Fans of Bread, the cult scouse comedy, from the ’80s, will have their own memories of the hit show. Set in Dingle in Liverpool, we followed the ups and down of the Boswell family. Their lives were dissected and discussed around the dinner table, with Nellie Boswell, the head of the family, acting as chairperson.
It was funny and sad, emotional and hilarious, due to the natural acting of the cast and the brilliant script, penned by Carla Lane. It aired from 1986 to 1991, with a few characters being replaced, for various reasons. The love lives of the Boswell family, who resided on Elswick Street, took the word complicated to a new level, bringing a barrel of laughs from the viewers.
Let’s check out our favourite characters and see what they look like today!
JEAN BOHT – Nellie Boswell….then
The matriarch of the Boswell family, Nellie was always coming out with great sayings, like ‘For what we are about to receive, may the Lord help us to pay for it!’ Great Liverpudlian humour.
Married to the composer, Carl Davis, since 1970, they have two grown up children. At 86 years young, Jean takes it easy, these days. She appeared in a short film, the award winning ‘Bad Night For The Blues’ in 2010.
NICK CONWAY – Billy Boswell….then
Always the joker and sending up his partner, Julie, Billy supplied the show with plenty laughs and one liners.
After Bread, Nick appeared in Coronation Street and Juliet Bravo. He currently runs a theatre school and is a teacher and part time DJ.
JONATHON MORRIS – Adrian Boswell….then
Adrian used to say of his estranged father that he was here for the party but wouldn’t stay for the washing up! An unusual dresser, Adrian liked to be seen in a flowery shirt.
Jonathon has carried on acting, having been in ‘Dr Who’ and ‘The Professionals’. He’s also done lots of tv presenting, where he’s a natural.
KENNETH WALLER – Grandad….then
Did you know that Grandad appeared in ‘Are You Being Served’ as Old Mr. Grace? He also portrayed Curly’s dad in ‘Coronation Street’.
Kenneth has since appeared in many tv shows as well as having an illustrious stage career. His latest roles were as voice-overs.
RONALD FORFAR – Freddie Boswell….then
After being an unemployed actor, growing up in Liverpool, ‘Bread’ was his lifeline and he has never looked back since.
Ronald still gets recognised as Freddy and the public love him. He’s written theatre plays as well as successful novels.
VICTOR McGUIRE – Jack Boswell….then
Victor had been in sitcoms before but ‘Bread’ was definitely his big break. He constantly uses his sarcastic sense of humour to send up his brothers and sister.
I remember Victor in ‘Goodnight Sweetheart’ with Nicholas Lyndhurst. He’s starred in many, many tv dramas and had his fair share of comedy parts.
GILES WATLING – Oswald….then
Oswald and Aveline’s wedding was watched by an incredible 21 million viewers. The relationship between them was so cleverly written by Carla Lane.
Giles has put acting on the back burner as he has entered the shady world of politics, being a Conservative councillor for Frinton ward on Tendring District Council.
BRYAN MURRAY- Shifty Boswell….then
Bryan’s role as Shifty won him a BBC Personality Of The Year award, with him getting three quarters of the votes. His fans totally took him into their hearts.
‘Brookside’ beckoned for Bryan after ‘Bread’. He’s fronted religious programmes for children, appeared in scores of stage and tv roles and still managed to find time to write plays.
EILEEN POLLOCK – Lilo Lill….then
Lilo Lill was a brilliant character and perfectly cast for the talented Eileen Pollock. Even though Freddie no longer lived at home, his mother wouldn’t forgive his infidelity with Lilo.
In the ’90s, Eileen appeared with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman in ‘Far and Away’, the Irish movie. She’s also been in Taggart.
PETER HOWITT – Joey Boswell….then
The son of a renowned Fleet Street journalist, who broke the story about the Profumo Affair, Peter was already a familiar face on the telly, on school tv programme, ‘How We Used To Live’, before he got the part of Joey.
He wrote the film ‘Sliding Doors’ and has directed many movies, here and in the States. His latest directing role was last year, with ‘Scorched Earth’.
MARK JORDON – Wagger….then
Wagger was a bit of a heart throb, when he joined ‘Bread’. Posters of him looking sultry could be found in ‘Look In’ and teen magazines.
Mark has been a regular character in ‘Emmerdale’, playing Daz, brother of Dan. He had been the policeman in ‘Heartbeat’ for it’s full run.
MELANIE HILL – Aveline….then
Larger than life Aveline loved to express herself by way of her dress sense. She was the only daughter in the Boswell household and married the vicar, Oswald.
After a successful stint in ‘Waterloo Road’, Melanie was brought into Corrie, as a love interest for Roy Cropper. They split up, as Roy couldn’t get over losing Haley, so Melanie’s character, Cathy, moved on to Brian.
DEBORAH GRANT – Leonora Campbell….then
Deborah acted in some serious programmes before being cast in ‘Bread’. She was a popular character, that stood for no nonsense.
Deborah hasn’t let her feet touch the ground. She’s been in ‘Barnum’ with Michael Crawford, been in sitcoms and sketch shows, most recently playing Lucy and Tim’s mother.
JOANNA PHILLIPS-LANE – Roxy
Before being cast as Roxy, Joanna starred in ‘One Foot In The Grave’ and ‘Capital City’. She was also in ‘Life Without George’.
You will have spotted Joanna in ‘Peak Practice’, ‘Rosemary & Tyme’, ‘Doctors’, Casualty and a whole host of other programmes.
RITA TUSHINGHAM – Celia Higgins….then
A former girlfriend of Shifty, Celia moves in next door to the Boswells. She’s put off by the number of vehicles parked outside.
Rita is a famous face and was actually in ‘Vera’ not long ago. She received an Honorary Fellowship for ‘Outstanding Contribution To The Performing Arts’ from Liverpool John Moores University.
J.G. DEVLIN – Father Dooley….then
He had been in ‘Z Cars’, ‘Dad’s Army’ and ‘The New Avengers’, before being cast as Father Dooley, a Catholic priest.
Father Dooley was J.G. Devlin’s final acting role, before his death in 1991. He had acted for over 60 years, leaving a wonderful legacy.
CHARLIE LAWSON – Yizzel….then
His real name was Quentin but Charlie didn’t think this fitted in with the types of parts he was being offered and he disliked it, so used his middle name instead.
Of course you recognise him! He was the only person who referred to his ex-wife, in Corrie, as Elizabeth! He’s dipped in and out of the soap and is always a great watch.
SIMON ROUSE – Yizzel’s Mate….now
He had featured in ‘Dr. Who’, which was where the casting director spotted him. He was only ever referred to as ‘Yizzel’s Mate’.
He’s a familiar face, isn’t he? He was Jack Meadows in ‘The Bill’ for many years. He also played a Superintendent in ‘Eastenders’.
SHARON BYATT – Irene….then
Although Billy’s love life is taking turn for the better, the same can’t be said for Adrian. His is full of disappointment, thanks to Irene!
After ‘Bread’, Sharon was seen in ‘Springhill’ with Sue Johnston and last year appeared in ‘Moving On’, as the neighbour.
GEORGINA SMITH – Neighbour…then
After popping up in various sitcoms, as well as ‘Brookside’ and ‘Devices and Desires’, Georgina got the part of the neighbour in ‘Bread’. Although not a main part, she made the most of her character.
After ‘Bread’, Georgina was cast in quite a number of tv films, small roles but very meaningful. She was in ‘Eyes Down’ and ‘Moving On’.
REGINALD MARSH – Doctor….then
The sitcom, soap and comedy King, before ‘Bread’ he was in ‘Crown Court’, ‘Bless This House’ and Dave Smith, the bookmaker, in Coronation Street.
As he got older, he took smaller parts and was in ‘Crossroads’ and ‘Terry and June’. He died, aged 74, in 2001.
KATY CARMICHAEL – Connie….then
Katy studied at the National Youth Theatre and immediately got lots of stage work. She was a very talked about actress and was destined for great things.
She starred in her first film in 2001, ‘Dead Babies’ and then tv and film roles came thick and fast. She was in Disney’s ‘Christopher Robin’ last year.
EVIE GARRATT – Mrs. Cumberland….then
Evie was a regular face on tv, in ‘Terry and June’ and ‘All In Good Faith’, although it was’Bread’ that got people stopping her in the street.
Evie had small roles in ‘Eastenders’ and ‘Coronation Street’. She was recently seen in an episode of ‘Casualty’.
MARY MAUDE – Lady Bowford….then
Mary specialised in horror films, although they were corny! ‘Bread’ was completely different to anything she had done before, but it worked.
You may remember seeing Mary in ‘Lovejoy’, where she played the character of Annabel. She was also known for being in ‘The Chef’s Apprentice’.
CAROLINE MILMOE – Julie Jefferson….then
Caroline played Julie in the first two series’ of ‘Bread’, before moving on to star in ‘Poirot’ and ‘The Magic Toy Shop’.
If you think Caroline’s face looks familiar, then let me put you out of your misery. She played Lisa Duckworth, Terry’s wife, in Coronation Street.
PAMELA POWER – Martina….then
Pamela was spotted by the casting team on stage in an amateur production. Her humour shone through and they knew she would fit the bill of Martina.
Pamela has turned up in ‘Casualty’ and ‘Holby City’. She has also been in a couple of tv films.
GRAHAM BICKLEY ….Joey Boswell (No. 2)….then
Joey number 2 had a resemblance to the original Joey, so he was half way there when he turned up for the audition. He had been in the West End and was an all round entertainer.
Graham has continued to star in musicals, ‘Miss Saigon’ and ‘Les Miserables’. He also writes and directs – one very talented guy!