Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Bread (television series)
The Boswell family was led by its matriarch, the staunchly Catholic 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.
Nellie's feckless husband had left her for another woman known, for reasons never fully explained, as 'Lilo Lil'. Her, by the end of the series rather elderly, children continued to live in the family home and contributed money to the central family fund, largely through benefit fraud and the sale of stolen goods.
Comedy mostly came from a number of catchphrases and a diluted version of the fabled Scouse wit . Lane mixed this with a high proportion of home-spun philosophy, social commentary and generalised triumph over tragedy .
Eldest son Joey (Peter Howitt) was Nellie's lieutenant to his siblings including Adrian (Johnathon Morris ) who aspired to be an actor, Aveline (Gilly Coman ) who attempted to become a model, and many more. The large cast and the regular cast changes mean that any attempt to catalogue the multitude of characters and actors associated with the programme would require effort outweighing any final academic benefit.
The colourful, sprawling, cross-generational nature of Bread gave it overtones more befitting a soap opera or airport novel. Its move to a 50 minute Sunday evening time slot in 1989 betrayed its true nature and it can be considered as being on the fringes of the situation comedy genre in which it is usually categorised.
Bread belongs to a peculiar subtype of British sitcom which repudiates any explicit effort to produce jokes and instead exists in a kind of timeless, hyperreal world where a scatter of catchphrases and minor slapstick are sufficient to engage the audience and induce them to laugh. Similar examples include Birds of a Feather, Just Good Friends , and the complete oeuvre of Roy Clarke.
Bread was criticised for perpetuating the stereotype of lazy, criminally minded Scousers, despite this, the programme was enormously successful and at its peak obtained viewer figures of more than 20 million. Linda McCartney appeared in one episode.
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