STAGE ADAPTATION OF TV DRAMA SAILS HOME FOR SECOND RUN

When the Boat Comes In is set to dock at The Customs House for a second time – with the same cast and director at the helm.

The production, based on the iconic BBC TV series, received its world premiere at the theatre, in Mill Dam, South Shields, in August last year, with its 10-day run playing to sell-out audiences.

It returns to The Customs House from Wednesday, March 13, to Sunday, March 17, as part of its 25th anniversary celebrations and will be followed by When the Boat Comes In: The Hungry Years, from Thursday, September 12 to Saturday, September 28.

Award-winning actor Jamie Brown (The Machine Gunners, The Man and the Donkey, Hadaway Harry) will reprise his role as Jack Ford in the gritty Tyneside-based drama, while West End actress Alice Stokoe (Mamma Mia, American Idiot, Sister Act) returns as Jessie Seaton.

Steve Byron, an actor/drama practitioner with 25 years’ experience of working within community theatre in the north east, will play Bill Seaton and Janine Birkett, whose film and TV credits include Billy Elliott, Coronation Street and Inspector George Gently, will play Bella Seaton.

Tom Seaton will once again be played by Luke Maddison (Leaving, Geordie the Musical), Matt Headley by Charlie Richmond (The Last Ship, The Machine Gunners, My Uncle Freddie), Dolly Mather by Anna Bolton (Emmerdale, Doctors) and Mary Routledge/Mrs Scrimgour by Academy of Live and Recorded Arts graduate Sarah Balfour (Hyem).

Director Katy Weir said: “I’m extremely excited for the return of When the Boat Comes In. It had such a positive response last time from those that had watched it on television first time round and those new to the story.

“I think what makes it special is that at the heart of the story is family, love and hardship, something that affects us all. There’s also a large amount of Geordie spirit.”

When the Boat Comes In, which ran from 1976 to 1981, follows the fortunes of Jack Ford in the inter-war years on Tyneside, as he returns home from the frontline to find little has changed in the fictional town of Gallowshield.

The place he left behind is still battling against poverty, ill-health, unemployment and discrimination and he yearns for something more. He has his sights set on the high life and is determined to get what he wants, whatever the cost.

When the Boat Comes In was written by James Mitchell, whose son, Peter, a former journalist and TV producer, has adapted it for the stage.

It was ground-breaking for its time, as it was the first mainstream TV series to be set in the north east and was filmed on location in the region, featuring local actors, including Sunderland-born James Bolam as Jack Ford.

At its peak, it attracted 15 million viewers and received several BAFTA nominations, including two for best drama series.

Tickets for When the Boat Comes In and When the Boat Comes In: The Hungry Years are priced from £16 and available from the box office on (0191) 454 1234 or online at www.customshouse.co.uk.