'When the Boat Comes In - Series One'
(James Bolam, Susan Jameson, James Garbuff, Jean Heywood, Tom Nightingale, et al / 4-Disc DVD / NR / 2014 / BFS Entertainment)
Overview: Ex-Sergeant Jack Ford returns home to Gallowshields on Tyneside after the end of World War One. It is a time of economic depression and Jack finds his home town gripped by decline and unemployment. Jack soon falls in with the Seaton family and is determined to make his mark on the world.
DVD Verdict: Oh my! Quite simply put, for me, 'When the Boat Comes In' was one of the best comedy series' of all time! The dialect is County Durham mainly, not Tyneside, but the scenes and locations are totally authentic. Sadly, they are now mainly long gone as the North East has moved into its post industrial era.
The story lines and acting are all mainly very believable and evocative of a period of our history we would be foolish and poorer to forget. This was how my grandparents lived, only they didn't open a shop. Their sons went to the second war, not the first. The independent spirit of the working people of the northeast is to a great degree intact despite the best efforts of successive Tory (including the coalition) governments to emasculate the area.
The always-brilliant James Bolam in the lead role as Jack ford, who made his way up to the top under dire circumstances, and who helped his adopted family the Seatons, is yet another example of classic British acting at its finest. He battled and won against the establishment and bosses who tried to keep him and the working man down.
Sadly, and yes I'm jumping forward a wee bit here, but Season 4 let the whole series down for me. We did not see the Seatons, grumpy Bill with five shops at the last count, and his wife who dreamed of having a nice home. Tom Seaton his friend, or as Geordies would say, 'Marrow', and Dolly now with a successful market garden business is about it.
Oh, and did you know what the title of the series was all about? No, well, I would ask my mam, could I have a certain toy or some sweets? The answer, because her purse was (seemingly) always empty, "You can have it when the boat comes in"! These are all Full Screen Presentations (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.