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"When the Boat Comes In" is a British television period-drama produced by the BBC between 1976 and 1981.The series stars James Bolam as Jack Ford, a First World War veteran who returns to his poverty-stricken (fictional) town of Gallowshield in the North East of England. The series dramatises the political struggles of the 1920s and 1930s and explores the impact of national and international politics upon Ford and the people around him.The memorable traditional tune "When The Boat Comes In" was adapted by David Fanshawe and sung by Alex Glasgow for the title theme of the series. Fanshawe also composed the incidental music.The BBC revived the series in 1981, with the fourth series telling the story of Jack Ford as he returns to Britain penniless, after six years spent bootlegging in the United States, and follows him as he sets up in London.

Genres: Drama
Station: BBC One (UK)
Rating: 0/10 from 0 users
Status: Ended
Start: 1976-01-08

When the Boat Comes In Season 2 Air Dates


S02E01 - Ask for Twopence, Take a Penny Air Date: 29 October 1976 00:00 -

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Jack is now the district secretary of the fitters union, and he appoints Matt as his deputy. Les Mallow still wants Jack's job and reveals that his predecessor had agreed to ask for a two-pence an hour pay increase. Jack discovers that the plan was to settle for a penny. Mallow says that Jack must deliver this to keep his job beyond the probationary period. Jack persuades Sir Horatio Manners, now chairman of the large Lewis Bishop shipyard, to concede the extra penny to keep him rather than Mallow as union secretary. But Jack is now in Manners' debt.


S02E02 - Tram Ride to the Bluebell Air Date: 05 November 1976 00:00 -

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Jack, Dolly and Matt move to their posh new house in Lavender Avenue. Dolly wants to adopt a child, and is distraught to find that Jack's prison record will prevent this. Tom, now helping in the shop, is threatened by Big Mac, whom he and Jack had exposed as a tobacco baron when they were in prison. Jack and Matt beat up Mac and his friends.


S02E03 - A Pillowful of Buttercups Air Date: 12 November 1976 00:00 -

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Jack is approached by Ted Chater, a Sergeant who knew him in Murmansk. Chater has got his girlfriend pregnant, unaware that she was a minor. Jack hides Chater while he looks for the girl. He traces her father, Stobart, and learns that she killed herself after he told her that the regimental adjutant, Captain Barford, would put Chater in prison. Manners invites Barford and Jack to a shooting-party. Manners wants Jack to demolish a country house, Mandrake Place, to make room for a housing project. Jack stops Chater from shooting Barford, but then leaves him to shoot himself.


S02E04 - Roubles for the Promised Land Air Date: 19 November 1976 00:00 -

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Billy is unable to get medical work due to his socialist principles. Tom, living in a hostel, befriends Kaganovich, a Russian Jew hoping to travel to Palestine and looking for Jack. Kaganovich accuses Jack of stealing money from his late father during the Russian revolution. Jack claims he was given the money for helping the old man escape. In any case it is worthless ‘Kerensky money'. Jack persuades Tom to return home.


S02E05 - Some Bulbs to Keep the Garden Bright Air Date: 26 November 1976 00:00 -

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Les Mallow wants Jack to expose seed merchant Sanderson, whose brother is on the housing committee and sells plants to council tenants at extortionate prices. If Jack refuses, Les threatens to reveal what Jack had done in Murmansk. He had learned about this from a drunken Matt. Jessie asks Jack to employ Billy as the union's doctor for compensation cases. She lets slip that Mallow has a shameful secret in his family. Jack discovers that Mallow is living off his sister's immoral earnings, and threatens to reveal this unless he backs off. Tom starts work as a jobbing gardener.


S02E06 - God and Love and Wellesley Street Air Date: 03 December 1976 00:00 -

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Billy gets a job at the Wellesley Street free clinic run by Dr. Stoker. His family disapprove because he has turned down Jack's job offer and will not be able to repay what he owes Bill and Tom. Charlotte Courtnay, a novelist from London, comes looking for her father, a priest who is also working with Stoker. She becomes friendly with Tom, but Jack thinks she is toying with him and persuades her to return to London before he gets hurt.


S02E07 - Whatever Made You Think the War Was Over? Air Date: 10 December 1976 00:00 -

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To repay his debt to Manners, Jack has to close down production for a week at Buell-Hodge, a firm that pays its workers well over the minimum. Jack calls a strike over conditions at the factory. Using Matt's name, he also discovers that Buell's American machines are dangerous. This enables him to close down Manners' factory as well, so Manners cannot fulfil Buell's big contract and put him out of business. Bella gets drunk and flirts with Jack.


S02E08 - Ladies, Women, Sweethearts and Wives Air Date: 17 December 1976 00:00 -

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Bill opens a second shop. Jessie has a baby boy. Jack and Dolly go to a dinner party at the Duke of Bedlington's, where Jack is to negotiate terms for his members to work a new trading estate being built on some of the Duke's land. Manners warns Jack not to take Dolly. As he predicted, bitchy society ladies pick on Dolly, but Lady Caroline, the Duke's daughter, is kind to her. Later, Jack sees Tom offer her a shoulder to cry on.


S02E09 - After the Bonfire Air Date: 07 January 1977 00:00 -

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Dolly leaves Jack to be with Tom. Jack gets them both jobs on the duke's staff. He becomes increasingly friendly with Lady Caroline and buys land from her to spite Manners. Billy finally accepts Jack's job offer, saying that the money he earns will be split between repaying his family and Stoker's clinic.


S02E10 - A Wreath with Our Names On Air Date: 07 January 1977 00:00 -

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Billy is shocked that Stan Mather, a cousin of Dolly's late husband, is still working at Lewis Bishop despite having pleurisy. When he is fatally injured in an accident, Jack forces Billy to keep quiet about Stan's being unfit to work to ensure his widow gets compensation. Lady Caroline offers to give Dolly and Tom the money for a cottage, but they get it from Bill instead. Jack makes his peace with Dolly and they send Stan's widow a wreath.


S02E11 - The Way It Was in Murmansk Air Date: 21 January 1977 00:00 -

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Stan Liddell, local Labour party secretary, asks Jack to speak on behalf of their candidate at the forthcoming election, Geordie Watson. Jack agrees on condition that Matt is made a councillor and gives a rousing speech, also bribing voters to ensure Watson's victory. The elections cause an argument between Jessie and Arthur. Matt's new girlfriend, Sarah Lytton, becomes housekeeper for him and Jack.


S02E12 - In the Front Line You Get Shot At Air Date: 28 January 1977 00:00 -

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A factory owner called Colfax refuses on principle to recognise union labour. Manners tells Jack that head office want to try to force the union on Colfax, and says that as a bet Colfax will give him a thousand pounds if the attempt fails. Using Eddy Morton to win the men's support, Jack threatens strike action. But he has to call the strike off when Colfax calls in the police. He suspects that Boothroyd from head office has tipped off Colfax. Jack tears up Manners' cheque for £1000 recognising it as a trick to implicate him in corruption. Bella is rushed to hospital with appendicitis.


S02E13 - The Simple Pleasures of the Rich Air Date: 28 January 1977 00:00 -

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Dolly is pregnant by Tom. Jack announces that he is resigning as Union secretary and handing over to Matt. He will also move out of the house to allow Matt and Sarah privacy when they marry. When Jack demands a high price, Manners refuses to buy the land that Jack obtained from Lady Caroline. Nevertheless, Jack decides to go ahead with the demolition of Mandrake Place. Tom helps in return for Jack's agreeing to let Dolly divorce him. In the event, Jack insists that he rather than Tom fires the shot.

When the Boat Comes In Actors

John Nightingale(Tom Seaton)

James Bolam(Jack Ford)

Susan Jameson(Jessie Ashton née Seaton)

Malcolm Terris(Matt Headley)

Jean Heywood(Bella Seaton)

James Garbutt(Bill Seaton)

Edward Wilson(Billy Seaton)

Madelaine Newton(Dolly)



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