The Preston Front Page



There are a few inconsistencies that crop up in Preston Front:

  • In "Lloydy's Job" it is mentioned that Lloydy's eccentric employer, Mitch Maddox, encouraged him to join the TA. However, dialogue in earlier episodes indicates that he was around before he got his "secret job". It could just be that the others knew him before he joined (which is how I rationalised it in the character description), although this seems unlikely.

  • In "Laura's Mousse" it is a month before Ally's 30th birthday. However, in "Eric's Won Ton", which takes place some six months later she is 31. Similarly, Kirsty celebrates her 6th birthday in "Polson's Lilo" towards the end of series two, but she is 7 in "Lloydy's Housewarming" which is again about 6 months later.

  • There is also some inconsistency in Hodge's age (see the ages section below).

  • In "Eric's Job" it is mentioned that Greg left Jeanetta. However, in "Polson's Lilo" it is implied that Jeanetta left him because of his habit of chasing impressionable young women.

  • In "Polson's Lilo" Dawn and Eric move into 26 Churchill Rise. However, in "Lloydy's Housewarming" it is 131 Churchill Rise.

  • In "Hodge's Girlfriend", it is said that Hodge and Eric have been friends for 16 years. By the time of "Polson's Mess", about two years later in the chronology of the series, this figure has increased to 21.

    The Ages of Man (and Woman)

    In an article to accompany series three, the Radio Times printed brief biographies of the main characters, including their ages. It is debatable whether these can be considered canonical; there are no indications of the source and the biographies contain at least one mistake (it claims Eric followed Hodge into the TA, when in the very first episode it is mentioned that it was Eric who got Hodge involved). However, I thought it would be interesting to include the list, with some appropriate comments. It should be noted that in terms of chronology, we can assume that each season represents one year, since Kirsty ages from 5 to 6 to 7 during the course of the series.

  • Hodge: 28. Hodge was 17 when he was with Jeanetta. Kirsty is 7 in series three, implying he is then 24 or 25. However, according the story of the river rescue in "Jeanetta's Marijuna", he was 13 in 1982, which does make him 28 in 1997.

  • Eric: 28. Eric's age is never mentioned in the series, but it is credible that he is the same age as Hodge, as they were school friends.

  • Lloydy: 29. In "Polson's Lilo" (series 2) he says he is 26 and in "Spock's Dilated Pupil" he is 27.

  • Spock: 29. All we know about Spock's age is that he is younger than Ally.

  • Ally: 31. This is confirmed in "Eric's Won Ton", but see the bloopers section above.

  • Diesel: 28. Never confirmed or contradicted.

    For other characters, it is mentioned in "Eric's Job" that Jeanetta was 36 when she had the affair with Hodge, making her about 41 to 43 during the series itself. Also, Mel is said to be 20 in "Lloydy's Housewarming".

    Strange Credits

    One of the novel features of Preston Front was the way in which certain minor characters were credited. Here are a few notable ones:

  • The Heron Man, sometimes called Mr Heron, a semi-regular character throughout the series who bought a decoy heron from Roker Vale Garden Centre. His wife, Mrs Heron, also appears occasionally.

  • Aubergine Man and Radish Woman ("Ally's Husband"), so named because they are playing a party game which involves them trying to find the other person who has the same vegetable as they do.

  • Goldfish Man and Bucket Man ("Ally's Husband"), who run stalls at the fairground at Roker Show.

  • Mister Ironfoot ("Lloydy's Fish"), owner of a transport cafe who is very keen to apply a wheelclamp to any illegally parked vehicles.

  • Mr National Service ("Kirsty's Biscuit"), a fellow passenger on the ferry to Germany keen to talk about his time in the National Service.

  • Cheery Mr Fish ("Laura's Mousse"), Roker Bridge's good natured Welsh fishmonger.

  • Grass Seed Man ("Spock's Leg" and "Diesel's Out Of Body Experience"), a customer at the garden centre who interrupts Hodge with the question "Is this a good time to ask about grass seed?"

    These credits were less prominent in the third season. Instead, all minor characters were credited with their name and role (such as Driving Examiner Claude or Nurse Pauline, or most memorably Smackhead Coyle) even if the name was not actually used in the episode.

    Recurring Characters

    Aside from the semi-regular characters listed in the Cast and Characters section, Preston Front also features a large number of minor characters who appear in two or more episodes:

  • Eric's parents (Joan Campion and Gordon Langford Rowe): "Hodge's Girlfriend", "Eric's Job", "Dawn's Ball" and "Jeanetta's Marijuna".

  • Donna (Tracey Booth), one of Rundle's colleagues at the hotel leisure club: "Hodge's Girlfriend" and "Ally's Husband".

  • A bus driver (Judith Davies): "Ally's Husband" and "Diesel's Garage".

  • A waitress at a transport cafe (Sally Sheridan): "Ally's Husband" and "Lloydy's Fish".

  • Frazer Minshull (Peter McEnery), Ally's husband: "Ally's Husband" and "Kirsty's Biscuit".

  • Lesley (Michelle Chadwick), one of Dawn's friends at college: "Eric's Job" and "Diesel's Garage".

  • Vic (Shaun Prendergast), a railwayman who lives in the flat below Laura: "Dawn's Ball" and "Laura's Mousse".

  • Pete Carewe (Guy Gregory), a musician who is Dawn and Eric's landlord: "Laura's Mousse" and "Spock's Leg".

  • Grass Seed Man (David Williams), a customer at the garden centre: "Spock's Leg" and "Diesel's Out Of Body Experience". The same actor also appears as a man on a bus in "Diesel's Garage", which could conceivably be the same character.

  • Sara Polson (Beth Goddard), Pete Polson's wife: "Spock's Leg", "Polson's Lilo" and "Diesel's Out Of Body Experience".

  • Grant (Phil Whelans), Greg Scarry's chauffeur: "Polson's Lilo", "Diesel's Out Of Body Experience" and "Lloydy's Ark".

  • Dawn's parents (Lucinda Curtis and John Hallam): "Eric's Won Ton" and "Jeanetta's Marijuna".

  • Young versions of Eric and Hodge (Rico Pulisciano and Jack Allen): "Diesel's Ostrich" and "Jeanetta's Marijuna" (although uncredited here).

    Compiled by Matthew Newton

    More on Preston Front at Newton's Laws Of Television 

    Copyright MJ Newton 2003. All rights reserved.
    This article may not be reproduced without permission