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Series / Bread

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Bread was a Brit Com that ran from 1986 to 1991. It was about the working class Boswell family of Liverpool: Apron Matron Nellie, and her children Joey, Jack, Adrian, Aveline and Billy. The title refers to Cockney rhyming slang for money (bread and honey = money) and was about attempting to keep the family financially afloat in Thatcher's Britain.

A BBC publicity photo of the show's cast on board the Mersey ferry was captioned Bread Cast upon the Water.


This show provides examples of:

  • All That Glitters: A regular occurrence, given the dodgy types the Boswells do business with.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Nellie and Freddie's marriage has clearly been a disaster from the outset, but divorce is not on the cards because they are Catholics.
  • Badass Family: NEVER mess with one of the Boswells, unless you want the wrath of the entire family descending on you. Which you really, really don't.
  • Big Brother Instinct: As the eldest, Joey has this towards the others, particularly Billy (the youngest) and Aveline (the only girl).
  • Blue and Orange Morality: All the Boswells have this, but particularly Nellie. Despite being extremely religious, she doesn't mind her boys having sex (or "being normal" as she terms it), or committing benefit fraud.
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  • Calling the Old Man Out: Joey tries to do this to Freddie, but Freddie is so amazingly selfish, he doesn't care.
  • Creator Thumbprint: The surname "Boswell" was a favourite of Carla Lane's.
  • Curse Cut Short: Joey clearly mouths "bastard" in the last episode of series one, in reference to Freddie.
  • Double Standard: Nellie is much more concerned about what Aveline gets up to because she's a girl and "it's different for girls". The boys are also very protective of her - much more than they are of Billy, who is younger than her.
  • Promotion to Parent: Joey behaves as a father figure to the others, due to Freddie abandoning the family.
  • Raised Catholic: The Boswells pray, take confession and go to mass, but have a very interesting take on ethics. They don't seem to suffer from Catholic guilt, either.
  • Short-Distance Phone Call: Granddad (who is next door) likes to call up Nellie if he thinks she's taking too long to bring his food over, or disapproves of something about the food she's just cooked him. Even though she's a rather no-nonsense type, she is always very patient with this.


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