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Actress Jean Boht, Famed for Her Role in "Bread," Passes Away at Age 91.


Actress Jean Boht, renowned for her portrayal of the maternal figure Nellie Boswell in the Liverpool-based 1980s television comedy series "Bread," has passed away at the age of 91.

Boht's career spanned multiple sitcoms, including "I Woke Up One Morning" and "Brighton Belles," as well as the drama "Boys From the Blackstuff."

This sad news follows the recent loss of her husband, composer Carl Davis, just a month ago.

In a statement issued by her family, they shared, "It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Jean Boht, which occurred on Tuesday, September 12. Jean had been bravely battling vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease, displaying the same unwavering spirit for which she was adored and renowned."

Born in Bebington on the Wirral, Boht initially embarked on her acting journey at the Liverpool Playhouse in the early 1960s before gracing stages across the UK.

On the small screen, she made her mark with roles like Mrs. Leivers in a 1981 adaptation of DH Lawrence's novel "Sons and Lovers" and as a benefits office manager in Alan Bleasdale's groundbreaking series "Boys From the Blackstuff."

Her involvement in the sitcom "I Woke Up One Morning," centered around a group of recovering alcoholics, ultimately led to her iconic role as Nellie Boswell in "Bread," a series also penned by Carla Lane. As the indomitable Nellie Boswell, she endeared herself to viewers nationwide as she tirelessly attempted to manage her sprawling Liverpool family.

The show garnered immense popularity, with a wedding episode in 1988 attracting a staggering 21 million viewers, making it the second most-watched program of the year, trailing only behind "EastEnders."

Reflecting on her time in the series, she shared, "I never watched it at the time, it's too daunting for actors to witness themselves on screen, so I had no idea how it looked." She went on to express her astonishment at the show's quality and humor when revisiting it.

Jean Boht received accolades during her career, including being named BBC TV Personality of 1988 by the Variety Club of Great Britain and earning the title of top TV comedy actress at the British Comedy Awards in 1990.

She also made a notable appearance in Terence Davies' acclaimed 1988 film "Distant Voices, Still Lives."

In 1993, Boht secured a lead role in "Brighton Belles," the British adaptation of the popular US sitcom "The Golden Girls," alongside Sheila Hancock, Wendy Craig, and Sheila Gish. In this series, she portrayed Josephine, the equivalent of Estelle Getty's character Sophia from the American original, although the UK remake did not achieve the same success.

Later in her career, she proudly mentioned her portrayal of five different characters in the BBC's medical soap opera "Doctors" as a record for the show. She continued to grace the stage, including her performance alongside Jeremy Irons in "Embers" on London's West End in 2006.

Jean Boht spent her final days at Denville Hall in London, a care home dedicated to actors and other members of the entertainment industry.