On the morning of 8 November 1982, he and his family are robbed by a burglar who wears a mask of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to conceal his identity as George Staines (or, as he is known to the Drakes, their friend Gaynor Mason). Bryan struggles to defend his family but is shoved by Staines/Mason and strikes his right temple on the table edge. The wound leaves him deaf for the rest of his life.
He is visited in hospital that day by his future daughter-in-law, DI Alex Drake. After looking to see that the nurses are out of earshot, Alex talks candidly to him about the future, knowing that he cannot hear her. She acknowledges that she has finally learned that she cannot change the events in her past. [The conversation takes place thirteen months after she failed to prevent her own parents' deaths.]
In coping with his deafness, Bryan takes up painting which he tells his daughter-in-law is the best thing he ever did. He paints a picture of his grand-daughter, Molly which he gives to Molly's mother, Alex. After Bryan's son, Peter, abandons Alex and six month-old Molly, Bryan is the one person who makes Alex believe that it is not the end of her life and career.