1 9 7 2 – 1 9 7 6 (UK)
When 70-year-old Robert Hammond died, his eldest son Edward braced himself to take over the family’s long-distance road haulage 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.
Although lacking in self-confidence, Brian was a kind and patient man and liked to believe that difficulties could be reasoned away without anyone being hurt. When he was belatedly forced to realise this is sometimes impossible, his choices became more difficult and he overreacted, often harshly.
Brian had married Ann (Hilary Tindall) when she was 18 years old. That a beautiful young girl should choose him bolstered his ego. But when the young girl developed into an emotionally demanding woman, Brian couldn’t cope.
He threw himself into his work which proved exhausting, but he persuaded himself that he was fulfilling Ann’s needs and that they were material.
As the youngest son, David was born into a relatively well-to-do family and never had to ask for anything – it was simply given. An expensive school, a fat allowance when he was at university – it all came too easily. Unsurprisingly, he was not very mature for his age.
He was developing a backbone, though, mostly because of Jill (Gabrielle Drake), whose love for him was always transparently obvious.
It took David a long time to realise how deeply in love with Jill he was. When he did finally realise his good fortune it was too late.
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 strict domineering matriarch Mary Hammond (Jean Anderson).
In another were those sympathetic to schoolmarmy Jennifer Kingsley (Jennifer Wilson), about whom none of the family had known until she inherited a share in the business and it was discovered that Robert Hammond had had an affair with Jennifer spanning many years.
Jennifer eventually found love for a second time – this time with Edward Hammond, the son of her first love.
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 BBC favourite.
Edward (Ted) Hammond
Glyn Owen (1)
Patrick O’Connell (2)
Nicola Moloney (1)
Annabelle Lanyon (2)
Debbie Farrington (3)
Sir Neville Henniswode