Howards' Way

Jan Harvey and Maurice Colbourne

In the first episode of this Sunday evening serial, the Howard family are celebrating Tom's (Maurice Colbourne) success in winning the 'Commodore's Cup' in his boat the 'Flying Fish'.  After a drink in the 'Jolly Sailor' pub, the Howards' head for home. After a celebratory champagne dinner, Tom drops a 'bombshell', he announces to his wife, Jan and children Lynn (Tracey Childs) and Leo (Edward Highmore) that he had been made redundant from his aircraft design job at 'Southern Aviation' a month earlier!

As the 'Flying Fish' has been slightly damaged below the water-line in the 'Commodore's Cup' event, Tom's boat is taken to the 'Mermaid Yard' in 'Tarrant' for repair. The 'Mermaid Yard' is in deep financial difficulty with no large orders on the books and only a large overdraft of more than 100,000 to support the ailing business. Jack Rolfe (Glynn Owen) is assisted with the administration side of the business by his daughter Avril (Susan Gilmore) who had returned to 'Tarrant' from London 3 months earlier and was trying to re-organize the business for her father.

Jack Rolfe (owner of the boatyard) is told by Laurie Meadows (Alan Downer) his local Bank Manager that the bank's head office is going to foreclose on the 'Mermaid Yard's' overdraft. But when the yard's foreman, Bill Sayers (Robert Vahey) informs Jack that the repair to the 'Flying Fish' is complete, Jack has a 'brainwave'; could Tom Howard be the answer to all his problems and the 'Mermaid Yard's' saviour? Jack telephones Tom and tells him the 'Flying Fish' is ready and invites him over to the 'Mermaid yard', ostensibly for a drink, but by the end of episode one, Jack had broached the subject of a business partnership. Jack Rolfe suggests to Tom that it could be mutually beneficial for the pair to become business partners (and the yard could do with "a capital inject"). Tom Howard agrees to a partnership with Jack Rolfe, but has to use his shares, his savings and his redundancy money and also has to sell his beloved boat the 'Flying Fish' in order to raise enough money to buy his share in the 'Mermaid' boatyard.

Later in the serial there is a dispute over the ownership of the boatyard, which is 'engineered' by ruthless businessman Charles Frere, played by Tony Anholt, who wants the land for development. Tom and Jack overcome the challenge from Frere in court and the boatyard does eventually become successful again, with both Tom and Jack designing new boats, albeit very different designs and methods of construction.

The marriage of Tom and Jan (Jan Harvey) however, does not survive; Tom has an affair with Avril Rolfe. Jan also has an affair with Ken Masters (Stephen Yardley), owner of the local chandlery where she works part-time. Jan later becomes involved in the fashion industry owning a chain of boutiques. Many new characters are introduced later in the serial which ran from 1985 until 1990 on BBC Television, with episodes of 50 minutes duration. The opening titles sequence theme tune was composed by Simon May and performed by The Simon May Orchestra.