When the Boat Comes In (1981): S04E02 – A Gift from Heaven


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.


Jack returns to Gallowshield and lodges with Sarah, who tells him that Matt drowned in a boating accident. Jack learns from the boat’s owner, Doughty, that Matt killed himself having stolen union funds to support his mistress, Thelma Clark. She is now dating Sarah’s brother, Harry. Harry has photographs of Doughty’s smuggling activities with which to blackmail him. Jack steals them and sells them to Doughty. They have Harry beaten up and run him out of town. Jack burns Matt’s love letters to Thelma to convince Sarah that he was not unfaithful.

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: 24 February 1981.
  • Rating: 12.
  • Running Time: 50 minutes (per episode).
  • Country: UK.
  • Language: English.

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