Bread (TV series)


Elswick Street: Where the exterior shots were filmed.
Created by Carla Lane
Written by Carla Lane
Directed by Susan Belbin (1986-1988)
Robin Nash (1987–89)
John B. Hobbs (1990–91)
Starring Jean Boht
Peter Howitt
Nick Conway
Victor McGuire
Jonathon Morris
Gilly Coman
Kenneth Waller
Ronald Forfar
Bryan Murray
J. G. Devlin
Graham Bickley
Melanie Hill
Pamela Power
Opening theme David Mackay
Country of origin England
No. of series 7
No. of episodes 74
Executive producer(s) Robin Nash (1986–91)
Producer(s) Robin Nash (1986–91)
John B. Hobbs (1990–91)
Location(s) Dingle, Liverpool, England
Editor(s) John Dunstan (1986–91)
Chris Wadsworth (1987)
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 30 mins
Original network BBC1
Original release 1 May 1986 (1986-05-01) 
3 November 1991 (1991-11-03)

Bread is a British television sitcom, written by Carla Lane, produced by the BBC and screened on BBC1 from 1 May 1986 to 3 November 1991.

The series focused on the devoutly-Catholic and extended Boswell family of Liverpool, in the district of Dingle, led by its matriarch Nellie (Jean Boht) through a number of ups and downs as they tried to make their way through life in Thatcher's Britain with no visible means of support. The street shown at the start of each programme is Elswick Street. A family called Boswell had also featured in Lane's earlier sitcom The Liver Birds and Lane said in interviews that the two families were probably related.

Nellie's feckless and estranged husband, Freddie (Ronald Forfar), left her for another woman known as 'Lilo Lill' (Eileen Pollock). Her children Joey, Jack, Adrian, Aveline and Billy continued to live in the family home in Kelsall Street and contributed money to the central family fund, largely through benefit fraud and the sale of stolen goods.[1]

In a 2004 poll to find Britain's Best Sitcom, Bread came 39th.


Boswell family


Other elements

The show's title is a reference to the use of 'bread' however, it is not a Liverpudlian Scouse expression but actually a London term for money (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.

The theme tune was sung by the cast members and was released on BBC Records but failed to make the UK singles chart. The theme was re-recorded for the fifth series of the show, due to BBC1's transition from mono to NICAM stereo sound – the original theme had been recorded in mono.

A comic strip based on the series featured in the BBC's Teen magazine Fast Forward, although the overall tone was altered for the magazines younger readership.

After the series had finished, a stage play of the show entitled "Bread – The Farewell Slice" toured the UK.

DVD releases

All seven series of the sitcom were released onto DVD on Monday 29 September 2014.


  1. "BBC – Comedy Guide – Bread". Archived from the original on 6 December 2004. Retrieved 2013-10-02.

External links

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