jack tells them that Tom will be joining them.
says she's willing to have a child with Jack. Jack invites Tom to a
dead of night, the gang begin catching and killing sheep. They prepare to
leave, but Tom has forgotten one of the buckets (for the blood). He goes
back to collect it, but is confronted by a patrolling policeman (the same
policeman who had approached Billy and Jack). Tom struggles with the
policeman, before Jack clubs him with a pick handle.
takes the injured Tom back to be treated by Billy. Jack admits to Jessie
that they've been stealing sheep, so he couldn't take Tom to a hospital.
Jack is expecting a sharp rebuke, but Jessie approves of his Robin Hood-style
[Boyle] - Ralph Watson
- Michael Wardle
- Hugh Turner
is twenty-four years old.
sister, Dolly, is being courted by a bank clerk.
has known Jack for almost six years.
husband, Bert, was killed in Ypres, four years earlier, after they had only
been married for three months.
sign on the side of the van used by the sheep rustlers says "Trailer
Specialists... Trading Estate Peterhead".
refers to Jack as her "husband".
episode title is explained by Jack, who says that they dumped the guts of
the sheep and their hides into the North Sea: "If the fish round here
could knit, they'd all wear woolly jumpers!"
Designer Peter Brachacki
worked - rather reluctantly - on the first ever episode of Doctor Who,
in 1963. He designed the interior set for the TARDIS,
which, with its distinctive hexagonal central control panel and walls with circular indentations,
remained basically unchanged for more than twenty-five
and Pick Handles
TX date: 29/1/76
- James Mitchell
- Barry Newbery
chastises Bella for taking the baby to the off-licence,
leaving Mary alone. Tom has a job, even though the pits have
been closed because of the strike for seven weeks. Jessie suspects that
Tom is strike-breaking.
visits Dolly at her place of work, and teases her about her bank clerk
suitor. Jack learns that Captain Manners' father, Sir Horatio, is due to
visit, and senses an opportunity.
arrives at the Seaton house carrying a sword he's bought for five bob,
from Sammy Foster, an alcoholic who's fallen on hard times. Jack sets about
cleaning it. Tom arrives, and a furious row breaks out when Tom admits to
being a scab. Tom is defiant, even though Jack warns him that the striking
miners may attack him if they discover he's crossing the picket lines.
visits Sir Horatio, bearing the sword. Sir Horatio is intrigued, having
heard about Ford in correspondence from his son. Ford tells Manners that
his son died in his arms, and that his last words were "What the hell
am I doing here, Sergeant, I said I'd be at the Saville". Jack tells
Manners his son died quickly. Sir Horatio warms to Jack. Manners is
planning to open a factory. Manners sees through Jack's scam with the
sword, as Jack suspected he would. Manners offers Ford a job: "don't
sound so surprised, it's what you came here for, isn't it?" Jack
realises that the whole meeting has been a job interview.
and the other blacklegs, from all over the United Kingdom, are bussed into
the pit, with a police escort.
tells Jack that Tom's hardship case is far from unique, and tries to rally Jack
into doing something about changing the system. Jack tells Jessie he has a
job, as a boss, admitting that he has joined the system, and will be in
charge of Sir Horatio's non-union labour. Despite the lure of a healthy
income, and the prospect of a house in London, Jessie is incensed, and
Jack storms out.
urges Jessie to stick with Jack, and use her womanly wiles to change him
of Jessie's students blurts out that Tom is a scab. Suddenly
the class is un-cooperative. Later, when she leaves, the children chant
tells her father that everyone knows Tom is a strike-breaker. Bill sends her to
begs for Jack's help.
is attacked by striking miners, but is rescued before any serious injury is
sustained by Jack, armed with a pick handle. Jack drags off the mob's leader, Davy, to see Mary.
Davy promises Mary that there'll be no [more] trouble, but warns Jack to
keep hold of the pick handle. Jack and Jessie are reconciled.
catches Tom with more than £30, which he has stolen: "You know what,
Mary? Working's a mug's game".
Inspector - Eddie Silver
Leader - Richard Henry
- Gary Roberts, Tom Dickinson
- Alex Turner
- Kevin Gray
- Carl Wilson
- Stephen White
episode takes place three weeks after Fish in Woolly Jumpers.
Horatio served in the army for twelve years, as a Sergeant. After being
discharged he went into business, using his savings and wits to become a
will be paid £7 a week during his three month trial period, working for
Sir Horatio. After that he's promised £450 a year, plus expenses.
headmaster, Mr Ashton is mentioned for the first time.
Terris (Matt) and Edward Wilson (Billy) do not appear in this episode.
- Alex Glasgow
- Ray London
- Ronald Wilson
returns home to find an empty house, and no coal for the fire: the strike
has been running for two months. Billy tells Jessie that he's leaving
university, fed up with being patronised.
visits an old colleague, pigeon fancier Sep Walker, hoping to find, and
re-open, a coal seam that was closed fifty years earlier, the waterlogged
is caught trying to break into a coal yard by a former schoolmate, Police
Constable Robson. After a brief lecture on politics from Billy, Robson lets
him go: he's under instructions to treat people stealing coal as if they
brings the Seatons half a hundredweight of "best roundies". Bill
arrives with some logs, but says they're not for burning. Bill refuses Jack's gift,
telling him that black market coal is no better than coal mined by
blacklegs. Bill tells Bella to roll up the carpet in the front room,
telling her that there may be coal under the floorboards. Jessie tells
Jack and Bill that Billy is quitting university.
has stolen leaks from Tom's allotment. Tom investigates, and is told that
Arty Stephenson may know something about it. Arty tells Tom that he chased
off two children. Following Arty's lead, Tom
and Billy find leak leaves in a dustbin, but tempers cool when they
discover the culprits: two emaciated children. Their father was killed whilst off-duty, so their
mother, Elsie Carter, doesn't receive a widow's pension. Tom tells Elsie
that she's welcome to his leeks.
everyone's surprise, Bill doesn't seem to mind that Billy is quitting
and Tom dig for coal, but the hole soon starts to fill with water. Bill
refuses Billy's offer of help, telling him he's "bloody
continues to belittle Billy, hoping to shame him into going back to
university. After pumping out the water, Billy finds coal. Jack arrives, bearing poached rabbits and
Walker - Dick Irwin
Carter - Elizabeth Proud
Robson - John Trigger
Stephenson - Joan Rutherford
Stephenson - Vernon Drake
episode takes place a week after Swords and Pick Handles.
Constable Robson is earning £3 10s a week.
Seatons rent their home from Lord Lampton.
tells Tom and Bill that troops are preparing to quell civil unrest.
references are made to the Bowes-Lyon family, and to the romance
blossoming between Elisabeth Bowes-Lyons and Prince George, the Duke of
Terris (Matt Headley) does not appear in this episode.
Proud (who played Elsie Carter) has recorded many audio books, and radio plays. She's also been the Chairwoman
of the Barbara Pym Society, and adapted Pym's novels No Fond Return of
Love and Some Tame Gazelle for BBC radio.
first five episodes of When The Boat Comes In are available on
Acorn Media UK's When The Boat Comes In - A Land Fit For Heroes and
Idiots DVD (AV9223).