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Brothers, The

1 9 7 2 – 1 9 7 6 (UK)

It was the BBC’s The Brothers – about the three sons, widow and former mistress of the late owner of a road haulage firm – which put feuding-family sagas on the television map.

When 70-year old Robert Hammond died, his eldest son Ted braced himself to take over the family’s long-distance lorry business, Hammond Transport Services. After all, he had helped to build up the company.

However, with the reading of the will, he discovered that his two younger brothers (David, a restless young graduate, and Brian, a boring accountant) had inherited equal shares, and his hard-nosed mother, Mary – who suffered from a heart condition – was just as reluctant to give up her influence.

Lorries and the grind of daily business were sensibly kept in the background. What grabbed audiences of up to 11 million, and often divided households, was the clash of the women characters.

In one camp were the supporters of Jean Anderson’s strict domineering matriarch Mary Hammond. In another were those sympathetic to Jennifer Wilson’s schoolmarmy mistress Jennifer Kingsley, about whom none of the family had known until she inherited a share in the business. The truckers were represented by the working-class Bill Riley and his wife Margaret.

Later additions to the cast were future Doctor Who Colin Baker as obnoxious financial whiz-kid Paul Merroney (an early J.R. Ewing), his disillusioned wife, April (Liza Goddard), and Kate O’Mara as air-freight baroness Jane Maxwell. Later storylines focused on the company’s attempts to go public and expand into a global market.

For over four years The Brothers played out the boardroom and bedroom battles of this squabbling family and became a firm Friday, then Sunday, night favourite.

Mary Hammond
Jean Anderson
Edward (Ted) Hammond
Glyn Owen (1)
Patrick O’Connell (2)
Brian Hammond
Richard Easton
David Hammond
Robin Chadwick
Jennifer Kingsley/Hammond

Jennifer Wilson
Ann Hammond
Hilary Tindall
Carol Hammond
Nicola Moloney (1)
Annabelle Lanyon (2)
Debbie Farrington (3)
Jill Hammond
Gabrielle Drake
Barbara Kingsley/Trent
Julia Goodman
Bill Riley
Derek Benfield
Harry Carter
Mark McManus
Pamela Graham
Anna Fox
Nicholas Fox
Jonathan Newth
Julie Lane
Gillian McCutcheon
Martin Farrell
Murray Hayne
Sir Neville Henniswode
Carleton Hobbs
Paul Merroney
Colin Baker
Clare Miller
Carole Mowlam
Gwen Riley
Margaret Ashcroft
April Winter/Merroney
Liza Goddard
Jane Maxwell
Kate O’Mara
Don Stacey
Mike Pratt