Written by Carla Lane
Country of origin England
Network BBC One
Created by Carla Lane
Opening theme David Mackay
First episode date 1 May 1986
Program creator Carla Lane
|Directed by Susan Belbin (1986-1988)Robin Nash (1987–89)John B. Hobbs (1990–91)|
Starring Jean BohtPeter HowittNick ConwayVictor McGuireJonathon MorrisGilly ComanKenneth WallerRonald ForfarBryan MurrayJ. G. DevlinGraham BickleyMelanie HillPamela Power
Cast Jean Boht, Peter Howitt, Gilly Coman, Melanie Hill, Nick Conway
The series focused on the devoutly-Catholic and extended Boswell family of Liverpool, in the district of Dingle, led by its matriarch Nellie (Jean Boht) through a number of ups and downs as they tried to make their way through life in Thatcher's Britain with no visible means of support.
Bread series 01 episode 01
The show's title is a reference to the use of 'bread' however, it is not a Liverpudlian Scouse expression but actually a London term for money (Cockney rhyming slang: bread and honey). A regular scenario in each episode was that of Nellie opening a cockerel-fashioned kitchen egg basket prior to the evening meal into which the family would place money for their upkeep. The amount of money placed in the pot by each depended on how successful a day they'd had. The pot would be at the forefront of the screen at the end of each episode as the credits rolled.
Other frequently-seen scenarios included Nellie answering a cordless phone (a newfangled item in the mid-1980s) which she kept in the pocket of her pinny (she always said "Hello yes?" when answering); and ensuring the parking places outside the terraced house were kept free for the family's many vehicles, by putting out some illicitly-acquired police traffic cones.
The show featured soap opera-style cliffhangers. This meant that viewers had to watch each week to see how the previous week's cliffhanger would be resolved. This also meant that each episode was not self-contained, but the plot unfolded as the series progressed. This was very unusual for a comedy at the time, but has been used to great effect by comedies since.
The theme tune was sung by the cast members and was released on BBC Records but failed to make the UK singles chart. The theme was re-recorded for the fifth series of the show, due to BBC1's transition from mono to NICAM stereo sound – the original theme had been recorded in mono.
A comic strip based on the series featured in the BBC's Teen magazine Fast Forward, although the overall tone was altered for the magazines younger readership.
After the series had finished, a stage play of the show entitled "Bread – The Farewell Slice" toured the UK.
All seven series of the sitcom were released onto DVD on Monday 29 September 2014.