9th October 1988
Howards’ Way came to Guernsey
The development of a marina on Guernsey provided a major pilot thread for the fourth series of the BBC’s boat-based soap opera, Howards’ Way. The potential development had been mentioned several times already, but episode six was when it really took centre stage.
In that episode, lead characters Charles Frere and Avril Rolf travelled to the island to inspect the site. The episode was broadcast on 9 October 1988.
Somewhat confusingly, the marina was being developed under the name Langcrest, which was just about close enough to L’Ancresse to sound like it could be a real development on Guernsey.
All sorts of characters were trying to get their hands on the marina – from lovable rogue Ken Masters, to business high-flier Charles Frere. Even Edward, Charles’ estranged father, was trying to snare it.
The producers made the most of their budget, filming several threads in Guernsey. A sub-plot was developing, concerning itself with counterfeit dresses being sold in St Peter Port. These were being passed off as originals designed by Anna Lee for Jan Howard.
At the same time, Relton Marine, one of the series’ fictional boat-building companies, won the Guernsey Gold Cup powerboat race. The producers made use of the Guernsey World Powerboat Championships as a stand-in for the Guernsey Gold Cup race, which provided them with their series-finale cliffhanger. Leo Howard, the son of the Howard family, had been taking part in the race. He and Ken Masters collided, and while Leo’s co-pilot was killed, Leo was rushed to hospital unconscious.
According to the BBC, Howards’ Way was responsible for bringing flying boats back to Guernsey’s waters after several years’ absence.
Lead actor Maurice Colborne, who played Tom Howard, had been expected in Guernsey in 1989 to start work on the penultimate series. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it. He died of a heart attack a few days before his expected arrival while renovating his French holiday home. He was 49 and had suffered a heart attack.
As a result, the BBC brought the series to a close one year early. It shortened the storyline and filmed sufficient episodes to tie off any loose ends before calling it a day.