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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 3 Air Dates


S03E01 - A House Divided Air Date: 07 September 1977 23:00 -

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Matt and Tom rescue the injured Jack from the ruins of Mandrake Place. Arthur is appalled by the destruction and contacts the Association for the Preservation of Great Houses. Its Chairman, James Channing, threatens to prosecute. Jessie warns Jack and offers him an alibi. Jack learns from Caroline that her brother-in-law, Roddy, and Channing have been lovers. To Caroline's disgust he says he will use this to blackmail Roddy into persuading Channing drop the prosecution.


S03E02 - A Tiger, a Lamb and a Basket of Fruit Air Date: 14 September 1977 23:00 -

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Jessie calls a family meeting to ensure that Matt and Tom are not arrested for their part in the demolition of Mandrake Place. Bill offers Dolly a job managing his new shop in Garibaldi Street. Jack is beaten up by two thugs employed by Roddy. He gets his own back on one of them and then tells Roddy he will get him sent to prison unless all charges are dropped.


S03E03 - My Bonny Lass Goodbye Air Date: 21 September 1977 23:00 -

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Jack forces Channing to support his story that the destruction of Mandrake Place was an accident. Manners, claiming to believe this story, then refuses to pay him. Jessie is dismayed when Arthur tells her that they are moving to Kent where he has a better paid job. Jack, after a farewell kiss, arranges an introduction with the Kent Fabian Society so she can carry on with her political activities. He then leaves for Scarborough to provide Dolly's grounds for divorce.


S03E04 - A Ticket to Care for the Wounded Air Date: 28 September 1977 23:00 -

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Matt's position as union district secretary is threatened by Eddy Morton. In an attempt to show Matt up, Eddy tells Matt that Manners has done a deal with Friedrich von Peltzer, the duke's German nephew. As this could mean his members lose jobs to Germany, Matt threatens strike action unless the deal is cancelled. Matt wins the vote to confirm him in his job, but then makes Eddy his deputy, aware from Billy that he is terminally ill. Dolly persuades Tom to leave the duke's estate so she can run Bill's new shop.


S03E05 - Travel Light, Travel Far Air Date: 05 October 1977 23:00 -

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Riddled with cancer, Dr. Stoker takes an overdose and dies, leaving Billy to run the free clinic with only Father Courtnay to help. Jack supplies Dolly with a solicitor, who tells her that she and Tom must live apart to appear blameless. Manners pays Jack to front Pioneer Enterprises, a 'nominee company' to act as go-between with Peltzer. Matt finds out and fights Jack. He later discovers that Jack's contract with Manners guarantees 20 more fitters jobs.


S03E06 - Requiem for a Loser Air Date: 12 October 1977 23:00 -

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Jack learns that the witness to his infidelity has died. Dolly, told by her solicitor that her own adultery jeopardises her case, accuses Jack of deliberately stalling. Billy collapses from exhaustion. At Sarah's insistence, Matt asks Jack rather than Eddy Morton to be his best man. Eddy is drunk and abusive at the wedding and then drops dead. Father Courtnay, who is leaving the parish, discovers that Jack is trying to buy the Wellesley Street clinic.


S03E07 - Debts Owed, Debts Paid Air Date: 19 October 1977 23:00 -

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Jack threatens to reveal that he bought votes for Geordie Watson unless he ensures Matt is made a councillor as promised. Geordie must also get Stan Liddell to ensure that the Council sells Wellesley Street to Jack. Billy asks a fellow doctor if a new operation could allow Bill to walk again. To annoy Manners, Caroline asks Jack to a ball as her father's guest.


S03E08 - The Empire Builders Air Date: 27 October 1977 00:00 -

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Billy reveals that Bill might walk again if he has an operation, but Bella is against it. Having bought Wellesley Street cheaply, Jack demands £5000 to sell it to Colfax, who needs to expand there. He persuades Bill to introduce loyalty savings stamps in his shops, the two of them splitting the profits.


S03E09 - Look Up and See the Sky Air Date: 03 November 1977 00:00 -

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Colfax visits Jack to haggle over the sale of Wellesley Street. Jack knows that Colfax has already invested in expensive new plant and holds out for the full amount and acceptance of union labour. Colfax eventually agrees when Jack threatens to sell to Manners, who would then be able to bankrupt Colfax and take over his factory. Bella tells Jack about the possibility of an operation for Bill, and Jack reveals this to Tom.


S03E10 - Letters from Afar Air Date: 10 November 1977 00:00 -

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Left-winger Regan threatens a strike at Lewis Bishop unless a sacked worker is reinstated. Matt resorts to trickery to get information for Jack about Ryders, a local engineering firm run by an old-fashioned patriarch. Joe Prestwick, a former loyal employee, persuades Mr. Ryder to give Billy an old warehouse to use as a new clinic. With Ryders' undervalued shares continuing to rise, Manners tries to buy the Duke's shares.


S03E11 - The Father of Lies Air Date: 17 November 1977 00:00 -

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Jack is using a nominee company to buy up Ryders shares for Manners. The Duke warns him off involving Caroline in the scheme. As the share price keeps rising, Manners has to offer Lewis Bishop shares in exchange. Jack persuades Bill to have the operation. Dolly gives birth a month early.


S03E12 - Diamond Cut Diamond Air Date: 24 November 1977 00:00 -

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Dolly's divorce comes through and baby Matthew William is christened. Bill goes into hospital. Regan calls an unofficial strike at Lewis Bishop and disrupts Manners' press conference about the Ryders take-over. To assume total control of Ryders, Manners needs the duke's block vote. Jack says he can deliver it, but tells the Duke to vote for Ryder. He persuades Matt to make the strike official and ensures that the news breaks at the meeting. The take-over fails, costing Manners a lot of money and finally giving Jack his revenge for Mandrake Place. Jack and Lady Caroline do well, having sold their shares to Manners when the price was high.


S03E13 - A Marriage and a Massacre Air Date: 01 December 1977 00:00 -

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After his operation, Bill is able to walk with a stick. Tom is frustrated working in the shop. Billy and his assistant, medical student Isobel Murcheson, alert Matt to the case of Mr. Dixon, mentally unsound after an accident at Lewis Bishop for which Manners paid his hospital bill. Jack visits the duke who asks him to find out who is sending him threatening letters and killing animals on his estate. Caroline tells Jack she is engaged.


S03E14 - High Life and Hunger Air Date: 08 December 1977 00:00 -

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Isobel's reactionary father tries to ban her from working at the clinic. He is Bill's wholesaler and threatens to cut off his credit. Billy and Bill argue and Bill suffers a fall. Jack visits Dixon who sends him away. Jack employs a group of homeless unemployed, including upper class con man High Life DeVere, to help him catch the person threatening the duke. He discovers it is Dixon.


S03E15 - Please Say Goodbye Before You Go Air Date: 15 December 1977 00:00 -

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Jack flirts with Isobel at a charity ball and meets Lady Caroline's fiancé, Mostyn. Jack and High Life catch Dixon breaking into the duke's house to destroy a picture of one of the duke's ancestors who resembles his son, Christopher. Dixon wants revenge because Christopher had seduced his daughter. Manners agrees to look after Dixon. Jack lends Tom money for his own market garden, then tells Matt he is leaving for America. Matt asks why he is going to a land where you can't get whisky. "To sell them some", Jack replies.

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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