In first episode (screened as a one off two years before the series proper) favourite David Jason starred as “Diamond Geezer” Des, a long-serving prison inmate who tries to lure petty thief Phil into joining him on his new scam: stealing diamonds from prison bully and fellow inmate Benny (Gary Whelan). Having established himself as a trustworthy old man within the prison walls, Des then sets about executing his plan with the help of his new recruit.
A series of three feature length episodes followed in 2007.
Episode one saw Des break into seemingly impenetrable Buckingham Palace to steal a large diamond before it is handed over to the Indian Government.
In episode two, Des attempted to relieve a large financial institution of a vast amount of money after they’ve plundered innocent people’s pension funds.
In episode three, Des planned to steal £8 million pounds of Russian gold for the families of Russian and British secret agents who have been killed. Despite Des’ good intentions, will his wrong doings finally catch up with him?
George Cole, Jenny Agutter, Don Warrington, Simon Williams, Jan Francis and Paul Freeman were amongst the guest stars.
Taking on different roles in the series really appealed to Jason too: “It goes back into my days in theatre. I started as the character or comedy man. I was never the actor who got the girl, or played the good looking leading man. I was always the funny little bloke – anything that you can name, I got the part. It meant that every week I would have to play a completely different character, which I loved because that’s what being an actor’s about. When this came up I saw it as an opportunity to go back to my roots.”
Trivia: David Jason’s real name is David White, but chose Jason as acting organisation Equity already had a member called David White.
In 2006, Jason topped a poll of TV’s Greatest Stars, as voted for by the general public.
UK / ITV – Granada – Yorkshire / 1×100 minute episode 3×75 minute episodes / Broadcast 20 March 2005 and 9 April – 23 April 2007
Creator: Caleb Ranson / Music: Ray Russell / Executive Producers: David Reynolds, David Jason / Producer: David Reynolds
David Jason as Des
Stephen Wright as Phil
Paul Bown as Guv’nor
Des McAleer as Martins
Gary Whelan as Benny
Richard Vanstone as Winters
Andrew Grainger as Roberts