17 March 2003 | Markhoni
A Sunday Night Institution
'The Brothers' was a cut-price British precursor to 'Dallas' and 'Dynasty' set in the glamorous, cut-throat world of...truck haulage. This family saga was a BBC Sunday night fixture in the 1970's and acquired cult status, in amongst other countries, the Netherlands and Israel (as confirmed by another contributor). In each run the Hammond brothers faced domestic crises and attempted takeovers from ruthless business rivals - in successive series an abrasive Aussie played by Mark 'Taggart' McManus; the slimey Paul Merrony played by Colin Baker and a bizarre aircraft hire outfit run by the sultry Kate O'Mara and the sozzled Mike Pratt. The Brothers survived losing its leading man, Glynn Owen , early on and the fact that his replacement in the role of Ted Hammond, Edward O'Connell was nothing like him in appearance or character. O'Connell subsequently tried to quit the show to become a painter but was lured back. The beautiful Gabrielle Drake, wife of one of the brothers, quit between series and was promptly bumped off in an off-screen car crash. The show was held together by the redoubtable matriarch Mary Hammond, played by Jean Anderson (later in 'Tenko'), who was an excellent actress and a close friend in real life of her arch-enemy on the show, Jennifer, formerly her late husband's mistress and now married to her eldest son. The show finished rather abruptly while it was still very popular and you got the impression that any other TV station would have flogged the concept for several more series. The BBC later made a sort of camped-up version for the 1980's called 'Howard's Way', set in a boatyard.