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Howard’s Way (BBC-1 1985-1990, Maurice Colbourne, Jan Harvey)



Howard's Way

Drama series Howard’s Way was a mainstay of Sunday night prime time for most of the late 1980’s and Britains answer to the glossy super soaps of America such as Dallas and Dynasty.

Howard’s Way starred Maurice Colbourne as Tom Howard who at the series start has just won a major sailing trophy but has also just been made redundant from his design job with Southern Aviation. Tom, much to the dismay of his wife Jan (Jan Harvey), decides to sink his golden handshake pay off into a partnership with boat builder Jack Rolfe.

Tom and Jan are resolutely middle class with a comfortable lifestyle in coastal town Tarrant (real life Bursledon) and have two grown up children the sailing obsessed and show sexpot Lynne Howard (Tracey Childs) and somewhat wimpy Leo who wants to give up the chance to go to University to make his own way.

Like any good soaper the emphasis is on big business and relationships generally of the extra marital kind, Tom is soon falling for Jack’s daughter Avril whilst Jan is soon fighting off the attentions of the slimy Ken Masters (brilliantly played by Stephen Yardley), big business is provided by the antics of Charles Frere (the man Ken Masters would like to be) – linked to the Howard’s by Jan’s best friend Polly Urquhart whose husband Gerald is Frere’s right hand man.

By the time the series ended in 1990 everybody had slept with everybody else and the show even survived the real life death of Maurice Colbourne in 1989. The popular theme tune was by The Simon May Orchestra and singer Marti Webb took a vocal rendition into the top 20 in 1986.

It’s a fabulous mix of UK shows like The Brothers and glossy US shows like Dallas. Full of fabulous drama and still hugely watchable now.

production details
UK / BBC-1 / 78×50 minute episodes / Broadcast from 1 September 1985 – 25 November 1990

Creators: Gerard Glaister, Allan Prior / Script Editor: John Brason (seasons 1-2), Mark Lyons / Theme Music: Simon May, Leslie Osborne / Producer: Gerard Glaister

JAN HARVEY as Jan Howard
TRACEY CHILDS as Lynne Howard
SUSAN GILMORE as Avril Rolfe
GLYN OWEN as Jack Rolfe
DULCIE GRAY as Kate Harvey
TONY ANHOLT as Charles Frere
IVOR DANVERS as Gerald Urquhart
CINDY SHELLEY as Abby Urquhart
KATE O’MARA as Laura Wilde