1 9 6 6 (UK)
17 x 50 minute episodes
Set in the fictitious village of Salthaven on the Thames estuary, this BBC series concerned itself with the life and times of widower Joss King (Bernard Lee) – the skipper of the Margaret May, the last of the sail-driven barges – and his family: brother Ben, son Saul and daughters Ruth and Susanna.
Joss struggled to maintain a balance between his work with the barge and family commitments. His wife had died six years ago while he was away from home and his eldest daughter Ruth (Meg Wynn Owen) had immersed herself in her work as a modern-language teacher at the local grammar school to an unhealthy level.
Ruth loathed the sea – believing it had brought tragedy to the family – and was intent on steering her young brother Saul (Richard James initially and then Gregory Phillips) away from following in her father’s footsteps.
His youngest daughter, 18-year-old Susanna (Geraldine Sherman) – having completed her A-Levels – lacked any direction. If she had her way she would like to go fishing with her Uncle Ben (Robert Brown).
Meanwhile, the London-based shipping office of Brigham and Gelder – for whom Joss worked – were slowly squeezing him out in favour of deliveries via more cost-effective motor-powered barges.
When ashore, Joss relaxed at the local pub, where his tough, warm-hearted friend Nel (Sandra Dorne) called time with a belaying pin.
Each of the seventeen episodes dealt with a different barging-related issue, from suspicious goods and packages to the fight with modernisation, but the series failed to cultivate a steady following and came to an end after a little over three months on the air.
Guest actors in the series included Frazer Hines, Jack Smethurst, Leslie Sands, Ivor Salter, Erik Chitty, Elaine Paige, Glynn Edwards and Richard Marner.
Meg Wynn Owen
Richard James (1)
Gregory Phillips (2)
Foreign Invasion | Sunset for a Sailorman | Shipwreck | What Shall We Do with a Drunken Sailor? | It’s an Ill Wind | By Guess and by God | Down River to Glory | Once Aboard the Lugger | Sling Your Hook | A Beautiful Pea-Green Boat | Keeping the Old Spirit Alive | Flash Point | The Great Albert Mystery | Teacher’s Honeymoon | Susanna Goes Fishing | The End of the Voyage | The Romantic Dentist