Howards’ Way – Series Two, Episode Six

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The spectre of potential tragedy has brought the Howards together – with predictable results (Jan stares into the distance, misty eyed and with a drink in her hand, blaming Tom for everything).

Charles continues to play with Ken rather like a cat toys with a mouse.  Construction on the marina is due to begin, but Charles tells Gerald to cancel it (and pretend that the furore from the protestors has made them pause).  Charles is smoothness personified when he explains to Ken, but Ken smells a rat ….

The fact that the Baraccuda is missing begins to cast a little doubt on Tom’s design.  This mainly comes from Jan of course, but when Bill queries the specifications of Tom’s catamaran there’s a definite sense of tension in the air.  The sensible course, as suggested by Bill, Avril and Jack, would be for Tom to recheck his figures but he’s unwilling to do so.  His concern for Lynne is clearly influencing his decision making (witness the way he erupts after Jack tactfully suggests they take a look at the design again).

Crusading local reporter Steve Windom (Bill Thomas) isn’t happy with the way that planning permission was pushed through without a protest and decides that Ken’s been indulging in corrupt practices.  To be honest, Steve isn’t exactly a Woodward or a Bernstein, but there’s still an effort made to ramp up the tension – such as late night meetings in shady rendezvous as Steve begins to build his case.

It’s interesting that Leo is under no illusion that their protest will fail, but he tells his mother that it’s more important that Charles and Ken realise they “can’t just buy any piece of land and build on it.”  Jan doesn’t come out of this conversation terribly well since she then asks Leo to call off the protest – that would ease Ken’s cashflow problem, meaning he might then be able to invest in Jan’s boutique.  Jan’s being incredibly selfish here, but I guess it was the “me, me, me” eighties.

Lyne pops up about midway through the episode, looking somewhat green around the gills and desperately attempting to get someone to acknowledge her radio calls.  Eventually she does (is it just me, or is there a whiff of Tony Hancock’s The Radio Ham here?).  Lynne’s travails was one of those plotlines which you could sense would have a happy ending.  Had they killed her off it would have created an even bigger fault-line between Tom and Jan (but since it probably would have meant that Jan would never be able to crack a smile ever again, it’s just as well they didn’t).

Down at the protest site, things are hotting up.  Morgan Griffiths (Mark Crowdy), a member of Earthguard, pledges his support – which begins with hot meals and fresh placards.  He zooms in on his motorbike and then out again almost immediately, like a leather-clad guardian angel.

Later, Ken sends in the heavy mob.  Although they’re big and ugly, their language doesn’t quite match their appearance (“why don’t you naff off?”).  Pre-watershed, of course.  And it’s poor Leo who’s first to receive a knuckle sandwich.

Lynne arrives in America, which looks suspiciously like the English coast. Still, it’s amazing what a few American flags, a sprinkling of stock footage and some fake accents can do.  Neither Jan or Tom can make it over, so Claude deputises for them.  The beginning of a beautiful friendship maybe?

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3 thoughts on “Howards’ Way – Series Two, Episode Six

  1. Personally I find a 22-year-old Lynne’s solo sailing escapade across the Atlantic a little hard to swallow, but if it serves to temper and improve her capricious ego, then so be it.

    Jan’s bouts of selfishness and flippancy can be amazing. As a caring and sensible mother, she will patiently listen to her offspring’s various confessions of woes and offer words comfort and advice – but on occasion she can also dish out surprisingly insensitive and hurtful remarks which are presumably meant to harden them in the face of adversities, yet could easily have a completely opposite effect.

    And I cannot recall anything more meaty than “naff off” spoken openly on the TV thirty years ago, whether pre- or post-watershed. But maybe my memory is fading…

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  2. Yes, given that Lynne’s only recently recovered from a nasty blow to the head (which caused total amnesia) it does rather stretch credibility that she sets off on a solo Atlantic crossing. We know she’s a good sailor, but still ….

    I do find Jan’s characterisation at this point in the series to be fascinating. The message seems to be that you can be a mother or a businesswoman, but you can’t be both. There’s several moments which really bring home precisely how driven she’s become (Tom might be driven too, but he also manages to maintain a more affable relationship with both his children).

    Firstly, when she asks Leo to halt the protest. Jan tells him that the protest is hurting Ken and this is stopping him from investing in the boutique. Unsurprisingly he’s not impressed.

    And then when Ken protests that Jan was only interested in him for his money. There’s a space when she could have denied this, but instead she kept silent.

    Post-watershed the language could certainly get a bit fruity, but “naff off” fits this timeslot and HW perfectly. It just sounds somewhat twee and robs the bully boys of a little of their impact.

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  3. Oops! Trust me to confuse words again. I guess I was thinking in another language – my native one 🙂 Oh, and another thing – it seems Lynne in S2 was actually 21.

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