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Classic TV Comedy: Bread S06 E06



Bread is a British television sitcom, written by Carla Lane, about a struggling Catholic, working-class family in Liverpool, England. It was produced by the BBC and screened on BBC One from 1 May 1986 to 3 November 1991.

The series focused on the extended Boswell family of Liverpool, in the district of Dingle. The family were Catholic and working class, and led by matriarch Nellie (Jean Boht). Each episode was centred around her children attempting to make enough money to support the family through various means.

The show’s title is a reference to “bread” meaning “money”; though this is not a Liverpudlian Scouse expression but cockney rhyming slang (“bread and honey”). A regular scenario in each episode was that of Nellie opening a cockerel-fashioned kitchen egg basket prior to the evening meal into which the family would place money for their upkeep. The amount of money placed in the pot by each depended on how successful a day they’d had. The pot would be at the forefront of the screen at the end of each episode as the credits rolled.

Other frequently-seen scenarios included Nellie answering a cordless phone (a newfangled item in the mid-1980s) which she kept in the pocket of her pinny (she always said “Hello yes?” when answering); and ensuring the parking places outside the terraced house were kept free for the family’s many vehicles, by putting out some illicitly-acquired police traffic cones.

The show featured soap opera-style cliffhangers. This meant that viewers had to watch each week to see how the previous week’s cliffhanger would be resolved. This also meant that each episode was not self-contained, but the plot unfolded as the series progressed. This was very unusual for a comedy at the time, but has been used to great effect by comedies since.

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