THE BROTHERS was a compelling TV series about the bedroom and boardroom strife endured by three conflicting brothers at the family trucking business Hammond Transport, running for an impressive 92 episodes between 1972 and 1976. It gave a big break to future household names like Kate O’Mara, Liza Goddard, Gabrielle Drake and of course our own Colin Baker.

The gritty BBC serial, created by Gerard Glaister and writer Norman 'NJ' Crisp, caught the attention of the viewing public to such a large degree that Colin’s loathsome city banker Paul Merroney was voted the ‘Most Hated Man In Britain’ by readers of The Sun newspaper. The theme tune, composed by legendary television scorer Dudley Simpson, heralded the show which became a staple of the Sunday night drama slot.

Jennifer Wilson, who played Hammond’s mistress, recallsed the storylines and their impact on the public:

“I wasn’t sure I should marry Edward," she says. “On the face of it, I had been the mistress of his father.I had his illegitimate daughter, I was now about to think about marrying his eldest son. Amazingly enough, the audience loved it. They were willing it. They were so pleased when it happened.”

Robin Chadwick (David Hammond) remembers: “We got very nicely written letters from vicars all over the country asking if the BBC could possibly put it on a little later because half their congregation was getting up and leaving during their sermons to get home in time to watch The Brothers.”

“A phone call came in from the foreign minister of Israel”, Colin Baker delights in telling, “He said that not only was he devastated not to be able to come and meet us as he was such a fan, but he suggested that had the Six Day War been launched on the Arab nations on the day that The Brothers was being shown instead of Yom Kippur, they would have had more of a chance of taking the nation by surprise because everybody watched The Brothers!"

The show became hugely popular in Scandanavia (where it was re-titled "The Hammonds") as well as Israel, and the cast recorded an album of festive songs for the Philips Record label.

The show might have been cancelled after just 10 episodes when the leading man, the late Glyn Owen, walked out. “Glyn persuaded himself that he was the star,” says his screen brother Richard Easton (Brian Hammond). “He was the eldest son. He thought the BBC couldn’t do it without him – he thought wrong.”

At the end of the first series, Glyn left and Patrick O’Connell took over the role of Edward Hammond for the remaining six series. Patrick eventually left the acting profession to persue a career as a painter.

“A lot of people complained about the fact that there was too much smoking and drinking in The Brothers, but at least we weren’t all getting our kit off and pretending to be having sex,” muses Derek Benfield (Bill Riley).

After 92 episodes, The Brothers was cancelled, but nobody bothered about telling the stars of the show. “It was extraordinary,” says Liza Goddard (April Merroney). “The BBC never said a word. We were just mystified because we kept thinking ‘well, I wonder when they are going to ring up and say we’re going to do another series?’, but they never did. I never know to this day why they stopped it.”

A book has been written about The Brothers by Rob Cope including contributions from Colin and many of the cast and crew, and featuring previously unpublished photos.  The Brothers Companion is still available by clicking on the book cover below:

DVDs of the entire series were released by Simply Media between 2006 and 2017.  They can still be found for purchase online.

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