When The Boat Comes In - Series 4 [DVD]
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The complete fourth series of the seventies TV drama 'When the Boat Comes In'. After becoming a victim of the Wall Street crash, a former Army sergeant leaves New York and returns home to an economically depressed Gallowsields on Tyneside at the end of the First World War. Soon he is finding old friends and rebuilding his life.
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Subtitles: English for the Hard of Hearing (only)
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It was made several years after the others and perhaps this is why it contained so few of the original characters - Jack Ford and Sarah Headley being the mainstays with Billy, Jessie Seaton and lady Caroline briefly turning up later. It is pretty much 'the Jack Ford show', and lacking the variations in stories which characterised the earlier series.
The series starts with Jack down on his luck returning from America and arriving in Liverpool docks with a fortune lost, if you've seen the previous series you may be able to guess the gist of what happens as he struggles to pull himself up by his bootstraps once more. The episodes in Liverpool as he hits rock bottom are as good social commentary as the others ever were. The problems for me began when he returns to Gallowshields to find his 'marra' Matt Headley is gone and Sarah is alone - I personally thought the story explaining Matt's exit was out of character and contrived to fit the plot. He meets with a few old friends, and although some - like Stan Liddell and Geordie Watson are originals - many are new characters who are introduced as Jack's old 'marras', which undermines the credibility of the stories. The main characters of the earlier series, the Seatons, are mentioned only in passing as having moved to Gosforth, yet it lacks credibility that Jack would not have gone out of his way to see Bella.
The series picks up a bit when Jack goes to London as the new scene and new characters are good in their own right, there are some tightly written stories and some great actors - Simon Cadell, Judy Loe and Phyllida Law. Although it does not reach the heights of the previous series these episodes are good as stand alone ones and without the contrivances of writing out main characters it is much better. These episodes have bumped my rating up.
The final episode was the biggest disappointment of all, hugely contrived we are asked to believe that Jack Ford - who has everything to live for - deliberately would risk his life for the cause of the Spanish civil war. Although he was a soldier in WW1, he did not seek war (in the earlier series he refused to serve in Ireland) the character was a survivor first and foremost who looked after himself and those immediately close to him. In addition we are asked to believe that Billy the dedicated doctor would be keen to distribute guns, and that Jessie would have left her three children. Implausible.
If you have watched all 3 series you will probably be keen to see it to its conclusion, if you don't don't have too high expectations then there are some enjoyable episodes to be found among some poor ones.
This was the last series and Jack is older and as cunning as ever. However, by now many of the main characters are missing and the family feel is gone.
This series sees Jack as the entrepreneur and living it to the full against a back drop of the Spanish Civil War. The series was watch-able and concluded matters. However, the story lines were at times weak and spun out and for me left me a little disappointed at the end. The actors were still of the highest quality and made the best of the script and were still believable.
Not as good as the previous 3 series but if you have watch them all still a must.
The series begins with Jack Ford's return from America, having made and lost a fortune in the Wall Street crash. The series does seem to sag in the middle when Jack moves to London and moves in ever higher social circles: the storylines just don't seem as engaging as some of those in the earlier series when he was based in the North East.
This series also suffers from the absence of so many previously regular characters. The Seatons were virtually Jack's surrogate family during the first three series. Bill, Bella and their son Tom, are all absent throughout (the actor who played Tom having died between this and the previous series at a relatively young age). His brother, Billy, and sister, Jessy, do appear in the later episodes of this series. Jessy, who was Jack's first love, had been missing for much of the third series, having moved away from the North East with her husband. Also absent throughout this last series are Tom's wife and Jacks's ex, Dolly; Jacks's best friend, Matt Headly, who is supposed to have died while Jack was away; and Jack's old business sparring partner, Sir Horatio Manners. All these missing regular characters give the series an odd feeling.
James Bolam's Jack Ford is, however, one of British television's greatest ever characters and this series, even if it does disappoint slightly in comparison with the earlier three series, is worth getting just to follow his fascinating life story to its completion. The last few episodes, with the return of Jessy and Billy, who persuade Jack to become involved in the Spanish civil war, do pick up and bring the series to a fitting and poignant conclusion.
A great family series with laughter, sadness, and hope.
I thought it would be very dated to watch as it is an old series, but it was A1 from start to finish.
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Very disappointing plot pathetic and an insult to the rest of the series. Third rate spaghetti western material.