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When the Boast Comes In

BBC TV Drama Series starring James Bolam as Jack Ford, created by James Mitchell

The good times never happen, and in the 20s they seemed farther away than ever; life was a treadmill of smoke, grit and dreary labour. But Jack Ford knew that his boat would come in. He had survived the Great War only to find the fight for survival as fierce in the northern shipyards as it was in the trenches. Jack didn't talk about survival - he acted, even when it meant hurting people. Like the girl who loved him... or his best friend, whose sister Jack took to bed.

Jack Ford's boat was coming in, but it would be carrying casualties.

Hungry they certainly were on Tyneside, and bitter for the Seaton family and for Jack Ford and his wife, expecting their first child - the child that had made him marry Dolly instead of Jessie Seaton But Jack Ford was different from the rest. Determined, even ruthless-and lucky-he'd glimpsed the good life offered by rich men like Sir Horatio Manners, and he knew, too, the fear of desperate men who watched their wives and families starving. He wouldn't go under- but he wouldn't be a bosses' man either. Posing as a rich property buyer for Manners, or fighting to keep a widow out of the workhouse, Jack was mixed up in a lot of peoples' lives, but he was nobody's fool. Jack Ford stayed his own man...

Jack Ford is on his way. As Organising Secretary of the Fitters' Union, he has reached the first rung of the ladder that will take him out of the grime and labour of the shipyards to a bright, prosperous future. But where there are ladders, there are snakes. People like Les Mallow, who feels that Jack has cheated him and his class-and wants revenge for both. Employers like Sir Hory Manners,who sees Jack no longer asa promising newcOmer, but as a formidable enemy. And always in the background are the women in Jack' life -Jessie Ashton, still fascinated by him, and Dolly, his wife, who is aware of her husband's power, and desperately afraid....

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