Hollyoaks star Joe McGann reveals why he turned down classic comedy Bread

Hollyoaks star Joe McGann as Edward Hutchinson

The Liverpool-based comedy could’ve looked very different...

Hollyoaks star Joe McGann, who has joined the cast as Tony Hutchinson’s sinister father, Edward, has revealed that he turned down an offer to star in the BBC1 sitcom, Bread.

The 61 year old says that he and his three actor brothers Paul, Mark and Stephen were approached to play the grown-up children of matriarch Nellie Boswell (Jean Boht), but feared the show might damage their chances of carving out individual careers.

Says Joe: “One of the things we’ve tried to avoid is being thought of as just one unit.

“Years ago, we all got offered Bread and we all turned it down, because we didn’t want to be thought of as one unit.

“That would’ve stuck us together forever.”

Classic comedy Bread

Joe turned down the chance to be in classic comedy Bread (Picture: Alamy Stock Photo) (Image credit: Alamy Stock Photo)

Bread aired on BBC1 between 1986 and 1991 and, at its peak, pulled in 21 million viewers. Written by Carla Lane – who was also the brains behind The Liver Birds and Butterflies – the series focused on the Boswells; a working class, Catholic family from inner city Liverpool.

Plots were based on the clan’s illicit money-making schemes and their topsy-turvy love lives – which included Nellie’s husband Freddie’s relationship with his mistress, ‘Lilo Lil.’

Though the original plan was, presumably, to give Nellie four sons, the put-upon mum ended up having three sons and a daughter – Joey, Jack, Adrian and Aveline.

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Actor Joe went on to achieve fame in another sitcom – ITV’s The Upper Hand. Adapted from the American sitcom ‘Who’s the Boss?’, the show saw Joe playing Charlie Burrows, housekeeper to the affluent Caroline Wheatley (Diana Weston).

The series, which aired from 1990 to 1996, also starred a young Kellie Bright – EastEnders’ Linda Carter – as Charlie’s daughter, Joanna.

Adds Joe: “Funnily enough, I first met Nick Pickard (Hollyoaks’ Tony) at Kellie Bright’s birthday party, years ago. She and Nick are lifelong friends, and the party was at the pub he owns, in London.

"I think it was Kellie’s 18th!”

Hollyoaks airs weeknights at 6.30pm on Channel 4, with first look screenings at 7pm on E4.

Alison Slade
Soaps Editor
Alison Slade has over 20 years of experience as a TV journalist and has spent the vast majority of that time as Soap Editor of TV Times magazine.  She is passionate about the ability of soaps to change the world by presenting important, issue-based stories about real people in a relatable way. There are few soap actors that she hasn’t interviewed over the years, and her expertise in the genre means she has been called upon as a judge numerous times for The British Soap Awards and the BAFTA TV Awards.

When she is not writing about soaps, watching soaps, or interviewing people who are in soaps, she loves going to the theatre, taking a long walk or pottering about at home, obsessing over Farrow and Ball paint.