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The Brothers (1972 - 1976)

Discussion in 'UK Soaps Forum' started by Willie Oleson, Jan 13, 2020.

  1. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator EXP: 17 Years

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    My first thread in the UK soaps forum!

    I've just finished the first series (we shall not speak of "seasons" in this thread) and I'm happy to report that it's very good.

    Compared to other TV series from the 1970s I find it surprisingly coherent and to the point, eventhough I also love the unexpected weirdness that you usually find in these old productions (e.g. The Lotus Eaters).
    Some of the dialogue is a bit novel-style, but only when it suits the character or situation.

    The story cuts to the chase with the reading of the will after the family has buried its patriarch.
    There are a few nasty suprises but overall they manage to cope with the new situation - or so it seems.
    upload_2020-1-14_0-10-36.png
    Most of story focuses on the company and how the new directors try to fit in, combined with several personal plot lines here and there - The Onedin Line on wheels, as it were.

    The characters and the actors portraying them are all very watchable, the role of daughter Barbara seems to be the most difficult to play because there's some passive-aggressive stuff going on but sometimes they completely forget about that and then she becomes a little bland.

    The interior of the Hammond's residence has some interesting gothic-shaped decoration and ornaments.
    upload_2020-1-14_0-9-32.png
    The main colour of the living room is brown, of course.

    Patrick O'Connell will take over from Glyn Owen as oldest son Edward Hammond in the next series.
    I think this is the first permanent recast in the prime time soap genre.
    I haven't seen any of series 2 yet so I can't rate O'Connell's performance, but I'm definitely going to miss Glyn Owen.
    And maybe, after only 10 episodes, that's a testament to the quality of and my soapy involvement in this series.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2020
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  2. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator EXP: 17 Years

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    Series 2

    upload_2020-3-2_22-24-40.png

    I'd be lying if I said that this was a very exciting follow-up to the first series. It's very tame compared to Dallas and Dynasty eventhough it sort of does the same thing.
    There's also a leisurely approach to the filming of the scenes which could confuse the modern viewer since many modern tv dramas wouldn't do anything without explaining, indicating or foreshadowing something.
    The episodes are open-ended but there are no cliff hangers, and I guess that also makes it a little less addictive (*wobbly/sepia flashbacks to Beryl disappearing into the mine shaft* - oh stop it, stop it!).

    However, the actors can sink their teeth in a well-written script, and that makes it very, very enjoyable. There are a few tiny mistakes that were overlooked rather than having the actor doing it again.

    Just like the Mermaid Yard in HOWARDS' WAY, the Hammond Company is constantly teetering on the brink of financial disaster. It never feels as big or important as losing Ewing Oil or anything like that, but they have these endless and way too formal boardroom meetings in that ugly, dreary room that doesn't look like anything, let alone a boardroom, and sometimes it borders on satire.
    Half-Hammond-sister Barbara visits her art mentor in France, and how did they show it? An obnoxious French waiter and the sound of - hold on - the sound of flies!
    I mean…

    Anyway, back to the financial problems, purely out of necessity they are getting mixed up with a cheeky Australian self-made man, wonderfully portrayed by Mark McManus.
    I thought I recognized him but I've decided that he looks like Mark Owen.
    upload_2020-3-2_23-39-24.png
    He also cites one of Australian's greatest poets Dorothea MacKellar. "I love a sunburnt country..."
    I thought, hey wait a minute, I know that poem - but how? I've never read that book.

    Ann Hammond, married to the middle brother Brian, is the family antagonist, but more in a literary kind of way. She smoulders and slithers and there's something conniving about everything she says and does.
    I wouldn't call her a villain, but she's a very difficult woman with a sharp tongue.

    Youngest brother David is getting married to fashion model Jill, but he's also had a one-night stand with her roommate Julie who looks like a young Jackie Collins (but it's Gillian McCutcheon).
    Julie is a blasé and provocative girl with a dirty mouth but when the wedding becomes reality she loses her cool. I guess some people underestimate their own feelings.

    Brian Hammond almost had an affair with a school teacher who looks like Lady Mary Crawley from Downton Abbey, but she's really Anna Fox with a very obscure IMDB filmography. She speaks very softly and educated, but nearly all her sentences end in a high-pitched tone so it sounds as if she's singing her script.

    Nitwit secretary Marion (a "real fountainhead of information") has been replaced! Boo, hiss!
    I had no problem accepting him as NuTed, it's still exactly the same character.
    I've read on the internet that he wanted out of the series and pursue a career as painter, which is interesting because one of his last scenes in season series 2 is a conversation with half-sister Barbara about (not) pursuing her career as a painter.


    Let's see what's on the agenda for the next boardroom meeting.
     
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  3. Angela Channing

    Angela Channing World Cup of Soaps Moderator EXP: 20 Years

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    I was too young to watch or even be aware of this series when it was first broadcast but recently became interested in seeing it when I was researching the background to different shows so I could write descriptions of them for the World Cup of Soap Operas.

    I'm loving your reviews of this series and it's definitely on my list of shows to watch in the near future.
     
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  4. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Mega Star EXP: 18 Years

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    I've never seen The Brothers either, but I always assumed this sketch of Fry and Laurie's was a parody of it:

     
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  5. Barbara Fan

    Barbara Fan Super Moderator Staff Member

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    I have never seen the Brothers and was in bed when it was shown in UK but i remember my mum was a fan and liked the cast, was it shown in UK on a sunday evening?

    I loved Tenko which starred Jean Anderson and my mum always said she played a tough matriarch in The Brothers as head of a family and business and was not to be messed with
     
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  6. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator EXP: 17 Years

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    3 episodes into SERIES 3 and it's evident that more and more soap is bubbling up to the surface.
    Some of that has to do with a few supporting characters "crossing over" from the previous series, and their roles have expanded too.

    Jennifer Kingsley's daughter Barbara returns home with...a surprise husband.
    upload_2020-3-7_22-39-11.png
    He's hyperactive and has a tendency to break things, which is why Barbara wants him to steer clear of matriarch Mary's valuable porcelain.
    Mary is very fond of Barbara, but she passionately hates her mother, Robert Hammond's former mistress - and only former because he died.
    But she knows that she has to tolerate her if she wants to keep in touch with Robert's bastard.

    David's wife Jill's inheritance has saved Hammond Transport Services from bankruptcy, and yet the boardmeetings are getting more heated and emotional.
    And when everybody's against somebody, Ann Hammond smells the opportunity to move her husband into the position of managing director, currently held by oldest brother (and chairman) Edward.
    There's some very subtle manipulation going on when she decides to cosy up to her mother-in-law, and these 3 episodes have also given me more insight into these characters.
    The best part of that comment is that it tells me everything I don't know about her. It means everything, and yet it doesn't give anything away.
    But I could definitely interpret this Hammond couple as the prototype for the Urquharts in HOWARDS' WAY.

    1974 also means that I've entered a more fashionable part of the seventies. There's talk of men's clothes boutiques (Italian import, of course) and the Hammonds mingle with flashy and pushy advertisers during a cocktail party. (nose pressed against the screen, afraid to miss any of the details).
    [​IMG]
    One of them is Nicholas Fox, Barbara's former art mentor who has traded his bohemian lifestyle for a more commercial one, also the reason why Barbara didn't want to see him anymore. And give up art school altogether.
    The notorious womanizer is making things difficult for Ann, who has just re-established herself as the devoted and supporting hausfrau (with an agenda).

    Foreman Bill Riley, previously old man Hammond's right-hand man, reluctantly confides in Jennifer about his domestic issues.
    upload_2020-3-7_23-9-39.png
    "The other day, I went home early for once. Our kitchen window looks out on to a brick wall….and she was standing at the sink looking out the window. And she said to me: Do you know how many bricks there are in that wall? I can tell you, I've counted them a thousand times over".
    This sudden, off-screen soap saga appears to be another example of Series 3's slightly melodramatic approach.

    In the meantime,the bitchy and sarcastic Julie Lane knows exactly what's wrong with David and Jill's marriage, and this understanding is part of the attraction.
    When David comes home after a night with Julie, he finds his wife in the living room, crying. He didn't know that her modelling gig in Liverpool was cancelled.
    And this also means that the Hammonds are dipping their toes in cliff-hanger water, which is awesome, of course.
     
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  7. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator EXP: 17 Years

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    [​IMG]
    Ann Hammond is a properly miserable soap wife, and it's funny that Brian's almost-affair woman, Pamela, has become involved with the Hammond marriage again.
    But there's a good reason, because Pamela isn't married and therefore far more objective and helpful in Ann's self-analysis.
    I find it all very mesmerizing, and to be honest I had not expected the writing for the women to be this good.

    The animosity between Mary Hammond and Jennifer Kingsley erupts into a very emotional argument - interestingly, most of the aggression comes from Jennifer, the mistress.
    It's a wonderfully surprising scene, and eventhough it's purely interpretable I feel there's something metaphorical about the heated argument.
    I think it's too easy to say that Jennifer hates Mary just because Mary hates her. She's clever enough to understand that the wife would never accept the mistress, and certainly not as a future daughter-in-law (!)
    And yet she accuses Mary of being an evil woman, and that's not at all how I see it.
    It's all good and well to take it on the chin and say "je ne regrette rien", but I wonder if there are some hidden feelings of guilt and shame being triggered by Robert Hammond's widow.

    Jennifer and Edward rekindle their friendship/love/friendship, it's that typical soapy to-and-fro situation, and if they would marry he'd become the stepfather of his half-sister.
    As the oldest son who had been working with his father since he was a boy, he had expected to inherit the business, or at least have total control over the company.
    He was the one who opposed to the idea of sharing Hammond Transport Services with his brothers and the secretary/oops! mistress.
    This may sound like a familiar scenario, but he's actually the most likeable Brother.
    Youngest brother and ex-bon vivant David Hammond treats his lovely wife very badly, and Jill's friend Julie Lane still openly chases after David. She even tells David's mother during their argument. "He happens to be the one I want".

    Brian is also no longer as naive and laid-back as he was in series 1 and 2. He's become jealous and pushy, but he's also the one who makes me laugh.
    It's such a joy to watch all these vibrant characters so I don't really care where the story takes me.
    Ah, and there's a face I recognize.
    upload_2020-3-15_12-14-36.png
    But I had to wait for the end credits to see his name. Yes, I ought to be ashamed of myself.

    As per usual with these old TV productions, the location scenes look much grittier than the scenes that were filmed in the studio.
    But this has never bothered me, and it's kind of how I remember those faded colours.
    [​IMG]
    This is from a Dover-Boulogne episode, I think it's also the first (*cough-cough*) action-packed storyline.

    upload_2020-3-15_12-33-8.png
    Oh I hate it when people put names on their bourgeois houses. I wouldn't call it pretentious, but it shows an imagination that isn't imaginative at all.
    Every time I see it, and there are lots where I live, it just makes me cringe.

    The pop hits so far:
    Peace Train - Cat Stevens
    Here Comes The Sun - The Beatles
    Where Do You Go To (My Lovely) - Peter Sarstedt
    And I think there was another one by Cat Stevens, a psychedelic-tribal party tune for Jill's pseudo-bohemian friends.

    My personal The Brothers tune of the week:
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2020
  8. Willie Oleson

    Willie Oleson SoapLand Battles Moderator EXP: 17 Years

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    Series 1 was good, series 2 was better and series 3 was fantastic. I can see why this was such a popular series in the Netherlands.
    Boardroom drama and fatal affairs, but they're all very human and therefore very likeable.
    upload_2020-4-9_1-58-0.png

    There's also bad news: The Brothers Series 4 starts September 1 1974, and the next episode of that other very British tv series is scheduled for January 11, 1975.
    In other words, my dual watching is completely out of sync now.
     
  9. James from London

    James from London Soap Chat Mega Star EXP: 18 Years

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    I know the feeling. Stay strong.
     
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