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The Bretts (ITV Drama, Norman Rodway, Barbara Murray)



Whitney Houston & Bobbi Kristina

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 (Norman Rodway) 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 (Barbara Murray), herself an actress.

Living in some style in Nightingale Grove in Hampstead their extended family includes twins Edwin (David Yelland) and Martha (Belinda Lang) (also actors), son Thomas (George Winter) 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 (Sally Cookson), 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 (Janet Maw). 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 well going out at the very late time of 11.30pm on Sunday nights.

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

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

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