When the Boat Comes In (1976): S02E05 – Some Bulbs to Keep the Garden Bright


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.


Les Mallow wants Jack to expose seed merchant Sanderson, whose brother is on the housing committee and sells plants to council tenants at extortionate prices. If Jack refuses, Les threatens to reveal what Jack had done in Murmansk. He had learned about this from a drunken Matt. Jessie asks Jack to employ Billy as the union’s doctor for compensation cases. She lets slip that Mallow has a shameful secret in his family. Jack discovers that Mallow is living off his sister’s immoral earnings, and threatens to reveal this unless he backs off. Tom starts work as a jobbing gardener.

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: 26 November 1976.
  • Rating: 12.
  • Running Time: 50 minutes (per episode).
  • Country: UK.
  • Language: English.

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