Born And Bred (BBC-1 2002-2005, James Bolam, Michael French)



Firmly in the feel good tradition of Heartbeat and Ballykissangel, Born and Bred follows the residents of a close knit Lancashire village called Farnborough in the early 1950’s, focal point for the drama is the relationship between Father and son GP’s Arthur and Tom Gilder (played by James Bolam and Michael French respectively). When the series begins Tom has just returned home to help his father run the practice.

In the second season Arthur Gilder (James Bolam) is enjoying having his family around him, especially now that he has moved in with his son,Tom (Michael French),Tom’s wife, Deborah (Jenna Russell), and their four children. It’s all part of making Arthur feel like he is one of the family and needed but, of course, Arthur just can’t resist sticking his oar in from time to time!

Meanwhile Helen (Charlotte Salt) is still going out with Eddie (Sam Hudson) who is lusted after by Jean (Naomi Radcliffe). Other characters include Linda (Tracey Childs), the nurse who’s married to the village policeman, Len Cosgrove (Peter Gunn). Clive Swift is the vicar, an unconventional man of the cloth, who likes a tipple in The Signalman’s Arms where Phyllis (Maggie Steed) is the bold and brassy landlady. Donald Gee is Mr Boynton, the village shopkeeper and there is Wilf (John Henshaw), the station-master father to Jean. Key developments in the second season include Tom’s wife Deborah’s mum turning up with news she is getting married; Len and Linda discovering they can’t have children and Wilf coming face to face to with the German soldier who killed his brother during the war.

Season three saw the show going through something of a transitional period with Phyllis having to deal with the fact that her wayward husband has returned to try and sell the pub from under her and Eddie and Jean finally realising they are made for each other and planning to get married.

The biggest shock though is the departure of James Bolam in the lead as Arthur, having decided he fancied a change of scene. An unlikely development sees Arthur heading off to New Zealand an event later compounded by the fact that Tom feels he has to follow him to try and make amends for the way he reacted over Arthur’s leaving (fair do’s really Tom had in fact been offered the job that Arthur took!). There’s more trouble when the villagers get wind of a plan to demolish the whole of Ormiston (this is actually a plot by a con man though of course).

This left the series without it’s two main lead actors though and although new characters in the shape of Dr Nick Logan, Deborah’s sister Nancy Brisley and Surgeon Henry Williamson were introduced it finished soon after.

Born and Bred

production details
UK / BBC One / 35x60m / Broadcast 21 April 2002 – 27 July 2005

Producer: Phil Collinson (season 1), Chris Clough (season 2) / Creators: Chris Chibnall and Nigel McCrery / Executive Producers: Simon Lewis and Susan Hogg.

JAMES BOLAM as Arthur Gilder (-series 3)
MICHAEL FRENCH as Tom Gilder (to 2004 he suffered an off-screen death while away on holiday to explain his absence in the 2005 series)
JENNA RUSSELL as Deborah Gilder
MAGGIE STEED as Phyllis Woolfe
CLIVE SWIFT as Reverend Brewer
CHARLOTTE SALT as Helen Gilder (- series 3)
RICHARD WILSON as Dr Donald Newman (from series 3)
OLIVER MILBURN as Dr Nick Logan (season 4)
KELLY HARRISON as Nancy Brisley (season 4)
NIGEL HAVERS as Mr Henry Williamson (season 4)

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