When the Boat Comes In (TV Series 1976–1981) Poster


Episode List


Season 1

8 Jan. 1976
A Land Fit for Heroes and Idiots
In 1919 Jack Ford returns to Gallowshields on Tyneside after service in the great war and becomes friendly with the Seaton family, parents Bella and Bill and their children Jessie, a school teacher to whom Jack is attracted, and her brothers Billy, a medical student and Socialist, and Tom, who is getting married to his sweetheart Mary. Mary's young brother was killed in the war and Jack tells Tom in confidence that he died in the arms of another man. Billy and Jessie try to involve Jack in the local Labour party against the Liberal candidate and magistrate, former ...
15 Jan. 1976
Say Hello...... Say Tirra
Billy, Tom and Matt, Jack's old army pal, try to involve him in the Labour movement but he seems disinterested. Bella takes in Harry, a young boy whose mother has died, leaving him an orphan. Father Keenley, the local priest, tells Bella that she could adopt but this would put a strain on resources and it might be better if she allows the boy to be sent on an emigration scheme to Australia, to which she reluctantly agrees.
22 Jan. 1976
Fish in Woolly Jumpers
Times are hard as the miners strike over a pay claim and Tom, now with a son to keep as well as Mary, who has tuberculosis, borrows money from the seemingly flush Jack. Jack meets Matt's sister Dolly Mather, a war widow with whom he has an affair. Tom, aware that Jack is involved in some sort of scam, threatens to expose them unless Jack counts him in so Jack and Matt take Tom on their nocturnal 'fishing trip', in reality stealing sheep. They have a narrow escape after a run-in with a policeman but Jessie, against Jack's expectations, condones his activities.
29 Jan. 1976
Swords and Pick Handles
Jack visits Sir Horatio Manners, father of his late commanding officer and gives him a present of a sword. Manners knows this is a ploy for Jack to ingratiate himself but is impressed by his guile and offers him a job at his new factory, supervising non-Union workers. This angers Jessie, who sees Jack as betraying his kind but they are reconciled after Jack has rescued Tom, in need of money and working as a 'black-leg' or strike-breaking miner, from being beaten up by his striking colleagues.
5 Feb. 1976
Coal Comfort
The strike continues and Bill approaches an old friend, Sep, regarding the location of a coal mine which was closed down fifty years earlier. Billy decides to quit his studies and, whilst Bill initially offers no opposition, he belittles the lad in the hopes that he will change his mind. However Billy successfully finds coal by digging under the house. Tom pursues two children who have stolen leeks from his allotment but, on discovering that their mother, Elsie, is a war widow with no pension, makes a gift of leeks to them.
12 Feb. 1976
Empire Day on the Slag Heap
The strike ends with no concessions won by the colliers. Jack does well at the factory and Manners suggests that he could do better than marry Jessie. Jessie goes on a date with the older, formal Mr. Ashton, who proposes to her, though she turns him down. Matt tells Jack that Dolly is pregnant and so he agrees to marry her. Bill is injured at the pit and is offered a payment by the mining company but at the expense of admitting his own liability. Jack bitterly opposes this and holds out for a better settlement, winning Jessie's admiration.
19 Feb. 1976
A First Time for Everything
Encouraged by French onion seller Pierre, Bella turns the front of the house into a shop, using some of Bill's compensation. Bill, still in a wheel-chair, is initially hostile but sees the need for an income. Jessie is impressed by the intelligence of fourteen-year-old pupil Ronnie and tries to dissuade him from working in the mine but his mother is a widow and he wants to earn 'man's money'. He goes to work in the pit and is killed, causing Tom, who was looking after him, to quit his job. Jessie gets engaged to Mr. Ashton whilst Jack marries Dolly at the registry ...
26 Feb. 1976
Paddy Boyle's Discharge
Mary dies. Jack is in a pub when he meets an old army colleague, Sid Hepburn, still a professional soldier who suggests that Jack reenlists and returns to Ireland as a soldier's pay is very good. Paddy Boyle, an Irish member of Jack's sheep-stealing gang, is convinced that Hepburn and his friend Bartram are the two British soldiers responsible for rape and murder back in Cork. Jack realises that Paddy is a member of Sinn Fein. Having considered Hepburn's offer he decides against rejoining the army but is too late to stop carnage when Bartram and Hepburn are shot by ...
4 Mar. 1976
Angel on Horseback
Nurse Rosie Trotter returns to Gallowshields and is mutually attracted to Tom,though, out of respect for Mary, they agree to postpone their wedding for a year. Mick Murphy, Bella's uncle, takes ill and dies in hospital, having first placed a bet on a horse in Bella's name. To make up the money for his funeral Bella does cleaning work and is pleased to feel independent, which Bill resents. Mick's funeral is well-attended and the horse he backed won but unfortunately the bet was never placed as the bookie was operating illegally and was arrested by the police.
11 Mar. 1976
King for a Day
Dolly is pregnant and Jack jobless so he agrees to a proposition to make money, from Manners, who wants to buy a house from Lord Calderbeck. Jack, posing as a parvenu car parts tycoon, will act as front man. At the house he meets Freddy, Calderbeck's nephew and heir, though his Lordship resents him as he survived the war, unlike Calderbeck's sons. Freddy is suspicious of Jack but the merry widow Jane Cromer, Freddy's fiancée, is partial to a bit of rough and climbs into Jack's bed. Ultimately Jack persuades her to marry Freddy and, thanks to inside information from ...
18 Mar. 1976
Happy New Year, Some Say
It is New year's Eve and Glaswegian socialist lecturer Sandy Lewis joins Jack, whom he tells that the Labour party is in the ascendancy, at the George Hotel, where Billy is a bar-man and Tom avoids capture, having stolen from the cloak-room. They join Bill and Bella at a New Year party given by Jessie and Arthur Ashton, to whom she is now married. Next day the Seatons are summonsed for allowing their shop to remain open in the evening. Bill suspects they were grassed up by rival shop-keeper Davidson so Sandy throws a brick through his window with a note tied to it ...
25 Mar. 1976
Heads You Win, Tails I Lose
To the annoyance of her husband Arthur, Jessie has been nominated for the Labour Party executive and Jack antagonizes Dolly - who sees an ulterior motive - in backing her. Jessie's nomination is successful. She has a bright pupil, Robert, for whom she is seeking a scholarship and romance seems to be in the air between Robert's mother Lizzie Armstrong and Matt. However Lizzie is independent and turns Matt down after securing a well-paid cleaning job. Tom is on the run, wanted for theft and illegal gambling, and Jack, having patched things up with Dolly, plans to help ...
1 Apr. 1976
Kind Hearted Rat with a Lifebelt
Tom is caught and remanded in custody. Jack becomes the deputy branch secretary of the union, getting the miners on side to dissuade them from strike action. The widow Downey - who actually informed on Tom - is facing eviction as she cannot pay the rent and is locked out of her house by the landlord. Jack goes to her aid by breaking down the door and hiding her furniture for her. Both he and Tom appear in court. Tom is sentenced to three months in prison and Jack to one, but Jack is released to a hero's welcome.

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See also

Episode Cast | Rated Episodes (by date / vote)| TV Schedule

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