Howards’ Way – Series One, Episode Twelve

howards 12

Charles – a vision in white – is out for an early morning jog.  By the way that Tony Anholt labours his way across the marina, I’d guess he wasn’t a regular jogger in real life.  Once he’s puffed his way back to the yacht, Charles tells Lynne that he’s keen to spend the day with her – the fact she’s agreed to help her mother (it’s the grand opening of the boutique) doesn’t bother him.

If it hasn’t already been made obvious then here it’s explicit – Charles expects his own wants and needs to come first.  It’s what’s made him a successful businessman, although with one (failed?) marriage, the floundering relationship with Avril and (as we’ll soon see) the odd illegitimate child lurking about, possibly his controlling nature is the reason why his personal life is chaotic.

Shellet is also looking for female company.  His mild overture to Polly came to nothing (whilst the mind boggles at the pair of them together, a house-sharing comedy with Shellet as Polly and Gerald’s lodger would have been fab.  That’s one spin-off show we were sadly denied).  Anyway, he’s seeking solace elsewhere – eyeing the escort adverts in the local paper.  He doesn’t seem interested in either Adam and Eve Escorts or Madame’s Escort Agency, instead he circles the Pussy Cats advert.  I don’t know why, but this is a little detail that’s always amused.  We then have further evidence of Shellet’s uncouth and unstable nature – he slops his tea in his saucer.  Mind you, the strong hint later on that his relationship with his sister (Jack’s late wife) crossed familial bounds puts his tea slopping crime into perspective.

Avril and Tom are at Napier Marine, hopeful that the board will invest in Tom’s boat.  They can count on some support, but David Lloyd (Bruce Bould) is the one they really need to convince.  Bould was best known for playing the fawning David Harris-Jones (“great, super”) in The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin.  It’s very hard not to think of Harris-Jones whenever Lloyd’s on the screen – the fact that we meet him in a boardroom environment doesn’t help.

Avril’s in her element dealing with the board, which makes it plain that she’s somewhat wasted at the Mermaid, just trying to make the books balance.  Clearly the programme-makers thought so too, as in later years she’s shunted over to Relton Marine, where she became a high-flying executive.

Ken’s pushing to be an equal partner with Charles in the Marina development.  Will Ken really be able to raise the capital needed?  Time will tell, but at the moment all seems rosy.  I like the way that when Ken extends his arm for a handshake to seal the deal, Charles imperceptivity pauses, looks down at Ken’s hand, looks up again with the faintest ghost of a smile and only then shakes.  It’s subtle, but reiterates that Charles is still the dominant force.

Having packed in his job at the garage, Leo is looking for alternative employment.  He wants to change the world, but first is considering a factory job on the Isle of Wight.  Abby’s bump has expanded greatly (and she’s still happy, which is slightly unnerving).

Jack finally tells Avril about Shellet’s claim on the yard, which spells trouble for Tom’s boat (the Barracuda).  The scene is also notable for showing a rare reflective side to Jack.  Possibly it’s because he’s worried he’s going to lose everything, but there appears to be genuine regret from him about his disastrous marriage.  “She never forgave me for the way I treated her. I could see it in her eyes the night she died.  Sometimes I do feel guilty. I can’t help it. I can’t change the past, can I? God knows, sometimes I wish I could.”  Glyn Owen is often called upon to act as comic relief, but occasionally – as here – he gets an opportunity to play something a little deeper.

Jan doesn’t approve of Lynne’s relationship with Charles.  Mind you, as Lynne says, Jan can hardly talk – Ken Masters is surely nobody’s vision of a perfect partner.  There’s another classic Ken moment in this episode – he pops Sade on the hi-fi and, all by himself, smooches around the room.

Orin’s sent Abby another letter which, in her continuing absence, Polly unashamedly opens and reads.  Amusingly, Gerald initially registers irritation at Polly’s violation of their daughter’s secrecy, but a moment later can’t help but ask her what’s in it!

Polly agrees with Gerald that she’ll forward the letter on (although he doesn’t catch that she adds the word “personally”).  Thanks to the efforts of a private detective, Polly’s tracked her daughter down.  It’s not exactly a joyful reunion, since their brief squabble is followed by Abby falling down the stairs ….

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