Sunday, 2 July 2017
725 Howard's Way
First viewed : 1 September 1985
Another iconic eighties series began in the autumn of 1985.
Howard's Way was the brainchild of The Brothers creator Gerald Glaister and promised the same mix of business and family drama as well as using one or two of the same cast. The titular character Tom Howard was played by Maurice Colborne from Gangsters. Tom is made redundant from his job as an aircraft designer and, wanting to make a living from his hobby, uses his redundancy to buy a share in a struggling boat building concern, a risky venture given that his new partner is a reactionary drunk Jack Rolfe ( Glyn Owen ) kept afloat by his daughter Avril ( Susan Gilmore ). This causes strains in his marriage to Jan ( Jan Harvey ) who turns to her arriviste boss Ken Masters ( Stephen Yardley ) instead. They have two kids Leo ( Edward Highmore ) who looks like Mark Hollis of Talk Talk and is a right-on eco-warrior in a rather wet fashion and curvy blonde Lynne ( Tracey Childs ) a skilled sailor herself. The Paul Merroney- style head villain of the series was slimy Charles Frere played by sixties survivor Tony Anholt.
The series was an immediate hit and a second season was immediately commissioned but many fans of the first series were disappointed that it increasingly came to resemble a British facsimile of Dynasty with the introduction of more glamorous characters, more opulent settings and melodramatic storylines. Nevertheless it continued to prosper. I got fed up with it after season two but I think my mum stuck with it.
The series suffered a body blow when Colbourne suffered a fatal heart attack while filming the fifth season in 1989. That continued with re-writes explaining Tom's absence and then his death was explained at the start of the sixth and final season. It may be that the series had run its course anyway as we entered a new decade. The final episode was broadcast three days after the resignation of Margaret Thatcher.