1 9 9 0 – 1 9 9 3 (UK)
320 x 30 minute episodes
Most British soaps tend to focus on kitchen sink drama and gritty realism, but Granada TV’s daytime soap Families was different. Taking its cue from American soaps, it was fun, it was flamboyant, and it was hoping to be the new Dynasty.
The series originally followed two families; the Thompsons, based in the fictional market town of Westbury, Cheshire, and the Stevens, living in Sydney, Australia.
Mike Thompson (Malcolm Stoddard) walked out on his family on his birthday and flew to Australia to be with his true love Diana Stevens (Briony Behets), who he had left years earlier.
Unbeknownst to Mike, Diana had given birth to his son Andrew (Tayler Kane) and as complications ensued over the abrupt life changes for both families, Andrew travelled to England, where he met Mike’s daughter, Amanda (Laura Girling), by his English wife Sue (Morag Hood), and they fell in love, not realising that they were half-brother and sister.
After two years, stories involving the Thompson and Stevens families (and the UK/Australian crossover) had run out of steam with several characters either dead or departed for pastures new.
In their place came the wealthy Bannerman family, who were introduced during the summer of 1992 when they moved into the Thompsons’ Cheshire mansion from a suburb of Manchester.
The Bannermans were all extremely beautiful, very rich, lazy and adulterous. Daddy Bannerman (played by Terence Harvey) was one of Britain’s top barristers, earning enough money to keep his sexy 22-year-old mistress Fiona (Claire Marchionne) in a plush flat. She was also his son’s fiancee, but hey – this is soapland.
His decorative wife Isabelle (Helen Bourne) and four grown-up children – Simon (Thomas Russell), Matthew (Oliver Milburn), Rebecca (Karen Westwood) and Juliette (Emma Davies) – spent most of their time dossing around the house or going out drinking and partying, courtesy of daddy’s allowances.
The other prominently-featured family were the Richards, who ran the local pub (The Railway) – Larry (John Bowe) and Jane (Margot Leicester) and their daughters Chelsea (Tara Moran) and Louise (Victoria Finney). A son David was also mentioned but never seen on-screen as he lived in the US.
Jude Law (pictured above left) was a regular cast member for two years.