TV UK TV

Bretts, The (ITV 1987-1988, Norman Rodway, Barbara Murray)

Lively period comedy drama series The Bretts was set in the 1920s and followed the fortunes of an acting dynasty led by West End star Charles Brett who sees himself as a star in every sense of the word. He is a terrible womaniser, much to the chagrin of his wife Lydia, herself an actress.

Living in some style in Nightingale Grove in Hampstead their extended family includes twins Edwin and Martha (also actors), son Thomas who becomes a playwright and Nell who has nothing to do with the stage and instead is married to staid stockbroker John and has two children. Meanwhile youngest daughter Perdita, despite having languished in a convent school, is also determined to become an actress.

Also an intrinsic part of the household is the below stair staff led by secretary Jean Lacy. Alfred is the butler (himself a former actor). Patrick is the swoonworthy chauffeur and Flora is the cook.

It’s all very Upstairs Downstairs meets House of Elliot but the acting angle does give it a nice air of glamour. The casting was excellent too.

The first two episodes were shown as a double bill and the final episode was broadcast over the Christmas holidays at 3.30pm. Season two fared less going out at the very late time of 11.30pm on Sunday nights.

production details
UK / ITV – Central / 18 episodes 1×75 minute episode 1×100 moinute episode 16×50 minute episodes / Broadcast 16 October 1987 – 28 August 1988

Creators: Rosemary Anne Sisson, Frank Marshall / Executive Producers: Ted Childs, Colin Callander, Frank Marshall / Producer: Tony Charles

cast
Norman Rodway as Charles Brett
Barbara Murray as Lydia Brett
David Yelland as Edwin Brett
Belinda Lang as Martha Brett
George Winter as Thomas Brett
Rebecca Lacey as Emily
Janet Maw as Jean Lacy
Frank Middlemass as George Brett
Billy Boyle as Hegarty
Sally Cookson as Perdita
Tim Wylton as Sutton

THE EPISODES
SEASON ONE 16 October – 27 December 1987
1. THE KING SHALL NOT DIE (75 minutes – 16 Oct 87)
2. DRIVING AMBITION (16 Oct 87)
3. VAGABONDS AND THIEVES (23 Oct 87)
4. FULL HOUSE (30 Oct 87)
5. MOVING PICTURES (6 Nov 87)
6. BROADWAY, HERE I COME (13 Nov 87)
7. REVENGE IS SWEET (20 Nov 87)
8. GET ME TO THE CHURCH ON TIME (27 Nov 87)
9. THE ACTRESS AND THE BISHOP (4 Dec 87)
10. FORBIDDEN FRUIT (11 Dec 87)
11. ALL RIGHT ON THE NIGHT (18 Dec 87)
12. GRAND FINALE (27 Dec 87)

SEASON TWO 24 July – 28 August 1988
1. HOME AND AWAY PART ONE (24 Jul 88)
2. HOME AND AWAY PART TWO (31 Jul 88)
3. A HOUSE DIVIDED (7 Aug 88)
4. THE LUCK OF THE IRISH (14 Aug 88)
5. I’VE GOT YOU UNDER MY SKIN (21 Aug 88)
6. THE GOLDEN DUSTMAN (28 Aug 88)