When the Boat Comes In (1976): S01E01 – A Land Fit for Heroes and Idiots


When the Boat Comes In is a British television period drama produced by the BBC between 1976 and 1981.

Set in Gallowshields on Tyneside between the two World Wars, this story follows the life of ex-sergeant Jack Ford and the Seaton family as they deal with the aftermath of the Great War, the Great 1920s Depression and trade union activists.


In 1919 Sergeant Jack Ford returns to Gallowshield on discharge leave from the army. He meets Jessie Seaton, a schoolteacher, her brother Tom and his fiancée Mary. Later, Jack meets Jessie’s brother, Billy a medical student and her parents – Bill, a miner, and Bella. Will Scrimgour, a shell-shocked ex-soldier, beats a child who was tormenting him. He is arrested and committed for trial despite Jack’s evidence about his condition. The magistrate, Major Pinner, who is standing for election as a Liberal, is bitter that he never won a medal. Pinner wins the election, but Jack humiliates him by arranging for local veterans to throw their own medals at him.

When the Boat Comes In Series

You can find a full index and overview of When the Boat Comes In here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 08 January 1976.
  • Rating: 12.
  • Running Time: 50 minutes (per episode).
  • Country: UK.
  • Language: English.

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