The Liverpool-based Boswell family are experts at exploiting the system to get by in life. Despite the fact that none of the Boswells are officially employed, they manage to live a fairly ...
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Harry H. Corbett,
The Liverpool-based Boswell family are experts at exploiting the system to get by in life. Despite the fact that none of the Boswells are officially employed, they manage to live a fairly good life thanks government handouts and various cash-in-hand jobs. Family life for the Boswells centres around their God-fearing Catholic mother, Nellie. With her husband having left her for "a tart", she relies upon her eldest son, Joey, to play the father's role to her other three sons, Jack, Adrian and Billy, and her daughter Aveline. Their ability to squeeze the DHSS dry, while the boys earn a living on the side, is legendary. But, although the family is the focus of their lives, they each have different reasons to be unhappy!
I have fond memories of this show. It ran in Finland when I was 11-12 (in 1990-1992), and I fell in love with Joey Boswell. I would never miss an episode. I thought it was so much fun, especially every time the family drove to solve some problem: first Joey's Jaguar, then Jack's van, then Adrian's motorbike and Billy's old broken Beetle...There was always one empty chair at the end of the table, and I imagined myself sitting there as the youngest daughter of the family. I remember the catchphrases - "I'm not ready for all this!", "She's a tart!" (which my grandmother disapproved of), "Greetings!"... Adrian's poem "Granny's Bucket" and another one that went something like "If you were dead, I'd go to all the places we were together and cry.. But you're alive. And I hate you." I learned many English words from this show, including "greetings", "tart", and "retaliate".
I remember being heartbroken when Joey's actor was changed. My idol was the original Joey, Peter Howitt. I also hated the new Aveline and felt the show was never the same after the change of these actors. I don't know which season that was, but apparently I'm not the only one who thinks the show went on too long. I can't believe Carla Lane blames the fans for abandoning the show - I would assume that repetitive scripts and characters that never evolve wouldn't keep the fans' interest on for very long. I used to think the unchanging nature of the show and the stay-at-home grown up kids were safe and positive, but as a grown up viewer I might get tired of them.
I haven't watched Bread in 14 years, and I'm not sure if I'd like to see it again and spoil the memory. For one thing, at age 11, I missed out on all the irony and subtext. A lot of the things I admired, like Joey's dedication to his family, might seem negative now. My mother, a social worker, thought the characters were offensive for their blatant abuse of the social security system. She thought that their real life counterparts would be very unhappy and pitiful, not someone to laugh at. I was mad at her at the time, but I can see her point now - the show made fun of unemployed people and presented them as lazy abusers of the system. The humor that made an 11-year-old laugh might seem tedious and repetitive to an adult. I don't think "she is a tart" would amuse me now.
For me, this show is best left unspoiled. It was very important to me once, and I'll always have those memories. A part of me will always live on Kelsall Street.
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