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The Brothers Series 6 on DVD

Saturday, 01 July 2017 17:52

The Brothers - Series 6 out on DVD nowA family haulage business tries to keep expanding to survive. The more it tries, the more the relatives at its core realise they are losing control of their empire. There are slippery people with unclear motives getting involved, and very few outsiders are straight about what their part in proceedings is, or will be.  The Americans would later take such storylines to levels of excess in the likes of Dallas and Dynasty, but us Brits did it first, and in some ways did it a lot better.

The Brothers: The Complete Series 6 contains all 13 episodes of this Sunday night TV drama, this set dating from 1976, which follows the individual releases of the first five series by Simply Media. Series 1 came to us back in October 2006, with Series 2 taking until November 2015 to get a release. Series 3 followed in November 2016, and Series 4 in January 2017.  Cult TV gave you a primer on the series with the release in March 2017 of Series 5, which you can read by CLICKING HERE. Rest assured, undoubtedly the subsequent series have been well worth the wait!

With Series 6 being the penultimate run of episodes, there is a ramping-up of the intrigue, subjecting the Hammond family to a rollercoaster of emotions and conflict. Colin Baker’s ruthless city banker, and now Hammond Transport Services Chairman, Paul ‘most hated man in Britain’ Merroney, is the instigator of all that is good in this run of episodes, simply by being ruthless - a speeding bullet of wheeling and dealing. His set-tos with Kate O’Mara’s air freight manager Jane Maxwell have the war of the sexes encapsulated, in something that at the time was still quite rare to see on TV or film.

But the real scene-stealer in this Series is Kate O’Mara’s performances alongside Mike Pratt, who plays Jane’s ex-husband Don Stacey. You’ll see noted in other internet locations that Mike’s real life cancer battle was written into the script, but that’s not actually the case. However, he was not a well man by the middle of Series 6, and as a consequence had to be written out. The final scene between the couple is poignant, tear-jerking, and captures perfectly what the relationship between their characters was all about. So, when you get to the episode “Tender”, make sure to have a box of hankies at the ready. What is presented onscreen will melt even the coldest heart.

Hammond brother Brian (Richard Easton), who went through a nervous breakdown following his wife leaving him in the previous Series, comes into his own in Series 6. His rehabilitation gains traction from becoming good friends with Jane Maxwell following Don’s departure. It is a very cosy and mutually beneficial platonic hook-up, even though Jane makes it known she’d like it to eventually be more. Brian, in the space of just a few episodes, goes from being a cul-de-sac of a pitiful and unlikeable mope to the most easy-going, empathic and emotionally complex of all the Hammond family characters. It’s a triumph of providing a new direction for an actor to follow.

Brian and Jane make Merroney’s unrequited affection from his secretary Claire Miller (Carol Mowlam) seem clumsy and badly drawn. We know it will end in tears, and it’s regrettably road-crash telly at its most simplistic. Much like Merroney’s name was spoken in Series 4 a lot before we actually see him on-screen, the same trick is pulled with Merroney’s often talked-of relationship with the upper crust April Winter (Liza Goddard – yes, she of Skippy, Yes Honestly, Bergerac and Woof! fame), with her actually only appearing onscreen very briefly in the 12th episode of this run.

The first couple of episodes of this series get bogged down in one of the plotlines carried over from Series 5, where Edward (Patrick O’Connell) and Jennifer (Jennifer Wilson) go through a melodramatic trauma as they battle to keep their adopted baby, after its natural mother begins to have a change of heart and wants him back. Jennifer becomes almost schizophrenic from the uncertainty of what is going to happen, while Edward just seems to growl at everyone more than usual.

Hammond Transport Services seeks to expand into France, where David (Robin Chadwick) is given his only real plot of this series where he is dazzled by man-eater Thérèse d’Alambert (Françoise Pascal of Mind Your Language fame). There was a real opportunity missed in not getting the characters given form by Pascal and O’Mara a reason to cross paths on screen – it would have no doubt been a bitch-fest that would rival anything we would later see on the American super-soaps. Opportunity missed, especially in not being able to see David’s reaction to such a catfight.

In another storyline, Jane Maxwell senses trouble when a private jet brings an overseas speculator onto the scene, who duly makes an unwelcome offer for the company.

Domineering mother Mary Hammond (Jean Anderson) meanwhile is seeing more of Merroney’s immediate boss at the bank, Sir Neville Henniswode (Carleton Hobbs – who had recurring roles in Emergency Ward 10 and Justice)  Sir Neville appeared in a single Series 4 episode, before becoming a regular character for the whole of Series 6. Sir Neville is certainly a perfect example of someone who can easily separate business from pleasure, and sees no problem in playing one sect against the other for the benefit of his bank. Mary tries her best to try and make him realise that there are nuances in between the ways he sees the world in black and white.

I have to admit I am now completely hooked on the series, and can appreciate why it was such a success for the BBC during its transmission across the 1970s. The characters draw you in, and whether good or bad, you care what happens to them. I can’t wait to demolish the final Series 7 as soon as I can. 

The Brothers: The Complete Series 6 is out now from Simply Media in a 4 DVD set. It has a ‘PG’ certificate, a running time of 650 mins approx, and a RRP of £29.99, or buy it for less at www.culttvstore.com BY CLICKING HERE.

Series 1-5 of The Brothers have already been released on DVD by Simply Media (see the range by CLICKING HERE), with Series 7 planned for release on 10 July 2017.

 

Last modified on Monday, 18 September 2017 17:56