Friday, July 16, 2010

R.I.P, Gilly Coman

The name is not going to be familiar to many TDOY readers, but to fans of the blog across the pond and elsewhere, I learned a short while ago through an e-mail that actress Gilly Coman died on Tuesday from a heart attack at the age of 50. Among her best-known television roles were parts on Emmerdale Farm, Children’s Ward, Springhill and Brookside.

I’m only familiar with Coman’s best-known TV showcase; she played the part of will o’ the wisp Aveline Boswell in the highly-popular situation comedy Bread, created by veteran sitcom scribe Carla Lane (The Liver Birds, Butterflies). Bread—a series that premiered on the BBC in 1986 about a Liverpool family constantly struggling to make ends meet—was the biggest comedy success for writer Lane; the 1988 episode where Aveline married Protestant vicar Oswald (Giles Watling) attracted an audience of 21 million viewers, which is no small thing in the UK. (Two of Bread’s devoted fans—Paul and Linda McCartney—even made a rare TV appearance on the program in October of that same year.) Coman left the show after the fourth series to have a baby, and was replaced in the part by Melanie Hill, who lasted until the series ended in 1991.

Bread’s first three series received a DVD release (in two sets) beginning in 2003 but since that time, no further series have surfaced on disc. I wrote a review about the show back in February 2006 after purchasing both sets and found it to be delightful—though the subject matter of a family doing whatever they can to make money even though they’re on the dole would probably not be particularly palatable to conservatives.

R.I.P, Ms. Coman. You shall be missed.

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