Where are the cast of Bread now? As Boswell family stalwart Jean Boht dies aged 91, a look back at the stars of Carla Lane’s classic family sitcom
Fans of iconic BBC sitcom Bread mourned the loss of its biggest star this week with the death of seasoned actress Jean Boht at the age of 91.
Set in the heart of Liverpool, the hugely popular show documented the mixed fortunes of the working class Boswell family during a period of mass unemployment in the 1980s.
Boht, who had been battling dementia before her death on September 12, played straight-talking family matriarch Nellie Boswell – a character famed for the recurring catchphrase ‘She is a tart!’
News of her passing has since sparked a flurry of tributes to the actress and fond recollections of the show, which ran for seven series’ on BBC1 between 1986 and 1991.
But what of the show’s remaining cast-members? Read on to find out more about its stars, 33 years after they last gathered for dinner at the Boswell family home on Elswick Street.
Tragic: Fans of iconic BBC sitcom Bread mourned the loss of its biggest star this week with the death of seasoned actress Jean Boht at the age of 91
Iconic: Set in the heart of Liverpool, the show documented the mixed fortunes of the working class Boswell family during a period of mass unemployment in the 1980s
Legendary: (L-R) Original cast-members Gilly Coman, Jean Boht, Kenneth Waller, Nick Conway, Ronald Forfar, Sharon Byatt, Rita Tushingham, Johnathan Morris, Charles Lawson and Peter Howitt
FREDDIE BOSWELL – RONALD FORFAR
Wild hair and wild heart: Ronald Forfar, left, in his role as Freddie Boswell. The actor passed away in 2020
Ronald Forfar would forever be recognised thanks to his character’s wild hair, bushy moustache and prominent role on the show.
Indeed, Nellie’s wayward husband Freddie was permanently hen-pecked during its 74 episode run, not least because of his relationship with ‘that tart’ Lilo Lill.
He told the Express in 2015: ‘I still look similar to Freddie Boswell, so there’s a reaction from people when they see me, but it’s a friendly reaction.’
The actor moved to France in 1997, where he renovated a farmhouse in Normandy, before moving to Paris for a role in 2000 period drama Vatel, in which he starred alongside Gérard Depardieu.
Forfar returned to England in 2004, where he turned his hand to writing screenplays, stories and novels.
He passed away in 2020, aged 81.
JOEY BOSWELL – PETER HOWITT
Mum’s favourite! The smooth-talking Joey Boswell was a huge hit with female viewers of the show
A nice motor and an eye for the ladies; Joey Boswell was the show’s heartthrob. Joey was played by Peter Howitt, who went on to direct Hollywood film Reasonable Doubt starring Dominic Cooper and Samuel L Jackson in 2012
Say cheese: Nick Conway, Victor McGuire, Jean Boht, Peter Howitt and Jonathan Morris pose for a photo while filming exterior scenes on the set of Bread
Actor Peter Howitt was replaced by a less blonde Joey after just two years but for many, the original was the best.
Nellie’s favourite, Joey was cool, calm and almost always wearing a black leather jacket. Lane may have mischievously suggested that he was a male escort.
Actor Peter Howitt, now 66 and a dad of two, went on to carve out a career in Hollywood directing Sliding Doors and 2012 thriller Reasonable Doubt starring Dominic Cooper and Samuel L Jackson.
He currently lives in Vancouver, Canada.
JACK BOSWELL – VICTOR MCGUIRE
I recognise him! Victor McGuire played the beleaguered Jack Boswell and has gone on to star in shows including Peak Practice and even a role in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
As Jack Boswell, Victor McGuire, now 59, got his small screen big break in Bread and has gone to regularly appear on television and in UK theatre productions.
Goodnight Sweetheart followed as did a string of stage and film roles including n Peak Practice and Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
From 2012 to 2017 he featured as security guard Ian in the popular Sky sitcom Trollied.
Coronation Street fans will also remember his fleeting role as Big Garth in a February 2019 episode of the soap opera.
ADRIAN BOSWELL – JONATHAN MORRIS
Actor Jonathan Morris took on the role of Adrian, who had a more sophisticated air than his siblings; The actor showed off long blonde curls when he appeared in panto in Liverpool in 2012
He was the most sensitive of the Boswell’s with a delicate disposition and an eye for a nice suit.
The actor behind him, Lancashire-born Jonathan Morris, continued with mainly stage roles after Bread.
Now 63, Morris’ career has faded somewhat with a 2005 appearance on reality television show The Games. He played the Jester in a Liverpool pantomime in 2013.
AVELINE BOSWELL – GILLY COLMAN/MELANIE HILL
Two actresses played the role of Aveline, the flame-haired girl about town. Melanie Hill, seen left as Aveline, and right in a more recent shot has continued to grab prime time television roles
Flame-haired Aveline was originally played by Gilly Coman until the 1988 Christmas special when she was replaced by Sunderland Melanie Hill.
The over-protected daughter was made to wear a whistle round her neck and aspired to be a vicar until marrying Protestant vicar Oswald.
Gilly Coman went on to appear in a string of soaps and TV shows including Coronation Street and Emmerdale but died from a heart attack in 2010 aged 54.
Melanie Hill, now 61, also played the girl-about-town and continues to enjoy a high-profile television career, most recently in BBC One school drama Waterloo Road and in the BBC’s The Syndicate.
During the peak of her her Bread career she dated and married Sean Bean and the couple have two daughters, Lorna and Molly. They went on to divorce in 2007.
She went on to play Cathy Matthews in Coronation Street before leaving the soap in 2022, while featuring regularly in daytime chat show Loose Women.
BILLY BOSWELL – NICK CONWAY
The hair’s the same! ‘Our Billy’ is now 54 but the character of Billy Boswell remains Nick Conway’s biggest role to date
The baby of the bunch, Billy Boswell, was the youngest and also the silliest, getting into scrapes aplenty with his lack of worldly wisdom.
But the actor who played him, Nick Conway, arguably peaked with the role.
Since Bread went off air the actor has made fleeting appearances in shows such as Sharpe’s Justice, The Bill and Coronation Street. His last known role came in an episode of daytime soap Doctors.
Now 60-years old, Conway works as an actor, DJ and voiceover artist.
LILO LILL – EILEEN POLLOCK
Eileen Pollock played Lilo Lill, Nellie Boswell’s nemesis who was always called a ‘TART’ by the matriarch
In truth, Lilo Lill was little more than a bit part player in Bread, her presence the more impactful because of Nellie’s extreme reaction to the mere mention of her name, which often evoked the response: ‘She is a tart!’
Belfast-born actress Eileen Pollock went on to star in Taggart and The Bill. She also took small parts in iconic Irish film Angela’s Ashes, Hollywood blockbuster Far and Away and continued to work steadily after the show went off air.
She died aged 73 in December 2020. The actress was survived by her sister Natalie, her two nieces, Sarah and Deborah, two great-nephews and two great-nieces.
GRANDAD – KENNETH WALLER
Is my tea ready? Kenneth Waller was the man behind Grandad, who was constantly asking about his dinner
The bane of some of the Boswell children’s life, there was an expectation that they would frequently take grandad his lunch.
Kenneth Waller died in 2000 after a brief illness at the age of 72. His other key role included playing Old Mr. Grace in Are You Being Served?
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